The Biggest Question and the Best Answer

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles: As we spiral into the center of the solar year and prepare to celebrate the halfway mark of Summer Solstice, one question stands out more prominently than any other in my encounters with people. It is a question both timeless and timely, and, to my mind, the most ancient of questions, the very first question, the one from which all others spring, and the one to which all other questions point.

The question is: Why am I here?

There are many ways we ask the question. What is my life purpose? How do I find my life purpose? What am I really meant to do/be/create/contribute to the world? And most poignant of all: Who am I?

The question about the purpose or meaning of life is hard to ask for any sustained length of time, because it is rather vague, and easily lands us in a realm of endless speculation and pointless navel gazing. When so much of our time is spent immersed in particulars of the business of life, answering the question in some abstract and general way seems hardly satisfactory.

And yet, having the courage to ask this question, refusing to run away or hide from it, makes a tremendous difference in our lives. All genuine questions are a heart yearning, reaching out, for knowing, for deep connection. The question about purpose is a heart calling and a heart questing too; looking for an orientation with respect to the ultimate reality, to the things that really and truly matter. In much the same way that a sailor lost at sea, looks off into the sky seeking out the north star.

Every holy book of scripture, every miracle, every sacred chant and dance, every temple and holy sanctuary space is an implicit answer to the question Why am I here. Great religions and philosophical movements have been built around some of the answers. Other answers found themselves woven into the fabric of a single individual, or an entire community’s daily life. In the work that I have dedicated myself to – teaching the sacred arts and providing spiritual counseling – I have discovered the answer that I have found is best and most true. This answer lives behind an old, old, door, the kind we find nestled in the roots of an ancient tree or magically appearing in a brick wall, the kind that, once opened, leaves us profoundly changed, forever. And like all doors, this one requires a key, or three. So here we are, asking why we are here in the first place, and here is the door. Now we shall find the keys to unlock it.

Asking the question, truly living the question, being responsible to that questioning, is itself the first and most indispensable key. It takes great heart, great courage, great innocence and wisdom to ask why we are here, to ponder what it is really that we are meant to do and be in this life. To ask is the first key.

The second key to this oldest of old questions is found in considering what life purpose is not, and where we cannot and will not find it.

From an early age, children are routinely asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (Or what college do you want to go to?) This is to confuse life purpose with career, with our function in society, with what we do professionally.  We ask children to tell us not who they are right here and now but rather what, not who but what, they will become. The expected answers are known by rote: astronaut, doctor, lawyer, investment banker, teacher but never a kind person, faithful lover, patient gardener, gifted creator.

The customary, habitual identification between life purpose and career is a huge mistake. It is understandable one, since as members of our modern political-economies we must make a living in a world in which social and economic roles are defined functionally. It is a habit to think this way, but not the only, and not the best way.

Habits are tricky.  They hide themselves in daylight as second nature.  But like most problematic habits, this one relies on our willingness, yours and mine, to ignore what we see and experience every single day.  What our actual experience tells us is the opposite of our conventional way of thinking. What we do in the world by means of our “job”, our “work” is only a part, a very small sliver, of the entire story of who we are, where we come from, and what we are capable of creating. The panic we feel when when we misplace our wallets or our phones may betray the degree to which we easily identify ourselves with these symbols. But we know the truth, when the wallet is lost, when the phone is damaged, life still goes on. We breathe in and out, babies are born, our lives continue on, we deal.

So why persist in deceiving ourselves, by thinking if only I have this job, or this degree, only then will I be happy when everything in our actual living experience tells us the opposite?

And so here is the second key: pay fresh attention to what you actually experience, as opposed to what habit says you experience.

When we begin to pay attention, and to honor what we find in that process, something amazing occurs. More opportunities and choices appear than we otherwise thought were possible. We learn to show up and offer our gifts and talents to others. We begin to grow and deepen not only in our jobs but in our lives. To see that our work does not and cannot define our greater purpose in life is to experience greater freedom in that very work than we might ever know otherwise. The Wheel of Fortune card in the Tarot shows us this explicitly: fortune and fame, reputation and honor – they come and they go, they wax and wane like the moon, and what remains constant? The deepest, most alive, most essential part of you.

And it is in this we find the third key, the one that ultimately unlocks the magic door and reveals the treasure inside: We are here for all that is good. Good to our selves. Good to one another.  The word good, coming to us from Old English, Proto-Germanic, and Old Norse, has a root sense that means complete. That principle of completion, of goodness? I call it soul. You are here and I am here to live our most soulful life.

And though we may be burned and bruised and battered in thousands of ways that deepest part of us remains always free, whole, healthy, holy, and alive, blessedly alive.

Listen to this Lunar Letter here.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Six Months of Magic Every Full Moon

Ceremony and Ritual

W

 

hen we talk about paying attention to the lunar cycles we often mean noting what happens between the New Moon and the Full Moon within each month. But for sacred artists who pride ourselves on paying attention to bigger themes and patterns a month is not always enough time to work with.

Fortunately la luna had this figured out way before we did. There is about a six month difference between a New Moon and a Full Moon. For instance, as I write this today we have a Full Moon in Scorpio and about six months ago on October 23rd we had a New Moon in Scorpio.

So what does this mean? It means that we get 6 months of magic every single time there is a Full Moon, or to be more precise, we get to review the last 6 months of magic making every time there is a full moon. As we know, New Moons are best for sowing seeds and Full Moons are the times to harvest the fruit those seeds have yielded and celebrate the harvest.

Each full moon is a brilliant time to go back and review what your sacred arts practice has looked like, felt like, and yielded for you. What areas were you focused on 6 months ago? What seeds did you sow? How have those seeds grown? What have you done both magically and practically to support their growth? And most importantly…how are you bringing in the harvest?

One fun way to do this is to make a Full Moon timeline. At one end of the timeline write down the date of the New Moon that happened in the sign that the current Full Moon is in and then at the end of the time line write the date of the Full Moon. Make a mark for every big theme and event that occurred between the New Moon and the Full Moon and write down a few words. Decorate and consecrate as you like…this provides a wonderful visual way for you to see patterns, development of practices, and what major themes or questions might need continued cultivation.

 

What is your favorite way to celebrate a Full Moon?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to Honor the Full Moon

Ceremony and Ritual

D

ear Miracles,

Previously I wrote about how to honor and work with the New Moon and of course many of you wrote to me asking, what about the Full Moon? There are probably few other emblems that have the ability to drop us down into magical consciousness the way that a luminous full moon does. Whether she shines out in a clear night sky or he is covered over with wispy clouds and starlight, the Full Moon radiates magic-making possibility.

The key word for the Full Moon is fertility, and that is not by happenstance. Just as women when the rhythm established by Nature will menstruate with the New Moon, we are at the height of our fertility on or right around the Full Moon. So the Full Moon can be seen literally and metaphorically as baby-making time!

With that in mind here are some ways to honor this potent magical time:

  • Plant Seeds~What seeds need to be planted in your life? What projects do you wish to imbue with a little bit more fertility, a brighter spark of life? Or, if the gardening analogy doesn’t really do it for you, ask yourself what you are trying to birth into the world right now? Why not work with the Full Moon to create an altar honoring that specific endeavor? It will give you a place to focus your intentions and make some magic. Light a devotional candle to give this intention extra mojo.
  • Celebrate Accomplishments~On the other end of the spectrum, what have you accomplished in the last lunation? Have any big projects, dreams, endeavors, or goals been met and nailed? Have you decided to let something that was not working go? There is never a better time to celebrate whatever good you have brought into the world. One of my personal favorite ways to do this: a spiritual bath.
  • See Clearly~My lunar letter goes out to subscribers a few days before the Full Moon and I always include a few questions so that readers may use the divination method of their choice and see into a question or concern by the light of the moon. We physically see different in full moonlight as opposed to sunlight, but we see differently in a spiritual manner as well. Many believe that they are more sensitive, more “skinless”, and psychic during the Full Moon, making it THE time for divination.
  • Offer it up~Making offerings is a time-honored act found in many different sacro-magical traditions. The Full Moon is a wonderful time to make any kind of offering to your allies, your guides, the Saints, Angels, or simply to the beautiful land itself. Just remember to offer things that are nutritious and completely biodegradable and don’t leave a mess. And remember, prayer is an offering too.

Love and blessings of La Luna to you all!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

This is how we heal

Lunar Letter

N

o sooner did I start pondering this month’s lunar letter, than it occurred to me that healing would have to be its theme. For the Full Moon shines down on us from Pisces, and the Fish is the healer of the zodiac, ruling over the 12th house of our charts, the area where we confront once and for all the beliefs, traumas, ideas, and habits that cut, wound, and tie us down, leaving us feeling broken, scarred, and scared.

Healing is a word we bandy about with the best of intentions. How many times have we heard it said that we need to heal, or that we need to be open to healing, or that what is needed now is healing? All of that is fine and good, but we may wonder, after years of healing, and perhaps even after little or no results: is it even possible to heal? What does it mean to heal?

We might turn to the icon of the Sacred Heart for help. Here we have the familiar heart symbol, but there is a fountain of fire pluming from within the heart’s division, and the heart is encircled with lines of radiance, or sometimes wings. When we see it in its radiant glory, we may easily forget that the shine and radiance is that of a heart and spirit that has been to hell and back.

In image and imagination, every possible wound has been inflicted on the Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart speaks to the scarred heart — pierced by a thousand swords, cut by a thousand pieces of glass, wrapped in rusty barbed wire and a crown of thorns — and sometimes, at first, we think that those scars are something to hide from the world, something to keep quiet, keep covered up.

The Sacred Heart speaks also the scared heart, afraid because we know we can be harmed, frightened of our worst dreams coming true, scared that the wounds Pisces asks us to face cannot ever, really, be healed. Experiencing the traumas to body and spirit that cut so deep, the ideas that bind us to a limited view of life and love, the habits that keep us from not just living life, but living life well, we are afraid that we will only ever be broken.

Fleeing from our pain, we will reach out for healing far away from the scars and brokenness, to cover it up, to be free of it. But to flee from our condition in this way is to flee from what makes us sensitive and alive, from what transcends and supports our own mortality. To the Sacred Heart, those salves and remedies for which we reach are a mirage: the greatest healing power comes from within the very darkness and brokenness of our condition, just as a lily flower blossoms from out of the muck. To the Sacred Heart, what we call broken shards and scars are for it the crown jewels which bedeck and bedazzle.

The Sacred Heart will not be covered up nor will it be silenced. Like a phoenix rising up out of the ashes, it shines through fear and a forest of scars and the clothing that we wear and the protections that we weave about ourselves. None of these matter to Sacred Heart for it is made to shine. And so it does. It shines out in radiant splendor, saying:

My blessedness is in and among the broken, ever, and always.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.