Hearth and Home Vol. 6: Where We Shine

Foundations

M

iracles,

I am wishing you all a blessed and beautiful New Moon in Leo and Happy Eclipse! This New Moon marks the final leg of the Eclipse Magic rituals I have performed for a handful of gorgeous souls. I am always so honored when people ask me to create a ceremony on their behalf, especially when they themselves are seasoned sacred arts practitioners.

If you would like a New Moon blessing for Leo, you can snag one here; and if you want an eclipse blessing, I have one here. As I have written elsewhere, I see eclipses as the best time to break patterns. For me, that is also what get-aways and vacations are also really useful. For the last month and change, my family has been in our home away from home in Northern New Mexico. We have had the privilege of taking this time out (and getting away from the INSANE south-central Texas heat) for a couple of years now.

For the boys, this time away from and outside of our usual routine means that there is a lot of unscheduled outdoor playtime – something that I think is deeply endangered in the lives of far too many children. Heath had the one-month-old version of outside playtime – hanging on the porch in his bassinet and allowing all of our friends and family who visited to love on him! For my husband and myself, I see this time as a needed break from our routine – not because we want to “get away from it all” – when you love your work and love your people as we do there is nothing to get away from – but because it allows us to learn from the interruption to our usual flow. Here are some of the things I remembered this time around:

  • Traveling with a newborn baby is actually easier than you might think.
  • Carrying ritual goods on the road can be trickier than you might think.
  • Outdoor time is precious and one of the greatest privileges. The corresponding responsibility is to make sure that our children and their children and their children can also have an opportunity to be outside and active and to safeguard the various wild plant, animal, and mineral people who we commune with when we are outdoors.
  • When your best friend comes to visit you to see your new baby, even though she has been in the wilds of Canada for a month, you will be SO. HAPPY. to see her.
  • Meeting up with friends you have made online in real life is THE BEST. Especially when they are incredibly gifted and generous artists.
  • Discomfort can be a great teacher.
  • I love waking up to cool weather that requires a sweater.
  • Cooking for a big group of people is something that I actually really love to do – especially when I do it with my mom.
  • Seeing old friends, beloved teachers, and soul kin is deep medicine.
  • Patronizing independently and locally owned stores and boutiques is a good thing. This last was really driven home to me during this visit. I re-acquainted myself with a number of artisans and store owners in Northern N.M. who make beautiful things – many of which are magical. In the age of ordering everything online, I have re-committed to calling up my friends who own businesses, letting them know what I am looking for, and getting it from them.

That is a shortlist, there is so much more. Jasper, our seven-year-old, loves Northern New Mexico. He takes art galleries by storm and always engages with artists. People don’t believe he is seven. When they ask him if he is an artist, he tells them loudly and proudly that of course, he is, that his favorite medium is drawing and clay and that art is foundational to life. He is opinionated, and has priced his recent spate of drawings between 200k and 500k – so you know, no issues around art, pride, and money for this kiddo! Now he is getting ready for the beginning of school (well, we all are). I cannot believe my little boy is going to be a first grader!

Heath is growing incredibly fast as those of you who have little ones know they do. On August 13th he will be two months old and he is wearing clothes meant for a 3- 6-month-old – of course, he is. My boys are giants! He is smiling and giggling and trying his best to join the conversation (Gemini!!!). He is a snuggle bug, loves his big brother, and is so fun to watch because, as a little baby, you can see how clearly they are in between worlds and at the same time firmly planted in themselves.

While we have been tucked into the mountains, I also completed the first round of micro-edits on Making Magic. I think it is a good sign when you are down in the dirt and the details of your writing and you are still really excited about the work you have created. My beloved husband has been so essential in the writing of this book in every way, and when it comes to the fine editing process his high school English teacher mojo came to the rescue once again.

A few days ago we opened up registration for Spinning Gold. I am so excited about the course this year – we have created an amazing resource library for the students and I will be sharing goodies from the book with the Spinning Gold group that is exclusive to them. We already have had a bundle of beautiful people signed up for this year of gold spinning and I look forward to welcoming more!

I’ll leave you with this Ancient Greek quote that my husband shared with me in the wee hours of this morning:

“As long as you live, shine! Life is short. Be not overly distressed – time demands fulfillment.” – epitaph by Seiklos.

Shine on, sweet things.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Communities of Intention and Intimacy

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles,

Blessed Full Moon in Aquarius and Lunar Eclipse to you all today!

I am writing this while sitting on a porch in New Mexico while the wind blows, the fountain in front of me burbles, and the birds swoop down to catch bugs and water as they can – it is so lovely and restful both for me and the baby.

Aquarius, the sign that the Full Moon occurs today is very focused on the themes of community and congregations – how they work, how they can work, and also when and why they do not work. The eclipse gives us an opportunity to break cycles. So, when we put the two together we discover that today we have a potent opportunity to break certain cycles, habits, behaviors, and/or compulsions around communities and congregations that no longer serve us or are relevant. Given that this is the vibe in the air, I thought I would share a bit about our own community, how it has formed, where it currently lives, and how it might change as we go forward.

It was a question asked in one of the online groups that I belong to that got me thinking about this. Under discussion was the issue of intake forms. These are forms that must be filled out before certain service professionals agree to work with you. Gyms, doctor offices, mental health professionals, and tarot readers all often have some version of an intake form. Think of it as a kind of application that ensures that the individual seeking out the service and the service provider start out their relationship on the same page. I mentioned that I have used intake forms in the past but that now I do not since many of my services, especially my one on one services, are only available to my students – current and past. A dear friend inquired how this came to be and so it got me thinking about our Sacred Arts community and how it has grown over the years, as well as where I see it headed.

The fundamental question anytime you are creating or, as I prefer to think of it, cultivating, a community of brilliant folks is, what is the intention for this community? I knew early on that the community I was dedicated to is the community of soulful seekers – people who come from all walks of life who are dedicated to asking hard questions, seeking out real answers, and putting what they discover along the way into practice in their lives right here and right now. My intention for our community is to support the good, deep, and vital work of soulful seeking with the remembered ways of the Sacred Arts.
Throughout all of the years that I have been dedicated to this work and sharing it online, the common thread that has always tied our community together is this lunar letter. I have gone through phases where I sent out once a month, four a month, or two a month (current phase), but I have always made sure to touch base with everyone via this email letter at least once a month. This email list has been my community constant and the size of it testifies to that.

I have experimented with creating spaces for our community through various social media channels – and indeed the Sacred Artists group on Facebook is our virtual meeting space – as well as through in-person events. All have their positive attributes and negative drawbacks. Recently I asked a number of my students about their experiences in a virtual group and the feedback I had was unanimous: while it is nice that there is a FB page to like and follow, a big FB group for everyone interested in the Sacred Arts, a Twitter account, and their most favorite way to contact me was still one on one via email and their favorite way to hear from me was via email notes delivered right to their inboxes.

This revealed another component of the intention I hold for our community and that is that we have intimate and deep connections. I don’t think that depth or intimacy is mutually exclusive to large numbers of people, but I have found that we have to choose which one to prioritize: numbers or quality. We can have both but not in equal measure and not by equal effort. This reminder, when coupled with the privacy issues many of us have been concerned with on various social media platforms, and my personal experience of having so much more energy and insight to do the work I love when I am not constantly checking my social media feeds, revealed to me some of the changes that I am beginning to make in our community. There will be less of me on social media generally speaking and there will be more of me via these letters and the Resources list where I share my offerings (I keep this list commercial-free). The social media places I currently show up at will still be regularly updated, but my favorite way to talk to you is like this, through a long-form piece delivered to your inbox.

The containers we work with to house our communities are one part of the depth + intimacy puzzle but there is more. As I have brought more courses to the fore I have also had a community form within our greater Sacred Arts community, I have been graced with a community of dedicated lifelong learners – my students.

A couple of years ago I was feeling deeply overworked. My students had first priority always when it came to scheduling readings or ritual services with me, but members of the general public were also clamoring to work with me. My calendar was booked out months in advance and it was hard for me to take an afternoon, much less a day, off without feeling guilty. At that time I realized I had been given a gift. I had enough students to ensure steady work for myself. I could remove several of my more popular offerings from the public eye completely and make them only available to my students and been-with-me-forever clients and I would receive the double prize of not being grossly overscheduled so that I could make time to do things like writing my book, AND I would be working with people who were intimate with my approach and understanding. People who I knew would also show up and do the work required of them – because magic works when we do.

Logistically it was easy to make the switch. An email was sent out, my website was nipped and tucked, and I created a pdf menu of offerings and services only available to students and loyal clients. I still have several goodies both free and inexpensively available to the newcomers in our community and the general public because I love to meet and welcome new Soulful Seekers. After I made that transition I did feel closer to our community as a whole. A year later when I decided to start offering special student pricing and discounts on goods and services that are available to the general public another level of depth to our community was achieved – I am able to commit deeply to the people who commit deeply to me and this reciprocity is foundational to the fierce devotion I have for my people.

The point of this letter though is not to give you a blueprint to follow when it comes to cultivating your own communities (I don’t believe in blueprints unless they are the kind my dog makes after stepping in blue ink). The point is to say that in order to create an intentional community you need a clear intention and you also need to be willing to re-examine and refine (two great Mercury Retrograde activities!) that intention throughout the years. For me, and our community of Soulful Seekers I am committed to more intimacy, depth, and closeness. I want a community that may be virtual in space but is face to face in practice and feeling. Every time I send out one of these letters I receive many emails remarking on my thoughts – those are the kinds of interactions I cherish. May they continue and may the roots of our community grow ever deeper, the branches ever wider, so that all Soulful Seekers find succor and sanctuary here, as I hope each of you have!

Under this Aquarian Full Moon and Eclipse, with your divination tool of choice, consider asking the following:
What intention do I want to see in my communities and how can I open the road for it?

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Prayer for the Solar Eclipse

Lunar Letter

M

ay we shine.

And as we shine, we know that we journey, one foot in front of the other, carving out the regular cycle of our stories, the circular motion of cell and breath and life, and that during this journey there will be interruptions.

We trip and we fall as we wander our course, sure as the Sun and Moon also trip over themselves in their giddy rush to meet one another once more, falling into each other’s limned embrace.

And as we rise up with our skinned knees and elbows we might, if we are brave, we might, if we are something close to wise, say “thank you” – hearing within the interruption a call to attention and awareness, discovering grace in the fall.

Seeing too the patterns to which we have clung and agreed and perpetuated knowingly or not, and taking the moment of rising to decide if we still wish to walk in this particular way on this particular path, knowing that the choice resides within, as does the answer.

And as we choose, righting ourselves once more, traveling our path with greater purpose, we no longer fear the falling, the missing of the mark, or the wandering off the course and into the wild and star-filled woods. Rather, we welcome the moments of panic and loss, recalling the freedoms that they hold alongside our own true commitments, knowing that they bring us ever closer to the embrace of our own deepest Beloved.

And so, burnished by shadow and bruised by our falling, we shine ever brighter.

Image credit: The above image comes from the book Sun and Moon, which I first heard about from the fabulous Arts and Culture blog, Brainpickings. Sun and Moon is published by indie publisher Tara Books, dedicated to giving voice to marginalized art and literature, and featuring the work of ten Indian folk and tribal artists illustrating ancient stories about Sun and Moon.

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.

Eclipses are for Breaking Patterns

Divination and Dreams

E

very year we experience between four and six eclipses, solar and lunar. As I deepened my studies and practice of astrology I became more and more interested in how to understand and work with the particular energy that accompanies these celestial events and so, after years of really doing nothing more than noting how they seem to affect my own life and speaking with my clients about their eclipse experiences I am ready to say definitely that eclipses are for breaking patterns, pure and simple.

I thought this might be the case even as a young child watching the moon undergo a total eclipse when I was seven years old. As I teach my astrology students, the best way to begin getting to know the stars is through what I call “naked eye astrology” just look up at the night sky and see what your eye naturally gravitates to.

On the night of a lunar eclipse (or the day of a solar eclipse), the answer is easy – the eclipse itself is what catches our attention. It is the most visible event occurring at the given time but it is also the most dramatic because it is something apparently out of sync. We have a full moon every month, but usually, the moon is not partially or completely taken over by shadow. We have the sun every day, only rarely do we see the sun darkened.

Both events naturally cause one to pause. It is a break in what are otherwise two of our most normal and rhythmic markers of both time and season – solar and lunar cycles. These are cycles that we have lived by and with for millennia, we have created watches and calendars based on their predictable patterns of movement, growth, diminishment, and re-emergence.

Then there is the eclipse. Whether it is lunar (in which case it can be seen by the population that is on the night-side of the earth) or solar (in which case it can only be seen by a small percentage of earth’s population); it is so clearly an interruption.

So what do we do with that?

First, let me make a couple of further observations. My background in folk practices coming out of two different traditions tells me that an eclipse would only affect the people who actually see it because they would be the only ones who know that it is occurring. I agree with this but I will also say that in my experience the internet has made more people than ever before aware of all eclipses – whether they are visible to an individual or not. Moreover, there are now live feeds for every eclipse – so even if you are not in the part of the world where the eclipse is visible as it happens you can watch it happen live from anywhere. These two technologies have made it possible for everyone to be aware of an eclipse, watch it occur, and in turn align themselves with its particular gift if they so choose.

Secondly, it is useful for those who study and practice astrology to have a sense of where the eclipse is occurring with respect to your own chart. Many annual astrology guides will give you the exact position and time of the eclipse so you can then look at your own chart and see what kind of aspects it makes with your natal planets and positions as well as the positions the planets are in right now. I highly recommend you take this step and do this work because some eclipses absolutely will affect you more than others.

Thirdly there are two major categories of an eclipse – solar and lunar – and three subcategories for each. A solar eclipse may be total, partial, or annular. A total eclipse occurs when the moon completely covers the sun. A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon only partially covers the sun – it looks like a dark shadow has taken a bit out of the sun from our perspective. And an annular solar eclipse is when the moon fully passes over the sun but is not at the right angle to be perceived as completely covering the sun so the eclipse appears as a dark shadow covering the sun but with a ring of fire all around it like a halo.

Lunar eclipses follow a similar pattern. There are total, partial, and penumbral. Total and partial are what you would expect and penumbral is a subtle lunar eclipse that occurs when the moon is shadowed by earth but not completely in any one place.

For our purposes, we will just deal with the major categories of an eclipse – solar and lunar.

Each kind of eclipse no doubt has its own energetic signature and while I can hazard a guess about how they would work out, I have not made as close of a study of the different kinds of eclipse up to this point. Here is what I have observed:

Lunar eclipses – they occur more frequently than solar eclipses and they are visible to greater numbers of people. The phenomena is planet earth moving in between the full moon and the sun, therefore casting a shadow over the moon that results in the complete blacking out or subtle darkening of la luna.

Traditionally the Full Moon helps us “see in the dark” its light allows us to notice the aspects of our life that are normally hidden or at the very least de-emphasized. However, the shadow side of the moon is becoming trapped in an emotional stickiness that you cannot seem to get out of no matter how hard you try. Consider the Moon card from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot to get a sense of what I am talking about. Professional astrologers often talk about the position of your natal moon as your “comfort zone” and where one feels most at home and relaxed, but as we know only staying in the comfort zone and never challenging yourself leads to some pretty dull situations and atrophy.

Therefore, the lunar eclipse is the perfect time to look at any one place where you feel particularly stuck emotionally or any place where you are just “in a rut”. The eclipse breaks the regular lunar cycle so now is your opportunity to break that pattern.

So how do you do it?

First of all, if you want to work with the eclipse and no one place of stuckness is coming to mind then consider your chart, look it over. Also, consider your diet and all the things you “feed” yourself with. Chances are between those two considerations you will find something that needs a shift.

Useless patterns that run deep can feel like actual chains around you. They can hold you down, keep you back, and sometimes it is even hard to see them much less understand how to break them.

My favorite instruction on breaking a destructive pattern comes out of one of the Child Ballads. In the story, a cruel mother in law has cursed her beautiful, young, daughter in law to never bear a child. The young wife and her husband try and try to get pregnant all to no avail. Finally, the young wife realizes what has happened and is instructed to create a fake baby out of wax and to take it to the church to be christened. Because the curse was that the woman would never have a child in her arms, simply by showing up at the church with the child in her arms the curse was broken.

This is exactly how breaking a pattern works – you simply do the opposite. When it comes to breaking deeply entrenched patterns or attitudes playing it safe and conservatively just won’t do. You have to be all in. What is must turn into what is not just as the radiant body of sun or moon becomes shadowed and dark?

So if your pattern is that you go shopping and spend money whenever you feel sad then on the day of the eclipse if you are feeling sad you do not go spend money at all and in fact the best thing would be to do something to make money – even if it is just a buck or two.

If the pattern is an abusive relationship then on the day of the eclipse you leave that relationship. You put actual, physical distance between yourself and the abusive person. Most likely you will talk to them and see them again – but the pattern has been broken and that is what matters.

 

Solar Eclipses – occur less frequently than lunar eclipses and are only visible to a tiny portion of the world, but as I said above, they can now be viewed from anywhere thanks to live stream video. The Sun is in many ways our first timekeeper and season marker. Our days are literally marked by the passage of the sun across the sky from horizon to horizon. And of course, the sun makes life possible so the importance of this “planet” (as we think of it in classical astrology) cannot be overstated.

Whereas the moon lends itself to looking at places of stuckness on an emotional and internal level, the sun is more interested in the very obvious patterns at play in our lives. What are you always saying you want to do, or will do, but just haven’t gotten around to yet? That is what the sun is interested in and that is what the solar eclipse can transform.

You can pick something to focus on but in my experience, the pattern you can break during the solar eclipse shows up very powerfully. If you are at all paying attention you are already probably feeling the desire to break the cycle of habit that has become oppressive. Solar eclipses are all about less talking and more rocking. And again, you break the cycle in the same way as you do above – by either doing the thing that you are constantly saying you are going to do OR by finally admitting that you never wanted to do it in the first place and putting it down once and for all.

Not all patterns are bad. A pattern can be a very helpful thing, we all have routines that help us call ourselves back to ourselves and we all have natural rhythms to follow. When a pattern becomes oppressive it starts out as a subtle energetic drain – it is something you are always aware of in the back of your mind or corner of your eye but are not taking clear actions to address. So it just sits there, wasting your time and devouring your vitality. After it has eaten up enough of your energy, the pattern becomes much bigger and harder to contend with. It moves from being an apparently (but not really) passive force in the back of the mind to THE THING that occupies all of your attention front and center and before long it starts to feel like you are fated to do/think/feel this way forever.

Not true.

Remember the song I referenced above. This is how you break a pattern that has become a curse. You name it, get to know it just enough to break it, and then do the exact opposite of what the pattern commands and implies. The eclipses will help you, so work with them.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.