Mercury RX in Pisces: My Favorite Magic

Purification and Cleansing

J

ust a short and sweet note for you all today to share with you my favorite kind of magic when Mercury is retrograde through Pisces. If you have a rough day during this RX period, or if you just want to start the RX period off (or end it, or celebrate its midpoint) in an effective manner then Sacred Bathing and Spiritual Cleaning are your new magical BFF’s. Both of these acts rely on the power of water to cleanse, purify, and restore – these are elements that are native and deeply resonant to Pisces and they will serve you well during this particular RX period.

Happy Bathing!
xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Magical Missives: A Mid-Summer Potion ~ The Golden Rose

Alchemy and Magic

M

iracles,

You are receiving your magical missive a bit early this week (so there will be no email on Sunday) because I wanted you to have this recipe available *before* Summer Solstice.

So in South Central Texas Mid-Summer is HOT. We have already had a couple of weeks where temps regularly exceeded 100 degrees – ick!

What’s a Sacred Artist to do? Make a potion of course! This is my current favorite Mid-Summer potion. I am giving you both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions because children love this too.

First, let me say a few words about Mid-Summer: like Christmas, Mid-Summer is actually a series of days and not a single event. There is Solstice which is tomorrow, but then there is also the Feast Day of St. John which is on June 24th – so basically the revelries continue through the morning of the 25th.

Many magical things happen during this time. Women gather herbs that are believed to be especially protective and healing – and then they wash their faces in the dew the hanging herbs have collected overnight – in order to see visions of their future.

Faeries are believed to run rampant, which means that wishes can be granted and treasures revealed.

One of my favorite forms of magic is potion-making. It calls to mind bubbling cauldrons and water-drenched buds, and potion making is at its best when the magic goes hand in hand with good taste. Don’t just trust me though, try it for yourself:

The Golden Rose – A Mid-Summer Potion

What you will need:
1 cup water flat or sparkling – I use Topo Chico
1 table spoon Saffron flavored simple syrup (I like Oak and Salt’s syrups)
1 table spoon Rose flavored simple syrup (or a splash of Rosewater)
1/2 table spoon Raspberry simple syrup
If you want a bit more zing to your potion add Lillet Blanc to taste
Finish with a splash of Orange Flower Water + a handful of rose petals
Ice

Significance:
Water is cleansing, healing, and nourishing
Saffron is wealth and abundance bringing, associated with treasure acquired through diligence (you try harvesting Saffron from the Saffron Crocus and see what I mean) – this is the “gold” part in the Golden Rose.
Rose is associated with love, romantic and otherwise, pleasure, sex, intimacy, and the Divine Feminine in her many, many forms.
Raspberry is resonant with themes of procreation, fertility, fecundity, flow, and creative work.
Orange Flowers are associate with joy, happiness, prosperity, wealth, and celebration.
I recommend Lillet as the spirit addition if you want one because it is an herbed apertif wine (stronger in alcoholic content than regular wine so do keep that in mind) and it is infused with oranges and other herbs that make it especially suitable for this potion.

Ceremony:
Make the potion and as you mix the ingredients together speak aloud your petitions, intentions, and blessings for yourself during this Mid-Summer celebration.

Final act:
Drink it up! Share it with friends and family! This potion is best enjoyed by moonlight, firelight, and in time of joy and celebration.

And if you want more Mid-Summer magic come and join the Feast Days for the Radically Reverent – it is free as always!

In love and blessings always,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Magical Missives: A Ceremony for Healing

Alchemy and Magic

M

iracles,

When I asked my Sacred Artists community earlier this week what magic they were really yearning for right now the answer was clear: healing.

Healing of course takes many different forms. There is healing of the body and then there is healing of the heart. There is healing that occurs internally, healing that is external, and healing that is both.

In fact, sometimes when we start thinking about healing we become confused about what the term even means. One answer lies in the sister words that are linguistically related to the word “heal”; when we look at the words root we realize that to “heal” is to become whole and holy once more. Another way to look at healing is this: to heal is to be strong enough to remain tender.

Much magic is devoted to healing. In fact, magic and medicine are sister arts that grew up together, each study informing the other.

Faerie and so-called witch doctors, cunning men and women, root workers, shamans, and sorcerers all were called upon to assist in healing on all levels and many had prodigious skill.

On the flip side, not that long ago, doctors, midwives, and those with medical gifts were regarded as suspicious, eerie, and uncanny for their abilities to mend bones and soothe troubled minds. Once upon a time, not so very far from our time here and now, the serious practice of medicine – especially when taken up by women – was seen as just another form of heresy.

And in a way this makes sense, for healing, when done correctly IS radical. When we heal for real, we heal deeply, the medicine goes all the way down to the root.

So for those of you who are in need of healing of any kind; who are looking for the ways to continue to be strong AND soft in what can feel like an ever-hardening world, here is a ceremony just for you. It is a specific form of a spiritual bath. For more on spiritual bathing and spiritual cleansing, please see this very comprehensive article.

What you will need:

A quiet place where you can bathe undisturbed – it may be a shower, bathtub, or natural body of water.

Answers to the following questions:
What am I ready to wash away?
What am I ready to restore?

Kosher salt/Sea salt
Rose Water or Orange Flower Water (I recommend culinary grade waters used in cooking and drink mixes, usually you can find them at a good, higher-end grocery store. Rosewater is used in Indian, Middle Eastern, Persian, and some African cuisines so you might also be able to find it in the “ethnic” or “exotic” food aisles).
Water to drink
Honey or the sweetener of your choice
Clean clothes to put on after you bathe
Any other ritual items you might desire, like candles, incense, or a talisman

Ceremony:
Make the potion: On the day that you decide to take your healing bath or the day before, prepare a bottle of water to drink after the bathing ceremony is completed by adding a splash of rosewater or orange flower water and some honey/sweetener of your choice. This is a potion that you will drink AFTER you take your spiritual bath.

Make sure that your clean clothes are accessible to you after you bathe.
Cultivate Calmness

Take a moment to become aware of and connect to the earth beneath your feet, as you do so, breathe in the deep, green, energy of the earth and breathe out in gratitude – thank you.

Take a moment to become aware of and connect to the celestial skies above your head, as you do so, breathe in the high, bright, energy of the stars and breathe out in gratitude – thank you.

Take a third moment to become aware of and connected to your physical body and all that it does for you and breathe our in gratitude – thank you.

Cupping the salt in your hand, breathe over it and then state out loud what you are ready to wash away.

Bathe yourself and use the salt to scrub your body gently in long strokes starting at the neck and shoulders and then going all the way down your body (do not scrub back and forth, rather continue the stroked starting near the top of your body and then moving them down towards your feet.

Take a moment to really address your feet, starting at the ankle and then with the salt scrubbing down to the toes.Once you have finished bathing, say out loud the things you have washed away like this:

“Thank you water for removing my sadness, may it be carried forward by your depths and transformed into something that is of good use.“
Follow this style for every thing you wish to wash away.
Once you have finished, come out of your water and allow yourself to air dry naturally.
Put on your clean clothes.
Then, taking your bottle of potion, breathe over it and say out loud what you are ready to restore.
Drink it down and once you have done so affirm, it is done.

Final act:
Healing is, in most cases, a gradual experience and one that often occurs in phases. Be patient and also track your progress. Spiritual bathing is an act that can be repeated several times a month or every single time you take a bath.

For those who are interested in internal healing and cleansing, there is no better first step than to drink more water. Simple and effective as much good magic usually is.

The above image is one of many gorgeous artworks created by Brian Froud. Learn more about his work with faeries here and here.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

So Fresh and So Clean – The Art of Sacred Bathing and Spiritual Cleansing

Purification and Cleansing

D

ear Miracles,

We can all feel the difference between a messy room and a clean room. Clutter, refuse, and objects that are not in their proper places create confusion, imbalance, and waste our time.  This is true for our physical lives as well as for our emotional and spiritual lives.  In our relationships, for example, we can see how continually bringing up issues from the past that need to be released and buried can damage the present.

Think of a clean kitchen. Maybe the kitchen is sparkling and spotless or maybe it is a little dingy around the corners but more or less clean.  Now imagine someone walking through that kitchen with mud on their feet, leaving their muddy footprints all over that clean kitchen floor. If this were really your kitchen what would you do?  Would you leave the muddy footprints where they are, ignoring them and hoping that they would go away?  Or would you get out the mop and go to work on them?

Most of us would not leave muddy footprints in our kitchens, but I am constantly surprised at how many folks refuse to clean up the muddy foot prints that have trekked all over their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. The problem of course is that one cannot take a bottle of pine-sol to the soul, so what can we do?

As it turns out, quite a bit. Folk healing and magical traditions world over have remedies that address the state of spiritual muddiness we all encounter from time to time. Below are some of the time honored traditions I have been taught and can personally vouch for.

 

Sacred Bathing

There is a saying in my family when one of us gets really sick. We say “I am so sick my hair hurts!” Have you ever been that ill, where your hair literally hurts? Thankfully I am not sick in that way very often these days but when I am I immediately know what to do.

I wake up early in the morning before anyone else is up, I fill my bathtub with hot, hot, water and I pour in a handful of blessed salt, Angelica Root, Peppermint, Cinquefoil, Rosemary, a chunk of Bloodroot, a pinch of Lavender, and a sprinkle of Life Everlasting. Yes, I’m taking a bath to ease my body, to get the sweat up so that my lymphatic system goes into action, but I am also taking sacred bath — a bath of healing, restoration, and blessing.

Often in my work I advise someone to take a “sacred bath” — it is an easy and inexpensive ritual act that may be done at home whenever the need arises. Many of my clients know the basics of sacred bathing, quite a few of them have sacred bathing traditions in their own families. Even so we are well served in revisting the art of the sacred bath.

First we must ask ourselves, what is a sacred bath? I use the term sacred bath to denote a bath taken for ritual or ceremonial purposes as opposed to a bath taken only for physical cleaning. Sacred bathing is a tradition found throughout the world. The use of water in combination with the just right botanicals and minerals, blessings, and focused intention has been with us since ancient times. Special waters  herbs  roots, oils, and other preparations are often involved in sacred bathing. Blessing ways, petitions, affirmations or mantras may also be part of you sacred bath. Though sacred baths are taken for a variety of reasons, they usually have something to do with cleansing and purification of the body, mind, and spirit. To that end, let us consider the one element that every sacred bath has in common.

 

It all begins with water ~

Water is one of the four classical elements honored in the Western Sacred Arts, the element of Water is also acknowledged and represented in many Asian and African traditions as well. Universally water is seen as an ideal element to work with in rituals concerned with healing, restoration, and cleansing. It is also commonly included in ceremonies designed to deepen an individual’s relationship to their intuition and inner knowing.

Tales of sacred springs, holy lakes, and blessed bodies of waters populate both myth and fairy tales while even today in largely Catholic areas holy water is gathered and used in the daily blessing of family, home, and land.

Often the realm of the dead and the realm of the living are separated by, among other things, a river or body of water. This has found modern translation in the teaching that whenever one is visiting a graveyard or trafficking with  spirits of the dead,  a good way to cleanse away any negative or malicious energy is to cross running water either in a vehicle or by foot as the belief is that the departed will not be able to move past that natural boundary line. We also find the notion of water’s protective qualities emphasized in the belief that setting a glass of clean water on a bedside table may protect whoever slumbers from unwelcome nightmares.

With the level of emphasis placed on water it should come as no surprise that the kind of water we use in a sacred bath is quite important. In myth and folklore we often find very specific rites given that involve bathing is specific bodies of water at specific times of day and even during specific times of the year. To this day in many countries pilgrimages are made by people of all faiths to bodies of water that are believed to be particularly blessed.

For our purposes I will assume that sacred bathing is a rite my readers desire to perform at home, where there is not necessarily a sacred body of water near by. I will also note that for some of us who, like myself, live in water-poor parts of the world any body of water is sacred! No matter where you are bathing, it is always advised to procure water from a natural source usually a spring or underground natural aquifer.  If your water comes from a man-made reservoir or desalination plant for instance, you may want to represent water from a natural source by taking a cup or bowlful of spring, river, or lake water and adding it to your bath. If you choose to do this please note that some water does contain bacteria and other impurities that can be dangerous. Many rivers, streams, and springs have information about their bacteria levels available on the web, but if you cannot make sure that the water you have is safe then boiling it for at least ten minutes is a good way to quickly purify it for use.

Those are the outer, external considerations around the most essential element. But as you prepare your sacred bath, I encourage you to consider your inner relationship to the element of Water as well. What does water mean to you? What do you think and feel and envision when you hear the word “water”? How much water do you drink every day? How many ways do you use water on a daily basis? How many aspects of your life are directly supported by the presence of water? You are going to water for sacred purposes so take a few moments to reflect on your relationship to it, practically and spiritually, will do nothing but deepen your entire experience.

 

Name your purpose ~

After you have decided on the right source of water for your sacred bath you will want to take some time to think about why you are creating a bathing ceremony to begin with. What are the muddy footprints you are seeking to clean up after? When, where, and how did they appear in your life? Are you dealing with the debris that follows in the wake of lack of self-care? Are you seeking to heal a broken heart or bandage wounded pride? Is your desire to celebrate sensual beauty and pleasure? You can get clear on your intention by asking these two questions:
1.) What outer change am I looking for?
2.) What inner changes are required to support that outer change?

 

Then add Botanicals and Blessings ~

Your purpose or intention is what will guide your choices in botanical, mineral, and blessing elements to add to your sacred bath blend. While there are many herbal books and encyclopedias that will list out various plants and their spiritual associations and uses, I have been taught that the individual bathing should have their own relationship with whatever ingredients they choose to work with. If you grow plants yourself always look at your own garden for inspiration. If you responsibly wildcraft then take a walk in the woods and consider what botanicals might be willing to lend you their medicine. Of course you can always look at the books but starting in your own kitchen gives you a much more direct relationship with the entire process.

The same is true of the blessings, petitions, prayers, affirmations, mantras, or words of power that you intend to use. Your stated goal, the external change you are hoping to achieve, will go a long way in helping you determine the best way to make your prayer and bless yourself. If in doubt, you can always go with a general blessing like this Blessing of the Body.

This is also the part of the process where you consider what kind of bathing preparation you wish to create. Are you creating a mineral rich restorative bath soak? Are you going to create a delightfully fizzy bath bomb or a specialty bath melt? If you only have a shower and think that you cannot have a sacred bathing experience because you do not have a bath tub then I have news for you: a bundle of fresh herbs tied directly to your shower nozzle is fragrant and pure magic. For great ideas on the art of bathing and the many preparations that are possible I strong recommend the magazine Willow and Sage. Keep in mind that after taking your sacred bath you might want to anoint yourself with an oil, lotion, or dust yourself with powder – all of the same principles apply to making or choosing these formulas.

 

The Bath itself ~

As I always say, look first to your own traditions and the practices you have made your own — because water is such a universally recognized element and sacred bathing is a sacred art found world over, many of you will already have ways and means of sacred bathing that work beautifully for you. However, if you do not have a framework within which to work, then allow me to share some of my own approaches.

In my family sacred baths are usually taken at dawn because the sun is considered one of the most important celestial bodies to observe. At dawn the sun begins to rise and is viewed as both young and strong. Whenever we wish to draw something to us — be it cleansing, renewed health, love, wealth, or specific opportunities, we take our sacred bath at dawn to attune ourselves to that nascent solar potency. In rarer cases a sacred bath may be taken at dusk when the sun is setting. The purpose behind that choice is concerned with banishing something or someone from our lives — such as illness, cross words between friends, etc.

Lunar phases may also be taken into consideration following the common motif of working to draw good things to you during the period from the New Moon to the Full Moon and working to remove things from your life during the period from the Full Moon to the New.

Once you have decided on the right time for your ritual I recommend that you gather whatever you will need. Clean towels, clean clothes, and in many traditions clean shoes or socks are all highly recommended. If you are going to bed after your sacred bath then clean sheets and a lovely scent in your bedroom might be added to your list. If you are going to recite specific words during your sacred bath then have a copy of those words at the ready. Candles, essential oils or incense, music, and whatever other ceremonial items you may wish to have present can all play a role in your bathing experience. You might even want to have a special drink or delightful treat on hand as you bathe – it is traditional to end ceremonies with some kind of feast after all! You will also want a small cup or bowl, the purpose of which will be explained below.

The Details are in the Disposal ~

As I have been taught, the final part of the sacred bath is the most important. Once you have finished bathing you may wish to anoint yourself with an oil or lotion and/or dust yourself with powder. Traditions like African American Conjure place a great emphasis on allowing yourself to air dry. Other traditions such as Currendera encourage wrapping up in a special towel or blanket. Choose what makes sense and feels in best alignment with your stated purpose. The next step is the most critical: before draining the tub or stepping out of the shower you will want to collect some of the water with which you have bathed. This water now carries your imprint, your essence, and as such it has become a magical material. Like all such materials it must be disposed of with respect and purpose. So if your desire is to draw blessing and abundance then pour out the water at the base of a large and healthy tree facing east. If your desire to remove affliction pour the water out at a four way crossroads while facing west — and when you turn to go home go in a different direction than the one you came, and never, step back over the place where you have poured out the water.

Although the steps to sacred bathing may sound time consuming and exhausting at first, this really is one of the most simple and straightforward ritual acts you can perform. It is also a kind thing to do for yourself and your precious body – be careful, you may soon find that every bath you take becomes a sacred bath!

 

Spiritually Cleansing a space or vehicle~

A sacred bath is one approach (and my favorite) to spiritual cleansing, but it is important to keep in mind that the places and spaces we physically occupy can also accrue their own energetic funk and need to be cleaned up from time to time. When it comes to cleaning any physical space there are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind.

Clean from top to bottom (this is just practical sense, you dust before you vacuum) and back to front.  This applies whether you are cleaning a room, cubicle, entire house, or vehicle.  My favorite spiritual cleansing agent is one that my mother and I make every year — we call it Momma Hen’s Fabulous ‘n’ Famous floor wash. I also like Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena scented products which are made from essential oils, are biodegradable, and phosphate free. Lemon Verbena is one of many herbs used to spiritually clean, unlock doors, open the way, and attract good luck.  As always consider what botanicals are your natural allies in this endeavor.

Whether cleaning a single room, home, or vehicle start in the back and move to the front. When cleaning multiple rooms after the first room has been dusted, mopped, and vacuumed you can say a blessing over the space, light a bit of incense, and/or light a small candle.

If you have co-workers who are negative and difficult for you to be around, stuck in a job that is not rocking your world, or dealing with aggressive supervisors then magically cleaning your work space, office, or cubicle is a good idea. Follow the same basic guidelines for cleaning a house. Obviously, skip lighting the candle or incense, reciting the blessing is just fine. If vacuuming is not feasible then lightly dust your area with finely ground botanicals you associate with abundance and good fortune.

Vehicles are another area that can benefit from spiritual cleanings.  Again, the principle is the same: cleanse from top to bottom and back to front.  Make sure that you clean the inside and outside of the vehicle, including the tires.

In closing I would simply say that it is not merely coincidental and that in myth, in folklore, and in many spiritual traditions that art of sacred bathing and spiritual cleaning are strong emphasized. During these acts more than perhaps any other we are able to fully see ourselves – our broken places, our beauty, and our blessings. From that clear vision we are able to call in all that is whole-making, healing, and holy – what greater magic is there?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to Make Homemade Florida Water

Alchemy and Magic

D

ear Miracles: Today a little kitchen magic DIY for your reading pleasures! Join me in my momma’s kitchen as we make Florida water and homemade rosewater.


Florida
comes from the Spanish word meaning flower “flore” so florida water basically means flower water. (The correct way to say flower water en Espanol is actually agua de flores, of which a lovely reader reminded me). The company Lanman and Murray has been making a commercial version of Florida Water since the 19th century. There are hundreds of recipes for florida water and it is used in all kinds of spiritual activities-from cleansing, blessing, and protecting, to offerings for the ancestors, to healing and removing negativity.

I make my own Florida Water and each batch is slightly different because I use whatever aromatic flowers and herbs are available at the time. Florida water is quite commonly made with alcohol-which adds to its cooling effect.

Below are two recipes that Momma Hen and I recently worked with to create our Spring/Summer batches of Florida Water:

 

Momma Hen’s Rose-a-licious Florida Water:

  • 3-4 bottles of a commercial Florida water of your choice
  • 3 cups roses (we prefer strongly scented antique roses and have over 200 varieties to choose from in our gardens)
  • 3 cups Jasmine flowers
  • 3 cups aromatic greens like mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, basil, Mexican mint marigold, thyme)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

You can use fresh flowers and plants for this recipe. Combine all ingredients together on the new moon and allow to sit for a full lunation. Strain out plant material, add any essential oils you like,  then bottle, spritz, sprinkle, and go to town!

 

A recipe for Florida Water than involves cooking:

This is a recipe that I created and involved cooking the ingredients on low either at the stove or crock pot.

  • 5 cups of Vodka
  • 9 cinnamon sticks
  • 18 all-spice berries
  • one orange peel (preferably dried)
  • 3 cups rose petals (fresh or dried)
  • 3 cups Jasmine flowers (fresh to get the scent)
  • three bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup dried angelica root
  • 1 cup aromatic green herbs

Add dried ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes on low. Be careful inhaling the fumes–at this point it will be very Vodka-y. Then add fresh flowers and greens. Cook for 30-45 minutes on low/med-low or even longer. Stir occasionally and then sniff test. You want the botanicals to start outweighing the vodka in your sniff test.

Take off stove, cool, and add any essential oils you like! Bottle, spritz, and sprinkle away!

Rosewater 

And while we were at it-we decided to make homemade rosewater! Usually rosewater is clear and is actually rose hydrosol (the fragrant water created during the process of extracting essential oils from plants and flowers), but there are old recipes for making rosewater using roses (of course) and alcohol (we worked with vodka).

The result is a beautiful dusky rose liquid that smells HEAVENLY. Rosewater is used in blessing work and in love drawing rites.

Sacred Waters and Washes have been used throughout time and are especially loved in climates where its hot for much of the year-nothing cools you down like a quick spray-but if the spray smells good and its magical even better! It is my hope that with a few recipes you can now experiment making your own flower waters.

For those of you who love kitchen magic–have you ever made flower waters before, and if so, how do you work with them?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.