I got your goat!


Pictured above is the planet Saturn, ruler of Capricorn, whose symbol is a goat.

Saturn’s domain includes many things, including our individual authority or inner author.  Saturn reminds us that we are the Chief Decision Makers in charge of our lives!

For more reasons than I can name here, we have given over our goat (our authority) to others – our parents, religious institutions, spouses, bosses, doctors, gurus, coaches, educators, and the media.

Suffice to say, our goat is getting got, a lot!

At least these are the terms in which astrologer Caroline Casey talks about Saturn and it’s incarnation in the form of Capricorn.

As an officiant I see this phenomenon show up strongly when it comes to wedding vows.

What does the ringed planet have to do with wedding vows, you ask?

It’s surprising to me how many people don’t think about the vows they will be making to each other, which essentially form the ground of their marriage.

What happens in ceremony ripples into material reality, as what’s invoked under the alter unfolds into the world over time.

As a modern minister and a bit of a trickster, I rub my hands together with a dubious twinkle in my eyes when I get to decide what other people will promise one another under the alter 😉

But honestly I much prefer when couples write their own vows, and make promises in proportion to their natures and private knowing of each other – staying true to themselves and the spirit of their relationship. It thrills me when they use the opportunity of their ceremony to enhance what is already between them, and invoke that which has direct and personal meaning to them.

I like for them to take it on, and take it seriously!

How can I ever know what happens behind closed doors and get inside the exchanges of love and erotic exploration that happen between them, or the ways they navigate the trials and tensions of their relationship dynamics and dysfunctions…?

Some couples just feel confused and don’t know what to write.  They need help, and that’s great!  That’s when we can put our heads and hearts together and create something magical.  Where my experience can meet their love story and animate and direct it in a good way.

However, some couples just don’t want to think about it, or can’t be bothered.  But it’s not very easy to get behind words that are not your own, or keep promises that are not in resonance with you, or that feel contrived.

I think our world would be very different if we looked within to know ourselves deeply, determined what was best for us personally, questioned our beliefs and conditioning, and insisted on relevance and meaning.

Some of the ways you can recover your inner authority include:

*Do a media fast for a period of time – cutting out (or significantly limiting) all radio, tv, social media, etc.

*Try on ideas the way you would a new outfit. You don’t have to keep it, just be willing to wear it around the house for a day or two.

*Question everything – not in a combative way, but in a way that is grounded in curiosity and wonder. Ask yourself questions like: Is this empirically true? Is there another way I can look at this?

*See how things feel in your body and psyche. When you hear a concept or an idea notice whether you feel fragmented and conflicted, or excited and empowered. Notice if your body goes into contraction or expansion; if you are breathing more deeply or holding your breath. Does it make your mind spin, loop and race, or does it feels relaxing or enlivening…?

Just some things to consider!

I hope that we can all wake up to the ways that we give our thoughts, preferences, and choices away, and break free from influences that obscure our essence and our truest self-expression!  I pray that we can take back our rites and rituals and feed that which is holy in new and life-giving ways!



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Bring it!

I wanted to share a video with you that recently went viral.  Last time I checked it had been viewed over 34 million times!

I am sharing this with you because of the way it moves me so so deeply. This call and response from loving and dedicated community is the Heart of Love, and the fire that keeps it burning bright and strong. It’s a transmission of beauty we should all know. And these guys sure do know how to bring it!

I hope you’ll watch it and let it crack you open too.


As a weaver of cross-cultural blessings with a deep call to ministry and sane rites-of-passage, it’s my passion and my honor to bless couples across the threshold into married life.

Thankfully there are so many ways to bring in the Love!

We get to create rich tapestries of blessing that honor the ancient call to gather and celebrate life-passages, and the freedom to re-envision, refashion, and reframe our ceremonies with modern meaning and significance, so that we can have a direct and relevant encounter with the Living Spirit in our own lives, right here and now.

I will be working with some lovely couples this year to craft heartfelt ceremonies that honor and reflect their unique values, vision and relationship, and help them cross the threshold into married life. We will need to navigate with great care to respect their families traditions and beliefs, as we bring beauty and mystical feeling through contemporary language and rituals.

It’s a mighty undertaking, and I am so thrilled to attempt it in cooperation with them!

Coming as I do from a fundamental religious background, I have an understanding of the power of tradition, and also the way that for many of us it has gone lifeless and limp. So I am thrilled to help reinvigorate what is holy by crafting and officiating sacred rituals that are indigenous to us all.

I believe that is why this video has spoken to so many – because at some level, we all get it!



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I Pledge Allegiance

After years of traveling, seeking, apprenticing and deepening various interests, studies and pursuits, there was a moment when I realized what the journey was truly about.  I understood that the point was not to be like someone else, no matter how much I loved or admired them, but to be radically and completely myself, and for everybody else to be radically and completely themselves too.

Now… accessing and becoming oneself deeply is no easy undertaking.  We self-sabotage, doubt our worthiness, undermine our value, compare ourselves to others, play small, numb out, and believe myriad out-dated stories we have about ourselves.

“Remember that self-doubt is as self-centered as self-inflation. Your obligation is to reach as deeply as you can and offer your unique and authentic gifts as bravely and beautifully as you’re able.” ~ Bill Plotkin.

But it is also the worthiest endeavor I know of.  One that requires honoring our longings and affinities, owning our quirks, idiosyncrasies and shortcomings, and being more, not less of ourselves.  One that requires us to pledge allegiance to ourselves ~ pledge to stay with ourselves in the ways we have always wished someone else would, and the way that life, and the overflowing current of benevolent blessings stays with us when we allow it to (and even when we don’t).

Martha Graham reminds us of this in a letter she wrote to Agnes Demille.


One of the most common and insidious things that gets in the way of our full us-ness is comparison.  In his tarot deck, Indian mystic and spiritual teacher Osho writes:

“Who ever told you that the bamboo is more beautiful than the oak, or the oak more valuable than the bamboo? Do you think the oak wishes it had a hollow trunk like this bamboo? Does the bamboo feel jealous of the oak because it is bigger and its leaves change color in the fall? The very idea of the two trees comparing themselves to each other seems ridiculous, but we humans seem to find this habit very hard to break. Let’s face it, there is always going to be somebody who is more beautiful, more talented, stronger, more intelligent, or apparently happier than you are. And conversely, there will always be those who are less than you in all these ways. The way to find out who you are is not by comparing yourself with others, but by looking to see whether you are fulfilling your own potential in the best way you know how.”


To live a soulful life, incarnate and embodied as YOU here on earth, you need to go closer to (not further from) what makes you distinctly and divinely you. This requires a radical turning towards yourself, and a desire to know yourself as intimately as you know anyone or anything. It requires a deeply intimate best-friendship with yourself as you are, here and now.

In his beautiful talk on poems self-compassion, David Whyte says that “The soul doesn’t care whether you do something successfully or fail at it; it just wants to know, did you do it in your way? Was it you who failed, or were you trying to be someone else when you failed? If it was you, the soul is happy, because it was your experience, your failure, and no one can take it away from you. The question is not: Did you fail, or did you win? The question becomes: Did you go your own way? ”

It is a bold and courageous thing to believe and act as if you matter, as if you have value, medicine, and unique dimensions of divinity to offer as a gift to this world.

This isn’t about being full of yourself, but it is about being fully yourself, filled up with yourself, occupying yourself completely, and letting your expression in the world be a natural bubbling over of the beautiful, the paradoxical, the irreconcilable, and the multi-dimensional being that you are.


In her delightful TedTalk “The Art of Being Yourself”, Caroline McHugh reminds us that our only job is to be as good at being ourselves as those larger-than-life people we worship and admire are at being themselves.  To take on the simple and complex task of knowing who we are at an essence level and being MORE of that.

One of my teachers says that we’re all herbs in Mother’s Garden, and that our job is to emit our unique fragrance, color and texture. In this way we can each be a glorious addition to the beauty, diversity and abundance on this earth.

“Live as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.” Henry David Thoreau

When you lose sight of the immense gift that you bring, may you be overwhelmingly recalled “to the true prayer of YOUR life”.  May the longing in the world for what you have to offer become so burning that you can no longer ignore it!

And if you need some help REMEMBERING, invest in yourself and find me for some dynamic coaching!



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Taking refuge

This article is a continuation of Sometimes I’m an Asshole, my most popular blog to date. Maybe it’s because of the compelling title, though I’m guessing it’s because of the universality of what I described about the longing for wholeness, and the challenges with it. Some of those considerations again include:

*Our conscious, healthy, and genuine desires to be of service, to do no harm, to extend loving-kindness. You know, our basic goodness, our deep morality, our cleanest impulses. Also, our conditioned, unquestioned, and neurotic desires to be good and do good, most often motivated by a quenchless need for positive feedback, approval from others, and the desire to belong.

*The intuitions and instincts from our internal guidance mechanisms – those parts that whisper to us, and compel us to journey beyond the known, the safe, the socially accepted or condoned. Those times when only we know what we have to do, and we have to drown out all voices of dissent and follow our inner prompts, come what may. Essentially, those things one needs to be or do in order to be in integrity with oneself.

*The moral complexity that arises when what we must choose for ourselves could cause real harm to another. The slippery navigation (no matter how mindful or self-aware we are) that requires us wonder if our impulses are trustworthy or reckless, grounded in wisdom or propelled by wound, or perhaps some of both.

Given these factors, and many others, can we still find anchor in our wholeness? Can we be with the complexity, the paradox, and the tension, and find some way to behold and be held within it all?


In response to my post on ass-wholeness, one of my most beloved elders and a true soul friend wrote:

“Surely good to join with ALL humanity, is it not? Whole means holding it all, certainly, NOT only perfection. Ultimately, WHOLE has NO duality in it whatsoever. Hard to dismantle eons of conditioning around all this, and also, view the complexity of how we aspire to do no harm and go about accomplishing this in our lives. And, we will all surely fuck up, over and over again. What a great practice to learn to love ourselves and each other endlessly, and hold it ALL in the great unfolding.”

A healer friend in the Philippines reminds me that the origin of the word healing comes from the old European word hælan, which literally means to make whole.

Dream weaver and artist Toko-pa writes that “wholeness is not, as the word implies, a state of completion at the end of a long dedication to attainment. Rather, it is a channel into which we can always tune. It just so happens that our ability to remain in reception of its broadcast can take a lifetime to master.”

Their words lift me up. I feel my dedication deepen, and I feel more integrated, more whole. I understand more clearly my attraction to modalities that are inclusive of all, and favoring of none, that illustrate the democracy within the psyche, honor all dimensions of self, and love each fractal of light as much as the prism itself.

I’m getting that the way to wholeness is through fluid inquiry rather than static answers. I’m choosing to orient to it as a study, a lifelong dedication to process, rather than as a fixed destination.  Most of all, I’m learning to invite the flailing, disillusioned, irreconcilable, and hypocritical parts of myself to the table, along with all the others, and take refuge in the sanctity of the exploration itself.

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It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been 2 years since I began my ministerial training with Center for Sacred Studies, a beautiful mystery school dedicated to sustaining ways of life based on collaboration and reciprocity with the Earth and all Her beings.

Newly ordained, I am confronted with the issue of language. So many of us have wounding around religion and spirituality, traumatized by distortions that are perpetuated in the name of something inherently sacred. We have negative associations and painful triggers that activate our wounding when we hear words like reverend and minister.

But I AM a reverend now, and I want to walk with the original spirit of that word, which is reverence. I want to embody that reverence, and I want to mirror and model and hold it for you, my clients and my community. I don’t want to upset or offend anyone, or have people turn away because they have an association that is rooted in distortion, disillusionment, and a diminishment of what is pure and true. I want to be a sanctuary, not a sore spot.

So I offer myself in reverence, and I offer to help you return to it if you choose to grapple with the pain and the paradox that keeps you removed from it. We are all walking together, discovering how to repair something that has been broken, but that can most surely become whole again.

“When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.”  ~John O’Donohue

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