Prayer for Prisoners ~ New Moon in Pisces

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prisoner’s Prayer

Blessed be the prisoners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

A Gathering Prayer ~ New Moon in Aquarius

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

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

A Gathering Prayer

Blessed be our ways of coming together.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Blessing for the Ever-Unbroken ~ New Moon in Sagittarius

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

On Tuesday 11/29 the New Moon dances through Sagittarius, the archer, the wounded healer, the wise teacher, the free spirit.

This is the first New Moon, or monthly new beginning, that we have had since the Presidential Election in the US. To say that emotions have been running hot and high would be a grave understatement.

And then there are the holidays, and the pressure to buy more and be more places. My son’s teacher pulled out a Gumby figure and stretched it in different directions to show how they would have to be from now until Winter break – flexible like Gumby, going with the flow, allowing their normal routine (they are five year olds) to be interrupted. When she told me that, I thought: hey, I need that lesson too! As do we all.

Join me in considering: where do I find freedom? I have one of many answers for you:

We find freedom in the ever-unbroken. Click to Tweet

Students of yoga, pilates and other rigorous exercise regimes know that what allows us to stretch out and stretch farther is developing a solid center or strong core. In the realm of soulful seeking, one of the hindrances to freedom of movement – what clouds our perception, limits our understanding of real alternatives – is a subtle and debilitating anxiety that freezes heart and mind alike.  In Spinning Gold – my class that teaches magic and the sacred arts through fairy tales and old stories – we are working with the Baba Yaga in her older-than-old first forest. What we find there is fear but/and also the deepest part of self that is solid, and that remains ever intact, whole, holy, and healthy.  What follows is a prayer for that place.

A Blessing for the Ever Un-Broken

Blessed ones in whom we live and move and have our being, today we ask for aid in remembering the ever-unbroken within us.

For we know and have heard, we have told the stories of the many sacred scars received throughout our journey and how those scars, many of them, are much more than skin-deep.

And we know and have heard about the many aspects of self and psyche; the functions and the dysfunctions, the pathologies and the anomalies too.

Let there be deeper remembering illuminated by wisdom, led by love.

Let there be deeper remembering that returns us to first self, true self, the fixed point at center around which the stars of our life revolve.

Let there be deeper remembering that returns us to core self, original self, fully intact self, where there are no marks or scars, no impressions or wounds.

Let there be deeper remembering that returns us to deepest soul self that has been and will be and holds within it all of our lineage as well as our legacy.

So that when we are hurt we can remember that there is a place over and above, underneath and beyond the wound.

So that when the wheel of fortune seems to spin faster and faster we can remember that there is a fixed and solid point upon which to stand.

So that when we feel our most broken we can remember that there is vast territory within each of us that is ever-unbroken, and that it is in that place that we make our stand and in that place that we make our home.

May it be so.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon Notes: Adventuring with Aries Edition

Lunar Letter

Dear Miracles,
My Dad is an Aries. My sister is an Aries (her birthday is actually tomorrow ON the New Moon – Happy Birthday, sissie!). My soon-to-be 82 year old grandmother is an Aries — do you see a pattern?
I LOVE the Ram – their bright excitement, their sense of adventure, their willingness to be seen, heard, and counted…we can all learn a thing or two from the awesome that is Aries.
The New Moon at 18 degrees Aries, 6:24 AM cdt on April 7th is potent for so much but really for this question ~
Ask: What big thing am I ready to begin?
That, to me, is the real beauty of Aries – they encourage all of us to say YES more often. I’ve been saying yes in my own life throughout this gorgeous Spring.
Yes to adventuring underneath ancient limestone cliffs that might just lead into the Otherworld
limestone-caves
Yes to the unexpected; like end of the season fires in adobe kivas – an unanticipated and late season delight that welcomed and warmed.
fire-in-a-kiva
Yes to all of the holy places. The ones that are found in high desert mountains under peerless blue skies and the ones that are found deep within your very own self.
chimayo-sacred-site-and-sanctuary
Yes to the miracles that so many people walk by on their way to something “better”, like this little hummingbird nest we spied in the brand-new-bud covered tree.
fruit-tree-and-birdnest
Yes to the places we feel safe and secure and yes to the places that stretch us to something new and gorgeous.
fruit-tree-and-birdnest-two
What are YOU saying yes to right now? If you aren’t sure then I have a few suggestions:

Say yes to illuminating the Underworld and finding blessings in the broken places with this month’s Here Be Dragons Ceremony honoring the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio.

Say yes to clarity and ease during the end of the month and May time Mercury in Retrograde period and participate in the Mercury RX Survival Kit.

Say yes to learning about the tricky intersections between spirituality and money in our upcoming Talking Shop episode.

Say yes to upgrading your sacred arts business or sacred arts business dream with coaches who know how to get it done in Andrew McGregor’s Super Successful online course.
Speaking of Andrew, say yes to listening to him and I jam about all things magical and miraculous in this free podcast.

And finally, say yes to everything that honors and celebrates the wonder that is life right here and now, perfect in all of its many imperfections.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Want a magical fix that works forever? Then do this.

Ceremony and Ritual

D

ear Miracles,

Many within the sacred arts community turn to ritual and ceremony whenever difficulties are experienced. We also work with ritual and ceremony in other contexts as well – to mark seasons and important days or festivals for our holy ones, to celebrate successes and victories, to simply give thanks and gratitude.  In all cases, we ask ourselves what kind of magic and miracle-making, what kind of ritual or ceremony, might adequately address the situation?

Not one thing is wrong with this approach, and I firmly believe that marking our difficulties and our successes with ritual is a wise thing to do. But we often miss one initial step that, although small, is of great use. It is the step of directing our magic making, our ritual intention, inward first.

Let’s use a concrete example to illustrate this point. Say that I have a relationship with someone I care deeply about, but the connection has been on the fritz lately. We cross words with one another, rub each other the wrong way, and offend each other with each attempt to “make it better”.  I could decide to do some work to sweeten the relationship, so that we might be kinder to each other. Perhaps I create a sugar jar or I light a devotional candle for this purpose. Well and good. But before assembling my material magica, before thinking about what petition I want to write and what prayers I would like to say, I need to do one thing first. We are watching a lot of Star Wars in my house right now, so I am going to borrow the phrase from George Lucas – I need to search my heart.

Perhaps in this specific situation I have a long history of jealousy around this person.  Maybe I feel like they always get the breaks while I am always stuck with hard work. Maybe I really love them, but I – in some small or not so small way – resent them. Can I perform a ritual or ceremony to create peace and harmony in the relationship without dealing with those feelings of jealousy and resentment? Sure. Will the work be effective? It might be effective – but only for awhile and to a certain extent. Will the work have long lasting and deep results if I have not dealt with my own internal state first? Not a chance.

I often tell my students and clients to do some serious soul-searching and “get their soul house in order”. It is an idea I encountered in the writings of Confucius, whose claim is that before one goes about telling others how to order their homes, one should make sure that their own home is in order. Or, as that old saying goes, when you point a finger there are three fingers pointing back at you. It is easy and tempting to reserve our ritual and ceremonies, and really all of our sacred arts practices, for dealing with external situations only. In the Miracle Tree Sessions we work with this concept throughout the year and the magic that is made as a result has much greater depth and staying power. What would happen if we actually directed some of our concentration and devotion towards our own internal state of affairs? More clarity, deeper wisdom, and much less wasted time.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Want the best love spell? Do this.

Ceremony and Ritual

D

ear Miracles: Valentine’s Day (one of my most favorite holidays ever!) is right around the corner. I am known for having a deft hand when it comes to love magic, in fact, my writing on the ins and outs of love magic has even been published in a book. So it isn’t really surprising that during this time of year there is one question I am asked again and again:

What is the strongest/best/most awesome love spell you know?

There are many ways to make beautiful ritual when it comes to love. But the best ritual act I know of?

Love yourself.

We are frequently told to love ourselves. As far as advice goes, it’s right up there with honoring our boundaries. However, we are not often told why. Why does self-love matter? Why should I bother with loving and taking care of myself, especially if my focus is to draw a new lover to me or keep the lover that I have happy and satisfied? As it turns out, a lot.

I advise my clients and students to love themselves because the first step in doing that is learning to pay attention, and that in turn makes us really excellent lovers. As important is this truth: we teach others to love us by the way we love ourselves.

 

Think about it: do you want someone to show up for you consistently?

If so, ask yourself this: am I showing up for myself?

 

Want someone to be generous with their time, their money, their attention?

How generous are you to yourself?

 

Desiring sweet words and deep romance?

How do you speak to yourself? What romantic thing have you done just for you and just because?

 

After thinking about these questions and their relations my favorite thing to do ritually is create a sugar jar, a magical microcosm dedicated and consecrated to you…being the best lover of yourself, ever.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Read this the next time you decide magic doesn’t work for you

Ceremony and Ritual

D

ear Miracles: This post was inspired by conversation I had with the ever-so talented Aidan of Tveir Hrafnar.

Consider the following hypothetical situations:

A. You prayed and hoped your “Ex” would return to you, but they didn’t.  You were so sure your prayer wasn’t answered. But then you turned around and hurt someone else in the exact same way or even worse than your “Ex” had hurt you.  You want to deny it, but cannot – it’s just staring you in the face.   What’s happening here?

B. The once in a lifetime job fell through, even though you created a beautiful ritual to make sure it happened. You were sure your magic failed.  But then you met your beloved and started an affair that required you to move two states away. What happened?

C. You made ceremony to create real and lasting change in your life…and then had to hold on tight for a wild and rowdy ride. You think your ceremony didn’t work because your life seemed to become even more of a mess, somehow more disordered. But what was really happening?

For sacred artists it is all too easy to blame magic for all the times it seems to fall through and fail.

But just as genuine prayer is not merely asking The Deity for stuff (Dear Lord I want a shiny new car…), genuine magic is not mere wishful thinking or wish fulfillment. For prayers to be answered, for magic to really work, we need to work. A large part of that work means cultivating a certain quality or frame of mind and heart conducive for that work, and the root of this is learning how to pay or give our attention to our experience – both inner and outer – than perhaps we have ever done before.

The experiences themselves I related above teach us this.  We can learn a lot from our actual experiences, if only we can listen and look…and be patient.  Someone who really pays attention to actual experience begins to live more and more by a single rule: expect the unexpected.

In the three cases above, something unexpected happened. Magic happened.  An opportunity happened.  You thought you wanted your “Ex” back. “Nope!” said the Deep Blue Universe. “Huh-uh. You need do some serious soul-searching and get your ‘inner’ house in order.”

You thought it would be so great to get that job, and really wanted it.  “Really?” the Great Whirling Dervish said, eyebrows raised. “That’s what you want? My, but you really are a little slow. What you want is — Bam! Passion!”

You believed lasting change would be super easy and tidy, like a row of pretty colorful bottles on a shelf you can buy in a store. “Wrong again!” laughed the Wide Sparkling Cosmos. “Here, witness a miracle. Here it is. Right in front of you.”

Why is this a useful way of looking at our work and it effects?  Because it is one that brings more clarity and wisdom, but also wastes less time. The frame of mind we want to adopt is not only more objective, disinterested, even scientific –  but it is also characterized by a sense of learning and a sense of adventure, an attitude of “what’s next!” or “what’s around the corner!”  This is, by the way, what fairy tales can teach us – what it means to cultivate a sense of creative adventure in our practice and life.  This is no bland, anesthetized sort of passive open awareness, but one that is growing, active, wondering, probing, excited and truly open.

It is this vigorous openness in which real magic begins to take shape.  Then those moments, often hidden, often overlooked, challenge us and put us to the test!

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.