Many Branches–Creating Sacred Space with Jacquelyn Tierney

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

Jacquelyn Tierney is one of my favorite Sacred Artists! She is a dedicated student of mine and a beloved colleague who fuses her background in art and design with deep psychic skills and profound mediumship. Spend some time with this beautiful soul and come back feeling refreshed and inspired!

In her own words:
Jacquelyn is an Artist, Traveler, Psychic-medium, Feng Shui Practitioner, Destiny Reader, and an Old Soul. She has a background in the fine art of printmaking as well as the history of decorative arts and design, with a special focus on 18th-Century German Palatial Interior Architecture and the history of Italian gardens. Today, Jacquelyn specializes in working with the energetic history of antique and vintage objects and historical properties. Combining her love of art, furniture, and object history with her mediumship abilities enables her to look at and understand the history of objects and spaces not just through a scholarly lens but also through an energetic one as well.

She also connects with loved ones on the other side, reads destinies, and in her spare time travels the world.

Your work fuses disciplines as diverse as Feng-Shui, Mediumship, and Psychometry. What is the thread of commonality running through all that you do?

Working with and understanding energy.

This is actually a question that I used to ask myself over and over and over again before I had a lightbulb moment in 2012. I realized that every subject I had studied and explored up to that point in my life–printmaking, wallpaper, type, design history, 18th- century stucco work, garden history, Feng Shui, mediumship, destiny cards, and the list goes on–was not as separate from one another as I thought. In fact, all of these subjects were connected like a large staircase leading me to what I am doing today which is reading, communicating, and working with energy in order to help my clients create lives and environments that support their needs and desires. Sometimes my work takes place in the garden; at other times in the home or through the computer.

I will often use two or three of these disciplines in one session with a client as well. For example, if I have been given an object to read (psychometry) I can also inform the client of the most auspicious placement in their space based on the object’s energetic history and provenance (Feng Shui).

Some of your work specializes in objects or even estates that are antique, vintage, or ancient. What led you to this kind of work and what do you love about it?

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by old objects and other people’s stuff as well as the rooms that often house these older items such as attics, basements, closets, crawl spaces, and private spaces. As a child, one could find me organizing my mother’s friends’ closets on the weekends or rummaging through neighbor’s basements. This gave me the opportunity to inspect the contents of every box and drawer and get to know people in a more intimate way–even if I didn’t understand what I was looking at. Today, I still love inspecting all the nooks and crannies for hidden truths and secrets.

I believe the objects we collect and the spaces we inhabit tell a story about our soul’s history not only in this incarnation but also in our past lives too. That’s one of the things I love most about this work–collecting the stories and uncovering those hidden truths and secrets. I also love the deep connections I am able to make with other people through the exchange of those stories because even though our paths in life may be different, or we are from different generations, we all experience the same basic emotions of love, joy, sadness, and grief. We are all human.

Tell us a bit about Possessed–your how-to guide on “collecting, editing and manifesting”

I wrote Possessed as an introductory guide to help others understand and strengthen the relationship they have with the energy of their objects and spaces. Because everything is composed of energy, it helps to know the history of the energy being brought into your space so that whatever you are bringing in is supporting you. The book also provides suggestions on how to clear the objects once you have had a conversation with them.

Let’s say you have picked up an object from a garage sale or your interior decorator acquires furniture from an antique store. A couple of questions to start asking yourself are: “Where have these pieces been? What energetic memories did the objects collected from their environments?” If the desired object was pilfered from a holy place, you might want to know if any curses will be tagging along. If the object is a ring that has been through a few divorces, it would be wise to not give it to your fianceé. On the flip side, if an object is from an ancestor that you feel deeply connected to, keep it near you to help channel their spirit. Once you have acquired this information you can then go ahead and clear the object as part of its initiation into a new chapter of life.

You also have a relatively new service that you have rolled out called “Design for Woo-Woos.” Tell us everything about it!

Design for Woo-Woo’s is a graphic design service I have developed specifically for practitioners of the sacred arts and woo-woo who want to infuse more of their soul’s essence into their website and online presence. Too often, I find energy workers getting stuck with cookie-cutter sites and fluffy graphics that look like they have been pumped out of a big corporate machine. This is unfortunate because each one of us is unique, therefore, making our practice unique. Our web presence should reflect that.

I also take a very woo-woo approach to designing. When a client comes to me with a request I want to get to know their soul. What is their soul’s history? How has it evolved? Where is it going? I look into what really turns that person on visually and spiritually. I even talk to my clients about the past lives that they may want to channel in the work. When the vibration of our soul is embedded in the visual design of our online presence, we are saying we are comfortable being honest with who we are as spiritual beings and practitioners. As a result, we attract ideal clients for our work.

If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?

Life is a journey that doesn’t end here. I tell this to my destiny reading clients to help them adjust their perspective and see their current life as a chapter of a very large book rather than a single race with a set finish line. Sometimes, we get so focused on our timeline of goals or what we should be accomplishing and experiencing in this life that we forget to slow down and enjoy the earthly delights right in front of us. We rush through the magical changes that take place when the season’s transition, the way our pet’s heartbeat feels as he/she lays on our chest, or how the flora in a far off land can be tasted just by licking a dab of that land’s local honey. All of these moments are also a part of our larger purpose here on Earth. They can only experience when we slow down and notice where we are now and our movement during each step of our journey. Besides, if you don’t complete something this time around you’ll get another chance in the following incarnation.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Archangel Michael-Who is Like God-Angel of Healing, Protection, and Victory

Prayer and Blessing

D

ear Miracles,

Archangel Miguel as I have always thought of Him is a potent spiritual ally. One of the four guardian angels of tradition, he is most often petitioned for protecting those who protect others, but his story and his vastness contain so much more than that. Of special interest to me and in my work is Michael’s relationship to women and children — he is sometimes called the Advocate and he certainly has a history of advocating for those two groups. I celebrate his feast day, also known as Michaelmas, on September 29th as all of my Catholic family members have done for oh so long. Please allow me to tell you a bit of the history and story of this most venerated figure.

Archangel Michael prayer card
Archangel Michael prayer card

History

Archangel Michael is a holy figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. His name means “Like Unto God” or “Who is Like God” In Catholic and Christian Orthodox traditions, he is sometimes known as Saint Michael or Saint Archangel Michael.  Catholic and Orthodox traditions venerate him as the patron saint for policemen and soldiers. In Muslim tradition, some believe him to be one of three angels that visited Abraham and he is mentioned once in the Qu’ran. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, he is the one who presents God with the prayers of the people. Other traditions hold that Archangel Michael is actually Adam from the Book of Genesis or that he is the pre-incarnate figure for Christ. Tradition names him as the angel who foretold Mary, Mother of God, of her approaching death.

In Jewish tradition, Archangel Michael is the closest angel to God. He is Captain of God’s army as well as the ruler of all natural elements such as rain, wind, and storms. His nemesis is the Angel Samael. When Samael was cast down from heaven, he grabbed Michael’s wings, hoping to bring him down as well. Some traditions also say that Michael and Samael are in a constant battle over the state of Moses’ soul. In Rabbinic liturgy, Archangel Michael is seen as the staunch defender of Israel. His depiction in the Book of Daniel as “a great prince who stands up for the children of your people” led to a place for him in Jewish liturgy despite Rabbinical prohibitions against seeking the intercession of angels between men and God.  Due to Michael’s role as a defender of Jews and Israel, two Jewish prayers are specifically recited in his honor.

In the early Christian tradition, shrines and sanctuaries were dedicated to Michael. Though he is mentioned as leading God’s army against Satan in the Book of Revelation, these early Christian shrines and sanctuaries dedicated to Archangel Michael were actually for the purpose of healing. Saints like George were considered martial whereas Michael was believed to be a healing force. When a devastating plague hit Rome in the 4th century, Michael was invoked for healing and aid and during this time he came to be known as “Archangel” and/or the “Prince Among Angels.”  By the 6th century, feasts were held in his honor. Various feasts and feast days have been associated with him ever since.

In Roman Catholic tradition, Michael is assigned four specific roles:

  • He is the Captain of God’s army fighting against Satan and Hell
  • He is the Angel of Death who carries the soul away from the body when death occurs
  • He weighs the Soul-According to this tradition, Archangel Michael weighs the soul with perfectly balanced scales. For this reason, he is often depicted holding these scales
  • He is Patron of the Chosen People (Jews) of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and Guardian of the Church.

These Catholic teachings are not strictly required beliefs (church orthodoxy) but “strongly encouraged” by the Church.

Michael is known for giving his protection, especially to mothers and children. A Romanian story from 1900, involving an infant-eating demoness named Avezuha and her attempt to harm both the Blessed Virgin and the infant Jesus, as retold by Diane Purkis in her marvelous book At the Bottom of the Garden relates :

“…when she [Avezuha] meets Archangel Michael she declares ‘I am going to Bethlehem in Judea, for I have heard that Jesus Christ is going to be born of His Virgin Mother Maria, and I am going to hurt her.‘  Whereupon the Archangel Michael took hold of her head, fastened an iron chain around her, stuck his sword into her side, and began to beat her terribly in order to make her tell her secret arts. She began and said ‘I change myself into a dog, a cat, a fly, a spider, a raven, an evil looking girl, and thus enter into the houses of the people and hurt the women and bring trouble to the children, and I bring changelings, and I have nineteen names.‘ And the Archangel Michael said to her, ‘I tell thee, I conjure thee, that thou shalt have neither the power to approach the house of X the servant of the Lord, nor hurt his property, his flocks, nor anything else that belongs to him. Thou shalt go to the desolate mountains where no one lives, and there shalt thou abide.‘”

the-archangel-michael-defeating-satan-1635.jpg!Blog
The Archangel Michael Defeating Satan, Guido Reni; 1635

Working with Archangel Michael

In the American folk magic tradition of Conjure, Archangel Michael is seen as a powerful defender of those who unable to defend themselves, including women, children, slaves, and other minorities or marginalized groups. His association with healing can be seen in his connection to Angelica Root (Angelica Archangelica) — a root used in many peace and tranquility formulas and rituals. His association with martial endeavors and victory can be seen in the writings that invoke him along with the use of Bay Laurel leaf-an ancient symbol of conquest and victory. In Currendera tradition, Michael/Miguel is called upon when opening up the Southern quadrant and also for healing and protection — in these latter roles his image is often painted directly onto or over the front door of a home. In Western esoteric traditions involving ritual and ceremonial magic, Archangel Michael is often aligned with the element of Fire and the direction South. For those grounded in a specific Christian religious tradition, Archangel Michael’s role as healer and psychopomp are at least as emphasized as his role in military and police pursuits — if not more so.

I petition and invoke Archangel Michael’s aid for a number of situations-for protection, healing, mercy in the face of sin or error, and, of course, victory. I find him to be a strong protector not only of women and children but of entire families. Despite his widespread veneration across many traditions, Archangel Michael does not have any specific offerings associated with him. When I invoke his aid and intercession, I repay his gifts with flowers, Jordan almonds, honey, and donations to battered women’s shelters and/or Jewish charities.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Many Branches–Beth Owl’s Daughter

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

So one of the things that I really do love about the web is how it has allowed me to connect to people that I would not have encountered otherwise and Beth Owl’s Daughter falls into that category. I LOVE her! We have been in some of the same social circles because we are both tarot readers but we really hit it off when I wrote an article about the Sylvia Brown episode and Beth graciously posted it at her very popular blog. From then on I knew I had found a kindred spirit in Beth Owl’s Daughter-even though we live far apart, and even though our busy schedules do not allow us to connect that often, we wave to each other through social media and I know that she stands with several other gifted intuitive as an example of what our field can be if we are willing to work with honesty and integrity!

In her own words: 

For over four decades, Beth Owl’s Daughter has been a mystic, seer, and spiritual guide in the non-ordinary realms.  A trained Priestess and intuitive, she devotes her life to sharing her gifts with thousands of clients worldwide. Her lifelong passion has been working with the Tarot, an art she has been practicing since 1972.

Beth is…

* a master level Tarotist. She is a member of several organizations that promote and set guidelines for ethical Tarot practice.

* an internationally respected reader, teacher, writer, and leader in the professional Tarot community.  She has published hundreds of articles, reviews, and columns about the Tarot both in print and online. She has been featured in many radio interviews and podcasts and her blog and newsletter have received numerous awards.

* a former officer on the Board of Directors for Cherry Hill Seminary, the world’s first and only graduate-level educational institution for Pagan clergy.

* the founder and organizer of one of the world’s largest, oldest, and most successful Tarot social groups (the Triangle Tarot and Friends Meetup).

Beth Owl’s Daughter is also an ordained interdenominational minister, an Usui Reiki healer, and she practices the Craft with deep roots in the Reclaiming and Faery traditions.  She lives in a little cottage in the woods of northern Durham County, NC with her husband John, their cat, and countless spirit allies.

These days, having completed her second Saturn return, she is deepening her magical practice, and doing more teaching and writing.

You can find Beth on the World Wide Web at the following hot spots!
Her awesome website!
Twitter

So, everyone probably asks you about your name, and I was reading about your name on your site. One of the features pointed out about owls is that they form a “Link between the dark, unseen world and the world of light” and I LOVE this idea. How does this resonate with your own work–do you form a link yourself, do you illuminate links that are already there?

Oh, what a fun, insightful question!  Thank you!

What this means to me is also expressed beautifully by the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, when he said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Mainly, I think I am a seer of patterns, which is why I love the Tarot since it is a symbolic pattern language.  With Tarot, and my other ways of knowing, I can see how patterns of behavior, thought, and habits act like engines in the subterranean realms in our consciousness. They can drive unhappy choices, self-sabotage, and other distortions that bring suffering.  Until they are recognized, they can seem like forces beyond our control or even understanding.

I do feel that at times, I am just helping show what is already there.  Other times, I experience that healing and transformation move through me coming straight from Mystery.  So I guess the answer to your question is I am honored to do both.

Your tagline is: practical wisdom for an extraordinary living–can you talk a little bit about how arts like tarot reading and magic can lead to practical wisdom? 

I don’t know if I can talk a little about this. I can, however, talk on, and on, and on about it!

But attempting to be brief, I think that Tarot has gotten a bad rap as being only for gullible cloud cuckoo-land woo-woos.  While I do use the cards in mystical and esoteric ways, I also see Tarot as an instant, intimate kind of personal Google.

The Tarot can be an instant, truth-telling tool any time you need help on your creative projects, understanding relationships, working through life passages when you need support for healing – just about anything.  It can especially help us get clarity and perspective when making choices, even in the most everyday situations.

For instance, I love to consult the cards when I am writing and get stuck.

The first time I tried this was about thirty years ago.  I was writing a short story and couldn’t decide which way the plot ought to go. I got the bright idea of doing a reading to ask.

Surprise!  I got everything I needed and more!  The court cards told me about the dynamics of the characters in ways I had not considered; a couple of Major Arcana cards revealed huge insights about their motivations, and the pips offered a much better story arc than the one I’d planned.

Looking back, it seems so obvious, but at the time, it was jaw-dropping to me. Since then, of course, my fabulous Tarot colleague, Corrine Kenner, has written the ultimate book about using the Tarot as a writer’s tool, Tarot for Writers.

After that epiphany, I began exploring the most mundane questions about my work projects, vacation plans, and so on. I don’t recommend becoming dependent on the Tarot for every single decision in your life, but I also think that we have only just begun to discover the many pragmatic ways it can help us live on a bigger, more empowered and joyful level.

You are a tarot reader like myself — what is one thing about the work of tarot reading you wish more people understood or were exposed to?

Please don’t ask me to tell you what will happen. “Will he ask me to marry him?” “Will I get the job?” “Will, my house sell? And when?” “How soon before my daughter moves out?”

These are typical questions and I absolutely do understand our very human desire to wish we knew all the answers in advance. But that is not how the Tarot works because that is not how life works.

Tarot tells the truth. And the truth is, there is not some immutable destination called “the future,” that we are all just passively riding towards.  This is not a movie and we are not following a preordained script.

Yes, there are some readers who offer predictive readings, but even they will remind you (if they are ethical readers, that is), nothing is carved in stone – your free will to choose is always an option.

Other than our mortality, we can change just about anything. I just can’t buy that we are stuck on some conveyor belt of time heading into one fated event after another.

So my approach is to encourage questions that bring us clarity and understanding about the underlying relationships, perspectives, assumptions, and choices that are currently at work in our lives. The better we can see those, the better we can anticipate and shape the experiences that we actually want.

The closest thing to any correct answer about what will happen is another question: “What do you want to have happened?”

Knowing and naming your heart’s desire is true north and the Tarot is a compass.

Tell me about the Tarot Boutiques–they sound amazing!

Oh, Bri – they really are! We are having so much fun with these!

As you may know, I have been teaching introductory Tarot classes for many years and also leading our Raleigh-Durham Meetup, where we’ve had lots of study programs taught by myself and our other members.

But I have wanted to offer something more advanced, intimate, and even experimental.  My home is the ideal place because it has a very peaceful, magical vibe that I love to share.

Since January, once a month, I have been facilitating tiny “boutique” workshops that appeal to the “discerning Tarot connoisseur.” Each workshop is designed to focus on one specialty topic that can add sparkle to your personal or professional practice.

We have played dress-up, embodying the Tarot Soul Cards; we have gone on guided meditations; we have investigated how to create spreads and how to ask questions, and much more. And all with tasty snacks, lol!

Upcoming classes include working with Valerie Sim’s “Comp Tarot” method of comparing answers from different decks; creating and using a Tarot journal to boost your knowledge; Tarot as Muse (for writers, yes, but all kinds of creative pursuits); the use of herbal magic in association with the Tarot; and a mini-series about going pro.

Really, the possibilities are infinite, especially with my participants also adding their suggestions.  One afternoon a month, geeking out on Tarot in a kaleidoscope of ways – what could be better?

If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?

I believe we are living in a time when it is crucial for every one of us to find our gifts and get involved. We no longer have the luxury of playing small or hiding out behind our petty dramas. Find your vast underground pool of courage and step up!

Each person reading this has powerful intuitive wisdom and has the ability to make vastly important changes in a world that is in desperate need. Those changes may look small, but we never know which small action will be the tipping point that makes all the difference in the end.

Whether it is the Tarot, or runes, or healing, or simply cultivating more enlightenment and love – now is the time we were born for.  Keep asking questions, dare to peek behind the curtain of consensual reality.  You are so much more powerful than you might have thought, and our world is far more mysterious, aware, and divine than we’ve been led to believe.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Many Branches–Talking to Angels with Amy Oscar

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

My longtime readers know that I am typically the kind of gal who rolls her eyes when someone describes themselves as an angel talker or lightworker — not because I don’t believe that those abilities are real, but because I do and I think many people take advantage of the terms. How refreshing it was then for me to “meet” with Amy Oscar and feel into her wise and profound perspective on both the celestial and terrestrial realms.  Amy truly is a lightworker — she is grounded and full of gleaming wisdom and sharp discernment. Her mission is service pure and simple and I know that she herself is an angel incarnate for so many men and women-I count myself among them and I count myself blessed by her presence and devotion.

In her own words: 

It is been my honor to have guided hundreds of women (and men) through The Soul Caller Training – a five-week paradigm shift from stress, fear, and suffering to ease, beauty and love. Read their comments here. My books, Sea of Miracles and, My Guardian Angel,  co-authored with Doreen Virtue, invite you into my story, and your direct, personal relationship with the Divine. I hope that you’ll join me on Twitter for #SoulCall, a free, open and trending!  Sunday morning conversation about living a spiritual life in a material world. Sundays at 10 am/ET

Connect with Amy
Twitter
Facebook

One of the terms you use to describe yourself is a Soul Caller-would you share with us what a Soul Caller is? What does she do?

A Soul Caller is a human being who lives in an awakened relationship with the divine and with the world. She (or he) is aware that her thoughts are energy and that this energy has an impact on her life and on the world around her.

She feels, senses and knows that she exists in a living and flexible ‘call and response relationship’ with the universe; on a living planet that seems (that is) designed to respond to her. When she is fully in the flow of this, she has the direct experience of this response. Her prayers are answered – in delightful and surprising ways. Her needs are met, her thirsts quenched. She feels safe and supported.

However. Every Soul Caller I’ve ever met has experienced, first, a deep sense of loss and disorientation. A kind of pre-awakening in which she (or he) realizes that the world is not what it seems, what it seemed only days earlier. There is often a sudden sense of being shaken awake – where she feels as if she’s lifted up above her own story and is able to see herself going through the motions, through a kind of dance of patterns, which no longer makes sense.

She says things like: “I no longer fit here,” or “I feel like a stranger to myself.” She says, “I suddenly realized that I no longer wanted to do this work (or be in this relationship (or this church or this town)).

This disorientation is coupled with fierce certainty. She says things like, “I don’t know where I’m going but it’s not this – not here. Not anymore.”

As the illusions peel away, she may experience feelings of deep sadness, a kind of grief for the world itself, she may feel stuck and then suddenly, incredibly free – as alternating currents of energy begin coursing through her life. She arrives in my classroom not knowing what she wants, asking: Who am I? while also, on a deeper level, the answer to her own question is emerging.

My work is to help her to hear what is bubbling up, what is calling. My work is to midwife what has already begun.

One of the parts of your work that really comes through for me is the communication you have with, and guidance you receive from Angels-can you talk a little more about this aspect of your work, when did you first start communicating with angels and how has their message transformed your life?

Well, actually, the angels started communicating with me! In 2004, while working as a magazine editor, I was asked to launch a new column featuring readers’ stories of real-life encounters with angels. I was delighted by the project – though, at the time, I didn’t believe in angels.

Looking back now, I laugh. The Angels drafted me – and almost immediately, they made their presence known. They’d leave a feather on my keyboard, send a vivid dream or somehow, arrange an encounter with just the person I needed to meet. They guided me to choices that shifted every part of my life – from my health and weight to my marriage and work.

Now that I’m aware of the angels, it’s clear that I’d been communicating with them all of my life. I just didn’t call them angels. My family wasn’t religious – my dad was a social worker/psychotherapist, my mom was a poet and painter – they wouldn’t have talked about the things I was experiencing in that way.

Yet ever since I was a little child, I had a strong sense that I was guided – that we all were. I’d lie in bed talking out loud to the presence that I sensed was listening with affection and interest to what I had to say.

As I got older and began to fill notebook after notebook with feelings (and boy did I have feelings!!) and ideas (big ones!) and stories, I sensed this same presence still there, still listening. I dreamed in technicolor – vivid and elaborate imagery with set changes and wise teachers showing up to tell me things. I lived embedded in nature, in my mother’s lush one-acre garden, and in summer camp, where my dad was the director, where I’d spend all day talking with the trees and animals and even, the rocks and the clear water of the lake.

When I got older, that presence was always with me. When I took foolish risks in high school and college. And later, when I longed to be a mother, guiding me strongly – through dreams and synchronicity and very strong clairsentience – to the doctors (and the psychic) that would help us conceive our son and then our daughter.

This presence was always there – and I was never confused about it – it wasn’t an imaginary friend and it wasn’t just my own intuition. This was a responsive, engaged someone. No one taught me to engage with it – I seemed to arrive knowing that when I lost something – a school book or set of keys – all I had to do was ask out loud, “Please bring it back to me,” and I’d feel a kind of inner tug which would lead me straight to my lost item. Later, after college, when a friend let me play with her tarot cards, something I’d never heard of before, I simply ‘knew’ how to use them.

This never seemed unusual to me. What struck me as strange was when people couldn’t do this. And I began to see that I could help them. And when I did, they’d learn quickly and easily.

Because EVERYONE can talk with this presence, which some people know as angels, and others, like me, know and perceive as a shimmering non-physical support system, Everyone.

In fact, you’re already interacting with it all the time. It’s just so much a part of our nature, a built-in and organic part of being human that we don’t notice we’re doing it.

Even those with no sense of God or any other spiritual entity will reach out to this something, this someone when strong emotion overcomes them.

I believe the heart is born connected to this something and that the heart knows senses that it’s there.

One of the quotes on your site is…”You can change. Everything can change.” I think this is so refreshing in a sea of–it’s not going to ever change, he won’t change, you can’t change-how does change figure into the work you do with groups and individuals?

We are constantly changing – as are all things. Even the stones are changing – they are doing it very slowly, so we don’t notice it. But over time, as weather wears the stone to sand or pressure compresses it to crystal – all things are constantly flowing into and out of form.

That said, sometimes people just feel stuck. Completely. Profoundly. Stuck. But even then, as they become more and more uncomfortable with that stuckness, things are shifting. The discomfort itself is a shift – from boredom, from inertia, into suffering. And from suffering, we always reach for relief. The more uncomfortable we get – with the boring job, the stale relationship, the unhealthy lifestyle – the more we start looking for something else.

Discomfort is guidance – it calls us to shift toward something new, something more.

No one is stuck beyond change. Even my father, 86 years old, confined to a wheelchair and able to move only one hand, changes. Every time I see him, he talks about what’s new; he tells me what he’s thinking about. He says, “There’s always something interesting going on,” he tells me. “There is always hope. You can’t give up.”

One of your offerings is the Soul Caller Training-can you tell us a little about this, where the idea came from and what the program entails?

The Soul Caller Training is the result of my own 30-year journey as a workshop junkie, systems analyst, magazine editor and more recently, spiritual counselor. The program arrived as I woke from a dream about two years ago – it was a complete ‘download’  – composed of mental imagery and streams of words which I scribbled down as if taking dictation.

Since then, it’s evolved quite a bit but the basic program is there. It’s a five-week, online training (plus a lifetime membership in our Soul Caller Circle, after graduation). It’s designed to shift your perception of the world and your place in it. No one comes away unchanged. Once you see the truth and beauty of who you are – and what the world is, you can never go back.

If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?

Find the place inside of your own heart that knows what is right and what is wrong. The part of you that simply knows – without effort or mental gymnastics – what it feels like when you are centered, safe, whole, engaged and alive. That’s the compass. Align with it. Let it guide you. It’s your inner star – your connection to the divine and to everything that matters to you. Another, simpler way of saying this is: choose toward love – no matter what There is always a choice toward love – including the choice to love yourself.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Blessed Imbolg and Happy Candlemas

Ceremony and Ritual

D

ear Miracles: For those who don’t know-February 1st/2nd rings in the cross quarter holiday of Imbolg, also celebrated as Candlemas. We are now at the half way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Unlike other cross quarter days there is a Goddess who is specifically associated with Imbolg and She is Brighid, or Saint Brighid if you are Catholic or Orthodox Christian.

Part of our Candlemas ritual every year is to smudge each other and make offerings to Brighid — which after receiving blessing from Her, we are free to enjoy! This is also the time when I bless all of the candles that I will work with throughout the rest of the year.

In South Central Texas Candlemas really feels like the beginning of Spring. We may have another cold snap or two and it might even dip below freezing one more time, but the tender green shoots I associate with springtime are already starting their journey up from beneath the warm earth. The mourning and white wing doves are cooing in the trees, the occasional hawk flies over head, and the mockingbirds are positively zesty in their desire for a mate.

It is the time when desire stirs everything upon the land here — and of course it is all sacred to Her.

Brighid is honored both as an ancient Irish Goddess and a Christian Saint. In all of her forms she is associated with the number three as she is attuned to three specific traits and talents: poetry/music, healing, and smithery. Venerated by many people in many places, traditional offerings to Brighid include cheese, milk, bread, honey, and red berries. Fires are often created in her honor on her sacred day and candles burned in churches or used in ceremonies throughout the year are blessed during Candlemas – literally the mass for candles. She is a profound presence of peace and blessing for those who wish to gain excellence in any of those arts specifically as well as for those who wish to be in deeper alignment with their own inner spark and creative fire.

As is tradition in our home we shall create an altar honoring Brighid in her many forms and ways of blessing. And each of you are invited to participate! Simply go here and fill out the form and your petitions, prayers, and blessings for St. Brighid will be included in our family ceremony.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Power & Grace-The Difference is in the heart

Right Relationship

D

ear Miracles: I would like to tell you about Anima Sola and her sometimes twin spirit the Intranquil Spirit. When I sit down to write and when I stand up to pray Anima Sola is often the image that comes to my mind. You have probably seen this vision of her too.

To me Anima Sola, whose name literally means the Lonely Soul, is an image that we are all somewhat familiar with, one that we carry with us. She is in bondage, alone, imprisoned, but nevertheless holding out hope, nevertheless keeping her eye on her ultimate goal, refusing to allow immediate circumstance to define every aspect of her experience. This is an aspect of experience that the alchemists of old called the nigredo — the dark period that occurs between two days, the period of dying back, cutting out, and ultimately making space for grace. When I write it is with the hope that my writing will in some way ease the Anima Sola we all possess. When I pray it is with the expectation that my prayers will offer a little bit of healing balm to the lonely soul, a little bit of water to those who have been in a desert for far too long.

Whenever we experience hardships of any kind there are two basic approaches we can cultivate. One approach is to look for the ways in which we may gain power over the hardship. So finances have you down, simply make more money. Love not working out the way you want it to, find a new lover, someone betrayed you, take vengeance on them (and make it good). The path of power is a tempting path to walk for many reasons, but one of the most prominent is that power is effective. Wielding power can get you what you want (or what you think you want) in double time. The second approach we can take to hardship though is grace. Grace is defined in many ways but when we look at the word’s Latin root we see gratus which is a cognate of our modern word “grateful.” This gives us a clue about meeting hardship with grace — we come to our experiences with a sense of gratefulness. To be clear, I am not advocating a martyr complex or a need to go looking for difficulties — they will find us, I promise! But to meet what hardships do come with a cheerful optimism, to be grateful for what is present and to be grateful for the opportunity to learn — even in and especially in the most fire hardened moments, this seems to me to be a path of wisdom. Anima Sola and her sometimes sister the Intranquil Spirit illustrate the point beautifully.

The Intranquil Spirit is a figure petitioned in several different systems of folk magic — including African-American based Conjure as well as Mexican folk magic and Catholic Folk traditions. The presence of the Intranquil Spirit is requested, usually by a woman, after a love relationship has ended. She is a coercive spirit and the intention in calling her forth is to torture one’s ex partner to the point that they become so miserable that they are forced to return to their old lover. Although the Intranquil Spirit is usually conceived of as female, some practitioners have observed that there are actually several different kinds of Intranquil Spirits that will show up for a job, some female, some male. Not every spirit worker will work with Intranquil Spirit because the energy invoked is so harsh. Though it’s understandable to anyone who has been through an especially painful break up how one might be in the position of wanting the return of their lover NO MATTER WHAT — magical workers often find that working with the Intranquil Spirit creates more complications than it solves and that the reconciliations this spirit brings about are often still emotionally fraught. Though the spirit is conceived of as feminine, the main traditional image associated with the spirit shows a white bearded man sitting in judgement over the world.

intranquil spirit One of the traditional images associated with the Intranquil Spirit. Although the spirit is usually conceived of as female in this image the spirit resembles a male God in a position of judgement.
The Intranquil Spirit’s name gives away the story-it is a spirit who has departed from the physical world — perhaps in a violent or unjust manner — and as a result it continues to cling to the earthly plane looking for peace, closure, and a final resting place but never finding them — thus the Intranquility. The motivation of calling forth such an energy in magic is to make the target of the Intranquil Spirit equally unhappy, restless, and confused until they commit a certain set of specific actions (usually having to do with returning to their lovers). Putting aside the moral issues of compelling someone to do anything by wishing misery and unhappiness upon them, it is obvious that the Intranquil Spirit works through power — specifically overpowering someone so that they act in such a manner that goes against their stated will. The spirit (and magician) who calls upon her expects to win the situation by overpowering the opponent. But there is another way…in magic, in life, and certainly in matters of the heart — and that is the way of Grace.

The image of Anima Sola is a well known image, especially where I live in the Southwest. We see a lovely dark haired and dark eyed beauty whose wrists are chained and who is being licked at by some vicious looking flames. For a non Catholic the assumption would be that the poor girl has landed herself in hell, but she is actually understood to be in Purgatory — the intermediary realm between heaven and hell that a soul achieves when it dies with sins left uncleansed but in a state of grace nonetheless. This state of grace that Anima Sola possessed upon her death is the first clue that she works through grace as opposed to power. In both Catholic and folk magic practices framed by Catholicism, Anima Sola is petitioned by people on behalf of their beloved and departed ones whose souls are believed to be in Purgatory — she is petitioned for deliverance, aid and succor to those who have passed beyond the veil. Her veneration is especially strong in Mexico, South and Central America, and Italy — especially in Naples and Florence. Because her veneration in Italy is well documented and seems to have started around the same time that Dante Aligheri published the Divine Comedy and the concept of Purgatory became widely accepted by the Catholic church I have a personal pet theory that Anima Sola may be based on one of the characters that Dante placed either in Purgatory or in the lowest (least painful) level of the Inferno.

Anima Sola is not simply a spirit prayed to on behalf of those caught in the in-between realm of Purgatory — she is believed to have landed in Purgatory herself due to misplaced romantic affections — she fell in love with the wrong man. How human! How familiar! We are not sure if he was the wrong man because he did not reciprocate, was already married, or did reciprocate and the relationship was inappropriate — but illicit romance is often given as the reason why she is in Purgatory. For this reason she is petitioned and worked with in some magical traditions such as Voudo and Santeria and Lukumi in the same manner that the Intranquil Spirit is. However, what I have found in working with Anima Sola is that she does not work at like the Intranquil Spirit at all — Anima Sola’s transformative magic lies in her state of grace — even as she carries sin upon her, even as she suffers, she is open to grace and her eyes are fixed on transcendence. For those of us who are not Catholic or have a hard time identifying with concepts like sin, heaven, and hell, Anima Sola can still be a wonderful spiritual helper.

Her presence reminds us to be open to grace at all times — and it also reminds us that opening to grace is really all we can do — we cannot make someone love us, bend to our will, or go our way-we can only open ourselves to the grace that lies in all things all around us at all times. In cases unrequited love and/or painful break ups Anima Sola can be a great helper because she understands loneliness — the way it is all consuming much like the flames she is immersed in. Because she understands loneliness, pain, suffering and redemption she also knows (and reminds us) that there is always tomorrow — that even though we may feel in the lowest pit of hell today, tomorrow offers new light, new life, and new hope. In cases where a loving relationship has ended due to a lack of understanding, courage, or care Anima Sola can be petitioned to bring loneliness to the forefront of someone’s mind-not to punish but to remind that the whole is greater than the parts and that turning our back on true love is perhaps the greatest error of all.

How to work with Anima Sola

If the themes around Anima Sola resonate with you on any level you will of course want to know how you can best go about working with her. My experience with Anima Sola is that she likes her image to be placed on your working space — and if you can create a shrine around her all the better. She loves red sequins, flowers, a glass of water, and cinnamon. I burn cinnamon chips on charcoal disks when I am working with her and I also offer her hard cinnamon candies. She is a spirit who works on our hearts and heart-based knowing (as well as heart-based fears) so incorporating herbs and roots that altar the heart’s rhythms and physiology can be appropriate — mandrake and belladonna are two plants that I use for this — external only of course, do not ingest either plant and in fact be careful when handling them as they really do alter your heart’s physiology! Petitioning her on a Saturday is a good way to begin and as I recommend for most spirit work — simply speak or pray from your heart and pay attention to the ways in which she might answer you.

There is the way of power and there is the way of grace. One relies on our own strength of will while the other relies on strength of trust and the knowledge that we are enough-blessed, whole, and holy already just as we are.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Of Bones and Blessings, Cursings and Curings and Walking in Between

Lineage and Legacy

D

ear Miracles: On this day when the veils are especially thin I am thinking of the old saying that in order to know how to heal you must also know how to hex or in order to cure you must be able to curse. Or how about this one from a 14th century Scottish man referring to a local cunning woman:

 

“She was either a witch or a woman of God.”

Indeed.

Any way you slice it, the line between benevolent and baneful magics is ever present and thin — but on days like today it is especially so.

I remember reading in Brian Froud and Alan Lee’s Book Faeries about the Scottish tradition of the Seelie and Unseelie Court — the belief that the Unseelie court of faerie ruled the dark part of the year from Samhain until Midwinter.

The Unseelie court was believed to be composed of the more mischief-making or in some cases downright harmful and deadly faerie creatures. In honor (and fear) of their reign, farmers would leave untouched any crop that had not been harvested by the evening of October 31st-it was considered forfeit — an offering for the faeries and not fit for human consumption.

This is just one of a plethora of traditions found around the world that recognizes the change in power and energy as the life/death/life cycle circles around and around spiraling into the heavens and down into the dark earth. It is those apparently opposing forces that are also at play with the curing and cursing dynamic.

Curing and Killing in Plant Medicine and Magic

01ec8988171811e3bd0922000a1f9039_7As a student of Ancient Greek, among other things, the issue of cursing and curing comes out of language — as is well known in entheogenic circles, the Greek word for poison is the same word for medicine (pharmakon) — where, etymologists may be able to see, we get current words like “pharmacy.”

Many of our natural poisons have incredibly potent healing properties. Consider the digitalis derived from Purple Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea) that can stop a heart or assist in curing congestive heart failure, the highly toxic Black Henbane (Hyosyamus Niger) that traditionally has worked with to induce visionary trance and the sensation of flying but also as a topical analgesic to relieve pain and swollen joints.

Monkshood (Aconitum) is deadly in the right dose but has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and Belladonna (Atropa Belladonna) is the source for the drug Atropine.

Perhaps most famously, snake antivenins are usually composed from the original venom itself.

Knowledge of the Poison Path (as Dale Pendell terms it) is sought out for many reasons — people want to understand these plants and poisons that have held such allure through time and history, people want to experience hallucinations or get high for recreational reasons, devotees wish to engage in ritual usages –some of which are millenia old, but as Aldous Huxley famously wrote when high on Mescaline, derived from yet another potent plant — Peyote (Lophophora Williamsii), the doors of perception are opened.

The Poison Path is a rich place to begin any consideration of the relationship between curing and cursing because our first and truest teacher — Nature — often combines these elements in the same being. A little too much of that and you are sick or dying, but just the right amount and you can be saved, pain-free, wholesome.

What I have learned in my own practice is that these poisons/medicines have the ability not only to cure or kill, they can pierce through our current perceptions and reveal new possibilities that were hidden behind a veil of illusion.

The idea of being pierced is as old as cupid and even older, I feel it finds one of its most beautiful expressions in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ In Catholic and folk-Catholic-magic traditions the sacred and pierced heart is a requisite for curing or cursing — I believe that in magic period a pierced heart is a requisite because the pierced and sacred heart represents a heart that has been cut, punctured, wounded in some way and yet is still vital, still beating, still blessing, sacral, and sacred.

This sacred heart — often depicted as wrapped in the crown of thorns worn by Christ during the Passion, is pierced by the suffering of humanity as well as the sufferings, large and small, that we all experience in our daily lives. As the heart is punctured so too our sense of safety and security, as the heart is punctured so too our sense of isolation that is questioned, as the heart is punctured so too our moments of selfishness illuminated and called out for what they really are. The pierced heart is experienced by the one who sees beyond the veil — through life experience, through innate wisdom, through plant magic, and most essentially through ineffable mystery.

It is a theme we see in baneful magic again and again — the piercing and puncturing of a heart to wound, curse, or in some cases sting into regret and recognition, and yet having a pierced heart is absolutely emphasized in healing and love work as well.

For me, the iconography of the pierced heart has always spoken not only to the relationship between cursing and curing — but also to the relationship between life and death. And what better time or season to celebrate the way that those two forces dance with each other?

Living in the Southwest where the harvest cycles definitely do not follow that of the Celtic year, I know our own land wights and spirits are on a slightly different calendar, but we have our own versions of the life/death energies — and one of the most popular dualities right now if that of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe: Our Lady of Guadalupe & her skull sister Santisima (or in some areas Santa) Muerte-Most Holy Death or Our Lady Most Holy Death.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Santisima Muerte

10546008924_86b22e825c_zThese two are actually sister figures — both based on ancient Nahuatl Goddesses. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Catholicized incarnation of Tonantzin while Santisima Muerte is a Catholic-folk and increasingly so-called “narco” saint based on the Lady of Death, Mictecacihuatl. In Nahuatl-Aztec culture Tonantzin was an earth and fertility Goddess, bringing life giving rains to the hills, valley, and canyons, and bestowing life giving properties on the land and the people. To include our sacred plant theme, some believe that Tonantzin is specifically affiliated with the Agave plant and its various ritual and ecstatic uses. Like the Summerian Inanna and her skull sister Ereshkigal — Tonantzin had a relationship with her own shadow sister, Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of Death. In Meso-American culture death was highly esteemed because the ancestors were seen to be guiding forces of both wisdom and prophecy. Therefore the Lord and Lady of Death had to be propitiated whenever someone passed beyond the veil so that they would accept their soul and as it were, make a home for them. Mictecacihuatl possesses the guise of Santisima Muerte — who has interestingly become increasingly allied with those involved in the illegal drug and arms trades in Mexico and the US-Mexican border — but she is also known throughout the Southwest simply as La Huesera –– the bone woman — and is venerated as such, the Mother of death who sings life into the bones so that the cycle may spiral out yet again.

I am always interested in ideas that are apparent opposites but underneath share a solid unity with one another. In the case of hexing and healing or cursing and curing I believe that this foundation is strongly present and the folk magician should at the very least understand the relationship — perhaps as the winds blow from the otherworld into our own they will carry a bit of wisdom with them to aid us in our efforts.

May you all have a beautiful Halloween, Blessed Samhain, and delightful Dia de los Muertos!

A version of this article was printed in Amulet Magazine’s Fall 2013 issue.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.