Make Mercury (Retro) work for you!

Divination and Dreams

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ear Miracles: Mercury in Retrograde is here! It is that crazy time of year when the wee planet Mercury appears to be going backwards in its elliptical orbit. It is not actually retrograding but from our vantage point it sure looks like it! And Mercury in Retrograde is probably THE most infamous astrological event because Mercury is a small but mighty planet — he rules, among other things, our ability to communicate clearly, think smart, make good deals, and the general area of technology. When a retrograde happens to say the least, it is easy for things to go on the fritz!

Mercury in retrograde is actually a time of year that I really typically enjoy. I mean sure, there is always a repair that has to happen or a technical snafu, but I go into the season EXPECTING those events. If you are like me there is always a project or two that you started that is still hanging around in a half completed state. While Mercury retrograde is not a great time to begin new projects it is a superb time to bring old projects to a close. Paying attention to the zodiac sign that the retrograde occurs in brings a certain level of nuance to each retrograde phase. Consider what particular sets of strengths and weaknesses the sign Mercury is transiting brings to the cosmic table and then think about ways to practically maximize the benefits in your own life.

While traveling during retrograde is not the best idea, considering the way we travel-and if you are a frequent traveler-organizing and streamlining the process for yourself is a great way to take advantage of this time. In fact, the simple rule of thumb is that any activity that begins with an “re” is an appropriate retrograde activity, this includes: reassessing, remembering, recollecting, repairing, responding (to letters and emails), reorganizing, and reconciling!

Always exercise common sense during a retrograde — a bunch of my lovely lady clients always feel the need to start pressuring their significant others into stronger commitment or marriage. This is probably not the best time to do that since feelings can get hurt and intense conversations can go south quickly. Back up your computer, make sure your phones are charged and plugged in.

If you start to feel itchy, twitchy, unfocused, or like you might bite someone’s head off–take a breath, go for a walk, clear your head and then return to it. Pick an organizing/cleaning/de-cluttering project a few weeks before the retrograde actually hits and you will be in awesome shape!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Petition for the Day: Expect the Impossible

Prayer and Blessing

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ear Miracles: May you expect the impossible. A few years ago I have the privilege of attending a couple of workshops taught by witch, Priestess, activist and author Thorn Coyle. One of the skills that Thorn both talked about and demonstrated was something she called High Priestess Mind. High Priestess Mind, as I understand it, is the ability to sit in a place of tension between two apparently opposing forces — this world and the world beyond, life and death, confidence and doubt. It is an awareness of the underlying unity between apparent opposites — a state of grace accomplished through both intuition and discernment. You can read more about it in her book.

Kierkegaard, the Danish theologian and philosopher, writes about a similar state in one of my favorite books Fear and Trembling. This state, according to him, is what Abraham experienced when he was directed by Yahweh to sacrifice Isaac. Kierkegaard calls this state the expectation of the impossible. The conflict that created fertile ground for expecting the impossible was Abraham’s faith based knowledge that Yaweh’s demand for Isaac’s life had already been fulfilled before a blade was ever held to throat — the terrible event in effect had already occurred. Abraham’s cheerful expectation was that despite this conflict the impossible would certainly happen and his beloved son would be spared. Of course we know in the story that Abraham’s impossible expectation was satisfied.

Often when I am working with a particularly difficult case — one that has a chance for success but that is stuck in a thorny wood of Obstacle, my client will ask me what they can do on their end. There are prayers and spiritual preparations that can be helpful to almost case but often I simply tell them — it is time to expect the impossible. For both the High Priestess and Kierkegaard there is an expectation of the impossible. It is not simply cock-eyed optimism but rather insightful and incisive vision paired with soul wisdom — a bone deep understanding that though at times something truly seems impossible-the power of the Divine is unfettered, limitless, and beyond our scope.

So…

When it seems that you cannot go on, expect the impossible.

When all signs point a different way and it crushes your heart, expect the impossible.

When you fear that the law, the attitude, the norm will never change, expect the impossible.

When you fear, period-expect the impossible.

When you doubt, expect the impossible.

 

You and life are much bigger & miraculous than you might think.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

When the Answer is NO

Right Relationship

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ear Miracles: Let us now discuss one of the hardest words to hear and take to heart, short and phonetically simple, but one that most of us spend our entire lives grappling with — NO.

The guy that just won’t call you back.

The lady that gently refuses all advances.

The ex who isn’t going to return to you-not now, not ever.

The boss who sits you down to tell you why they went with your co-worker for the promotion.

Your friend who picked the other person to go to the party with.

The poem that got rejected.

Calls that weren’t made, letters that weren’t written, paths not taken. NO.

 

Sometimes the answer is simply no.

NO can be painful, soul crushing, a sucker punch to the solar plexus, a smacking your face right up against the sheer cliff of reality-where faith seems very small indeed.

NO can be liberating, freeing, a gleaming, bright truth that you can set your lights by and follow to a deep(er) & true(er) sense of direction, purpose, joy.

In my own experience NO is something I hate to hear-and when I look back a year later, I am almost always thankful that I did hear it — thankful for the doors that have closed firmly and finally in my face. Thankful that option was taken off the table. Happy to have that path once and for all decided on as the one I will not be traveling this lifetime, thank you very much.

NO requires a sharp intake of breath, a sizzle of electricity over the skin, the bottom of your stomach falling out, a moment to mourn for what could have been. You can stay there-in that hopeless place for as long as you choose.

Or you can rise up to meet NO with “what if…”, “could it be…”, “maybe now…”.

NO can challenge you to stretch yourself, go upside down, turn it around, STOP engaging in actions and behaviors that do not serve you or those around you.

NO might just free up your energy to get on with doing what you really need to be doing.

My advice when confronted with a NO?

Don’t let it suck your faith out of you. Consider that your faith might be deeper & more full of grace than you ever knew-and that this NO might just be the beginning of you getting down to business and doing what you really need to be doing in this one, sweet, short life.

Meet it. Face it.

My prayer for you then is this: Take the power of NO for your own, put it to work for you and don’t give yourself, your passion, your faith over to it.

You never know what is just around the bend & its not what you are told — it is what you do with it that makes all the difference.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Bhakti & Devoting Yourself

Learning and Community

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ear Miracles: My prayer for you today: Be devoted. Absolutely, unequivocally and expansively.

I have ended a week at the Upaya Zen Center were I sat zazen several times a day and studied at the heels of a truly great writing teacher. The mantra that I took away from this experience is: keep your pen moving. It is one way of saying: Be. Devoted. 

Devotion can often come across as a grand thing — high minded and a bit abstract. Let me ground the idea in a true story — one of my own personal encounters with Devotion. In 2007 I was living and working in San Francisco. My husband and I lived in a shoebox apartment at the south end of the city, a place not even legally zoned as an apartment, that was how small it was, and money was tighter than a girdle after Christmas dinner. One night in the bookstore where I worked I had the door open and was listening to the city evening sounds of Hayes Valley while I sat inside reading the Bhagavad Gita. I heard a sound over the street noises and the weeping violins of Bach. At my feet was a small mourning dove with a badly injured wing. The bird was obviously frightened and scurried her way over to the speakers and radio — somehow getting inside of the radio itself. Finally, I was able to wedge her out and put her into an empty cardboard box. My husband showed up at closing to take me home, saw the wounded bird, and knew that we had a new addition to the family. Years of rushing wounded creatures from Santa Fe to the Espanola animal shelter had taught him that he had fallen in love with an animal loving (and occasional custodian-taking) gal. The mourning dove came home with us and I called her Bhakti — the Sanskrit word for devotion and a central theme in the Gita as well as a play on “Bach.”

Trips to the vet ensued and they told me that Bhakti’s wing would have to come off as it was too damaged to save. The price tag was steep at a time when money was short. One look at Bhakti’s grey feathers and blue lidded eyes and I said “yes”—I would find a way to make it work and I did. She had shown up at my feet needing care and I was dedicated to seeing this through. I can only thank my beloved for being the most understanding and tolerant partner ever. The wing came off even though the vets both felt like it was a waste of money and made no attempt to hide their feelings from me. Her fleshy pink and raw wing nub eventually healed and feathered out again. She was never comfortable being held but loved it when my husband played the guitar. Her years with us were full of fun and laughter and love, she continued a lesson that creatures have been teaching me forever — to love even more and that is the crux of devotion. Loving More.

I learned to through Bhakti that devotion finds you. You do not have to go looking for up and even if you did you might not recognize it—Devotion does not appear the way we think it should, it is what it is — an absolute and non-negotiable request that we do our best, walk our talk, love with our whole and not just a part, not just when it is convenient or easy.

Life is short and death is certain, it grows closer with every breath you take. Devote yourself now. Absolutely. Completely. Don’t hold anything back, just get on with it.

 

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Define your End Game

Purification and Cleansing

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ear Miracles: We are often told that it is the journey and not the destination that matters. And our journeys do matter, absolutely; but they are NOT the only thing that matters and so if you are feeling more lost than enlightened in the woods asking the following may be of use:

Why do I do what I do?

The ancient Greeks’ had a word, telos. One translation: “for the sake of which”, as in, I do this work for the sake of…and of course you are the one who fills in the blank. Maybe you do your work for the money, for love, for family, for bread on the table and flowers in the garden. Many of us do our work because we felt called to offer up a specific gift, to be of service in a particular way. The point being that you get to define your rightful work, the work of your heart, and the act of defining and articulating that work — clearly and specifically — to yourself and to others is an act that carries with it momentous medicine for tired souls and worn spirits. Some argue that clearly stating where you desire to end up, where you would like to arrive, does not allow for maximum creativity and flow I think that because our destinations can and often do change, we have encouraged a culture where we often try to forget about them all together, we focus on process in part because process has been ignored during times in our collective history and in part because process is where most of us stay for a long time, the journey is where the work is done and because of this it is a bright and vital part of our experience. But this forgetting of our end, our final destination, is a deadly forgetting because knowing why you do what you do allows you to do it with more grace, beauty, and integrity. Your journey is enriched when your destination is known.

Ritualists of all stripes know that magic begins with clear intention, a wise petition, a heart felt prayer…and each of those things contain the seed of the destination, that which through one’s art and magic might manifest. So…today my petition for you is to define your end game and remember, your words carry magic.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

May Can’t & Won’t Blaze the Trail to DONE

Prayer and Blessing

Peekskill_fireball
Peekskill fireball from the NASA gallery

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ear Miracles: When I was born I had a severe cleft pallet. It was the worst that my 70 year old surgeon (who had pioneered the preferred method of treatment at the time) had seen in the course of his practice. Through the dedication of my mom, dad, and grandparents I was taken to Houston (a 3.5 hour drive) for two major surgeries before I was 4 years old. Then I was taken several times a month for six more years for speech therapy. I had excellent therapists but I remember them telling my mom that I would probably never regain my speech 100%-that the “r” sound in particular would be difficult if not impossible for me to master. I practiced trilling my r’s all the way back home to San Antonio, and when we got in the house I asked my mom to call the therapist. She got on the phone and I trilled away singing out words like “red”, “radio”, and “ready.” Prognosis: my r’s were locked and loaded, my speech was 100% recovered and I had a vocabulary surpassing my age. I was 6 at the time.

When I chose to attend a funky (and insanely rigorous) liberal arts college I was told I would graduate with an Mrs. degree and no job prospects. Four years later and single, I did graduate, entered a master’s program, and shortly thereafter landed my first dream job–all because I attended that funky liberal arts college and got that “meaningless” degree in philosophy.

In my mid-twenties an astrologer did a natal chart for me. He told me that I would never have more than a lower middle class income and my writing would never see the light of day. Four years later I brought home a six figure salary, started a business, moved across the country, had a child, and in all my spare time contributed to highly visible magazines, books, and websites. I also found a much better astrologer.

I have trusted friends & advisors and when they tell me to steer clear of something I listen. I do not go against the grain just for the sake of disagreeing or proving a point (too much wasted energy) but one of my first lessons in life was that Can’t & Won’t can be powerful motivators and allies-clearing the way to DONE.

There is nothing especially special about me or my story. I have met hundreds, thousands of people in my life who tell similar tales. The challenge that had to be met, the imperative that was to be denied, the obstacles that were there to be overcome–this is a story that belongs to ALL of us. As many of you know, a petition is a prayer, a heart and tear soaked request, a mantra, an affirmation, a wish meant for your soul and the Universe.

My petition for you today: May Can’t & Won’t Blaze the Way to Done.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Failure IS an option

Prayer and Blessing

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Famous-Failure-Quotes

ear Miracles: Today I wanted to write about doubt, but I decided to start with the end point in mind. We doubt because, fundamentally, we sometimes expect, shrinkingly anticipate, & always fear…failure. Knowing the why behind the what does not necessarily fix anything–but it does give us some insight into our motivations & our resulting actions.The best way to begin acknowledging & conquering doubt? Accept the following:

Failure IS an option. Failure can devastate, leaving you hollowed out. Failure can be your BEST FRIEND & Mentor–it can save your ass. It often will do both at the same time.

Options are good-they give you flexibility and the space to determine what is most appropriate for this specific moment. I was inspired to write this post because last week I got a flurry of emails that basically all started with…what if.

What if my work doesn’t manifest the way I want it to? It may not-you may be very thankful that it doesn’t.

What if I am going about this the wrong way? Talk to a friend, a mentor, an intuitive and make sure you aren’t.

What if I fail? You will. Me too. We will stand up, dust off our jeans, and go back to work.

So with this in mind, let’s circle back to doubt. Doubt can be useful too–but when it comes to big projects, life goals, and ritual creation, doubt is a killjoy & source of much useless anxiety. In ritual work doubt takes up space and wastes time. There is a saying in some strains of folk magic–especially for those where the setting of candles or lights is emphasized–which is: set it & forget it. That terse imperative hearkens in Doubt’s opposite twin–Faith.

In spiritual matters Faith carries the day. She also often does the heavy listing in all matters practical from money and business to love and babies. I am often asked by clients if there is anything they can do while I am lighting their candles, making their charm packets, carrying their hopes and dreams on a prayer into the greater world.

My answer is-have Faith.

Have faith that the best outcome for all involved will prevail.

Have faith that you know what you want-and that it might just also be what you need.

Have faith that there is a force greater than you at play-it has carried you this far, trust it.

Have faith, real faith, that life will give you more than you ask for, love will deliver more beautifully than you could have ever expected. The blessings will pour down in abundance. Even if you are struggling from paycheck to paycheck-or have no paycheck to speak of. Even if you are alone and feel like love is for other, luckier people. Even when doubt is sitting right on your chest like a leaden anchor.

Conjure up your Faith, acknowledge the real possibility of failure. Expect the impossible. Banish your doubt.

And get to work already.

 

photo of Christ’s Church in Jerusalem by trilli bagus

 

 

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.