Hearth and Home Vol. 12 These Things Will Change

Lineage and Legacy

L

ast October, my friend Danielle came to my home to take photos for my business and my family. One of the great things about having a professional photographer come into your space is that she will see things you might otherwise miss. Turns out I’ve been missing a lot!

Danielle gathered bunches of beautiful shots, including the unlikeliest — for example, our corner shelf which sits right by the piano (pictured above). This is the shelf where we drop our coats and jackets, bags, and purchases, and where we leave our shoes upon entering the home. It is not unusual to find an assortment of baby gear and toys, school papers, sports equipment, and a magical spray or two tucked into it this way and that. Danielle saw it and immediately captured it on film because as she said “This is precious. These things will change.” She went on to explain that the way that the corner shelf looked on that day in October will be radically different from the way it looks next year at the same time.

I’ve returned to this observation in the months since Danielle first made it because I find it to be such a potent reminder — these things will change. Big things change, as we know. We find new jobs, new lovers, we get married and go through divorces, we get sick, we heal, maybe we have children, eventually those children grow up, our dog dies, a little kitten decides we are their forever person…we’ve all experienced these types of changes. But in the background, humming away, are constant, much more subtle changes that, when properly grasped, can show us the progression of our stories with great detail. If we pay attention, we can find places that bear witness to these small changes. Becoming aware of and finding those places is one of the reasons I wrote Making Magic in the first place. They are often not the obvious places where you think alchemical transformation might happen: they are part of the every day – your closet, your morning cup of coffee, your front door, your corner shelf.

When it comes to magic, we tend to focus on the big stuff, the significant life changes. We seek ways to slow them down or speed them up, to get them jump started or to stop them altogether. In short, we often come to magic as a way of managing the big shifts and changes in our lives. When we approach magic in this way and pair it with wisdom and discernment we can experience awe-inspiring results. But seasoned soulful seekers look closer and go deeper, understanding as they do that the real sauce of magic happens not in the big moments and rituals and ceremonies but in the everyday knowledge that these things, all of these things, will change.

A trite saying is that every change carries with it an opportunity. I prefer to think that every change is an offering, cosmic hands stretched out holding a variety of choices and asking simply: What will you do today? Who will you be? How will you show up? Those options…and the ability to choose the best ones — that too is magic, some of the strongest that I know.

Some of the changes we have been experiencing in Casa de Saussy include:
Heath is this close to crawling!
Jasper loves playing basketball and Bach.
My book, Making Magic, is now available to pre-order and you can snag some lovely bonuses when you do so.
One of those bonuses, an audio recording of me reading the guiding story from the book was sound engineered by David (my beloved) who did an incredible job and delivered something fresh and gorgeous.
There are lots of new blog posts up at canto – some are talking about the upcoming Mercury Retrograde in the sign of Pisces that starts on March 5th and others teach rituals for having a healthier relationship to social media.
We are all obsessing over this album and I am loving this song which my husband introduced me to.

May you have a gorgeous New Moon in Aquarius and whatever else you choose – choose to be blessed and a blessing in turn.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 11 The Angel’s Share

Foundations

M

iracles,

Happy and blessed New Moon in Capricorn! This is a moon for business and strategy, plotting and planning. It falls at the beginning of the New Year when everyone is all about planning anyway. Our visions of sugar plums have been replaced by bullet journaling, filofaxes, the magic that is JetPens, and of course the Sacred Arts Book of Hours.

I love planning and planners. I always have. My Venus is in Virgo which means that organization is like catnip for me. I especially love working with astrology and planning by starlight. Years ago, when I was pregnant with Jasper, our oldest, one of my colleagues asked me how I was doing everything that I did. I was over 6 months pregnant and my business was exploding with both one-on-one work and teaching. My response? A ruthlessly organized and followed calendar. Plotting everything out and physically making time for each thing on my calendar – and then actually following through with it – allowed me to grow my business while also fostering the growth of a baby.

At the end of 2017, when I knew I was pregnant with our second child and had a book deal (and therefore a book to write) in my hot little hand, I realized that I needed to take planning to a whole new level. You name it, and not only did I have it on my calendar, I had auto-scheduled it in my email server and on social media. Every “t“ was crossed and every “i” was dotted, and everything had been triple checked by myself and my team.

Whew. Does it sound exhausting? Planning actually doesn’t have to be. It is very clear to me that I could not have done everything that I did in 2018 if I had not allowed some very well made plans to shape and inspire my work. Yes, inspire! Planning has given me the time and space that I needed to write my book and be with my little guys, the time I took to make and plot them was time incredibly well spent.

For those of us who never feel like we have the time or space to do what our heart longs for – actually being able to have the time and space is sometimes all you need to catch the scent of the wild animal we call magic. As sacred artists, then, I think it’s high time we give the art and practice of planning it’s proper place…as a much needed sacred art in the 21st century.

After one of the most exciting years for me both personally and professionally, does it surprise you to hear that my New Year’s Resolution is to slow down in the right way and not plan things in detail? On the one hand, this is hilarious…I have a book coming out this year. I will be traveling some to promote it, teaching classes, and I have a whole bunch of new exciting things to share with you all. Plus, Heath will turn one this year. Those of you who know young children know that this means he will start walking and talking. And if Jasper at one was any indication, that means that all of the silverware in my household has to go up on the counters – especially the knives – and all the outlets have to be plugged up VERY securely. So…slow down? Ha!

But I am. In the right way, and this is key. And for me, part of that means – gulp! – not planning everything down to the tiniest detail. There are several reasons for this. This article gave one good one that has to do with productivity and the endless, ceaseless, calls to be more productive (whatever that means) and how they are a bit, or a lot, tyrannical.

Plans are sneaky. You create them, and you feel in charge. But they have a way of turning that around – so that you are tempted to stay on task and keep to the plan even when that doesn’t feel right, even when that isn’t really in alignment with what you are focused on or what your community is asking for. This did not happen to me. In the middle of one of my busiest periods last year I heard a clear call to offer up a certain kind of magic – a healing kind – to the community. It involved consecrating crystals over a full moon cycle and sending out readings to those who needed them and I had ZERO time for it, but I did it because I heard the call. And when I learned that there were some people in our community healing from heartbreak and cancer and physical abuse…well, it made sense and affirmed what I have always known which is that my Holy Helpers know better than I do. So I listened and responded.

But it was hard, harder than it should have been, because my plans had gone from creating more space, freedom, and time, to locking me into routines and commitments that did not allow much room for spontaneity and the magic of the unexpected. Making room for the unexpected is something I am devoted to – I think in our world and maybe in all worlds, we have to be. The unexpected illness, playdate, gallery opening, writing opportunity, teaching engagement, friend from out of town who bought a surprise plane ticket and showed up, job loss, financial hit – the unexpected is the thread shot through with the glitter and the grit that makes the warp and weft of our lives so very interesting and precious. In whiskey making there is a term to explain the 2% loss of liquid that occurs during the ageing process (usually occurring in wooden barrels), it is known as the Angel’s Share – this is the offering up of whiskey that is made to the angels (or if you talk to old whiskey makers from old parts of the world, the faeries). It is not perceived as a loss but rather an offering.

So I am doing the same thing with my plans for 2019 in the name of slowing down in the right way. This is where planning is lifted to a whole new level – from a compulsive activity to a genuine art. Plans will have to be made, charted and plotted. But there will also be spaces left clear and clean and unfilled. In the name of creativity, spontaneity, and the unexpected. I’m leaving spaces open so that I can hear what I need to hear, know what I need to know, and do what I need to do…for myself and my family and for our greater community. Think of it as an offering to the angels and the faeries, the glitter and the grit.

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.