Sacred Arts Spotlight: The Fool’s Journey Tarot Inspired Oils – The Emperor

Learning and Community

W

elcome to a new segment on Canto – the Sacred Arts Spotlight! These are articles dedicated to reviewing products from Sacred Arts purveyors that I know members of our community will be interested in. Although I personally know and love most of the folks and products that I will be turning the spotlight on in this series, the opinions that I give you are not influenced by that – if something is awesome I will tell you, if something is less-than, I will tell you that too.

The reviews are fair (hello, Libra) and genuine. I may receive the products or offerings to review for free or at a reduced cost but I receive no financial kick backs for making these reviews available. The goal here is simple: get Sacred Arts based products and practitioners some air time and introduce them to my community so that we can all support each other.

Kicking off this series is my review for a very special line of oils crafted by the goblins at Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs. I have talked about the lab before and have been intending to do a full review of their tarot-inspired oil collection known as The Fool’s Journey. So far the lab has released 5 scent families in this collection: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, and the Emperor. I have received samples of all of the scents and I will be backtracking and reviewing all of them – because really, making tarot inspired perfume is pretty awesome – but currently the only oils in stock are those of the Emperor. Also, it is election day here in the US and so the archetype and essence of the Emperor is one that we should probably spend some time with, yes? Yes.

The first thing to know about each of these collections is that they are divided into two categories. So there are the aspects of the Emperor and then the Faces of the Emperor. The category of Aspects covers specific symbols, instruments, tools, and physical characteristics of each card while Faces category speaks to some of the most archetypal essences distilled in the figure of each card.

Before I get into each individual scent I just want to remark on how excellent this concept is as a whole. Students of mine and clients know that I often talk about the different physical senses of our bodies and how they can all be worked with in our Sacred Arts and magical practices. When we typically think of a fairly organized and cohesive system like Tarot we often immediately think of pre-defined meanings of each card. You learn the meanings are you are good to go. This is one of the reasons why I created 20 Question Tarot – which provides another possibly way of getting to know the cards (through asking questions). Black Phoenix has provided yet another way – they have created families of scents for each card. This is such a fantastic way to bring tarot immediately into your daily life, by wearing an oil or a blend of oils that have been inspired by the images of the cards. I love the multi-sensory approach in coming to this old system of knowing.

If you go and visit the BPAL website (you should, you should!) you will notice that each scent has an evocative description of the primary fragrance notes often paired with powerful quotes, allusions, or literary passages. My reviews are going to give you my personal sense of how the oil smells as well as how I like to work with it.

So with that said, I give to you the Emperor:

Aspects of the Emperor

The Emperor’s Armor – I love the quote by John Steinbeck attached to this scent on the BPAL website: “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts.” Can I get an amen! To me this scent is clean, clear, and strong just the way our minds should be when we don our own armor. I see this scent as one that is good for protection (obviously) but also good for clearing away fear and stepping confidently into our own power. I also think this is a really good scent to wear before exercising, doing a martial art, or engaging in any kind of activity that calls on your physical power.

The Emperor’s Beard – This one, as the BPAL website says, is for the hipsters, but I have to tell you I love it. Its a little glam in an old school way and reminds me vaguely of Old Spice – the original scent my grandad liked to wear. To my mind that’s what it does, like a snowy white beard, it gives you the appearance (for a time at least) of having some deeper wisdom and insight about the human condition. Wear it if you need to appear august.

The Emperor’s Crown – To me this scent smells like gold. Not the gold found deep in the earth but the golden light of the sun radiating down to touch the brow of a mere mortal – that image after all is one of the inspirations behind the making and wearing of crowns. I like working with this scent whenever I am doing any solar based work that requires my mind to be firmly fixed on an aspirational goal or endeavor. It is a bright scent and clear-eyed scent as well and I would recommend it for anyone who is stepping into their sense of right power and needs to be able to hold their head up high.

The Emperor’s Rams – The Rams have a spicy, cinnamon-y scent that resonates perfectly with their astrological sign of Aries. The Rams are located on the Emperor’s throne, they are where his hands would rest when he allows them to do so. To me this is an oil of protection with a fiery element – it is not just “back off” it is “back all the way off, NOW.” It is a scent that can galvanize people who are fighting the good fight or engaged in any kind of social justice advocacy. It is a scent that is not afraid to inspire us to draw lines, say No, and mean it.

The Emperor’s Scepter – This oil is a little sweet smelling for my own personal taste – I go for slightly more bitter, acerbic, and smoky notes. But I like the fact that it is a tinge on the sweeter side for the Scepter because so often this tool is seen as one of influence and command. Here the message carried along the scent lines is that kindness and sweetness can be powerful foundations of true influence and real, inspiring, command. Wear it when you need to control a situation AND remember to be kind.

The Emperor’s Throne – I love this scent personally, it is clear and clean and has a note of cedar that does it for me. It is a strong scent, one that I would wear when I wanted to encourage myself to know my place – by which I mean know where I stand, what I stand for, who I stand with. For it is that knowledge that allows wherever we stand or sit to be our throne, our established place of potency.

The Fiery Mountains – Mountains have so many symbols attached to them. For me they always speak to our hopes and dreams as well as the obstacles we face in attaining them. This scent, which smells like a certain kind of spicy fire itself, is ideal for lighting a fire under you in pursuing those hopes and dreams and can also be worked with effectively to burn away the various obstacles that plant themselves in your path.

The Orb – Of all of the Aspect scents this one to me is the most personal. If I was upfront and close to the Emperor this is the scent I would expect him to exude. It is rich and earthy and also bright all at the same time. The orb is the round golden ball he holds in his hand. It is time, the cosmos, the material plane, the sacred hoop, the whole. This is the scent I would work with when you find yourself in a position of authority and need to see the WHOLE picture.

The Red Robes – How does your power need to be shielded and protected? This is the question that this scent inspires me to ask. The answer it gives me is surprising: it is red (like the robes), brilliant, and juicy. It reminds me that there is a sacred aspect to play and that allowing ourselves to be fully in the mud and muck of the world confers a special kind of strengthening and seasoning of our inner power.

The Stream – This scent is clean and nourishing like the stream of water that runs through a relatively dry and desert-like landscape. It is a scent I would wear when I want to emphasize the streams of power that inspire my own work, one that reminds me about the lineages of power that we all have available to us. It is also a scent of refreshment and restoration.

Faces of the Emperor

Pater Populi – He is the benevolent father of all of the people. I love this scent as a way to honor fathers and ALL people who father regardless of gender. It is woody, clean, and bright. I have worked with it to call in forces of Justice to good effect and also to repair and mend old father wounds.

The Eternal King – This is the scent of the Underworld Emperor, of the Emperor at his time of death so it is dark, earthy, sweet, and loamy – one of my favorites. It is a scent of sacrifice and would be ideal to wear when you are looking at your own realm and deciding what needs to be culled in order for new life to continue.

The Horned God – To me this scent reads like a labyrinth, taking us back in time behind the face of the old wise man, behind the face of the sun child, or the young king, and into the first woods where the antlered animals stand out as Emperors within their realms. There is something primal and wild about this scent and also a call to remember what power and ruler-ship really mean, or really can mean, when we show up at our best.

The Huntsman – I love pairing this one with the above scent, although this one is more faerie kissed and calls to mind the right hours for hunting and riding with the hunt, early, early in the morning when the sky is black as pitch and the stars surround you, and there are shadows everywhere limned in moonlight. It is a reminder of the wild, unpredictable, nature of power and a call to be devoted in preserving that.

The Imperator – How do you take care of your people? That is the question this scent inspires me to ask and in a way that crystallizes the entire Emperor line for me. Power is not something that we can be content to outsource to someone else – be it person or party. Power is something we all have a personal relationship with and I see this line of scents, like the Emperor card itself, asking us to engage in that relationship consciously. The Imperator is the protector of his realm and his people. But we all have realms, we all have people. How do we protect them? How do we nourish and care for them? How do we defend them? And, perhaps the most important question for all Emperor’s to ask: how can we be of best service to our people? This scent inspires the hunt for those answers.

Check out the entire line of Emperor scents here. And leave a comment on this post for a chance to win an ENTIRE set of out of stock Magician oils! A question to consider for those of you who want to comment: How do you define power?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Will the real witches please stand up?

Lineage and Legacy

M

iracles,

If you have been paying even the barest attention to trends, you know that the word and concept of “Witch” is enjoying a surge of social media and commercial popularity. Why is this?

I contend that the role or archetype of Witch is not a goal in itself but rather a pointer to something deeper and vaster, and – in a sense – more universal. I contend that the something being pointed to is our magic. I have written at length about the importance of names, and this one, Witch, is one of the most important of all, so I want to take some time to really explore what is happening with Witch in popular culture right now.

Now, I live in (what I like to call) my magic mushroom doing my work, so these trends often go zipping right over my head. But with the recent Sephora dust-up, you couldn’t help to catch a glimpse of what’s happening out there.

You may have seen it. Sephora partnered up with San Francisco based beauty brand Pinrose and offered a stylish kit complete with scent – you can smell like a witch (what does a witch smell like?) – slated to be carried in stores everywhere – but then pulled due to accusations on the part of both witches and Native Americans that the witch-kit was an act of cultural appropriation. In an interesting turn, some Native American tribal representatives also accused (appropriately in my opinion) witches themselves of appropriation. The whole thing was a mess frankly – poorly conceived and poorly executed. Accusations that Sephora was trafficking in endangered White Sage were met by claims that Pinrose had employed Native American artisans to craft their smudge bundles (and who as a result of the dust up are now out of a job). Two words y’all: HOT. MESS.

I take the question of cultural appropriation seriously. In fact, one of my guest teachers for Spinning Gold this year, my good friend and head of Dartmouth College’s Native American Program, Sarah Palacios, and I met to talk about the problem of appropriation in the Sacred Arts because make no mistake – it IS a problem. We do need serious and clear thinking about human culture and our roles in making – or unmaking – culture.

But when it comes to Sephora’s mass-consumer product, a make-up ‘witch-kit’, it is in some ways not easy to know what we are dealing with here.

There’s an argument to be made that all mass-consumerism has been nothing but a corrosive agent to human culture and aspiration for as long as it has been around. In this light, Sephora’s ‘witch-kit’ is simply a tiny part of a much wider and more serious long-term, on-going exploitation of human culture. Getting rid of the witch-kit – making consumer culture cleaner and more culturally sensitive – doesn’t get rid of the underlying structural problem: it just makes it harder to see. A “kind” slave master is a slave master all the same. The rim of the poison cup may have honey on it, but it is poison nonetheless.

Secondly, trends are just that: trends. They come and go. Witchcraft – or some shadowy idea of it – has been part of kitsch consumer culture at least since the days of Wizard of Oz, the crooning Sinatra and the 1970s TV sit-com, Bewitched, and then more recently, Harry Potter.

But folks who used to make fun of “woo-woo” now begin their sentences with “not to get all woo but…” as they then proceed to do exactly that, get all, you know, woo on you (whatever the heck that means!). There are the popular writers who have never mentioned sacred arts or rituals in their work and now are making them a core part of their “marketing strategy”. There are the life and business coaches who are adopting “witch” or some variation thereof to their list of job titles. How much of this represents real learning? And how much of it is merely following the trend? Underneath all of it is there any sense and any respect for what Witch is really about? And what happens when the trend shifts, and blows in a different direction?

I would hope that many continue discovering their magic and a broader stream of Sacred Arts, but I suspect that all-too-many of the voices we hear “witchifying” everything will eventually turn to something else to ‘market’ themselves. Who knows? Maybe one day the trend will turn to adopting the inquisitorial “look”of crucifixes and monks, or the“look”of Puritan witch-hunters. Wouldn’t that be fun? Instead of lots of instagram ready pics accessorized with crystals we will accessorize with what? Burning coals? Pyres ready to be lit. A hangman’s noose?

If you have grown up in North America, and have participated in Halloween as a child, you’ve heard of witches. Witches are fun. You’ve ‘seen’ them too: in posters and images, movies, songs and costumes. You know, the green skin, hooked nose, broomstick wielding and black cat loving old biddy. You’ve of course heard all about the Salem witch trials and the witch hunts. Not so fun. And you hear the term witch-hunt appropriated in the political sphere today – even less fun.

The word itself has an old history, well before North America was first colonized by Europeans. The women and men called witches have always been associated with a dangerous power – even as large institutions (like the Church or later the Scientific Establishment) have claimed that they have no power, that their beliefs and life ways were built on mere fantasy. The women and men called witches have been, and in many places still are, harangued, accosted, harassed, and killed. Groups of people who experience such are not sought out and molested because they are seen as powerless, but precisely because they are seen as powerful, as dangerous. Persecution is always a tacit admission that the group persecuted has power. What is more, the sources of their power are not understood, easily rationalized, visible, and/or controllable.

So when we use a word like“witch”, we are – unconsciously – calling upon both a blood-stained history and at the same time kitschy commercial stereotypes that seem like harmless fun. Those are two strands of the lineage carried in the word Witch. Here is another: sovereignty; sovereignty for all.

Witches make magic. That’s what they are supposed to do (besides scare children in graveyards or seduce married men, I guess). The idea of magic appeals to so many of us right now because we are (if I may put it bluntly) so tired of the pall of fatalism and hopelessness hanging over everything, especially in politics. It is so tempting to feel like we are on a runaway train, headed to the brink of a precipice. Magic – when practiced correctly, we sense – leads to the discovery of hitherto unseen choices and possibilities – on our own terms. Magic, especially our own wild magic, poses a brilliant alternative to the fatalism, hopelessness, and victim hood that the air can feel so very thick with these days.

There are many theories: it could be that Witch is the new face of feminism, a millenial battlecry, about claiming or re-claiming our personal power – and evidently then exercising that power in whatever ways we see fit. Witch is about allure, rebellion, seduction, and independence – all at the same time.

Meanwhile, actual witches are doing their thing, you know, living life. They are picking up kids from soccer practice, learning how to dance flamenco, trying out a new recipe, asking the cute girl or boy out for the third date, working out, trying out a new flower essence, planting seeds, listening to dreams, living life in the best way they know how. And that is really the whole point of the thing isn’t it?

So when “witch-kits” are introduced into the mass market encouraging a huge outcry, what are people crying out against? Yes, they are angry that their way of life has been packaged for profit. Yes, they are responding to a sense that to try and package a spiritual path, any spiritual path, is, all good intentions aside, an attempt to diminish both the path and the people that travel it. And yes, they are responding to their way of life being presented in its most vapid, superficial, and superfluous form. They are rightly reacting to a perceived threat and theft of their power. But both our fascination with Witch and our resistance against trading on the term for profit strike at something deeper than power.

Power, at the end of the day, is not that interesting. There are the forces that you have power over and then there are the forces that have power over you. The pursuit of power is almost always one way: we want to increase our personal power and we want to decrease the ways in which we feel dis-empowered or without power. Rarely do we hear someone say that they want to learn from power, rarer still do we find people interested in precisely the places where things are quite beyond our power to control. In fact, in today’s world we have all tacitly said that there is nothing, really, beyond our power to control.

Big science and big money are working in tandem to rule over and control everything – even up to and including Death. And those of you who have read your Greek Tragedy, your European fairy tales, your African and Middle-Eastern folk tales, your Native American legends, or watched Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring trilogy know just how well seeking to have power over everything including Death goes. Why do all of the stories agree? They come from different people, different times, and different cultures – how can they agree? Because the authors and tellers of them all encounter exactly what we do – the lust for power leading to ever more lusting for power, leading ultimately to the exact opposite of what we are actually seeking, which is not power at all, but something far more precious and subtle: magic.

Magic may appeal to many people because of some kind of promise of power, but magic goes beyond power. Its roots are much deeper, the word itself is rooted in an ancient word for wisdom, its shadow and radiance much wider. Any true power has a hint of magic – the ability to transform ‘water into wine’, waste material into good soil, a still heart into one that beats out the crimson taboo of life once more. This transformational power, must be exercised with wisdom and discernment: we need to make sure we really know what is good and beneficial in our sense of things, as we attempt to call in the good and beneficial while repelling that which harms and diminishes. We all make mistakes – we just do. That is one way that our magic goes beyond mere power and leads into wisdom ways. It embraces the mistakes, it learns from them, it does NOT pretend that they never happened.

More than that, our wild magic takes us beyond the over-simplified power dynamics and points out what is really interesting and worth wondering about: the warp and weft of the things that are not up to us, that are out of our power and how we live our lives in light of those things. Witches, whatever else they do, make magic. And this is why we love them and fear them and seek them out – because they overtly traffic in something we sense belongs in reality to all of us; and the best witches I have met (and I have met quite a few) would nod in agreement and say: well of course it does, dearie. Your magic has been there all along, waiting for you to see it.

Yes, witches make magic. But so do others: Magicians, Sorcerers, Priestesses, Prophets – they all make magic too – they all carry a whiff of the Witch. What about creative artists and good lawmakers and good business people? Yes, they too make magic, they too have the power to wonder and transform and bless, and so perhaps they too carry something of the Witch within them, perhaps we all do.

The role and concept of Witch is worthy and worthwhile in and of herself; but/and in her mysterious and twisty-turn-filled way she points to that which we all hold – or what holds us – in common, which is magic. When we diminish her, package her, attempt to render her harmless, we diminish ourselves as well. For she is both a reminder and a promise of our own wild magic. She is one of the oldest of old ones who calls us home, firmly back into ourselves. It is for these reasons that Witch cannot be packaged. One might as try to package fire, or the spinning of the stars, or birdsong.

In love and blessings,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

What is a Sacred Arts Education?

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles,

Your mind is not someone else’s bank, but our dominant model of education sure acts like it is.

I have written before that the word education is originally Latin (educare), and means to draw something out from within, rather than stuff something in. Strange to say, it means the opposite of what we all think popularly and traditionally education is.

Our default, go-to idea of education – what dominates schooling certainly in America from primary to post-graduate education – is what some have called the “banking model”.

It works like this: you deposit inert facts into a vault of the mind. Actually, let’s specify: someone else, usually with a specific agenda that may or may not be in your best interest, encourages you to deposit their preferred facts and figures into your sacred self.

If it sounds off, that’s because it is.

When we look at the actual root of the word education and all that it implies, we see that true education is much more like a well going down thousands of feet into the bedrock, tapping into a great underground river of intuition and vast inner resource. This is especially true for soulful seekers and Sacred Arts education – our entire premise is that the Sacred Arts occurred not one upon a time, but throughout all time. Meaning that they are here, right now, within you right as you read these words.

A Sacred Arts Education is discovery and recovery: we discover how to find that deep well, we learn what it means for us, and we learn how to use it with wisdom and power.

I am absolutely in love with this approach. Not only does it go against the grain of the current orthodoxies about schooling and learning, but it points the way to a North Star that is exactly true to our real lived experience, to the heart of learning at its most soulful, moving, personal, and healing. I love it because it works.

As the Latin word might already indicate, the idea of real education hearkens all the way back to, within the Western tradition, the ancient Greeks, and, in particular, Socrates. But the notion that you already possess the wisdom that you are seeking is one found in all times and all places; one of those perennial truths that has endured precisely because it is true.

Currently, it is often said like this: “You are your own best Guru.” Sounds good, right? Most of us can get on board. What is NOT often said though is the next part:

Though you carry your own wisdom and deep knowings without a doubt, what you may not possess, or remember so easily, and what you might in fact be looking for, are the best means by which to find, access, and work with that wisdom and deep knowing.

That’s what real education does for you, certainly what a Sacred Arts education should do: it provides the means to recollect and draw out what you already hold within yourself, what is truly your own. The practical force of this ability to draw effectively from within – the well that springeth out of thee – cannot be understated.

In other words, learning is not about memorizing random facts, nor is it about following any kind of blueprint step by step, word for word; it is not about imitating a teacher or lifestyle expert who tells you to go drink green smoothies or go bathe naked under the moon or learn to balance your checkbook. (No offense to green smoothies, moonlight, and checkbooks!)

Learning is most definitely not about letting someone/something else decide what you get to have access to and what you don’t. No. Thank You.

Learning is about you, and about what you can become in this life. It is about being given (by yourself) the time, space, and material that inspires and enlivens you to discover and re-acquaint yourself with – and create anew – your practices, ideas and your thoughts, your beliefs and your very deep knowings.

All of the work that I do, including the work of Spinning Gold, holds at its core this idea of learning. This approach to learning allows us to encounter truly rooted texts and ideas that carry real weight in our magical learning.

Consider what J.R.R. Tolkien said about one such work and one of his favorite stories, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:

“For it belongs to that literary kind which has deep roots in the past, deeper even than its author was aware. It is made of tales often told before and elsewhere, and of elements derived from remote times, beyond the vision and awareness of the poet: like Beowulf, or some of Shakespeare’s major plays, such as King Lear or Hamlet. It is an interesting question: what is this flavour, this atmosphere, this virtue, that such rooted works have…”

Tolkien loved the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for many reasons. But what I see in the above quote is that he loved it because, in reading it and spending time with it, he was able to actually learn something. That is, he was able to remember something of himself and put it into practice.

This is because the story is rooted, it speaks to, as C.S. Lewis says: time out of mind. It holds depth, scope, and as a consequence of both, reality. One can wrestle with it, ask questions, dig deeper, disagree; one can learn from it, and as it feeds and heals your heart and mind, it quickens the life within. You begin to discover and recover what is your very own.

In Spinning Gold, we learn how to root discoveries and our practices in the experience of six deep stories, primary source well-springs, of the Sacred Arts. This process quickens life and practice, broadens the mind and heart, sharpens discernment, opens new magical doors.

It also puts your money where your mouth is: for we often say we want more enchantment, more magic, more beauty, more miracles, more meaning…well guess what? What you do is how you live. You want more enchantment? Then you have to start practicing it. You already have what it takes, so let the stories show the way.

But, can we really do all of this online? You bet! If you, like me, start to get itchy when you have been in front of a screen for too long, or if the idea of an “online forum for discussion” makes you break out in hives don’t fret: I made a handy-dandy guide for how to get the most out of your online learning experience without living online, access it here.

Wishing you a week of deep discovery, real pen and paper, and a practice that is full of enchantment!

xo
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Full Moon in Libra: Open Horizons

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles,

I am often asked about power. What is it? Who has it? How can we get it? Why do we give it away? Is it even something that can be given away? Why do people take it? What does right relationship with it look and feel like? And, most poignantly of all, what if I don’t have any?

Power gets a lot of air time. More than one excellent coach or teacher talks about standing in your power, claiming your power, and naming your powers. Superpowers have migrated from the comic book stands and pages of graphic novels into self-development circles, and I even teach a year-long course that looks at how stories and sacred arts put us into touch with our native powers. Power certainly gets around.

And yet, for all of that, it is still a very confusing topic that often feels raw and tender and alien, as if power is a special substance that belongs to someone else but not really to you or to me. There seems to be an epidemic feeling of powerlessness in our personal and collective lives.

For this month’s full moon in Libra, we look at the power of open horizons. For many of us, at some point in life – or even at most points in life – the horizon does not feel open and the way does not feel clear. We each carry a lineage, a lineage heavy with feelings, thoughts and experiences that tell us that the way is closed – that is, that we cannot do it, no matter how hard we try and no matter how good we are, and that it is not going to work out in the end. Or, that even if it does work out in the end, it isn’t really going to make a difference anyway.

 These are not abstract ideas. They are stories about real people and lived experiences handed down parent to child, grandparent to grandchild, aunt to niece and nephew, cousin to cousin, brother to sister. They are the stories, many of them sad, many of them hopeless, many of them fatalistic, that form the warp and weft of our lives. They are the material and habits of mind and thinking that suck the wind out of your sails and the power right out of your blood.

And that is just the inheritance many of us receive. It does not touch upon the counterproductive – or even just plain bad – philosophies, ideas and relationships that we fall into and buy into all on our own!

Our first impulse may be to try to throw off all of these things weighing us down, to move forward without looking back. But the very curious thing we find is that the special power and meaning of open horizons unfolds within a deep relationship with its opposite.  We tend to think the opposite of an open horizon has something to do with stifling limitations.  But this is only one kind of opposite, the one that contradicts. There is another, and that is the one that complements or completes.  Usually we stop with the contradictory and don’t go on to consider the other side.  But the true complementary opposite of the open horizon is not that terribly powerless feeling of being limited, but is, rather, feeling at home in the world.

Let’s call it ‘homefulness’ for now – a full feeling of actually, for real, being at home. What is that really like? Now under some conditions the dwelling places we call by name “home” lack this feeling; but the feeling of true homefulness, of being at home, I think you will agree, is far from a painfully limiting indolence, or a trap, but is much closer to a joyful flourishing.  Think of one of those big beautiful trees you see around on occasion.

To bless the open horizons of our life, therefore, is also to bless our being truly at home in the world in some way, shape or form.

Now the real secret is that deep in the heart of our heavy lineages, the ones that stand in the way, somewhere this true sense of home resides. What is implied by the thickets of misunderstandings and bad ideas and bad actions – the ones that alienate us and others? It is, in truth, the very possibility of home, of feeling completely, utterly, wholly at home.

If you want to start at the beginning, and hone in on what creates an open horizon in the first place – if you want to discover the actual open horizon in your life – look to the feeling of being at home. Where is your true sense of being at home, of belonging?  Where do you actually locate it? If you can find that for yourself, then not very far away from this you will soon discover the freedom and potential that comes with an open horizon, the journeys yet to be traveled and those great discoveries yet to be made by you.

There is, moreover, a small magical act than can clear the road and open the way. It is a power, one that I consider native ground for every single one of us and it is this: our choice.

You get to choose. You get to choose your approach, your attitude, your priorities. You get to make a different choice if the ones you have been making are not working.

You can choose to tell the same sad stories or to tell a different set of stories, ones that work as good medicine strengthening heart, soul, mind, and body all together. If you do not have any happy stories in your family then look harder. If you still cannot find them then guess what? You can choose to create them, to write them, you can choose to live them.

Also too, you get to choose the teachings and the teachers and the learning that inform and color your own life. What ideas give you strength to stand and act with wisdom and courage and love? What teachings or teachers do not?

You get to choose what experiences you learn from and what experiences you choose to give value to and you also get to choose what experiences do not have the depth or weight to bear down upon you any longer. In short, you get to choose what you want to keep and what you would like to finally set down.

It has been said that our choices make us who we are and I find that to be true. But more than that, our choices reveal to us who we want to be, and our choices influence those around us too. If you are looking for a spiritual practice you could stop now: the choices you make every day and the way you live them is the practice that we have all signed up for.

Now to be clear: making a different choice does not mean that everything will always work out well in the end, or that you can avoid and escape the tough stuff that you are about to run headlong into. It is a power and like any real power it must be nourished, refined, and cultivated.

But that is the magic of an open horizon. The magic begins with the thrilling kiss of the unknown, and can lead to great mystery and wild adventure, or it can lead you to your true home, or to a little church in the mountains where just the right prayer can be prayed. The road is open and you get to choose how you want to travel it; how you want to show up in the world today, tomorrow, and every day after.

Divination Question for Full Moon in Libra

The power of choice and the open horizon that it creates is an especially appropriate theme for the Libra full moon since one of the great teachings of Libra with her balances and blindfolds is that our choices matte and that also, we make them every single day. So under the light of Luna in Libra, consider a situation that has been sticky and tricky for you. Then, with the divination tool you love best, try asking this question:

What would happen if I made a different choice?

Lunar love to each and every one of you!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.