Hearth and Home Vol.8 – Refilling the Cup

Learning and Community

M

iracles,

Happy October!!! On the night of September 30th, as I was cleaning up from the Archangel Michael Feast Day, I glanced at my October calendar, and nearly started to hyperventilate. Oh. My. Goodness. We are now full-on in the season of magic, which means that I am full-on busy, add to that all of the school functions that happen in October, the birthdays (mine!!!) and anniversaries (also mine!!!) that also occur in October.

Looking at October, I began to feel what I can only describe as dread at all the busy-ness, which is NOT how I wanted to go into the month. So I stopped before panic mode truly set in, and I asked myself: OK, Bri – you know you have a lot going on this month, so what practices do you need to be really vigilant about in order to enjoy your favorite month of the year?

I thought about this question, and I felt into it just as I have my students do. I realized that I needed to commit to practices that really support me in feeling expansive when it comes to time and space. The month had not even started and I was feeling like I did not have either! For me, these practices are active imagination journeys – the kind we do in Spinning Gold and the kind I have taught in the Miracle Tree Sessions for several years now. They always begin with cultivating calmness, then my working place in the Otherworld always starts at the crossroads and I go from there. I was telling a friend of mine that the first part of the year, right up to this month, has felt like a huge out-breath. It has been so active. I have been so active. Writing a book, having a baby, traveling quite a bit over the summer, a full roster of students that I work with one on one…all really good things that I absolutely love and also all very outwardly active experiences.

Now that the skies are grayer and the weather will (maybe? hopefully!) start to cool down, I was struck so profoundly with the need to go inwards. For me that is more quiet time in my daily practice and prayers, planning with an eye to next year, and reading, reading, reading. I stayed away from reading books while I was writing my own because I needed to WRITE, but now I am making up for lost time and averaging about a book a day. Not even kidding. I’m reading fiction, non-fiction, and everything in between. I am spending time listening to podcasts and just soaking in inspiration and ideas and gorgeous words. This is better than any ten thousand dollar retreat – holding Heath, reading or listening to something interesting, then turning to my husband and talking with him about it. This, my friends, is pure gold in Briana-land.

So I’m reading, I’m cooking more, I’m making time and space to write, I’m playing with my three month old, I’m snuggling down with my seven year old and telling him a different version of Blue Beard or the Twelve Dancing Princesses or Iron Heinrich every night. I’m listening to my Holy Helpers. I feel the next wave of creative ideas and inspiration coming.  I can see the shadows that wave is casting – good, robust, luminous-on-the-inside shadows. I can taste its depths, and I am taking care of myself, re-filling my cup, so that when it is ready to crest I will be ready.

These realizations turned what was looking like a pretty scraggly cat of a month into something glossy and plump, wild, and wise. A time of year that I am actually going to linger through and savor and enjoy. My birthday is this month on October 13th and on that same day Heath turns four months old. He continues to be a really happy child, reminding me to RELAX and PLAY and have FUN. Our seven year old, Jasper, teaches me how to be patient and to live within my creativity. J is a deeply artistic child (I’ve shared some of his drawings before and those of you who have met him in real life know what I am talking about). He is the kind of child who does not do something creative, he lives it. By which I mean, he has to be reminded as all 7 year olds do, to put on shoes and brush teeth and feed fish, but he does not have to be asked to play the piano from hi heart or to sit down and draw or to build something out of Jenga blocks. He just does it, as naturally as you please. And sometimes it is funny and sometimes it is weird, and sometimes it is deeply divine and makes you feel like angels striding through your living room. That is living within our creativity. My 7 year old is an excellent teacher and I am trying to keep up with the lessons.

This is also the month when I celebrate being married to be the most incredible man – for twelve years now! David is the best husband, best dad, best partner is business and in life I could ever have been blessed with. He is without a doubt my person, my guy, my love. Both my birthday and our anniversary will be celebrated with good food and forays into the forests as soon as the weather cools down and the mosquitoes become a little less blood thirsty. As I dance into my 38th year I just feel so grateful. So grateful to our gorgeous community, so grateful that I get to wake up and do work that I love with people that I love every single day. So grateful that my beloved and I get to spend our days together, working, wrangling, and loving each other as we do. It is not always easy, this magical, enchanted life; but I would not trade it for anything, and I cannot pretend to be anything other than deeply blessed. So many of you who are reading this have helped make that possible in countless big and small ways. My gratitude to all of you is truly boundless. And I have so many fun things coming up in 2019 to help show that gratitude. I cannot wait to tell you all about them – soon, soon!

A bunch of you have asked about the book and what is happening with it now. So we are now in the copy-editing phase of the production. This is a different kind of editing than what we were engaged in before – if book production was compared to a manicure, then this part is the application of the clear, fast drying top coat. It is important because it brings yet another level of cohesion to the entire manuscript (and it has us all bowing down in devotion to the Chicago Manual of Style). We are now in the last leg of the book formation journey. Any small changes I want to make to the book have to be made by October 31st (yes I know, how perfect is that?).  After that day, any changes start to slow down the next leg of the book birthing process. So I am lingering over my book this month, spending a lot of time with it, taking it for walks, for long baths, going over every word and sentence, story and idea, because once it is out in the world on shelves and in hands, it is not mine any longer, it becomes yours, all of yours, and I want to give you something lovely and thought provoking and well-made.

I am also in the endorsement gathering phase. Getting endorsements is straight up going out into a neighborhood and knocking on a bunch of doors, and asking people who are known to be gifted in seeing and assessing and blessing if they will spare the time and the effort and take a moment to bless you, to bless your work. That’s what you are doing: you are asking for and gathering up blessings. It takes courage. Sometimes the answer is no. But often the answer is yes and the blessing received is so much more than the seeker could have ever imagined. There are more pieces around the book that I will be asking you about soon as I need your input and opinions.

I’ve also turned my attention to writing new material, starting with a long article about Witches that many of you emailed me about and generously shared your thoughts. I love those exchanges. It usually takes me a few days to get back to all of the emails but I love them. It means so much and it is such a blessing to be able to hear what you have to say, what my words encourage you to think about and speak out about in your own lives. That is, hands down, my favorite part of the internet, and we do not even have to do it through social media! I can just write something and send it out to y’all and y’all show up with brilliance every single time. How stellar is that?

So I wrote earlier about re-filling my cup, and here are some of the ways I have been doing it. I have been reading this and this and this. Listening to this. Playing with this and covering myself with these. And I have also made some things for you because I love making things for you. I wrote a little guide on how to incorporate astrology into your planning processes – I call it Planning by Starlight and you can snag it here – totally free: enjoy! I have a blessing for the New Moon in Libra right here for you. And I also want to remind you that I have a litany of blessings if you ever need to be washed over with blessings. Theresa and I have a new podcast episode up. There are also a bunch of articles on working with, honoring, and celebrating our Beloved Dead as we enter into Ancestor Season. And reminder, if you want to know what the latest offerings are, you need to sign up for this email list as I keep this one commercial free. And I wish this for you: a decadent, delicious, sweet as honey, October for you – a time that you are really able to enjoy and appreciate and dive into.

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.

Hearth and Home Vol. 6: Where We Shine

Foundations

M

iracles,

I am wishing you all a blessed and beautiful New Moon in Leo and Happy Eclipse! This New Moon marks the final leg of the Eclipse Magic rituals I have performed for a handful of gorgeous souls. I am always so honored when people ask me to create ceremony on their behalf, especially when they themselves are seasoned sacred arts practitioners.

If you would like a New Moon blessing for Leo, you can snag one here; and if you want an eclipse blessing, I have one here. As I have written elsewhere, I see eclipses as the best time to break patterns. For me, that is also what get-aways and vacations are also really useful for. For the last month and change, my family has been in our home away from home in Northern New Mexico. We have had the privilege of taking this time out (and getting away from the INSANE south-central Texas heat) for a couple of years now.

For the boys this time away from and outside of our usual routine means that there is a lot of unscheduled outdoor playtime – something that I think is deeply endangered in the lives of far too many children. Heath had the one month old version of outside playtime – hanging on the porch in his bassinet and allowing all of our friends and family who visited to love on him! For my husband and myself, I see this time as a needed break from our routine – not because we want to “get away from it all” – when you love your work and love your people like we do there is nothing to get away from – but because it allows us to learn from the interruption to our usual flow. Here are some of the things I remembered this time around:

  • Traveling with a newborn baby is actually easier than you might think.
  • Carrying ritual goods on the road can be trickier that you might think.
  • Outdoor time is precious and one of the greatest privileges. The corresponding responsibility is to make sure that our children and their children and their children can also have an opportunity to be outside and active and to safeguard the various wild plant, animal, and mineral people who we commune with when we are outdoors.
  • When your best friend comes to visit you to see your new baby, even though she has been in the wilds of Canada for a month, you will be SO. HAPPY. to see her.
  • Meeting up with friends you have made online in real life is THE BEST. Especially when they are incredibly gifted and generous artists.
  • Discomfort can be a great teacher.
  • I love waking up to cool weather that requires a sweater.
  • Cooking for a big group of people is something that I actually really love to do – especially when I do it with my mom.
  • Seeing old friends, beloved teachers, and soul kin is deep medicine.
  • Patronizing independently and locally owned stores and boutiques is a good thing. This last was really driven home to me during this visit. I re-acquainted myself with a number of artisans and store owners in Northern N.M. who make beautiful things – many of which are magical. In the age of ordering everything online I have re-committed to calling up my friends who own businesses, letting them know what I am looking for, and getting it from them.

That is a short list, there is so much more. And if you want visuals, go check out my Insta feed. Jasper, our seven year old, loves Northern New Mexico. He takes art galleries by storm and always engages with artists. People don’t believe he is seven. When they ask him if he is an artist, he tells them loudly and proudly that of course he is, that his favorite medium is drawing and clay, and that art is foundational to life. He is opinionated, and has priced his recent spate of drawings between 200k and 500k – so you know, no issues around art, pride, and money for this kiddo! Now he is getting ready for the beginning of school (well, we all are). I cannot believe my little boy is going to be a first grader!

Heath is growing incredibly fast as those of you who have little ones know they do. On August 13th he will be two months old and he is wearing clothes meant for a 3- 6 month old – of course he is. My boys are giants! He is smiling and giggling and trying his best to join the conversation (Gemini!!!). He is a snuggle bug, loves his big brother, and is so fun to watch because, as a little baby, you can see how clearly they are in between worlds and at the same time firmly planted in themselves.

While we have been tucked into the mountains, I also completed the first round of micro-edits on Making Magic. I think it is a good sign when you are down in the dirt and the details of your writing and you are still really excited about the work you have created. My beloved husband has been so essential in the writing of this book in every way, and when it comes to the fine editing process his high school English teacher mojo came to the rescue once again.

A few days ago we opened up registration for Spinning Gold. I am so excited about the course this year – we have created an amazing resource library for the students and I will be sharing goodies from the book with the Spinning Gold group that are exclusive to them. We already have had a bundle of beautiful people sign up for this year of gold spinning and I look forward to welcoming more!

I’ll leave you with this Ancient Greek quote that my husband shared with me in the wee hours of this morning:

“As long as you live, shine! Life is short. Be not overly distressed – time demands fulfillment.” – epitaph by Seiklos.

Shine on, sweet things.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home, Vol. 5: A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Uncategorized

M

iracles,

Happy upcoming New Moon in Cancer! If you need a blessing for this New Moon I have one for you right here – it is all about the ways that we can honor our armor. This New Moon finds our family getting ready to make our annual pilgrimage to the blood red mountains of Northern New Mexico where we will spend the next few weeks.

So as I have been packing and doing laundry (so. much. laundry.) and gathering various bits and bobs that will be needed during our trip I wanted to share a few gathered loose ends with all of you that may have gotten lost in the excitement of baby-having and book writing.

First things first though – the family update. Heath is doing beautifully. Thanks in no small part to all of you and your beautiful prayers and well-wishes for him and for us. Jasper, our seven year old, maintains his position as best big brother EVER, and Heath is full of snuggles and love. He has started cooing and focusing more with his uncanny blue eyes, and he loves nothing more than to snuggle (preferably against my chest for all the obvious reasons). We are looking forward to the cooler weather in New Mexico and the opportunity to do some hiking and exploring with our sweet boys!

Our animals have been so interesting to watch with the new baby. Each one of them guards him in their own special way. The cats circle around him, especially if he is fussy, trying their best to soothe him with their purrs and the dog will come and get me anytime anything seems slightly amiss. (Speaking of cats, that is Hades, our beautiful black boy, lounging on the bed that my mom brought for the dog…yeah, we see how well that worked out).

Since we are on the topic of animals, I have some exciting news to share. Earlier this Spring I was invited to contribute to an anthology that will be released in 2019 from Sounds True – the Karma of Cats! Dog-lovers don’t be jealous, Sounds True released the Dharma of Dogs awhile ago. This is an anthology where various writers, spiritual teachers, and animal lovers were invited to share the lessons they have learned from their feline friends. I was honored to be included and look very much forward to introducing the world to Hades and Aphrodite, two kittens that came to our family in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Another exciting tidbit is this little podcast I recorded with Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady on how to cleanse and bless your Tarot decks. Enjoy it and as always let me know if you have questions.

We have entered into the launch season for Spinning Gold! The course is not officially open until August 7th but through the months of July and August we are sharing samples of the wonderful guest teachings that are new to this year’s program – so much goodness here. You can get a taste of Spinning Gold and check out the guest teachers yourself by signing up for the mailing list here.

I’m still taking time off and won’t be back full time to work or social media until August, my plan for the next four weeks is to fully enjoy the depths of summer and embrace this magical and liminal time. Wishing a gorgeous season to all of you too!

In love and blessings always,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Threads of Gold: Beauty and the Beast + Hope and Dreams

Divination and Dreams

M

iracles,

2018 is here! And we have just passed a beautiful full moon – a Super-Blue-Blood moon in the sign of Cancer – yesterday: we are full of hope, real hope. Spinning Gold, my lovely course on magic and fairy tales, is well underway and flourishing.

What a wonderful group of magic and soul seekers are journeying together on this experience!

Here’s the latest news:

We’re beginning to schedule the second round of one-on-one calls this month. Let’s be honest. I loved the first round so much! And so have my students. It has been such an irreplaceable part of the course now to have an opportunity to meet each and every one of my students, and get to know them a little better, have some heart-to-heart communication.

So many online courses are mass manufactured, and the teacher never knows you by name. You click on a youtube video, or download course content and that’s it. But I want to bring you the opposite: personal, real connections with knowledge and crafts that will help you nourish the roots of your life.

Even though many of the elements of this teaching are rooted in timeless things, the approach we take is such new work, we all need all of the support we can get – and my desire is to give that to you!

The group has already journeyed alongside of Rumpelstiltskin, the faerie knight Tam Lin and his lover Janet, and we have met up with the fierce and wild Baba Yaga. Now we are onto Module Three where we explore the tale of Beauty and her Beast.

What this means is that by now everyone has accessed or received their gorgeous guidebooks for Module III. The Guidebook is delivered as a high-res, downloadable pdf, but many of my students print theirs out because we like pen on paper. In reality each guidebook is a basket full of bounty and beauty, with useful magical treats and explorations.

By now, students will have listened to the story, experienced the active imagination journey, reflected and wrote in their journals, tried all or some of the Sacred Arts practices and crafts for this Module, and continued weaving into and working with other practices from previous Modules.

All the Modules hang together. In fact, the active imagination journey is crafted as a journey that continues throughout the entire course from start to finish, drawing the fairy tales’ magical territory and characters into its singular realm.

My presentation of the Sacred Arts is non-dogmatic, and very much encourages the creative development of practices you already have. And if you don’t yet, what a great way to start!

I have included specific instructions for Sacred Arts practices that are rooted in elements of the the story.  For Module II, for example, you’ll find “Summon your Backbone with your cord”, “The North Star Rite” and “Working with Sacred Fire”. We continue our talismanic discovery, with our Courage Talisman.

And one of my guest teachers will help you make your very own Spirit Doll (a motif that features strongly in the tale of the Baba Yaga!)

Beauty and the Beast has its own Sacred Arts practices, introducing “divination and dreams”.  Have you ever done an “omen walk”? I teach you how. This is foundational work that nourishes all work with any sort divination tool you might choose to use. You’ll also find a bedtime ritual to cultivate sleep and dreams, and other useful practices to boot.

Oh, and let’s not forget the teaching call for Beauty and the Beast is coming up in a few days: later this month I’ll send a little clip your way so you can hear what’s happening!  I hope you like it.

The core of Beauty and the Beast, as I teach it, is coming to grips with hope, and finding a way to protect and forge a robust hope that can meet and overcome the challenges of life.  On this call, I’ll be discussing:

  • The true nature and power of hope, why we lose it, and what the symptoms of lost of false hope are
  • Why Hope and Living an Enchanted life go hand in hand
  • Three medicines for restoring Hope found in Beauty and the Beast
  • Omens, Dreams, Divination and the ways that the Otherworld speaks to and nourishes hope
  • Spiritual Work while feeling hopeless and/or depressed
  • Every call concludes with an active imagination journey.

I’m looking forward to the work I’ll be doing with everyone on this Module – answering questions, sharing insights and making new connections.

And for your listening and learning pleasure, I hope you enjoy a little clip from a discussion with one of my guest teachers and a dear friend, Fabeku Fatunmise on lineage and legacy work – yet another resource to help you develop the groundwork you need for a robust and vital Sacred Arts practice in everyday life. Listen here!

To a life of real enchantment and with much love,

Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Sacred Arts, Faery Tales and the Wild

Ceremony and Ritual

M

Miracles,

You return from that trip to an exotic place – or perhaps to the wilds of nature. There to greet you on the front porch steps is your life again, waiting for you. Then what?

You discover something unsettling.

It’s like you’ve never left in the first place. For awhile you feel fresh again, but then all the bills are there, the push and pull and tensions of everyday living are. still. there.

Ugh! What’s happening? We try to get away and refresh, and maybe it works for a little while, but then the same problems crop up – and repeat themselves.

Since the days of Rousseau (and actually much earlier), all too often we’ve accepted the view that the natural wild is a realm “over there” away from where we live, from our lives.

To begin our journey then, our really soulful work, we believe we must somehow make a big leap, if it were even possible, over into that realm and start from there.

In truth, not only is no such leap is necessary, but the leap itself can actually makes things worse. For the wild – the true wild – is a property of the heart and the real inferiority found in us and in nature, within relationship; and it is found in those encounters where we least expect it. That can happen to us wherever we are – in the car, in the doctor’s office, at the bank, on the street, in the city, the country, the mountains.

Now many important lessons can be learned by stepping outside the human realm and into nature, or outside the familiar to a realm that is foreign and different. Don’t get me wrong.

For the Sacred Artist, it is simply a matter of where you begin. As the old stories teach, the exotic realm is not the wild at all, and not a starting place, but a kind of abstraction. Where the true movement begins is right where we are.

The story of Sir Gawain and Lady Ragnelle – the guiding story of Module IV of Spinning Gold – speaks directly to this, and how it plays a role in a life that manifests real enchantment.

It begins with the scene of a deep betrayal, and as a consequence the land of the kingdom in the story dries up, crops wither away, and there is no longer water, moisture, or vitality of any kind. People are not able to have children, all of the food crops and animals are destroyed, the living land turns into one perilously close to death. Spiritually, psychologically and pragmatically, we lose the power to manifest our dreams, desires and intentions.

A betrayal occurs or is experienced: someone tells us “not to quit our day jobs” or that our “sister is really the talented one” or that our art making, prayer making, sanctuary building, word crafting, is a “nice hobby”.

Sometimes the betrayal happens within: every time we tell ourselves that there isn’t anything worthwhile or relevant or meaningful in the creative work we are called to do, anytime we stop ourselves before we even start by getting busy cleaning or talking to a friend or doing five errands all before noon, then we too feel that icy wind blowing across our soul soil and snuffing out our creative spark. Creatively we feel “stuck”, “frozen”, “bored”, “dried up”, “numb” and “dead”.

And so, in order to right this wrong and bring life back to the land, Sir Gawain, bravest and truest knight of the Round Table, is given a specific task: he must learn the answer to a singular and shining question.

And so must we, in our own context, learn the answer to the question.

Failure to do so results not only in the loss of life for the land, but also in the loss of Gawain’s own life. (So you know, no pressure).

Gawain goes into the wild, and it takes him the traditional initiatory time, a year and a day, to discover the answer to his question, an answer that comes at a wild and wondrous price as those familiar with the tale know. Without spoiling the ending of the tale, I can assure you that both life and true wildness return to the kingdom.

The quest, the traveling into parts unknown, and wondering through the deep wild wood, are all necessary steps along the way to retrieving the fuel that can keep the creative spark burning and it is this way for us as well.

Like Gawain, we must brave the icy wilds, go on a quest and find the needed answers that will provide fuel for our brilliant and bright spark to burn once more.

But the wilds need not literally be wilds – like literally wilderness area. For it is only when he returns, that the real magic begins to move: he has an encounter that changes everything and restores wholeness.

Gawain’s story and teachings focus specifically on the Sacred Arts of Ritual and Ceremony and concrete practices you can try out.

The story, like all the fairy stories we encounter, speak in particular ways as helps in breaking down the idea that there is this world of here and now and another world of dream and magic that we can yearn for but never fully participate in.

The practices we learn in the Sacred Arts of Ritual and Ceremony, as well as others, help us weave the worlds back together through stories and the Sacred Arts.

Those soulful seekers who practice the Sacred Arts can attest to not only more creative vision and ideas, but more creative vision and ideas that become concretely manifested so that they may be shared with the world. We should expect this result. For if we can learn to see gold in straw, then we can certainly remember the ways to care for a practical intention or a project from start to finish, so that it is able to emerge fully whole and intact.

And it is those concrete manifestations of your creative brilliance that turn anywhere you are, and everywhere you are, into terrain that is wild and overflowing with wonder.

The next Spinning Gold guest teacher I would like to introduce, Ryan Edward, is all about the intersection between the Sacred Arts and creativity. With several Tarot and Lenormand decks to his name, Ryan’s work has been published by US Games and is beloved within the Sacred Arts community, and for good reason: his work is quite gorgeous and his skill is matched only by his kindness. In fact, as a professional designer, he sees the the creative work of design as a form of the Sacred Art of Divination. Intrigued? Give it a listen!

Bri

Ready to Spin some Gold? Register Now 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The Baba Yaga, Creativity and Time

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from people interested in taking Spinning Gold is: how much time will it take? Perhaps you’ve heard me say before that any teacher you consider working with should be willing to learn from her own experience and to change her mind when appropriate.

My response to this question has changed over the three years that I have run the program. The best way I can answer the question is: the rest of your life.

Because, seriously, that’s what we are talking about when it comes to the Sacred Arts. These traditions and practices are ancient. They were, in many cases, the first witnesses to culture being created by our long-ago people.

When we devote ourselves to learning the Sacred Arts and working with the primary source material of myth and fairy tale from which they spring, we are devoting ourselves to a life-long project.

Ghandi spoke the following words, springing from a deep tradition of Sacred Arts practice, which speaks directly to what I’m getting at here:

Learn as though you were to live forever, live as though you were to die tomorrow.

Anyone who has worked with fairy tales and myth will tell you that the stories grow in their influence and impact on your life as time moves forward. And anyone who has made a serious study and practice of any of the Sacred Arts will say the same – the more we discover the more uncharted terrain we see that there is to explore.

So that is my best answer. This is a lifetime commitment. Not to me, and not even to the program per se – although current and past students do receive lifetime access to the material – but to yourself. Your are committed to your insights, your discoveries, your bone deep knowing, and most of all to your experience of enchantment for the rest of your life. It’s a pretty good match, one that allows you to experience every single day as more full of magic, not less!

It is popular to say in our uber busy world that a program will change your life in 5 minutes, 2 hours, 10 seconds a day – much like the attitude towards online learning in general.

This promise of little effort and maximum results can yield a sexily high market share. But only for awhile. Two things happen almost immediately: the first is that people catch on. And the second is that you start to notice that whatever it is you are producing – your creative vision, strategic plan, or new venture, reflects the paltry amount of time put into it.

Time is required for you to do your best work no matter what it is and time is required for the things that really matter to you in your life.

A wonderful illustration of this can be found in the third story we work with in Spinning Gold. The Baba Yaga is an Eastern European and Russian story steeped in the wide mountain ranges and deep forests of that area. The old Baba Yaga herself (as I was taught she is always the Baba Yaga and not just Baba Yaga) is the million year old woman who created the world. She speaks to the Sacred Art of Lineage and Legacy – that is the ability to connect with, learn from, and know your past history and stories as well as ability to envision, create, and call-forward your future possibilities. In other words, her hands are quite full. And the Baba Yaga takes her time – literally.

For at three different points in the story a knight in shining armor on a white horse, red horse, and black horse consecutively comes busting out of the Baba Yaga’s chicken-footed house and rides headlong into the deep woods. We later learn that these strange knights who seem in some ways tangential to the rest of the story are actually the hours of the day.

The white horse represents Dawn and all of the hours from Dawn until Noon. The red horse represents noon tide and all of the hours between Noon and Midnight. And the black horse riding knight is Midnight and all of the hours between Midnight and Dawn. That scratches the surface of this part of the tale – for red, black, and white are traditional ceremonial colors associated with many medicines as are horses and as are the helper figures of knights.

But what I want to impress upon you all today is that the Baba Yaga who is a deeply creative force keeps her time close to her. She does not fritter it away, spend it all in one place, or give it up and over easily to someone or something else.

This is only one tiny learning from the Baba Yaga; there is so much more as Spinning Gold students will find.

Everyone who is drawn to Spinning Gold has a rich inner life including dreams and visions that they want to bring into the world here and now. Many of the students within the program and those considering the program already have some kind of daily practice which they wish to deepen. All students care about learning more when it comes to the Sacred Arts – and the truth is that this takes, time as any meaningful, creative work does.

Practically speaking, to keep up with the program it is a good idea to allow 3-4 hours a week of study time, plus 5-10 minutes a day for your daily practice. And just as the Baba Yaga has a life that supports her relationship with time, so too will you be supported in your Spinning Gold journey – by the Spinning Gold alumni who have walked the road that you are walking, in our private facebook group, by the course caretakers and guest teachers, and by me – through the optional one-on-one meetings, the weekly office hours, and the teaching calls.

Another way that we deeply support you? Alumni and this year’s students will have lifetime access to Spinning Gold– that means that you can (and most do) take the course again and again to deep their journey. (Full disclosure: as Spinning Gold grows and changes I do not know if the lifetime access part will remain; to make sure that you have it, I do recommend signing up this year. That’s not a strong arming sales tactic – just the truth).

At the end of the day, making the time for an intensive study and practice of the Sacred Arts and what it means to live an enchanted life is up to you, but myself and my team want to support you in every way that we can. And as it turns out, making the time is a good habit to cultivate across the board not just when it comes to Spinning Gold. In fact, creative people talk all of the time about how you have to make the time to do the work that you really want to do. Case in point? Our next guest teacher.

Najah Lightfoot is a new guest teacher this year, added to our growing group of Sacred Artists in the Spinning Gold Resource Library. Like The Baba Yaga, Najah is a witch and rootworker who possesses a unique perspective on time and creativity – she is also a published author with Llewelyn publishing company and is working on her first book! She shares with us her journey from wanting to do something creative and meaningful to actually doing it, and talks about what was required along the way….listen to a clip here!

In love and magic~
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.