Planning by Starlight ~ Part Three

Divination and Dreams

I

am so excited to give y’all the third and final lesson in this Planning by Starlight series.

So, this next lesson is my personal favorite because it deals with what I think of as the number one missing piece when it comes to not just planning with astrology but working with astrology in general. And that, my friends, is magic.

Here you are. If you followed along with the first two lessons you actually have quite a bit of information. You might be planning according to your sun sign or working with the phases of the moon. You have probably started to map out the transits of the major planets and noted when in the course of 2019 those pesky Mercury Retrogrades are going to occur.

For more advanced students, you might be looking at how some of the major transits will affect your life by noting what area of your charts they show up in and what aspects they form with other important planets and celestial bodies. Whether you have started out very simple or you are getting into the nitty-gritty of planning by starlight, your planners are looking pretty spiffy and you should have a much better sense of the general shape of the year to come.

Now, if you have been paying attention, it is right at this point that a question naturally comes up. You have some solid-Astro information plotted into your planner, yes, but what does one DO with the information? As I said in lesson two – there are more ways to work with this data than just paying attention to it – although truly that is a great place to start.

The first step to working effectively with Astro-planning is to think about practical actions. I have given examples of these throughout the lessons so far – don’t launch something when Jupiter is retrograde, don’t have a big conversation with your significant other when Mercury is retrograde if you want to focus on healing in the year to come work with Neptune, etc, etc. For each astrological observance you have mapped out in your planner you should ask yourself: what practical actions on my part can support this event so that it is a blessing in my life? 

Do note: that does not mean that every Astro event is going to be an obvious blessing. If Saturn is going to be prominently placed in your chart over the next year then you go into the year knowing that it is going to feel like a slog sometimes and expecting to get a little existential. You can also know that practical actions focused on reducing debt, exercising, tying off loose ends and generally being super responsible will be deeply supported by Saturn while going on a Jupiter/Venus/Neptune inspired art binging and shopping spree (and sure, throw in a wild love affair while you are at it) is NOT going to work well for you, no matter how fun it sounds.

There has been a debate in astrology forever about free will vs. fate with some ancient astrologers saying that the stars are the stars and whatever they indicate is simply fated to occur while others have always disagreed and claimed that it is our relationship with the stars that is the determining factor. As a sacred artist, I fall firmly into the second camp, I believe our relationship to the stars is essential to both our understanding of them and our ability to work with them and not against them. After assessing what practical actions you can take, you may find that there are certain events that really seem to stand out for you. Maybe there will be a moment in the coming year when Jupiter is conjunct your natal Sun, perhaps Pluto is transiting the area of your chart the deals with money and cash flow (the 2nd house) and it has you a bit on edge, maybe you see that Uranus is changing signs from Aries to Taurus and the last time that happened we experienced both WWII and the Great Depression and so you are wondering…how exactly does one have a right relationship with that? This is where magic comes in.

Magic is the Ace in the hole for astrologers who do not buy into the fixed fate idea of the stars. More than that, as two Sacred Arts, magic and astrology have always been deeply related. Magicians, Priestesses, Sorcerers, and Witches all have worked with astrology to give them a sense of timing and to increase their chances of accomplishing whatever it is they have set out to accomplish with their magical work.

Some magical materials and talismans are traditionally made taking detailed astrological information into account – and for that reason can only be made at certain times or during certain years. In today’s world, more people are familiar with astrology than they are with magic and so we see more and more people moving to magic as a way to deepen their understanding and relationship with the stars.

If there is an astrological event that is coming up over the horizon for you and you want to get the most out of it then I guarantee you the best way to do that is to marry smart practical actions with simple magic. And, very much like planning with astrology, you do not need to know much about magic in order to start working with this process. In fact, here are three ways you can start immediately:

Elemental, my dear Watson ~ One of the ways that we know that magic and astrology are related sacred arts is because they share a common language and that is the language of the 5 classical elements. (For our purposes I am focusing on “Western” astrology – although much of it originated and was developed in the Middle East, and “Western” magic – although much of it has originated and developed all over the globe. To that end, I am referring to the classical “Western” elemental system, popularized by the ancient Greeks, but worked extensively in ancient Egypt and ancient Persia). These elements are Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit (also known in some traditions as Ether). Every planet, zodiac sign, and the house of the chart has an element associated with it. And in an individual’s chart, there is often one or two elements that make strong appearances as well as one or two that do not appear much or at all.

This elemental information is useful to notice when it comes to all kinds of things – from balancing your health to balancing your checkbook, but it is also very useful to know when it comes to making magic because many forms of magic also work extensively with the elements. Your initial approach to this can be so simple that it might not even feel like magic (and typically that is a sign that you are actually on the right track).

So, for instance, let’s say that my writing about Mercury has piqued your interest and you want to develop a deeper relationship with that particular planet. Mercury is associated with the element of Air so you might write a petition and then hang it from a tree so that the wind is able to blow through it, activating it. Or you might burn incense to Mercury on his special day of the week (Wednesday). If you want to take it deeper you might find out (or work with a professional astrologer to determine) when Mercury transits over the hot spots of your chart and set aside those days to do a little deeper work with the speedy messenger planet.

Perhaps you are really focused on physical healing in the coming year and have decided to work with Neptune. Let’s take it a step further and say that you have learned that Neptune is going to be conjunct (sitting right next to) your natal moon in Pisces. The element that both Neptune and Pisces are attuned to is water. So one beautiful way to work with this magically would be to take some drinking water, place it in a clear crystal or glass container, set it out under the Full Moon in Pisces (which occurs once a year at the end of August or in September) and allow the water to soak up the moonbeams and the vibe from Neptune. The next morning bring the water inside, say a blessing over yourself for healing, and drink the water down.

The singular best way to begin exploring the connection between astrology and elemental magic is to look at your own chart and discover which element is most strongly represented there. Begin to develop a relationship with that element. Here are some questions to help you do that:
What have my experiences of this element been like in my life?

What colors, scents, sounds, places, and stories do I associate with this element?

How do I feel when I am around this element?

How do I feel when I am away from it for a long period of time?

Sunrise, Sunset ~ Another, very old, way of working with astrology and magic is by working with the sunrise and sunset. This is probably one of the first ways our ancestors combined the sacred arts of magic and astrology because it is a daily occurrence and quite visible to the naked eye.

Work with the rising sun all the way up until the point that the sun reaches its zenith in the sky as a time of drawing towards you whatever it is that you have need of. You might ask for general blessings, for increased knowledge of astrology, or for something more specific. Notice how your requests change throughout the year and notice if there are times when you feel especially resonant with the sun’s presence and other times when you do not.

In the same way, work with the setting sun to remove things from your life you no longer need. Again, the requests may be general or specific. And again, you will want to notice when you feel especially attuned to the sun as well as when you might not.

Again, this magical work can look very simple. Standing in the direction of East (to work with the rising sun) or West (to work with the setting sun) and stating your need or desire out loud is one great way to get started. Take it farther by building an altar in the east or the west and doing you any attraction work or banishing work in those places respectively. Light a candle as the sun is rising in honor of its fiery strength, or focus on a melting candle as the sun sets with the expectation that whatever you are releasing or repelling will also melt away.

Moon Magic ~ Working magically with the moon is one of the oldest kinds of magic work. When we stand in the moonlight and listen to the night sounds we all feel our inner magic-maker begins to stir! Like the Sun, the Moon has phases that are an idea for drawing and attracting whatever it is that you need and/or starting new endeavors, as well as phases for completing any outstanding work and tying off loose ends and also phases for celebrating what has been accomplished thus far.

The first thing to do if you want to magically work with the moon is to get a sense of the different phases. At the very least pay attention to the days when the Moon is full and then again when the Moon is new. Here is an article on making magic with the full moon and here is one for the new moon. The phase of the moon just before the New Moon often called the Dark Moon is also a potent time, especially for self-care. Each half phase of the moon (known as quarters) is also special: the waning quarter moon is an ideal time for banishing magic and the waxing quarter moon is a great time for divination and/or sharpening your divination skills.

As you begin to explore the wild and wonderful world of lunar magic you will also realize that there are actually six months of magic in every full moon.

Again, I know I have given you all a ton of info but I really want you to have some basic tools that allow you to move from just passively noting the significant Astro dates to actively working with the stars, planets, and the magic that speaks to them to create not only an organized year for yourself but a year that flows and is full of a road that is open and a way that is clear!
May it be so!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Planning by Starlight ~ Part Two

Divination and Dreams

W

elcome to the second lesson in the Planning by Starlight series! This lesson speaks to the reason why so many people love the idea of planning with astrology and get you started on that path with minimal fuss. So, just a reminder. If you missed lesson one you can access it right here and feel free to leave a comment/question if you have one.

We ended the first lesson with a question about how to work with astrology to plan around major celestial events, especially for those of us who are not super well-versed in Astro-speak and/or who are intimidated by all of the Astro terms. This is one of the biggest reasons why people start to pay attention to astrology in the first place. Maybe you experienced a particularly rough Mercury Retrograde period and then found out about this whole thing called Mercury Retrograde. Maybe you saw your life fall apart and then dramatically re-arrange itself only to find out years later that those events all occurred around the time of your Saturn Return – and then you decided to find out just what the heck a Saturn Return even is!

In today’s teaching, I am going to walk you through how to find out about and then plan for the major celestial events you want to keep an eye on whenever you are planning out the course of your week, your month, or your year.

Outer Planet Awesome ~ When it comes to looking at big celestial patterns that have the ability to deeply support or dramatically disrupt our lives, the first rule of thumb is to look at the outer planets. These planets include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. (In classical astrology you will not see Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto mentioned as they were discovered later).

The outer planets represent big patterns and themes that we all want to be aware of as we make our plans. They move much more slowly than the inner planets do, so this gives us more time to get to know the outer planets, and also means that when they do something special – like move from one zodiac sign to another or go into retrograde – the effects are felt not just by us in our personal lives, but quite often in a more universal and global manner. The movements of all of the planets are called transits and usually when we speak of transits in astrology we speak of them like this: “For most of 2018 Jupiter is transiting the sign of Scorpio”. That means that for most of this year Jupiter has been moving through the constellation of Scorpio.

Understanding what is happening with the transits of the outer planets in a given year will help you make any big plans and also set you up to get the most of the coming year. We can also work with the transits of the inner planets but they tend to move much faster than the outer planets so there is a lot more data involved in those assessments.

Because the outer planets move so slowly they are pretty easy to map out:

Jupiter in Capricorn
For most of 2020 Jupiter is in Capricorn. Traditional astrology regards Jupiter as “fallen” in the sign of Capricorn because Saturn-ruled Capricorn tends to emphasize constriction while Jupiter values expansion above all else. However, there is much common ground to be found between Jupiter and the sign of Capricorn and this ground will be emphasized by the fact that Jupiter will be conjunct with Saturn through much of its tour through Capricorn. This is a time when hard work, restriction, and thriftiness will be well rewarded as will the dedication to any specific skill or craft.

 

Jupiter in Aquarius
Jupiter’s tour through Aquarius will begin with a bang when Jupiter and Saturn conjunct one another. Jupiter in the sign of the Water-bearer will support those who have messages that they wish to broadcast into the world gain greater clarity on how to do that. It will be a time when change is well-aspected and given a cosmic blessing and when significant decisions that will have long-term effects on the future come into being.

 

Saturn in Capricorn
For most of 2020, Saturn will be in its favored sign of Capricorn but it will move briefly into Aquarius from March – June giving us a taste of what is to come at the end of the year when it stations properly into Aquarius. The opportunity now is to look at the areas where mastery, duty, obligation, and responsibility play out in your life. Use these final months while Saturn is in its elevated position to set good routines and amp up the discipline in any areas where that is needed.

 

Saturn in Aquarius
Although in modern astrology Uranus is listed as the ruling planet for Aquarius, in classical Astrology it was Saturn, not Uranus (which had not yet been discovered) that ruled over this sign. This combination gives rebels a cause and can infuse needed discipline and responsibility into ideals that have been seen (up until this point) as too “out there” or “fringe.” It ushers in a new era of technological developments, some of which may have hard effects on the current economy and job market as we know it. It can also call in more oversight and legal obligations for big tech companies. For you personally this alignment is a time to take the discipline of Saturn and harness it to the future-facing energy that is present within Aquarius.

 

Neptune in Pisces
Neptune continues moving through the sign of Pisces, giving us plenty of deep ocean to swim around in and go diving for treasure. Neptune in Pisces both supports our ability to dive deeply into our intuitive selves and also to heal not only on a personal level but on a global level. It also stirs up the waters so that problems and issues that need to be seen are able to float to the surface. On the flip side, as Neptune swims through its favorite sign we can all engage in more fantasy and problematic escapism – this is a time when it is especially easy to run up those credit card bills and engage in creative storytelling that allows us to escape accountability. This is especially true during the Neptune – Jupiter squares. How to do Neptune in Pisces well? Don’t lie, trick or deceive – yourself or others, note your addictive tendencies, and focus on healing.

Uranus in Taurus
On March 7th of 2019, Uranus moved into Taurus. This marks a seven-year cycle that is going to shake up our most solid institutions and assumptions in both the personal and global spheres. To give you an idea of what Uranus in Taurus can look like, the last time it occurred was between the years of 1935-1942 – that was the Great Depression and beginning of WWII. While this transit may not be easy, it will absolutely re-orient some of the fundamental assumptions we make and the basic ways we engage with life. Expect to see tech on all fronts including AI and Robotics gain ground and importance in both global economies and everyday life.

Pluto in Capricorn
Capricorn works hard and Pluto goes deep so this pairing cannot help but leave an impact wherever it happens in your chart. Capricorn is often thought of as the career sector of the chart but I think of it more as craftsmanship. The difference is that for many of us career is a notion tied distinctly to our jobs, while craftsmanship is a virtue that we can apply to many areas of our lives. Pluto relentlessly tears down whatever is not working and Capricorn has the good sense to continue moving forward and refining all needed skill sets.

Now, for some of you, this is awesome information and for others, you might also be feeling overwhelmed because none of this is helpful if you do not know what qualities and areas of life each planet speaks to. Many astrologers speak about the energy of a given planet and if you like thinking about it that way you certainly can – planets do give off energy, they give off sounds, and in some cases, they give off smells! Personally, I think of the planets as Holy Helpers – they are celestial bodies that resonate with specific areas of life that people are interested in shaping or influencing in some manner. Painting in BIG brushstrokes here are some of the key ideas for each of the outer planets:

Jupiter – money, wealth, wisdom, teaching, traveling
Saturn – debt, banishing, mastery, discipline, asceticism, protection
Neptune – healing, dreams, intuition, magic, love, redemption
Uranus – connection, community, rebellion, technology, progress
Pluto – destruction, power, depth, secrets, re-birth, trauma, sovereignty

Here is how I suggest you work with this information: first, make a note in your calendars of where each of these planets is. Also, check to see if there are retrogrades for each of the outer planets and if there are when those occur (we will talk about retrogrades in a sec). If one of the outer planet changes signs, as Jupiter and Saturn do in December then make a note of those moments in your calendars as well.

Once you have plotted that basic information you have some choices. If you are brand new to this method of planning pick ONE of the outer planets – maybe you want to increase your money this year so you pick Jupiter or maybe you are really focused on healing a chronic health issue so you pick Neptune. Learn about the planet. Learn about the God that the planet is named for and resonant to. Find out what prayers were said and what offerings were made traditionally by the people who worked with this energy. Get an image of the planet and put it in a place where you will be sure to see it on a daily basis. Write out the glyph of the planet on paper, in incense smoke, on your skin with oil or lotion. Learn what YOU associate with this particular planet – take the year really getting to know it.

If you want to take this a step farther, find out where the planet is showing up in your natal chart. Jupiter is moving through Capricorn for everyone but one person might have Capricorn ruling their 5th house while another may have it ruling their 8th houses. Those different positions can make a big difference in how that Jupiter in Capricorn energy shows up in your life.

If you want to go even a step further then look at how the planet you have picked is relating to other areas of your chart. Because the planet is moving through a sign it will begin to form different aspects with other parts of your chart throughout the year. If you are an intermediate or advanced student of astrology then plan with an eye to this. Obviously, when Jupiter is squaring your sun you don’t want to try to launch anything or raise money and conversely if it is conjunct your natal Neptune you have a really good opportunity to heal something either physically or spiritually.

As you begin to work with this method of planning you will notice that some outer planets really speak to you while others do not. There are a bunch of reasons for this. Your sun sign has a natural planetary ruler, depending on your chart you may have a planet in a very powerful position (for instance, in my chart Pluto is right on top of my Sun so I have a strong relationship to Pluto). You do not need to know anything about your chart or planetary ruler though to find out which planets really speak to you – all you need to do is pay attention to the moments when planets shift signs and when they go retrograde – those two instances will tell you if you really feel the presence of a planet or not, especially in the case of the outer planets.

Again, to use myself as an example, whenever Pluto goes retrograde I can feel it in my physical body. One year when it happened I got food poisoning and spent the day worshiping at the porcelain throne. In between bouts of vomiting I had to marvel at how precisely affected I was by the planet’s movement, a planet that in astrological medicine is associated with the intestines and waste elimination processes of the body. I came out of that experience with a clear realization that I was overworked and the next day I hired a VA.

So, note when the planets are going retrograde (where they appear to go backward in the sky even though they really are not), and then when those events happen, ask yourself – how do I feel, what have I experienced and what have I realized during this time?

Mercury Moves ~ You can work with the inner planets just as you do with the outer planets but because the inner planets move much faster, it can be a bit overwhelming to plot their course throughout the year. Instead, I recommend you focus on one planet – the fastest moving of them all, good old Mercury. Specifically, you will want to note that what the Mercury Retrograde periods are for 2019. Here they are:

February 16th – March 9, 2020: Retrograde starts at 6:54 PM in Pisces, moves into Aquarius on March 3rd and stations direct on July 9th at 10:49 PM.

June 17, 2020 – July 12, 2020: Retrograde starts at 11:59 PM in Cancer and then stations direct on July 12th at 3:26 AM

October 13, 2020 – November 3, 2020: Retrograde starts at 8:05 PM in Scorpio, moves into Libra on October 27th and ends on the 3rd at 11:50 AM.

Mark these dates in your calendar and then go bookmark this post that tells you what to DO before Mercury goes retrograde.

Mercury is one of the most powerful planets to work with on a daily basis. This Holy Helper rules communication, technology in the day to day, connection, networking, presentations, speech, thought, publishing, friendships, and commerce. In the body, Mercury resonates with our breath, ability to extend, nervous system, and mind. Most people only work with Mercury during its retrograde period, but I fee that of all the inner planets, this is the one that we should really be paying attention to during the whole year. You don’t need to map out all of the Mercury’s movements through the year – but advanced students can notice when Mercury moves over important spots in their charts and beginning students can pay attention to what they encounter during retrograde periods as well as what times of the year they feel especially articulate and clear-headed.

Return to Me ~ A third way to work with planetary transits is to focus on returns. You experience a planetary return when the planet in question returns to the exact point it was at during the time you were born. Because planetary motion is regular, returns are also regular. The best-known return is your solar return – also known as your birthday! Everyone experiences a Jupiter return every 12 years. Mercury returns to its original place in your birth chart every year, and most of us experience a Venus return every one to two years. Saturn returns occur every 28 years. Uranus returns to the exact spot it was in at the time of your birth every 84 years.

Planetary returns respond well to reflection. If you have marked out in your calendars what returns you might experience in a given year then you are more likely to take even a couple of hours and reflect on what you have learned since the last time the planet was in that placement.

OK, so I know this post was information-heavy! As always you can leave a comment on the Canto page and if you have questions let me know and I will answer them. As you start playing with these different possibilities you will probably start to notice a pattern (actually, you will start to notice A LOT of patterns) but you may notice that sometimes there are astrologically sticky moments or that there are big Astro opportunities and now that you have marked them in your calendar you don’t really know what to do with them. I mean sure, you can “be aware” of them – but is there more to it than that? Indeed there is, and that will be what we cover in our third lesson!

Planning by Starlight Part Three

I am so excited to give y’all the third and final lesson in this Planning by Starlight series. Thanks so much to each and every one of you for your participation, great questions, and comments – LOVE Y’ALL!

So, this next lesson is my personal favorite because it deals with what I think of as the number one missing piece when it comes to not just planning with astrology but working with astrology in general. And that, my friends, is magic.

So, here you are. If you followed along with the first two lessons you actually have quite a bit of information. You might be planning according to your sun sign or working with the phases of the moon. You have probably started to map out the transits of the major planets and noted when in the course of 2019 those pesky Mercury Retrogrades are going to occur.

For more advanced students, you might be looking at how some of the major transits will affect your life by noting what area of your charts they show up in and what aspects they form with other important planets and celestial bodies. Whether you have started out very simple or you are getting into the nitty-gritty of planning by starlight, your planners are looking pretty spiffy and you should have a much better sense of the general shape of the year to come.

Now, if you have been paying attention, it is right at this point that a question naturally comes up. You have some solid-Astro information plotted into your planner, yes, but what does one DO with the information? As I said in lesson two – there are more ways to work with this data than just paying attention to it – although truly that is a great place to start.

The first step to working effectively with Astro-planning is to think about practical actions. I have given examples of these throughout the lessons so far – don’t launch something when Jupiter is retrograde, don’t have a big conversation with your significant other when Mercury is retrograde if you want to focus on healing in the year to come work with Neptune, etc, etc. For each astrological observance you have mapped out in your planner you should ask yourself: what practical actions on my part can support this event so that it is a blessing in my life? 

Do note: that does not mean that every Astro event is going to be an obvious blessing. If Saturn is going to be prominently placed in your chart over the next year then you go into the year knowing that it is going to feel like a slog sometimes and expecting to get a little existential. You can also know that practical actions focused on reducing debt, exercising, tying off loose ends and generally being super responsible will be deeply supported by Saturn while going on a Jupiter/Venus/Neptune inspired art binging and shopping spree (and sure, throw in a wild love affair while you are at it) is NOT going to work well for you, no matter how fun it sounds.

There has been a debate in astrology forever about free will vs. fate with some ancient astrologers saying that the stars are the stars and whatever they indicate is simply fated to occur while others have always disagreed and claimed that it is our relationship with the stars that is the determining factor. As a sacred artist, I fall firmly into the second camp, I believe our relationship to the stars is essential to both our understanding of them and our ability to work with them and not against them. After assessing what practical actions you can take, you may find that there are certain events that really seem to stand out for you. Maybe there will be a moment in the coming year when Jupiter is conjunct your natal Sun, perhaps Pluto is transiting the area of your chart the deals with money and cash flow (the 2nd house) and it has you a bit on edge, maybe you see that Uranus is changing signs from Aries to Taurus and the last time that happened we experienced both WWII and the Great Depression and so you are wondering…how exactly does one have a right relationship with that? This is where magic comes in.

Magic is the Ace in the hole for astrologers who do not buy into the fixed fate idea of the stars. More than that, as two Sacred Arts, magic and astrology have always been deeply related. Magicians, Priestesses, Sorcerers, and Witches all have worked with astrology to give them a sense of timing and to increase their chances of accomplishing whatever it is they have set out to accomplish with their magical work.

Some magical materials and talismans are traditionally made taking detailed astrological information into account – and for that reason can only be made at certain times or during certain years. In today’s world, more people are familiar with astrology than they are with magic and so we see more and more people moving to magic as a way to deepen their understanding and relationship with the stars.

If there is an astrological event that is coming up over the horizon for you and you want to get the most out of it then I guarantee you the best way to do that is to marry smart practical actions with simple magic. And, very much like planning with astrology, you do not need to know much about magic in order to start working with this process. In fact, here are three ways you can start immediately:

Elemental my dear Watson ~ One of the ways that we know that magic and astrology are related sacred arts is because they share a common language and that is the language of the 5 classical elements. (For our purposes I am focusing on “Western” astrology – although much of it originated and was developed in the Middle East, and “Western” magic – although much of it has originated and developed all over the globe. To that end, I am referring to the classical “Western” elemental system, popularized by the ancient Greeks, but worked extensively in ancient Egypt and ancient Persia). These elements are Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit (also known in some traditions as Ether). Every planet, zodiac sign, and the house of the chart has an element associated with it. And in an individual’s chart, there is often one or two elements that make strong appearances as well as one or two that do not appear much or at all.

This elemental information is useful to notice when it comes to all kinds of things – from balancing your health to balancing your checkbook, but it is also very useful to know when it comes to making magic because many forms of magic also work extensively with the elements. Your initial approach to this can be so simple that it might not even feel like magic (and typically that is a sign that you are actually on the right track).

So, for instance, let’s say that my writing about Mercury has piqued your interest and you want to develop a deeper relationship with that particular planet. Mercury is associated with the element of Air so you might write a petition and then hang it from a tree so that the wind is able to blow through it, activating it. Or you might burn incense to Mercury on his special day of the week (Wednesday). If you want to take it deeper you might find out (or work with a professional astrologer to determine) when Mercury transits over the hot spots of your chart and set aside those days to do a little deeper work with the speedy messenger planet.

Perhaps you are really focused on physical healing in the coming year and have decided to work with Neptune. Let’s take it a step further and say that you have learned that Neptune is going to be conjunct (sitting right next to) your natal moon in Pisces. The element that both Neptune and Pisces are attuned to is water. So one beautiful way to work with this magically would be to take some drinking water, place it in a clear crystal or glass container, set it out under the Full Moon in Pisces (which occurs once a year at the end of August or in September) and allow the water to soak up the moonbeams and the vibe from Neptune. The next morning bring the water inside, say a blessing over yourself for healing, and drink the water down.

The singular best way to begin exploring the connection between astrology and elemental magic is to look at your own chart and discover which element is most strongly represented there. Begin to develop a relationship with that element. Here are some questions to help you do that:
What have my experiences of this element been like in my life?

What colors, scents, sounds, places, and stories do I associate with this element?

How do I feel when I am around this element?

How do I feel when I am away from it for a long period of time?

Sunrise, Sunset ~ Another, very old, way of working with astrology and magic is by working with the sunrise and sunset. This is probably one of the first ways our ancestors combined the sacred arts of magic and astrology because it is a daily occurrence and quite visible to the naked eye.

Work with the rising sun all the way up until the point that the sun reaches its zenith in the sky as a time of drawing towards you whatever it is that you have need of. You might ask for general blessings, for increased knowledge of astrology, or for something more specific. Notice how your requests change throughout the year and notice if there are times when you feel especially resonant with the sun’s presence and other times when you do not.

In the same way, work with the setting sun to remove things from your life you no longer need. Again, the requests may be general or specific. And again, you will want to notice when you feel especially attuned to the sun as well as when you might not.

Again, this magical work can look very simple. Standing in the direction of East (to work with the rising sun) or West (to work with the setting sun) and stating your need or desire out loud is one great way to get started. Take it farther by building an altar in the east or the west and doing you any attraction work or banishing work in those places respectively. Light a candle as the sun is rising in honor of its fiery strength, or focus on a melting candle as the sun sets with the expectation that whatever you are releasing or repelling will also melt away.

Moon Magic ~ Working magically with the moon is one of the oldest kinds of magic work. When we stand in the moonlight and listen to the night sounds we all feel our inner magic-maker begins to stir! Like the Sun, the Moon has phases that are an idea for drawing and attracting whatever it is that you need and/or starting new endeavors, as well as phases for completing any outstanding work and tying off loose ends and also phases for celebrating what has been accomplished thus far.

The first thing to do if you want to magically work with the moon is to get a sense of the different phases. At the very least pay attention to the days when the Moon is full and then again when the Moon is new. Here is an article on making magic with the full moon and here is one for the new moon. The phase of the moon just before the New Moon often called the Dark Moon is also a potent time, especially for self-care. Each half phase of the moon (known as quarters) is also special: the waning quarter moon is an ideal time for banishing magic and the waxing quarter moon is a great time for divination and/or sharpening your divination skills.

As you begin to explore the wild and wonderful world of lunar magic you will also realize that there are actually six months of magic in every full moon.

Again, I know I have given you all a ton of info but I really want you to have some basic tools that allow you to move from just passively noting the significant Astro dates to actively working with the stars, planets, and the magic that speaks to them to create not only an organized year for yourself but a year that flows and is full of a road that is open and a way that is clear!
May it be so!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Surviving Shadow Work Lesson Three: Living With Shadows

Learning and Community

A

iracles, shadow

Today marks our final lesson in this mini-teaching on Surviving Shadow Work. You can access lesson one here and lesson two here. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the kind emails you have sent, full of your own stories of survival and shadow work – it is such an honor to bear witness to each and every one of them.

So in our final lesson I want to touch on how we LIVE with our shadows. Once we have discovered them, seen them, found medicine for them and applied it…then what?

Go back to our first lesson and recall that the origin of the idea of shadow work started with Carl Jung. We don’t have to be Jungian scholars to understand that Jung’s ultimate vision of a happy, person with a healthily functioning psyche was one of integration, meaning that the healthy psyche was one where shadow and light, good and bad, desire and restraint, all have roles to play.

In some cases, usually in cases of severe trauma, recognizing the root cause of a shadow is a really significant act and the shadow itself – once properly treated – simply disappears.

But for most of us what we find is that we discover a shadow, find the needed medicine, treat it successfully, and then integrate it into our waking life in various ways.

For some of us that will look like relying on the right medicine and making sure it is available to us.

For others it is sufficient awareness of what situations might trigger your shadow and the subsequent avoiding of those situations.

Still for others there is a sense of peace and healing that goes hand in hand with renewed energy and activity.

The point that I really want to make here is that we all live with our shadows in different ways, but living with them is really what we are meant to do.

Even in cases where one shadow seems to have completely been illuminated (and thus disappeared) there will be more shadows…there always are. That is not a bad or good thing, just truth.

However, we can make choices in our daily lives that feed our shadows or don’t. And we can choose to look at our shadows when we are ready to or not. So many of those choices constellate around how much strength, endurance, and support you have in your life at the given point in time. For this reason attention to the things that nourish you here and now is of paramount importance.

In short, we live with our shadows best when we discover what truly sustains us at present.

So, for your final prompt I would like you to consider that: what truly sustains you and how can you bring more of that sustenance into your life?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Surviving Shadow Work Lesson Two: Focusing, Finding and Applying the Needed Medicines

Learning and Community

A

lright Miracles, shadow

Today we are going to work in a very particular way with the area of shadow that you identified for yourself after reading yesterday’s lesson.

As I wrote there, the biggest challenge around engaging in shadow work is getting stuck in the psychic underworld, never ascending, never returning to life here and now.

I believe this is such a challenge for the age-old reason that any journey can be perilous – distraction. For when we plumb our depths and experience the underbelly of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and beliefs we often find much more than we bargained for.
We may have started our journey with one area of shadow in mind and find ourselves months or even years later so far off course that we couldn’t tell you what we were trying to do in the first place. In some traditions, this is referred to as being fairy-led and there are many stories that deal with the theme: from the Biblical tale of Lot’s wife to the ancient myth of Orpheus, to the classical work of Dante. In all cases, the protagonists deal with the very real possibility that in their foray into the Underworld (where our shadows reside) we run the risk of getting stuck and never ascending.

Which brings us to the question of how one avoids falling into the trap of distraction and making the actual ascent back into the world here and now. The answer is simple: stay focused, find the needed medicine, and apply it immediately.

Let’s break this down into three steps with the help of a hypothetical story. This is a true story from one of my clients who gave me permission to share, the name has been changed for obvious reasons.

Amy dreams of public speaking. She has had offers to go and speak in front of crowds and lead gatherings because her work is popular and known. But Amy does not like to be in the spotlight AT ALL. Not because she is shy – she isn’t – but because she is very comfortable with people’s eyes on her. Amy came to me to have some divination on this situation and also to do some liminal work around it – she realized that some shadowy reason was at the root of her resistance to being seen and wanted more insight on it.

We worked together and this is what she found:
Amy realized that the shadow she was dealing with concerned her dad. He would come home from work every day tired and angry and looking for someone to take it out on. Since she was very tiny Amy learned to hide, in her bedroom, among her stuffed animals, to avoid his wrath.

This brings us to Step One: Stay Focused.
Amy did not need to do a lot of work to discover the deep cause of her discomfort with the spotlight. A little divination, a little liminal work, and she knew what the situation was. At this point Amy had a choice: she could continue with the shadow work by seeking to understand WHY her father was the way he was OR she could deal with the issue at hand – her discomfort with being seen. You can see how tempting it is to take it further, to get just a little more information, but you can also see how that journey takes us farther away from the goal – which was to support Amy in public speaking and being seen by people. Amy wisely chose to deal with the issue at hand. She knew what her shadow was, now what?

Step Two: Find the Needed Medicine.
Amy had mentioned that she always hid among her stuffed animals. A little more divination and a few questions later, we had determined that one stuffed animal, in particular, a lion, had really made her feel especially safe and secure. This was ONE medicine that resonated with her situation and addressed her shadow with potency. From there it was obvious what needed to happen. We were ready to move to Step Three: Apply It Immediately.

Now we did have a moment where we had to get creative because Amy’s little lion was long gone…and a grown woman probably couldn’t take a stuff lion on stage with her! But, we did discover that there are tiny stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes, many that attach to a key chain. Amy found a lion she loved, I loaded it up magically for her, and she attached it to her key chain. She takes it everywhere with her and guess what? She also does lots of public speaking now. Amy had a successful encounter with one of her shadows because she stayed focused, found the needed medicine, and applied it immediately.

You can do this as well: go back to the shadow you wrote about in the last lesson. Think and feel into it and try to recollect what medicines supported you when it was an active force in your life. There may be several such medicines but most likely, one will stand out. Then ask yourself: how can I apply for this medicine today and immediately?

In our final lesson, we are going to talk about what happens next, after the medicine has been applied.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Creating Ceremony Lesson Two: And Now You Wait…

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles, wait

We are continuing our week-long teaching on Creating Ceremony. Now we turn to Lesson Two – let’s do this!

Have you ever had the experience of creating a ceremony, casting a spell or laying down an enchantment only to discover that despite your best efforts, attention to detail, and hardcore organization the work falls flat on its face?

Maybe it doesn’t deliver the goal you were hoping for. Maybe it doesn’t result in anything at all. Or maybe it concludes in a tangled web of unintended consequences that have you hiding your head under a pillow.

No doubt you have had this experience. I talk to folks every day who go through this, and I have experienced it myself. It is super common. I call it a ceremony slip. (As if your ceremony slips on a banana peel. Oops!)

Ceremony slip is also easily avoidable because usually, this occurs for one simple reason: we aren’t willing to wait and pay attention.

Here you are. At this point, you have already learned to banish (and maybe had a good cry along the way). You are ready to get started formally on creating a ceremony for a specific need or purpose, a need or desire to change within and without.

Now, most books and teachings will tell you that the next step is to state your purpose, make your prayer, and/or write your petition. Declare your intention!

But, in my experience and in my own learnings that is NOT the next step. That is what results in dead, flat, ceremonies that don’t change a thing.

For truly effective ceremonies that don’t fall flat, the next step is actually to wait and watch.

What I’m talking about here is active waiting, not passive, twiddle-your-thumbs waiting. Through your banishing, you have opened the door and cleared the way. Now you need to take the time to see who and what presents itself to you.

You are looking and listening for communiques from the Otherworld and your Holy Helpers (that’s the name I use to describe spirit allies, guardians, and guides). By looking and listening with care, you are entering into deep communion.

This communion can show up in a huge variety of ways. Some of the experiences reported to me include:

  • Dreams
  • Seemingly random coincidences that are strangely connected
  • Finding specific talismans or omens during my daily business
  • Communications from Ancestors and my beloved Dead
  • Friends reaching out with an essential piece of information
  • Opportunities that just magically show up
  • Direct vision and communication with specific Holy Helpers
  • Employing divination to gain clarity and refinement

Listening, watching and waiting is the part of the creation process that takes the most time. It may take one day or several. The process may take two weeks before you have the information you need to move ahead. Sometimes it takes longer. Some ceremonies are weeks, months, or years in the making.

Because waiting actively is the part of ceremony making that takes the most time, waiting is also the part that people tend to skip over. Traditional societies understood that planning and creating a significant ceremony will take multiple days, weeks, or years. It is a process that cannot be rushed, controlled, or plotted out directly on the calendar.

Those creating and participating in a ceremony understand that after initial banishing work, they need to find a way to enter into communion with the what we call the Otherworld. At that point, we are out of ordinary time and in that space of time-out-of-mind that C.S. Lewis describes so beautifully.

Cinderella’s version of this is waiting for the Fairy Godmother to come. She doesn’t know what is going to happen. She doesn’t know that *anything* will happen. But she has banished, and now she waits. In many versions of the tale she grows closer to the natural world at this time, often the first step in communion with the Otherworld. She does not state her desires until after the Fairy Godmother has arrived.

This is crucial because once you have stated your goal or desire, once you have made your petition, the ceremony is in full swing. Before you have struck any matches, made any songs, or done any magic, the ceremony is hot and going because your request, your desire, your prayer has been made.

The question upon which success now turns is…was it made correctly? Did you ask for what you really want? Did you petition for what you actually need?

When we wait and commune with the Otherworld we find that we often receive critical pieces of information and insights that allow us to refine our desires, goals, and intentions, so that our ceremony really does address what we need it to address. Succeeding in this, we can avoid those awful ceremony slips, and the change we create is actually the change we want.

So go ahead and let yourself wait…Fairy Godmothers show up on their own schedule, but they do show up!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Full Moon in Libra: Open Horizons

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles,

I am often asked about power. What is it? Who has it? How can we get it? Why do we give it away? Is it even something that can be given away? Why do people take it? What does right relationship with it look and feel like? And, most poignantly of all, what if I don’t have any?

Power gets a lot of air time. More than one excellent coach or teacher talks about standing in your power, claiming your power, and naming your powers. Superpowers have migrated from the comic book stands and pages of graphic novels into self-development circles, and I even teach a year-long course that looks at how stories and sacred arts put us into touch with our native powers. Power certainly gets around.

And yet, for all of that, it is still a very confusing topic that often feels raw and tender and alien, as if power is a special substance that belongs to someone else but not really to you or to me. There seems to be an epidemic feeling of powerlessness in our personal and collective lives.

For this month’s full moon in Libra, we look at the power of open horizons. For many of us, at some point in life – or even at most points in life – the horizon does not feel open and the way does not feel clear. We each carry a lineage, a lineage heavy with feelings, thoughts and experiences that tell us that the way is closed – that is, that we cannot do it, no matter how hard we try and no matter how good we are, and that it is not going to work out in the end. Or, that even if it does work out in the end, it isn’t really going to make a difference anyway.

 These are not abstract ideas. They are stories about real people and lived experiences handed down parent to child, grandparent to grandchild, aunt to niece and nephew, cousin to cousin, brother to sister. They are the stories, many of them sad, many of them hopeless, many of them fatalistic, that form the warp and weft of our lives. They are the material and habits of mind and thinking that suck the wind out of your sails and the power right out of your blood.

And that is just the inheritance many of us receive. It does not touch upon the counterproductive – or even just plain bad – philosophies, ideas and relationships that we fall into and buy into all on our own!

Our first impulse may be to try to throw off all of these things weighing us down, to move forward without looking back. But the very curious thing we find is that the special power and meaning of open horizons unfolds within a deep relationship with its opposite.  We tend to think the opposite of an open horizon has something to do with stifling limitations.  But this is only one kind of opposite, the one that contradicts. There is another, and that is the one that complements or completes.  Usually we stop with the contradictory and don’t go on to consider the other side.  But the true complementary opposite of the open horizon is not that terribly powerless feeling of being limited, but is, rather, feeling at home in the world.

Let’s call it ‘homefulness’ for now – a full feeling of actually, for real, being at home. What is that really like? Now under some conditions the dwelling places we call by name “home” lack this feeling; but the feeling of true homefulness, of being at home, I think you will agree, is far from a painfully limiting indolence, or a trap, but is much closer to a joyful flourishing.  Think of one of those big beautiful trees you see around on occasion.

To bless the open horizons of our life, therefore, is also to bless our being truly at home in the world in some way, shape or form.

Now the real secret is that deep in the heart of our heavy lineages, the ones that stand in the way, somewhere this true sense of home resides. What is implied by the thickets of misunderstandings and bad ideas and bad actions – the ones that alienate us and others? It is, in truth, the very possibility of home, of feeling completely, utterly, wholly at home.

If you want to start at the beginning, and hone in on what creates an open horizon in the first place – if you want to discover the actual open horizon in your life – look to the feeling of being at home. Where is your true sense of being at home, of belonging?  Where do you actually locate it? If you can find that for yourself, then not very far away from this you will soon discover the freedom and potential that comes with an open horizon, the journeys yet to be traveled and those great discoveries yet to be made by you.

There is, moreover, a small magical act than can clear the road and open the way. It is a power, one that I consider native ground for every single one of us and it is this: our choice.

You get to choose. You get to choose your approach, your attitude, your priorities. You get to make a different choice if the ones you have been making are not working.

You can choose to tell the same sad stories or to tell a different set of stories, ones that work as good medicine strengthening heart, soul, mind, and body all together. If you do not have any happy stories in your family then look harder. If you still cannot find them then guess what? You can choose to create them, to write them, you can choose to live them.

Also too, you get to choose the teachings and the teachers and the learning that inform and color your own life. What ideas give you strength to stand and act with wisdom and courage and love? What teachings or teachers do not?

You get to choose what experiences you learn from and what experiences you choose to give value to and you also get to choose what experiences do not have the depth or weight to bear down upon you any longer. In short, you get to choose what you want to keep and what you would like to finally set down.

It has been said that our choices make us who we are and I find that to be true. But more than that, our choices reveal to us who we want to be, and our choices influence those around us too. If you are looking for a spiritual practice you could stop now: the choices you make every day and the way you live them is the practice that we have all signed up for.

Now to be clear: making a different choice does not mean that everything will always work out well in the end, or that you can avoid and escape the tough stuff that you are about to run headlong into. It is a power and like any real power it must be nourished, refined, and cultivated.

But that is the magic of an open horizon. The magic begins with the thrilling kiss of the unknown, and can lead to great mystery and wild adventure, or it can lead you to your true home, or to a little church in the mountains where just the right prayer can be prayed. The road is open and you get to choose how you want to travel it; how you want to show up in the world today, tomorrow, and every day after.

Divination Question for Full Moon in Libra

The power of choice and the open horizon that it creates is an especially appropriate theme for the Libra full moon since one of the great teachings of Libra with her balances and blindfolds is that our choices matte and that also, we make them every single day. So under the light of Luna in Libra, consider a situation that has been sticky and tricky for you. Then, with the divination tool you love best, try asking this question:

What would happen if I made a different choice?

Lunar love to each and every one of you!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.