Oh my goodness look at the time! The last week of April already. I have a lot to share with you this month, including some new favorite Spirituality podcasts (both began this year!), some book recommendations and, of course, awesome spiritual links. Let’s get started!
I’m sure you’ve heard allll about Mercury Retrograde this month. I even chimed in with a Divine Feminine/Feminist Communication take on the phenomenon here. But what if you were born with Mercury Retrograde in your birth chart . . .
In her article, Spiller writes on natives, “In this lifetime, they are not allowed to speak superficially. To feel “straight” with themselves, they must communicate fully, from the authenticity of their entire being. Naturally, it takes time for them to get in touch with this level of authenticity.”
Emotional Intelligence: Your Moon Sign and You: (Complete with a sign-by-sign take!)
The moon is beyond our personality/persona of what we want people to see and often the parts of ourselves we want to hide or don’t like. While the sun is our conscious awareness of parts of ourselves, the moon is our unconscious and the parts that are more difficult to see. It is our most human and most vulnerable.
An Introduction To Breath Work: How I Accidentally Cured My Anxiety And Cyclical Depression By Breathing
My results at work have improved dramatically. I’m sleeping and eating better. I’m getting more done in less time. I’m enjoying more relationships with more people, and actually enjoying them, not just waiting until they leave so that I can work more.
Do you have an Instant Pot? It’s a 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker/slow cooker/yogurt maker and I use mine several times a week, if not several times a day. I strongly recommend buying an extra stainless steel pot/insert and a second silicon ring– one for savory things and one for non-savory things like yogurt or. . . cheesecake. Yep. Today I made a pressure cooker cheesecake in 14 minutes and it is divine. I halved this recipe.
I listen to a lot of books and podcasts in the car and while I’m cleaning the house. I’ve stumbled upon a few gems and wanted to share with you:
Shift Your Spirits Podcast-– this podcast recently launched and is hosted by one of my very first mentors, Slade Roberson. With episdoe 7 Slade began doing a intuitive “download” at the end of the show– an oracle of sorts. He gives you a few moments to think on a question and then he tunes into his guides and relays a general message. OMG. SPOT. ON. Plus, the guests he’s had on have been fascinating . . . And let’s here it for the boys! We need some more intuitive men around here.
The other podcast I’m loving is the Priestess Podcast (and I don’t usually go for “priestess” anything) by Julie Parker. I just discovered this podcast last week and gobbled up the first 18 episodes. Now I’m a sad housewife waiting for Wednesday to bring me a new episode . . .
I’m not a raving Danielle LaPorte fan– I can take her or leave her– but when another cynical friend recommended the audio version of her new book, White Hot Truth, I jumped on it and I am so glad I did. White Hot Truth asks us to question what we take for Truth on the Spiritual Path and I was nodding my head and softly screaming YES right along with her wisdom and insights. The book comes out in May but you can download the audiobook immediately if you pre-orer the book (and yay for no annoying $1,000 worth of “bonuses”).
See you next week!
In love and darkness,
According to the new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA. Jews whose great-grandparents were chased from their Russian shtetls; Chinese whose grandparents lived through the ravages of the Cultural Revolution; young immigrants from Africa whose parents survived massacres; adults of every ethnicity who grew up with alcoholic or abusive parents — all carry with them more than just memories.
- New favorite find: Jennifer Racioppi. Jenn is an astrologer and life/biz/health coach who suffered a hysterectomy at age 20 (!!). Her life and her emotions were a mess until she learned how to chart the moon as a stand-in for her menstrual cycle. She now offers coaching at the sweetspot between astrology and life/biz/health.
- I love talking about the things no one is talking about– especially if it’s difficult or awkward (ha! Cancer sun meets Aries moon). Although I haven’t read this book, I recently recommended it’s topic to a client: Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief
- In honor of women’s history month, I’ve been posting interesting women with little-known stories on instagram. Recent features have included Mourning Dove, an Okanagan (my tribe!) woman who was one of the first Native American novelists AND who featured a half-blood protagonist who happened to get a happy ending at the end of the book (not a common theme for half-blood characters 100 years ago). I’ve also featured Lucrecia de Leon, a Spanish girl whose dreams were used to spy on France and England AND Harriet Tubman, who, little-known-fact, dreamt/dream-scouted the routes of the Underground Railroad before she took them. She never once lost a passenger or got caught either.
- Speaking of dreams, my course: A Course In Dreams has been completely revamped, redesigned and re-released in the School of Dreams and Divination! There are several modules available as a free preview as well.
- Finally, I have a secret. I hosted a Divine Darkness symposium in January and have been promising a follow-up symposium . . . well the symposiums are about to get a whole new look and attitude. Watch this space for more 😉
- Love the photos in this post? Me too. They are from the bohemian home decor site, soulmakes.com
In love and Darkness,
When I was a little girl, I used to look out the window at the mountains surrounding our little valley. I knew the names of each of those mountains. Those mountains held stories. Family stories. I’d look at the tall pine trees standing watch along the ridge lines, outlined against the blue sky background, and I’d imagine those trees were my ancestors. Standing watch over me. Over us. I wished on those trees. Just like my mother did when she was growing up in the same valley, watching and wishing on the same mountains, with the same evergreen centurions.
It was a soul need to hear the mountains whisper the same blessings they had whispered to Okanagan mothers and their babies for eons.
As an Okanagan tribal member who grew up in the Okanagan highlands, I’m one of the few that can claim to have grown up in their ancestral homelands. One of the even fewer indigenous people who can claim so. What with forced removal, reservations, colonization, globalization and the ease of growing up and moving away these days. But I grew up where my mother grew up and where my ancestors were always at least a seasonal presence before that. Way before that. Way before the first European ever even dreamt of putting foot on our shores.
Growing up this way, there was a sense of security and rootedness that I took for granted, as all children take the blessings they were born into for granted. I was restless. Eager to see more of the world. I went to college only two hours away but I got married shortly after graduation and moved halfway across the States. I moved again to Southwest and then to Spain.
All of this moving and seeing the world was fantastic for my wandering soul. I felt free and secure in new environments, rather than scared or uncertain.
After a few years, I divorced my first husband and ran away to Costa Rica to grieve in private and to reclaim my independence. I met a redhead with a wild look in his eye and enjoyed a brief (less than 24 hours) flirtation with him. We exchanged email addresses and a promise to let him know if I was ever back in the country. Two years went by. On another whim, I decided to go back to Costa Rica as a graduation gift to myself for finishing grad school. I emailed the redhead.
For the first time I realized that my soul needed to catch up with my body.
Ten months later I was pregnant with our first child. A year later, we broke ground on our house. Another 10 months later and I was pregnant with our second child.
In July of 2014, I sat on the gorgeous bed that my wild redhead had made with his own hands, trying to nurse our newborn second son. My body was unrecognizable to me after a second pregnancy, a second 60-pound weight gain, and a second emergency c-section. I lived on top of a cold mountain in a tropical country in a beautiful farmhouse on a beautiful farm, but it too was all unrecognizable.
I was panicking.
After 15 years of traveling and wandering the world and of calling 15 different places “home,” I felt desperate to go capital-H Home. To my homelands. But it wasn’t really homesickness. It wasn’t that I was unhappy in Costa Rica or with the redhead (I wasn’t and I’m not).
It was a primal need to see pine trees.
It was a soul need to hear the mountains whisper the same blessings they had whispered to Okanagan mothers and their babies for eons. To see the evergreen centurions standing watch on top of the ridge and to dedicate my sons into their care.
And for the first time, I realized that my soul needed to catch up with my body. My physical body was happy to wander and to put down roots half a world away from it’s homelands. But my soul had yet to anchor into this new earth. I knew I needed room to explore the spiritual wisdom of this new land while still honoring and, more importantly, remembering, the old land.
So I did the only thing I know how to do when it comes to the soul. I did the only thing I could do that let me be in both places at once: I journaled.
And now the same magical journaling process that I developed for myself, can be adapted for your own spiritual nourishment as well.
If you’re in unfamiliar territory, whether it’s motherhood, a new country, a new career or a new stage in life, DIVINA can help tether your soul to your roots while giving you the freedom to explore new horizons.
DIVINA gives you daily space and accountability to record the musings, insights and guidance from your subconscious. Dreams, intuition, synchronicity, divinations, your menstrual or lunar cycle, gratitude, signs, omens, emotions and reflections all have their place in this journal. Over time, you’ll build a compendium of insight that can be invaluable in determining just how the Divine is communicating to you and what your next move should be.
But hurry. It’s only available for a limited time.
Neptune in Pisces until 2027 is THE time to develop your dream practice, and now this fantastic book is out! I love mine! — Mystic Medusa
I love this journal more than cake. — Little Fox Tarot
DIVINA blew the doors off of my 2016– it saved so much of my sanity! — Keva, USA
Happy Holy Days,
NOW THAT THE TRICK-OR-TREATERS have come and gone, you have until sunset tomorrow night (November 2nd– and some say until November 10th) to take advantage of the thinning of the veils and indulge in some divination!
The idea is that, with the spirit world in general and our ancestors in particular, so close to the world of the living that now is the perfect time to do divination because 1) you can get your message/hopes/fears across to your ancestors more easily and 2) they can respond/influence the outcome of the divination that more easily as well.
But remember that it’s also easier than ever to accidentally get messages from some bullshit spirit who just wants to mess with you. I advise always saying a prayer of protection and calling in your ancestral guardian before doing divination and it’s even more important at this time of year.
So, to whet your appetite and to encourage a little divinatory exploration, I’ve rounded up a few divination techniques to give a try tonight!
Dirty Dozen Divination Dalliances
Escaping Stars has an Ancestor Tarot Spread that I am looking forward to trying tonight. I’m going to queue up this “epitome of music for divination” while I’m at it!
Briana Saussy has an Evening With The Ancestors community altar class that I can’t wait to download.
Don’t forget that you can bob for apples and use the apple peel as a love divination
No time like tonight to try your hand at tasseography, aka reading tea leaves!
Oomancy (egg divination) is my newest favorite divination and you interpret the shapes the same as in tea leaf readings/coffee readings.
Here’s a great tarot spread meant to help you communicate with departed loved ones tonight! I am definitely going to be lighting a few candles and trying this one.
Or create an ancestral altar (you’ve taken my free course, right?), light a candle and get busy candle gazing. It has amazing physical benefits too!
One of my favorite divination practices is Charmcasting and if you treat this time of year as the new year (and it is, energetically and spiritually) this is a wonderful time to get some answers for the next year. As a side note, I’ll be following up on the results of my charmcast for 2016 soon!
And finally, one more tarot spread. This on is called Heal Your Bloodline: A Necromantic Tarot Spread, you know I’m all about ancestral healing!
However, simply lighting a candle and offering a bowl of water and/or some festive goodies to your ancestors is enough to get started on divination tonight. Express gratitude for your life and for their guidance and protection, ask a question and then sit in silence for at least 5 minutes and see what messages or thoughts come through.
Happy Spiritual New Year everyone!
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT the Earth Goddess, you probably think of bunny rabbits, spring fever, green meadows and abundant fertility. While yes, Spring is lovely, feminine and indeed fertile time of the year, Autumn belongs just as much to the Earth Goddess and if you know where to look, you’ll see she’s been here all along.
One of the very best teachers I ever had was my second grade teacher, Mrs. Fletcher. We are still in touch today, nearly 30 years later, and when my first son was born she gave him his very first book. I love this woman. And now, when I look back at our year together when I was just 7-years old, I suspect she might be a little witchy. Which, of course, makes me love her even more.
Viola Swamp– Just look at those leggings!
Mrs. Fletcher taught us how to bake homemade bread. And while the bread was baking in the school’s kitchen, she taught us how to make homemade butter. And boy, did she know how to teach us how to celebrate the seasons. She wrote letters to each of us under the guise of elves who were looking for four-leafed clovers around the start of Spring. The elves were supposedly living in the ceiling above our classroom and each student had a different elf assigned to them as a pen pal for a week. We were encouraged to get outside and look for four leaf cloves to help the elves out. Just before Halloween she read Miss Nelson is Missing! And the next day came to school dressed as Ms. Viola Swamp and stayed in character the entire day! I’m seriously tearing up thinking about this woman and her magic as a teacher.
Mrs. Fletcher read the entire Little House on the Prairie books to us (that’s probably where the homemade bread and butter lesson came in) and then she took all 20+ of us to her house for an overnight field trip. We roasted marshmallows on the wood stove, we looked for fossils on her hillside and watched her husband milk the cows in the morning. Something each and every one of us remembers, it was even brought up at our 10-year high school reunion in 2010, is that that overnight slumber party was the first and only time we ever saw Mrs. Fletcher with her hair down. To this day, she still wears her hair in her signature bun, but on that night in 1987, her hair was down. It was impossibly long, past her waist, and she was wearing an old fashioned long white nightgown. She was beautiful. Magical. And although we knew we were completely loved by her (and we loved her in return), she was also still Mysterious. She was, and remains, my kind of woman.
I want you to understand that our ancestors are not just our blood. Our ancestors are people who were influential in our lives. Our ancestors are mentors and teachers we admire and emulate, even if we never met them in life or in person. Mrs. Fletcher is most definitely my ancestor and I am one lucky woman to be able to say so.
Pomona, Roman Goddess of orchards and one of many goddesses whom we can thank for the tradition of bobbing for apples
Bobbing for Apples and the Goddess
I tell you all of this because I cannot think of Autumn without thinking of Mrs. Fletcher. Blame it on my impressionable age when she was my second grade teacher, or blame it on her extraordinary teaching methods. It’s probably a bit of both. Anyhow, that Autumn in 1989 she took us on a field trip to an apple orchard and later she cut an apple in half, around the middle, and showed us that when you cut an apple like that, it made a star. This blew my mind and only proved to me that she was magic.
Today, I invite you to cut an apple in half, around the middle, and see the pentacle for yourself. The pentacle is an ancient symbol of Earth, which is still represent in suit of pentacles in tarot, and is a powerful sign of protection. It is also the sacred symbol of the Celtic death goddess, Morgan, and many others, I’m sure. The apple is also a an ancient symbol of, and gift from, the Goddess. Cultures all over the world are ripe with stories about goddesses and apples. Apples of life, apples of death. Although the Bible only mentions that Eve gave Adam a “fruit” we all know it was an apple. Why? How do we know that?
Because this wisdom is in our bones.
The Thinning of the Veil and Divination
Because the veil between the worlds is thinner now, it is thought to be an ideal time to do divination. You are closer to your ancestors, and they to you, and so it’s thought that any divination you will do around this time of year will be more accurate.
All of the traditions we have discussed this week: Halloween, Day of the Dead, Samhain, All Soul’s Day, were/are a way to honor the season of death while hoping for (and asking for) a return of the season of life. Remember, it’s only in very recent human history that surviving the winter is all but guaranteed. Even in the time of our grandmothers, and certainly our great-grandmothers, winter was a time of uncertainty. The only certainty was that some of the people with whom you were feasting and celebrating the harvest, would be dead before spring. Including yourself. Illness. Cold. Starvation. Exposure. It was coming. So dance. Eat up. Honor your ancestors because you might be seeing them soon (among other reasons), revel and keep your eyes and spirits on the promises of Spring.
One of the best things to look forward to in spring, besides the return of warm weather and abundant food, was fertility. We as humans are obsessed with becoming ancestors, while we are conscious of it or not. So much of the divination that took place in Autumn centered around predicting marriages and other fertility-based endeavours for the Spring.
There is a tradition on Halloween to bob for apples. You fill a large bucket with water, fill it with apples (which bob, or float, on the water) and participants take turns trying to grab an apple with only their mouths– hands are tied behind their backs. It’s easier said than done. An alternative on this game involves hanging apples from various lengths of string and trying to bite into the swinging apple with your hands tied behind your back. Today, the first person to bite into an apple wins. However, historically, the apples would be discreetly marked by every unmarried and eligible young woman. Unmarried and eligible men would bob for the apples and the apple they picked foretold a possible marriage, to the girl who marked the apple, in the spring. Alternatively, young folk would bob an apple and then carefully peel it in one long strand and then throw the apple peel over their shoulders. The fallen apple peel would then be examined to see what letter or letters it was in the shape of and possible love matches would be narrowed down according to the first letter of their names and the letter(s) the apple peels were in the shape of. Girls would also cut an apple in half, to reveal the pentacle, and then sleep with it under their pillow and expect to dream about their future husband.
Tomorrow, finally find out what’s up with black cats, witches and other symbols of the Dark Goddess.
Have fun storming the castle!
It’s the last week of October, you know what that means: Happy Halloween!
I personally love uncovering the origins of everyday or commonplace rituals and traditions and Halloween is a particular favorite of mine because it also has its origins in honoring the dead and the ancestors, which (witch?), if you’ve looked around my website lately, is kind of my jam.
In the case of Halloween, we actually have to talk about the history of Samhain (Sow-en) and All Saint’s Day, which are both predecessors to Halloween as we know it today.
Samhain is an ancient Celtic/British/Druidic feast day that marked the turn of harvest and the day when summer met winter, or life met death. Taking place from sunset October 31 to sunset November 1, or there abouts, Samhain is almost exactly halfway between the vernal equinox and the winter solstice. As the life of summer gives over to the death of winter, it is believed that the veil between the worlds was/is thinner as well: just as the death of the land is near, the dead are near. This also makes it easier to communicate with the dead, with fairies and with other spirits at this time of year. As such, feasts were held in which departed loved ones were encouraged to attend (similar to Mexico’s Day of the Dead, which we will discuss later this week), rituals and divination for the new year ahead were also performed at this time– in fact, many scholars believe that Samhain may have actually been the ancient Celtic New Year.
Children would dress up as ghosts or as the dead and go door-to-door, reciting versus or poetry in exchange for food, wine and other supplies to get through the winter– this was called “guising,” does it sound familiar? The fun and merriment had many purposes: to drive away ghouls and other negative Nancy’s rising from the dead, to honor the dying Sun god, to laugh in the face of the approaching cold winter and it’s threat of scarcity (hence, giving treats away), and to likewise boost morale before the cold scarcity of winter hit (which also sounds like another Fall holiday: Thanksgiving.)
In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III tried to distract the pagan Celtics from their traditions by naming November 1 All Saints Day, or a day to celebrate, wait for it. . . all saints. Known and unknown. The new name was accepted but many of the traditional practices were kept up.
Fast forward another couple of centuries and we have the pilgrims, actually Puritans, trying to conquer The New World in the name of God and all of the debauchery and revelry of All Saint’s Day was forgotten in what is now The United States . . . but oh what a sweet comeback it made (see what I did there?).
Okay, so All Saint’s Day was actually originally called All Hallowed’s Day, which is medieval speak for “the day for all who are holy.” So if November 1 was All Hallowed’s Day, that made October 31 (and remember, Samhain spans from sunset to sunset October 31- November 1) . . . All Hallowed’s Eve. Which eventually was shortened to Halloween.
Today’s multi-billion dollar holiday actually owes it’s legacy to the Irish potato famine of the 1800’s. Thousands of Irish immigrants landed in the U.S. to escape the famine and they brought their traditions and folklore with them. (On that note, tell me you have read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods? Do it!.)
Often limited in resources in their new adopted land, or wary of causing a scene, or living in crowded city conditions, the Irish immigrants whittled down their traditional Samhain bonfires and instead put candles in carved pumpkins and other vegetables. The jack o’lantern was born. Its purpose? To sit on your doorstep and scare away any evil spirits that are roaming on All Hallow’s Eve– or the night of Samhain. The glow of the orange pumpkin in the dark of night is also, quite obviously, how Halloween got her signature orange and black colors.
Instead of the whole community dressing up as demons and ghosts and the dead, it became a primary activity for children, who instead of going door-to-door “guising” for food, wine and even coins in exchange for a song, a poem or a lyric, now go door-to-door singing one song: “trick-or-treat!”
So. That’s how Halloween got it’s start. Don’t forget to take a moment next Monday, to honor the time when life meets death and summer meets winter. Eat a little something extra indulgent to laugh in the face of winter. Later this week we will also be talking about ways to honor your ancestors and/or to work with the thinning of the veil at this time of year. Stay tuned!
Trick or Treat!