Creating Ceremony Lesson Three: Say it Loud

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles, creating

Welcome to the third lesson of the Creating Ceremony series! I call this one “Say it Loud” because that is what we are going to do.

At this point you have banished and then done what is probably the trickiest part of creating effective ceremonies – you have waited and communed with the Otherworld.

You are now ready to say your prayer, make your petition, state your intention, and/or declare your goal.

Magical ceremonies follow the same laws of physical matter in many ways. For instance, the law of Mass-Conservation tells us that matter is neither created nor destroyed – it only changes forms. This is true of magic too. When we create ceremonies we should think less about creating something out of nothing or annihilating something else – rather, we should think of our work as arranging and re-arranging things for the best possible result.

Keep this in mind as you create those petitions, prayers, and intentions.

Take some time to come up with the ‘just right’ statement. You will most likely need to journal and reformulate your words a few times until they have the flow you want.

That flow, by the way, is very subjective. For some people their petitions need to be as brief and simple as possible, for others they want long, flowery prose, some folks prefer to weave in words from other languages, while others like to write their petition in verse.

I often chant my petitions over and over again and/or sing them so personally that I prefer shorter petitions with rhythm and rhyme.

If you get stuck in this process, these prompts might help you:

What is the current situation I want to transform?

How do I want to transform it?

Who is going to help me do that? (This prompt is really asking you to consider what Holy Helpers will be allies for you in this endeavor but it might also bring up allies present right here and right now).

What is the final outcome and/or the possibility that I am yearning for?

Once you have created your petition, prayer, or intention I encourage you to say it and say it loud. There is deep magic in working with our voices and letting them be heard. Some schools of magic call this the “power of utterance.” So write it down, carve it on a candle, inscribe it in clay, but say it out loud too – once or many times.

xo
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Magical Missive: Nailed It!

Alchemy and Magic

M

iracles,

While much of magic is concerned with change and transformation there are also times in life where what we are seeking after is less change, less movement, but rather stability and certainty; times when we want to nail it! In these cases we can turn to a special family of rituals that center around the act of nailing or pinning something down, fixing it to a point of stillness and (semi) permanence. My favorite example of this from childhood is Peter Pan’s need to fix his shadow back to himself, that is a storybook case of nailing something down.

Outside of fairy tales, when we encounter a situation, like a great new job or a piece of land we feel called to protect, that we want to stabilize and keep fixed to ourselves, then we are ready to enact this kind of magic. As Sacred Artists and soulful seekers though we always begin our outer magical work with some inner questions both to help us gain clarity about what we are actually trying to accomplish and to enable us to write the best petition for our ritual work once we are ready to move forward with it. Before nailing or pinning anything down it is important to get clear on what it is exactly that you want to nail down and why. For instance, you may want to nail down a piece of land that has been in your family for many generations that one of your siblings wishes to sell. If your intention is to nail down the piece of property and then live on it and/or maintain it in perpetuity then all is well, but if your intention is to nail down the property and then sell a few years down the road at a higher rate then be aware that once you have nailed down something it is deeply connected to you and selling, getting rid of, or exchanging the nailed down item for something else may be quite complicated. This is because when we magically work to nail something down we are actually expressing through ritual a deep and abiding commitment to whatever it is we want to stabilize and secure. That commitment works both ways – if done properly the nailed down item will be stabilized and secured and/but you will also be on the hook and responsible for it going forward. For this reason it makes sense to only nail down things that you really can consistently show up for and be committed to.

What can be nailed down:

Land – in the oldest rites for nailing or pinning down something – rites which we can find world over in various forms – land, and later, homes, are usually the first items that are secured. A piece of land may be nailed down so that it remains in a specific community or family line forever. A home may be nailed down so that it remains connected to a specific piece of land, individual person, entire community, or specific family line. Because in so many cultures even today obtaining “ownership” or stewardship over a piece of land is a mark of success and viewed as the beginning of a new and better life, the act of nailing down a piece of land and/or any dwellings upon it is still quite popular. During the housing crisis in America I saw a spike in my own practice of people asking to have their land or property nailed down so that it would not go into foreclosure or so that, if it had, they could get it back.

Jobs – Like land and homes, many of us have an ideal job and once we attain it we may choose to stabilize the situation by nailing it down. This is usually performed with high earning jobs or dream jobs. It is not advisable for jobs where there is room for promotion and advancement because when you nail down a job you nail down that specific job and position, often making later advancement more difficult for yourself. In certain cases the intention may be not only to nail down the job but also to nail down the moment when the individual is at the height of their earning potential, so if you love your job and know that you are making as much money as you can possibly make from it then you might consider nailing it down.

Relationships – There are some relationships that can very much benefit from being nailed down. Typically these are not romantic in nature but beneficial in some specific way, such as a mentor/mentee relationship or a relationship between a source of spiritual support (like a minister or priestess) and an individual who is unstable and trying to become more stable, such as an addict. Another situation where I have seen relationships positively nailed down is between individuals who are chronically ill or differently abled and a medical team that they have a great rapport with. The risk that nailing down a relationship runs is that the relationship becomes stagnant, outdated, and is then difficult to move on from when the time is right. For this reason while nailing down relationships that need to be fixed and stable is tempting, I always prefer (and advise) that people work with something less coercive (like a sugar jar).

Health – Good health can be nailed down as can a certain level of fitness, youth, or even an ideal weight. Again, think carefully and feel into the situation before taking action. If you are one of those people constantly seeking to improve your health, appearance, or waistline (I’m looking at you Virgo) then nailing down a specific moment in time will frustrate you as it becomes difficult to improve upon it. If, however, you have just come out of cancer treatment and received the good news that you are cancer free then you may well want to nail down that moment.

Finances – One of my friends used to run a hedge fund on Wall Street and he told me that everyone should have a number, a financial, monetary number, that once reached is enough. Everyone’s number is different of course depending on what your needs actually are but everyone should have one. If you know your number then when you attain it you may want to nail it down, ensuring that you do not go past it or dip beneath it.

Identity – While in most cases a sense of semi-fluid and shifting identity is beneficial and keeps us from becoming overly fixed into a single way of being or too rigid, in some cases an individual really will benefit more from a definite and fixed sense of identity. This can be a very useful magical support for people who experience a regular loss of a sense of self due to external events that they only have limited control over or internal situations (such as mental disequilibrium) that they are actively working with and treating. For minority and disenfranchised groups there is a great deal of work to be done around reclaiming a healthy and proper sense of personal as well as group identity so when that work is done and an individual feels that they have really uncovered and reclaimed their true, essential self, they may want to nail that down as well.

Mastery – Skill building and development when practiced consistently can lead to mastery. While true masters are the first to tell us that they never stop learning, there are certain times when individuals may want to nail down a specific skill that they have mastered so that they have access to it going forward. The challenge with this is that it can keep you from expanding your knowledge and learning even more.

Accountability situations – a new exercise regime, nutrition plan, daily practice, or any kind of situation where you want to be disciplined and accountable is also game for being nailed down. Again, the limitation here is that if the system stops being supportive or needs to be changed in some way then it becomes much harder to do that.

Baneful situations – occasionally in our lives we experience malevolent energies, evil situations and/or people that need to be nailed down not so that they are stabilized but rather so that they are immobilized and cannot harm any longer. Some traditions refer to this as binding and it can be done as a literal binding but in situations like this we can also work with nails to great effect.

Tools for nailing down:

Old railroad spikes – these are the big spikes that are used to connect and nail down railroad tracks. They are worked with almost exclusively in nailing down pieces of property and/or physical dwellings. Railroad spikes are especially valued for this kind of magic because they are made of iron which is an incredibly magical material. You cannot pry them out of railroad tracks because that will make trains derail. You can pick them up along side of the tracks although technically that is illegal unless you have the permission of the railway company. You can also purchase them from some spiritual suppliers.

Old Iron Nails (usually square cut) – these are old fashioned nails used primarily in wood working that can still be found at a good hardware store, on the web, and in stock with certain spiritual suppliers. they are usually made of iron which as stated above is beloved for its magical, specifically protective qualities. Iron nails can be worked with in place of railroad spikes when the land or dwelling that needs to be nailed down is smaller or the nailing down needs to be more subtle.

Pins or Needles – Pins or needles can be worked with in nailing down items from all of the above categories with the exception of land or dwellings. Silver pins and needles are the best to work with but any kind can do in a pinch.

Coffin Nails – these are exactly what they sound like, nails that were used in the construction of a coffin. Coffin nails are worked with when a baneful situation is being addresses or when someone wants their ancestral lines to support them in their work.

Techniques for nailing down:

Land/home – When it comes to nailing down land and/or a physical dwelling the process is pretty straightforward. In the case of a physical dwelling you will need to note every corner of the dwelling – so many houses have four corners but some have more, depending on the shape and size of the house. You are looking at the outer corners of the home, the ones you can see when you walk around the building. In the case of a piece of land you need to note the exact shape of the lot and how many corners it has.

Once you know how many corners you are working with procure that number of railroad spikes or iron nails.

During sunrise go out and begin placing spikes in the ground at the corners you have noted. The spikes need to go into the ground and should be driven in all the way so that only their tops flush against the ground. This may take some preparation on your part as you may need to deal with materials like concrete or asphalt that cannot have spikes driven into them with ease. There is no workaround for this – if you want to nail down the property or dwelling the spike or nail needs to go directly into the ground.

As you nail in each spike recite your petition or prayer. You can pray straight from your heart or you can use the following petition:

Blessed Ones in whom I live, move, and breathe. From you all emerges and unto you it shall return. Aid and assist me as I work in nailing down {name whatever you are nailing down} so that it is safe, secure, stable, and bound to me as I am bound to it ever more. May it be so/amen.

Move in a clockwise manner until all nails have been nailed into the ground.

Within the now nailed perimeter find a healthy tree and make an offering of fresh water to the tree, thanking the land spirits for working with you.

At this point, cultivate calmness and then go into a light trance and ask the land spirits if there is anything they need from you to keep the land/property safe. They may ask for something specific. If they do and if you agree to provide it to them then you can leave a bit of the offering on each of the nail heads. For instance, if the spirits of the land ask for tobacco you can leave a pinch on each nail head, if they ask for water you might pour a bit over each nail head.

Activate the protection and permanence of the nails by sprinkling some of your urine on each nail. This may sound gross but it is an old school and still widely practiced (believe me here) way of marking a specific territory as yours.

Note: in my experience and the experience of my clients you will have the best working relationship with a piece of nailed down land or property if you go into that relationship with the attitude that you are a caretaker or tender as opposed to owner.

 

Everything else – In all of the other cases the nailing down process is slightly different. You will need a picture of yourself and then something on a piece of paper that represents whatever you wish to nail down. So for instance, if you want to nail down a job then you need a current picture of yourself and the job title. You will do this work at the base of a healthy and vital tree.

Write your full legal name over your picture three times.

Align your picture with the paper that has the image or words describing whatever you are nailing down on it so that your picture faces inward towards the image or words describing your target. (Pro tip: use a bit of honey to stick the two pieces of paper together so that there is sweetness).

If you have personal concerns you want to work with for this such as hair or nails then you would place them in between the two pieces of paper.

Place the papers on the ground in front of the tree. Once you are ready, pray out loud or use the petition given above.

If you are working with an iron nail then drive one single iron nail through the center of the papers until the nail is all the way into the ground.

If you are working with pins or needles drive one down in each of the four corners of the papers and then a fifth in the center of the paper until they are all the way down in the ground.

Cover up the paper packet with dirt. You may work with graveyard dirt from an ancestor if you would like to include your ancestors in on the work.

Cover up the area so that the papers are well and truly buried in the ground. Thank the tree and make an offering of fresh water to it. Cultivate calmness and then go into a light trance to find out if there is anything else the land spirits might need or ask of you before you depart.

Baneful Situations – If you are nailing down a baneful situation or toxic person then the intention is to restrict and immobilize said situation or individual so your petitions and prayers will be modified to reflect that. This is where you would employ coffin nails if you wish to call on the aid of the Beloved Dead to assist and support you in incapacitating the predator/predatory situation. In this case you would not work with an image of yourself (or any of the victims of the individual/situation), rather you would work with an image or written description of the situation and you would take the paper to a graveyard.

For work like this I was taught to seek out the aid of a departed spirit who was a solider in their living life – a good soldier or in some cases an honest law enforcement officer. If you have ancestors in your family line who were either then you can work directly with them, if not then you will need to do some research and feel into the various spirits at the graveyard to determine who is willing to work with you and what they might want in return.

Once you have done that work you can take the paper to the grave of the spirit you are working with.

If you have personal concerns fold them up into the paper, then place it on the ground approximately where the departed person’s feet would be – this placement is symbolic of your spirit helper bringing the individual or situation you are seeking to immobilize “to heel”.

Drive a coffin nail into each corner of the paper and then one into the center of the paper until the nails are flush against the ground.

Cover over the paper with extra dirt from the graveside.

Leave an offering of fresh water, plastic or fresh flowers, and coins to thank and pay the spirit for helping you in your endeavor and if anything else was promised to the spirit, then make sure you pay it. After this kind of work it is always a good idea to follow up with a spiritual bath.

Working with spikes, nails, pins, and needles is often considered more coercive magic, there is an edge to it, a forcefulness that some do not appreciate or approve of. I can understand the hesitation but I love this kind of magic precisely because it makes us get really clear about what our intentions are and why we are doing what we are doing. There are moments and places and times where we need to be more solid, fixed, stable, and sure-footed, where we need to know that we are both protected and stabilized, this is the magic that speaks to those needs. It is old, simple, deeply practical, and accessible to all. So don’t be afraid to go out and nail it!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon Notes: Aquarius Edition

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles,

Blessed New Moon in Aquarius. Big thanks to all of you who celebrated Candlemas and Imbolg with me this year. Your prayers, intentions, petitions, and blessings to and for Brighid created a beautiful and potent altar of joy and devotion. As many of you know, St. Brighid/Goddess Brighid is honored for many things, among them the returning and strengthening light. Though spring may feel far away for many of us, Her presence reminds us that underneath the cold and frozen ground there is motion, warmth, and life – remember that it is this way for us too. I find that often at this point in the year we start feeling a bit dull and frayed around the edges – tired of Winter, not yet seeing Spring, and ready for something…new. And yet, within and underneath that dull and frayed surface there is so much and such continual life.

Aquarius is one of the signs that truly celebrates life, always showing up to ask: what’s new, what’s next, what’s possible, what seems impossible and how do we make that happen? This New Moon at 19 degrees Aquarius happens at 8:39 AM central time on February 8th. It is a wonderful time to ask: How do I honor new relationships and how do I renew old relationships?

As you think about this question and your own relationships, you may become aware that some relationships are in need not just of a new life but of healing. Or, as you consider what is new and next and possible for you right here and right now you might find that there are certain wounds that are finally ready to be dealt with. In this spirit, we are focusing on health and healing of body, heart, mind, and soul in our next Here Be Dragons Ceremony. Join here for $10.

For those who love their devotional candles, the next candle lighting will be on March 11th. Orders should be received no later than March 10th at 12-noon central time.

Remember, you can get accurate information and inspiring prompts tied to all of the major celestial events this year on the Astro RX 2016 page right here.

Adventures in Soulful Seeking

Love seems to be on everyone’s mind at this time of the year. Here are my favorite (and most popular) posts on love, relationships, and desire:

For those of you wondering about reconciling with a past lover – it is often possible, but the first step is much closer to home.

Care is an integral part of love. And where does care begin? With yourself of course.

Along those lines, here is the very popular Blessing for the Body – a very deep Valentine’s Day or any day ceremony.

My favorite bit of love and romance alchemy? The making of a sweet and sublime honey jar.

If you are dreading Valentine’s Day and the whole “romance in the air” then I’ve got you covered.

And if you are more interested in what you will nibble on this month (as opposed to who you will nibble with) check out my Vday truffle recipes.

Finally, my personal favorite love post.

And, because receiving is nothing without giving, here are some of the things I am loving right now:

Theresa Reed’s new blog series on astrology, Star School, is seriously awesome.

The lovely Pamita of Parlour of Wonders has a nice give away when you sign up for her newsletter.

Téa Silvestre of Story Bistro is our next guest on Talking Shop this month – be sure to tune in and learn all about beautiful, soul-filled, approached to marketing. You can also snag the most recent Talking Shop show (during which we talked to the amazing Chris Zydel and got the inside scoop on creativity) right here.

Bari Tessler’s amazing program The Art of Money is starting – I know Bari, love her work and highly recommend this program – as usual I receive no kickbacks and I am not an affiliate, just a true believer!

Words and Wonderings

I have a bunch of reading suggestions for you all – which is appropriate given the fact that Aquarius LOVES books, information, reading, and learning (as any good Air sign does).

David Bowie. Alan Rickman. Paul Kantner. Abe Vigoda. Glen Frey. These are just a few of the celebrities that passed beyond the veil in January 2016. As a result, especially from Bowie and Rickman’s death, there was a huge outpouring of public grief on social media and of course the subsequent rebukes for those who made their feelings known. This Atlantic article looks at the public outpouring of grief throughout history and considers how it is working in our culture today. Of course for soulful seekers and those working with the sacred arts we recognize that there are ancestors of spirit as well as ancestors of flesh and blood and we honor our beloved dead, ALL of our beloved dead, accordingly.

And, if your heart is feeling a bit raw and bruised from all of the loss, then why don’t you spend some time with the daily blessing collection?

I am so excited about this: the world’s oldest temple is being restored!

Longtime readers of mine know that I adore Terri Windling’s blog. Her December post on Sacred Ground is of especial interest to our community, check it out.

It has been a good month for the happy marriage of high fashion and fairytales.

Actually, it has been a good month for fairy tale writings, period. Eyebrows raised when this article claiming that fairy tales are much older than we originally thought arrived. Some of us had the immediate response of “well, yes of course they are”, while others were not so sure. If you want to take the article a bit deeper, here is the research methodology that was employed. Wrap it all up with a final article on the ways in which these stories pre-date Christianity.

Some of these topics came up in a recent conversation we had in the Spinning Gold forum and I mentioned what my own approach to fairytales is…I work to understand the stories as they understand themselves. This is a point both my informal and formal education agrees on and it has served me well – may it do the same for you!

And one more (my personal favorite) on fairy tales by Philip Pullman, author of the Golden Compass books among others on the challenge of re-telling Grimm’s fairy tales. I have experienced much of what Pullman points out in my own re-telling of beloved stories for Spinning Gold – a highly challenging and highly rewarding endeavor.

This is what we are noshing on at my house right now, sans the MSG. Yum!

I’ll leave you with this final thought from Bruno Bettelheim’s wonderful book on fairy tales, healing children, and much more, The Uses of Enchantment:

“If we hope to live not just from moment to moment, but in true consciousness of our existence, then our greatest need and most difficult achievement is to find meaning in our lives.”

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.