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

Ceremony and Ritual

D

ear Miracles,

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

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

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

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

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

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Want the best love spell? Do this.

Ceremony and Ritual

D

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

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

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

Love yourself.

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

How generous are you to yourself?

 

Desiring sweet words and deep romance?

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

 

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

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mommy Magic: How to deal with bullies

Ceremony and Ritual

W

hen I was in high school my best friend’s kid sister tried out for the middle school cheer leading squad. This is Texas and we take cheer leading seriously…way too seriously if you ask me. The kid sister was extremely talented — a great dancer with amazing moves and a smile that lit up the room. But…she was also a little shorter, and chubby, and – good heavens alive – was not a blonde. So…because her looks “didn’t quite fit” she did not make the squad, and there were many other girls who did not make it either.

They were given a pat on the back, some were ushered into mini-vans by angry parents who had invested time and who knows how much money into gymnastics classes and cheer school, and they were also given a consolation poem. I can’t remember the whole poem but I do remember the first line… “if you cannot be a tree, be a shrub.” She tearfully showed me the poem and then started crying all over again.

Well. It was clear that this was totally not acceptable, that these children were being bullied by the very people supposedly put in place to help them.

One of my favorite teachers says: “if you cannot change it, make it holy” and that is exactly what we did. We went to my house, a car load of crying girls, took the stupid poems and set them on fire in the kitchen sink. Then we scattered the ashes to the four directions and took turns telling each other what we liked about ourselves and one another.

That little ritual did not change the fact that none of the girls I was taking care of hadn’t made the team. It did not magically make the next day totally OK for them. But there was healing, and laughter, and they woke up the next morning knowing that life would go on and that their worth was not determined by whether or not they “made the team.”

If you cannot change it, make it holy.

If you have a child that you love and they are experiencing a hard time…at school, in life, with their teachers or their peers, please know that you are not alone. And while there are excellent practical resources for parents and caretakers, I like to focus on the more magical and holy-making possibilities.

So, whether your child is experiencing bullying, mean behavior, or simply going through an award and difficult time, here are some sacro-magical approaches that can help:

Sweeten  it up — Sugar has a long and storied use in magic. You can work with sugar in a variety of ways to make life a bit sweeter for your child, my favorite method? The tried and tested sugar jar.

Burn it down — Very much as we experienced with that silly “consolation prize” sometimes the most effective magic is a deep and true banishing. I love setting things on fire and scattering the ashes (and the issues) to the four cardinal directions.

Look in the mirror — Anyone who has read Snow White knows that mirror magic is a real thing. If you have a child who is having a hard time with self-esteem/self-love, the tried and true practice of affirmations may not be enough. What if instead they saw a beautiful blessing or charm inscribed directly onto their bathroom or bedroom mirror? Use washable marker in a color they love and if you feel fancy add the planetary glyph for Venus or Jupiter.

The Power of Touch — For children who experience high stress situations and/or children who are incredible sensitive, shy, and empathic, a talisman is an excellent tool. It provides a literal touch point that can remind and re-orient your child throughout the day to what matters most and what brilliance they bring to the table.

Keep it clean — One of the best ways magically minded parents can support their wee ones is by keeping the house spiritually clean. Take the cleaning one step forward by working with a floor wash or spray that is imbued with qualities your child needs the most such as clarity and success if they are having trouble in school or protection and empowerment if they are being bullied.

Light through the night — Lighting a devotional candle for your child is never a bad idea. You can make a ritual of selecting the right candle, dressing it with your favorite ritual oils/herbs, and then lighting it. Beautiful. Simple. Bright.

 

Mommy magic is a new series here at Canto. The questions and topics come from moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and caregivers who have school-age children. Traditionally many magical systems belonged under the provenance of women and it was understood that these magics, these “medicines of the home” as one elder named them, were for the betterment of the household and all who dwelled within. That is our focus in this series: practical, how-to, magic-making that encourages healing, wholeness, and blessing.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.