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Dear Miracle: For the Out of Season Times by Briana Saussy

Photo by Danielle Cohen

Dear Miracles,

Earlier this year I was sitting in the dark while the full moon shined Her face out at me through gnarled Pecan tree branches and the wind was whipping through my hair, as one does. I had already completed my morning devotions and was enjoying a cup of coffee and just talking to the trees and really listening, for as you all know, the greatest part of speaking with land and tree, rock and root, is not speaking but rather listening to them as they speak in their much slower, rolling, winding, ways.

And so sitting there in the dark I heard quite clearly this, that it is ok, it is actually quite normal to have an experience where the internal season and the external seasons do not, exactly, line up. For you see, in spring of this year my family had a long visit with old Lady Death.

Now I know her well and she has been a friend of mine ever since birth, and yet, she is still like the austere great-great aunt or grandmother – the one that you are not totally sure about, she might give you a sweet or she might eat you…it is unclear.

She first came rattling into my year during the first week of January when my beloved dog died. Our doberman was 17 years old and passed in her sleep – we could not have asked for better, but I had a sense it was only a beginning.

Then, La Muerta invaded my springtime season with her ivory bones and her scent of wood smoke and apples and autumn in mid-March when my father in law passed away. My husband and I mourned his loss actively for a set amount of time, built an entire ancestor altar in his honor, and then over time became acquainted with the high and low tides that carry the unique grief of losing a parent.

Not much later, a dear friend of mine called me with the unexpected news that a beloved of hers had died – far too young and very unexpectedly. She was devastated.

And as you know, when you love someone, even if you do not know their loss as intimately, you know them, and your love for them requires that your heart be pierced too.

And so, there I was, on my swing, moon bathing, and feeling quite heartbroken. It was Springtime! The birds were signing, the weather was actually -gasp!- pretty awesome, the flowers were blooming. It wouldn’t be true to say I wasn’t aware of those things – I was, but I was also aware that inside my soul it did not feel like spring, it felt like late autumn headed into winter, and I felt out of sync with the lands where I live and all of the creatures who form my community, my home.

That is when the trees explained to me that of course we have days, weeks, months, and years, where we feel mismatched to our surroundings – be they the jobs we show up for, the partnerships we participate in, the schools we attend, the creations we make, the very bodies that we inhabit. This happens. For everything there is a season but there are also times where we feel decidedly out of season too.

Dear Miracle - Photo by Danielle Cohen

One of the reasons that the Sacred Arts have been outliers in the world of spirituality and self-help is because they speak to and resonate strongly with those who feel out of season in their lives. I suspect many of you know this feeling, right?

  • Skin that doesn’t quite fit – it is too tight, too itchy, too…something.
  • Tears that just show up in the middle of your day (usually right before the after lunch meeting of course) like uninvited guests.
  • Dreams that leave you covered in their stardust and strangeness even hours after waking.

The Sacred Arts are uniquely positioned to speak to such experiences and they call to those who have such experiences; they call to those of us who feel that we are searching…for…something, but we aren’t quite sure what. The Sacred Arts nod and wink at us mischievously.  They spit a few watermelon seeds at our toes as Kochari, the Pueblo Clown Trickster does whenever things get too serious; we might even hear them yip a bit as Coyotes are known to do, and then they tell us,

“What you are looking for amigo, you won’t find it by following the straight and narrow, and you won’t find it on the 5 lane expressway either, but if you are willing to follow me, into the moonlight, I can show you a thing to two.”

And so they do.

Primarily through story, the primary source and seedbed of all Sacred Arts, we are shown all kinds of wonders and we are reminded of the magic, dreams, divinations, prayers, and blessings, and so much more that we carry within us, yes, you too.

Spinning Gold Art by Cassandra Oswald

My Dear Miracle, stories also help us orient ourselves.

I might feel strange (well, stranger) sitting there on my swing in the pitch dark talking to trees and realizing that this is precisely it, I am out of season with the season, if I did not know stories like Tam Lin – where a hero transforms into all kinds of things within the blink of an eye, or the Snow Queen where the bite of Winter is felt in deepest Summer, or Sir Gawain and Lady Ragnelle where the physical land mirrors the drought of soul that comes over an entire kingdom. But I do. I do know those stories, and so I know that even in my hard moments, my isolated moments, my I-never-felt-so-alone moments, I am not alone but rather in excellent, storied, company.

As are you. As are we all.

And I know too, from listening and learning from story, how to create the magics and ceremonies, how to dream the dreams, cast the divinations, say the prayers, and make the blessings that carry medicine to strengthen not only myself when I have need, but other as well. For this is just one way that I spin gold from the straw of every day life and every day stuff.

With love,
Briana

PS: It is why I created Spinning Gold and it is why I hope you will join me in this one of a kind journey over the next year.

About the Author: Briana Saussy

Hi, 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.

The best way to work with me and begin living an enchanted life right here and now is to register for my year long course of fairy tales and magic – Spinning Gold.

Image Credits: Photos by Danielle Cohen. Graphic by Cassandra Oswald.

 

Motherhood, Magic, and How to Meet the World with Hope by Briana Saussy

Let’s give children credit. Childhood is not all sweetness and light, butterflies and rainbows. Real childhood – as opposed to our fantasy about childhood – is full of very intense, even traumatic, experiences. Every step of the way, candycandycandythe child’s larger-than-life desire is subverted by mysterious obstacles, by a mysterious “No.”

Who knows why they can’t have that whole bag of candy, and stay up all night watching TV: they just can’t and Mommy said so, and that’s that. It’s a mystery.

You have to be a hero and a wizard to be a kid. True it is, from our perspective, those chiddlers (as the BFG calls them) might seem to be little drama queens. But put yourself in their shoes for a moment, and you’ll see at once that their emotions are as real and serious as the things we take seriously.

We are watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy with our little one right now. He is five, and some of the scenes are intense, so we take time to talk through them. He’s a little chatterbox once you get him started, but he gets it, as children so often do. Giving him space to talk to us about what is happening is so crucial for his growing experience. Intense experiences are not unfamiliar to our little one nor to other children.

Yet so often, from a place of good intentions, we like to shield our little ones, under the rosy, romantic belief that childhood is, or should be, pure and completely free of all the scary stuff. And we don’t allow them to confront things that are “above their heads” – afraid perhaps that they might feel frustrated. The truth is that they won’t feel rosinessofchildhoodfrustrated if we engage with them.

What goes with the rosy picture of childhood is a desire to check out and to disengage with the hard work of being involved with our children. But here is the point to see: even the most protected childhood is full of its own intensities – we can’t escape it, because it comes from our own natures and the nature of our desires and the nature of reality.

For our desire, as life itself, is always and ever “above our heads.”

Certainly there is much to shield our kiddos from, and children do need to feel safe. But while we try to protect them, on the other hand, maybe we can ease off on making ridiculous demands on them – for example, wanting them to be “socialized” without ever talking experiencing what “society” actually could/would/should mean.

As those of you who have seen the films and read the books of the Tolkein’s magnificent trilogy know, one of the core tensions of the story is around the issue of hope. The most important characters are the secondary characters – Aarwen the Elvish princess in love with the mortal Aragorn, Sam Gamgee, the devoted hobbit who will follow his best friend Frodo literally into hell, as well as Merry and Pippin, two other trickster hobbits who seem at the outset of the story to be more trouble than anything else. They are the ones throughout the story who have hope.

Hope is the through-line of the narrative and the teaching, as I understand it, is that hope is not Pollyanna-ish and easy, but rather is a struggle. Hope is challenge, hope is dangerous, and hope is absolutely necessary.

Hope does not shield us through the ugly, the difficult, the painful and the scarring, but it gives us the courage to hope1look at these things dead on, to descend into them, to learn from them what we will, be changed in the ways we are, and then come back to bright and the beautiful, back to land, back to air and sky – different and yet whole, hurt in some ways, and yet healed too, scarred by what we have seen and heard and felt and made holy by those scars.

This is the power of hope and this is why it is not a thing you have the way you have the knowledge of what two times two is, but rather a virtue that lives, wrangles, and tangles with every day.

I sent out a new moon note with a prayer poem about the armor that we wear. The writing came on the heels of tragedy upon tragedy – Orlando. Istanbul. Dhaka. We can now add Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, and Dallas to the list. One of my miracles (this is what I call all of the members of my community) wrote this to me:

I always love your optimistic approach. You don’t deny that it should be better, but gracefully you encourage us to believe and to embrace our path with dignity and joy.

This individual attributed something to me, neglecting the fact that HE was the one who pulled it from my words. In essence, he was describing his own beautiful self and he is right.

We cannot deny that it should be better, that some things should never have to be seen, heard, participated in, and inflicted upon others. Absolutely not. And yet they are. You have experienced it, as have I, as have we all. And there are voices, many and loud, that tell us that our experience of the bad and the ugly is the sum total of who we are and what we are capable of. But we know better.

It is easy to rest in cynicism, easy to stay in the underworld mired in our own waste, easy to just sit down, stay still, and wait for the end to come, easy to rake ourselves over the coals of shame with what we didn’t/could have/should have done or said. Much harder to engage in the struggle of hope. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the soulful seeker does not do easy when easy comes at the cost of true.

I’m sure you have read the statistic that is gleefully quoted in mainstream media that for the first time in ever, parents today in the United States are not sure that their children will have the same or better quality of life that they have right now. That’s a form of easy cynicism and fear mongering.

It is also untrue according to my grandmother and the elders I know, whenever there are young ones there is always worry and fear riding along side joy and love. The proper response has been the proper response since time out of mind: we pay attention, we do what can be done to help and to aid, to support and to cherish, we do not hide from the hard but we meet it, full on, with something incandescent and ultimately indestructible.

hopeinhands

We meet it with hope.

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.

The best way to work with me and begin living an enchanted life right here and now is to register for my year long course of fairy tales and magic – Spinning Gold.

Enchantment and the Tough Stuff by Briana Saussy

enchantment hard stuff

A few years ago, I was exploring a social media platform, and that thing happened where they suggest that you follow/friend/connect to someone from your past. In this case, the suggestion was that I connect with a woman I knew in middle and high school years ago.

Now this individual was what we would call today a “mean girl” and also a “frenemy.”  She would be nice to your face, super nice in front of teachers and parents; and yet, when you were alone with her, you knew that not only was she totally sure that she was better than you, but she was plotting how to take you down so that you would know it too.

So there I was, staring into the abyss of my laptop screen and looking at her profile. She had placed a single sentence in the “bio” section, and it read:

“If you think you can, then you can. And if you think you can’t, then you are probably right.”

That sentence has stuck with me ever since. But it has only been recently that I’ve really begun to understand it for what it is: an excellent example of a saying that sounds true, real, and hardcore…but is actually just a big pile of BS.

Because, of course, the truth is more nuanced than that. You and I are not binary creatures. We are not a 1 or 0, on or off. When it comes to life – but especially the tough stuff, the gut wrenching, down on your knees at 4am stuff – that’s definitely not how we work.

More often it’s a case of thinking that we cannot do it, but knowing that we have to try anyway, and so we just go for it even though we are totally scared. That, by the way, is called courage.

Sometimes it’s a case of thinking that we can do it, trying our best, and falling flat on our faces.  That, my friends, is what we refer to as learning.

At times we feel numb and dumb and frozen in place – unsure of what we think or feel – knowing that something has to happen and hoping that we can summon up enough of something to take one little step. That, by the way, is what faith looks like.

And of course, on occasion, we are 100% sure that no way, no how, can this be accomplished or achieved – not by us, not today, not ever. But then…lo and behold: we do it! Imagine that.

No, that little statement couldn’t be further from the truth about who we are and what we really need to handle the tough stuff.

When we talk about enchantment and magic it is really easy to assume that we are talking about some airy-fairy, Vaseline coated camera lens way of looking at life that ignores all the sharp angles and tough punches we encounter in the “real world.” That assumption is really anemic. We’d do better to look at history and myth where those who have, since time out of mind, practiced the ways of enchantment: Priests and Priestesses, and Witches, Wizards, and Prophets — who do so in the name of better understanding and engagement with life right here and now.

To live an enchanted life is not to run away from life, but to gallop towards what is most real. Enchantment is what allows us to see that catty, clever, sentence for the BS that it really is because enchantment will always show you not only what is most possible, but what is most real.

And what is real is that sure, sometimes we do feel like we cannot do it, and sometimes we think we can’t, and as it turns out there are lots of things we think and feel that at the end of the day don’t hold water.

What is also real is that there are always choices, always options, always fresh starts and new pages to turn, and new roads to travel and – thank the heavens – many ways to travel them.

What is most real is that you have ways and means available to you that are 100% unique to who you are – they cannot be repeated or replicated by anyone – and for that reason alone no one gets to determine what you can or cannot do.

Those of us who think we can’t are not probably or otherwise right.  We just need to think a little harder, dig a little deeper, and see with a little more clarity, feel with a little more heart. That is exactly what living an enchanted life helps us do – enchantment is not afraid of the tough stuff. It is made for it.

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.

The best way to work with me and begin living an enchanted life right here and now is to register for my year long course of fairy tales and magic – Spinning Gold.

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