What I Really Want

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

This past Friday, I finally got a chance to watch the movie “Lincoln” by Steven Spielberg, which came out in 2012. Friday is movie night for us and it was my choice (we take turns choosing). I wanted to see the film but I also wanted our 8-year-old son Jasper to see it since he had been doing a reading unit on Abe Lincoln in school. So David made stove-top popcorn, and we all snuggled down to watch the movie, and then later talk together about what we had watched.

The stand-out moment for me was when Lincoln (played by the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis) had a meeting with the abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens (portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones). Stevens accuses Lincoln of having a broken moral compass because he is all too willing to compromise and be satisfied with only the passing of the 13th Amendment. Stevens was the one who sponsored the Bill that sought to abolish slavery throughout the United States, and he accuses Lincoln of losing sight of the North Star, losing his compass, – which, in this case, is not only the passing of the Bill, and the freeing of the slaves, but also, and more importantly, equality of races in all measures, including voting rights. The problem was that a lot of the legislators, sad to say, weren’t ready to accept equality of the races (not to mention gender), but were fine with equality under the law. That is to say, they were OK with equality so long as it wasn’t too much and without condition. Yes, a sad commentary on human nature. Lincoln knew that Stevens’ Bill that would free slaves would never be passed on the grounds of Stevens’ own arguments, and so he asked Stevens to temper his arguments in order for the bill to be passed. He needed Lincoln‘s pragmatism if he really wanted to abolish slavery. For, obviously, if slavery were not abolished in the first place, there would be no chance later for full equality under the law and beyond.

Lincoln the idealist feels the gravity of the moment. His response is telling, and he eventually wins over Stevens. Yes, he says, we must know the North Star and have a good working compass but there are bogs and marshes – unpredictable pitfalls – that mark the way forward. A person who looks only at the North Star or only measures by his compass will find both to be of little use to him if he ignores the impassable terrain right at his feet. Stevens hears this and is persuaded by it. He does indeed temper his own arguments and in so doing the 13th Amendment passes and slavery is abolished in these United States.

This moment in the movie speaks to a timeless tension in our public and private lives that concerns social a political injustice, change, the ideals we have about the human good, and how exactly to get there together. Over 150 years later we are still working through this tension at the heart of our democracy. If changes are needed, what changes? Where? and How? And what will be the consequences of those changes? Are we prepared to accept the consequences? How do we argue persuasively for our beliefs while keeping one eye on our compass and one eye on the dodgy terrain at our feet?

Fairy Tales and the old stories that form the bedrock of the Sacred Arts also ask these questions in their own way, about our inner lives. Thus the other reason why this moment really caught my attention – besides speaking to a timeless tension in social and political life – is that it speaks directly to the power of the Sacred Arts. Why are the Sacred Arts so valuable to the Soulful Seeker? The Sacred Arts supports us in discovering our own North Star, our own best compass, and in circumnavigating the actual terrain of life. And they do it not by dint of perennial wisdom or conforming to a rigid doctrine; but rather by allowing us creative and free access to resources that are personal, practical and wise to the core.

Our broader spiritual community in North America tends to overlook and discount folk magic practices, ritual, and divination. We like things to be vaguely inspirational, white-washed, without dealing with the tough unremitting stuff of life, like grief, real suffering, and loss, anxiety about “low” things like money or relationships. Even divination practices like tarot and astrology tend to be handled in this way. But there is a great untapped potential in such discarded or mishandled things like the Sacred Arts, a potential we discover when practicing several in complementary ways. Brought together, the Sacred Arts are more than a pointer showing the soulful seeker the way forward. They are also a means to walk the path.

Over the years I have come to believe that you should always have not only a North Star Rite but also a North Star goal – a big promise that you make to the cosmos that speaks to the essence of who you are and what you are here, right now, in this wide, wild, world, to do. Writing a book was part of my personal promise. As some of you know, I was born with a cleft pallet, and so I understood from very early on that part of my promise was to use and find my voice. Seven years of speech therapy, two surgeries before the age of four, and 38 years later I can say with confidence: Done. And also: I’m just getting started. So that’s the level at which I was thinking: promises to the Cosmos that speak to your innermost essence and nothing less.

But earlier this week I was talking with my beloved about our overarching vision for our work and community of soulful seekers. David, my incredible husband, celebrated his birthday a few days after Jasper celebrated his. As birthdays often do, this one led to some deep reflection for all of us. So there we were, talking about the vision, the BIG PICTURE, the North Star. My love and I were not talking about different individual projects or the day-to-day workload – we were talking about our vision for what a vibrant community of sacred arts and soulful seekers looks like, sounds like, and feels like.

Of course, there are more books that I want to write not to mention brilliant clients and students to serve, an enchanted household to tend to, and wonderful courses to create and teach. I can say, in all honesty, that things are so very full. In all seriousness, though, I was getting a bit stuck trying to say what that big picture looks like.

At this point, David asked me what my vision was for each soulful seeker in our community, and for the community as a whole. He wisely suggested that maybe I would be able to best understand my next big vision if I understood what I really want and hope for and expect for each of you.

And so, today, in celebration of our gorgeous Full Moon in Libra I am going to tell you what this Libra really wants for each of you. Ready? Let’s do this.

I want you to be whole. I hope, desire, and expect your lives to be whole. Whole does not mean perfect. Whole means connected so that you are not dealing with a broken heart over here and money worries over there and your mother on Saturdays only. Whole means that you see what is actually there — not what other people tell you is there and you react and respond with an eye to right relationship. Whole also means that you are aware of how connected we are, not just to one another, but to all creatures – in particular, specific, and measured ways.

I want you to be healthy. I hope, desire, and expect your lives to be healthy and lived with the understanding that health is much broader and richer than we normally think. To be healthy is not to be without wound, scar or sickness but rather to live richly and vibrantly in the best ways and means available to you alongside wound and scar and sickness. To be healthy too is to recognize the preciousness of the physical body as well as mind as well as heart and to discern in love and wisdom what and what not to expose yourself to. It is to eschew the toxic and to be firm in your right to be unmolested by any external forces.

I want you to be holy. I hope, desire, and expect your lives to be holy, for I firmly believe and see every day that the world is in need of holy people now more than ever. Holiness goes hand in hand not with grand cathedrals or religious sanctuaries tucked into mountains, but with and in the enchantment of everyday life. Kissing your love is holy. Packing your child’s lunch is holy. Tending your garden is holy. Painting a wall and feeding the hungry and swimming in the deep sea – all holy. I hope, desire, and expect that each of you will see holiness as your natural state and understand that it requires not for you to be pure, unbroken, or without a mark but that rather it is most easily found in exactly the places where you feel most marked up, broken, and not ready. I hope, desire, and expect that as we come to realize and see what holiness really is and can be we are both blessed and blessings in turn.

These are my compass points for our community. They are each a point of my own North Star. The Sacred Arts practices that support them are the exact same practices that have been called on throughout time – and can still be called on by us – to not only illuminate the impassable terrain at our feet but also figure out the best way through the terrain, and to actually get moving through it. I know that is true because I have lived it as many of you beautiful readers, have as well. We know that the way forward will have all kinds of interesting obstacles and detours along the way, and so it is especially of utmost importance that our vision of what is possible, and probably, and choice-worthy shine especially brightly for every single one of us.

That’s what I really want. What about you?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Community Calls and Adios Social Media!

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

Happy Full Moon in Leo and (yay!) Sun in Aquarius!

These are both signs that are interested in community and connection. One of Leo’s talents is cultivating intimate, meaningful gatherings, and Aquarius is very concerned with overall community health and happiness. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. What are the best ways for me to stay in touch with, inspire, and be inspired by, our beautiful Sacred Arts community? These ponderings have led to some exciting decisions that I now want to share with all of you.

Recently, I made the decision to step away from social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) so that I can focus on what I love most: writing newsletters (like the one you’re reading right now), writing books (like this one), and working with the lovely people who hire me and enroll in my classes (like Spinning Gold).

My decision to leave social media was also motivated by a desire to live even more intentionally and purposefully. With a bustling business, a husband, and two small kids (including a 7 month old infant) at home, I want to be extra-intentional with how I’m spending my time. Would I prefer to spend thirty minutes posting things on Facebook—or spend those thirty minutes cuddling my baby and tickling his tiny toes and making him giggle? When I frame things in those terms, the decision feels simple! Baby wins over Facebook. Every time.

This doesn’t mean that I think social media is “bad” or “a waste of time.” Certainly not. Like any communication tool—a letter, an email, a blog post—social media can be used to connect, educate, inspire, and do wonderful things. That being said, if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with social media lately, if you’ve been feeling tired of it, wanting to re-evaluate how you use it, or perhaps even wanting to take a break from it, I wrote a few articles that might interest you…

Here is a ritual for making social media feel “magical” again. Remember the early days of the Internet, when we all felt such wonder and awe? But now, many of us feel overwhelmed and burned by all the nonstop chatter and noisy demands. In this article, I share a ritual for helping you take strides toward bringing some magic back into your digital life by fostering clarity and intentionality.

Or maybe you too want to “break up” with social media? If so, I have a ritual for doing exactly that.

Something I hear about from many of my clients and students is the possibility of obsessing over someone else’s social media account. This is a case of social media jealousy and yep, there’s a ritual for that!

I hope those articles give you some interesting things to contemplate—and perhaps some new things to try.

You can choose to stay active on social media, or cut back, or drop out, and all of those choices are equally beautiful in their own ways. Whatever is best for you, is just right.

xo,

P.S. Curious about my decision to drop off social media? Got some follow-up questions you’d love to ask? Feel free to attend the virtual coffee chat that I’m hosting on Wednesday, January 30th at 10:00 am cdt and ask anything! This get together is a chance for us to chat about… anything and everything. I welcome questions about social media or questions about business, writing, creativity, rituals, ceremonies, my new book, or anything else. Click this link when it’s time for the virtual coffee chat to begin!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 9 ~ Magic in the Air

Learning and Community

M

iracles,

Happy New Moon in Scorpio. Today is a time of depth and magic making. Here is a blessing to get you started, it is a blessing for the Dead and very appropriate for this time of year.

We are padding softly into November as this month is much quieter than rowdy October and begins to really unfold into the late Autumn and Winter months that are some of my personal favorites.

On Halloween we dressed up (Jasper was a gladiator, Heath was a wizard, I was an owl, and David was a Mystic) and went trick or treating. We always have a Halloween party at our house that my family joins us for because trick or treating in my neighborhood is a ton of fun. My fave costume this year: little ones dressed up as Coco from the film. There was also a pretty fantastic family of Pikachu creatures.

Then, early on November 1st as I lit candles and incense at my ancestor altar and made the first round of offerings I sent in the final copy-edited version of my book manuscript. I really took my time on this last round of edits because after sending in the manuscript there is no more editing, it now goes into the next phase of production and any significant changes result in delaying the entire schedule. It felt very good to send in the manuscript while I was also honoring and listening to my ancestors, exactly right for a book about magic!

The last few weeks have also been full of the kindest words, compliments, and votes of confidence for this work of my heart in the form of some truly fantastic endorsements. I wrote earlier about endorsement gathering – how it is this process of both great humility and also fantastic surprises.

It has been so interesting to see who is too busy to endorse, who is willing and ready to show up and endorse, who makes time even though their schedules are crazy busy and who does not. I have learned much about various figures in our community that I have admired and looked up to and have been so floored by the kind words and support that have come from corners both expected and also unexpected.

On a side note: do you keep a running document of the times that people compliment you? If not, can I suggest that you do so? My publisher has me keeping a word document with all of the endorsements the book has received and when you are having a crap day or someone has said something unkind or thoughtless it is a really powerful exercise to look at the words of kindness and praise that have been lavished on your work. It is not about feeding or stroking your ego, it is about reminding yourself that the work you do makes a difference for people, makes lives just a little sweeter, just a little better. Do it. Make your list. Pin it to your wall. Add to it regularly.

The boys are doing beautifully. Jasper had a 1st grade bike race last Friday and, though he only learned to ride his bike two weeks ago (which is better than me as I have STILL not learned how to ride a bike!) he finished in the top seven. We have been working on homework together and I am teaching him something that I constantly remind myself of and tell my students too – “to make double-sure” that everything has been addressed. This is important in math, spelling, reading, and yep, magic too.

Heath is headed into 5 month old territory. Yuletide came a bit early for him as we found this amazing subscription box that has answered one of my most burning questions: where does one find toys for infants and what toys are appropriate? Love. This. So we are playing a lot and going on lots of little adventures. He is teething and so it is very much “hold him at your own risk” because you will be slimmed by his drool, but he is so ridiculously cute that no one cares!

Meanwhile, in between books and babies and seven year old boys, David and I are creating a new astrology course that will be really incredible (I can’t wait to share!). I wrote a Magical Missive on creating a prayer bundle (and you can find all of the other Magical Missives right here), there is a new Talking Shop Podcast up, and of course Mercury Retrograde is right around the corner so you all need to freshen up on What to do BEFORE Mercury goes Retrograde.

I wrote a review on Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s The Fool’s Journey Tarot Collection. Go to the post on Canto, leave a comment, and sign up for BPAL’s newsletter to have a chance at winning an ENTIRE SET of the Magician oils – yeah, they are all out of stock so this is pretty spectacular.

We have also been in mid-term madness over here – someone stole my Beto yard sign, can y’all believe it?! The results are now in and the dissecting is getting going in earnest. News, staying on top of it, but also not letting it totally stress us out and depress us, has been an ongoing subject of interest in our Sacred Arts community. My favorite source for news these days is the Skimm. It gives me exactly what it says: a skim of major events and then I can go deeper if I want. It is delivered in a smart voice that is also just a bit valley girl funny and for some reason that mix is really hitting the ticket for me right now.

In other news, did you know my friend Alexandra has a new book out? It is called So This Is The End and it is a love story with a twist – you have 24 hours of life left – what do you do with it? Y’all know I love questions like this!

And if you need more in the way of books, you can pre-order Theresa’s latest – Tarot for Troubled Times – right here.

Over at the Sacred Artists group we are going to spend this month talking about two of my favorite subjects: FOOD + MAGIC. Come join!

Oh! And last but not least – Jupiter is moving into its home-turf of Sagittarius today. I hosted a call about this that you can listen to here if you haven’t already and there is still time to sign up for Light the Way magic – you have until noon, central time to get in.

Blessings for a beautiful and brilliant November!

xo,

Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

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.

Communities of Intention and Intimacy

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles,

Blessed Full Moon in Aquarius and Lunar Eclipse to you all today!

I am writing this while sitting on a porch in New Mexico while the wind blows, the fountain in front of me burbles, and the birds swoop down to catch bugs and water as they can – it is so lovely and restful both for me and the baby.

Aquarius, the sign that the Full Moon occurs in today is very focused on the themes of community and congregations – how they work, how they can work, and also when and why they do not work. The eclipse gives us an opportunity to break cycles. So, when we put the two together we discover that today we have a potent opportunity to break certain cycles, habits, behaviors, and/or compulsions around communities and congregations that no longer serve us or are relevant. Given that this is the vibe in the air, I thought I would share a bit about our own community, how it has formed, where it currently lives, and how it might change as we go forward.

It was a question asked in one of the online groups that I belong to that got me thinking about this. Under discussion was the issue of intake forms. These are forms that must be filled out before certain service professionals agree to work with you. Gyms, doctor offices, mental health professionals, and tarot readers all often have some version of an intake form. Think of it as a kind of application that ensures that the individual seeking out the service and the service provider start out their relationship on the same page. I mentioned that I have used intake forms in the past but that now I do not since many of my services, especially my one on one services, are only available to my students – current and past. A dear friend inquired how this came to be and so it got me thinking about our Sacred Arts community and how it has grown over the years, as well as where I see it headed.

The fundamental question anytime you are creating or, as I prefer to think of it, cultivating, a community of brilliant folks is, what is the intention for this community? I knew early on that the community I was dedicated to is the community of soulful seekers – people who come from all walks of life who are dedicated to asking hard questions, seeking out real answers, and putting what they discover along the way into practice in their lives right here and right now. My intention for our community is to support the good, deep, and vital work of soulful seeking with the remembered ways of the Sacred Arts.
Throughout all of the years that I have been dedicated to this work and sharing it online, the common thread that has always tied our community together is this lunar letter. I have gone through phases where I sent out one a month, four a month, or two a month (current phase), but I have always made sure to touch base with everyone via this email letter at least once a month. This email list has been my community constant and the size of it testifies to that.

I have experimented with creating spaces for our community through various social media channels – and indeed the Sacred Artists group on Facebook is our virtual meeting space – as well as through in-person events. All have their positive attributes and negative drawbacks. Recently I asked a number of my students about their experiences in a virtual group and the feedback I had was unanimous: while it is nice that there is a FB page to like and follow, a big FB group for everyone interested in the Sacred Arts, a Twitter account, and an IG profile, their most favorite way to contact me was still one on one via email and their favorite way to hear from me was via email notes delivered right to their inboxes.

This revealed another component of the intention I hold for our community and that is that we have intimate and deep connections. I don’t think that depth or intimacy are mutually exclusive to large numbers of people, but I have found that we have to choose which one to prioritize: numbers or quality. We can have both but not in equal measure and not by equal effort. This reminder, when coupled with the privacy issues many of us have been concerned with on various social media platforms, and my personal experience of having so much more energy and insight to do the work I love when I am not constantly checking my social media feeds, revealed to me some of the changes that I am beginning to make in our community. There will be less of me on social media generally speaking and there will be more of me via these letters and the Resources list where I share my offerings (I keep this list commercial free). The social media places I currently show up at will still be regularly updated, but my favorite way to talk to you is like this, through a long form piece delivered to your inbox.

The containers we work with to house our communities are one part of the depth + intimacy puzzle but there is more. As I have brought more courses to the fore I have also had a community form within our greater Sacred Arts community, I have been graced with a community of dedicated lifelong learners – my students.

A couple of years ago I was feeling deeply overworked. My students had first priority always when it came to scheduling readings or ritual services with me, but members of the general public were also clamoring to work with me. My calendar was booked out months in advance and it was hard for me to take an afternoon, much less a day, off without feeling guilty. At that time I realized I had been given a gift. I had enough students to ensure steady work for myself. I could remove several of my more popular offerings from the public eye completely and make them only available to my students and been-with-me-forever clients and I would receive the double prize of not being grossly over scheduled so that I could make time to do things like write the book, AND I would be working with people who were intimate with my approach and understanding. People who I knew would also show up and do the work required of them – because magic works when we do.

Logistically it was easy to make the switch. An email was sent out, my website was nipped and tucked, and I created a pdf menu of offerings and services only available to students and loyal clients. I still have several goodies both free and inexpensive available to the newcomers in our community and the general public because I love to meet and welcome new Soulful Seekers. After I made that transition I did feel closer to our community as a whole. A year later when I decided to start offering special student pricing and discounts on goods and services that are available to the general public another level of depth to our community was achieved – I am able to commit deeply to the people who commit deeply to me and this reciprocity is foundational to the fierce devotion I have for my people.

The point of this letter though is not to give you a blueprint to follow when it comes to cultivating your own communities (I don’t believe in blueprints unless they are the kind my dog makes after stepping in blue ink). The point is to say that in order to create an intentional community you need a clear intention and you also need to be willing to re-examine and refine (two great Mercury Retrograde activities!) that intention throughout the years. For me, and our community of Soulful Seekers I am committed to more intimacy, depth, and and closeness. I want a community that may be virtual in space but is face to face in practice and feeling. Every time I send out one of these letters I receive many emails remarking on my thoughts – those are the kinds of interactions I cherish. May they continue and may the roots of our community grow ever deeper, the branches ever wider, so that all Soulful Seekers find succor and sanctuary here, as I hope each of you have!

Under this Aquarian Full Moon and Eclipse, with your divination tool of choice, consider asking the following:
What intention do I want to see in my communities and how can I open the road for it?

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home, Vol. 2: “XO” – The Best Business Decision Ever

Foundations

M

iracles,

Since sending out the previous Hearth and Home letter, I have received a number of questions about my business, asking for advice or asking questions as specific as Who designs your art work? or Who takes care of your site?

Here’s another question: Who the hell does this girl think she is, doing business so totally on her terms?!

This was a question a colleague-friend of mine confessed to having when he visited my website. It ticked him off a bit that I was carving out my own path, and – you know what? – it inspired him to turn around and do the same thing for his work – to which I say: HELL. YES.

Another dear one wrote to tell me that they found my business inspiring and that my business choices were helping them find their own true voice. I cannot imagine a kinder compliment than that.

So, given all of these queries from many different directions, Mid-Feb to Mid-March has been an invitation to share a few of things I’ve learned about business and life.

Many of us are looking for balance between work and life. When it comes to the notion of a work-life balance, what I can tell you from my own personal experience is this: when you run an intimate, micro, home-based and heart-and-hearth business, your work is your life and your life is your work. This means it can be difficult to tell which things are being balanced with what!

I think our idea of balance, if we leave it unexamined, can often create more problems than it intends to solve. If balancing work and life means that everything is serene and beautiful – and is the sort of balancing act in which things come to a sublime stop – perfectly still, poised and tension free – this is bound to induce headaches or worse, because tensions and imbalances are, frankly, unavoidable.

So we have to think about balance differently – like, say, balancing on a moving bicycle over rough terrain. Work-life balance for those of us who are micro-business owners is a changing, growing thing, and admits of tension.

By “tension” I mean that owning your own little business can be the most rewarding of endeavors, but if you aren’t prepared for it, this sort of job can drive people up the wall!

It could be maddening if you’ve been used to good ‘clean work’ at the office, where boundaries are clear and marked out for you already – e.g. when you are supposed to show up at the office, and so on. Working for yourself, you’ve got to be comfortable creating and setting down firm and tough boundaries (e.g. work-flow deadlines), while at the same time you have to know what comes first, stay supple, flexible and adaptable enough to handle life.

The core vision of my business is a pulsing, powerful tree with roots sunk deep into the soil and a canopy that spreads far and wide, strung with stars, and providing shelter to all Soulful Seekers – wherever you come from and however you show up.

It is this core vision that allows my service and work to thrive and to flourish and (most importantly) to serve thousands of people, while also sustaining my life and the life of my family. And it is that core vision that has allowed me to create a set of values and practices that have informed basic decisions that allow my business not just to be a vehicle, but actually a nourishing source, for my truest voice. So let me share some of those decisions with you.

Decision 1: “XO”

The single most important business decision that I have ever made?

The choice to begin signing my direct emails to clients and student in this way:

xo,
Bri

It is much more common for spiritual practitioners to sign their direct emails with something like “in blessing,” or “love and light”, etc. I do this too on occasion, but I became very clear years ago that I wanted clients, and later students, that I could send a hug and a kiss to, as I would with my friends and as I would with my family.

Decision 2: “No Client Avatar”

If you have ever invested in business coaching you know that often coaches and programs will have you begin by developing your ideal client avatar. That is, you work hard to identify the ideal kind of client you want to attract. Sometimes these profiles get really specific and include information like where the client lives, where they buy groceries, and how much money they bring in on an annual basis.

Try developing a client avatar for a Soulful Seeker though – I dare you! The truth is that we come from all walks of life, so many different zip codes and addresses, so many different kinds of professional experiences – it would be a terrible disservice to everyone to try to rigidly categorize varieties of individuals into one ‘type’.

My work stands or falls on the very real and very precious individuality of every person as a potential Sacred Artist. Being a Sacred Artist, like creative artist is nothing if does not flow from the irreducible you and your own experience of the world. Ever and always in my ‘philosophy’ there is room for all. So, no client avatar for me!

And yet, I did need to have a standard, a way of determining “is this person a right fit for both my business and the community that I am building around and through the business?” X and O were the answer. It cost nothing to implement. I just started signing emails the way I had always wanted to in the first place, and of course my people LOVED it. And yes, there were a few who did not, they went away and hopefully found people and services that were just right for them – because I was not.

I want to do business with real people, and I want my community filled with people that I can hug and kiss in real life, I want warmth, friendship, and real conviviality. That kind of clarity can actually not be found in ideal client avatars and sophisticated marketing schemes – it can only be found by asking what really matters to you and to what you are trying to build and then taking the time to listen – not to an expert but to yourself.

Decision 3: “Build a Better Magnet”

For those of you who pay attention to marketing, you may have come across the terms “push marketing” and “pull marketing”. Push marketing is when someone is pushing their stuff at you either irl or online. Pull marketing is what happens when a business is compelling enough to pull you in, interesting enough or necessary enough to have you seeking them out. Pull marketing is preferred for a whole bundle of reasons – personally my top reason for liking it better is that it allows each individual to make up their own mind about whether they want to engage with a given service or product and how deeply they wish to engage with the same – you know I’m a fan of sovereignty.

The challenge of course is that in a sea of small and micro-businesses and then in an ocean of much larger, well funded, businesses, how does one set oneself apart in the first place so that people do feel pulled to whatever you offer? You cannot outsell or out advertise larger businesses so what do you do?

You build a better magnet.

One of the most consistent compliments that I receive on my business is that it is consistent. By which people mean that the look of my website, the tone of my writing, the way that I carry myself on social media, and the way that I show up in person all feel like they form a whole. They do not feel “sales-y” and they don’t feel like I am trying to market something. Rather, they feel compelling because they feel genuine, and they are. Magnets compel – that’s what they do, they attract and compel. Your business can do the same thing – no matter its size. And magnets are a great analogy because in magnet-land size does not equal strength. Compelling power is where the secret sauce lives.

So, how do you make a business compelling? All sorts of programs will try to sell you on systems trappings and marketing schemes and platforms. But, in my opinion, there is no better way to make a business compelling than to answer a set of fundamental questions about your core vision, and what you actually offer in terms of real content, something genuine and desirable.

Content should not be anything you make up, rather it should be rooted in real, lived, experience and knowledge – or (and this important!) it should not be something you feel you have to imitate.

This is where finding your voice (or even acknowledging that you have a voice) can be deeply helpful. You may really love someone’s work, and think “Hey I can do that!” and begin to imitate them, whether realizing it or not. It happens all the time.

This is natural, because, it is part of how we learn, and as we are inspired by other people’s work, our inspirations and new knowledge nourishes our own expanding visions. Here is where we need to be very careful: not because of copyright infringement (although that is a concern everyone should be wary of) – but the real concern is our own ability to be straight and honest with ourselves. Is this your own work? Is it coming from you? Do you really have a grasp of it? Do you really know what you don’t know? Have you done your homework? Have you paid your dues? Has it been tempered by experience? If you can be honest with yourself to work through these and other questions, the whole problem of imitation falls away.

And for those of you who see that you fall into the twin traps of either imitation or lack of inspiration – check your inboxes. I’ll put money down that you are subscribed to way too many email newsletters from way to many coaches and business advisors who are giving you way too many pieces of conflicting information. This is information overload, and it runs counter to the three things you really need to develop your own true voice: quiet, space, and the right amount of time.

Develop real content and real services that we ourselves are certain we have originated – and that actually works and actually helps. The core or seed I started with was what most resonated for me by a combination of lineage, training and discovery. (I’m excited to see what you come up with!)

From the name of my company, Milagro Roots, which came to me in a dream, to the image of the Sacred Heart, which I had always loved, to the fact that I write long form style — these are some of the elements that make me who I am. They are compelling to me and they are compelling to the people who are the right fit for what I have to offer.

I also had great coaching along the way from dearest friends – Roxana, my BFF, who at the beginning of my path, taught me the ropes of “best practices” and showed me how to focus on the one or two things that really matter; Fabeku who is a wise sounding board and as he says “suck-excorcist” for my business even today.

Even though I’m a Sacred Arts teacher and a writer, these practices grow from the most essential, the most necessary, characteristic of all: trusting and learning from your community. The truth is compelling always, telling real stories is compelling, pointing out easily missed opportunities is compelling. Doing any of these things to the best of your ability and your people will begin to notice, and appreciate, and show up…why? Because your magnet is strong.

Decision 4: Embracing Mistakes

Sometimes my website does strange things formatting wise, my clients or students miss an email or inform me that an email was never sent out. It would be a lie to say that my business runs like a well oiled machine. And I like it that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I do loathe mistakes and I cringe whenever I find a typo in my work, but you know the thing is, I am not a well-oiled machine, my husband who is my COO is not a well-oiled machine, so why should my business be one? Where did such a bizarre expectation ever come from in the first place?

I’m glad that my students and clients can pop into my inbox and point out a mistake or remind me of a glitch – wouldn’t it be sad if we were just only professional with each other all the time? Wouldn’t that be boring?! I embrace my mistakes and I learn from them. Done and done.

Decision 5: People Matter

Cassandra does all of the artwork for my site, she is also the site developer and the site manager. Nathan provides my hosting. Monica is my virtual assistant. Jessica is my bookkeeper and Danielle is my photographer. My husband, David, runs all of the operations.

It would have been easier and less expensive for me to pop up some generic visuals instead of having custom art created, less pricey to have hosting through one of the big companies, and there is no real reason why someone needs to stick with one VA in this day of freelance everything.

But Cassandra knows my style, she knows what visually appeals both to me and to my community, she understands that beauty is deeply needed right here and right now, and her art work is a medicine that reflects that. She is also a dear friend and we have collaborated together on multiple creative projects – I don’t want generic, I want the specific look and feel that Cass was able to tap into for me on day one.

Nathan is Nathan. That means that whenever I hit a glitch, or have hackers trying to invade the site, or find that the site is down, I just send a message to Nathan and he gets back to me immediately. (I wonder if he sleeps). He fixes whatever needs to be fixed AND he always teaches me how to do something as well. I don’t ever have to talk to a automated voice and I don’t have to wait because Nathan is on it.

Monica is my VA. Several years ago we worked together and then she had a baby and left her VA lifestyle. Last spring I knew it was time to get another VA and so, on the off chance that she might say yes, I emailed Monica. Why? Because Monica knows me, she knows my business, and I know and love her. If you are interested in the magic that is Monica you can email her directly (see, she doesn’t even need a website) right here.

When David and I started working together a lot of people who know us gave us that sideways glance that said (very loudly) “are you sure??!!” It is always tricky when a couple decides to dive into working with each other, but we had done it before and we knew it was the right fit for our family. We also really love spending time together, working together, and we happen to excel at very different skill sets. David has his own projects as do I, but there is no one I could trust with the essence of both the community and business that we are building like I can my beloved.

Jessica is my bookkeeper. I hired her because I hate bookkeeping and I also am not the greatest at it. When we first decided to work with Jessica it was a significant expense for our business – one that started saving us money almost immediately. Jessica’s role in our business is two-fold – she does our accounting but she also is a tangible reminder that it is beyond worth it to invest in someone who has a needed skill set for your business that you either do not have or that you have zero interest in developing yourself – she reminds me how to care for myself, my right work, and our business.

Danielle Cohen has taken the beautiful photos you see on my website. There are many amazing photographers to work with but Danielle is who I work with consistently. I felt that having professional photos was such a luxury and not really that important for the longest time. Last May, when I met up with Danielle in Santa Fe and we had an hours long photo shoot, I realized how essential having some good photos is – not for marketing or for social media – although they help – but for me, for reflection, for a visual testament to my role within my greater community.

One of the things that I consistently teach is that the Sacred Arts are custom jobs – they are unique to each person. That means that you have to see each person, each unique being, with clarity. We are not interchangeable people or parts.

People matter. This is a core belief of my business, it is something I talk about all of the time. What would it mean if I ran my business in the exact opposite way – as if people didn’t really mater that much? As if a “team” was just an interchangeable group? It would fly in the face of everything I stand for, and it would make the business far less compelling too.

Decision 6: Listening, Not Asking

As a tarot reader I know that what Henry Ford said is true “If I asked people what they wanted, I would have made a faster horse.” All of us have a hard time asking for what we really want because all of us have a hard time imagining what is really possible. Many businesses love to do surveys and get customer feedback and opinions. I too love hearing from my people but I do not send out surveys, I do not ask my people what they want. Instead I listen to what they are already saying. That was why I started teaching online. When I first developed my business, I did not think that I would ever be teaching online, but I listened to my community and what I heard was: we need a teacher, so I stepped up. It really was that simple.

Decision 7: Giving Back

Many businesses talk about the donations they make to various not-for-profits, which I think is fantastic. This is one way to give back, and there are others. I like creating free ceremonies for everyone in my community, and I partnered with Theresa several years ago and we now have created quite a resource for mystical business owners through our Talking Shop podcast. These are little ways to give back, to keep paying the love and learning forward, each act can make a significant difference.

Decision 8: Core Principle

Finally, I think all businesses, but especially home-based, heart-based businesses need a core principle to live by. Knowing what comes first and what last is more than half of the whole. This is the guiding principle not of your business but of your relationship to your business. For my work it is this: our business is here to support our life; our life is not here to support our business.

Now I love working, so this is not easy for me to say.
But what this means is that I will always put our lives first – my family’s lives, and this also means your lives. In other words, in my work, I take no interest in slick marketing schemes designed to boost profit, but the real thing: what is ethical, reliable, down-to earth, consistent, and what possesses integrity. I will not trademark the term Sacred Arts or create a certification program – because the essential teaching I promote is that Sacred Arts belong to everyone and the work we do in our community boils down to deeper self-knowledge. You can’t certify that; you just pursue it and do it.

If I am not absolutely convinced that the substance of my teaching, writing and services do not promote life, by encouraging the development of Sacred Arts in our real lives as it would make sense to each of us; if they don’t actually help real people, I am resolved to pitch it out, even if I know it will make more money.

That means that if I have to re-schedule an appointment because my son has a school event that I missed writing down, then I do it. My clients know that about me, I don’t hide it, and my community members not only get it, they appreciate it. Again, this is consistent with my practice that our spiritual practices should support our lives not vice versa. Each person gets to decide what their rule is; and when you do, tough decisions all of a sudden become much easier to make.

Thus I will set aside time for family and friends in need, because I know that if I can’t show up here in a genuine way, then how can I expect to show up for you?

The upshot of the core principle as I’ve described it is that it means putting substance first. This is my north star.

These are highlights, not the whole picture, but the some of the parts that I think are the most important when it comes to my business. Thanks to all of you who have been asking for inspiring me to jot them down!

Other highlights since the last letter came out include:

Getting the baby’s nursery ready! I FINALLY finished my registry, for those of you who are wading through the insane world of car seats and strollers let me just say that I feel your pain. I mean, I’ve translated ancient Greek texts and Sanskrit texts too – I would rather do either than shop for strollers.

Celebrating all of the Pisces that I know and love — my son, my husband, one of my best girlfriends, and beloved teacher – my first week of March is birthday fantastic!!!

Transferring the completed, hand-written manuscript of Making Magic onto the computer. The first step in this process is getting the rough draft in and trying not to wince too hard at the roughness of the draft. This will be followed by some hardcore honing and polishing. It’s a good thing I can type fast.

Receiving love notes, like the one above, from Jasper just out of the blue. Writing and reading are absolutely magical acts – never doubt it.

Wishing you so much love as we head into the Pisces New Moon on March 17th. Here is a blessing for that New Moon by the way.

xo,
Bri

Image credit: Jasper’s note to me!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Thoughts and Prayers: Footprints of the Heart

Learning and Community

M

iracles,

How do we heal?
What can the Sacred Arts teach us about healing?

As long as we greet difficult times and crises with the traditional “thoughts and prayers are with you” response, we have an obligation to express exactly how thoughts and prayers lead not just to action – which is the typical battle cry – but lead to deep, lasting, enduring healing.

How delicate we truly are becomes apparent when we consider not only the vast expanse of the universe we live in, but the tide the pressures, and even the dangers, of daily life.

Blaise Pascal, so long ago, trembled in complete terror at the the infinite without and the infinite within. Everything fixed dissolves. We are but fragile reeds, all too easily crushed by forces both external and internal.

That we can be hurt and that we are vulnerable in so many ways – body, mind and heart, even in ways we often aren’t always prepared to admit – cannot be denied, though it is popular to try, to claim loudly that all is well and proclaim “peace, peace” when in fact there is no peace.

While recognizing this fact of our existence – that we all have experienced wounds, that we all know what it means to feel broken – while acknowledging and even honoring it, the Sacred Arts perspective holds this knowledge in balance. Our struggles are one part of our stories; not the whole of them.

This is is what the Sacred Arts teach us. Take any practice of meditation or prayer, rituals and ceremony, any devotion to the movements of the body and spirit, any use of divination and folk practices of magic or storytelling. Look at Tarot or Astrology – for example – and consider the stories being told there, the situations unfolding.

Here is what you will find: just as we are delicate in ways we may not be totally willing to admit, we are also tougher and more resilient in ways that we also aren’t always prepared to admit, or in ways that we simply have a hard time seeing. There are possibilities – choices – we haven’t yet imagined, potentialities waiting for us in real life, here and now, like those newly discovered rooms and places that many of us come upon in our night time dreams.

We would like nothing more than to realize this about ourselves – that we are tough and tender, that we are broken and blessed – not either/or but both/and, and yet, it is so very difficult to see ourselves, to know ourselves, wholly. Much easier to flip through ideas and big abstractions, words and images, much easier to misjudge where the broken places and the blessings that emerge from them show up in our unique and particular lives.

The Sacred Arts are not treasure maps where X marks the spot, nor are they a labyrinth where there is one way in and one way out. Rather, the Sacred Arts are like the pilgrimage pathways that can be found world over – they are knowings, they are practices, they are prayers poured out straight from the soul that give us the needed support as we go about literally re-membering ourselves, re-membering all of our parts, re-membering that every wound also calls forth a medicine.

There is not “one pathway to rule them all”, not a one-size-fits-all method, but many related, complementary mutually supportive pathways, woven together by each living soul. Maybe they are woven neatly, but often they are not. The stories, songs, poems, dances, rituals, wisdom books, prayers and blessings, the clothes and fabrics and foods, the architectural dwellings, the divinations and the magical ways and means, all serve to help us make those discoveries for ourselves, in our own time, out of our own raw and direct experiences of life – and this is what, at bottom, matters most.

That is to say – it is not “thoughts and prayers” that matter so much. It is your thoughts and your prayers, and their ‘metabolism’ within the horizon of your own life that matters. The specific ways you think and the ways that you act on those thoughts. The ways that you pray (with a reminder here that prayer was never meant to be uttered in an abstract, passive and impersonal voice). When understood in this way, your thoughts and your prayers are part of the blessing that come out of your particular wound. They are part of your medicine, and we are all a little bit more healed when they are shared. The actions that come from them inspire and help others find their own way.
Hearts heal differently than bodies. This shouldn’t surprise us because our mind and heart follow somewhat different pathways than our beautiful bodies do. This difference is precisely what makes ‘heart and soul’ healing so difficult to achieve – especially if we are locked into a single way of looking at the healing process, abstracting from the physiological processes of the body. It is why, when I write about healing, I also write about wholeness and holiness – they need to be kept together.

It is also why so many of our collective efforts so often come down to so many unsatisfying remedies and palliatives that never work – rationalistic ten step programs and three steps to happiness. We’re groping in the dark here. Mystery does not operate according to blue prints and soul tends to ignore the best laid plans.

And so we run. And in our culture this often looks like forgetting. It sounds like the banal “thoughts and prayers are with the survivors” that lacks all teeth, all presence, all gravity. It looks like getting really pissed and angry and righteously indignant and then getting tired and then moving on, until the next trauma emerges, be it personal or political or global, and we go through the whole cycle again.

All too often we never stop fleeing from our private sufferings, never stop reaching out for healing in systems and life-ways far away and apart from our own – sometimes even avariciously grabbing them long before they are ever freely offered. We gain as much distance as we can from our scars and brokenness, from our raw experiences, and we learn to cover up and distract ourselves in a thousand different ways.

But, as they saying goes, you cannot outrun yourself. To flee from what hurts is also and at the same exact time to flee from what can be healed. It is a betrayal of self and soul and it does not make for easy sleep or better living. Certainly it does not make a future that knows more in the way of healing, wholeness and holiness and less in the way of suffering, brokenness, and diminishment.

Our thoughts and our prayers. The expression has become a trigger for so many because it sounds like mere pablum. And yet. When you take the time to speak to people who live close to the marrow of life, you will also find that in the deepest shadow what carries through is exactly thought and prayer – perfectly aimed, correctly tuned, full of fierce passion and deep wisdom. What can illuminate our way so that we have more of the second and less of the first?

We might turn to the image of the Sacred Heart for help. Here we have the familiar heart symbol, but there is a fountain of fire pluming from within the heart’s division, the heart itself is encircled with lines of radiance, with barbed wire, with rose thorns, or sometimes wings. When we see it in its radiant glory, we may easily forget that the shine and radiance is that of a heart and spirit that has been to hell and back.

In image and imagination, every possible wound has been inflicted on the Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart speaks to the scarred heart, pierced by a thousand swords, cut by a thousand pieces of glass, wrapped in rusty barbed wire and a crown of thorns; and sometimes, at first, we think that those scars are something to hide from the world, something to keep quiet, to keep covered up. In our modern parlance it has been dragged down, shot up, bruised, dented, banged around in all manner of ways and yet…still keeps on ticking.

Where does it get all that power from? From what or where does it arise?

See for yourself. Sacred Heart speaks also to the scared heart, afraid because we know we can be harmed, frightened of our worst dreams coming true, scared that the wounds we are asked to face cannot ever, really, be healed. Experiencing the traumas to body and spirit that cut so deep, the ideas that bind us to a limited view of life and love, the habits that keep us from not just living life, but living life well, we are afraid that we will only ever be broken.

Sacred, scarred, and scared heart teaches us this then: the way to strengthen your thoughts and prayers into something real, something lasting, something that actually will bring healing is nothing more than to really learn to bear witness to what is broken, in the full knowledge that the blessing can and will be found.

Not either/or but both/and.

Buddhist traditions (like all spiritual traditions) also have their own Sacred Arts practices, and tell the same story: the radiant lotus blooming out of the muddy murky depths. The suffering of our lives and the deepest well-spring of joy and peace are not two separate realms or fundamentally different things, although they may appear to be. Our challenge is to face our own tendency to always look away, in the other direction, far away from that ‘muck’, for our joy – oh god anything but the muck! – and, in so doing, cut off the real sources of joy in our lives.

The Catholic tradition reminds us that to the Sacred Heart, what we call broken shards and scars are for it the crown jewels which bedeck and bedazzle.

And the Sacred Arts remind us that Thoughts and Prayers are not weak or insipid or pointless so long as they come from your own rich soul soil, for then they reverberate with effective power, opening blessing ways that come from within the heart of sorrow and the deepest wounds.

This is not an easy teaching, and I’m afraid many will find it hard to stomach. I would like nothing more to to tell you that there is a silver bullet formula, an easy five step program, and that when you learn magic, a simple magical spell will solve all of your problems in a flash.

Ah, but then you would never come to be reminded and to discover your own bone-deep knowing what real magic is, and that it is here, in your life, and it has been waiting for you, all along.

And if I insisted that it’s to be along a single path, why, you will have been misled along a fruitless direction and would consequently never come to know what gifts you truly do have in this life, and moreover why it is we have the Sacred Arts in the first place to lead us forward along the footprints of beauty, power, wisdom and grace towards thoughts and prayers that usher in real healing and enduring change.

In love and blessings,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.