How I Really Wrote My Book (and how you can too)!

Sacred Arts

M

iracles,

Have you ever found yourself wondering how people get started writing? I used to think about this all of the time. I wondered if an amazingly impressive literary agent or angel of writing came down from the heavens and bopped people on the head with a magical wand pronouncing “You are now a writer!”

In reality, I have found it is a lot more like what Amanda Palmer says all artists have to do: make our own fairy wands and then hit ourselves on the heads with them – not once, but many, many times declaring:
“I’m an artist!” Bop! “I’m an artist!” Bop!

Certainly, that has been my experience. And as I have talked to some best-selling authors I have learned that is their experience too – no one told them they were gifted or special or unique – they just got to work and wrote. They got rejected. They wrote some more. Got rejected some more. Kept writing. Kept on. Simple. Not easy.

That’s the thing with writing. If you want to write then you have to actually write. You may very well need to mark out time on your calendar, hang up a do not disturb sign if need be, even leave your house or office and go down the street to a cafe so that you can write. I do it every day. Now that I am between books I have returned to some of my most basic writing practices (my favorite approach to writing btw comes from Natalie Goldberg whose work is just incredible and very straightforward), and it feels so good to return to those basics and reaffirm my commitment to writing.

However, I have also had a secret weapon in my writing ventures – one that absolutely made my book possible and that has been a guiding hand in my writing for years – and that my friends are good editors.

A good editor is someone who is not just going to check your work for punctuation errors. They are going to help you think through your work from the foundations to the ultimate vision and then support you in articulating those visions in the best possible way. They show up with a light hand and organize your writing so that it is structurally sound, has good flow, and is delivered in your unique and one of a kind voice. They hold your hand, check your sources, and make sure you are using the right attributions. They are your research assistants and guardians of your sacred voice…these are just some of the things that a good editor does.

When I wrote Making Magic I was blessed to have a wonderful editor from my publisher Sounds True – but before my manuscript ever went to the publisher I had an in-house editor: my amazing husband David, whose credentials include years of teaching high school English and Philosophy. (Trust me, if the man can get a bunch of jock kids to see the brilliance of Jane Austen, he can help you deliver your best writing yet).

David has decided to make his editorial services publicly available. I am not sure about this as the selfish part of me wants to keep my secret writing mojo all to myself, but then the not-terrible part of me wants to be generous and share…it’s a conundrum!

Bottom line: I want the best for our community and when it comes to messaging clarity, delivery, and refinement, David Saussy is the best.

My love does not have a fancy website or marketing spiel – he likes to get to work, not talk about getting to work.

He is currently booked with writing projects through July of this year, but if you are interested in talking to someone who has real editorial gifts about your own writing projects and endeavors then get in touch with him at saussydavid@gmail.com

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Volume One

Learning and Community

M

iracles,

Welcome to the newest series I call Hearth and Home. You will be able to find it posted here on Canto, and sent with love to the Lunar Letter list. (Join in the fun here). The picture to your left is a drawing by my almost-seven year old son, Jasper, who wanted me to share it with all of you. And so it is that sharing is the theme of this new series.

First of all, I want to extend a warm thank you to so many of you. Everyone I have had phone conversations with over the past month has asked me how I am doing on the book and how I am feeling in my pregnancy – to say nothing of the private messages I have received on FB, Insta, and Twitter. They mean the world to me.

Writing a book and being pregnant at the same time have become for me deeply intertwined experiences. In brief, I am now five months pregnant, and my official due date is June 11th – right around the time the manuscript is due for Making Magic: Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary, to be published by Sounds True, in 2019.

The journey to get to this moment has been eye-opening and tremendous, and it has encouraged me to share more openly than I usually do with all of you miracles.

If we were visiting in person, I would invite you into my home, ask you to sit at my hearth, and I’d serve you Topo Chico with lime, if it was a warmer day (which usually it is); or the tea of your choice or strong coffee roasted in high mountains.

Coffee, I should add, is a sort of medicine for me – not to help me wake up, but to help soothe my asthma. I actually don’t drink a lot of it; I nurse one cup slowly, the Arabic way I like to think (a nod of appreciation to Philz Coffee in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose charming owner is from the Middle East. They are a pretty famous outfit now, but when I started going, you could still see Phil in his awesome fedora working quality control – the BEST).

When I say strong coffee, y’all, I mean it. None of this new-fangled, hipster, light roast for me – no thank you! The blacker the roast the better in my opinion, and my favorite is the Tres Estrella blend (Three Stars for those of you non-Spanish speakers) from Ohori’s Coffee in Santa Fe.) All of this is to say that you should not be surprised if, after an hour of this make-believe conversation, it would seem as though I have barely touched my coffee at all. I’d be asking you tons of questions (those of you who have had readings with me or worked with me one-on-one should be nodding your heads right now) and my darker-than-the-deepest-night roast coffee would be cold and forgotten!

I like to ask questions. At the end of the day, you will discover that one of the deepest truths about me is that I am a lover of learning. One of the most important things this means to me is that I do not have all the answers. I often tell my students in the Miracle Tree Sessions and Spinning Gold that I am learning right beside them – that’s not just a thing I say – it is something I deeply believe and know to be true.

Sometimes I encounter newcomers in my community who think of me as an expert or a guru of some kind. As Jasper would say: no way! Our intuitive gifts and our Sacred Arts practices do not give us a right to omniscience nor to omnipotence, and, in my opinion, it’s better that way: life is much richer and more overflowing with surprises, wonder and goodness. Our gifts are the very expression of soulful seeking after beauty, truth, wholeness and holiness. If we had all the answers already, there would be no need for these gifts in the first place!

Every day and all encounters, in every way, present little opportunities for learning, and this experience is part of the warp and weft of not only my own life-tapestry, but my family’s as well, and my Sacred Arts practice.

As I was thinking about my desire to share with all of you the various happenings, then, I decided that I wanted these more personal posts to reflect most of all this sense of a living learning that makes up my actual life and practice. And I really want to do this with an eye to the end of giving all of you a glimpse of the way one gal, a Sacred Artist, interprets the meaning of living an enchanted life from the inside out, as well as offering a sense of the Sacred Arts in action, in the glorious mess and chaos and wild beauty that is life right here and right now.

So, for those who are interested in the more personal aspect of the Sacred Arts, I invite you to grab the beverage of your choice, kick back, and get comfy. Whatever else I may be accused of, brevity is not on the list!

The story for the past few months begins at three or four am, when I rise every morning to begin writing. I have always been an early riser (and now with a one pound jelly bean shifting and twirling during wee hours, it is especially easy to get up) and so sitting down to write before everything else just made sense.

The house is quiet. The moon, in whatever phase she inhabits, shines through the window at my desk, and after I write, I perform my morning devotions, which involve rituals, chanting, prayer, and magic. As I write, I sometimes seem to sense the little one saying to me “Um, really Mommy? That sentence just will not do”, or “Oooh, that’s a good one!”

You might be interested to learn that I am handwriting the first draft. Yes, that’s right: handwriting. It is nearly finished, two chapters to go. There will be many more drafts to come, but the work has been steady and swift – every morning the next batch of pages, one after the other. I find that for me, handwriting the book at this early stage makes up in feeling, depth and clarity of thinking for what it may lose in terms of speed and efficiency.

Once the entire manuscript has been handwritten, I will then type it out, molding it in slightly different ways as I do so, and then begin on the second draft. (A wise old teacher once compared this stage of the writing process to a momma bear licking her cub into shape.) Writing in this way is also easy because if I lose electricity – which actually happened a few times this Winter in San Antonio – or if a new idea comes to me, I just write it down. My handwritten pages are already festooned with hot pink post-it notes. It is all very high-tech.

The idea of handwriting the first draft actually began with a fiasco. At the end of December’s Mercury Retrograde, my seven year old laptop took a tumble and, as the Ancient Greek poet Homer says, bit the dust. In an instant, without a threnody of underwater goddesses to support me or announce the departure, I discovered that I had lost the nascent files I had created for the book. Oh, there was a moment of despair! But then, I realized that I had actually handwritten the pages first. So I went to my three ring binder and saw that, indeed, the pages were still there in my spidery scrawl. No batteries or plugs were needed to access them; and, as long as I keep the sheets protected from the elements, they have just what I need to make the most solid start I can muster. And from that point, I haven’t stopped.

In my course Spinning Gold, I refer us to J.R.R. Tolkien  “eucatastrophe”, a narrative element he identifies in Fairy Tales. This tumble-down topsy-turvy destruction of my old trusty laptop is a little example of eucatastrophe, because – as a result of this loss – not only did I discover a better way to approach the writing of my book, I also decided to replace my laptop with a desktop which is much better for my posture and my health (my dear friend Theresa Reed – the Tarot Lady – who also happens to teach yoga was like: DESKTOP. NOW. She is wise). Handwriting the first draft has also cut down on my screen time, which has been very healthy for me and for the wee one.

So both the book and the baby have forced me to take a fresh look at some of my daily habits. This, my friends, is one of the first steps of Sacred Arts in action; one that I have seen many of you do as well.  For me, as I have been writing the book, I have felt the need to allow my own ideas their own space, silence, and time for gestation and deep metabolism.

Reading too much, or the wrong things, taking in information without proper discernment, can muddy those waters. One becomes more sensitive here. Actually, our community of Soulful Seekers is full of sensitive folks – those who feel deeply, who take external information and stimulus in a deeply internal way. For me, as I felt a growing sensitivity occur on multiple levels, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, one of the biggest changes I’ve made has to do with my intake of news. My habit was to look at various news items on the internet, or an app on my phone, just as a matter of convenience.

I started noticing that I never really spent any time with any one of the items. Glancing, skimming, here and there, working with the general, most vague impressions of things. How could I not feel ashen blooms of anxiety on a regular basis? I want to be an informed citizen AND there had to be a better way, other than exposing myself to huge amounts information, without being able to process or digest any of it effectively. I also noticed that in my community my students were experiencing something similar – so many of us are on media and social media overload these days.

So now I have put a stop to all of this glancing and skimming, and have migrated offline to ‘slow’ media and long form writing – to my favorite weekly periodical the Economist, a British publication.  I’ll work through it, slowly all week, from cover to cover.

I don’t agree with everything there, but I like the style of thinking and reporting, its global scope and comprehensiveness. When I have the time to take a short break from my writing, my teaching and counseling work and my devotions, I grab my strong coffee, usually in the afternoon (which I still haven’t finished, by the way, and since it has grown cold, I ask my sweet husband to warm it up for me); I turn everything off, I slow down and I take my time. I am happy to report that this way of approaching the news – looking to offline sources of long-form writing and analysis – has promoted some very good ‘mental’ digestion – has helped to build a kind of psychological toughness, and promotes the development of knowledge rather than merely fleeting impressions of things. I do the same thing with fiction – right now I am reading the Antelope Wife  by Louise Erdrich.

Once you begin to look at the basics, there is no stopping. One thing leads to another. We pay attention to one place and others unfold. (This is why, by the way, I teach about and encourage the interrelationship and wholeness that holds between all of the Sacred Arts.)

So I’ve also become aware of some unhelpful ideas when it comes to book writing. I know many of you are writers yourselves, and probably a few of you would like to publish a book one day too. One of the ideas I had when this process started was that I would have uninterrupted days where for hour upon hour all I could do was write. Conversely, is the fear that if we don’t have long stretches of uninterrupted hours, there would be no way I would ever finish the work.  But after actually having a few of these halcyon days of zero interruptions over the Winter, I realized that, for me at least, having long stretches of time to do nothing but write was a kind of hell.

I love writing so very much. But I also love and have a duty to teach my Spinning Gold and Miracle Tree students, I love my one-on-one sessions, I love creating ritual and ceremony for my Witch In Your Pocket and Lunar Lights clients, and so on. I love every part of my work. I realized I have watched it feed and nourish the writing in some unexpected ways. It turned out, devoting all my time to writing choked out one of the more important sources of inspiration for my writing, which, after all is said and done, is all of you. What I discovered is this: I don’t need all of the time, I just need the right amount of time.

As I tell a story of magic with pen on paper there is another magical tale growing inside of me. I am one of those lucky and blessed women who seem to have easy pregnancies (though I do feel that I made up for it with my first labor which was thirty-six plus hours). This pregnancy has been markedly different from my first, because now it is not just two who are affected by the little one; it is also our first child, Jasper.

This pregnancy is also different because I am thirty-seven, whereas I was twenty-nine when I was pregnant with Jasper. During my first pregnancy, I discovered how pathologized pregnancy is, at least here in the US (I cannot speak to other traditions in other places). You are often made to feel almost as if there is something wrong with you for being pregnant – that you are fragile and must be hawk-eyed by every doctor and nurse, that you require many medical personnel doing medical things around you all of the time. Because of some of the health issues in my family, my husband and I both chose to have our first child and this next child in the hospital. And I love my Ob-Gyn – she is the bees knees and does not make me feel like a sick person at all.

But, the culture around pregnancy and pregnant women has A LOT of shifting to do and that is ESPECIALLY true if the woman is over thrty-five. As I reflect on this, I think there are bigger ramifications that it speaks to. I wonder if this is part of what happens when we have any kind of liminal experience, which pregnancy and birth definitely are; but so are others, like divorce, physical illness, recovery from addiction, or mental breaks – each of these events have undeniable physiological realities and may require medical treatment and intervention.

But to think that the only reality they carry is medical – that there are not other, more subtle realities also at work and that there are not other, more magical treatments and supports that are also appropriate – seems very short sighted to me. It does not gel with any of the traditions that I am familiar, nor with ones deepest sense and experience of things. A pregnant woman needs both her physical and metaphysical needs attended to in various ways. She also has a specific kind of access to magic and the liminal that can be of benefit not just to her, but can and should be to the benefit of the entire community. So yes, lots of room for improvement here.

Of course when Baby Saussy (whom we are calling Sausalito for the time being) kicks and moves and twirls and tumbles, I am not concerned with the fact that large parts of the culture pathologize pregnancy. I am much more interested in talking to the little one, engaging in my morning rituals of prayer and chant and magic, and writing up some information on making magic that supports conception, safe pregnancy, and then the wonderful, wild, ride that is being a parent.

I am also deeply aware, even more than usual, of the large percentage of our community who cannot or have chosen not to have children. I have written to you all before and I know that for many of you, reading this brings up all the stuff – excitement and love for me and my family (which I am so grateful for) but also sadness, depression, even anger too. I get that. I want you all to know that when it comes to this momma, you are seen, you are beloved, and you are held as precious. My beloved and I are so grateful that our boys have a large community of men and women who they can call on for guidance, inspiration, mothering and fathering in all of the different ways that mothering and fathering can and do happen. You all are a vital part of our lives.

When it comes to magic, my big effort over the past month has been to say thank you. I was gifted with a wonderful gratitude jar and card set for Yule. Every day I write down something that I am grateful for and I also text it to my best girlfriend. Sometimes the things are what you would expect: grateful for a healthy baby, grateful for an amazing husband, and sometimes they are not: grateful for pain that gives me information, grateful for hot water – what an incredible luxury that is!

On the 1st of January I created a big gratitude altar for my Holy Helpers complete with tons of flowers and good candles and their favorite foods. I did not ask for anything. I just spent time saying thank you for what has been given. It felt so good. The shifts felt in my life and family over the past thirty days because of that practice have been noticeable and it is now a regular part of my monthly rituals.

So ending this first letter on that note seems just right to me. Some things that I am grateful for right now and that I would love to share with you:

My beloved husband and the amazing not for profit he runs alongside managing all of the operations for my business.

My son’s fantastic art making (see above) and the fact that I get to live with artists and musicians.

My allowance of one cup of coffee – which I will shamelessly nurse throughout the day and ask my husband to heat up for me again and again and again.

Really cute kittens. 

This book.

This service.

This blog.

The fact that Tarot and Photography are talking to each other.

Open roads.

And each one of you.
In love and magic,

Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon Notes: Libra Edition

Lunar Letter

H

appy almost New Moon, Miracles! Now that Mercury has gone direct I hope that you are all feeling a bit lighter. The New Moon occurs on October 12th. A new moon in Libra is a wonderful time to honor love and relationships of all kinds, affirm and acknowledge the role that beauty plays in our lives, and set intentions for partnerships of all kinds. I think some really useful questions to meditate on during this new moon are: What does true partnership mean to me? Where is the true partnership in my life? Where is true partnership lacking? How can I be a better partner to myself?

My wish for each and every one of you is that you experience the thrill of joy and the delight of harmony during this new moon.

And now for some goodies to share…

The Miracle Tree Sessions 2016 has launched! People ask me what the Miracle Tree Sessions is really about. Well, it is about earth and air, fire and water, all that dwells below and all that is above.

It is about a community of soulful seekers that are deep and dedicated. It is about coming into right relationship with creation and the sacred, with magic and with our selves.

But most of all it’s about miracles, the miracles that happen around us all the time, the miracles that are every single one of you. Register here.

Writings and Other Ventures

How do we honor the sacred?

Why walking away is rarely the answer.

The latest daily blessings are available for your viewing (and sharing) pleasure.

My very popular Clarity Call service just got a revamp, you can now choose one, two, three, or four question sessions with me. Check out the changes and let me know what you think.

We are making sacred art posters! So many of you love the artwork that Cassandra has created for my site and various projects, well now you can take some of that artwork home. You can pre-order your fine art print right here. And the best part? They will sparkle!

Reminder: I have changed the way that I process all devotional candle orders. Now candles are lit once a month on the first Friday of each month. If you would like a candle for November please get your order in on or before Thursday, November 5th.

Out and About…

Aidan has launched a new site and it is some kind of pretty.

Paige Z. and Amelia have started the Modern Mystic podcast – the shows are delightful and the hosts are enchanting.

Speaking of podcasts, Theresa and I are featuring the incredible Jessica Kupferman of She Podcasts on Talking Shop. Catch it for free on Wednesday, 10/28 at 8:00 pm CDT

Jacquelyn Tierney makes pretty, magical things.

An interesting article on Why Magic Lost to Technology – I suspected that towards the end the author would conflate magic with technology (it happened), and while I don’t agree with that assessment, I do think the article is well worth the read. HT: Jason Miller, the Strategic Sorcerer.

One of my favorite tarot decks to read with is the Wild Unknown – they are now down to their last sets of first edition decks, so if you want one, now is the time.

Another interesting article on “Necromancy” focusing on the rise of magic on the net.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Many Branches–The Awesome Alexandra Franzen

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

When I started doing business on the web I quickly discovered that writing for a website was different than any kind of writing I had ever done before. For the first time, I had to write a sales copy and I had to write emails to people I admired asking if they would be willing to…gulp…collaborate with me. I have yet to receive a NO and I think one of the big reasons why is because early on I learned about the remarkable Alexandra Franzen. Alexandra helped craft much of the copy on my site but she helped with so much more than that. With her scripts, her excellent blog, and her classes, I have learned how to be the best possible writer for my online audience. She is wise, kind, and super whip-smart — kind of an unbeatable combination!

In her own words:
ALEXANDRA FRANZEN wants to live in a world where emails are short, love letters are brave, and every “thank you” note is scribbled by hand.

A sought-after writing instructor + communication specialist, she’s been spotlighted on The Daily LoveThe Daily MuseMindBodyGreenFast CompanyForbes and The Huffington Post.

When she’s not scribbling up a storm, you can find her re-reading the collected works of Oscar Wilde, watching obscene amounts of television without a trace of shame, and optimistically checking her mailbox for brown paper packages tied up with string.

Her first book — 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome — hits the shelves in October 2013.

Learn how to write with style, simplicity + astonishing ease at AlexandraFranzen.com.

Discover Alex at the following hot spots:

Site: AlexanraFranzen.com
Twitter: @Alex_Franzen

I know people ask you about the ins and outs of writing and communication all the time — why do YOU love to write? What about the art form gets you hot and bothered?

The philosopher + linguist Ludwig Wittgenstein once said: “That which cannot be said cannot be thought.” I like to say: “That which cannot be said cannot be done.”

What I mean is this: If you have got a fantastic idea, but you can’t put that idea into words — words that other people can see, grasp and rally behind — then your idea doesn’t really exist. It’s just a fuzzy notion in your head. It’s got no shape, in the physical world. So: when you wrap words around your dreams, it’s the first step towards making them touchable + real. Words set everything into motion.

How HOT is that?

Write Yourself into Motion workshops — tell me everything!

It all started with a magical walk in the woods. (Literally.) I was strolling along the coastline of Vancouver Island with my dear friend Hiro Boga, and I said to her, “You know? I’d really love to create my own writing workshop.”

She smiled and said something wise + profound like, “And so you shall, young grasshopper.”

The very next morning, I woke up to find an invitation from two women back on the mainland, sitting in my inbox.

“Would you like to teach a writing workshop at our retreat in New Mexico?” they asked.

Oh, universe. You’re the BEST.

Fast forward to this year: I’m teaching my signature workshop — Write Yourself Into Motion — in 8 different cities for over 200 people. It’s a weekend of business and career-focused wordsmithery with me + 20 new friends.

It’s ridiculously fun. I cry almost every time. One time, my mom + dad came to watch. They cried, too.

Yeah. It’s like that.

You love brevity, but your words go deep. What’s your favorite trick to packing a punch with few words?

Before I sit down to write anything — an email, a blog post, a text message, a love note — I ask myself three questions:

1. How do I want my reader to feel?

2. What do I want my reader to know?

3. What do I want my reader to do?

Once I’m clear on those three elements, the rest is relatively simple: it’s just a matter of stringing words together in a way that feels lyrical + pleasant on the eyes (and ears).

Another technique? I often pretend that I’m writing a short poem, like a haiku — even if I’m (really) writing a newsletter or an article.

The end result is usually much tighter + leaner than it would’ve been, otherwise.

You have a new book out: Fifty Ways To Say You’re Awesome. What happens when we learn different ways to express our awesomeness?

Every human being on earth craves appreciation, recognition, and affection. We are all waiting for someone to look us in the eye and say, “You’re awesome. Really, truly awesome.”

Fifty Ways To Say You’re Awesome is an invitation to BE that person — to be a bright spot of gratitude in someone else’s day. To say “you’re the best,” “I see you,” “I get you,” and “wooooow.”

And if you can’t figure out the right way to say “thank you” to someone who deserves your complete + total adoration … well … you’ll find 50 bolts of inspiration, inside my book! ;)

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

Knock everything off your to-do list, except for the one thing that matters.

And then shelve that task for later, too … and instead?

Just write a letter to one person you’ve been meaning to thank, for a very long time.

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.