What I Really Want

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

This past Friday, I finally got a chance to watch the movie “Lincoln” by Steven Spielberg, which came out in 2012. Friday is movie night for us and it was my choice (we take turns choosing). I wanted to see the film but I also wanted our 8-year-old son Jasper to see it since he had been doing a reading unit on Abe Lincoln in school. So David made stove-top popcorn, and we all snuggled down to watch the movie, and then later talk together about what we had watched.

The stand-out moment for me was when Lincoln (played by the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis) had a meeting with the abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens (portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones). Stevens accuses Lincoln of having a broken moral compass because he is all too willing to compromise and be satisfied with only the passing of the 13th Amendment. Stevens was the one who sponsored the Bill that sought to abolish slavery throughout the United States, and he accuses Lincoln of losing sight of the North Star, losing his compass, – which, in this case, is not only the passing of the Bill, and the freeing of the slaves, but also, and more importantly, equality of races in all measures, including voting rights. The problem was that a lot of the legislators, sad to say, weren’t ready to accept equality of the races (not to mention gender), but were fine with equality under the law. That is to say, they were OK with equality so long as it wasn’t too much and without condition. Yes, a sad commentary on human nature. Lincoln knew that Stevens’ Bill that would free slaves would never be passed on the grounds of Stevens’ own arguments, and so he asked Stevens to temper his arguments in order for the bill to be passed. He needed Lincoln‘s pragmatism if he really wanted to abolish slavery. For, obviously, if slavery were not abolished in the first place, there would be no chance later for full equality under the law and beyond.

Lincoln the idealist feels the gravity of the moment. His response is telling, and he eventually wins over Stevens. Yes, he says, we must know the North Star and have a good working compass but there are bogs and marshes – unpredictable pitfalls – that mark the way forward. A person who looks only at the North Star or only measures by his compass will find both to be of little use to him if he ignores the impassable terrain right at his feet. Stevens hears this and is persuaded by it. He does indeed temper his own arguments and in so doing the 13th Amendment passes and slavery is abolished in these United States.

This moment in the movie speaks to a timeless tension in our public and private lives that concerns social a political injustice, change, the ideals we have about the human good, and how exactly to get there together. Over 150 years later we are still working through this tension at the heart of our democracy. If changes are needed, what changes? Where? and How? And what will be the consequences of those changes? Are we prepared to accept the consequences? How do we argue persuasively for our beliefs while keeping one eye on our compass and one eye on the dodgy terrain at our feet?

Fairy Tales and the old stories that form the bedrock of the Sacred Arts also ask these questions in their own way, about our inner lives. Thus the other reason why this moment really caught my attention – besides speaking to a timeless tension in social and political life – is that it speaks directly to the power of the Sacred Arts. Why are the Sacred Arts so valuable to the Soulful Seeker? The Sacred Arts supports us in discovering our own North Star, our own best compass, and in circumnavigating the actual terrain of life. And they do it not by dint of perennial wisdom or conforming to a rigid doctrine; but rather by allowing us creative and free access to resources that are personal, practical and wise to the core.

Our broader spiritual community in North America tends to overlook and discount folk magic practices, ritual, and divination. We like things to be vaguely inspirational, white-washed, without dealing with the tough unremitting stuff of life, like grief, real suffering, and loss, anxiety about “low” things like money or relationships. Even divination practices like tarot and astrology tend to be handled in this way. But there is a great untapped potential in such discarded or mishandled things like the Sacred Arts, a potential we discover when practicing several in complementary ways. Brought together, the Sacred Arts are more than a pointer showing the soulful seeker the way forward. They are also a means to walk the path.

Over the years I have come to believe that you should always have not only a North Star Rite but also a North Star goal – a big promise that you make to the cosmos that speaks to the essence of who you are and what you are here, right now, in this wide, wild, world, to do. Writing a book was part of my personal promise. As some of you know, I was born with a cleft pallet, and so I understood from very early on that part of my promise was to use and find my voice. Seven years of speech therapy, two surgeries before the age of four, and 38 years later I can say with confidence: Done. And also: I’m just getting started. So that’s the level at which I was thinking: promises to the Cosmos that speak to your innermost essence and nothing less.

But earlier this week I was talking with my beloved about our overarching vision for our work and community of soulful seekers. David, my incredible husband, celebrated his birthday a few days after Jasper celebrated his. As birthdays often do, this one led to some deep reflection for all of us. So there we were, talking about the vision, the BIG PICTURE, the North Star. My love and I were not talking about different individual projects or the day-to-day workload – we were talking about our vision for what a vibrant community of sacred arts and soulful seekers looks like, sounds like, and feels like.

Of course, there are more books that I want to write not to mention brilliant clients and students to serve, an enchanted household to tend to, and wonderful courses to create and teach. I can say, in all honesty, that things are so very full. In all seriousness, though, I was getting a bit stuck trying to say what that big picture looks like.

At this point, David asked me what my vision was for each soulful seeker in our community, and for the community as a whole. He wisely suggested that maybe I would be able to best understand my next big vision if I understood what I really want and hope for and expect for each of you.

And so, today, in celebration of our gorgeous Full Moon in Libra I am going to tell you what this Libra really wants for each of you. Ready? Let’s do this.

I want you to be whole. I hope, desire, and expect your lives to be whole. Whole does not mean perfect. Whole means connected so that you are not dealing with a broken heart over here and money worries over there and your mother on Saturdays only. Whole means that you see what is actually there — not what other people tell you is there and you react and respond with an eye to right relationship. Whole also means that you are aware of how connected we are, not just to one another, but to all creatures – in particular, specific, and measured ways.

I want you to be healthy. I hope, desire, and expect your lives to be healthy and lived with the understanding that health is much broader and richer than we normally think. To be healthy is not to be without wound, scar or sickness but rather to live richly and vibrantly in the best ways and means available to you alongside wound and scar and sickness. To be healthy too is to recognize the preciousness of the physical body as well as mind as well as heart and to discern in love and wisdom what and what not to expose yourself to. It is to eschew the toxic and to be firm in your right to be unmolested by any external forces.

I want you to be holy. I hope, desire, and expect your lives to be holy, for I firmly believe and see every day that the world is in need of holy people now more than ever. Holiness goes hand in hand not with grand cathedrals or religious sanctuaries tucked into mountains, but with and in the enchantment of everyday life. Kissing your love is holy. Packing your child’s lunch is holy. Tending your garden is holy. Painting a wall and feeding the hungry and swimming in the deep sea – all holy. I hope, desire, and expect that each of you will see holiness as your natural state and understand that it requires not for you to be pure, unbroken, or without a mark but that rather it is most easily found in exactly the places where you feel most marked up, broken, and not ready. I hope, desire, and expect that as we come to realize and see what holiness really is and can be we are both blessed and blessings in turn.

These are my compass points for our community. They are each a point of my own North Star. The Sacred Arts practices that support them are the exact same practices that have been called on throughout time – and can still be called on by us – to not only illuminate the impassable terrain at our feet but also figure out the best way through the terrain, and to actually get moving through it. I know that is true because I have lived it as many of you beautiful readers, have as well. We know that the way forward will have all kinds of interesting obstacles and detours along the way, and so it is especially of utmost importance that our vision of what is possible, and probably, and choice-worthy shine especially brightly for every single one of us.

That’s what I really want. What about you?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Spinning Gold Caretaker Carousel with Jen Rue

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

It is time to go for a ride with the next luminous Spinning Gold Caretaker, Jen Rue of Rue and Hyssop!

Jen is a magical woman who crafts glorious herbal goodies and brings her infectious joy, spirit of wonder, and good cheer to everything that she does. She isn’t afraid to get real, rowdy, and her relationship with our plant friends and allies is one of the deepest and most sincere I have ever come across. Spinning Gold is blessed to have her as part of our course caretaker community! And now, let us hear what Jen has to say about all things faerie…

1. What’s your favorite faerie tale / folk tale from childhood? Why?

As a child I liked any tale where animals talked and interacted with humans. I was so sure that animals wanted to talk to me, and that I was merely moments away, at all times, from being spoken to by a cat, dog, bird, or any beast I stumbled across.  I rather liked the tale of the frog prince. I wasn’t really looking for a prince of my own as a child, but I was smitten with the idea that I could form a friend out of a frog with a simple kiss. Though I caught my share of tadpoles and small frogs, I can’t recall ever kissing one – I think the old wive’s tale that kissing frogs would result in warts, is what thwarted my curiosity in that area.

2. What’s your favorite faerie tale / folk tale these days? Why?

This winter I spent an inordinate amount of time at the river that runs along the edge of my town, talking with the swans that overwinter here, and in the evenings I would linger over some of the many variations of the Swan Maiden tales. I am bewitched by the idea that I could put on a robe of swan feathers and take flight as a remarkable white bird. I am still not finished with swans, I think.

3. What is it to live an enchanted life?

Life is is not an easy adventure. It can be terribly painful, and there is such loss. It can disappoint, and it can be unkind. But it is astonishingly beautiful too. It is truly breathtaking. It offers so much joy if we will just get out of our own way and look and listen and taste and touch, and take time to really experience what we are living. I had a difficult winter this year. But even in my bleakest moments, I was absolutely fascinated that I could feel such pain. I was enraptured by an experience that could offer such staggering feeling. Living an enchanted life means finding enchantment in everything – even the not so nice things. I see magic everywhere. In dandelion seeds, in the storms that roll in over the hills, in making my nieces laugh, and in my own tears. To me, it’s all this amazing life. It’s all magic.

4. How do you spin gold?

I was fortunate to grow up around people who, though they didn’t understand my imagination and sight and strangenesses, encouraged me to seek wonder. Wonder in nature, in stories, in play, and in everday activities like gardening, baking or housework (though it took me a long time to find the wonder in cleaning the bathroom). Today, I find that I blend some kind of enchantment into every part of my life. I toss herbal blends on my floors and sweep them up. I create room sprays that infuse my space with scent and energy. I mow sigils and runes into my lawn before cutting it. I sing charms over the mixing bowl when I’m baking. My gardens get offerings and prayers and sweet whispered words of encouragement. I used to draw sigils on my nieces when I hugged them, before they left for school, to help them through their day. I don’t know that a day goes by that I don’t find or weave some sort of magic. It’s become the best habit I have. I’m always spinning…

Ready to add you story to the mix? Join us for Spinning Gold – registration closes on August 18th.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Spinning Gold Caretaker Carousel with Sara Magnuson

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

As many of you know registration for Spinning Gold is open through August 18th. In celebration of the very successful first year of the course I want to introduce you to some of the people who helped make it happen. They are the Spinning Gold caretakers and they assist me in holding the space for our beautiful Spinning Gold community. We asked each of our Caretakers four questions and now we get to share their fantastic responses. Best part? You can play too – I would love to hear YOUR answers to one or all of the questions below!

We begin with the lovely Sara Magnuson. Sara is a student, friend, and colleague; someone I have been honored to know for years. She is co-owner of Candlesmoke Chapel and creator of the fantastic Animalia program – if you want to know about how the natural world and especially our fellow creatures speak to your spiritual practices and path then Sara is THE person to talk to!

 

1.) What’s your favorite faerie tale / folk tale from childhood? Why?

Kartusch by Stephen Cosgrove (part of the Serendipity Series for children) Why? Because I love reptiles and furry creatures! Kartusch is a blind snake that helps woodland creatures, known as the Furry-Eyefulls, learn the value of stillness. As a child, I identified with the frantic nature of the Furry-Eyefulls and my love of reptiles allowed me to hear Kartusch’s wisdom.

 

2.) What’s your favorite faerie tale / folk tale these days? Why?

Most recently I’ve been obsessed with comic book/superhero stories, specifically Green Arrow! I see comics as modern folk/fairy tales because they have such a depth of imagery, emotion, and wisdom. Green Arrow is my favorite because he doesn’t actually have “superpowers,” but rather is a skilled archer, fighter, and technician. Like Batman and his utility belt or Iron Man and his suit, he is a “regular man” who has worked diligently to master specific crafts and skills. Comic book characters also have their faults and are not depicted as perfect people by any means. They struggle constantly with their desire to fight for justice and the consequences of their actions.

 

3.) What is it to live an enchanted life?

Perspective. What I feel makes my life enchanted is not living in a bubble; remembering that we’re all looking at the world through our own eyes and we’re all trying to find our way. The most enchanting thing in the world to me is how we’re all connected – people, plants, animals, rocks, wind, water, lightning, everything!

 

4.) How do you spin gold?

The gold I spin takes many forms! I’m a maker, a writer, a teacher, a sacred artist. Ultimately, spinning these threads together, I am of service. Creating a sacred tool that just happens to be exactly what someone needs right now; finding out my written words changed someone’s perspective; hearing the tone in a student’s voice when our work together has opened a long-lost place in their heart – this is what pure gold looks like.

What is your favorite question? How would you answer?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

10 Teachings I learned from Fairy Tales

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracle,

Fairy tales often bring to mind rosy-cheeked children, sunny preschool classrooms, and lavishly illustrated storybooks. It is no surprise, then, that fairy tales become but an aspect of the childishness we put away later on in life, never to pick up again.  They are made for the child’s world, while we have jobs to do and bills to pay.

But the truth is that fairy tales were created, told, and re-told by people very much like us – adults who led busy lives, engaged in hard, often physical work. They entertained themselves with tales produced not by commercial speculation, but by the timeless act of passing a story down from generation to generation, from hearth to hearth.

We like to pride ourselves on the unique complexity of our twenty-first century world, but who can claim with any seriousness that the world of yesteryear – the world that gave birth to story-telling traditions – was any less exposed to hard problems of love, life and death? We have only to consider the much higher infant mortality rates and deaths of women in child bearing in order to disabuse ourselves of that notion.  We too have to face life and death, for all of our technical ingenuity. Could it be that the old tales still have something to say on this most important real world matter?

Each fairy tale has many different versions depending on what part of the world it comes from but also many different flourishes given to it by each unique voice that tells the story anew. Fairy tales are also much more dark and frightening than their later written and redacted versions might suggest. In earlier versions of the story Cinderella, for example, the vicious stepsisters actually cut off their toes trying to fit into those glass slippers. In more than one version of Little Red Riding Hood the scarlet cloaked maiden is simply devoured by the wolf, never to be seen again.

Due to their fantastic, otherworldly nature, even when we take fairy tales more seriously or encounter them in re-worked forms meant for adults (the wonderful film Pan’s Labyrinth comes to mind), we still tend to think of them as escapist and not really saying anything relevant about “real life”.

Before proceeding, it is important to see that this viewpoint rests on an inadequate premise.  According to this premise, escaping, or taking time-off from “real life”, doesn’t have an important role to play in the way we confront the challenges of waking life. But we know from our own experience – and it is a fact established by much scientific research into the brain – that this is not the case. The greatest need of our time, in this age of ever-increasing anxiety, may not be to simply toughen up and face reality, so much as to find a means of escapism truly worthy of ourselves and the actual problems we face in the twenty-first century.

Fairy tales lend a guiding light through this terrain. They provide an entertaining form of escapism, but they also possess profound life-lessons. They contain little embers of wisdom that are breathed to life once again every time we utter the words “Once upon a time…” And so, here’s a short list of some of the life-lessons I have taken from my love affair with fairy tales and the worlds that they create.

 

1.)   It’s OK to feel lost…

..for now.  Fairy tales never really begin until at least one main character and often several feel lost, disoriented, hopeless, and confused.

Seeing the hero or heroine get abandoned or forsaken, listening to their words as they circle back in the wild wood one only to pass the same landmarks one more time, tells us that adventure is about to happen, that big choices are on the horizon, and that instead of always looking outside for reassurance and direction it is now time to look inward and come into contact with our inner knowing.

Feeling lost is often one sign that an initiation is about to begin and that the individuals involved will not be the same after their story has unfolded. The modern therapeutic term is dissociation and describes the cognitive event of detaching from this time and this place so that one may experience “time out of mind” as C.S. Lewis puts it – time beyond time and a world that is decidedly Other. It is in this rupture that great  magic waits to be discovered.

So when we feel lost, overwhelmed, even abandoned by life, fairy tales instruct us to take a deep breath, get our bearings however we might, and begin again, one foot in front of the other. All is not lost, and many great discoveries are afoot.

 

2.)   Life begins in the woods.

Or in vast deserts, rocky wastelands that seem uninhabited. Or at sea in a digital universe, flooded with more information than we know what to do with.  It is a common trope in fairy tales for the main action to take place outside of the cities, towns, and villages and in the places commonly regarded as unknown, wild, and a little bit dangerous. So it is with us.

This does not mean that we must literally pick up and leave the city we love or the town we reside in. Rather, it encourages us to look for the wild places within our own lives – the talents, fears, delights, thoughts, and feelings that feel edgy and dangerous and vast. Working and living from our creative edge breathes great life into all that we do. It makes the words we speak truer, the songs we sing truer, and the lives we live deeper.

 

3.)  Appearances can be deceiving.

Sometimes people, animals, and even objects are not what they seem to be. Beasts turn into cursed princes, scary women living alone in chicken-footed houses keep the sacred fires of all creation, and sweet treats hold a truth that can lead to doom.

On the other hand, sometimes things are exactly as they appear and the trouble is that the hero or heroine doesn’t believe what they know to be true. Yes, that witch firing up the oven really does intend to devour you. Yes, the fact that your grandmother is looking rather wolfish this morning should send alarm bells coursing through your body. So we must learn to…

 

4.)  Try to see with more than just our eyes.

Because appearances only give us part of any story in fairy tales, we find that the key is to perceive reality with more than just our eyes. Fairy tales were developed in agrarian times when most everyone, certainly the people sharing stories with each other, were working on land and in the fields. Thus they speak to an original audience that would have been more easily able to “see” with all parts of the body.

This is a kind of seeing that calls upon all parts of ourselves.  We want to see with our hands, learning from them as they touch old wood or the soft downy hair of a child. We want to see with our feet as they carry us from place to place; to see with our nose as we catch the scents carried on the breeze from so many directions. And we want to see most of all with a clear, discerning mind, and an open, sacred heart.

 

5.) Bad things will happen. The question is: how will you respond?

Bad things will happen, often with no apparent reason or rhyme. There you are minding your business and oops! a new person comes into your life who would like nothing better than to see you suffer, lose out, miss your chance at love, luck, or fortune, and most of all be convinced that you cannot do it and it won’t ever get better.

Maybe it is isn’t a person at all, but an event out of your control that brings you to your knees. Or a minor irritation like a pea under a mattress that keeps you from resting, from seeing clearly, from responding with wisdom and wit. Bad things happen in fairy tales all the time. Blood and ash are the fuel that feed many of our most beloved tales. The secret is not that bad things will happen, but how we deal with bad things, how we engage with them, is what brings out our inner hero or our inner villain.

 

6.)   Be kind.

Be kind to everything, and I do mean everything. In many stories it is a child’s unhesitating kindness to a tree afraid of being chopped down, a cat that is hungry for some milk, or a gate that has not been oiled in years that ultimately saves the day, prevents certain death, and leads to happily ever after. Be kind. Even when it is hard, even and especially when you think no one will notice, kindness will carry you through. Of course in order to be kind you also have to see clearly (refer back to lesson number four).

 

7.)   Time doesn’t always work the way we think it does.

Fairy tale characters experience time in unique ways. In the folklore surrounding faeries we often hear of young men and women of great talent and beauty who are whisked away to faerie land for what seems like a day and night or three days and three nights, only to re-emerge in their villages and find that one hundred years have passed. It is a good teaching to keep in mind when we feel that we are always running late, always behind, never prompt enough, never timely enough. Time works in mysterious ways. Chances are you are exactly where you need to be.

 

8.)   Gold is not the goal.

Any time a character in a fairy tale does something purely motivated by gain, greed, and the desire for fortune things do not go well. Gold and riches often accompany the endings of fairy tales, but the real gold that is sought out has already been discovered by this point – the gold of inner character, inner strength, clear-eyed intelligence, and loving kindness. Characters who are only interested in the shiny coins wake up in the morning to find their palms filled with nothing but old, dead, leaves.

 

9.)   There is a hero in every child.

Original fairy tale versions are dark and stark. Though they were told by adults to adult and to child audiences, and of course they often feature children. Children who live in and undergo the most impossible, crushing, depraved circumstances and conditions. In fairy tales we are first given the truth that not all elements of childhood are sugar sweet, innocent, and good. We learn that bad things happen to good people, and that children are not always protected as they should be. And it is this way for us too. Never in my practice have I come across someone who does not carry several wounds from childhood. Those children, wounded though they are, live on inside of us. And what is more, when we read fairy tales, we learn that children are incredibly resilient, intelligent, adaptable, and most of all courageous. There is a hero in every child and there is a hero within you.

 

10.)   The most powerful magic always comes from an act of love.

An act of true love carries deep magic, whether it is the kiss that wakes a slumbering princess, the devotion that transforms a beast into something more, or the faithfulness of friends standing by their fallen companion no matter what. This magic is swift-acting, often curing immediately whatever hurts have been suffered up to this point. It is interested in justice and quickly works to right wrongs and deliver freedom wherever it has been withheld. Most of all, this magic is dedicated to and for life. So it is that we know our fairy tale heroes live happily ever after because they live with full on vitality and verve. As can we.

 

A few months ago, I came across an article in a peer reviewed scientific journal about a discovery made by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope: according to the team’s observations, massive lobes of energy tower tens of thousands of light-years over the center of the Milky Way galaxy. These lobes have been named Fermi bubbles, and no one yet knows how they have formed.  The bubbles could be formed by jets of energy streaming from the center of the galaxy; or they could be evidence of violent events in our galaxy.  But the mathematical model describing Fermi bubbles resembles a spindle with thread wrapped around a distaff. I was enchanted at the idea and immediately thought of all of the creators and fundamental powers throughout time who have been described as Weavers of one kind or another. I was surprised by the latest scientific discovery, but I suspect that Sleeping Beauty and her witch would not be.

And that is the greatest lesson I have learned from fairy tales. It is the knowing that the Otherworld is not a made up story but rather the seedbed that inspired and informed all stories, all journeys, all discoveries. Modern science can describe with precision that Otherworld; religion might teach you different ways to worship it; and psychology will remind you it lives within you as well as outside of you. But stories – the stories are what take us there.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

We are Spinning Gold

Spinning Gold

D

ear Miracles,
As many of you know, I have declared this the Summer of Spinning Gold.

It is the second year of this powerful program and to celebrate I am teaching, telling stories, and sharing some of the ways that we can all call a bit more enchantment into our lives. If you have not already, I would love you to join me.

Start with the First Threads Guidebook. (Pop in your email address and then download it). It gives a beautiful and deep glimpse into my teaching style and approach.

Within its pages you will find my original telling of Rumpelstiltskin, my two favorite daily practices, and a series of little practices that you can do at home – among other things.

Then join me for a series of free calls I will host throughout the summer during which stories will be told, practices will be shared, and the initial steps to more enchanted living will be taken, together. Listen to the first and second calls: On Attunement and Learning to Listen and On Attention and Seeing with Clarity.

Finally, come join the Sacred Artists Facebook group where we will carry on the conversation. (Your membership request will have to be approved by one of our admins and we are good about approving quickly!)

And now, for your pleasure, the origin story of Spinning Gold.

Once there was a cutting…

A knife sliced against the soul as we separated everyday life, the so-called mundane from all that is rich, beautiful and sacred — all that we call enchanted.

A cutting, an act of violence and violation of the pristine substance of our lives, as we bought into ideas and relationships that told us we do not have what it takes to get it together. Do we – or do we not – lack the inner resources and inner knowing to meet the greatest obstacles and challenges of life in ways that are beautiful and inspiring?

Doubting, denying, we have done ourselves the greatest violence, cutting right to the bone: the dissolution, the inner fragmentation, the dismantling and severing of the soul strings. Instead of remembering we found ourselves dismembered.

Cutting. We knew it in our bones as we felt isolated from one another, our communities, our lands, our sense of wonder and possibility. It need not be so…

For we are a weaving.

Each thread flying quickly through warp and weft alike, remembering that the present is determined by the lineage of our past and the legacy we build for the future.

Weaving, the shuttle moving deftly in and out, recalling to mind that the inner and the outer worlds were never meant to be separated, that to understand and fully inhabit one is to understand and fully inhabit both – to live an enchanted life.

Weaving, it binds us to our lives, to our choices, and yearnings; it binds us to each other fostering connection and creativity. Weaving…our stories and songs, our old knowledge and new hopes, our magic into our daily lives. This is our inheritance…

But first, there is a spinning…

Blood cells dancing through the cosmos of your precious body, allowing for light and heat, and life. Spinning, the movement of the earth beneath our feet, imperceptible and nevertheless constant. The movement of the heavens all around us, holding us in their starry hands.

A spinning out into Creation, a spinning into inspiration. There is a spinning, rhythmic, timeless, a spinning of gold, of lives and stories, fears and worries that seem like so much straw, transformed into all that holds meaning, into right relationship, into all that is sacred.

 

There is gold in all that you are, all that you know, and all that you do. Finding it, here is the work, here is the return to enchantment.

The images in this post are taken from the Spinning Gold curriculum and all are created by Cassandra Oswald. All rights reserved.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The Best Fairy Tale Resources

Divination and Dreams

D

ear Miracles: It is no secret that I love fairy tales and folk stories. I grew up on a steady diet of magical tales and mythic art, and my love affair with fairy tales has only grown deeper and more comprehensive over time.

Why do I love fairy tales? I love them because they take on the biggest questions and the most difficult conflicts in simple and accessible language. I love them because they are portable – you can take them with you anywhere! – and you can tell them and re-tell them again and again. And I love fairy tales because they reveal worlds that are just as real and vibrant as our own.

Myth and fairy tales give shape to the magic that is all around us, not only in the rocks and wind, in streams and trees, but also in the places we would least expect to find it: in urban landscapes, in the broken and forgotten and hectic places. When my students ask me what book I would recommend getting a deeper understanding of this or that aspect of the sacred arts, nine times out of ten I refer them to a fairy tale or piece of mythic art, and so teaching through fairy tales has become a mainstay of my work.

Given all of that, there are many resources out there for people who would like to learn more about the stories they grew up with and perhaps in the process learn new stories too!

Websites and Blogs

Terri Windling ~ one of my favorite sites and blogs period, Terri Windling is a writer, artist, and book editor. Her blog Myth and Moor is frequently updated and features gorgeous art and wonderful articles dealing with a wide variety of mythic art topics. She is also just a really lovely person!

Midori Snyder ~ another daily go-to for me, Midori Snyder’s blog In the Labyrinth features great book reviews, mythic art, and tales of her own creative work. Midori’s writing is so beautiful, I always learn something new when I visit her online home, and like Terri, she is just a delight!

Endicott Studio ~ featuring the Journal of Mythic Arts. While no longer active, the JoMA site hosts hundreds of great articles of fairytales, myth, and folklore, penned by some of the best authors and artists working in the fields today.

Sur La Lune ~ An online compendium of fairytales from around the world, cross-referenced and featuring art from many of the stories. Invaluable resource

The Interstitial Arts Foundation ~ they are dedicated to featuring and serving artists without borders, what we call in the tradition of the sacred arts working in the liminal.

These are but a smattering of the sites out there with fabulous information, most of them have links to other sites, which I encourage you to explore for yourself.

Books ~ there are hundreds of fabulous collections of fairy tales and books written about fairy tales and folklore too, but for the beginner, here are a few of my favorites.

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition translated by Jack Zipes

The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm All-New Third EditionTranslated by Jack Zipes

The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales edited by Maria Tartar

American Indian Myths and Legends edited by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz

African Folktales edited by Roger Abrahams

Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Beauty – a retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley

Briar Rose – Jane Yolen

The Wood Wife – by Terri Windling

The Innamorati – by Midori Snyder

Coyote Speaks – by Ari Berk and Carolyn Dunn

Faeries – by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

Good Faeries/Bad Faeries – by Brian Froud

Brian Froud’s World of Faerie – by Brian Froud

And no list would be complete without a mention of Baba Studio’s Fairy Tale Tarot (out of stock, but beautiful nonetheless).

There is also Goblinfruit, an online poetry ‘zine that is simply breathtaking.

And finally, two magazine recommendations for you: Faerie Magazine and Fairy Tale Review

What are your favorite fairy tale resources?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.