When the Dog Bites

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles,

Have you ever seen the movie The Sound of Music? If not, you should. People make fun of it, and it is pretty cheesy in moments. It is also much edgier and more relevant than a lot of us may realize. The story takes place in Austria right before the rise of Nazism and the occupation of that country, and centers around a family of children, their overly stern and demanding father, and a bright-eyed governess. Usually billed as a love story, it is also (and perhaps more) a story about how easy it is to look away from or ignore a situation that is growing worse with each passing day. It is a story about betrayal – and the choice to betray or not betray the things and people that matter most.

One of the most important moments of the film is when Maria, the governess played by Julie Andrews, summons up the courage to sing to the frightened children during a violent thunderstorm. The song she sings is called My Favorite Things and is basically a list of the things Maria really loves.

It is not easy to summon up the things you most love in dark times.

Now, if you have seen the film you know where the title of this letter comes from…here are some lines from My Favorite Things: When the dog bites/When the bee stings/When I’m feeling sad/I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad!”

I like this song. I like the film version, and I like this version by the great Jazz musician John Coltrane even better.

Now every lunar cycle I pull cards from a few different decks that I know and love. I sit with the cards over the two week period, beginning with the New Moon to Full, and then from Full Moon to New. During this period, I make sure to pay attention to what comes up in my daily life and experience. This regular practice can be a useful learning tool to see and reflect on bigger patterns that one might ordinarily miss.

Last New Moon at the beginning of the month, one of the cards that turned up was The Singer of Courage – a card from Brian Froud’s The Faerie’s Oracle, which I adore. The Singer of Courage is a card that indicates that the querent is entering into a time when he or she will need not only courage but to be a singer of courage.

What does it mean to be a singer of courage?

The teaching of the Singer of Courage, The Sound of Music, and My Favorite Things is that courage looks less like an act of clenching teeth and powering-through (although there may have to be some of that), but more like someone actively remembering and holding firmly to the beloved and good things, the true things – especially when it is easiest to let these things go.

Many of you also are experiencing your own unexpected dog bites and bee stings – I know I have over the past two weeks. And this, in turn, brings you your own moments where you can and you must call up the courage to summon up the things you most love in hard times.

On this Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse, we have the opportunity to spot patterns – especially the patterns that we are most comfortable with, most reluctant to question or examine too closely. Our work here and now is to see what patterns are asking to be seen, to gauge which events no longer serve us and need to change. We can only meet them with our courage, a virtue that is very much not a superpower but a native, natural, rooted in our soul soil, power – one that we have access to all of the time. How do we access it? The song tells us.

We remember our favorite things. We recollect what matters most. Say it. Dance it. Sing it. These are the sacred ceremonies that the Singer of Courage will recognize and not fail to attend to. They are the medicine-bringing magic.

Want to get more in touch with your native power of courage?
This candle ritual can help you fire it up.

And you can also consider this prompt for your writing practice:
What are the places that scare me the most and how can I best meet them?

Soulful Seekers Spotlight

Since courage is our theme for this letter I want to give two shout outs to some courageous ladies I know. Elizabeth who runs Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has created an incredible series of scents that raises money for RAICES, a Texas not for profit that is directly involved in addressing the crises we are experiencing at our Southern Borders. Refusing to turn away from horrors requires a special kind of courage. Purview the scents and purchase here.

Jacquelyn Tierney is asking those who will be in attendance at my book signing in Santa Fe to call upon their courage and allow her to witness their lives and stories through the lens of her camera. Details are here.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

What to do when everything is NOT Ok

Lunar Letter

A

personal favorite theme in faerie tales is one I have come to call “peace, peace, but there is no peace.”  It goes like this: the hero or heroine is in a dangerous situation, but they refuse to recognize or acknowledge that fact.

In the story of the Little Match Girl, a homeless and hungry child freezes to death because she wastes what little fuel she has created pretty pictures and fantasies instead of assessing her perilous surroundings and seeking aid.

In the tale of Bluebeard, a young woman comes upon a room full of dead bodies but chooses to turn away and try to hide her discovery, wanting nothing more than to pretend that it never happened.

In the pages of Cinderella and Snow White we see this theme too — widowed men continually marrying bad, cruel, unforgiving women. Are all of the evil-step mothers really amazing actresses or are the men turning a blind eye to the things they would rather not see (or deal with)?

In all of these tales, there are only two possibilities: death or revelation. The stories teach us that to ignore what is really going on is tantamount to signing our own death warrant. To say “peace, peace” instead of squaring ourselves up to whatever is really happening is to breathe out the one lie that can take us down.

You might think that this behavior is found in faerie tale or myth only. Not so. We see it all of the time. It happens anytime someone asks you “how you are doing” and you respond with “I’m ok, great, fine” even when that is not the case. I have seen people “I’m OK” themselves into bad relationships, terrible jobs, unhappy marriages, and dangerous health situations. “Peace, peace”, but not really and certainly not now. This behavior comes from the best possible place…our desire for peace, our desire to truly be OK…but because it lacks the will to see things as they are, this well-intentioned desire leads ever and always to the exact opposite.

Longtime readers of mine know that I am an optimist. I believe in the best possible outcome, I expect the impossible on a regular basis, and my work is crafted around the reality of miracles. I never advise that we go looking for trouble or that we wallow in victimhood of any kind.  Yes, I believe in the power of positive thinking. But without a willingness to face uncomfortable truths, positive thinking is no longer a useful tool but a weapon capable of inflicting great harm to the self.

Call it like you see it, see it for what it is, and respond with compassion and courage.

This is the only way to call forth what is truly and deeply healing, whole, and holy in ourselves and each other. When we are able to do that not only do we stop the “I’m OK’ mantra we discover that much of what we wish to have more of in our lives, much of what we are yearning for, is already there, if only we see it clearly.

So it is that beauty is not perfectly smooth and soft but has edges, scars, and wrinkles. So it is too that magic requires transformation and demands a departure from comfort. Love — brave, brave love never turns away from fear but takes fear by the hand and walks with it through all kinds of terrain. And peace, lasting peace, is found by telling the truth, sometimes rocking the boat, making waves, being your one, blessed, perfect in your imperfections, self.

They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. — Jeremiah 6:14

(Listen to this lunar letter by clicking here).

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.