How to Banish Social Media Jealousy

Purification and Cleansing

S

taring at someone’s social media account can sometimes trigger feelings of envy—or even despair. You might compare your life to their life—or at least, to a picture of their life—and feel inadequate. Does this ever happen to you? Or maybe you are obsessed with someone else’s numbers – the number of likes and comments that they get. Life is too short y’all – let’s banish that nonsense!

What you will need:
Two candles that have not been used (ie burned) before. I recommend you use small birthday candles for this little rite.
A ritual anointing oil suitable for banishing or plain olive oil
A ritual anointing oil suitable for auspicious joy and happiness or plain olive oil
A clearing and blessing incense like frankincense (Dan makes my favorite).
A list of the things/people that you find yourself getting jealous of on social media.
A list of things you could be focusing on and celebrating if you weren’t so distracted by the green-eyed monster.

Significance:
One candle will be used to banish the envy. The other will be worked with to call in joy and celebration.

The anointing oil suitable for banishing will be applied to the banishing candle – look for scents that incorporate ingredients such as black pepper, cedar, pine, lemon, lemongrass, or sage.

The anointing oil suitable for auspicious joy and happiness will be worked within your joy and celebration candle. Look for a scent that you personally just ADORE.

Frankincense is a traditional incense used for millennia to clean, clear, and bless.

Your lists provide you with focal points for this ritual.

Ceremony:
Begin by Cultivating Calmness.
Light the frankincense
Take your list of things and/or people that you find yourself getting envious over and anoint the corners of it and center with the banishing oil then place it under the candle you are going to use for banishing those feelings.
Anoint the candle with the banishing oil or with olive oil.
Take the list of things you could be (or want to) celebrate when it comes to social media and anoint it with the auspicious oil for joy and happiness in the corners and center.
Place that list under the other candle and anoint the candle with the joy and happiness oil.
Now, take a moment to allow yourself to feel into the envy, jealousy, frustration – whatever the hard feelings are just feel them. As you do so light the candle for banishing and watch it burn all the way down.
Right before that candle goes out, use it to light the candle for joy and celebration so that your feelings of envy are transformed into feelings of joy, celebration, and appreciation. Watch until that candle burns all the way down.
Take the remains from the banishing candle and in a fire safe container burn them down to ash. Take those ashes and scatter them at a four or three-way crossroads.
Take the remains of your joy and celebration candle and bury them next to a healthy tree in your front or back yard or in a park that you frequently visit.
Be free of envy – done!

Final act:
Celebrate a social media moment – big or small – and invite others to join in on the fun!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Breaking Up with Social Media

Purification and Cleansing

I

f you want to take a temporary (or permanent) break from social media, here’s a ritual you can do to cut the cord and feel liberated.

What you will need:
A metal chain, a piece of yarn, ribbon, or string – something you can either cut or break. It should be at least as long as the vertical length of your hand.
 
A lemon or lemongrass-scented hand soap.
Rose or Orange flower water – available in the “ethnic food” aisles of many grocery stores.
A favorite ritual anointing oil or hand cream.

Significance:
The chain, yarn, thread, ribbon, or string is used to symbolize the connection you have to social media at this time.

Lemon and/or lemongrass are both scents that are worked within all kinds of cleansing and clearing work.

Rose or Orange flower water are both worked with for blessing and restoration.

Your favorite ritual anointing oil or hand cream may be used to “seal” the ritual.

Ceremony:
Take a few moments before you log in to Cultivate Calmness.
If you are announcing your intention to break up with a certain social media channel (for now or forever) then go ahead and make that announcement in whatever way is best.
When you are ready, pick up the chain, thread, a piece of yarn or string – whatever you are working with.
Think and feel into your ideas and emotions around social media. This includes the good, the bad, and the neutral. See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that energy gathering at the base of your throat. It may have a certain color, feel or shape to it – if it does simply make a note of that but do not get sidetracked by it.
One you feel the presence of the energy breathe it out onto the chain, thread, a piece of yarn/string, etc.
You may breathe all of the energy out at once or you may need to repeat the breath a few times. You may find that you cry a little bit in which case anoint the thread with some of your tears.
Hold firmly in your mind and heart your goal in leaving social media – maybe you are leaving to spend more time with your kids, paint a new canvas, or take a formal job – whatever your reason and goal, hold it clearly.
As you are ready, snap or cut the thread and as you do so, see, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that the connection between yourself and social media is also severed.
Wash your hands with the lemon or lemongrass scented soap.
Then, pour the rose or orange flower water over your hands.
Finally, anoint your hands with the ritual oil or hand cream, blessing them as they are put to good use (away from social media).

Final act:
Go do something related to your goal in leaving social media – paint that canvas, apply for that job, go to the park with the kiddos!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Making Social Media Feel Magical Again

Purification and Cleansing

R

emember the early days of the Internet, when we all felt such wonder and awe? But now, many of us feel overwhelmed and burned by all the nonstop chatter and noisy demands. In this article, I share a ritual that will help you take the first major step toward bringing some magic back into your digital life by restoring clarity and intentionality.

 
What you will need:
A clear quartz crystal – it does not need to be huge, fancy, or expensive.
A favorite anointing oil or hand cream
Your computer/tablet/phone – whatever you use to log in to social media!

Significance:
Quartz crystal points have been worked with since ancient times and support us in cultivating a sense of clarity around our intentions and purpose.

This ritual involves the age-old practice of anointing your hands. You may use a favored ritual anointing oil if you have one that you like, or you may use a hand cream that you like. Do note that this ritual is most effective if you have a dedicated oil or cream for it. That way the act of anointing your hands and the scent will start to magically work on an inner level to support you in your magic making.

You want to work with the device that you use to log into social media because the act of logging in is the practical action that we are magicking up!

Ceremony:
Take a few moments before you log in to Cultivate Calmness.
Once you have done that, think and feel into your purpose for using social media today. Is it for work, pleasure, or to contact a specific person about something? Whatever it is, say that purpose out loud.
Once you have uttered aloud your purpose, take the quartz crystal and place it against your forehead, saying: “May my thoughts be clear and aligned with my purpose.”
Place the crystal against your lips, saying: “May my speech be clear and aligned with my purpose.”
Finally, place the crystal on your heart, saying: “May my heart be clear and aligned with my purpose.”
Set the crystal down next to where you are working so that you can see it and it may serve as a visual reminder of your purpose and intentions.
Next, take the anointing oil or hand cream and anoint your hands holding the intention that your hands do good work today, that they are blessed and blessings in turn.
Now you are ready to log in – may you have clarity and may you rediscover the magic!

Final act:
Pick a specific time each day (and bonus points if it is the SAME point each day) to login to your social media accounts. Repeat this ritual every time you do so. Soon it will be second nature to you and take all of 3 minutes to do.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Magical Missive: Gathering Prayers – How to Make a Prayer Bundle, Mojo Bag, or Charm Packet

Alchemy and Magic

M

y first prayer bundle was so simple that it would not be until many years later that I understood what it really was.

This prayer bundle had a single ingredient: the first lock of hair ever cut from my head. The bundle itself was made out of scotch tape, by which I mean that the hair from my head had been sandwiched between two pieces of scotch packing tape. This prayer bundle, then, looked like a little unassuming packet, with a piece of hair caught inside it. Just from the looks of it, you would never know the kind of power it had.

This little packet was carried in the wallet of my maternal grandfather faithfully every day until he suffered a major stroke in 2005.

Years later, through study with teachers in various traditions and learning from my clients who also, blessedly and thankfully, come from many different traditions and walks of life, I was able to see my grandfather’s packet for what it was – not just way to keep a sentimental lock of hair, but a container for power and prayer. I discovered that charms and prayer bundles come in all shapes and sizes and in ways you could never imagine.

I understood that he carried his humble scotch tape packet for protection, for his and my protection, and also to remind himself about the significant life changes he made when I was born. We all need reminding of the pivotal moments of life. In these pivotal moments there dwells a magic force to help us live better lives. This charm packet helped him not only to remember it, but to raise that power of change for himself again and again in times he most needed it. For him it was the power of love, of second chances and a fresh start.

Prayer and blessing, while two of the most common and universally spoken languages in the Sacred Arts, are also languages that can often feel too abstract, too “un-grounded”, like air plants that are missing a true root system.

And this is why, for as long as there have been prayers and people to pray them, there have also been ways to make those prayers physical, to materialize them. This is an act I refer to as prayer gathering.

While there are many ways to gather prayers, the magical object that we are left with at the end of the gathering process is often a special container that holds our prayers and keeps them tied together fast so that they are strong and resilient. Different traditions have different ways of containing prayers, but one of the most common that is found in all of the corners and sides and angles of the world is a bag, pouch, packet of cloth or paper, or satchel of some kind. The names for these special prayer containers vary depending on time, people, and tradition. Some of the most common include: medicine bag, medicine bundle, prayer bag, prayer bundle, mojo bag, mojo hand, gris-gris, charm bag, fetish bag, fetch bag, charm packet, angel packet, magic pouch…and the list goes on.

Just as there are different names for these objects there are different ways of making them and working with them. In some cases, your prayer bundle might be made to be visibly worn, seen by all, a declaration, testimony or even challenge issued by the person wearing it. In other cases the prayer bundles are made to be hidden, worn discretely around the neck or waist or cross-wise upon the body. In some traditions, no one can touch your prayer bundle but you. In other traditions, family members can and often will bump up against each other’s prayer bundles. Some prayer bundles are not worn by people at all but hung on branches of trees or set out on the ground as offerings or burned or hung above the front door. Other prayer bundles are kept close to their person all the days of the life and when the person has died and their body is burned or buried the prayer bundle goes along with them. Some of these little bags are temporary – made for a specific purpose and then released through burial, burning, or disassembly. And in some cases a prayer bundle is not made for a person, but for a space, home, dwelling, sanctuary, or specific ceremony.

When we begin to make our own prayer bundles, the first thing we must realize is that we are working within the parameters of sacred vessel magic. Here magic is ritually contained in a sacred vessel and expressed through various physical objects placed in a container such as a jar, bowl, eggshell, or horn. The container for prayer bundles is of course the pouch or bag and is typically made of cotton, silk, flannel, or leather, and sometimes embellished with embroidery, bead work, sewn charms, or fringe.

When we work under the aegis of sacred vessel magic, we do well to consider this question: how does the situation I am working on need to be held? You can take that question as practically or figuratively as you want, but I do recommend thinking about it and journaling on it prior to creating your prayer bundle. The time and effort you spend reflecting on your life is never wasted. You can go back over your thoughts and writings and find the themes and intentions that will form part or the whole of your petition.

As we turn to making prayer bundles it is useful to understand that they are basically composed of three parts.

1. The vessel – this is the bag, pouch, locket, satchel, or cloth that is going to hold the magical contents. Considerations to keep in mind as you select the right material for this include: whether or not you plan to wear it and if you do plan to wear it, how and where you will wear it. Also consider how permanent or temporary this prayer bundle is meant to be as well as how you want to enliven it or discard of it.

2. Contents – these are the magical ingredients that you are going to include in the prayer bundle and they vary widely from tradition to tradition and also depending on what your purpose is. Typically speaking though the magical ingredients used in a prayer bundle include: botanical or zoological curios, personal concerns, coins or paper bills, petition papers, crystals/minerals, and images of saints, deities, or other holy helpers. Not all of these need to be included in a prayer bundle but they are the general categories to consider.

3. Seal for the bundle – this might be a string tie that is already included in the pouch, a piece of leather or thread that is used to knot up the bundle, flexible beading wire, wax, clay, glue, or as we saw with my grandfather, ordinary tape! The kind of seal you will choose to work with depends in large part on the kind of bundle you are creating as well as the contents within it.

Making your bundle:

Experience has taught me that when it comes to fashioning prayer bundles, unless you are creating very simple ones (such as offering bundles filled with cornmeal or tobacco), you will need to give yourself some time to assemble the materials you have chosen to work with. Maybe you have a well-stocked pantry but chances are you might need to order something in particular for your bundle so this is magic that can be created on the fly, but often rewards a little planning and forethought. Here is the process I follow.

First I gather my materials and lay them out on an altar cloth, which for me most of the time, is either a white or red bandanna (yes I know, fancy!). I take some time with each object I am going to incorporate into my prayer bundle, beginning with the vessel itself. If you are going to augment or alter your prayer bundle in some way – if you are going to fix a charm to it or stamp it then in most cases you will want to go ahead and do that first. This is a ritual act so if you are sewing something to the bundle, beading, creating fringe, etc, you will want to do so in a prayerful frame of mind.

Once you are ready to begin working with each object cultivate calmness. Sit or stand so that you are able to breathe fully and then hold each item in your hands for a few moments. Spinning Gold students of mine who work with woven cords may place one end of the cord on the object and hold the other end of the cord in their hands for a deeper connection. Then, commune with the object. Introduce yourself to it. Tell it what you are hoping to accomplish. Ask if it is willing to assist you in your endeavor. Be aware that sometimes the answer will be no and if that is the case my advice is don’t force the issue. Ask the object what it wants to be called and how you can best take care of it. You will often find that specific objects in your prayer bundles need to be fed from time to time with various substances. Make notes as you go. As you can see this part of the process can take a bit of time, especially if you have more than three items you are adding to the prayer bundle, so it makes sense for this part to be day one of your prayer bundle magic-making.

After connecting to each part of the prayer bundle, gather up all of the materials on the cloth you have laid them out on and hold them in both hands, connecting to the prayer bundle as a whole. Follow the same process of cultivating calmness, discovering if your prayer bundle has a specific name, and learning how your prayer bundle might want to be fed.

Next, if you are including a paper petition in the prayer bundle go ahead and write it out. Anoint it in the corners and center with an anointing oil, saliva, tears, or blood, depending on the purpose of the prayer bundle. If you are including personal concerns like your hair or nails I recommend placing them in the center of the petition paper and then folding it so that they are contained within the paper.

Now it is time to place the objects inside of the bundle. This should be done in a light liminal state. If you are working with any hard objects like coins, crystals, pieces of metal, wood, or roots then you may want to anoint them with a sacred oil, saliva, tears or blood – again, depending on the purpose of the prayer bundle. Begin with the petition paper, next goes any hard, larger, objects, finally if you are adding any dried herbs or powders you can take a piece of paper, put them on it, create a funnel with it and funnel them into the prayer bundle.

Sealing your bundle:

Once you are sure that everything you wish to put into your prayer bundle has been placed within it, it is time to seal the bundle. There are many different traditions on how to do this, but a simple way I seal my bundle is to “breathe in a blessing” on the bundle and keep the purpose for the bundle firmly in my mind and heart as I do so. Then, as I breathe out I exhale that breath into the bundle itself and quickly seal it in whatever way I wish. This breath blesses the bundle with a bit of myself, affirming the connection between me, my purpose, and the sacred object.

Enlivening your bundle:

After the bundle has been sealed it is time to enliven it, to get its spirit stirring and working. Again, traditions vary but I was taught to first anoint the bundle with a bit of anointing oil or my saliva, then hold the bundle in my hands and speak over it, stating my purpose and asking for its aid in free form words. In my experience this part may start out a bit awkward but as it builds in power and purpose the words take on a rhythm and cadence all their own. Of course you can choose to write something out or recite something formally if that is more to your liking. The point is that with words, breath, and body movement – yes, you should be moving your body in some way as you enliven your prayer bundle, you start to wake up the energy in the little bundle and you will feel it flicker in your hands like a candle flame or a tiny bird. At that moment raise the bundle to your heart, to your lips, and finally to your head and conclude your blessing with an “amen” or “may it be so” or “it is done.”

Working with your bundle:

The ways that you will work with your prayer bundle really depend on what purpose the bundle was made for. If this is a long term charm that you plan on wearing then often just wearing the bundle is enough to actively engage with it. You can take that a step further by talking with your bundle – just as you would a lodestone or a plant – or bringing your bundle with you when you do active imagination work. In many cases these long term relationships lead to all kinds of interesting things. I have personally experienced and had clients and students confirm that their prayer bundles have warned them of oncoming danger, provided needed support during times of emotional crisis, and facilitated rapid physical healing – even in instances when those qualities were not originally part of the bundle’s purpose. If you are working with a long term prayer bundle then I find that it is a good idea to cense it in sacred smoke at least once a week and to anoint it with a ritual oil. If you make a habit of doing this on the same day and same time then you will find that the actions carry even more magical weight. Most importantly though, you need to talk to your prayer bundle and find out how it would like you to work with it.

Care and feeding your bundle:

As mentioned above, it is a good idea to feed your prayer bundle with sacred smoke and/or a ritual oil on a weekly basis. This keeps the bundle enlivened and well nourished and, more importantly, it gives you some time to sit and be with your magical talisman, so that your relationship with it can deepen. You will notice after years of working with your prayer bundle that it begins to get a little funky on the outside. This is especially true if it is made of cloth. So it is a good idea to designate one day a year (and perhaps more if you sweat a lot or do manual labor while wearing your bundle) for washing and restoring your prayer bundle. Follow these steps in order to do this.

1. Untie or unseal the prayer bundle. Empty out all of the contents of your prayer bundle. Separate any hard objects like larger roots, coins, crystals, minerals, etc to one side and any dried herbs, personal concerns, and petition papers to the other.

2. Turn your bag inside out and remove any remaining debris. At this point you have a choice to make: do you want to re-use the same bag or do you want to use a new bag? I re-use as much as possible personally. But you have choices. You can choose to re-use the bag as is. You might decide to wash the bag first, you may hand wash it or wash it in the washing machine – I have done both. Just pay attention to any specific cleaning instructions related to the material your bag is made from. You may turn your bag inside out and use it that way or you can cut your bag up and sew part of it into a new prayer bundle. You can also work with an entirely new prayer bundle and if you choose to do this then it is best to burn the old bag and scatter the ashes at a four way crossroads.

3. Take some time to attune to each of the hard items. Re-anoint them with saliva or ritual oil and make sure that they are still willing and able to work with you. If they are not then bury them in your yard or simply give them back to the earth by placing them at the base of a healthy tree.

4. Read over your petition, and keep it in mind as you create a new petition. When you are ready burn the old petition and scatter the ashes at a four way crossroads or bury them in your garden. Do the same with the old personal concerns as you will want to use fresh ones.

5. Sprinkle the old dried herbs and flowers on the ground around your home.

6. Re-make your prayer bundle following the above directions.

Ritually disposing of your bundle:

While some prayer bundles are meant to stay with you until the day you die, others are meant to be disposed of in various ways. Again, the method of ritual disposal depends in large part on the purpose of the bundle, but generally speaking you can offer up the bundle and let the elements and wild creatures take it – this is most usually done by hanging it from a tree. You may burn the bundle and either bury the ashes in your yard, at the base of a health tree, or scatter them at a crossroads. You may also sink your bundle into deep water or bury the bundle whole without burning it. Each method carries a distinct flavor and intention with it, so the best thing to do is think about why you made the bundle in the first place and go from there.

 

 

It is not without reason that prayer bundles and magical containers have been worked with throughout time by our ancestors. They hold and create boundaries for our prayers, wishes, and desires, often strengthening and concentrating them while give us a clear doorway into the Otherworld. May you enjoy making one for yourself!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Magical Missives: Solar Eclipse Magic + How to Banish

Learning and Community

M

Miracles,

Apologies for the re-send of last month’s Magical Missive email earlier today (and a hearty bow and thank you to Mercury Retrograde!) Some of you wrote to me already telling me how much you liked it – which is awesome – but it is not the correct magical missive for this month!

This month we are focusing on the Solar Eclipse that occurs on August 21st. Eclipses are my favorite time to break patterns and I find solar eclipses to be especially strong for this work.

When it comes to breaking a pattern there are several steps involved. The first of course is clearly identifying the pattern that you need to break. Some people like to write this down, others like to talk it over with their magical study buddies, and still others like to go into the liminal and talk to their holy helpers about the patterns that are showing up, gaining further insight in the process.

The next step is to decide what you want to replace your old pattern with. If, for example, you are trying to break the habit of smoking then you will want to replace it with something healthy – maybe eating more greens, or something fun like ballroom dancing!

Then you are ready to banish the old pattern, story, habit, or belief, and call in the new. There are thousands of ways to banish (banish is a fancy word for “get rid of”) things you no longer want or need. While there are elaborate rites you can perform my favorite ways of banishing are simple and straightforward.

What you will need:
Yourself
A quiet space
To think about what you really want and need to banish

Ceremony:
Cultivate Calmness
Breathe in a blessing on yourself, affirming and acknowledging that when we breathe in completely and fully we say YES to life and to all that nourishes us.
Breathe out whatever it is you are ready to banish, breathe out fully, exhaling completely, so that whatever pattern you are releasing is fully let go and set down.
Take a moment to feel into the space that you have created by releasing whatever it is you needed to release.

Final act:
Breathe in fully once more and as you do so, breathe in whatever it is you are filling that space with – in our example above it would be “eating more greens for health and vitality” or “ballroom dancing for fun”. Breathe it in fully and then take a moment to offer thanks as it falls into place.

Patterns broken. Banishment done! Have a blessed eclipse!

In love and blessings always,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Magical Missives: How to Seal and Bless Yourself

Alchemy and Magic

T

oday one of the greatest challenges I see for soulful seekers is developing skin” not actual skin, mind you, but emotional and spiritual skin. Our bodily skin is a beautiful thing: it is not a rigid boundary.  It offers protection to internal organs, while being a bridge of sensitivity to the the surrounding world.  Our challenge is not making thin skin somehow thicker; but trying to work with skin that appears to be missing in the first place.  Soulful seekers are delightfully and dreadfully opento possibility, to enthusiasm, to optimism, and enchantment. But with this very high degree of openness, also comes increased sensitivity to all of the stressors in daily life to those things that cause worry, anxiety, and suffering, to the point where reading the daily news cycle is an exercise in daily open heart and open gut surgery.

What is needed here is protection magic that is strong, simple, and durable.

This is a little ceremony that teaches you how to seal yourself and begin to get skin so that you are better able to choose what and who is allowed into your inner sanctum, as well as what and who is not allowed within your borders. The magic made here is not about cutting off or casting out in most cases, nor about being closed up; rather, it is about you, making the needed effort, to keep yourself inner and outer safe, yet dynamic.

What you will need:
A quiet place where you will be undisturbed.

An answer to the following question:
What place(s) in my physical body take in the most external information?
(My answers to this question are: eyes, head, mouth, heart, ears, and hands).

A physical gesture that you decide on to acknowledge each answer you gave.
(I use the traditional sign of making the cross over myself as part of my lineage is Catholic and also as I know that crosses are much older than any one faith tradition, speaking to the crossroads and the liminal).

Any other ritual items you might desire, like candles or incense.

Ceremony:
Cultivate Calmness
Take a moment to become aware of and connect to the earth beneath your feet, as you do so, breathe in the deep, green, energy of the earth and breathe out in gratitude thank you.
Take a moment to become aware of and connect to the celestial skies above your head, as you do so, breathe in the high, bright, energy of the stars and breathe out in gratitude thank you.
Take a third moment to become aware of and connected to your physical body and all that it does for you.
Acknowledge your desire to shield and protect yourself so that you walk in greater sovereignty.
Attending to the answer you gave to the question above, breathe in a blessing on yourself. Exhale in gratitude thank you, and as you do so make the physical gesture over yourself that you have decided upon.
Notice how it feels to be shielded and sealed.
If you want, conclude with a series of blessings.

Final act:
Repeat daily. I recommend doing this at least three times, morning, noon, and night, you can of course perform it more frequently than that.

Love and Magic,
Bri

PS: the above illustration is from the dark and wonderful story known as Catskin, Donkeyskin and Deerskin and is by Arthur Rackham, an illustrator whose work I deeply love. The story is all about the traumas that happen, even in the best” families and teaches how skins fit, don’t fit, and can be grown. Read the entire story here and for a wonderful exploratory essay on the story, check out this article from the Journal of Mythic Arts.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Capricorn the Sea Goat

Divination and Dreams

W

inter Solstice is nigh and it is time to both dive deep and ascend the mountain with the one and only Capricorn, sometimes mistaken as a goat only but in reality a brilliant Sea Goat!

Capricorn is the 10th sign in the zodiacal wheel, attuned to the element of Earth, and is a cardinal sign ruled by Saturn. The Sun is in Capricorn from December 21st (Winter Solstice) through January 19th. Cardinal signs always represent leadership and the purest expression of certain virtues; for Capricorn and all of the Earth signs, this is symbolized by its arrival in the depths of Winter (in the Northern hemisphere) and Summer (in the Southern).

CapricornSea Goat as Animal by: Sara Magnuson

What in the world is a Sea-Goat?! A mythical creature, like the Centaur we discussed in Sagittarius, the Sea-Goat is a combination of two very real animals Goat and Fish and we will visit the lives of both creatures as we continue with Capricorn. The combination of Goat and Fish initially speaks to us about adeptness on land and in water. The Sea-Goat will also show us its intelligence and ways of mischief, confidence, and creation.

Let’s begin on the land, with Goat. Closely related to Sheep, Goat is one of the oldest domesticated animals. They are herbivores, ruminant animals with a four-chambered stomach, and both sexes typically have two horns of varying sizes. The goat has excellent vision with the ability to detect a range of colors, levels of light and dark, and fantastic night vision. With eyes on either side of their head, they have a large field of view, but what stands out most about Goat’s eyes are their horizontal pupils. This makes their eyes look totally crazy to us, but many animals have pupils like this sheep, horses, octopus, and toad for example. The difference is that Goats often have light colored eyes, so the shape of the pupil stands out more than, say, the dark eyes of Horse. The advantage of horizontal pupils adds many degrees to their field of view and, as prey animals, they need to be able to see as much as possible.

As we perceive Goats, however, their crazy looking eyes often bring forth a negative connotation, but that isn’t the case at all. What seems to others as something weird and different and possibly bad actually serves a great purpose for Goat and its survival. Goat goes about its business not caring that it looks all crazy because what it has going for it is working. As Capricorn, this exemplifies the ways you may appear to others that aren’t necessarily true and asks you to listen to the inner part of yourself that doesn’t care what other people think.

There is a myth that Goats will eat anything and everything, which is plainly false. Goat is not a grazer as many believe, but rather a forager and browser. They are extraordinarily curious creatures and, since they don’t have hands, they touch” things with their lips. It may appear that Goat is eating a box or a tin can, but it’s really just checking it out like a baby that puts everything in its mouth to not only feel it but to taste and smell it, feel its texture. As far as what they actually eat, it turns out they are quite picky, preferring woody bits from specific vines, shrubs, and low-growing trees.

The agile curiosity of Goat gives Capricorn an ability to explore without fear. Curiosity outweighs guidelines and rules every time in the world of Goat. This adventurous nature means that Capricorn can do things that others don’t expect you to be able to do and your unseen talents can give an advantage in many situations.

The world of Goat is ruled by the seasons and their time of breeding is determined by the length of daylight. Most Goats breed in the Spring and Summer, but in equatorial areas, where there are long and consistent hours of daylight, they can breed year round. Male Goats are called bucks, females are called does, and both exhibit distinct behaviors when it’s the breeding season. The dogs wag their tails constantly and stay near the bucks, while the males will curl their lips and show an obsessive interest in the females. Births are almost always twins and the mother often eats the placenta afterward. For Goat, and many animals, this is an instinct that avoids attracting predators with the scent of birth and provides much-needed nutrients after all the energy expended.

The sexual and birthing behaviors of Goat bring out the creator aspect of Capricorn. For the Sea-Goat, creating is a sensual experience felt with the mind, body, and emotions. This inclination means you can become obsessive in romance and in things/projects you love. Be mindful of how much you are trying to control or how much energy you are expending. As Goat’s breeding season is related to the duration of light, so does Capricorn work best in the liminal times and spaces, like the winter solstice it begins with.

Lastly, we must acknowledge Goat’s long relationship with humans and the impact we have had on each other. Evidence suggests that Goats were domesticated over 9000 years ago and they also have a fairly long lifespan (up to 18 years). This means that Goat’s connection with humans has evolved over millennia of generations; so much so that domesticated Goats will seek out a human when faced with a problem they cannot solve, much as a Dog would do. Goats are loosely-based herd animals, in that they prefer the company of other creatures.

When out on their own, however (and much like humans), they tend to act more independently of each other and only stay close enough to communicate danger. To most peoples of the world, Goat is seen as a renewable resource. They are used to clear the land of weeds and undergrowth; as farm labor to pull things; as a sacrifice to Gods and Spirits; as a source of meat, milk, hair, hide, and horns; even their dung, bones, and muscle sinew have been used throughout history for fuel, tools, and clothing, respectively. Every part of Goat is used for something and in this way it is seen as a clean” animal in many cultures and religions. Although there is a deep and strong relationship with humans, Goat’s curiosity is constantly calling back to its wild nature. Goat is one of few domesticated animals that, if given the chance, will easily revert to a feral life.

The relationship between Goat and people evokes its mysterious nature. The Sea-Goat is smart, can follow directions, and make decisions based on witnessed or personal experience, while also maintaining a wild, instinctual, freedom-oriented attitude.

We cannot end our discussion here without, of course, addressing Fish, the other half of Capricorn. It is the tail part of the Sea-Goat that is represented by Fish and speaks to the part of Capricorn that is adept in the realm of emotions and undercurrents.

First of all, what is a Fish? In the most basic sense, they are animals that live in the water, have gills, a skull, and lack limbs with digits (fingers and toes). We’ll talk about Fish in much more detail when we get to Pisces, but for now, let’s talk tails. The sole purpose of a Fish’s tail is to help it swim. It is an appendage that has become uniquely adapted to its life in the realm of water, providing propulsion, mobility, and directionality.

Fish as the tail portion of the Sea-Goat reminds us of the relationship between water and earth and is what keeps Capricorn from getting swept away by its curiosity. The tail provides the power needed not only to move in a particular direction but in a purposeful way. There is also a sexual aspect to water, as it arouses the idea of creativity and reminds us that life formed from water and earth. Water can be tamed and fenced in, but can also eventually overpower and go where it wants to go. Thus Capricorn is not about aggression, but rather diligence, being unrelenting, pushing at the edges until it breaks away.

The tail of Capricorn in the water speaks about our base, our history, where we come from. In melding with Goat on the land, Capricorn represents the evolution of imagination, practical desire, and ingenuity from the primordial waters to the vibrant, leaping terrain.

CapricornSea Goat as Capricorn by: Briana Saussy

Represented by the Sea Goat a mythic creature depicted as having the torso and upper body of a goat and from the waist down the tail of a fish Capricorn borrows its iconic form from very old Gods with very old stories, appropriate for the sign that is ruled by Saturn is also known as the Lord of Time.

Unlike other modern star signs, the tale of Capricorn begins not in Ancient Greece but much earlier in the Middle Bronze age. Although it is one of the smallest and dimmest constellations it has been consistently observed and honored throughout the Middle East and it was only later that its lore and significance moved into Greece and after that Rome. We know this in part because this sign was recorded in the Babylonian star catalogs as the goatfish” before 1000 BCE in connection with the great Sumerian God Enki, known as Ea in Babylon.

Enki is the God who brought magic, culture, art, healing, and fertility to all of the lands and was likened to a rushing river or spring gushing out from the earth both images that researchers believe speak to his sexual virility and procreative instincts. As a major God, Enki had many symbols and images attached to his name but one of the oldest is the half goat and half fish symbol that has long been associated with Capricorn.

In this, Capricorn mirrors the sign before it, Sagittarius, where the two animals that are fused together are man and horse in the form of the Centaur. There is a mystery to this oldest of old fusion of goat and fish that scholars and experts in the fields of ancient Sumer and Babylon still do not fully understand. The best guess is that the goat and fish are both animals that have long been associated with sexuality, fertility, and mystery.

Let’s pause here and take stock of some of the themes we see emerging already in the earliest stories of this sign. As noted, there is an ancient quality to Capricorn and often people who have a strong Capricorn presence in their chart are described as old souls.” At the very least Capricorns often look older than they really are (especially as children) and they have a mature presence from an earlier point in their lives. Because it is Saturn-ruled (Chronos in the Greek stories), Capricorn is very aware of the passing of time. This awareness can lead to intense pressure to do/be more especially in the areas of work and career but/and what it is really focused on is legacy-building; Capricorn speaks to the part of us that wants to create something that can last through time.

Although some astrologers incorrectly identify Capricorn as only a goat instead of a sea-goat or present it as though one has a choice: to be a goat or a sea-goat, the mythic tales surrounding the zodiac sign are very clear that Capricorn has always been the sea goat. This mysterious symbol and fusion of two unlikely animals speak to another essential aspect of Capricorn: what you see on the surface is often not the best indication of what is going on inside. The inner life of Capricorn (like the inner life of all of the Earth signs) is often more vivid, dreamlike, and magical than their outer, practically directed actions would let on.

The most well-known attributes of Capricorn deal with its ability to go through struggle or competition and come out a winner, endure through tough times, and find incredible success in their work and professional lives; to understand where these qualities come from we need to learn the stories from a different set of characters.

Turning to the Greek version of the tale, it is like most of our star stories, one born out of immortal struggle. In this case, the struggle is between a great beast known as Typhon and the God Pan. Typhon was a monster born from the union of Gaia (Earth) and Tartarus (the Underworld) according to Hesiod. Later tales claim that Typhon was born from Hera as a result of a rage she felt towards Zeus when he gave birth to Athena by himself. Both versions agree that Typhon was a creature born to wreak havoc on the younger Olympian Gods with a specific eye towards destroying Zeus. Typhon’s birth, therefore, can be interpreted as the vengeance of Chronos, Father Time, who devoured all of his children but Zeus and was later overthrown by his lone surviving son.

Typhon is described in ancient sources as having the body of a man but having hundreds of snakes emerging from his head and in some cases his thighs and/or feet as well. The snakes were all poisonous vipers, of course, who not only could kill by striking but actually spit their venom out onto their victims. Typhon was said to be able to breathe fire and also possess wings that allowed for flight. He was incredibly strong and powerful and had God-like powers over various elements.

As the story goes, Typhon challenged Zeus for power over the entire Cosmos and the struggle was epic. During that struggle, Zeus enlisted the aid of the God Pan to play his panpipes (or in some versions have one of his devotees play his pipes) and lull Typhon to calmness. Pan did this and Typhon was so pleased that he offered Pan any Goddess he might want (besides Hera) for a wife. Pan tricked Typhon into returning the leg sinews he had taken from Zeus (thus crippling the God) by telling him that he would play even sweeter music on the lyre if only he could string it with said sinews. Once Typhon brought the sinews to Pan, Pan gave them back to Zeus, restoring him to health and allowing Zeus to ultimately defeat Typhon. In a rage Typhon attacked Pan who was able to transform the lower half of his body into a fish and swim away from the ravening beast, becoming the constellation Capricorn as he did so.

In the Greek story, we see the elements of struggle, competition, and victory that are so commonly attributed to this sign. While the struggle for Capricorn is often described as one of getting ahead,” looking at the tale we see something different: the struggle is against a foe that would bring death and destruction to the entire natural world; the struggle is against a chaotic disorder. Capricorn is willing to engage in struggle and competition, with Saturn/Chronos as their ruling planet they have no expectations that things are going to be easy but that they have to work for whatever it is that they want. The loss and then return of Zeus’ leg ligaments is interesting because Capricorn has long been associated with the legs and specifically knees of the physical body with the mythic understanding that they utilize this part of the body to climb up their proverbial mountain.

Goats stand their ground, they do not go with the herd nearly as easily as say, sheep, they are notorious for being stubborn, and they are decidedly masculine in mythic representation. Goats are also one of the first animals that humans domesticated and yet they will revert back to a feral state more easily and quickly than any other modern domesticated animal this may be where the wild attributes that are given to goats and the goat-god Pan come from.

Fish, on the other hand, are mysterious, dwelling in a world apart from our own, they are most often aligned with the feminine, and stories from ancient India to Wales give fishes a starring role when it comes to acquiring wisdom. The goatfish combination we see with Capricorn gives tell to the signs ability to win victories in unexpected and unpredictable ways, to transcend by bringing the most unlikely parts of themselves together in unison. The goatfish is Capricorn as the wise visionary who sees far beyond and ahead what is usually expected; it is the brilliant strategist who knows not just how to win but why winning matters.

Finally, Capricorn is the sign of the craftsman, it is the sign to call on wherever and whenever there is a need for mastery. Where is this depicted in the story? Think back to the way that Pan captured Typhon in the first place. He did so by applying his craft (music) in a most excellent way. Pan’s playing was so beautiful and entrancing that it stopped a force of chaos, disorder, and destruction right in its tracks. This gives us a final clue about the mystery of Capricorn: while struggle and competition are part of the story, the ultimate win comes from doing one’s work and calling upon one’s talent to create beauty and mastery that, in turn, lead to success.

Call on Capricorn When:

  • You want more mature, wise, insight into a situation.
  • You are working with the theme of legacy: what you will do now that outlasts you once you have died.
  • You need to focus on your career or professional path, including finding the right job and excelling in your profession.
  • You are looking to gain mastery in a specific area.
  • You need to develop a solid strategy for dealing with a difficult situation/person.
  • You are entering into any kind of competition – from sports to business to affairs of the heart.
  • You want to win.
  • You need to be 10-20 steps ahead of your competitors for a given project.
  • You are ready to get real and deal with reality.
  • You need to be able to keep going and endure through a difficult time.
  • You want a more solid structure and organization.
  • You are ready to ascend to the heights of the mountain and dive into the depths of the sea.

Be Wary Of:

  • Bossiness – From one cardinal sign to another let’s just put it out there Capricorn can be bossy and dominating AND intimidating.
  • Being a hammer When all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. The Capricorn version of this is that everything can start to look like a struggle, everything can start to look harder and difficult even when it’s really not.
  • Being too competitive When Capricorn’s competitive nature gets in the way of the ability to collaborate; when MY win becomes more important than OUR win, then it is time to reassess.
  • Being under pressure Saturn-ruled Capricorn brings intensity to any situation but most especially to themselves, often putting themselves under immense pressure and usually more than is needed.
  • Work-a-holism Work is a way of life for Capricorn and a Cappy who has work they love is happy; but it is very easy for this sign to work, work, and work some more and forget to have fun and play.

Questions to Ponder for Capricorn:

  • What ancient wisdom do I have immediate and natural access to?
  • What am I competing for?
  • What signifies victory to me?
  • Where in my life am I most seeking excellence and mastery?
  • What would happen if I struggled less?
  • What domesticated part of me would like to be wild once more?
  • What wild part of me needs a bit more domestication?
  • What am I willing to make time for?
  • What legacy am I creating?

Active Imagination Journey:

Cultivate Calmness.

Ground, Center, and Anchor in the ways that feel good and right to you.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that you are standing at the base of a great mountain. 
Affirm and acknowledge that you have come to this place at this time to learn a new teaching about your life, one that is gifted to you from the stars, you have come to encounter the Sea Goat.
Acknowledge that it does not matter where Capricorn occurs in your chart or whether you were born under this Sun sign or not we all have this constellation present in some portion of our natal chart.
As you are ready, look straight up at the great peak before you.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that a path of ascent has been illuminated for you and at the pinnacle of the peak is a dim but intense glow. This glow comes from the small but mighty constellation of Capricorn, which waits for you at the top of the peak. If you are ready to learn what it has to teach then begin your ascent. Climb up.
Climb up. Climb up. Climb up.
You are ascending higher now and the air grows cooler and thinner and so you continue to climb.
Climb up. Climb up. Climb up.
At this point, your legs and arms begin to tremble with effort and your knees are sore. And still, the glow is brighter now and the peak is within your grasp so you continue your ascent.
Climb up. Climb up. Climb up.
Up, higher and higher until you reach the peak of the mountain.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that you are now standing directly underneath the starry constellation and it covers the mountain top in soft light. Standing up here, acknowledge that the wind is cold but your vision is sharper and you can see the lay of the land.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that the lay of the land you look upon has a special message to give you regarding your legacy, the work you have created and are creating that will last once you have gone.

Witness what there is, listen and feel into what there could yet be.
As you are ready, turn around so that you are looking over the opposite side of the peak. See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel soft steam rising up from its crevices. Approach the steam and as you do affirm and acknowledge that you have actually found a hidden hot spring, one that would feel so good and soothing to your sore and tired muscles.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that there is a figure within the spring, one that at first appears to be a goat but, that, right underneath the bubbling waters has the opalescent fins of a fish. This guardian of Capricorn holds out a cornucopia to you filled with the sweetest fruits and savories.
Affirm and acknowledge that these gifts are here for you, partake in them and as you do so ask what they tell you of your legacy.
Give yourself time to truly listen and enjoy.
When you are ready to depart allow yourself a few final moments to say goodbye and to agree to any promises, oaths, or exchanges that you can in good faith make.
Breathe in a blessing on your body and as you exhale bring your awareness back to the room that you are in. Feel the weight of the air upon your skin and allow yourself to stretch and move in ways that feel good and nourishing to you.
As a final act, note what the teaching from Capricorn was to and for you.
Now, choose three PRACTICAL actions to bring that teaching fully into your life here and now.

Altar and Ritual:

In this series, Animalia Stellarium, the active imagination journey/meditation, and the altar/ritual work are not usually dependent on each other; that is, you could do one, or the other, or both, and in any order. For Capricorn, however, I advise that you do the above active imagination journey before beginning this altar and ritual work.

{You will need: 3 pieces of paper, a pen, a white candle, a small bowl of water, a small bowl of earth/dirt; optional oils and herbs}

Visit with the Sea Goat first (see above).

Note what teachings Capricorn has for you.

Choose three practical actions to bring that teaching fully into your life here and now.

Immediately following this meditation, go bathe yourself. It can be a stand-up shower or a sit-down bath; whatever you prefer. You don’t need any special washes or ingredients. Just bathe yourself as you normally would.

As the steam fills the room and you feel the water on your skin, close your eyes and remember your visit with the Sea Goat. Imagine that you are in the same beautiful hot spring, bathing in its splendor. Reflect on all that you learned there. When you are done, dry off like you normally would and put on clean clothing.

Next, get three pieces of paper, whatever kind feels right to you. On each paper write down one of the practical actions you arrived at from the active imagination journey. Fold up each paper until you can’t hold it anymore. If you use anointing oils or powders, now would be the time to dab each paper with the appropriate mixture. You can also fold herbs that support your goal into the center of each paper, creating a packet.

At your altar or sacred space, place a bowl of water, a bowl of earth/dirt, and a white candle. Arrange them however you see fit. Light the white candle and place the three folded papers around it. Close your eyes and remember your visit with Sea Goat. Honor its presence in your life and focus on achieving the three practical actions. Ask Sea Goat to help you see the way.

Take as long as you need. You can sit with the candle or you can leave when you feel ready, but let the candle burn completely. If you leave the candle alone, please observe the common sense of fire safety. After the candle has burned down, collect the papers, the bowls of earth and water, and any remnants of the candle. Wrap them in a cloth, put them in a box, but keep them all together.

As soon as you are able to after doing this altar work, bring the items from your altar and go to a place where the water meets the land. It should also be a body of water that is safe to step into. The ocean, a lake, a river, a creek, or a small stream.

Holding the items from your altar, sit on the edge or wade in a bit as you feel comfortable, not going deeper than your thighs. If it is absolutely impossible for you to get to a clean, natural body of water, go to a pool or fill your bathtub and sit on the edge with just your feet/legs in the water.

Make sure that you are comfortable. Make sure you feel stable standing in the water or sitting at its edge.

Feel your feet in the water and think about the ancient wisdom accessible to you through these currents. Think about where this water came from and where it may go next, creating life all along the way. (Even the water from a pool or bathtub has come from someplace and will flow to another.)

Feel your torso in the air or your rear end sitting on the surface, grounded by the land. Feel your connection to the sky, the mountains, and all that exists above the water.

Allow the soft and gentle movements of the water to ripple through your body. Allow the vibrations of the water to transform as they pass through your core and move up and out of your arms, hands, and head onto the land.

Focus on your three practical actions and allow the currents of water and land to become one within your spirit. When you feel ready, release the items from your altar into the water* – pour out the bowls of water and earth, let the papers float away, watch the candle remnants drift toward the bottom.

*if you have completed this water/land ritual at the edge of a pool or bathtub, take the items from your altar outside and bury them in the ground, just as you would let them go in the water.

Offer your deepest gratitude to the Spirit of the Sea Goat and head home feeling invigorated and inspired. Over the next several days or weeks, note your progress on the practical actions you set forth in this ritual.

About My Co-Author:

Sara Magnuson is a crafter of spiritual supplies, a reader of cards, a diviner of animals, and the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, and ancestral. The guidance she provides is based on the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

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