The Peace of Wild Things
Sagittarius New Moon Deep Dive
“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” -Wendell Berry
This December 12th brings a New Moon in Sagittarius, and with it an opportunity to reset our relationship with the natural world.
At first blush, mid-December doesn’t seem like an ideal time of the year for foraging out into the elements to take in some of that natural splendor, but you don’t necessarily need to go out to connect with the elements, animals, plants and minerals that permeate our world. What’s more: when one considers that we humans are, in fact, a part of the natural world, this Sagittarius New Moon offers an opportunity to reconnect with our own nature— and how we, in turn, connect with the rhythms of the natural world around us.
Are we designed to sit at a desk for more than 12 hours a day, 5 days a week? To stare at thousands of other peoples’ curated lives through a tiny screen? To eat processed and poisonous “food product” instead of naturally-available, home-grown whole foods?
And this, simply put, just might be the primary driver of all of our modern maladies: the diseases of despair, like drug addiction and suicide; the depression and anxiety that affects more than 1 in every 4 people globally; the exploding illnesses that result from the pesticides and herbicides and gene therapies used in our mono cropping, industrial food production system; and the exponential and measurable harm caused by daily use of social media.
The bottom line? We are woefully out of sync with our ecosystems, our bodies, and each other.
So, let’s do a very Sagittarius thing: let’s do something about it!
New Moons are ideal days to intentionally reset old and outdated dynamics, especially behaviors that have outlived their original usefulness.
And while we may not be able to change the whole world or reverse decades of structural corruption or pollution or social strife in a few weeks’ time, but we can reintroduce ourselves to the Peace of Wild Things.
At first blush, this may seem like a small or ineffectual effort, but it’s not.
When you change yourself, you change the world.
And, luckily, shamanism has just the right tools.
A tree faun in Chicago
The period between the Sagittarius New Moon on December 12th and the Winter Solstice is on December 21st is one of the most magical windows of the year. And, this year, it feels particularly charged with old school nature magic.
Case in point: several years ago, when I was living in the West Loop in downtown Chicago, a coworker and I went for a starlit walk through Skinner Park with my last dog, Henry VIII. While walking through this small, urban park, we started to get the witch tingles. Then, we saw a huge, white wild hare perfectly illuminated under a park district light, staring right at us.
Now, I’m not a wildlife biologist or anything, but I did live in Chicago for almost 40 years and can say with some certainty that gigantic albino wild hares are not common sights when out for a dog walk three blocks away from the Sears Tower.
Then, when we walked into my old loft on West Washington, cabinet doors began to bang on their own. Our small Christmas tree shifted and moved, jangling the lights and ornaments. The crescendo came when my computer, set up on my desk in another room, started loudly playing a video about how Mother Nature needed humans’ help to survive.
The next evening, I took my dog out for another walk through Skinner Park, not seeing any strange animals.
Well, unless you count a tree faun.
When I was passing a high end preschool’s ground floor space on my return loop from the same park, I caught a gangly, gnarled looking being following behind me in the window’s reflection. I turned around in panic, not seeing anything with the naked eye. When I returned home, my Christmas tree was yet again moving and acting strangely, so I did a little research.
It was a tree faun.
Tree fauns are a very specific kind of nature spirit or fairy, known in Ancient Greek mythology as a satyr. Tree fauns are defined as a benevolent and care-free race of forest spirits, given mortal form that live in trees in rural and urban areas. Most fauns are friendly and compassionate, yet shy and reserved— but there are exceptions to the rule (as there are with any nature spirit).
It had left its home in Skinner Park— likely a strange birch tree that, upon reflection, kind of resembled the being I saw in the window’s reflection— to follow me home, taking up new residence in my Christmas tree. Now, I knew that our Christmas tree wasn’t a permanent fixture and would, sooner rather than later, expire, so I followed some old, witchy instructions to help this nature elemental back out into the wild where it belonged.
When I continued my research, I realized that the timing of these events around the Winter Solstice— which, that year, coincided with the New Moon— wasn’t an accident. In fact, all nature spirits and fairies and elements hit their peak of power around these events, making contact with “nature’s other side” all the more possible.
It was a memorable experience, and one that connected me to the trees and naturescapes all around me in the middle of a busy city in the dead of winter. The wonder I felt at the power of just one tree faun left me feeling inspired and uplifted, not to mention committed to always showing respect for nature— including my own physical embodiment and role within my ecosystem.
New Moon Exercise: Make an offering to nature spirits
You don’t have to live in the country to make contact with nature spirits, elementals, and fairies, as my experience in the West Loop of Chicago clearly demonstrates. And, sometimes, simple gestures geared towards this realm can produce not just incredible spiritual experiences, but also some legit gifts from our nature friends.
This Sagittarius New Moon, consider scattering bird seed near a cool tree in your local park. You can also put out a bird feeder, ideally near a window so you can see the little feathered friends coming by to nosh while you work from home or read a book.
You can also go a bit deeper, leveraging some of the incisive research, tips and tricks from “geomancer” Marko Pogacnik as outlined in his book: Nature Spirits & Elemental Beings: Working with the Intelligence in Nature. This book outlines several exercises you can experiment with as you seek to commune with the intelligent nature spirits, elementals and fairies all around us all the time— including holding hands with a tree faun!
Pro tip: do NOT do any of these exercises inside of your house. While tree fauns have only ever been polite with me, they are notoriously bad with boundaries. They can also develop some serious schoolboy crushes on human women, so you want to keep things as professional as possible when interacting with nature spirits.
Make sure that you assert out loud that, while you enjoyed your time together, that you need them to stay outside and in nature. You may also want to insist they don’t follow you home. If, for any reason, you start to have activity in the home (fauns are famous for pinching your sides), yell at them the way you would a bad child, directing them to where they can go outside.
Nature’s elemental building blocks
In shamanism, we call in the “four directions” when we prep to undertake a Shamanic Journeying Meditation. These four directions are directly correlated to the four primary elements: air, fire, water and earth.
Feng Shui and Chinese medicine practitioners endeavor to create harmony in the home and body by balancing their five elements in each room: wood, water, fire, metal and earth.
Ayurvedic practitioners work with the elemental doshas: Vata (air and space), Kapha (earth and water), and Pitta (Fire and Water).
Pagans and practicing witches will ensure that their four elements (water, air, fire and earth) are featured on their altar, typically represented by a chalice or goblet (for water), a small dagger (for air), a candle or incense burner (for fire) and soil or a living plant (for earth).
Even the Tarot’s Minor Arcana are separated by elemental suit. In our TOTEM Tarot Deck, we envisioned these suits into Moons (water), Metals (air), Trees (fire), and Crystals (earth).
What all of these spiritual practices recognize is that all of nature— including us— is built from the same elemental building blocks. If you go a bit deeper, these elements are all comprised of literal, recycled star dust, binding us to each other and our world on a primordial, atomic level.
A lack of balance or pronounced deficiency in these elements in our bodies or homes can result in dis-ease, scarcity, disconnection, and other undesirable conditions, proof that we too are a part of nature and subject to its laws. Reconnecting to these elements and ensuring they are in balance in our homes, bodies and lives is a crucial step to rediscovering the peace that comes with “wild things”.
New Moon Exercise: Bring the elements indoors
This Sagittarius New Moon is an optimal time to tweak our homes and bodies to achieve greater elemental balance— as well as intentionally bring natural elements into our lives. Do a bit of research on any of the modalities outlined above and see which one resonates the most with you. Then, dig deep and figure out ways to bring more Feng Shui or Ayurveda into your life in small and manageable ways.
Winter is a great time to get organized, so take a day or two to go through your kitchen and dispose of any foods or supplements that aren’t helping you achieve balance in your diet and health. It might be time to dispose of or donate anything with preservatives, artificial dies or flavors, or hyper-processed ingredients in lieu of organic, natural whole foods that agree with your inherent elemental constitution.
Herbs are largely made of tree bark, plant roots or leaves, and even the occasional dried flower, so herbs are another great nature-intensive ingredient to bring into your intentional self-care routine. I’m currently drinking an herbal tea that includes willow bark, devil’s wood, licorice root, dandelion root, ginkgo biloba tree leaves, stinging nettle leaves, and holy basil leaves. All of these bad boys came straight from nature, infusing my physical and energy bodies with their elemental imprint.
You can also spend the cold, dark days to can food, experiment with fermentation, or make a sour dour starter for bread. Sagittarius is the sign of physical activity and health (among other attributes), so this energy will serve as wind at your back for any intentional efforts around meal-planning or prepping— or just slow-cooking some beautiful winter stews.
It’s also a good idea to organize your kitchen and the rest of your home, releasing anything you don’t use anymore in order to create space for chi to move around in. And you don’t have to become an expert— just operate intuitively. What colors are you drawn to this time of the year? Consider getting a new duvet cover or piece of art that brings this color into your home.
And don’t dismiss the power of aromatherapy! Everytime the weather gets a bit cool, I jump at the change to bring the scent of cypress into my home with candles, incense, perfume (from Aesop— it’s doesn’t have any bad chemicals!), and essential oils. I’ve also been making food-quality oils to use post-shower or bath, including one with lavender and one with rosemary, both harvested from our TOTEM Flower Essence garden!
New TOTEM Service Offering: Feng Shui
Yep. You read that right. I got certified in Feng Shui and am now officially offering Feng Shui Consultations as a TOTEM service.
I know. I just can’t slow down or take time away from work without finding some other thing to undertake, learn, or get certified in. I’m sacral chakra dominant.
Now, I’ve always had an interest in and used the fundamentals of Feng Shui in my life. But I also felt resistant to offering it as a service as the only incarnations of this service I had ever encountered seemed really comprehensive, expensive, and time-consuming, therefore making it largely inaccessible to busy people on a budget or living in a rental.
In this way, it seemed like the full benefits of Feng Shui could only come to those that owned their own, large house with full front and back yards— not to mention $60K to spend on structural enhancements. For the large majority of us, this just isn’t a prudent investment to make.
But, when I undertook my own Feng Shui training and certification efforts, I started to make small tweaks around my work/ live space here in Austin. None of these were big or expensive, but they immediately produced results. I realized (yet again) just how powerful this modality is, and instantly felt free to make a few strategic investments in my space.
Next up in my personal experiment? My Fame and Reputation “bagua” (i.e. the area of my home dedicated to this energy). I’ve ordered a beautiful green print of a Japanese peacock, a small, vintage silver peacock figurine and green candle holder to decorate my small white bar next to my dining table. I’m not particularly interested in fame or what people think of me, but I thought this would prove to be a powerful Feng Shui experiment— and I’m excited to see what manifests after the transformation!
These recent experiences helped me design our TOTEM Feng Shui Consultations to be accessible, easy and sustainable for all clients with all space types. I’ve spent a few months simplifying the robust world of Feng Shui to arm clients with immediately actionable insights into their living or working space, arming them with easy tips, tricks and to do’s that will radically shift the energies around: love, work, fame, health, luck— all without a painful financial investment or complicated undertaking.
TOTEM’s Feng Shui Consultation distills the robust, ancient practice into manageable bits for modern folks living in the modern world. Feng Shui really is a game-changing, potent modality that can move mountains in your life, empowering you to take the world by storm—and all with a few simple adjustments!
And I’m excited to include a free gift as a part of this service, sending clients a tailored mix of hanging crystal, incense and/or sage or palo Santo, and TOTEM Flower Essence depending on client space needs. I’ve also simplified the up-front ask of the clients with pre-set questions in the booking detail, ensuring that I can get organized before we connect, enabling us to dig right into the details that matter.
If you want to learn more or book a TOTEM Feng Shui Consultation, check it out HERE.
TOTEM Tarot Card: The Faun
One of our TOTEM Tarot Deck’s Court Cards, the Faun (i.e. the Knight of Trees) embodies the energy of the faun I first encountered in Chicago almost ten years ago.
When the Faun card pops up in a reading, you just might have a special tree of your own taking note of you on neighborhood walks or quiet moments in the back yard.
This tarot card could also bring a sexy stranger or sudden visitor, as well as your own future travels to exciting and educational lands. The faun is all about physical pleasures, like taking a nice walk or eating a delicious meal or dressing yourself in soft, comforting fabrics. While these may seem like superficial or materialistic experiences, they can actually expand your consciousness.
Don’t dismiss the physical world— it’s full of magic! From trees and their fauns to psychedelic mushrooms to flower essences to time spent with family pets, these seemingly “mundane” elements are actually gateways to the mystical.
Our self-published TOTEM Tarot Deck is currently 50% off through the end of the year on Etsy and Amazon, and makes a unique and exciting spiritual holiday gift for the spiritually-curious in your life. Consider picking up or gifting a deck on Etsy HERE or Amazon HERE!
TOTEM Flower Essence: AEAEA
Our AEAEA Flower Essence is made of magical cypress tree cuttings, infusing the user with the powerful, primordial energy of the goddess of witchcraft, Circe, and her island home, AEAEA.
Tree essences are a big part of the flower essence world, and are considered to be the “wisdom-keepers” of this type of plant medicine. This cypress flower essence is particularly designed to impart the ancient wisdom of practical magic, herbalism, witchcraft, and ritual magic, infusing the user’s energy body with the vibration of witchy woo woo.
Cypress flower essence initiates an alchemical, transformative process in the energy body, ultimately manifesting in increased (and measurable) magic in material reality. AEAEA is an excellent essence for anyone pursuing occult studies or seeking to make medicinal remedies from items found in the garden, field or forest.
It’s also ideal for connecting to the magical world of tree fauns, fairies and elementals, so proceed with intention!
Recommended Crystal: Ametrine
Ametrine is the ultimate crystal for connection to the realms of the fairy kingdom, nature spirits, and elementals.
Part citrine and part amethyst, this beautiful crystals carries an otherworldly vibration into your home— and life!
When I had my faun encounter outlined above, I was the proud owner of one crystal: ametrine. I had purchased it intuitively from Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop in Evanston, IL, simply because I liked the look and shape of it.
The winter my little amethyst came into my home was, in retrospect, one of the weirdest and most magically dynamic of my life.
If you want to kick up your manifestation capabilities or make contact with the realm of nature spirits and fairies, get yourself one of these bad boys.
You won’t regret it!
I love this time of the year, and I’m eager to harness the energy of this Sagittarius New Moon to create new rhythms and rituals that support my health, wellbeing and connection to the natural world.
While it doesn’t immediately come naturally to me, I’m also looking forward to embracing the crucial skill of slowing down alongside nature, drawing my energy back into myself and into the earth just like the trees all around me do every winter.
It feels good to get the business of life organized: cleaning the house, resetting eating habits, and intentionally bringing needed elemental balance into our homes and bodies. I’m really enjoying reading our December TOTEM Book Club Pick, The Creative Act, as I drink bitter (but healthful) herbal teas made of the trees and plants from nature.
A big part of my organization effort is also prepping TOTEM for the New Year, including scheduling time with folks interested in our TOTEM Spiritual Transformation Coaching Program. We have one spot left for our January kick-off and the April kick-off group is already filling up, so if you’re interested in learning more feel free to book a time to discuss HERE.
This coming year brings the Year of the Dragon, my oldest and dearest totem animal. I have a feeling that the upcoming Lunar New Year is going to act like a slingshot for me and TOTEM, so I’m trying to get all of my life systems simplified and optimized ahead of this busy, exciting time. And, in all honesty, I think the Coaching Program is only going to pick up steam as the year unfolds.
And, yes, I just hung a beautiful Japanese silk screen of a cloud dragon in my Career “bagua” of my home… leaning into what will surely be one of the most dynamic phases in more than a decade. When it comes to shamanism, Feng Shui and more, I do indeed like to f*ck around and find out;)
Happy New Moon!
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