Archive | Mystic or Magic (Issue #4)

Christmas Magic and the Practice of Omen Days by Briana Saussy


In our family December has a deep stillness about it that can be heard underneath the hustle and bustle. It is a deeply magical time of blood red holly calling to mind all of the ancient Goddesses who were so in love with life that they just kept creating and birthing new creatures, and ivy that calls to mind the strong Gods, surefooted protectors of all that is virginal and wild.

This is the time of year in the Southwest when the trickster tales of Coyote are allowed to be told (being forbidden at other times of the year in many tribes) in the hopes that Coyote’s antics will hurry on the coming of Spring. In much of the Northern Hemisphere, December marks the beginning of the true season of storytelling and in the United Kingdom there are certain tales about faeries that can only be told during this month, once safe distance from Samhain has been attained.

Where I live, in South Central Texas the weather is typically mild and so it is a time for being outside and watching the deer and other creatures as they move across the land.

In Catholic tradition much of the Christmas celebration occurs “out of ordinary time” indicating that this we are now in time beyond time, we are in liminal time. The many festivals marking re-birth the occurred in the ancient world during this time of year support the liminal feeling as do the many stories of Christmas ghosts, perhaps made most famous by Charles Dickens in the Christmas story. Old stories claim that on Christmas eve night just as on Halloween, the spirits of the Dead are given license to walk the land once more. To those of us that honor our Ancestors this makes perfect sense: why wouldn’t our Beloved Dead want to get in on all of the parties, festivities, and delicious foods?!

The Wild Hunt, a mythic procession composed of faeries, elves, and the Dead and led by various mythic male figures (most often the Norse All-Father Odin) is traditionally said to be most active from Halloween through Christmas as well.

Anytime our Beloved Dead are seen as especially active is a good time to perform divination and exercise foresight. Christmas is no exception to that and there is actually a lovely tradition supporting this endeavor known in Brittany and Wales as “Omen Days”, more popularly known to us as the Twelve Days of Christmas. The Twelve Days of Christmas is a bit confusing because they actually begin after the celebration of Christmas on Christmas Day (December 25th).

The Twelve Days begin on December 26th and run through January 6th, commonly known as Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night is also known as the Feast of the Epiphany or simply Epiphany and celebrates the Magi visiting and blessing the infant Jesus. Twelfth Night is also known as the Day of Misrule and in Tudor England was a time when noblemen and women would switch places with their servants for the entire day.

But let us return to the Omen Days and the art of divination.

As we move from the old year into the New Year it is natural to wonder about what the new year will bring. Many tarot readers offer special new year type readings and many astrologers do the same. The happy news is that you can be your own oracle by participating in Omen Days.

The process is simple. Keeping in mind that this is a liminal time when our Ancestors and your Otherworldly allies have better access to you, you simply have to pay attention. On December 26th the question you hold in your heart should be concerned with the month of January, what will the month of January bring into your life? Another way to phrase this: what do you need to know about your upcoming January? On December 27th you will ask about February, December 28th turns your attention to March, and so on and so forth until you reach January 6th which will give you insight into next December, a year from now.

Once you ask your question, the Celtic traditions say that you wait for a natural omen to appear, some of the omens I have received in the past include: a black cat, a white deer, a fruit ripening out of season, and a feather just to give you an idea of what you might be working with. You can also receive literal signs like “road closed” or “detour route” as omens on these days.

Interpreting signs and omens can feel a bit like treading water at first but my experience is that as long as you record the omens in some way so that you have a record you will be fine. Often when the omen first appears an immediate interpretation comes to mind and you simply know what the significance is for you and your coming year. In other cases like a dream, an omen might take awhile to crack open. Make a note of what it was and what month it is attached to and simply go about doing other things, the answer will reveal itself in time.

I recommend that you DO NOT go to a book of signs and symbols in order to “decode” your omen because a deer can mean many things to many different people but the important information at the moment is what the deer means to you and only you can say what that might be.

My community of sacred seekers has been participating in Omen Days for several years now. Starting on December 26th we go into our days with eyes and ears open and mouth closed to see what there is to see. I invite you to join us, share your own omens, and see what others are discovering by using the hashtag #omendays in your social media updates.

My holiday wish for you all is that you will allow yourself to peer below the surface glitz of this season into the heart of the very real mystery and magic that it carries. The land is quieter as are we, which means that this is the perfect time to listen deeply.

About the Author: Briana Saussy

briana_bioHi, I’m Briana! I am a writer, teacher, and spiritual counselor, and I am part of a growing community of soulful seekers, people who are looking for wholeness, holiness and healing – for better, more rewarding lives.

If you enjoyed learning about Omen Days and would like to learn more about folk magic traditions and practices then please join me for the Remembering Way.

‘Tis the Season by Bella Cirovic

Instrumental_Care of Creative Soul

‘Tis the season for creating new rituals. It is a time for long walks in the afternoon just before the sun fades into the early evening. Allow yourself the space to breathe in the fresh air. Notice the scents that travel on the breeze, the textures of the trees around you, and the firmness of the ground beneath your feet. Watch the sun fall behind the horizon. Take the wonder of nature indoors with you. Grab what speaks to you. Maybe it will be a leaf or a twig or a stone or a piece of bark. The piece will infuse a sense of harmony between the outside world and your sacred space.


‘Tis the season to nurture our body’s energy center with pungent and aromatic delicacies like fresh turmeric and ginger. It is said that yellow and orange colored foods fan our creative fires in addition to fueling our solar plexus chakra. Feed yourself food that mimics the sun now that the days are shorter. Indulge your senses with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, peppermint, and cumin. Swirl one or more of these spices into a mug of hot cocoa for a magical treat.

‘Tis the season to create cozy corners in our homes. Layering a couple of blankets and pillows to the couches and love seats of our family rooms creates an intimate vibe. Think about how inviting a plush, comfortable space would be for work, rest, entertainment, and play. Set aside a half hour to go through the rooms of the house and make a checklist of what can be moved around or added onto. Bring candles and oil burners to nooks and corners of your rooms. What about a string of twinkle lights? Vanilla and patchouli blend well together and both have properties that lend to the warm atmosphere we are going for.

‘Tis the season to move your body. Create some playlists or cd’s of music for all of the upcoming holidays. Don’t forget to add one for when you’re cleaning the house, one for cooking dinner, one for solo dance parties, and one for relaxing. Now that it’s colder, we’ll be inside more often. Movement, even simple stretches, revitalizes the body and gets blood circulation going. Move at a rate that feels right to you, whether that’s high energy steps or simply swaying from side to side. Shake away old energy. Sweat your feelings out. Movement is our sweet release.

‘This the season to gather with loved ones. In these tech heavy times, we need more coffee dates and get togethers with our friends and loved ones. Don’t settle for relationships that only exist because of text messaging. Make phone calls and pencil in some time to hang out and get lost in conversation. Enjoy watching the sun rise or set with your mate minus your smartphones. Read a good story to the kids before bed. Smother your family in hugs and kisses. The most heartfelt gift one can give is their time and their presence. These are things that cannot be bought.

‘Tis the season for tending to our hearts. The holidays are not always easy. This season in particular is known to amplify feelings of sadness, anxiety, and the blues. Check in with your spirit and feed yourself what you need. Be tender and merciful with yourself, you deserve it. Wave hello to your neighbors and smile at strangers. One kind gesture could mean the world to the person on the receiving end. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need or to offer your hand to help out. We are all in this together.

About the Author: Bella Cirovic

Bella Cirovic BioBella Cirovic is a photographer and writer who lives with her husband and daughter in the suburbs outside of NYC. She writes on the subjects of self care, body love and nourishment, crystals, essential oils, and family life. Catch up with Bella at her blog: She Told Stories

Sprache (Language) by Æverett

Table by Web Agency via Unsplash

From the other side of the wall, she hears voices. They wander in and out of volume. But even when she can hear, she doesn’t understand.

Unfamiliar tones and patterns bounce gracefully around in a floating melody. The whispered hisses of a babbling brook. Smoothly halting around quiet boulders.

Then another voice, sharp and terse. The same soothing sounds made harsh and grating. Dangerous. Stern. The deep rumble of an angry Earth.

But it’s still the same words, the same melodious, dancing sounds, struck down by a militant bearing.

She doesn’t understand. She can’t understand.

Laughter is familiar. The bubbling brilliance of joy.

She listens, lost, for a long time. The… family?… behind the wall is having an argument, debate. Stern, deep voices are countered by light, flowing ones. Others, which almost sing in their cadence, speak up in a void. All drift and wander and move around one another like a river. A foreign song with unknowable words.

She smiles. Because once the words are known, she knows, the music will be dulled.

About the Author: Æverett Æverett

Æverett lives in the northern hemisphere and enjoys Rammstein and Star Trek. He writes both poetry and fiction and dabbles in gardening and soap making. She has two wonderfully old cats, and a dearly beloved dog. He also plays in linguistics, studying German, Norwegian, Russian, Arabic, a bit of Elvish, and developing Cardassian. Language is fascinating, enlightening, and inspirational. She’s happily married to her work with which she shares delusions of demon hunters, detectives, starships, androids, and a home on the outskirts of a small northern town. He’s enjoyed writing since childhood and the process can be downright therapeutic when it’s not making him pull his hair out. It’s really about the work and words and seeing without preconceptions.

Sunday Salon: The Magic’s in the Music

Sunday Salon with Becca Rowan

My neighborhood is all decked out for Christmas, and my own halls are quite proverbially decked as well. I love bringing light and color into the dark days of December. It’s an important way I get into the holiday spirit.

Holiday parties and gatherings are starting to pile up on my calendar. I love catching up with old friends, connecting with family, sharing good food and happy conversation. This is also an important way I get into the holiday spirit.

My checkbook is getting a workout these days. I love making donations during the holidays, sponsoring good causes both large and small. Doing small generous acts is an important way I connect with the holiday spirit.

But the real holiday magic? For me, that comes from only one thing.



“There’s a profound sense in which music opens a secret door in time and reaches into the eternal,” writes John O’Donohue in his book Beauty, The Invisible Embrace. When I first read that sentence, it felt as if O’Donohue himself had opened a secret door into my soul and discovered the secret magic music brings to my life.

When you really listen to music, when you allow yourself to enter into it’s particular rhythm and nuance, you can be lifted out of time and place and into another realm, one where beauty and elegance and story and feeling all meld into one. Where precision and tone and harmony and breath come together to create something new and completely organic. When you really listen in this way, with your whole heart, you will be surprised by how it touches your heart, how it finds emotions and memories you had thought long forgotten.

Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes music finds things in your soul you wish would stay hidden. But at the same time, it heals the pain with it’s own sweet, melodious balm. And there are certain times of life when music touches you more deeply than others, evoking more memories, transporting you to different places in time, connecting you with a long line of listeners through the ages. Certainly the holidays are one of those times.

O’Donohue writes: “Perhaps music renews the heart precisely for this reason: it plumbs the gravity of sorrow until it finds the point of submerged light and lightness. Unconsciously, it schools us in a different way to hold the sorrow.” Sometimes, especially during these bleak winter days when the world seems to weigh heavily on my shoulder, I come to music as a way to heal.

It never fails me.

I have played music in some form or other for nearly all of my life. I started playing piano when I was 6 and never stopped. I’ve played in orchestras, sung in choirs. Now I play with a group of wonderful musicians in a handbell ensemble, and you can imagine how busy we are during the Christmas season. (Bells and Christmas are a natural combination, apparently.) We start working on holiday music at our first rehearsal in September, and don’t stop until the last program is over in mid-December.

I have piano books of Christmas arrangements that I started playing over 45 years ago, and I dig them out of the music closet every year without fail. Playing those pieces connects me with Christmas past as surely as Ebenezer’s ghost does- but in a much more pleasant fashion. I remember playing them in the living room of my childhood home while my mother and grandmother were cleaning up the dinner dishes. I remember playing them in my own living room while my son built a fort for his stuffed animals underneath the grand piano. I remember playing them in the house all alone, with no one but my two little dogs to listen. Each time I sit down at the piano and start to play, a lifetime’s worth of memories flow from my heart into my fingertips.

And when I finally push back the piano bench, or step away from the bell tables, or even turn off the speaker on my iPad, I feel a surge of both strength and peace. It’s a feeling of deep soul-satisfaction that like no other.

“The soul is the force of remembrance in us,” O’Donohue says. “It reminds us that we are children of the eternal and that our time on earth is meant to be a pilgrimage of growth and creativity. This is what music does. It evokes a world where that ancient beauty can resonate within us again.”

That is magical indeed.


About the Author: Becca Rowan

becca_rowan_bio_may2016Becca Rowan lives in Northville, Michigan with her husband and their two dogs. She is the author of Life in General, a book of personal and inspirational essays about the ways women navigate the passage into midlife. She is also a musician, and performs as a pianist and as a member of Classical Bells, a professional handbell ensemble. If she’s not writing or playing music you’ll likely find her out walking with the dogs or curled up on the couch reading with a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) close at hand. She loves to connect with readers at her blog, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Fleeting by Pat West


My sister leans against the archway
in my bedroom. Beautiful
even with the shunt
bulging at her left temple
like a goose egg. Her green eyes
stunning over an emerald silk
blouse. I tell her I love her
and treasure how she taught me to ride
a two wheeler, find my balance,
push past the wobbles. And to always
hold on tight to the ropes or chains,
to be in charge of making the swing go,
legs back, legs out, reach for the sky.
And later, how to kiss.
I laugh, though I don’t know why, she laughs
too. We always did that. She smiles
and disappears before I can tell her
my daughter turned out more like her than me.
More Oscar Madison than Felix Unger,
more self confident than insecure
and more Hemingway fan than Fitzgerald.

About the Author: Pat West


Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA.  A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

There Was a Lot of Blood by Christine Mason Miller


I was in a good mood the day I had an interview scheduled with Kimberly Wilson. I’d had the pleasure of being interviewed by her twice before, had hosted her in my home for an event celebrating the release of one of her books, and I knew we were going to have a great conversation. After running some errands in the morning, I came home and set things up in my studio for our early afternoon Skype session in happy anticipation of the interview.

As I flitted about the house, my brain was all abuzz. Why, I don’t remember. About what, I don’t recall. All I know is that less than an hour before our call, my mind was distracted enough that I got my middle right finger caught between a heavy glass shower door and a tiled bathroom wall at the precise moment I was swinging the door toward me to open it.

I could explain the physics of this mishap, but then I’d just be distracting from the good stuff – the part about the blood. Because the result of this seemingly small bit of inattention was one of harrowing pain and a howl that made my dog run for cover under our bed. It was so shocking and painful I wasn’t even able to cry. All I could do was walk around in circles moaning and hyperventilating. The only thing that jolted me out of my stupor was realizing I needed a paper towel. Immediately.

The cut on my finger wasn’t terribly deep, but there was a lot of blood. Despite being a little woozy, I was still fascinated at how quickly one paper towel after another was transformed from a pristine white landscape to a bright red mess within seconds. When the bleeding finally settled down, I wrapped two more paper towels around my finger, put an ice pack on top and then sat down at my computer to type a one-handed text message to Kimberly. Explaining I’d just smashed my finger with a heavy glass door and was debating a visit to the ER, I told her I might need to postpone our interview. Ever the gracious host, she responded with a, “No problem,” and encouraged me to take care of myself. So I took a deep breath, put down my phone, and sat still for a few minutes.

After watching the birds outside my window cavort in our garden for a bit, I unwrapped my finger and saw that it wasn’t terribly swollen. I could still bend it and move it back and forth, and decided I probably did not require Emergency Room attention. So I sent another text to Kimberly letting her know I was still game for the interview. Within fifteen minutes, I was upstairs in my studio and we were connected on Skype.

Kimberly had suggested this interview because she wanted to discuss Moving Water, my new memoir. The book tells the story of my journey from believing I didn’t belong in a family to the realization that breaking through and dismantling that belief was my soul’s most important work. I finished the book in early 2016, and over the summer had published and given away about a hundred advance copies. Kimberly was one of those readers, which meant the questions she prepared for our interview were related to specific passages of the book.


One of Kimberly’s first questions had to do with the parts of my family history that led to my belief that I wasn’t meant to have a family. On a “normal” day – as in, a day when I didn’t almost break a finger in half – I probably would have talked a little bit about my parent’s divorce, the breakdown of another blended family, and other family estrangements. But on that day I did almost break a finger in half, so even though I had regained enough composure to go through with the interview, my finger was all bandaged up and my insides were still a little wobbly. To put it another way – I was vulnerable, exposed, and raw.

Which is why, I think, I answered Kimberly’s question the way I did – a response that took me completely by surprise and required me to quickly articulate a thought that was being formed in my psyche in that moment. My answer – and I’m paraphrasing here because I haven’t yet heard the final interview – didn’t mention divorce or loss or broken families. Instead, I started talking about the way so many of my stories and memories had been transformed – how, through the act of writing, I’d ended up releasing the versions of them that had inspired me to write about them in the first place.

Are you with me?

I knew writing the book had healed many of my deepest emotional wounds, but it wasn’t until my conversation with Kimberly that I realized writing the book actually altered my cellular memory of them. The pain I experienced during my parent’s divorce was real, but it was pain I didn’t need to carry anymore. It was painful then, but this was now. More to the point – I believed, until I wrote Moving Water, that certain memories and experiences maintained a certain potency throughout my life only because they held my deepest sadness and most significant losses. What I discovered is that they’ve also, all along, contained the mechanism I needed to remove their charge, and to heal.


It was only recently that I made the connection between the bloody mess I had on my hands (literally) just a few minutes before my interview with Kimberly and the fact that this revelation hit me when it did. But now that I’ve connected those two experiences it makes perfect sense. Perhaps in my off-balance, vulnerable state, everything in me softened enough to let a door swing open (maybe even a heavy glass shower door) that would have otherwise remained closed. Maybe the decision to show up for the interview despite feeling messy and clumsy and slightly fragile made it possible for my attachments to certain versions of my own story loosen more than ever before. Maybe when I agreed to show up despite having an ice pack on my finger, I extended an invitation to something deep inside of myself that hadn’t yet found a way to be expressed. Maybe being less “on my game” enabled me to tap into something real, something exquisite, even if it wasn’t possible to formulate what was happening into a tidy soundbite while I was being recorded.

It took more than two years to write Moving Water and it is taking nearly a year to prepare it for its release into the big, wild world. Despite all the work I’ve already done for the book, and all the transformations that have taken place along this journey, its gifts and lessons are still being revealed to me. I am still learning, still healing, still figuring things out. The stories I am being called to tell as I share Moving Water with the world aren’t necessarily the ones I thought I’d be offering, but boy are they good. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

To hear Christine’s interview with Kimberly Wilson, click here.

About the Author: Christine Mason Miller

christinemasonmillerChristine Mason Miller is an author and artist who has been inspiring others to create a meaningful life since 1995. Signed copies of her memoir, Moving Water, are now available for pre-order at

Welcome to Issue #4: Mystic or Magic


We stand outdoors on a cold winter night, bathed in darkness with our very breath visible in front of us, and turn our eyes to the heavens. An infinite number of stars scatter overhead, stars that have hung in those heavens longer than modern science can determine. We are struck dumb with the mystery of all that is unexplainable. We feel the mystical power of our connection with every living being who, throughout eons, has stood upon their own ground and gazed upon those same stars.

This is Magic.

We come indoors and savor the warmth of our home, bend down to caress the soft fur of a beloved dog or cat who rubs against our cold ankles. The aroma of food we’ve cooked for dinner inspires a rumble of hunger in our stomachs, an instinctual response that ties us to every living creature of every species throughout time. We light a candle, mindful of the ease with which we can dispel darkness. We turn on some music, and let it run free in our imagination. We sit at table, admire the beauty of our plate or cup, and offer silent words of gratitude for food, shelter, water, and light.

This is Magic.

We treat our life in the world as a problem to be solved with technology and hard work, rather than as a mystery to experience with love and wonder. We look at our creative lives the same way, imposing schedules and spreadsheets and lists rather than opening our eyes to nature, simplicity, and beauty. What if we think about fostering a deep appreciation for the sacred and holy in every aspect of life: nature, work, home, even business and public affairs? What if we could shift our priorities toward developing a sense of sacredness in the particulars of ordinary living?

That would be Magic.

Welcome to Mystic or Magic, the fourth issue of Modern Creative Life. We’ll explore ways to enchant our creative lives with everyday magic, to connect to the mystical powers of the universe through art, music, words, nature, and the beauty of everyday objects.  You’ll peek into the daily lives of other creative folk in our Studio Tours and Typical Tuesday series, and meet people walking fascinating creative pathways in Conversations Over Coffee. With photos and fictionpoetry and promptsessays and enlightenment, you’ll find a myriad of ways to cast a spell over your creative living.

Gather around as we stand with open arms and hearts uplifted to survey the magic of a starlit night, letting the depth of  the heavens envelop us.  How do you connect with the magical elements in your everyday life? How do you access the deepest layers of enchantment in the universe? Where do you carve out space in this cacophonous world to revel in the mysteries and wonders of nature?

We hope you’ll share your discoveries with us. We are open to single contributions as well as new regular contributors. Email your submissions to

 As always our mission at Modern Creative Life is to honor the pursuit and practice of joyful creativity. We believe that the creative arts enrich our everyday living, enhance our environment, create lasting connections, and sustain our souls. Please join us as we bring a plethora of enchanted creative offerings to nourish your imaginative spirit and return you inspired and invigorated into your own Modern Creative Life.

About the Author: Becca Rowan

becca_rowan_bio_may2016Becca Rowan is Executive Editor here at Modern Creative Living. She honors the magic in everyday life by spending time in nature, playing with words, making music with friends, and caring for her family (which includes her dogs, one of whom is named Magic!).  She loves to connect with readers at her blog, or on FacebookTwitter, or Goodreads.

New Moon Creative: Moon in Sagittarius

You sit at the table with your morning coffee and journal. As the words flow from pen to paper, you find answers you didn’t know you were looking for.

You try a new recipe for dinner and an average Wednesday dinner feels like a celebration.

You watch an old movie on Turner Classic with your husband and though you’ve been together for “forever”, the movie sparks a conversation and you learn something about him you never new.

You meet a friend for lunch and the waiter recommends the soup of the day. It’s so exquisite, it loosens both of your tongues and you have one of the most intimate conversations in your life. What was a casual friendship morphs into a new best friend.

Ordinary moments in every life. Magical moments in every life.

It’s easy to overlook how the ordinary events and activities are anything, but, well, ordinary. Yet once we become open to the idea that those ordinary moments have their own kind of mysticism, we become a witness to the magic in our own lives.

We offer a New Moon Creative Prompt to set you pondering and ask you to share with us a seemingly ordinary moment in your own life that is edged with magic so that we can be your witness.


Write a poem, essay, or short story. Take a photograph and leave us with the image alone. Create a photo essay.

Between now and 12/11/16, post your creation in your blog and/or share your work on Social Media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all of those spaces. Use the tag #NewMoonCreative so we can find you. Leave a comment here (with a link) so we can read your words and lovingly witness what and how you are creating.

On the Full Moon ( December 13), we’ll post a collection of the work that was inspired by these prompts and post them here, with links back to the full work (and you).

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes