Hearth and Home Vol. 22: Go and Help Your Brother

Foundations

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have been editing my second book, Star Child, all week so I have stars and Zodiac signs on the brain. This Hearth and Home is brought to you by the sign of Virgo, the sign most devoted to being of good help, and the sign that the New Moon occurs today.

“Go and help your brother.”

These are words I utter every day, usually several times, to my oldest son. Sometimes the help is given gladly. Sometimes the heavy sound of sneakers trudging across the wooden floorboards follows my request and I can tell he is a little annoyed. And almost always there is a response and the needed help is given.

You can’t really read the news anymore, you can just doom scroll your way through it and it makes me wonder about help and the stories of help and where they are. For it is exactly in times such as these, in crisis times and fear-ridden times, that we most need to look for the helpers, as Fred Rogers reminds us. Earlier this year when I returned to social media, I was able to highlight the helper stories and share them far and wide, but the stream has slowed to a trickle, the waters are drying up.

“Go and help your brother.” It has become a mantra of sorts, the theme of 2020 is not a word or an image, at least not for me, it is this: Go. And. Help. Your. Brother.

I thought I was uttering it as a suggestion, sometimes a snapped command, to my oldest child but it turns out I have been saying it to my own soul this entire time. What is needed right now? What medicine can begin to heal the wounds and the hurt places? Offering Help. To our brothers, our sisters, our loved ones, to men, women, those in between, and creatures of all kinds. Go and help. It is not a request or a suggestion, it is an inner imperative of the heart. Something we must all do in all of the ways, in all of the times, that we can.

More than that, these are the stories that need to be told, stories of helpers, everyday people, showing up with care and kindness. Their names and their roles are often obfuscated by the bigger events that are happening so I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of them, helpers I have had immediate and direct contact with over this year.

Doctors
Artists
Nurses
Grocery store clerks
Postal Workers
Lab techs
Teachers
Epidemiologists
Ministers
Truck Drivers
Scientists working on vaccines and therapeutics
Priests
Storytellers
Workers in warehouses, slaughterhouses, and fields
First Responders
Witches
Farmers
Professors
Writers
Police
Tarot Readers
Protestors
Grandparents
Shamans
Ranchers
Astrologers
Educators
School Administrators
Stockists
Therapists
Rootworkers
Parents
Children

I see this list as a litany. I say the names and the titles, many of which bring individual beloveds to my mind and I bless them for the ways they show up, the ways they try, for going to help their brothers, for helping me, my family, my friends, my clients, and students, my loved ones.

Being of good help is a theme we find in every major spiritual tradition as well as in the Sacred Arts. The four Tarot cards pictured above, all the Knights in the tarot, are often interpreted as helper figures showing up in our lives in different ways and with different qualities. So it is for us as well, we can show up to help in different ways and with different abilities and qualities at our disposal.

It is easy to think, in these latter days of Dharma as the Mahabharata calls them, that you can’t help. If you don’t know how to start an IV line or hold a line for justice or calm of a line of angry and frightened shoppers then really, what do you have to offer? Bit if there is one thing that 2020 has taught me it is this: That there is always a way to go and help your brother. I am grateful for the lesson.

I want to thank Jacquelyn Tierney/House of Divine Style Stock Photography for making this image available to me. I actually worked with it as a writing prompt which was so much fun!

And now for news from the home front:

Our September has gotten off to a busy start! The highlights include: editing Star Child, planning for the Story Threads class that begins in a few weeks, doing a guest teaching on blessing ways and prayer for a dear friend (I’ll be sharing more about this later), and keeping up with the school schedules of our body.

THE Most Frequently Asked Question of 2020 is: Did you remember to put an extra mask in your backpack?

Mars Retrograde is giving me all kinds of fantastic ideas and so I am doing my best to write them down and take as many notes as possible. We are all spending more time outside because the Gods smiled on us and we are actually having a lovely, cool, September…so far!

We work in the garden, planting seeds, feeding the wild birds and chickens, and leaving offerings for the faeries. We are headed into our favorite time of year and so, we are already talking about the Feast Day of Archangel Michael and how we might arrange the Ancestor altar this time around, and of course, the most important question: WHAT IS HAPPENING FOR HALLOWEEN?

Answer: I don’t know, honestly but we will make it magical, and that is what matters.

As always, from our family to yours, we wish you a beautiful and magical month full of goodness!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer: What Nourishes?

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iracles, nourishes

While there is definitely a focus on personal relationships during Mercury retrograde in Cancer, that is not the only area of life touched by this astro-event. Cancer is the sign of home and family, even the sign of Moms and Mothering but it is also the sign the presides over the ways that we relate to food and nourish ourselves.

That means that this is a wonderful time to reassess our habits around food, cooking, and eating. Again, recent events already have had us preparing to do this. Long lines at grocery stores and the unavailability of certain items have meant that many people who before 2020 did not know how to boil water can now whip up a decent three course meal. Veggie gardens and backyard chickens are in many ways the new black for 2020 but this Mercury RX period intensifies our ability to really dig into the theme of nourishment.

We can do this by thinking about our kitchen (and actually organizing your kitchen and making a list of what tools you do and do not need) is a great way to begin the process. Consider putting a shrine up in the kitchen to your favorite Ancestor who loved to cook or to a Holy Helper like St. Pasqual – the patron Saint of cooking! Then, dig into what really leaves you feeling good and nourished as far as food goes. You can even experiment with making magical recipes!

Are there foods that you have been eating that do not leave you feeling your best? Identify them and take the needed steps to remove them from your diet. If you have not identified any foods that don’t agree with you, don’t be surprised if during this period you discover that there are some. Are there foods that you love that you consistently forget to include? Make room for those as well.

This can be a wonderful time to take a cooking class, buy a new recipe book, or dive into the food of a particular region that you have not yet experimented with. This can be an excellent time to plant a garden if you don’t have one or learn about various community CSA’s that allow you to support local farmers.

Though the focus is on food and wine allow yourself to expand your considerations to ALL of the things that leave you feeling nourished.  nourishes nourishes

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Discovering Your Soul Soil – An Active Imagination Journey complementing Chapter One of Making Magic.

Alchemy and Magic

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iracles,

In an hour and change, we will be celebrating the New Moon in Taurus! This is a great moon to do some wealth and money magic, to join Bull Strong if you have not already done so, and to clean out and bless your wallet. Here is a prayer story I wrote for this New Moon a couple of years ago.

It is ALSO a wonderful and auspicious time to garden, go outside, and bless your place and the creatures that share space with you.

Along those lines, I am very happy to introduce you to the first installation of Making Magic | Taking AIM. This is a series of Active Imagination Meditations (AIM) that complement each chapter of my book, Making Magic.

This first meditation is an exploration of the wildest and precious land you will every encounter – your own soul soil – and complements the first chapter of the book.

Listen to it here.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home, Vol. 4: Make Space for Life

Foundations

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iracles,

The above photo gives you a glimpse of what our garden looked like right around Beltane, May 1st. We had entered into a period with our land where certain plants needed to be uprooted, soil turned, and bedrock prepared for the coming of new life. It has been deeply allegorical for where our family and our work has been too. Since the last New Moon I entered into the final month of my pregnancy and this week our second little one will be arriving at some point! Plants have rooted down in the garden while pictures have gone up onto the walls of the nursery, and baby clothes – some old, some new, – have been placed in drawers.

As is always the case with life, it doesn’t take much to get things started if you are willing to make space. Plants are placed into the ground, fed with water and the right amount of sun and moonlight, and with a little time and attention (and daily offerings to the faeries and our Holy Helpers) our stone and cardboard covered garden became a lush and beautiful wonderland – no small feat in South Central Texas during the hot month of June! The same has been true for the life of our family and home – a little attention here, some detailing there, making sure that we all have plenty of time not just for work but for rest and dreaming and creating – these have been the priorities as our family makes room for the newest addition.

My book and writing have also been reflective of this process: the completed manuscript was sent in to my publishers on May 1st. A few weeks later I received notes for the first round of edits and so dove into them. Fortunately there were not that many and the entire process struck me as a tightening and refining that felt fantastic. It reminded me deeply of stories I have been told about my great-grandmother.

She was a Cherokee woman who lived in rural East Texas and kept a chicken snake in her kitchen cabinet – to keep away mice or to startle visitors or maybe both – and one of the tales that has been passed down about her is that she would braid her long dark hair tight, tight, tight, into a braid, and then take a lit match and run it down her braid singeing off any errant hairs. This, she claimed, was how she kept her hair smooth and glossy. Editing felt like that to me. Taking the tightly braided words and then running a match over them – gently, but firmly, burning away the excess and the loose ends so that at the end of the day we are left with something more potent and refined.

It has touched me deeply how our community of soulful seekers has also been making space for life and what sings of life. Personally I have felt this in all of the well-wishes that I and the family have received from so many of you. I have experienced it too in the generous gifts that have been sent our way – some for the baby and some for me!

Over the past week as the news has been filled with the tragedy and the deaths of luminaries who touches the lives of so many, I have also been humbled to see how our community comes together to create space for hard discussions, thoughtful takes on controversial issues, and perhaps most meaningful of all, a sense of not assuming that we understand what another soul is encountering in their deepest hour of shadow. For these things too are part of life and cannot be overlooked, swept away, or ignored. I appreciate the nuance, and the time and thoughtfulness that seem to have become ever more endangered, that our community takes in feeling and thinking and speaking – we lead by example, it is the only way.

And amid the sadness that has been so thick in the air I hope that you too are making space for life, in all of its divine mess, radiant beauty, breadth and depth. As the below picture of my garden shows you, we do not, any of us, flourish in spite of the hard, we flourish right along side of it. That is what it means to make space for life.

In love and blessings always,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.