Venus as Holy Helper

Foundations

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he is the morning and evening star, the five-pointed pentacle, the sweet bite of an apple, and the heady scent of rose. Venus is the tang of salt on your tongue and the song of sensual pleasure thrumming through our bodies.

She is Venus but behind her stands Aphrodite, behind her we find Ishtar, Isis, and Inana – to name only a very few. She preceded all of the Olympian Gods and Titans in her form as Aphrodite Urania, heavenly Aphrodite, as she sprang from the blood and seed soaked waves in the wake of Uranus’ sacrifice.

She is lust, desire, and love in all of its many forms embodied. She is the ripening fig, the rich red wine, the golden honey, and the decadent cream, but she is also the sacred spring and the wind through her beloved Cypress trees, trees that like her, know something of the Underworld and Shadow.

She shows us that it is possible for Love to vanquish War, for beauty and harmony to outsmart perfect strategy and pure power. She has bewitched the most powerful of witches and spurred on fierce battles.

Most often we think of her as a rather conventional beauty, full hips, and breasts, slender waist, nubile position, forgetting that in some of her greatest statues she could easily be mistaken for Athena, appearing as she does in full battle armor. The teaching of course is that no force knows how to battle the way that Love does.

Traditionally she was petitioned to bring a lover, keep a lover, and deepen a current love relationship. Her blessing was sought on all marriages and unions of all kinds, her provenance extended to bring beauty, music, laughter, dance, and joy into the hearts of mankind. She is both a breaker and healer of hearts, the desire that can set us on the right course or drive us mad. She is often perceived as the weakest and flightiest of the Divine, but anywhere depth happens, she is present. Hekate, Titaness of the Underworld, and Guardian of all Thresholds is her protector because Love is the most precious of all.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Claiming Our Power ~ How to Work with Pluto Retrograde

Foundations

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very year for at least half the year and sometimes more, the planet Pluto goes retrograde. Astrologers in the classical world interpreted a planet’s retrograde motion as a descent into the Underworld, but of course, this was long before the planet Pluto was discovered and we have an interesting quandary unique to Pluto’s retrograde which is this: what does it mean for the King of the Underworld to descend into the Underworld…or is something different happening when Pluto goes retrograde?

As a Pluto-sensitive person, I have paid close attention to how this planet’s retrograde periods show up in my life and in the lives of my clients and students. Contrary to the ways that many of the other retrogrades work, I do not find that Pluto retrograde makes us more introspective or interested in navigating our shadow sides (that’s what Pluto direct does). Rather, I find that Pluto retrograde places great emphasis on the areas of our life that need to be attended to in order for us to stand fully in our sovereignty and power…not only in the obvious and visible ways but also in the less visible and hidden realms as well.

Do’s

– Consider your lineage and what aspects of it currently support you and what aspects need to be re-evaluated or worked through
– Pay attention to any “mission critical areas” that get especially intense as the retrograde begins
– Identify the areas you need extra help or support in and then find that support/ask for help
– Work with your ancestors
– Learn about the place that you live and what underground resources are native to your area
– Avoid giving power to those who would try to manipulate you
– Make solid investments
– Get clear on when you feel most sovereign and what is happening that allows you to feel that way
– Make sure you have the proper support for financial health
– Determine what support you need for physical health and get that
– Release/banish anything that needs to be released or banished
– Amp up your banishing magic

Dont’s

– Engage in power plays or attempts and dominating those weaker than you
– Be passive aggressive or emotionally manipulative
– Ignore your needs
– Neglect taking care of the areas of your life that are crying out for attention
– Forget about your ancestors
– Refuse to look at your lineage and address any areas that need to be taken care of
– Lie
– Spill secrets
– Try to hold onto something that is on its way out
– Be afraid of death
– Overlook the places you are already empowered and sovereign

Pluto is the planet of creation and destruction, the God Pluto is the ruler of the Underworld, the sovereign of the realm of the Dead. All of this points to Pluto’s fundamental relationship to Necessity, and when Pluto goes retrograde we are also encouraged to see what is needed and necessary right now.

If you are Pluto-sensitive and concerned about the effects of the retrograde you may engage in the following acts of honoring and propitiating this intense powerhouse of a planet:

– Add the color black, bowls of honey, black earth, minerals or jewels, and water to your altar
– Burn black storax on Saturdays
– Donate to an organization protecting lands from unethical mining practices
– Clean a gravesite and dedicate the merits of your work to Pluto
– Donate money for people who do not have the means for proper burial
– Create an ancestor altar and begin working with your Ancestors
– Ensure your will and last testament are up to date
– Ask your elders for stories about your family history

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to Work with Mars Retrograde

Ceremony and Ritual

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bout every other year the fiery plant Mars goes retrograde – the elusive state where a planet appears to be going backward in its elliptical orbit, but it isn’t really. In classical astrology the traditional understanding is that when a planet goes into retrograde it actually descends into the Underworld, descending into shadow. When Mars descends into the Underworld we can know that some of this planet’s more aggressive tendencies can be exacerbated, but as always there are many positive effects of Mars’ entrance into shadow. It is during this time that we are able to align ourselves with the elements of Mars that have perhaps been missing or overlooked in our lives over the past year and change.

Do’s

– Exercise and overhaul your physical fitness routine
– Review conflicts, disagreements, and battles that you have engaged in since the last time Mars went rx and consider what they have taught you
– Explore your relationship to self-discipline
– Inform yourself about the current geopolitical situation
– Refine your diet
– Avoid passive-aggressive behavior
– Dedicate the merits of your actions
– Optimize any areas that seem to especially be calling for your attention
– Refresh your self-defense skills
– Take action to honor those who have served in the armed forces
– Stay hydrated
– Amp up your protective rites and magic

Dont’s

– Pour gasoline on fires by ramping up disagreements and conflicts
– Glorify war and violence
– Give into dictatorial behaviors no matter where they come from
– Ignore your physical health
– Engage in destructive behaviors
– Let a diplomatic outreach or negotiation go off the rails
– Give into division and acrimony
– Stew in rage or anger that has no proper channel
– Leave yourself vulnerable
– Burn the candle at both ends
– Resist getting plenty of rest

Mars is the planet most committed to discipline and perfection. This can work beautifully in our day to day lives because when we are alignment with Mars we see what needs to be fixed and we have the energy to optimize it. However, the shadow side of discipline and perfection is never being satisfied and always wanting more…this impatience for the very best can easily lead to conflict that at the end of the day, no one really wins.

If you are Mars-sensitive and concerned about the effects of the retrograde you may engage in the following acts of honoring and propitiating the God of War:

– Make and keep doctor appointments, prioritizing the health of the physical body
– Add the color red and the scent of cinnamon to your altar
– Donate to a local veterans association
– Exercise and dedicate the merits of your work to Mars
– Donate blood
– Donate to a peacekeeping organization
– Offer dishes of meat (especially lamb, pig, or bull), red wine, and wheat
– Place iron objects, ideally weaponry made of iron, on your altar
– Learn to work responsibly with a weapon of your choice
– Take on a physical challenge you can work your way up to

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Working with Saturn Retrograde

Foundations

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ach year Saturn spends several months in retrograde – that strange state where the planet appears to be going backward in its elliptical orbit, but is not actually doing so. In classical astrology the traditional understanding is that when a planet goes into retrograde it actually descends into the Underworld, descending into shadow. Practically speaking, since Saturn retrogrades happen just over every 12 months, they provide us with one (or a handful) of handy astrological markers that we can work with to do a deep review and reassessment of our past year.
Mercury retrogrades also offer the opportunity to go into review and edit mode, but whereas a Mercury retrograde only lasts for a few weeks, Saturn retrogrades last for several months, giving us a longer span of time to work with and the opportunity to really commit to a thorough review.
As with all retrogrades, Saturn’s retrograde also gives us certain challenges and certain opportunities, here are some of the Do’s and Dont’s for this period.

 
 
Do’s
– Pay down/off debt
– Review previous lessons and learnings
– Recommit to anything or anyone that you are serious about
– Get in touch with teachers and guides from your past
– Refine the areas of diet, exercise, and sleep
– Re-organize your medicine cabinet and make sure you have the medicines that you need
– Re-set all clocks and watches
– Reflect on the big moments over the past year and their lessons
Dont’s
– Try rush things
– Make hazardous or ill-informed investment (I mean, you should never do this obviously but really don’t do it during a Saturn retrograde)
– Flake out on a previous commitment
– Make new commitments
– Be immoderate when it comes to food and diet
– Do minimal exercise
– Ignore or neglect sleep and dream cycles
– Act recklessly
– Buy a new watch or clock
– Perpetuate an old pattern that no longer serves
– Try to be younger than you are – have any plastic surgery or cosmetic enhancement procedures
– Ignore debt or allow debt to balloon out of control

On the deepest level when Saturn retrogrades it gives us an opportunity to reflect on where we have gained maturity and wisdom over the past year and what areas of our lives might still be in need of maturity and wisdom.

Generally speaking, if you are Saturn-sensitive and concerned about the effects of the retrograde you may engage in the following acts of honoring and propitiating the Lord of Time:

– Attend church, temple, mosque, or religious services and devotions
– Abstain or limit your intake of alcohol, sugar, salt, fat, and caffeine
– Exercise and dedicate the merits of your work to Saturn
– Donate to a local food bank
– Donate to a local animal refuge
– Donate services for people who are blind
– Offer dishes of almonds, milk, rice, and water to Saturn
– Maintain excellent physical posture
– Take cold showers

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer: The Ties that Bind

Purification and Cleansing

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iracles, family

When Mercury retrogrades through Cancer issues around family, tribe, and tribal identity often emerge. These can be national or global in scope – nationalism, for instance, is a shadow side of the Cancerian dedication to family and what is “one’s own” but they also show up in our personal sphere and in our own families.

Just as many of us have spent more time in our homes of late, many of us have also been around our families much more than we usually are – and during the best hours of the day. Chances are that there have already been scuffles and misunderstandings and that, by the time June rolls around and we are in Mercury RX territory you and your family members have had some hard conversations.

If you haven’t had these conversations but know that hurt feelings have been simmering in the background then do not be surprised if during this RX period it all comes out to the fore and there is a blowup. It may not be fiery (we are after all dealing with the cardinal Water sign of Cancer) but it is definitely going to be felt. It is possible that right around this Mercury retrograde we will hear calls and be given opportunities to return to the “way that things were before” the Coronavirus hit.

If this is the case then I won’t be surprised to see this Mercury RX in Cancer have us re-thinking what was normal before we had to self-isolate and quarantine with our loved ones and if that “normal” is something we want to change or adjust in various ways. This is an ideal time for peaceful homework.

While things with living family members may feel a bit tense or stressed we may also well feel pressure from the family members who have gone beyond the veil, our Ancestors.

Our Ancestors have collectively very active since the beginning of the year and their activity is only increasing. If you have not felt really connected to your Ancestors then this time of Mercury’s descent into the Underworld might have you sensing their presence in a stronger way.

As is the case with Mercury retrograde periods this is also a time to reflect on what makes your family feel most together and what does not. If there are any wounds with either immediate or extended family members then now is a wonderful time to address them and seek reconciliation and healing. If there are any big issues around the family that need to be discussed and they have not been addressed before Mercury retrogrades in Cancer, then I recommend that they are put on hold until after the retrograde has completed.

Partners who have been in a tense relationship should recognize that now is not the time to either try to “fix” things or make a final decision about the future of the relationship.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio Vol. 1

Ceremony and Ritual

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he Lay of the Land, er, Underworld retrograde

Miracles,

Today kicks off a short volume of writings on Mercury’s upcoming retrograde into the sign of Scorpio – which begins on October 31st. You can also find these writings at Canto and on my Facebook page where you may comment or ask a question if the spirit moves you!

Mercury’s retrograde into Scorpio is truly a descent into the Underworld of Shadow and Secrets. This retrograde period has the ability to powerfully shift our perceptions and bring about deep healing – especially to old wounds and traumas, but it also comes with a fair amount of drama and traps that we can easily fall into if we are not helpful.

Here are some of the highlights that you will want to be aware of during this retrograde period.

Those of you who have Scorpio as your sun, moon, or ascendant should be particularly careful during this rx period as you will most likely feel very affected by it. Those with Pluto or Mars as ruling planets or those with loaded 8th houses should also take special note of the retrograde and make plans now to work proactively with it.

The first thing to note is that Mercury retrograde in Scorpio is similar to Mercury retrograde in Pisces in that these are both water signs and therefore our feelings, emotions, and instincts are much closer to the surface than usual.

For those accustomed to working from a place of deep feeling, this will feel normal but for those who are not, this can feel precarious and you may find yourself saying and doing things that usually you would keep to yourself.

Of all the water signs Scorpio has the most passion so during this rx period strong passions may be stirred up within yourself and definitely within those around you – proceed with caution. It is not uncommon during Mercury retrograde in Scorpio to see someone leaning heavily into their most passionate conviction only to discard it as soon as the retrograde period is over.

In classical astrology Scorpio was ruled by Mars and only later did Pluto come into the picture. As a Mars-ruled sign, Scorpio, like Aries, can be aggressive, protective, and combative. (It can also be disciplined, just, and heroic).

These lesser tendencies of aggression, over-protection, and combativeness can be on full display during the retrograde period and they show up in behavior but especially in speech.

It is really easy for everyone to take on a harsher and less kind edge in their speech and voices during Mercury rx in Scorpio. On the flip side, it is a wonderful time to write about anything deep, thought-provoking, or fantastic.

The third aspect of this retrograde deals with money. Scorpio is the ruler of “other people’s money and resources” so while this sign does not correlate directly to your day in and day out income (that would be Taurus) it does speak to investments, borrowing, lending, and working with money.

Stocks and many financial instruments are Scorpio in nature so you will want to keep an eye on your cash, and especially watch your investments. Typically Mercury rx is a bad time to make a new big investment or go in with partners on some financial scheme (no matter how sound it looks). Better to wait until the retrograde is complete (or has not yet started) to buy, sell, trade, or transfer any significant aspects.

This is also a time when each individual will be rewarded if they pause and take a long look at where they are investing their own resources – think about money but also beyond money – and determine whether those investment choices are still sound.

Finally, Mercury retrograde in Scorpio can speak to plumbing issues both in your body and in your home. Scorpio rules the bowels of the body (as well as our sex organs) and the bowels of the home as well.

Plumbing issues are likely to emerge at this time so if you know you have something upcoming then getting a start on it before the rx period is a good idea. At the very least make sure you have a good plumber on speed dial.

When it comes to our physical bodies, Mercury rx is always a good time to go in to see your medical provider and get an opinion or a second opinion on a situation. It can encourage revised or meticulously reviewed opinions and treatment plans. If you are having any tummy troubles this is the best time all year to have those looked at carefully by a doctor that you trust and the same goes for any issues with your sex organs and/or intimacy issues.

Arching over these specific points is the fact that Mercury retrograde in Scorpio is a powerful time spiritually for all of us. This is the sign of Life, Death, and Resurrection and as such it is a time when we may consciously choose what needs to die, what needs to be aided and supported in coming back to life, and what needs to be born.

Considering your spiritual affiliations, congregations, and practices at this time is a powerful thing to do that will yield much fruit. Making magic and engaging in any Sacred Arts practices is especially auspicious now and you can learn much from any endeavors you make in that arena.

This is one of the deepest retrogrades, so make good use of it!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Surviving Shadow Work Lesson Three: Living With Shadows

Learning and Community

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iracles, shadow

Today marks our final lesson in this mini-teaching on Surviving Shadow Work. You can access lesson one here and lesson two here. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the kind emails you have sent, full of your own stories of survival and shadow work – it is such an honor to bear witness to each and every one of them.

So in our final lesson I want to touch on how we LIVE with our shadows. Once we have discovered them, seen them, found medicine for them and applied it…then what?

Go back to our first lesson and recall that the origin of the idea of shadow work started with Carl Jung. We don’t have to be Jungian scholars to understand that Jung’s ultimate vision of a happy, person with a healthily functioning psyche was one of integration, meaning that the healthy psyche was one where shadow and light, good and bad, desire and restraint, all have roles to play.

In some cases, usually in cases of severe trauma, recognizing the root cause of a shadow is a really significant act and the shadow itself – once properly treated – simply disappears.

But for most of us what we find is that we discover a shadow, find the needed medicine, treat it successfully, and then integrate it into our waking life in various ways.

For some of us that will look like relying on the right medicine and making sure it is available to us.

For others it is sufficient awareness of what situations might trigger your shadow and the subsequent avoiding of those situations.

Still for others there is a sense of peace and healing that goes hand in hand with renewed energy and activity.

The point that I really want to make here is that we all live with our shadows in different ways, but living with them is really what we are meant to do.

Even in cases where one shadow seems to have completely been illuminated (and thus disappeared) there will be more shadows…there always are. That is not a bad or good thing, just truth.

However, we can make choices in our daily lives that feed our shadows or don’t. And we can choose to look at our shadows when we are ready to or not. So many of those choices constellate around how much strength, endurance, and support you have in your life at the given point in time. For this reason attention to the things that nourish you here and now is of paramount importance.

In short, we live with our shadows best when we discover what truly sustains us at present.

So, for your final prompt I would like you to consider that: what truly sustains you and how can you bring more of that sustenance into your life?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.