Hearth and Home Vol. 21: Being Seen

Alchemy and Magic

H

appy New Moon in Leo!

I’ve been feeling that Leo vibe this year, more than usual. Necessity, the old proverb goes, is the mother of invention. Challenges to our social habits have forced so many of us to look to images in a fresh way as means of communication, in ways perhaps more pronounced than other years.

My grandfather was a Leo and when I think about the best qualities of the amazing, stellar, lion, I always think about him. Right now, I’m thinking about him a lot.

He showed up fully himself wherever he was. He loved a good party, loved the spotlight, loved drama and excitement. When there wasn’t any drama to be had, he was happy to create it himself!

For me, Leo is all about showing up and letting yourself be seen. If we can’t show up in person, we are forced to find and create other ways to show up. This year I have taken that literally, and I am sharing a lot more on Insta. If you don’t follow me there, you should!

The power of videos and visual storytelling was brought home to me earlier this month when Jasper, our 9 year old, tried out for the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio. This year, auditions couldn’t be held in the usual way, and so every performer needed to make a video – with no pauses or cuts – introducing themselves and performing scales plus 3 different prepared pieces of music.

It was a lot for a 9 year old cello player. On the first day of taping, we had to get the giggles out, but on the second day, he rocked it, and soon after we learned he had been accepted!

What will the city-wide Youth Orchestra look like this year? Who knows! But kids who love music showed up and played their hearts out. In one form or another, the show will go on, and I am fully confident they are going to learn oh-so-much on their journey together. Also, major props to my beloved husband David for making the video happen and for handling ALL music practices at our house…it is a lot of work, and he brings so much excellence to it just holding that space for Jasper.

I have even more exciting visual news. My publishing team and I have decided on a cover for my upcoming book Star Child: Joyful Parenting Through Astrology and I CANNOT WAIT to share it with you all – soon, soon!

Our family has settled into a solid routine. Since school is beginning virtually, we will be able to maintain it, more or less. Jasper is excited to launch into 3rd grade and Heath is delighted to be home and speeding through the neighborhood on his Strider balance bike. He collects little treasures on his walks and delights in harvesting tomatoes and trying to sit on the (very patient) dog.

The boys go for long walks and bring home all kinds of magical goodies. They found the bird’s nest (pictured above for me) and arranged items in it for me too. I love that they put an eye milagro in the nest. It was as if they knew mommy has been contemplating vision and visibility.

I’ve been busy making fall plans for the gardens and for courses and classes I want to teach, including a free call on the upcoming Mercury Retrograde (I’ll probably talk about the Mars retrograde a little bit too) and a brand new offering steeped in magic and story that I am thrilled to share with all of you.

Many of you especially loved receiving a prompt in last month’s Hearth and Home, so here is one for this month:

What am I seeing right now and how am I letting myself be seen?

(The Leos in your life approve of this question, promise!)

As always, from our family to yours, we wish you a beautiful and magical month full of goodness!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 20: Just Add Water

Lunar Letter

I

t is hard to believe that I have not sent out a Hearth and Home since December of last year!

There have, of course, been Things Happening. First, for me, was the completion of the manuscript for my second book, Star Child.

I spent January, February, March, April, and May writing, polishing, and writing some more. My original due date was May 1st but due to the Coronavirus and myself and my husband suddenly finding ourselves thrust in the roles of homeschool teachers like so many other parents around the country, I received an extension and finally got the beast in the second week of May.

I am really excited about this book which explores how we can joyfully parent with Astrology as a guide – I think the past months have shown how much it is needed and I cannot wait to share more about it with you all!

At the beginning of March, I was in my beloved New Mexico, celebrating Jasper’s 9th (9!!!) birthday and eating dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with some dear friends.

By the time we drove back to Texas, everything was on lockdown, Spring Break turned into a semester of homeschooling and an appalling number of people grew sick and died from the virus.

Jasper’s school went online and Heath’s, our 2 year old, day school closed altogether for the semester. We found ourselves like everyone else adapting to a new rhythm and facing new questions and concerns, especially when it came to our children.

In our household, one of the things we learned early on was that the boys needed to get outside and move around and stretch their bodies first thing in the morning.

Our schedule morphed from making breakfast, packing up backpacks, ensuring teeth were brushed, diapers were clean, and clothes were on before loading up into the truck to get dropped off at school to herding everyone outside, applying lots of sunscreen and bug spray and making sure bike helmets were securely fastened. During our morning walks, we would chat about the schedule for the day and, after making the block we would return to the house and water the gardens.

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I descend from a long line of farmers and gardeners, that I love plants, and that I grow many of the plants that I work with magically. I noticed though, as this past Spring found me more outside than I had been in a long time, that I had allowed gardening to take a back seat and in particular I had neglected the task of watering – one that I have always loved and enjoyed. Now, while I generally have a tough love philosophy with most of my plant allies (you kind of have to in South Central Texas), I was amazed and a little disappointed that I had somehow become too consistently “busy” to water the garden. The boys turned watering into a grand adventure and unsurprisingly I started seeing growth from plants I had forgotten I had even planted!

We are now in the dead heat of Summer so we have to wake up extra early to water, go for a walk, take care of the chickens, and all of the other animals we share our land with, but we do it and I do it because what I have learned, what I have remembered over the past few months, is that water is magic. Even though we are in the middle of 108 degrees July days our gardens are verdant and beautiful and nourished.

When I think about 2020 I see a year that has been full of what rootworkers call Crossed Conditions. From the virus to the anger on the streets and on the screen to needless and unjust deaths this year has tested all of our mettle.

The oldest understanding of Crossed Conditions is that they are times where we are dried up, dried out, and devitalized. The remedy is an invitation to do the opposite, to add water, to call upon the things that nourish, sustain, and protect…the things that keep us tender. What those medicines are is different for each person but now as we have just passed the mid-point of the year, I encourage yourself a couple of questions – consider it a ritual for today’s New Moon in Cancer.

1. What in my life has gone un-watered for too long?
2. How can I restore it?

The answers will surprise you and the remedies are almost always simpler than we think. Watering as a morning ritual, an act of devotion to our land does not solve all of the problems. It doesn’t make the answers easier either. But it does remind me that amid the dried up times that seem perfectly poised to suck the essence right out of us, there is an ally, a Holy Helper and that sometimes all we need to do is just add water.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 18: Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles, fold ’em

Blessed New Moon in Scorpio! This October has been a magical month for the family, mostly because, for the first time since having one child in school full-time, I went into October KNOWING and EXPECTING that it would be busy, busy, busy.

For those of you who don’t have children in school, let me take a moment to explain. October, which happens to be the month when I celebrate my birthday and my anniversary, and the month when many of us witch-kind celebrate Samhain and (in my neck of the woods) the Days of the Dead, ALSO happens to be the month when every school and music function takes place as well. If you are not attending an event for your kids, then chances are you are attending one for someone else’s kids. This just IS an incontrovertible fact – you can’t fight it.

So this year, instead of resisting, I went in with the expectation that yes, every weekend would be busy and spoken for and that yes, with a little planning and a dose of magic, we would get our pumpkins carved and our Halloween tables set up before the mad rush on Thursday night. I knew too that Mercury was going into retrograde on the 31st, so I’ve made sure that we have all of our ducks in a row BEFORE the tricking and treating begins.

Underneath all of the day-to-day busy-ness of costume selection and school festival attending, I have been paying attention to the theme of a lineage that is always present for me, but especially so this time of year.

On my birthday this month, I had a big realization about a piece of the lineage puzzle for me that I had been consistently enchanting around for many years. The message came loud and clear from my Ancestors.

“You have done the work on this, now let GO.”
Well, I said to them, “I mean, I’ve done it this way but maybe if I tweak it this way…”
“NO. LET IT GO.”
“So I hear what you are saying, I really do but I also think that if…”
“Are we not making ourselves clear to you? LET IT GO.”

So I did. I dropped it, I stopped enchanting around it actively, and I re-set some of the long term work to address other things. The very next day I received a very clear sign that this had been the right move. All of which is to say that, as the country song says, you need to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.

The releasing work is also part of what it means to honor our ancestors and untangle our lineage. Interestingly, a few days after this occurred, I received another powerful message about a totally unrelated part of my lineage. My Beloved Dead are certainly active right now, as I know many of yours have been.

Since the last time I sent an update, I have received so many notes from people who are loving the two ongoing threads I have on FB: Find the Helpers and Magic Happens. If you need to follow something positive and inspiring, with the occasional interruption of silly or downright nerdy, then you will want to follow or friend me there. If you want to hear what is happening in book and business land, please like my page and join the newly re-vamped Sacred Artists group.

And…speaking of the book, if you have read it and enjoyed it won’t you please leave a review on Amazon? They really help other people find the book.

Oh! And more book news! I am very happy to announce that a work I contributed to, The Karma of Cats, is now out and available from Sounds True. Get it at your local bookstore or from Amazon. You can see a picture of our kittens and read about how they came into our lives and what they have taught us.

Our family wishes you a truly delightful Halloween, a blessed New Year for those who celebrate Samhain, and joy-filled Days of the Dead!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 17: All Stars All the Time

Alchemy and Magic

M

Miracles, moon

Happy New Moon in Libra! I possessively consider this “my” New Moon. Why? I am doing some deep magic during this time, sowing seeds for even bigger magic that will come to fruit later on this month when the full moon occurs…on my birthday!

It is appropriate to begin this missive talking about the moon because I feel like I am saturated with brilliant moon-shine, stardust, and planetary frequencies. Did you know that the planets make sounds? I’m in full tilt astro mode because I’m working on my second book which is about astrology and parenting.

At the same time, I am preparing the Mercury Retrograde Survival Kit reports and the Star Stories for 2020. I am doing both of these reports pretty early because I think in both cases it is useful to have the information sooner.

For Mercury Retrograde especially I like people to have at least a week to work with their information before the planet retrogrades. In the case of the Star Stories, it is necessary to start early. Each report takes 3-4 hours to put together and I have 40 to complete! A lot of my clients do their planning for the next year in November and December, so I like them to have next year’s astro info as early as possible.

And of course, while tackling all of this, I’m still sharing far and wide the joy of my first book! I recently got to sit down with Michael Stone for an interview that covered a big range of topics: from magic (naturally enough) to enlightenment philosophy, to the importance of language. You can listen to it right here.

One of the most lovely things has been opening up my inbox to find wonderful little messages from readers who just adored the book and wanted to reach out and say hi. I’ve had several mental health professionals seek me out specifically and give the book accolades, and I’ve also heard from a couple of folks in locked institutions (ie, jail) who were deeply moved by the book.

To me, this is far and away higher praise than any award or top pick book list could confer. (One day I want to go into the energetics of writing a book because it is so fascinating, but that’s another story.) But the short version is: it takes a lot of out of you!

I was speaking to a client of mine who has a BIG book coming out next year (you’ll see her name in national media coverage) and she was talking about how much energy the output has been for her. I reminded her that she will receive energy back from the book. In the most obvious way, remuneration, which honestly is usually not very much at all; but the money is not really the most important consideration in this case. The real exchange is when people reach out to you and say…your book…changed something for me. That is the payoff, the knowledge not so much that someone likes your work, but that your work is out there, being of good use to others.

The other big piece of personal news is that after a 9 month sabbatical I am back on Facebook. Why did I return? Well, Sounds True, my amazing publisher, invited me to do a Facebook Live video in their private book club group and I saw a host of familiar faces, people I realized I only get to see on Facebook. So I thought about it, got clear on my intentions, and returned in a way that works for me and my busy life. You can see on my page evidence of this work. When I am on Facebook, I am conveying a steady beam of goodness out into the noisy, negative world. So my personal profile is full of inspiring news and my business page features information about upcoming events, recipes, enchantments, how-to’s, classes, offerings, and of course…books!

In October David and I celebrate our fourteenth year of marriage and 17th year of togetherness. He continues to be my true love and best friend. We still feel like we got married yesterday and, perhaps most importantly of all, we still have so much FUN together!

Then, right after that milestone, I’ll be celebrating my 39th birthday — wha??? As I indicated above, it is happening on the Full Moon in October so I’m pretty excited.

Heath has started going 2 days a week to our local day school. He is enjoying it although he did get mad at the teachers when they encouraged him to move from an art making project onto something else (typical of this family!) But great teachers as they are, they let him continue working on his pictures – something he loves doing with his daddy and big brother. Jasper is playing flag football and composing music, getting ready to start learning the ‘cello, and planning an elaborate Halloween costume that involves a piano and a Phantom of the Opera costume.

So…as we round out September I am celebrating a rich month and getting ready for another. I’ll be back around the Full Moon with a lunar letter that looks a little different, as I’ll be focusing on specific ways to make magic. So keep your eyes out for that! In the meantime, blessings of the season and pumpkin-spiced kisses!!!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 15 From Walking to Dancing

Foundations

M

iracles, phase

The biggest news without a doubt this Hearth and Home is that Heath – our just-turned one year old – has started to walk! He has been a super fast crawler for a while, but the second week of July saw that crawl turn into a full-fledged walk.

Not a few tentative few steps either, oh no. He went for a full-on saunter clear across the room, making his way over the electrical socket much to the chagrin of his parents. The walk was accompanied by as much arm waving and giggling as you would expect.

Walking is, of course, a huge milestone in the life of a baby (and his parents) and it is one way of marking the end of one phase and the beginning of another. I remember when Jasper started walking. All of a sudden all of the drawers were being opened all of the time, and all sharp implements had to go high up on the kitchen counters out of reach of tiny probing hands. I know what I’ll be doing when we return home after our New Mexico sojourn!

You could say “New Phases” has actually been the theme for our whole family over the last few weeks. Jasper has entered into a new artistic phase, not only reaching new heights in his piano, but also discovering a love of dance.

Whether he’s putting together a series of original compositions for an album, preparing four pieces for a Royal Conservatory of Music exam in the Fall, or dancing ballet, tap, hip-hop, jazz, theater or modern, or even learning how to draw Manga, this little boy is full of exciting new discoveries. He also loves getting ready for his flag football season and using his tennis racket both to hit actual tennis balls and to wage battle against a host of unseen but no doubt definitely threatening invisible forces.

David and I have entered into a new phase as well. Life has gotten incredibly busy (even more so) since the book came out. The letters I have received from readers who love Making Magic have touched me so deeply, and I am yet again so appreciative and in awe of our beautiful community.

You all are amazing. As we turn our attention now to the launch of Spinning Gold, we find ourselves inundated with new possibilities and projects including new travel, teaching, and writing opportunities.

Though I am the “face” of our business, David is my partner in every aspect of it and we make our decisions together. Right now we are exercising keen-eyed discernment so that we can say Yes to the opportunities that we believe will truly nourish our community and our family while also saying a firm no to the ones that, at this point in time anyway, will not.

For myself, I have found that once you have even the tiniest bit of success in the public, it becomes infinitely more important to have a clear vision of your real telos, your purpose, the thing that you are aiming towards. I’ll end this section with a reminder: if you have read Making Magic please get thee to Amazon and leave a review for the book – the more reviews = the more people that find the work!

More new phases: Our family as a whole has entered a new phase in the realm of entertainment. We don’t watch a lot of television, as my long-time readers know. But in the summertime, we let that house rule slip a little. This summer we have immersed ourselves in the wonderful, zany, psychedelic, a world of musicals. They are, in our opinion, the perfect antidote and medicine for inoculating us against the horrors that we encounter daily in the 24/7 news cycle.

I never really realized until this summer how almost every musical is dealing with themes like love in times of war, prejudice, racism, and tyranny of all kinds. The fact that they do it while singing and dancing…well, I think we could take a page or two from that book!

We rounded out the month with a book signing in Santa Fe, the ordering of backpacks and lunch boxes for school (children have very definite opinions. This should be an easy project but it is NOT), and the creation of a couple of custom pairs of Chaco sandals – which are and have been for years my favorite shoes.

The next two weeks will see hiking, coyote-led sing-a-longs, walking, and of course, dancing. May all you find what brings joy in these deep summer days too!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 14 Summer and Celebrations

Foundations

M

iracles,

Happy New Moon in Cancer!

Summer has struck. I always know it is the season of sun and fun because our dinner schedule is jettisoned in favor of playdates, poolside meetups, and the occasional margarita!

I went back over my letters to see when the last Hearth and Home went out and it was right after Jasper’s 8th birthday at the beginning of March. So much has happened since then.

School let out for the summer and Jasper officially moved into 2nd grade. The book came out, then it hit #1 in several different Amazon categories and continues to be a best seller there (which is crazy and amazing and gives me all the feels). We went to the beach (the above pic is from our trip).

Then, on June 13th Heath turned one!!! We had an ocean-themed birthday party for him complete with a chocolate smash cake that he, quite appropriately, played with more than he ate.

I have always written prayers for Jasper’s birthdays and I am going to do AIM’s – Active Imagination Meditations for Heath’s. I know which one I want to do I just have to find the time to sit down and record it. In a stunning move

Heath actually allowed my mom and dad to watch him for a couple of hours and David and I got to go out on a date just by ourselves. We went to see a movie and basically acted liked giggly teenagers the entire time – it was so great!

Somehow in the middle of all of this, I was able to do the first of several interviews, got featured in one of my favorite magazines – Enchanted Living, and also had an article published in Yoga Journal and another in Spirituality and Health Magazine – crazy times y’all!

I created a series of AIM’s that pairs beautifully with each chapter of Making Magic and I also created a Pinterest board for folks who want to add some visuals to their making magic journey! In mid-June, I taught a class to a bunch of brilliant souls about the Astro drama that is the month of July and I received some more very exciting book-related news which I will be sharing with this list first.

It hasn’t all been good or easy. There has been sorrow. I had to cancel my CA book signings and then I had to cancel the one at BookPeople in Austin because the baby was sick.
True story: when Making Magic first came out I sent a letter to a best-selling author that I know and she responded with congratulations and also with the advice that I put being a mother before any book promotion. It was smart advice coming from someone who knows and it has already really helped me in making a few decisions.

I know that each person reading this has their own personal struggles and snares and I know too that so many of us look at the news every day, hear and see stories of violence and heartbreak, and feel that we are emptied out of something essential and good and true. The biggest piece of personal work I do around all the stories and events stepped in violence, cruelty, and hurt, is to remain tender when it would be so, so, easy to be hard and cynical.

It has been a whirlwind. A really good, really fast, whirlwind. What has kept me sane through it all? Early morning ritual practice out in the extremely humid South Texas air before the sun rises, snuggling up with my boys at night after a long day, curling up with my husband to watch the new season of Endeavor, and now, getting ready to head out to the Land of Enchantment for a few weeks.

I ended the week of June with a family celebration of my first book. It is the kind of thing that I would never think to do (my auntie threw the party for me) and also the kind of thing that is SO important to do – to make a celebration of the accomplishments, big and little, that we achieve. I know so many of you are busy at this time of year too and I hope you remember that – let yourself feel sorrow when it shows up, but also take the time to celebrate, to honor, to mark out what matters most.

Soulful Seekers Spotlight

Theresa AKA the Tarot Lady and Shaheen Miro have a new book out!

Ellie has started a new business venture. In her own words “I work with dynamic, fun people, like you, who want to transform their lives by starting a business infused with compassion and mindfulness. You’re looking for a group of like-minded individuals to practice with and are ready to create more freedom and more money in your life.” Email her directly to learn more at ellienihon@gmail.com

And kind words about one community member from another – this is from Jennifer K:

“The development of my Northstar Ritual deepens as I use products created with sacred energy.
I was lucky enough to meet Jen Rue in Santa Fe and was gifted with one of her products at your seminar. The use of her Love The Girls oil for lymph and breast greatly enhanced my abhyanga practice and actual physical flow of my lymph.

In the past two years, I incorporated Jen’s Conifer Oil and Florida Water into my practice and I deeply appreciate the creation of the limitless sacred space her products energy gives.

Products that include sacred awareness in the making are ever so powerful, the sweetness and soft comfort of Jen’s energy is a joy to experience.

Hip hip hooray for the work of Jen Rue and Three Cats and a Broom.”

Can I just say that I concur?! You can order Jen’s goodies here.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Turtle Patrols and Holy Helpers

Foundations

M

iracles,

As soon as school let out at the end of May, we hit the road and made for South Padre Island for a few days of sun and sea before the book came out and life took on the fast clip that is summer with two kids. I had never been to this particular stretch of Texas shoreline before. I knew that it is a hot (and crowded area) during Spring Break, but I really did not know what to expect during the off-season.

There were many different things to look at and wonder over during the trip. For starters, the smooth, mostly empty, highways studded with poisonous, beautiful, Oleander bushes. Then, the border patrol checkpoints. But once there at the beach, the little yellow bus. She trundles up and down the narrow stretch of beach, jiggling and swaying with dozens of oversized brightly colored inflatable flotation devices. There we so many floaties, in fact, I’d bet her tires didn’t even touch the sand. But she also offered packets of mayonnaise for your ears of elote: roasted corn dusted with mayo, chile, and cotija cheese – a combination that might sound strange but that I swear is the way corn is meant to be devoured. Through all of these wonderings, what I loved the most was the Turtle Patrol.

A little known fact about many Texas beaches is that you can drive your vehicle on the beach. With a few exceptions, most of the beach in South Padre is not open to vehicular traffic. This is partially because the shore there is quite narrow. But it is also because this strip of land and one other further South into Mexico are the only breeding and nesting grounds for the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle – a critically endangered species.

Enter the bright little phenomena called the Turtle Patrol. It is volunteer run and amounts to people, from 20-something college kids to septuagenarians, driving up and down the beach in little 4-wheel drive vehicles with ice coolers and padded boxes. They prowl the beach looking for sea turtle nests and eggs. They do this because female sea turtles go back into the ocean once they have made their nests and laid their eggs, leaving the newly hatched turtlets (and yes, that is actually a real word) to fend for themselves. In happier times, this process worked just fine. But the problem is that now the beaches are not what they used to be. They are far more peopled (and trafficked), which means that all kinds of new threats – from careless pedestrians to off-leash dogs – pose danger to the turtlets bringing their mortality rate up to almost one hundred percent. The Turtle Patrol find nests, collect the eggs and then takes them to a not-for-profit rescue organization where the eggs are incubated, hatched, and then the turtlets – now bigger and stronger, are released out to sea.

As I learned about the eggs, the turtlets, and the Turtle Patrol, I was reminded of how magic shows up in the everyday and how easy it is to miss it. When we think about Holy Helpers, Divine Guidance, or spiritual allies, what often comes to mind are traditional images: a winged angel, a burning bush, a mysterious and powerful Goddess. Sometimes those are the exact Holy Helpers we need to see and commune with.

But sometimes – and perhaps even more often – the Holy Helper is different: he’s a gray-haired, seventy-year-old guy in a faded pair of board shorts who is tenderly gathering turtle eggs so that the smallest and most vulnerable of us have an actual chance. You’d miss him if you weren’t paying attention. The Turtle Patrol is the reminder that we all need – that helping is a holy act and it is not something to wait for. It is something we do.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.