Hearth and Home Vol. 8 – Refilling the Cup

Learning and Community

M

iracles,

Happy October!!! On the night of September 30th, as I was cleaning up from the Archangel Michael Feast Day, I glanced at my October calendar, and nearly started to hyperventilate. Oh. My. Goodness. We are now full-on in the season of magic, which means that I am full-on busy, add to that all of the school functions that happen in October, the birthdays (mine!!!) and anniversaries (also mine!!!) that also occur in October.

Looking at October, I began to feel what I can only describe as dread at all the busy-ness, which is NOT how I wanted to go into the month. So I stopped before panic mode truly set in, and I asked myself: OK, Bri – you know you have a lot going on this month, so what practices do you need to be really vigilant about in order to enjoy your favorite month of the year?

I thought about this question, and I felt into it just as I have my students do. I realized that I needed to commit to practices that really support me in feeling expansive when it comes to time and space. The month had not even started and I was feeling like I did not have either! For me, these practices are active imagination journeys – the kind we do in Spinning Gold and the kind I have taught in the Miracle Tree Sessions for several years now. They always begin with cultivating calmness, then my working place in the Otherworld always starts at the crossroads and I go from there. I was telling a friend of mine that the first part of the year, right up to this month, has felt like a huge out-breath. It has been so active. I have been so active. Writing a book, having a baby, traveling quite a bit over the summer, a full roster of students that I work with one on one…all really good things that I absolutely love and also all very outwardly active experiences.

Now that the skies are grayer and the weather will (maybe? hopefully!) start to cool down, I was struck so profoundly with the need to go inwards. For me that is more quiet time in my daily practice and prayers, planning with an eye to next year, and reading, reading, reading. I stayed away from reading books while I was writing my own because I needed to WRITE, but now I am making up for lost time and averaging about a book a day. Not even kidding. I’m reading fiction, non-fiction, and everything in between. I am spending time listening to podcasts and just soaking in inspiration and ideas and gorgeous words. This is better than any ten thousand dollar retreat – holding Heath, reading or listening to something interesting, then turning to my husband and talking with him about it. This, my friends, is pure gold in Briana-land.

So I’m reading, I’m cooking more, I’m making time and space to write, I’m playing with my three month old, I’m snuggling down with my seven year old and telling him a different version of Blue Beard or the Twelve Dancing Princesses or Iron Heinrich every night. I’m listening to my Holy Helpers. I feel the next wave of creative ideas and inspiration coming.  I can see the shadows that wave is casting – good, robust, luminous-on-the-inside shadows. I can taste its depths, and I am taking care of myself, re-filling my cup, so that when it is ready to crest I will be ready.

These realizations turned what was looking like a pretty scraggly cat of a month into something glossy and plump, wild, and wise. A time of year that I am actually going to linger through and savor and enjoy. My birthday is this month on October 13th and on that same day Heath turns four months old. He continues to be a really happy child, reminding me to RELAX and PLAY and have FUN. Our seven year old, Jasper, teaches me how to be patient and to live within my creativity. J is a deeply artistic child (I’ve shared some of his drawings before and those of you who have met him in real life know what I am talking about). He is the kind of child who does not do something creative, he lives it. By which I mean, he has to be reminded as all 7 year olds do, to put on shoes and brush teeth and feed fish, but he does not have to be asked to play the piano from hi heart or to sit down and draw or to build something out of Jenga blocks. He just does it, as naturally as you please. And sometimes it is funny and sometimes it is weird, and sometimes it is deeply divine and makes you feel like angels striding through your living room. That is living within our creativity. My 7 year old is an excellent teacher and I am trying to keep up with the lessons.

This is also the month when I celebrate being married to be the most incredible man – for twelve years now! David is the best husband, best dad, best partner is business and in life I could ever have been blessed with. He is without a doubt my person, my guy, my love. Both my birthday and our anniversary will be celebrated with good food and forays into the forests as soon as the weather cools down and the mosquitoes become a little less blood thirsty. As I dance into my 38th year I just feel so grateful. So grateful to our gorgeous community, so grateful that I get to wake up and do work that I love with people that I love every single day. So grateful that my beloved and I get to spend our days together, working, wrangling, and loving each other as we do. It is not always easy, this magical, enchanted life; but I would not trade it for anything, and I cannot pretend to be anything other than deeply blessed. So many of you who are reading this have helped make that possible in countless big and small ways. My gratitude to all of you is truly boundless. And I have so many fun things coming up in 2019 to help show that gratitude. I cannot wait to tell you all about them – soon, soon!

A bunch of you have asked about the book and what is happening with it now. So we are now in the copy-editing phase of the production. This is a different kind of editing than what we were engaged in before – if book production was compared to a manicure, then this part is the application of the clear, fast drying top coat. It is important because it brings yet another level of cohesion to the entire manuscript (and it has us all bowing down in devotion to the Chicago Manual of Style). We are now in the last leg of the book formation journey. Any small changes I want to make to the book have to be made by October 31st (yes I know, how perfect is that?).  After that day, any changes start to slow down the next leg of the book birthing process. So I am lingering over my book this month, spending a lot of time with it, taking it for walks, for long baths, going over every word and sentence, story and idea, because once it is out in the world on shelves and in hands, it is not mine any longer, it becomes yours, all of yours, and I want to give you something lovely and thought provoking and well-made.

I am also in the endorsement gathering phase. Getting endorsements is straight up going out into a neighborhood and knocking on a bunch of doors, and asking people who are known to be gifted in seeing and assessing and blessing if they will spare the time and the effort and take a moment to bless you, to bless your work. That’s what you are doing: you are asking for and gathering up blessings. It takes courage. Sometimes the answer is no. But often the answer is yes and the blessing received is so much more than the seeker could have ever imagined. There are more pieces around the book that I will be asking you about soon as I need your input and opinions.

I’ve also turned my attention to writing new material, starting with a long article about Witches that many of you emailed me about and generously shared your thoughts. I love those exchanges. It usually takes me a few days to get back to all of the emails but I love them. It means so much and it is such a blessing to be able to hear what you have to say, what my words encourage you to think about and speak out about in your own lives. That is, hands down, my favorite part of the internet, and we do not even have to do it through social media! I can just write something and send it out to y’all and y’all show up with brilliance every single time. How stellar is that?

So I wrote earlier about re-filling my cup, and here are some of the ways I have been doing it. I have been reading this and this and this. Listening to this. Playing with this and covering myself with these. And I have also made some things for you because I love making things for you. I wrote a little guide on how to incorporate astrology into your planning processes – I call it Planning by Starlight and you can snag it here – totally free: enjoy! I have a blessing for the New Moon in Libra right here for you. And I also want to remind you that I have a litany of blessings if you ever need to be washed over with blessings. Theresa and I have a new podcast episode up. There are also a bunch of articles on working with, honoring, and celebrating our Beloved Dead as we enter into Ancestor Season. And reminder, if you want to know what the latest offerings are, you need to sign up for this email list as I keep this one commercial free. And I wish this for you: a decadent, delicious, sweet as honey, October for you – a time that you are really able to enjoy and appreciate and dive into.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 7: Refusing to Bounce Back

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

Blessed and beautiful New Moon in va-va-voom Virgo! Here is a blessing I wrote for the occasion. It honors our hands – literal, metaphorical, and everything in between. Y’all know I love Virgos – my momma and my BFF are both Virgos and my Venus is in Virgo – so yes, planners, labels, and the Container Store are all catnip to me.

I sat down to write this letter and could not believe that a month has passed since sending a missive out to you all. So much happens for families with school age children those last weeks of August and first weeks of September.We have to get ready for BACK TO SCHOOL with the parent meetings and the parent-teacher meetings, and the parent-teacher-child meetings. I always do a blessing for J whenever he heads back to the classroom and this year I incorporated this delightful oil into the ceremony. I am happy to report on behalf of my precious one that “First grade is awesome, I love it.”

On a more somber note, I have heard from so many of you over the course of the year that you would like to have some instructions or how-to on creating a ritual to protect your school age children in this crazy time when the simple act of going to school can feel so very unsafe. I hear the requests. I see the need. I am on it. When I have it finished, I will make it available here and obviously it will be free.

Amid all of the back to school action, Heath, turned two months and soon he will be three months old – I can hardly believe it, y’all. He is already starting to teethe, which is crazy to my mind, but there you go. He talks and smiles and is ridiculously cute, fun, and cuddly. He teaches me every day, reminding me to be fully present right here and right now.

One of his greatest teachings to me is how to be flexible. For instance, I have a daily journaling practice that I am committed to. Usually I journal first thing in the morning, but for the past few weeks that wasn’t working so well because the morning time is busy with getting J ready for school and then taking care of Heath and all of our creatures. By the time I got to the journaling part, I felt like I had no time, so my entries were rushed and crammed. I decided to switch it up and the relief I felt (and the expansiveness of the entries) was immediate. Babies teach you to pay attention to where you are and to calibrate and re-calibrate as much as you need to: assume nothing!

In the midst of life happening with the boys, two other amazing things happened. Spinning Gold was launched and I am stunned yet again at the gorgeous community of souls that has gathered around this work of my heart. One of my alumni students told me that this course and the practices in it are her spiritual anchors – how humbled I was to hear that! Another, new student, told me a story about how she had wanted to take this course four years ago when I first offered it and every year was not the right time, and finally, finally, this year WAS. I love stories like that. (If you are interested btw, you can still register here as I always do a soft close for this program).

We also just launched the 2019 Book of Hours – yes, because some of us really do start planning for next year in the fine month of September, and I created the Astro RX 2019 page where you can find a bunch of essential astro dates and the questions to consider during them.

And in the middle of all of that, I finished my work for my book! Yes!!! I am happy to announce that Making Magic has come through her micro-editing process and is now off to the copy editors. My editor Amy has been just a joy to work with. I feel very blessed on this count because I have heard many HORROR stories about editors and writers and book editing and that has not been my experience at all.

We authors are the ones with our names on the book cover, but believe me, a book is just like a child in the sense that it truly does take a village. Making Magic has been touched by so many gracious and gentle hands and I am deeply grateful for it. (Psst: to see some of Amy’s brilliant editing in play check out this wonderful book by Sarah Bamford Seidelmann).

Because we are running ahead of schedule with my book, I will get the copy-edited version to review in the last days of October which strikes me as perfect timing given the fact that it will be deep Ancestor season and so my Beloved Dead can assist me with the copy-editing process by looking over my shoulder (hopefully in approval!) Even more kismet – the day the book actually goes to print will be on my husband’s birthday, and believe when when I say that there would be no book without his editorial hawkishness, brilliant mind, and deeply loving heart.

Now that my book has gone off to its next layer of polishing, and I have survived the Back to School craze as well as the re-entry after being away from Texas for a month, I am settling back into my routine. I started spinning again (you know, the crazy exercise routine on a stationary bike) which felt SO good after being away for basically 5 months. My goal the first day was just to stay on the bike because it had been awhile and giving birth is a transformative experience for our physical bodies. I would not say that I have experienced it as physically traumatic (although I know many women do) but  definitely physically altering.

There is so much pressure to “bounce back”, by which people usually mean, fit into your old, pre-pregnancy pair of jeans. This, to my way of thinking, is nuts. It reminds me of what I tell clients who are seeking out magical help to heal a broken relationship. In many cases reconciliation CAN happen, but you aren’t going to go back to the relationship you had before – that’s done with. Having a child is the same. You may be able to fit into those pre-pregnancy jeans and you may not; but even if you can, it doesn’t mean for a second that you have “returned to normal” – as if being pregnant isn’t normal and staying the same jean size your whole life is…seriously, who comes up with these ideas?

The pressure to “bounce back” is not limited to pregnancy and birth by the way. I have had women tell me they heard it from friends and family after undergoing major surgeries, in some cases losing their ability to have children, losing a job or partner, or experiencing some other kind of deep grief. I don’t hear it from my male clients and students at all. Instead I hear from them that they are not allowed to show any change of vulnerability in the first place – in other words, they don’t need to “bounce back” because they are never to be knocked off track in the first place. So here is your PSA if you are dealing with any change, any grief, any hard time: You are not made of teflon, you are flesh, blood, bone, and breath. You are not made to bounce, period. (Unless you are in a trampoline in which case, bounce away friends). Refuse to bounce back – it is a revolutionary stance!

So, now that I am back into the new/old/new routine I also have time to start writing again! I had this moment earlier in the week when I remembered: I am a writer. Which means my work is to write. Which means I need to schedule time in my work day, everyday, to write. I know that probably sounds pretty obvious, but when you have a thriving Sacred Arts business as I do, two little children, a bevy of beautiful students, and you also make magic on behalf of yourself and others – fitting in something else can be tricky. Realizing that writing is an essential (and growing) part of my daily work was the shift in perspective that needed to occur. And it allows me to leave you with a teaser that I’ll be sharing some thoughts on the witch trend that is happening right now as well as the power of discomfort.

I also have plans to be more present at Canto – I have several product reviews I want to share with you all, and I am opening up the comments there so that all of you have a place to express yourselves and ask questions that is not owned by some technocratic monopoly. In fact, if you want to comment on this letter you can do so right here.

In the meantime I am reading this and this and enjoying both of them very much, and I just finished this and it was delightful.

Much love and Happy New Moon magic-making!

What are you refusing to bounce back from?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Angel in the Aisle ~ a prayer story for New Moon in Taurus

Uncategorized

M

iracles,

Last week, after returning from one trip and preparing for another, I had the great fortune of finding myself at my local grocery store in that perfect time when the after-school crowd and the getting-out-of-work crowd come together in a shock wave of shining cars and shopping carts.

I had my list, and I was, like most there, harried and hurried.

But then I fell into line behind a man who had seen many years and yet still retained the bright and child-eyed wonder where true youth always lives.

He moved slowly; and, for some reason, I did not jet past as I might have, but instead fell into step behind him, rounding the corner from the coffee into the fish and seafood department.

There he stopped at the counter and smiled in perfect, genuine kindness and spoke, slowly, to the fishmonger, who looked so surprised that someone was taking time to actually see him and speak to him, as a person.

I listened, eavesdropping without shame, for I swore to wisdom long ago that whatever form it took, when I found it, I would follow.

And when the man had shared a recipe and asked after the fishmonger’s mother (she had been ill), then he (and I) continued on into the meat department.

Where one of my favorite butchers was unloading boxes and my unwitting companion and I could both see that the man was not his usual bright and cheerful self.

So the little old man asked why, and what is wrong, and the butcher told him how his hands were hurting something fierce, and I could see the fear in his eyes that maybe this pain was not temporary but something more permanent…and what would that mean for him, and his family, and his work?

The man offered condolences and stood there for a moment with the butcher just being quiet and together. And then he touched him on the arm and continued on his way, and I saw that he had left a little wake of healing behind him.

Onto the bakers we went (I was keeping a good distance back because angels tend to know when they are being followed) and at the baker’s bay, the little old man, with his polyester pants pulled up to his chest and his white cotton v-neck shirt tucked in with military precision, inquired how the baker had been, and the baker pulled out his phone in delight and started showing the man pictures of his grandchild and the cake he had made for her birthday.

Somehow I had a cart full of groceries, and when I turned to grab one more thing and then turned back, I was not surprised to find the little old man with the very bright eyes was nowhere to be found.

On most New Moons, I send out a blessing; but for this one I wanted to share a story instead, a story that might serve as a little reminder about how we can be a blessing to each other – every single one of us, every day.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Prayer for Prisoners ~ New Moon in Pisces

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

Today the moon is New in Pisces; a sign that I am deeply fond of as both my husband and son are fabulous fish!

Pisces is commonly known as the sign of artists, dreamers, and mystics, but what is less understood is that Pisces is also traditionally affiliated with the concept of prison, restriction, and self-imprisonment.

In my Baptist upbringing I was taught that bondage can be literal and physical, spiritual and emotional, or all of the above. While there were many teachings in my church experience I find deep fault with, this one carried a deep ring of truth with it. Imagine my surprise when, years later in college I would study the writings of a slave named Epictetus who said the same thing thousands of years ago and then went on to advise the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

I love all of my students and everyone that I am privileged to work with and for, but the prisoners I have known and worked with carry a special place in my heart. I don’t ever advertise my pro-bono services but the clients I do take on for pro-bono work are those that are incarcerated, coming out of incarceration, or in some cases, going in. Somehow they find me and together we work to make things a little bit better.

Prisoners are all too often unseen and unheard and our current system of incarceration makes continual family support next to impossible to achieve – ironically, at a time when it is probably needed the very most – but I wrote this prayer not just for the literal prisoners and those in locked institutions. I wrote it for everyone who has ever felt imprisoned – be it in a category, a set of walls, a body, language, place, or state of mind that allows little in the way of clean air and freedom to come in.

As the sign affiliated with those who have experienced prison, Pisces is also the sign of mercy and compassion and it is my hope that this blessing will deliver some of both to all who feel that they have been locked in, locked down, and imprisoned.

Prisoner’s Prayer

Blessed be the prisoners.

Those that are literally on lock down in order to keep them from hurting themselves or others, in order to keep them safer than they would be otherwise, in order to keep  them controlled, because of justice and because of injustice. 

Blessed be the prisoners.
Those that are politically, economically, and spiritually bound up so that there is not the freedom to do and to be, to think, to say, to act, to worship, to love, and to bless in the ways that are most right and best for them.

Blessed be the prisoners.
And the ones that love them; their families, their friends, lovers, children, colleagues, prayer groups and congregations of all kinds who wish to be near their beloveds, to be able to say the word or give the touch that can bring hope and healing in its wake, and who, through no fault of their own, must struggle so to offer even that.

Blessed be the prisoners.
In the prisons of iron and concrete, in the prisons of word and ideal, in the prisons of poverty, ignorance, and despair, and in the prisons of the barbed wire wrapped heart, no matter where they dwell, they are seen and they are known by those who care to look within their communities and within their mirrors.

Blessed be the prisoners.
Who have committed the errors and the acts unspeakable and feel that now, there is nothing left to do but wait for death, for no redemption is possible.

Blessed be the prisoners.
The ones who will stay behind bars forever and the ones who live every day lives nevertheless seeking the ability to slip out and away from the bondage that takes on so many different colors, shapes, sizes, and forms.

Blessed be the prisoners.
Within or outside of their jail cells and dungeons and traps of all kinds may they look within, not without, and discover the ocean of freedom welling up and washing over their scarred and sacred hearts.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

A Gathering Prayer ~ New Moon in Aquarius

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

For the times when we celebrate a brightly black New Moon in Aquarius. The week leading up to this moon has seen many different communities coming together in a variety of ways which is absolutely in alignment with the politically and communally minded sign of Aquarius. And so, it is time for a Gathering Prayer.

A Gathering Prayer

Blessed be our ways of coming together.

First let us come together within ourselves, seeing clearly all our parts – the places that yearn to help and be of service, the places that are afraid, the places that are led by the empty echo chamber of shallow voice and shallow thought, and the places that are deep enough to speak directly to the core of who we are.

Next let us come together with our beloveds, hands joining hands joining hands, creating a gateway of fingers and arms, solid bodies, and sure voices that can open and close with ease as we affirm that these things are precious, not to be trifled with nor denigrated or abused and if you are of the same mind then welcome home, we have been waiting, and we are so glad that you are here.

Then let us come together with the strangers, the ones we do not know or recognize upon first, second, even third glance. The ones who look and sound different, think differently, act strangely, remembering that there are infinite ways of coming together so that we might come together like a big bowl of posole where some ingredients are cooked longer and others receive less time at the fire, and there are many different tastes and together in just the right ratios they are pure magic.

Finally let us come together with our enemies, for we cannot be fully together with those we do not know, those we love, and our own selves if we cannot also look at those who would do us harm with love; knowing that there are many ways to come together so that we might come together like the prickly pear cactus does with the oak – mostly giving space and good distance from each other as they hold to an invisible line but every now and then forming the most unlikely of unions.

Let us come together, let us come to gather, and as we do may we remember the circling of stars, the drumbeat of heart, the dance of blood cells and all the perennial common grounds to which the differences, disagreements, and despairs of separateness will return once more.

 

(Photo credit: still from the fantastic film Winged Migration)

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon Blessing in Honor of Libra ~ A Blessing for the Hard Times

Lunar Letter

M

iracles, On September 30th we greet the new month with a New Moon at 8 degrees Libra, at 7:12 PM cdt.

Libra, sign of love and partnership among other attributes encourages us to inquire about what new aspect of love am I ready to explore?

In my Sacred Artists group on Facebook I wrote a few days ago about the need to bless even and especially the hard stuff, the tough stuff, all of the things that you would rather not deal with in the first place.

It is easy to turn our backs on difficulties, easy to close our eyes and pretend that they are not there. But that is not the way of the soulful seeker now is it?

No, we look at the good, the bad, and the ugly, with eyes wide open faith. That act is, in and of itself an act of love.

This is a blessing for the hard times.

New Moon Blessing for Libra, October 2016

Today we call upon and ask for aid not from the ones that are clean and bright, always pure and always good.

Rather, let us speak to the Saints and Angels who carry muddy wings, halos made of broken glass, and hemlines that have been dragged through the depths not once but many times.

They are the ones who will walk with us to the places where other angels fear to tread, and they are the ones who will stand with during the encounters that can turn us into stone.

Let us remember that no matter the faith or path or place of worship the holy ones are more often than not the ones who have let their hearts be pierced by the broken places and the blessings time over time again.

May we be blessed in our own time of knees on the ground keening with the ability to remember that we are held close and sure by those Saints and Angels – that we are now in their territory and they have our backs and that the heart that is pierced is the heart that is brave enough to love unbounded.

May we remember too that our ancestors know the road we walk because we follow in their footsteps, and they stand with us in constant, radiating love.

Bless us as we call upon our descendants, all who come after us, all whose lives are touched by the ways we live our own, reminding us that this time of difficulty will become one of the most radiant threads in the weaving of our lives.

Hold us as we breathe; for in difficult times breathing in and out is sometimes the best and only blessing we are capable of.

And remove any and all scales from our eyes so that, when the dust has settled and the sun has risen once more we look in the mirror and see a familiar sight:

Muddy wings, a halo made of broken glass, a hemline that has gone through the very depths, pierced and sacred heart capable of loving more, ever ready to call out the blessings waiting in the most broken places.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon Blessing of Hands in Honor of Virgo

Lunar Letter

Dear Miracles,

September 1st ushers in a New Moon and Annular Solar Eclipse at 9 degrees Virgo, 4:04 AM cdt.

With all of the action in Virgo now is the perfect time to ask: What am I ready to devote myself to?

For me, I’m devoted to blessings. I favor a blessing much more than a piece of advice and I continue to feel thrilled and stunned at the brilliant, unique, one-of-a-kind ways that people find to bless each other.
New Moon Blessing for Virgo, September 2016

Blessed be your hands.

In whatever shape they might be in, however much they do or do not do every single day – let us take space now to bless them.

For they touch, and in touching they connect; in touching they heal.

For they hold, and in holding they fasten down what needs to be fastened down and let loose that which is ready to fly.

For they create, reaching all the way back through language and tongue and remembering that to create is simply to do…anything, as best we can.

For they are precious with their fluttering out palms, open like little satellite dishes taking in information from all directions, all places, all people.

For they carry scars and lines crisscrossing the wide and tender terrain of palm, speaking of journeys your people have traveled over and over again.

For they can curve inward making the strong, striking, fist that declares – here is where I stand and say, no more, enough is enough, be gone now.

For they are wildly colorful in their whites and blacks, browns, pinks, creams, reds, blues, purples, yellows, and greens, paint-spattered, carrying clay under the nail, ink-covered, tattooed by intention and happenstance.

For they can carry what needs to be carried and hold onto those who will carry you from time to time.

Blessed be your hands. Palm against palm, fingers tangled together speaking to each other once more before continuing on with their good work.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.