Category Archives: Charms & Enchantments

Many Branches: Something Witchy this way comes with Sarah Anne Lawless

Many of those in my audience already know our latest guest in the Many Branches series–Sarah Anne Lawless. She is an occult author, witch, herbalist, and artist living in the Pacific Northwest. Her blog is well known in the Pagan community and beyond. Her knack for crafting a brilliant flying ointment is one that I can personally attest to, and her devotion to her Gods is inspiring. Please give her a warm welcome!

bio-pic-2In her own words: A professional artist, writer, and herbalist, Sarah’s work has been published in various books, magazines, and online in The CauldronHex MagazineWitches & PagansWitchvoxSerpent Songs, and Hoofprints in the Wildwood. She is a carver, painter, and illustrator working in the mediums of bone, wood, ink, and paint creating original artwork, talismans, and ritual tools. Sarah is an animist, initiated witch, and wortcunner with a love of otherworldly beauty, folklore, mythology, poisonous plants, wildcrafting, wild places, and bones.

Find Sarah on the web at:

her website: sarahannelawless.com

Facebook: Black Arts Foundry

Twitter: @forestwitch

 

In the occult and magical community you are known for making excellent spiritual products, your writing, and your fine artwork, but you are also one of the few voices out there talking about working with animals and zoological talismans in an ethical and sustainable manner. This subject is a bit controversial but one that I think the magical community needs more familiarity with. What led you to begin working with animals and animal parts in a ritual setting?

For me it started with collecting feathers and escalated from there and I’ve found that others who consider themselves bone collectors often say the same thing. Taking home a feather you found on a forest walk isn’t really so far off from taking home a sea-washed bone or a small skull picked clean by scavengers. Once people find out you’re a bone collector they will suddenly start calling you about bones, feathers, or dead animals they found and ask what to do with them. Then people will start showing up on your door step with boxes of bones and any friends that hunt for food will start giving you bird feet, wings, and sometimes even organs that they don’t want to waste. Often people don’t want to use or give me the animals they find, they just want to know how to bury it safely and give it a respectful send off to the spirit world. A bone collector can find themselves taking on the role of an animal funeral director.

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I think the reason why many find my use of animal parts in magic controversial is because, though the use of zoological remains is still common in modern rootwork and the magical traditions of Central and South America, it is not common in modern witchcraft despite all the documented historical links and traditions. Many people are so far removed from nature, husbandry, and dirty hands-on folk magic that they find the use of zoological remains to be appalling and unethical without trying to first understand the context and history. Many assume that bone collectors such as myself are actually killing animals to use their parts in magic when this is very much not the case. You can find hearts, tongues, and feet at the butcher and you can find bones, skulls, teeth, claws, and hides from taxidermists, tanners, farmers, or hunters who don’t like to waste any part of an animal that’s been hunted or raised for food.

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Another reason I think this practice is controversial is because many people assume you are using a dead animal’s parts solely for cursing and other black magics, when again this is simply not the reality. Indigenous cultures who’ve held onto their animistic beliefs and traditions use animal parts in a sacred manner – they are used to better connect with animal spirits and the whole of nature itself. Feathers are often used to fly prayers to the spirits so they may hear them. Teeth and claws are used for protection against harm and to give one strength. Organs are more often used for healing and offerings than anything else – anyone with a grandmother who still buries dead fish in the garden for the fertility of the plants may best understand this. In rural areas of North America you can still find farmers hanging deer antlers or bull horns over their barn door. They may have forgotten why, but once upon a time it was the belief that doing so would protect your livestock and also ensure their health and fertility.

Modern butchery and hunting practices are wasteful and unethical for treating animals as soulless resources. By doing this work and using animal remains in a sacred manner in our spiritual traditions, we make those animals sacred. By showing them respect even in death, we make their lives have the same value as our own.

 

You are well known for crafting various flying ointments, often using ancient recipes. Why flying ointments and when did your love affair with them begin?

I first took notice when nightshades I had not planted started to grow in my garden plots and containers. Instead of weeding them, I researched them and became fascinated. This led me to growing other varieties like henbane, belladonna, datura, and brugmansia. I had a lot of fresh plant material on hand and at the same time I realized that no one I could find was making and using flying ointments today. Considering that flying ointments were one of the very few genuine direct links to the ancestral magical practices of preChristian Europeans, it puzzled me greatly that modern witches and pagans weren’t using them. Later I discovered this was largely due to fear of the plants as governments had been churning out frightening propaganda against them for centuries and our modern governments continue to spread the fear through misinformation. Tales of wild hallucinations and near death experiences come mainly from youths not seeking a spiritual experience, but who simply wanted to get high and who used these plants without research, proper preparation, and with no regard for dosage. They were using these sacred plants at a toxic level instead of in the much safer ways our ancestors would have and have consequently given these plants a much maligned reputation.

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I mainly work with plants in the solanaceae (or nightshade) family. Though many would believe we no longer use them today, the constituents of these plants, such as atropine, are actually considered “core” medicines on the World Health Organizations “Essential Drug List.” Aside from the nightshades’ long history with witchcraft, they are also some of the oldest and most potent medicines used by humanity. How could an herbalist fascinated with ethnobotany not fall in love with plants that were both powerful spiritual allies and incredibly potent medicines? Though my original intent was to use the solanaceae and artemisias for spiritual purposes, the more I worked with these plants, the more I found people came to me for their medicinal uses as well.

And so, after A LOT of research and careful testing, I started to make ointments with the plants I grew along with dried European mandrake roots. I found them to be very useful in aiding in dream work, spirit work, and trance work along with being excellent topical pain killers for relieving migraines, sore backs, and other muscle and joint pain. I started making them for shamanic and pagan groups who wanted to use them for rituals and ceremonies and I started bringing them to my own rituals and teaching workshops on these plants. With all my experience, I learned that much of the fear and propaganda surrounding nightshades and flying ointments is simply not true and that those of us who have learned their history and proper preparations should pass on our knowledge so it is not lost to future generations as it has been to generations past.

 

A lot of folks in the magical community struggle with that to call themselves. You have referred to yourself as an animist, witch, and spirit worker. What do those words mean to you and what is your advice for someone who has not figured out what the right title is for their work and beliefs?

When I call myself an animist, I am referring to my religious philosophy just as others would call themselves a polytheist or a monotheist. I do not worship gods, but instead see all things, all of nature, as being imbued with spirit, anima, life force. Interacting with and honouring the local animals, plants, rivers, lakes, mountains, forests, and larger land features is what matters most to me in my spirituality – the local spirits, great and small. Within animism there is also room for ancestor reverence and so I also honour those who have come before me, both my own blood ancestors as well as those who lived upon this land long before I was born. Animism is believed to be one of the oldest forms of spirituality in human history and still permeates surviving forms of folk magic, folk religion, and common superstitions.

When I call myself a witch I am referring to the practice of witchcraft, not a religious path. It is the folk magic I do, the early modern witchcraft lore I study, and the rituals I put into practice.

When I use the term spirit worker, it is to reference my work with spirits, both is in this world and the other worlds of folklore. It is my dream work, trance work, and the rituals I perform to interact with spirits – usually plants, animals, or ancestors.

I don’t personally believe in putting too much stock in labels and finding the right one as everyone has their own definition of a term, some using the archaic meaning and some using a modern derivative. It is far too easy to waste a lot of time trying to find a label that fits all we believe and do, when we could instead spend that time actively practicing and developing our own beliefs to suit our individual spiritual needs. I think it is a better use of our time instead of trying to fit into a role someone else has defined and be constantly fretting over it.

I wrote a whole article tackling this subject last winter as it comes up over and over again in spiritual communities: “Ducking Pigeonholing.”

You art is gorgeous, tell us a bit about how you got started and what your current favorite artistic project is?

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Thank you! I got started in art at a young age. I was always drawing and painting. I took art classes in every year of school because it was something I always enjoyed. I had a lot of support from family who kept me well supplied with paper, ink, and paints. I even used to illustrate stories I wrote and bound them into little homemade books. Today I’m lucky enough to be in a position to get paid for my art and to illustrate the writings of others as well as my own. Falling more under the umbrella of a folk artist, I’ve been able to explore just about any medium I’m interested in – woodcarving, bone carving, pyrography, textiles, calligraphy, and jewelry to name several.

Right now I have a bit of an obvious obsession with drawing plants and skulls. I hope to do more pieces with plants and animals native to my beloved Pacific Northwest in the near future.

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

Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams and passions so you can live your life in joy and wonder, but at the same time be honest with yourself about how you’re going to pull it off in a practical manner.

Blessed New Moon in Aquarius!

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Blessed New Moon in Aquarius guys! If you missed the latest edition of Milagro Roots News or for some weird reason are not subscribed then you have not heard me wax eloquently about how awesome this New Moon is. It is especially great for deep and fast insights into your networks (both for business and pleasure), how you connect with people, and how you communicate ideas. The New Moon is in the sign of Aquarius AND it is well aspected with Aquarius’ ruling planet Uranus so these insights are of the flash of lightening brilliant variety as opposed to gradual or subtle.

Por example: I had a killer dream last night that re-affirmed some biz decisions I have already made and left me with a mean and lean priority list. So…the moon is New at 3:40pm central standard time but the vibe is here right now! Be open to the fresh insights, I would recommend traveling today with a blank book or recording device of some kind, and give yourself some extra space and time this afternoon to really appreciate those flashes of golden insight!

And if you would like to work the the moon on a magical/ritual level then this excerpt from my upcoming Star Magic class will be of interest:

In Magic-The moon can be used to consecrate any object, talisman, or spiritual product with the qualities of fertility, magic, intuition, coolness, objectivity, artistry, and inspiration. In Eastern systems it is also equated with the mind or pure intellect. Work with the New Moon to plant seeds for your newest project or desire (or your physical garden), and work with the waxing moon on things you wish to have grow and strengthen. Work with the Full Moon to celebrate completed projects, increase fertility of all kinds, honor love and romance, and divination rituals, and work with the waning moon whenever you need to let go of/banish things. Finally, work with the Dark Moon (the phase right before the New Moon), for baneful work.”

 

 

New Year Prosperity: tips and tricks to spruce up your pocketbook

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We are still in January and for many of us there is still a strong drive to create lasting prosperity in this New Year, yes? The trick, of course, is knowing how one might best go about creating that prosperity. Here are some of my favorite tricks and tip to feather your nest and, maybe, if you are lucky, discover a golden egg!

1.) New Year=New Wallet. If last year’s cash flow was not all it could have been, why don’t you spend some money on getting a brand new wallet? Your wallet or billfold is the home where your money lives–you want it to be a home fitting for lots of cash, right?

Choose a color that is traditionally associated with prosperity and abundance like green (for money cash and growth), red (for power and authority in the world of personal finance and beyond), royal blue (the planetary color associated with abundance creating Jupiter), or yellow/gold (for um, more gold!)

2.) Dress 3 $100 bills with a prosperity enhancing sachet powder and place them in your wallet. When we carry larger bills like Benjamins or even $50′s, we are less likely to break them which translates to less likely to spend on frivolous items.

3.) If possible, get a wallet that has a change purse and use your change frequently–leave it as tips, hand it out to panhandlers–moving change in and out of your wallet keeps the current of money moving in your life.

4.) Take all non essential cards, especially credit cards out of your wallet for daily use. If you don’t have access to your cards you can’t use them. Bam!

5.) Put a tiny lodestone in your wallet to attract and draw more money.

6.) Put a tiny piece of iron pyrite in your wallet OR a piece of real gold. Even a gold earring will work because like attracts like.

7.) Sprinkle sassafras and cinquefoil (five finger grass) in the area where your paper money goes–a pinch works great. Sassafras has long been worked with to make each dollar stretch and cinquefoil is believed not only to bless all that your five fingers do but also to encourage others to favor you.

8.) Choose one area to work on when it comes to financial health. Do you need to draw more in the way of income or lower existing debt? Make a plan of action that includes PRACTICAL steps for you to do. Dedicate a section of your home to this work and only this work.

9.) If you are currently looking for employment make sure you read my tips on Job Getting–they really do work!

10.) If you have not already done so, download the Magnetizing Manifestation phone fest. It’s free and full of more useful information on attracting abundance big time!

Psst! Want to learn more about how to work with planets like Jupiter to increase your prosperity and financial health? It’s your lucky day because I am teaching a class  in February that will answer that question and many more. Head over here to check it out and register!

 

So Fresh and So Clean! How to spiritually clean yourself, home, or car

We can all feel the difference between a messy room and a clean room. Clutter, refuse, and objects that are not in their proper places create confusion, imbalance, and waste our time.  This is true for our physical lives as well as for our emotional and spiritual lives.  In our relationships, for example, we can see how continually bringing up issues from the past that need to be released and buried can damage the present.

When life feels stuck, when you are spread too thin, then you know it’s time to spiritually cleanse.

Think of a clean kitchen. Maybe the kitchen is sparkling and spotless or maybe it is a little dingy around the corners but more or less clean.  Now imagine someone walking through that kitchen with mud on their feet, leaving their muddy footprints all over that clean kitchen floor. If this were really your kitchen what would you do?  Would you leave the muddy footprints where they are, ignoring them and hoping that they would go away?  Or would you get out the mop and go to work on them? Most of us would not leave muddy footprints in our kitchens, but I am constantly surprised at how many folks refuse to clean up the muddy foot prints that have trekked all over their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.

The problem of course is that one cannot take a bottle of pine-sol to the soul, but we can spiritually clean ourselves just the way we would clean a kitchen floor. 

Spiritual bathing is a tradition found throughout the world and is present in many different cultures and religious practices. The use of sacred, purified water in combination with prayer and focused intention has been with us since ancient times. Special waters, herbs, roots, oils, and other preparations may be involved in spiritual bathing. Certain prayers, recitations, or mantras are also usually part of the rite. One of the best examples of spiritual bathing today is baptism.

For folks that are suffering from baneful magic that was worked against them or who simply feel stuck, confused, or believe that their luck has turned against them, the first level of cleaning is personal and physical. The most simple and straightforward way to cleanse on this level is by taking a spiritual bath. If you want to make your own blend try a traditional Three Ingredient Cleansing Bath by using any 3 herbs or minerals from the following list:

  • Kosher Salt
  • Alum
  • Table Salt
  • Cumin
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon
  • Pine needles
  • Mint (pepper, spear, lemon)
  • Sage

These are just a few options that I have personally had success with and that my clients adore. For a full list of herbs and roots that can be used for a variety of conditions my go-to books are Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic and Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. If you have both of those titles and want more green goodness check out the herb section of my Amazon store for other excellent titles.  Of course by this point you are probably wondering exactly how one takes a spiritual bath–what is the ritual? Download free instructions for that here.

A spiritual bath is usually the first step in personal cleansing, but it’s important to keep in mind that the places and spaces we physically occupy can also accrue their own energetic funk and need to be cleaned up from time to time. When it comes to cleaning any physical space there are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind.

Clean from top to bottom (this is just practical sense, you dust before you vacuum) and back to front.  This applies whether you are cleaning a room, cubicle, entire house, or vehicle.  My favorite spiritual cleansing agent is one that my mother and I make every year–Momma Hen’s Fabulous ‘n’ Famous Floorwash. I also like Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena scented products which are made from essential oils, are biodegradable, and phosphate free.  Lemon Verbena is one of many herbs used to spiritually clean, unlock doors, open the way, and attract good luck.  You can also add your own favorite magical ingredients to a commercial cleaning product that you favor.

Whether cleaning a single room, home, or vehicle start in the back and move to the front. When cleaning multiple rooms after the first room has been dusted, mopped,  and vacuumed light a small white candle that has been anointed with an oil for abundant blessings or if you are on a budget, olive oil that you have prayed over. Place the candle in the room and let it burn all the way out, repeat a prayer or affirmation of your choice for blessings and success over the candle and then proceed to the next room of the house. An appropriate incense may also be left to burn in the room along with the candle.

If you have co-workers who are negative or attract bad luck or you are stuck in a job that is not rocking your world or dealing with aggressive supervisors then magically cleaning your work space, office, or cubicle is a good idea.  Follow the same basic guidelines for cleaning a house.  Skip lighting the candle and the incense, and if vacuuming is not feasible then lightly dust your area with sachet powder for abundance and good fortune, like Promise Land.

Vehicles are another area that can benefit from spiritual cleanings.  Again, the principle is the same–cleanse from top to bottom and back to front.  Make sure that you cleanse the inside and outside of the vehicle, including the tires.  Use a blend of Promise Land and Get Thee Behind Me sachet powders dusted lightly on the tires and into the carpet of the vehicle.These smell wonderful and provide an extra added layer of protection.

A final common question is, once you have spiritually cleansed the home and taken a spiritual bath, what can do you to keep the work going? One traditional way of maintaining that so fresh and so clean feeling in between major spiritual house cleanings or spiritual bathing rites is to smudge yourself with a wing feather or a feather whisk. Depending on your spiritual tradition(s) working with black hen feathers, Turkey Vulture feathers, a Turkey tail fan, or Dove feathers may be appropriate.

Why birds specifically? Chickens and Turkeys are all ground dwelling birds that forage food and have a varied diet, they can adapt to different kinds of food, and left to their own devices their diets include a large percentage of insects and bugs that also happen to be parasites.  As they search out and consume pests in life, they are believed to spiritually search out and consume parasites and negative gunk that may have become attached to you. Turkey Vultures, also known as Buzzards in America, are carrion feeders that have powerful organisms in their gut that can transfer something rotting and spoiled into valuable, life-sustaining nutrients. Birds like Doves, Hawks, and Owls all have deep folkloric significance and their feathers are used in ritual settings. Remember, however, that the last two especially are often protected under the Migratory Bird Species Protection Act and harvesting feathers from them is illegal unless you have the right license.

If working with bird feathers does not appeal then a bundle of herbs-either fresh or dried-can be used instead. This is something that can be done on a daily or weekly basis-when you wake up in the morning or when you come home at the end of the day. Start at your head and work your way down brushing off any negative juju you feel that you may have picked up during the course of your day.

Fumigating or smudging with an appropriate incense can also be a fast way to clean in between spiritual baths. Another good trick? Use a soap that is made with one of the cleansing herbs mentioned above-or a herb and essential oil combination that resonates for you as your daily soap.  Do note: none of these quick tricks make up for or replace the full benefits derived from a spiritual bath but they can help to keep you clean and refreshed on a daily basis!

Now it’s your turn…Enter to win a FREE Amulet MagazineAll of you have to do is head over to my facebook page, “like” it (as if you have not already done that)! and then leave me a comment on the page telling me what your favorite methods of spiritual cleansing are OR you can ask a question about spiritual cleansing. If you are not a facebook user tweet it out to @BriSaussy.

How to make a honey jar (with pictures!!!)

How to make a honey jar (with pictures!!!)

top of the honey jar

As it turns out, honey jars are not just for tea and biscuits! There is actually a long history of folk magic traditions working with sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, simple syrup, and other sweeteners to promote love, kindness, joy, harmony, good will, and favored status.

The theory is simple enough and a great example of sympathetic and contagious magic: because the primary medium (a sweetener of some kind) is used in a directed manner towards a specific person the intention is that said person will become “sweeter,” more kind, tender, loving, and harmonious.

Although “honey jar” is the preferred term, I actually like to use Whole Foods’ vegan sugar in my jars. I like sugar because it’s less messy than honey, it’s easy to take petition papers out and add new papers if the need arises, and sugar is also less expensive than honey. I use vegan sugar which might seem strange until you understand that most sugar is processed through filters made of animal bones (due to the high heat required during the refining process). Vegan sugar is not.

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Honey Jars and sweetening bottles are created and worked with for a variety of reasons. Some like to make a jar that represents themselves so that they will be kinder and more loving to all of the people in their life. Others choose to create a honey jar to mark a marriage or special anniversary and to bless a couple with years of love and tenderness. In other cases, honey jars may be used in a more compelling manner–to make a difficult boss like you better, to encourage a judge or jury to find in your favor, or to persuade your students or clients to work with you and follow your lead.

Making honey jars is relatively easy; because of this they have become one of the more popular forms of magic–and because of the materials involved you can get very creative (or stay simple) in the creation process.

 

First, you need to write a petition:

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The petition made for a honey jar tends to follow a specific format. First you will write the name of your target (the person you would like the honey jar to effect), then you will turn the paper 90 degrees and write your name on top of the target’s name. If you are doing a honey jar on yourself then you do not have to do this second step.

Some people like to use pencil for the target’s name and then pen or permanent marker for their own name–the idea behind this is that permanent ink is “stronger” than pencil (which can be erased) and therefore exerts more influence. I personally like a strong ink that I can see well for both names. After the names have been inscribed its time to create a magical circle around them like this:

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During the writing in a circle around the names the pen cannot be lifted from the paper and this is why it makes sense to use a short and sweet prayer. In this demo I used the prayer: “love and blessings” over and over again.

An optional but fun step is to embellish the petition paper:

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Once the petition is completed you can anoint it with oil and then fold it towards you. Turn the paper 90 degrees and fold it towards yourself again. Now you are ready to add it to the sweetening jar. Different people have different attitudes about the jars themselves. Personally I like Ball Canning Regular Mouth Half Pint Canning Jars. I like using a regular, inexpensive jar and then embellishing it myself–that is part of the magic! Its also essential to have a metal/heat proof lid if you want to burn candles on the jar.

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You will add your sweetening agent be it sugar or honey but then you will also want to add roots, herbs, and curios that are appropriate for whatever situation you are working on. If you do not know the first thing about herb magic don’t worry–I have an Amazon store chock full of my favorite herb books! Once you have added what you want in the way of herbs, roots, and curios your jar will look beautiful and you can tuck the petition right in. Make sure that the petition is totally covered by the contents of the jar. Now in some cases at this point people like to ask if they can use the sweetening agent that is in the jar and the answer is…it depends on what you put in it!

Obviously if you used any toxic roots or herbs when making the jar you will not be able to consume the sugar/syrup/honey. However, if you used edible plants (of which there are MANY) you can eat the sweetener and you can also use it in baking, cooking, and beverage making. In fact, one very simple and stripped down honey jar spell involves putting a whole vanilla bean into the family canister of sugar–it is believed that this leads to a happy and peaceful home. The sugar of course is used in the day to day doings of the family and its magic extends through use!

At this point you could stop. These days a lot of people are making sugar jars and then they work them and magically impart their intention onto them by praying over them, stating their desires and shaking them rhythmically. However, some of the oldest honey jar workings do center around a candle and adding a candle to your honey jar is a wonderful way to imbue the magic of fire into your work–and it also can provide you with a great focal point as you pray or charge up the jar.

Choose a candle that resonates with you–many people like to work with specific colors of candles. For the demo I went with a blue and yellow candle since the jar I was demoing was made for love, communication, and healing. You will want to anoint the candle with a ritual anointing oil appropriate to your situation. Hold the candle at heart level and draw the oil from the base of the candle towards your body. You may also want to dress the candle with ground herbs, ground herbs and magical sachet powder, and of course glitter:

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Set the candle on top of the honey jar and it’s time to light it!

I consider honey jars an endurance type of ritual work. Typically they are fashioned with the intention of being worked for a long time–at least several months and often for years. The jars are usually set up on an altar or dedicated working space. Candles can be burned on them and they can be prayed over and put to work every day, two or three times a week, or on a monthly basis. Pay attention to the way the wax of the candle melts and the way the flame burns when you are working your honey jar–these are two of the main ways that you will receive confirmation and affirmation that your magic is doing its thing!

Introducing the Sovereignty Spread!

Mid week article! You all know these only happen when I am really excited. I woke up around 4:00am central time on 2/25-the day of the Full Moon in Virgo-and this spread was in my mind-as if I had dreamed it up-which I do not remember doing…I played with it for awhile, and decided that it was perfect. I give it to you, dear readers, that you might play and prophet from it!

 

The Sovereignty Spread

The Sovereignty Spread is inspired by the Arthurian tale of Sir Gawain and Lady Ragnell and the variant on that tale told by Chaucer’s Wyfe of Bath. In short, within the story a riddle is posed to a Knight of the Roundtable (or in some cases King Arthur himself)-what is it that a woman desires most? He must provide the answer or forfeit his life. The Answer? Sovereignty.

Sovereignty derives from the Latin word super meaning “above.” To be sovereign is to have a bird’s eye view of the situation-to see one’s place clearly, to be blessed and in turn to be a blessing to others.

This spread is predicated on the truth that in assessing a situation we cannot accurately and 100% of the time detect how someone else is feeling-nor can we truly and fundamentally change another person (most of the time). But we DO have control over ourselves, our feelings, our thoughts, and we can change our own attitudes to improve a situation-thus gaining Sovereignty over our lives.

And…although the story specifically talks about women-Sovereignty and the self-knowledge and self-authority it implies, is something we ALL need.

I decided to demonstrate this spread by asking about the Milagro Roots Phone Fest-I was feeling stressed out about the event on the morning of the 25th so I asked:

What’s the deal with the phone fests? Are they a good idea? A bad idea? Worth it? Not worth it? Please explain!

The Spread:

We work with 9 cards-9 is a magical number and distills into 3-another magical number.

Begin by shuffling the cards with your question in mind.

Fan the cards out and cut the fan into three stacks.

Pull three cards from the bottom or top of each stack.

The first stack yields cards 1, 2, 3

The second stack yields cards 7, 8, 9

The final stack yields cards 4, 5, 6

Reading the Spread:

Card #1: How Am I Holding the Situation? This card gets down to your fundamental attitude about the situation-your thoughts, feelings, fears, desires-all of it.

For me the card is the Devil-and that is accurate. I had been sick all weekend, work was piling up on Monday, I had final touches to put on the phone fest and I was feeling very chained down to the whole thing-as if I had no freedom as if was enslaves to this idea and not at all sure that was where I wanted to be. Honestly just pulling this card really helped me-with an attitude represented by the Devil no wonder I was second guessing myself!

Card #2: What is the block? This card outlines what the major blocks or obstacles between you and success.

My card was Death (the Devil and Death as my first two cards, awesome.)  Reflecting I realized that the Death card was quite apt. One of the reasons that the phone fest was nagging on me was because it was nested in a whole host of other half finished projects. The Death card was telling me I was neglecting my duty to kill off one project-finish it completely-before moving on to the next. No multitasking-uni-tasking!

Card #3: What is the blessing in this situation-often this is really what is the blessing I am ignoring or not seeing in the situation?

My card was the 4 of Wands-and how apt! The Four of Wands celebrates union, collaboration, and community support. The Blessing are the clients and people who show up for a phone fest-the folks who want to listen and learn-all of you guys-you are the blessing.

Card #4: What is a hidden factor effecting this situation that I need to be aware of?

For me this card is signified by the Hanged Man. I could take a very lofty interpretation of this and say-well I have sacrificed parts of myself for knowledge before-I should reflect on those experiences and mine them for information on how to rock this project. OR I could be very practical and say-this is one of your hang ups Bri-you always take on too much and have a habit of not finishing one thing before moving onto another one-check yourself girl!

Card #5: What is the most likely outcome if I do nothing? The Sun-the phone fest will still rock, you will still help people, settle down and open up to your own radiance. Not too shabby.

Card #6: What will be revealed in the near future that might help me? This can also be a who question-as in what person (or spirit or ally) will show up to assist?

The card I received is the Page of Coins-this could mean a specific person, like my amazing VA, or it could mean something more abstract-like a really sweet email from a student or client telling me how much they love the phone fests and how awesome they-thereby encouraging me to keep moving forward-in an earth manner that finishes one thing before starting something else!

Card #7: What specific attitude do I need to change & how should I do it? 

For me this is symbolized by the 4 of Swords-as a Air sun sign the first thing the earthy structure of the number four says to me is…ground it baby. Ground these ideas-give them structure and presence. This card resonates directly with the Death card I pulled as my obstacle-it features a coffin for heaven’s sake! The attitude to change is the flighty, ungrounded, anxiety that comes from doing too much at once. The antidote is to finish one thing off completely and put it in its proper resting place (in this case a PDF file program) before turning your attention to the next thing. Words to live by.

Card #8: If things go as well as they can what is the Best outcome I can expect to achieve from this situation? The Magician-more magic, alchemy, union and the creation of something greater than ourselves. Pretty damn good-committing to the phone fests is looking better and better.

Card #9: What Ritual act is required to achieve the Exalted Outcome?-What do I need to do, say, think, pray, believe, in order to achieve the exalted outcome?

Here I got the 10 of Cups-this is a card that for me is about home, family, spending time with my kiddo, and spending time blessing the land around my home, also a time of connecting with my beloved-basically the message here was-don’t work so damn hard-you are chaining yourself to the Devil, yo! Go outside, play, have fun, listen to good music, plant some stuff, build an altar to honor the full moon–chill-ax.  Love it when that is my ritual prescription!

Feel free to use this for yourself or clients-if you do I only ask that you give proper attribution to it by citing me and this blog post!

Blessed Imbolg and Happy Candlemas

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. We had to wait until February 3rd to properly honor the season and beloved Brighid-but we finally had a small ritual this morning, full of omen spying and observing our local surroundings. For followers of my tumblr account these are repeats-but they are still just as pretty!

Mutabalis Rosebush

This is the Mutabalis Rosebush in my garden-I pruned it way back in early Autumn and the growth on it has been enormous since then. We did some nourishing energy work around this rosebush this morning in honor of Brigid in her role as a healer.

Rosemary

 

The rosemary has been in bloom for several weeks now-through most of January-and is almost always buzzing with a few dozen bees!

carrots

 

Multicolored carrots planted at the beginning of January are starting to reach up higher towards the warm light. In a few more weeks they should be ready for harvesting.

 

strawberry

 

Two weeks ago when we had our first really nice and mild weekend since Christmas, we put in a strawberry patch that is already bearing some beautiful fruits!

offerings for Brighid

Part of our Imbolg ritual every year is to smudge each other and make offerings to Brighid-which after receiving blessing from Her we are free to enjoy! In South Central Texas Imbolg 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 have been positively zesty in their desire for a mate. It the time when desire stirs everything upon the land here–and of course it is all sacred to Her.

Charms & Enchantments: Spiced Figs for Fertility and Abundance

This recipe came from my great aunt Mary Margaret-she passed over ten years ago and was the first person outside of my immediate family that taught me how to perform simple divinations with chicken bones. She also had this fantastic recipe-which reads like a magical ritual as I think you will see. I spend the month of October preparing for Samhain & Dia de los Muertos/All Saint’s Day all of which are celebrated in my family-this was one of the first recipes to honor the ancestors I whipped up this year:

Ingredients:

3 quarts whole, un-peeled, figs (Figs are traditionally associated with fertility, abundance, and the female reproductive organs. In some Hindu traditions the World Tree or axis mundi is actually a fig tree. In Conjure figs, specifically the leaves, are also used for friendship. In various Mediterranean traditions figs are eaten by women who wish to conceive a child.)

6 cups sugar-(to sweeten someone to you or keep a relationship sweet).

1 cup apple cider vinegar-(to sweeten, cleanse, and preserve).

2 quarts boiling water

Small cheesecloth bag of whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and whole allspice-(cinnamon is a powerful agent for love and money drawing work and also to speed situations/people along, cloves are for friendship and kind feeling, allspice ushers in abundance).

Directions:

Cover figs with boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes.

make syrup of water, sugar, vinegar, and bag of spices

Drain figs then boil in syrup for 10 minutes for 3 mornings in a row

The third morning pack in sterilized jars and seal

I love the fact that she gives the directions to boil the figs in the syrup for three mornings in a row for ten minutes each time. Obviously you could boil them at ten minute intervals through 1 or 2 days and clearly you could boil them at a time other than the morning but this was her recipe and I honor it in its entirety.

 

 

sheaves of wheat van Gogh

Charms & Enchantments A Lammas Divination technique & What it Really Takes to Get What You Want

Blessed Lammas!

It is August first and today those who follow the Celtic Wheel of the Year celebrate the first of three harvest festivals. This celebration focuses mainly on the cereal crops that have been ripening in the full sun throughout the summer. Wheat, corn, and all matter of grains now await the sickle. They have flourished, ripening in summer’s sun and are now ready to be cut, winnowed, and prepared for storage and bread baking.

Harvests are traditionally times of great celebration-hard work has come to its full fruition and the fruits of one’s labors are now ready to be enjoyed. When people relied on their own small crop production to feed them throughout the year harvest time was also a time when the community could take a collective exhalation and relax-another season passed, another field that flourished-vagaries in weather and pestilence have not yet won the day.

As I was working on this post I wanted to be bright and shiny but the truth is that harvest time is also a time of death-its one of life’s little ironies I guess, but just as the fruit is at its fullest and ripest-now is the time when we cut it from the stalk, the branch, the root-in effect killing it.

For me this time of year carries its own weight and shadows because my beloved grandfather died right around this time a year ago-though we initially lost him to a debilitating stroke on Samhain in 2005.

My fiery Leo grandfather is the one who taught me the names of plants and how to sing to crystals, how to be very still and very quiet so that a wild creature might come to my hand-in trust and curiosity. He taught me a core lesson of nature and the harvest:

Bounty from Death.

And when we look at ancient harvest traditions from around the world we find sacrifice is often a core theme. Whether its the symbolic straw man being burned in the fields (of which our modern day Burning Man and Zozobra festivals are part) or the very real sacrifice of the dying God to make the earth fecund and fertile once again as well as to give thanks for the bounty currently reaped-the harvest is a time for blood. And if you have ever seen a field harvest you know that it can be a bloody affair.

Death for Bounty. 

True Confession time: I really do believe that you can get exactly what you want-but I also believe that getting what you want does come with a price-a sacrifice of some kind must be made. If you are ready to dive deep and give whatever is required to manifest your dreams and turn them into realities then the following divination will help.

 

Materials:

Your favorite tarot deck. For this I used the Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore which I am LOVING right now.

Pull the Hanged Man from the deck and also pull out a card that represents where you ultimately want to be-your ultimate dream and vision. I used the Empress to represent my ultimate dream and vision because I am a mommy, involved in several different creative projects that I want to manifest like crazy, and I am a wife who is totally committed to her beloved so this card resonates strongly for me.

 

Process:

1.) After you have pulled the Hanged Man from the deck set it up in the center of your reading space, place the second card you picked-the one symbolizing your goal or dream directly underneath the Hanged Man.

Now you will have two open positions-numer one and number three, its time to fill them!

 

2.) Shuffle your deck with the following question in mind:

What does my present situation say about the sacrifice I need to make and the dream I wish to realize.

The card that you pull will go in the first position.

 

3.) Shuffle again and ask the following question:

What sacrifice must I make in order to realize my deepest dream right now?

The card you pull in response to this question goes into the third position.

 

It will look something like this & you can listen to my interpretation of this reading right here.

 

 

 

Remember:

Sacrifice means to make sacred-when you think of sacrifice merely as loss it is hard to grapple with. When you recognize sacrifice as a part of yourself going into a part of something else-dying to make way for living-and to remind us that we are all connected-it becomes a privilege, even in its pain. When you recognize that sacrifice allows room for better and brighter dreams to thrive then you are one step closer to manifesting!

Are you uncomfortable with the notion of sacrifice? Its an essential aspect of getting your mind/body/heart & spirit into alignment and creating more wealth, health, and happiness in your life.

If you are ready to confront your fears and live up to your full potential then its time to register for the Miracle Tree Sessions!

 

 

 

 


Seed Money Ritual

jack_and_beanstalk

Got some money from the holiday season and not sure what to do with it? Consider creating an abundance altar for yourself and use the cash as “seed” money for this ritual.

You will need: 

  •  Take the cash and write your full name under the name of the US Treasurer on each bill. Then under the name of the Secretary of the Treasurey’s name write the following petition: “Money Come, Money Stay, Money Grow.

Directions

  • Anoint each bill in a 5 spot pattern (4 corners & center) with the oil-a dab is fine!
  • Brush the Sassafras root across the bills-brush the root towards you-then take the root pieces and place them in your wallet or billfold. Sassafras is a root that is known to help you keep your cash and also to make your dollar stretch.
  • Place your stack of cash underneath your lodestone. Make sure you baptize your lodestone by giving it some whisky, anoint it with the same oil you used on your cash, and feed it some magnetic sand. Place a bit of your hair on top of the cash and underneath the lodestone.
  • Pray the 23rd Psalm OR a prayer for abundance straight from your heart. If you feel called, light a candle during this time.

This is your seed money for the year. That means you are not going to go out and spend it willy nilly-you are going to save it and spend it on something that really matters and can make you MORE money. So you might spend it on a new pair of shoes that you need to go to that fancy job interview. Or you might spend it on a big ticket item that your business needs to kick it up a notch. Add to the money every week by gathering up lose bills and change and placing them under the lodestone. Remember to feed your lodestone sand on a regular basis.

Let the abundance flow!