Since 1997, I’ve been chronicling my life with a short “daily log” entry in my journal. This habit started as part of a daily spiritual practice that went along with a study of the Tarot. It serves another function, though, which is to keep track of things that I find easy to forget.
I don’t have a good memory – or not in a traditional sense. I tend to live in the present moment, and also in my imagination, which doesn’t seem to leave room for much else.
I’m a Virgo, so I keep a lot of lists, and I’m good at organizing, so I can usually find the information I need. Actually, my former boss and mentor used to think I had a great memory, because I could answer his questions about when a particular radio show started or when we hired a new music host – but really I was just good at looking up the answer in my comprehensive filing system.
Over time, I’ve let go of seeing my “poor memory” as a liability. I think it actually helps my creative process.
Because I don’t bother trying to retain the details of where we went last summer or what I was thinking in 4th grade or when we purchased what vehicle, I have more brain space for new ideas and creations. When I think of some task I need to remember, I immediately write it in my bullet journal, so I don’t have to hold it in my head.
When I forget to do that, and try to hold a bunch of random things in my memory, I feel cluttered.
It’s like the “defragging” of a computer’s hard drive. Have you seen this? It’s visually very appealing. All the little bits of data scattered around the computer’s mind get organized (by color! – or that’s how it looks on the screen) and filed like books in a tidy library.
This leaves a whole bunch of open space for…whatever arises. I love that feeling. The spaciousness of mind encourages creative thoughts to flourish.
Writing down my daily activities (capturing the past) and tasks yet undone (preparing for the future) makes room for this present moment, right now – which wise teachers say is the only real time that we have.
Besides writing things down in order to free up mind space, daily meditation also helps encourage mental spaciousness. It brings the ability to focus in the now, and the non-attachment to the monkey mind’s chatter.
Releasing our default mode of focusing on the past (whether from nostalgia or regret) and the future (whether fearfully or in excited anticipation) frees us. It allows us to connect more deeply with our inner source. That’s where the wellspring of creativity resides.
Looking for more mental energy to use on your creative projects? Try de-fragging your brain.
As much as I love to travel, I’m currently not minding having to take a “staycation” this week instead of a more traditional vacation (thanks, 2020). Why?
Well, first of all, I love summer in Maine. I’m so blessed to live in a place of natural beauty, with easy access to beaches, lakes, mountains, and other gorgeous places. The weather is even cooperating!
Also, I’m taking this WEALTH alchemy course that’s rocking my world. I have a stack of books, a new Tarot deck, and lots of (live and recorded) workshops at my fingertips. Part of me just wants to camp out in the hammock and read and study. Seriously.
Plus, we have three family birthdays this week to celebrate! So there’s birthday shopping and baking to do. The raspberries are ripe and ready for picking. There are plenty of tomatoes available to make a big batch of salsa.
So right now, a staycation is just the thing.
Here are some fun resources I’ve been enjoying this month. Happy reading!
Ooh, yes. I’m feeling this. Preach it, sister!
I like this take on the dangers of spiritual bypassing in this time of radical change. Also: you can trust your joy. These two articles, taken together, might seem like a paradox. To me, though, they’re just two sides of the same coin. You can help more people when you’re allowing yourself joy and pleasure than when you’re in a mode of constant anger and stress.
Gratitude can help in so many ways. This is my most recent guest post for Kind Over Matter.
How about some new recipes? These look so yummy…
Remember to grab a copy of my new book, Follow the Ebb & Flow: the Law of Attraction & the Tides of Life, co-written with BlackLion.
Enjoy the waning days of summer!
I’ve been keeping track of the moon’s phases, and how they affect me and my energy, for a long time now.
Applying it to my creativity in particular has been a more recent nuance that helps me plan my projects more effectively. It also makes writing more fun.
When you tap into the moon’s energy and flow with it, your writing (or other creative work) will be easier. It’s as simple as that.
You might have no problem with the common understanding that the energies are more frantic when the moon is full. But when you dive deeper, and begin to observe the more subtle phases of the moon throughout each month, you can take this wisdom further.
Here’s a brief overview of the moon’s phases and my experience with writing during them:
Dark of the Moon: This is the couple of days just before the New Moon. I find it to be a time of rest and reflection. I don’t normally write much at the dark of the moon – beyond some venting in my personal journal. My cup feels empty.
New Moon: I can feel the shift when the moon begins to wax once again. Fresh ideas begin to trickle in, but I’m still not in full-on creative mode.
Waxing Crescent: Seeing that first slim crescent moon in the sky inspires me! Now I’m more in the flow, and writing comes more easily. I’m back to my usual writing schedule.
First Quarter: This is a time of balance. I’m writing productively, but I also need to make sure I get out into the world and keep the inspiration flowing. It’s a good phase for making sure you get some time in nature, and visit with people who inspire you.
Waxing Gibbous: I’m on fire! The lunar energies keep me creating. I often add other types of creativity to my repertoire – making new playlists, working on scrapbooks, taking photos. My writing is really moving forward.
Full Moon: This is my personal power phase. I’m able to write, play, work, celebrate – all the things! If I have a big project that needs my energy poured into it, scheduling blocks of time during the Waxing Gibbous and Full Moon phases is a smart move. Some people find the Full Moon’s energies too chaotic, but I like it.
Waning Gibbous: This moon phase is associated with communication, teaching, and learning. It’s a good time to share your work in progress, or collaborate with another creative person. My writing tends to be steady, but not as prolific as it is during the waxing phases.
Last Quarter: Again we’re at a balance point, but this time moving toward the ebb of lunar energy. It’s a useful time to take stock of how things are going with your project. I like to look over what I’ve written and update my outline to see what still needs to be added.
Waning Crescent: As we ebb toward the Dark of the Moon once again, my writing tends to slow down. I take this as a time to go inward and reflect. It’s also a good time to learn new things, read, and otherwise take in new input that will help you grow as a person, and thus as a creator.
A new aspect that I’ve recently added to my attention to lunar phases is to keep track of which astrological signs the moon is in, thanks to the WEALTH alchemy course I’m taking. It’s fascinating stuff. There’s a phone app called iLuna that makes it super easy to keep track of moon phases and astrological signs.
Want to know more about the moon’s 8 phases and the energies associated with each one? BlackLion and I wrote extensively about it in our new book, Follow the Ebb & Flow: the Law of Attraction & the Tides of Life. You can get your copy (paperback or ebook) on Amazon.
Have you ever heard the term “author platform?” The simplest definition: your audience of potential readers.
These days, most agents and publishers require you to have an author platform. That’s because they no longer do all the legwork for you, in terms of getting your book out into the world.
Whether you choose to self-publish or submit your work to a traditional publisher, you’re going to need an author platform.
In fact, whether or not you’ve even written one word of your book yet, I recommend beginning to slowly cultivate your author platform immediately.
This might sound out of character, as I usually reassure authors-to-be to relax and not think about the final steps of sharing their works at the very beginning. But this particular aspect of writing a book is something that can support you all the way through the process of creation.
Why is this important? Here are 5 ways having an author platform NOW – regardless of where you are in the writing process – can help you tremendously.
- It brings accountability. If you make a point of telling people you’re writing a book, which is how you begin to cultivate an audience, then you’re less likely to give up. You’ve got people interested in what you’re creating! Yes, even if your entire audience currently consists of your Mom, your best friend, and a couple of co-workers.
- You’ll receive the power of collaboration. When you share your thoughts and ideas, you’ll find others who are intrigued by them. Co-creating with other people is an amazing gift. Their ideas will inspire you. Their questions will spark new topics to write about. Their interest will keep you motivated.
- Starting now will save you time and effort later. Imagine how excited you’ll be when your manuscript is written, edited, and ready to go! If you’ve already been crafting an audience for it, you won’t have to wait as long for the satisfaction of having delighted readers.
- Finding beta readers will be easy. Your first few fans and followers are ideal candidates to read your first draft and give you feedback. They already like you and your work. You’ll be able to tap into their enthusiasm and use it to hone your writing.
- Each person who follows you and your work has connections. They might have a family member who makes book covers, an acquaintance who’s married to an agent, or perhaps they run a successful podcast looking for guest speakers. As you build your author platform, you’ll discover links to helpful people with skills you didn’t yet know you needed. Your fans will be delighted to help you along your way to being a successful published author!
Crafting your author platform as you go doesn’t have to be an overwhelming amount of work. You might already have a platform underway – for example, if you’re an entrepreneur or healer, your existing clients and prospects (and their friends!) are your target readers.
If not, begin with the seemingly simple act of telling your friends that you’re writing a book. Then seek out a community of writers online, or look for groups that are interested in your book’s topic.
The rewards of cultivating your community early in the process are many. How can you get started this week?
Want more useful tips for writers-to-be? Join my mailing list here.
I’ve written before about the Muses and how to craft a relationship with them that enhances your creative power. Now let’s look at some Goddesses (and a couple of Gods) who can also infuse your creative work with some extra energy.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that, in my opinion, working with deities is very personal. Whether you work with their attributes symbolically, trying on an archetype, or whether you believe in the literal existence of a particular Goddess makes no difference. You get to choose.
Here are some deities who are known for their associations with creativity. If any of them call to you, do a little research. Make an offering to them. Light a candle and say a prayer before you sit down to write. Notice what happens.
I’ve worked with Brigid for many years. She’s the Celtic Goddess of poetry, smithcraft, and healing. My blood ancestors in this lifetime were from the Celtic isles, and I named my daughter after Her. She has been faithful in bringing me inspiration, passion, and ideas. She guided me as I reclaimed my desire to become a published author. As a deity of both fire and water, She can be either powerfully motivating or gently encouraging, as the situation warrants.
The Greek Goddess Athena is known for Her associations with wisdom and the arts. Her energy is more staid and civilized, in my experience. Call on Her for help with the initial stages of a project. She can help you organize your outline and decide which components to include. Her companion is a wise owl – watch and listen for the owl’s presence in your surroundings.
Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess who invented the Sanskrit language. She is the patron Goddess of writers, musicians, artists, and students. If you’re just beginning a new creative adventure, or learning something brand new, Her steady guidance is helpful.
The Egyptian Goddess Seshat rules over writing and history, and She is also the patron of architecture and libraries. She’s the record-keeper of the Gods. Call on Her when you are doing research. She really knows Her stuff. I mean, a sacred librarian? The best.
Thoth, who is also in the Egyptian pantheon, has much in common with Seshat. He is known as the deity of writing, time, and wisdom. He was sometimes identified as the husband of Seshat, and sometimes as Her father. His energy feels complicated and ancient.
Most of the time I work with female deities, as a personal preference. However, I’m taking a course which has me working with Hermes (also known as Mercury), who is the Greek deity of writing and literature, among other things. He’s a trickster, and I find His energies playful and curious. Interestingly, this same course has me using the Thoth Tarot deck. Hermes also rules over dreams, and I’m finding the work with Him rewarding so far.
Yemaya, the mother of the seas, comes from Nigeria and is now worshipped in Brazil and Cuba, among other places. She isn’t traditionally associated with writing or the arts. However, She is a Mother Goddess, and creativity and fertility are among her areas of influence. I have been called to work with Her in recent years, and I find Her energies to be vastly inspiring to my creative soul. Perhaps it’s my Cancer rising, or the fact that mermaids are Her priestesses.
There are many other deities who can help you with your creative projects. Do a little research of your own. Perhaps begin by looking to the pantheons of lands where your blood ancestors once lived. You can also be called by the deities of your spiritual ancestors. Pay attention to your dreams and to deities whose names appear in your life.
Take time to call upon these Goddesses and Gods, with respect and love, and they will share their magick with you as you walk the path of the Thriving Artist.
Want to learn more about ways to enhance your creativity and empower your daily experience? Join my mailing list.
One of my favorite things to do in this world is to create books for my fellow bookworms to enjoy. So I’m super excited to announce that BlackLion and I have a new book coming out next month!
Follow the Ebb & Flow: the Law of Attraction and the Tides of Life will be available in both paperback and ebook formats beginning August 10th!
Follow the Ebb & Flow takes you through the seasons & moon phases, demonstrating how to harness natural energies to live your dreams, with an emphasis on a regular practice of Law of Attraction techniques, and so much more. We’ve written this book as a bridge between neo-Pagan devotion to the Earth and natural world and timely and useful Law of Attraction tools that help you to stay connected with the Universe and the tides of life.
Since we can’t do an in-person book launch, we’re doing a virtual book launch. We’ll have lots of prizes to give away thanks to a group of delightful donors, along with signed copies of the book, and we’ll be sharing book excerpts. We hope you’ll join us. More details to come!
In the meantime, here are some good reads from the internet, for you to enjoy over the weekend:
“Be clear now” – how dealing with clutter can help you improve your life.
Check out these 8 Self-Care Lessons Learned From Fairy Tales. The artwork is so adorable!
Are you an empath? That’s not a bad thing. Empathy is valuable and necessary.
Thinking of the Dark Moon – the time just before the New Moon – as a time of rest. Brilliant.
How to get started with a practice of mindful eating.
The public radio show On Being has been putting out some amazing content lately. Listen to (or read) this dialogue about anti-racism work. I also love this discussion of the evolutionary power of kids and teens. And this blog post on solidarity and taking responsibility.
Having a rough time? (Thanks, 2020). Give yourself the gift of solace.
The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Follow the Ebb & Flow: The Law of Attraction & the Tides of Life, which I’ve co-authored with BlackLion. The book will be available in mid-August.
Magick with a “K”
As promised, we’re going to delve a bit more into the idea of “magick with a k.” The extra letter is added in order to distinguish it from stage illusions – which are also quite cool, but not what we’re talking about here.
So, what is magick? The definition that we like to use is that of creating change by shifting consciousness using your will. Often it’s a lot more subtle than stage magic, or the depiction of magick we see in books and movies.
Magick has a bad name in many of Earth’s cultures. It’s either associated with evil, or dismissed as a naive childhood wish. One reason for this is that it didn’t serve the patriarchal leaders of church or state to have empowered subjects – especially women. The wise women were slowly discredited and “witch” became a stereotype of ugliness and evil.
In modern times, science tends to dismiss things that it doesn’t yet understand. Only recently has this begun to be reversed, with science now acknowledging the healing power of mind over matter, the existence of the aura, and the value of meditation, among other things. The magickal tools that the wise women and men have known for many centuries are gradually becoming mainstream.
The Law of Attraction is a specific type of magick, called sympathetic magick. It’s the primary form of magick we’re focusing on throughout this book. The basis of sympathetic magick is “that which is like unto itself, is drawn.” Or, more simply, “like attracts like.”
This form of magick – also known as manifestation – gets oversimplified in popular culture, and magick is again dismissed as wishful thinking. Yet wielded with skill and focus, sympathetic magick can create powerful change, on both the personal and cultural levels.
How does altering your consciousness create change?
There are a myriad of methods you can use to work your magick. Here’s an overview:
Here on the Earth plane, magick is woven through focus, attention, and patience. We acknowledge that we are connected to everyone and everything in the cosmos, even though we can’t physically see those connections (which quantum physics is now discovering, thank you very much).
Whatever it is that you wish to change, whether a life situation, your health, or even acquiring a physical item like a car or a home, you begin by focusing on the outcome you desire. The more you visualize, work with, and affirm what you want, the more your brain will begin to believe it is yours. (Sound familiar?)
It is key to involve your emotions in the process. When practicing magick/LOA, you concentrate on exactly what it will feel like when your desired change has come about in physical reality. When you do this, you are using the power of your will. You enhance your connection with the outcome you desire.
In order to immerse yourself in the experience, you can choose to enhance your magick with symbols that you then infuse with the energy of your desire. This could be a particular scent of incense that you enjoy, a color that you associate with the topic of your desire, or a crystal or stone. Choose tools that delight your senses. This will help you to shift your consciousness.
When you are fully engaged with your desired change, then it’s time to release your magickal intent. Like dropping a pebble into a still pond, release your desire into the cosmos. It is key to the process. If you keep peeking under the lid, like the proverbial watched pot that just won’t boil, the energy you’ve built up will dissipate.
Finally, and this is a step that is often neglected, take inspired actions in the physical world that support the magick that you’ve done.
This helps your mind believe that you’re truly committed to the change. It also attracts experiences that will help you draw to you the results you desire. For example, sitting on the couch and waiting for your new car to appear isn’t as effective as going out for a test drive or reading Consumer Reports. It works best to support your magick with physical steps that demonstrate your readiness to change.
Magick is a practical technique that helps you to realize your goals and dreams. By harnessing the power of your will, you’re shifting your consciousness, and thus your beliefs. You expand the world through accepting your personal power.
Magick is a powerful tool for cultural change, as well as personal growth. As more and more people embrace their own magick, we become collectively empowered. No longer content with “the way things have always been,” we begin to create positive change, together. This will help reverse centuries of stagnation and abuse.
When done in harmony with the cosmic cycles, magick can work wonders. We’ll have more ideas about seasonal, lunar, and daily magick you can do, sprinkled throughout the book.
So you want to be a Thriving Artist. You decide to incorporate one (or more) of your creative passions into your everyday life. Go, you!
But now what? How do you sustain yourself for the long haul? Especially when “everyone else” seems to be either:
A) lounging on the couch watching Netflix or
B) getting thousands of likes and downloads of their latest creations.
You’re putting in the time, maybe instead of binge-watching your favorite shows, and yet where are the rewards?
Lovely one, it’s time to remember that creativity itself is a reward. You’re not doing this for the money, or the accolades, or even to help others – although those are all valuable results.
You’ve chosen to consciously add creativity to your life because it’s part of who you are. It’s in your very bones. Creativity is part of the essence of your identity.
That said, you can’t create from an empty wellspring. You still need to fill your cup, regularly.
Here are some things that I’ve found essential to the care & feeding of a Thriving Artist.
- Time to do nothing at all. This is a super hard thing for some of us – myself included. Start small, by building in just 10 or 15 minutes of unscheduled time each day or week to just BE. Nope, not checking email or scrolling through Instagram. Just daydreaming, contemplating, or staring at the wall.
- Good sleep. Not just enough sleep, but good quality rest. Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Start to wind down an hour or so before you really need to be fully asleep. Establish a ritual or routine that eases you into your rest time.
- Movement. Sometimes when we’re deep into creation mode, we forget that we have a physical body. Put reminders in your phone to get up and move. Take a walk, dance to your favorite tunes, or do a few yoga stretches. Your body needs to move regularly.
- Quality input. You don’t have to give up Netflix entirely, if you garner enjoyment from it. Be selective about the entertainment you choose to consume – and then go all-in. Read that romance on the beach. Listen to uplifting audio books. Binge your heart out, and then return to your creative project feeling refreshed, rather than guilty.
- Nature time. Get outside. The energies of nature refresh the creative spirit like nothing else. Yeah, I know, there are bugs out there, and the sun is bright. Put on your floppy hat and use your all-natural bug spray, and then walk those forest trails or comb the beach. Your creative soul will thank you.
- Support. You can’t be a Thriving Artist if you’re doing All The Things for your household. Get some backup. Other people can do the dishes and plan the meals. Or that stuff can wait a while. Enlist the support of your partner, kids, or roommates. Don’t try to be a superhero.
- Another creative medium. All of the writers I work with have other forms of creativity that they choose to engage: painting rocks, puttering in the garden, or singing, just to name a few examples. Creating something that isn’t your primary medium enhances the energy and inspiration you bring to your big project. It brings a spirit of playfulness to your day, and fills up that wellspring.
- Shadow work. Sometimes resistance will stick out its foot and trip you up. This is your growing edge. It’s a chance to learn, grow, and expand. Spend some time journaling about your fears and old patterns. That’s part of releasing them. Look up “shadow work” and try some of the practices for releasing old energies. If this feels especially heavy for you, enlist the help of a therapist.
- Joyful collaboration. Contrary to popular belief, creative people thrive when they work in community. There are tons of online groups and virtual meetups where you can find the company of like-minded artists. Look for the ones where laughter and encouragement flow. Or start your own.
What about you? What fills your creative cup? What’s missing from this list? Comment below with your ideas.
Even more key, craft a custom list for yourself, and then incorporate those things into your daily life.
I’ve always been a big-time dreamer. I have vivid dreams pretty much every night, and lots of times I can remember them. For a long time, I didn’t realize that wasn’t the norm.
There was a period of my adult life when, for various reasons, I was repressing my natural creativity.
Maybe “repressing” is a strong word, but I definitely wasn’t following my calling to write and create. The vivid dreams, though, continued – and even got more movie-like.
It was during my late thirties when I started to crack open my vault of creativity and let it flow. As I go back through my Dream Journals and type up dreams from past years (it’s one of the “personal projects” I’ve been working on), it’s interesting how certain themes seem to weave through my dreamtime life.
Sometimes these dream themes are at the forefront of my consciousness. At other times, they remain steeped in mystery.
Last month I started a year-long course that’s focused on Hermetic magick and alchemy. We’re actively working with our dreams in our alchemical journals. Once again I’m noticing the way my dream life reflects not only my waking life, but what I’m working on creatively.
It’s not a matter of literally dreaming about the things I’m writing (not usually, anyway). It’s more like a feeling of resonance, an ephemeral thread of meaning that’s woven through my waking and dreaming lives. It’s hard to explain. If you’re familiar with the notion of synchronicity, you’ll have a sense of what I’m talking about.
Maybe an example will help.
Dreams often inspire me with strange-seeming images or phrases that then become part of my creative process. Last night in a dream I was described as “quarely brave.” I woke up and wondered what in the world that meant. Was it supposed to be “queerly?” I’m bisexual, so that’s considered queer, right? Kinda?
But no, the word was definitely “quarely.” I looked it up on my phone, and learned that it means “very much, a great deal” and is from the early 19th century. So I was rather brave. But why? Just now, I looked it up again on my laptop, and one of the meanings of “quare” is “remarkable or strange,” in Irish dialect. It’s also a dialectical variant of queer.
The synchronicity piece, in this case, is that my Mom was just looking up some genealogical research she’d done and reminded us (and herself) that some of her mother’s ancestors were from Ireland.
So I’m very brave, in a strange way, at least in my dreams. That’s how my Irish ancestors might have phrased it. Huh.
What does that have to do with my creative process? I’m not sure yet, other than using it as an example in this post. But it’s one of those snippets of things that gets stuck in my mind, tumbling over and over, like a piece of sea glass.
Dreams, magick, the books I read, Tarot cards, conversations, ancestors, the shows I watch. All of these things, and more, inspire my creative process.
At a time in my life when I didn’t identify myself as particularly creative, dreams were my mind’s canvas. The innate creativity that we each possess was determined to shine through.
Even if you don’t usually recall your dreams, they’re still there, underneath the surface. Notice the mood that pervades your space when you first wake up. Discover the threads of meaning.
Let the inspirations of your sacred sleep time become a living part of your waking creativity. Follow the magickal threads, and see where they lead you.