Discovering our Descendants

Learning and Community

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just finished teaching a two week long training for a group of radiant souls (many of you included!) on working with Ancestors and Descendants in order to create a future that we love.

One of the things that I knew going into this teaching but that I really found to be the case was that the concept of Descendants is still so fuzzy for many of us.

That makes total sense because, as my students can tell you, working with our Descendants is intense – even more so than working with our Ancestors.

Descendant is a term that applies to anything or anyone that comes after you and whose life has been touched by and influenced by you in some way.

If you have children then they are your Descendants. If you have children in your family that you are Auntie/UncleFriend/Godmother/father to then they are also your Descendants.

For all of us, the concept of Descendant goes beyond children.

The secret book locked in your desk drawer, the socks you knitted last Friday, the meal that you are going to make tonight – these are ALL Descendants.

I discovered long ago that working with our Ancestors was only part of the equation. In order to live a fully enchanted life, we need to honor our lineage AND our legacy, our Ancestors, AND our Descendants.

There are a bunch of reasons for this but one of the best is that while our Ancestors help us understand our past and history, our Descendants prepare us to create and hold a particular vision of the future and what is possible.

If the concept of Descendant is new to you that is totally OK!

Start by making a list of who/what your Descendants might be – that’s a very good first step in building a relationship with them.

And if the idea of Descendants has you intrigued and you want to learn more, enroll in the Story Threads Autumn 2020 class – there are two weeks – 10 days of live teaching recordings, over 20 lessons including two original stories and lots of magic ceremonies and rituals to support you in your work, and a wonderful community of brilliant students.

If it sounds like something you might be interested in you can enroll directly right here or feel free to email me and I’m happy to chat about it with you!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The Medicine We Need

Ceremony and Ritual

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e need to make sure we have all the medicine we need.”

My husband tells me this offhandedly, on his way out of the kitchen with the two boys, the screen door shutting firmly behind him. I open the cabinet, what looks for all the world like an altar to health and convenience and choices. Cough syrups and lozenges, prescription medication to manage my chronic asthma, tonics and tinctures in strange brown glass bottles sitting side by side the Tylenol and Motrin. This is, after all, the medicine cabinet of someone experienced with specialized medicines for serious chronic illness – but it is also the cabinet of a witch. I would expect some dark glass bottles and dried bundled of herbs and homemade balms and I am not disappointed.

I stare at the shelves running through the lists of things a family of four, with two active young children, might need to see them through the Winter. I know I can go to the store to pick up whatever I don’t have, but I don’t take that knowledge for granted the way that I did before Covid, before March of this year, before going to the grocery store became a fraught affair.

How to know, I wonder? How does one know what is needed? The irony of a professional diviner asking how one knows what is needed, how one knows anything really, is not lost on me. I have an answer. I wrote it down in my first book. Pay attention. That is what I have to do, what we have to do, ever and always, pay attention. I look again and wonder aloud: what is the medicine we need?

Candles flicker on the Ancestor altar and the air is full of the golden spice scent of marigolds. Soon I’ll add the sugar skulls. Soon we will write the names of the Beloved Dead on each one. There is one medicine we need, a medicine easily forgotten: the act of remembering. Remembering our Beloved Dead, our lineage of blood and choice, and all of the tangles and gorgeous colors it contains, the stories of our Ancestors.

My gaze drifts over to the charm bag that contains the first locks of hair from one of my baby’s head. We need the medicine of memory and also the medicine of possibility, of dreams, of aspirations. Those are carried in the words I write, the seeds we plant, the sparkle of a gorgeous boy’s eye when he wins the game, and the salty tears of defeat when the day was hard.

I tiptoe out into the garden under the waxing moon, sit on the wooden swing with my cup of steaming coffee and watch as the little opossum we rescued earlier this year noses about in the plants and then scurries up his favorite tree. When he was brought into the kitchen, furry body hanging out of our proud dog’s mouth, I thought for sure he was dead. Then I remembered that opossums are quite good at playing dead. Later that day I watched him move, thinking, mmm, surely his back is broken, this looks bad. A day of recuperation at our local Wildlife center, prayers to St. Francis, and now he is rummaging about the garden as if nothing happened. Resiliency then, that too is a medicine that we need to carry with us through the Winter.

This year marked my 40th birthday. I rang it in by standing in line for 4 hours so that both myself and my beloved could vote. A group of women stood behind me. They all wore black shirts with silk screened lace collars. The shirts said: “We are Ruthless” in a nod of respect to Justice Ginsburg’s recent death. They brought doughnuts to the party, knowing it would be a while before we could cast our vote. Commitment to the possibility of something better. There is medicine we need always, and with plenty of back stock.

The Full Moon is on Halloween. Every elementary school aged child’s heart swells as this undeniable, unbelievable, too perfect to be true, fact. It is proof among the dead grass, sticky caramel-kissed fingers, and October pumpkin-filled air, that magic exists. In this year of all years, that too needs to be carried forward. The magic of an October Full Moon hanging low in the sky as the goblins and ghosts come out for tricks and treats while witches wait for the new year to be ushered in.

Now I’m paying attention. Now I see what we need and I know what to do. In addition to the tried and true medicines of the body, I’ll gather up some further things: Remembering, Stories, Dreaming, Hoping, Resilience, Recovery, Commitment, Betterment, Magic. Pour them into brown glass bottles, braid them together while the leaves are still supple, make a balm with them for chapped hands and lips and souls. I’ll tuck them into the cabinets in between the pain relievers and the thermometers. Now we have the medicines we need.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

️So…What IS An Ancestor?

Uncategorized

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f you have been paying attention to the news/social media then you probably have seen a bajillion (totally technical term) posts about Ancestors, Honoring the Ancestors, and celebrating specific Holy Days like Dia de Los Muertos. ancestor

Some of you may behold hats at Ancestor work, but for some of you this may be totally new territory, and/or you might feel like you need a refresher.

Others might feel like they aren’t allowed to do venerate their Ancestors – that these kinds of practices are only found in certain cultures and traditions – not the ones that you come from. For those of you who fall into that category, let me assure you that honoring and working with our Ancestors is something we find in so many traditions around the world – this is a practice that belongs to everyone.

So…over the next three days, I am going to give you all a series of teachings, right here, in your inbox, about how to work with, honor, and be in right relationship with, your Ancestors.

I am going to share some of the most fundamental information about working with your Ancestors so that you can get started doing exactly that if you want to.

At the end of the three day period, I will also invite those of you who haven’t already done so, to join Story Threads: Gathering the Bones with Santa Muerte and Liberating Innocence from the Sugar House with Hansel and Gretel.

This first half (one full week) of this course dives deep into Ancestor work and also introduces you to a very special Holy Helper: Santa Muerte, Our Most Holy Lady of Death.

If you aren’t interested in the course that is totally OK too! I still hope you read these emails and get familiar with the basics of working with our Beloved Dead, our Ancestors.

To begin with, though we need to clarify WHAT and WHO we are talking about…

Ancestor is a term referring to deceased relatives, kin, friends, and also historical figures

• Pets and companion animals that have passed on are also considered ancestors

• You may also have ancestral ties to places, certain objects — especially those passed down through a family, and even lines of work or service

• Ancestor is a term that can also refer to children who are deceased. We sometimes forget they are in this category but in my Ancestral celebrations, we have one day that we put aside specifically to honor the little ones who have passed.

When I speak of honoring or having right relationship to our ancestors I do not mean that you need to honor every single one of your deceased family members, rather honor the Ancestors that you felt a closeness to in life or those who have always been present to you.

If the deceased person in your life that you had the closest relationship to is your dog, then that is who you would put on the Ancestor altar.

If you cannot think of anyone deceased that you had a close relationship with then you may also work with your Ancestral line – this is your cultural and ethnic heritage and lineage. Most of us have more than one, but for the purposes of beginning work, it is best to pick just one.

Once you have decided on the Ancestor(s) you want to honor, find a way to represent them. You might include their picture, an item they gifted you during their life or an object that you associate with them. It might include some of their ashes if they were cremated or dirt from their grave if they were buried – there are lots of options!

Just pick one object and start there. Put it in a place where it cannot be disturbed and where you have space to add a few other objects in the days to come.

This is the first step in creating your own Honoring of the Ancestors. Tomorrow we will explore WHY you would want to honor your Ancestors in the first place.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 22: Go and Help Your Brother

Foundations

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have been editing my second book, Star Child, all week so I have stars and Zodiac signs on the brain. This Hearth and Home is brought to you by the sign of Virgo, the sign most devoted to being of good help, and the sign that the New Moon occurs today.

“Go and help your brother.”

These are words I utter every day, usually several times, to my oldest son. Sometimes the help is given gladly. Sometimes the heavy sound of sneakers trudging across the wooden floorboards follows my request and I can tell he is a little annoyed. And almost always there is a response and the needed help is given.

You can’t really read the news anymore, you can just doom scroll your way through it and it makes me wonder about help and the stories of help and where they are. For it is exactly in times such as these, in crisis times and fear-ridden times, that we most need to look for the helpers, as Fred Rogers reminds us. Earlier this year when I returned to social media, I was able to highlight the helper stories and share them far and wide, but the stream has slowed to a trickle, the waters are drying up.

“Go and help your brother.” It has become a mantra of sorts, the theme of 2020 is not a word or an image, at least not for me, it is this: Go. And. Help. Your. Brother.

I thought I was uttering it as a suggestion, sometimes a snapped command, to my oldest child but it turns out I have been saying it to my own soul this entire time. What is needed right now? What medicine can begin to heal the wounds and the hurt places? Offering Help. To our brothers, our sisters, our loved ones, to men, women, those in between, and creatures of all kinds. Go and help. It is not a request or a suggestion, it is an inner imperative of the heart. Something we must all do in all of the ways, in all of the times, that we can.

More than that, these are the stories that need to be told, stories of helpers, everyday people, showing up with care and kindness. Their names and their roles are often obfuscated by the bigger events that are happening so I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of them, helpers I have had immediate and direct contact with over this year.

Doctors
Artists
Nurses
Grocery store clerks
Postal Workers
Lab techs
Teachers
Epidemiologists
Ministers
Truck Drivers
Scientists working on vaccines and therapeutics
Priests
Storytellers
Workers in warehouses, slaughterhouses, and fields
First Responders
Witches
Farmers
Professors
Writers
Police
Tarot Readers
Protestors
Grandparents
Shamans
Ranchers
Astrologers
Educators
School Administrators
Stockists
Therapists
Rootworkers
Parents
Children

I see this list as a litany. I say the names and the titles, many of which bring individual beloveds to my mind and I bless them for the ways they show up, the ways they try, for going to help their brothers, for helping me, my family, my friends, my clients, and students, my loved ones.

Being of good help is a theme we find in every major spiritual tradition as well as in the Sacred Arts. The four Tarot cards pictured above, all the Knights in the tarot, are often interpreted as helper figures showing up in our lives in different ways and with different qualities. So it is for us as well, we can show up to help in different ways and with different abilities and qualities at our disposal.

It is easy to think, in these latter days of Dharma as the Mahabharata calls them, that you can’t help. If you don’t know how to start an IV line or hold a line for justice or calm of a line of angry and frightened shoppers then really, what do you have to offer? Bit if there is one thing that 2020 has taught me it is this: That there is always a way to go and help your brother. I am grateful for the lesson.

I want to thank Jacquelyn Tierney/House of Divine Style Stock Photography for making this image available to me. I actually worked with it as a writing prompt which was so much fun!

And now for news from the home front:

Our September has gotten off to a busy start! The highlights include: editing Star Child, planning for the Story Threads class that begins in a few weeks, doing a guest teaching on blessing ways and prayer for a dear friend (I’ll be sharing more about this later), and keeping up with the school schedules of our body.

THE Most Frequently Asked Question of 2020 is: Did you remember to put an extra mask in your backpack?

Mars Retrograde is giving me all kinds of fantastic ideas and so I am doing my best to write them down and take as many notes as possible. We are all spending more time outside because the Gods smiled on us and we are actually having a lovely, cool, September…so far!

We work in the garden, planting seeds, feeding the wild birds and chickens, and leaving offerings for the faeries. We are headed into our favorite time of year and so, we are already talking about the Feast Day of Archangel Michael and how we might arrange the Ancestor altar this time around, and of course, the most important question: WHAT IS HAPPENING FOR HALLOWEEN?

Answer: I don’t know, honestly but we will make it magical, and that is what matters.

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.

Uranus as a Holy Helper

Foundations

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e is so ancient that his presence pre-dates both Gods and Titans seen less a God-like figure and understood more clearly as the Sky itself, the realm of heaven which is exactly what his name means – heavenly. As such, Uranus is the Holy Helper most capable of seeing the whole, of knowing all that is under the sky, cultivating the bird’s eye view.

He fell in love with Gaia, Earth herself, and as a result, he is called on even today when the Earth needs protection and defense. With his love, he had children, the first of the Titans, the beginning of a divine legacy. In this way, he helps us see our own legacy as well and he is especially helpful when we need to cultivate both vision of the future and the actions that make it possible. He was castrated by his children in a clear need to ancient sacrificial practices around kingship, reminding us that claiming our future requires we leave certain parts of our selves in the past.

When his sex was thrown into the sea, magic occurred, and among the beings called to life was Aphrodite herself, bringing to our attention the essence of vision, future building, care for the Earth, and life itself: Love. Uranus

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Jupiter as a Holy Helper

Ceremony and Ritual

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e (Jupiter as a Holy Helper) stops all forces that would devour life, feast on innocence, and annihilate good legacy, fast in their tracks, for he is firmly on the side of life and all that is life-giving. He is Sovereign and Sovereignty but also a feckless and inconstant husband who knows something of error, mistakes, and screw-ups, giving him a particular fondness for humanity. He is Wisdom and all ways and all roads that lead to it. He is the great teacher, the guide, the guru. It is easy to see his story as one full of winning – except that he wept along with the horses when his beloved Troy fell. Easy to see him as nothing more than the most perfect example of patriarchal chauvinism except that all his sister-wife need do is dab herself with a bit of perfume, place a necklace around her neck, beckoning to him to meet her in a field of flowers and he is simply brought to his knees. He is the eagle, the all-seeing and all-knowing who nevertheless pays obeisance to the older and ancient Goddesses. He is the father who adores his children, especially his daughters. The husband who tries and fails and never let’s go. He is boundless and the bringer of wealth, prosperity, abundance, and good fortune. He delights in discovery, learning, and takes joy anywhere people come together to make ritual and ceremony. He is the law bringer, oath binder, and oath keeper. He is the one who holds the space and beats the drum for the entire drama to play out. He is the storm caller and hurler of the divine bolt of lightning that can inspire and enlighten or burn it all down. He is Lord, King, Emperor, Sovereign of All, and he is the lowest of the low. We find him in the faces of the downtrodden, those without a home, family, or prospects, the wounded, and this diseased, the ones that most would turn away from. For it is here he is able to see us best, testing our mettle…do we help when someone is hurt, do we go towards the ones others would run from, do we walk our talk and be welcoming and hospitable to those who have no place of their own? He bears witness to how we serve others, for it is that more than anything else that reveals just how sovereign we truly are. Jupiter as a holy helper

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mars as a Holy Helper

Ceremony and Ritual

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e is the God of War, the bringer of strife and disharmony, one of the troublesome planets, the ones that are seen as baneful and full of bad luck. Let me show you his (Mars) Holy.
He is the activist in the streets, the brave rush into flame or bullets, the soldier who takes the shot meant for someone else, the officer who takes a knee. He is the fiery hot courage to say what needs to be said, to do what needs to be done. He is not patient, he is tired of waiting, he refuses to sit back. He is disciplined and will support you in being such as well. His furious might can be controlled and unleashed at the exact right moment, as can yours. Focused. Defiant. Potent. He is your ally in this. He is the Protector, the shield, the one who stands for those who cannot stand for themselves, who defends the defenseless, he has much of Michael in him.

He is the lover of Venus/Aphrodite – an illicit love, hidden for eons. Because what does it mean for War to be a lover of, a devotee to Love, Beauty, Goodness, and Kindness? Their story has been trivialized, mocked, ridiculed, but there is medicine here and wisdom if we will see it. What happens to our understanding of War when we realize that it too, can love? He is a Holy Helper who reminds us that when we truly love someone or something we will go to battle for it. To love is by Necessity, to risk. He is the God of War but he is also one who tells us why, when, and how we make war; he stands by us as we choose our battles. Many of his children are monstrous as we know all too well. But Harmony is also his daughter, without him, she does not exist. mars mars 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.