Revitalizing the Sacred Arts and Raising a Star Child

Tami Simon: Welcome to Insights at the Edge produced by Sounds True. My name’s Tami Simon, I’m the founder of Sounds True, and I’d love to take a moment to introduce you to the new Sounds True Foundation. The Sounds True Foundation is dedicated to creating a wiser and kinder world by making transformational education widely available. We want everyone to have access to transformational tools such as mindfulness, emotional awareness, and self-compassion, regardless of financial, social, or physical challenges. The Sounds True Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to providing these transformational tools to communities in need including at-risk youth, prisoners, veterans, and those in developing countries. If you’d like to learn more or feel inspired to become a supporter, please visit

You’re listening to Insights at the Edge, today my guest is Briana Saussy. Briana is a writer, teacher, spiritual counselor and ritualist, and the founder of the Sacred Arts Academy, dedicated to the restoration, remembering, and everyday practice of the sacred arts. With Sounds True, Briana—who is often called by her clients and students Miss Bri—she’s written the book Making Magic: Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary. She’s also the author of a new book called Star Child: Joyful Parenting Through Astrology, where she invites us to recognize where the Zodiac’s archetypes live within each of us, to honor these differences, and to joyfully raise our children by the stars.

Briana brings a searing intelligence that invites every interested person to learn more about an entire area of life that unfortunately has been relegated in many circles to the sidelines, being called something like the occult, even though, in my opinion, this is an area of our life that we need to embrace in order to discover our full inner richness and humanness. Here’s a very thrilling conversation with someone who is a terrific teacher and a super gifted storyteller, take a listen, Briana Saussy.

Miss Bri, I so enjoyed our first podcast together when Sounds True released your book Making Magic, and I’m really excited to talk to you again about your new book Star Child. So, welcome to Insights at the Edge.


Briana Saussy: Thank you, Tami. It was awesome talking with you the first time about Making Magic, and I too am very much looking forward to discussing Star Child, so, yay!


TS: OK, let’s start though with a bigger picture, which is, you’re the founder of the Sacred Arts Academy. For people who are hearing this term “sacred arts,” what is that?


BS: The “sacred arts” is a term that I started applying to what I think a lot of us would call new age practices or woo practices. I include within the term things like ceremony and ritual, divination, working with our dreams, astrology, magic of course, and prayer, and blessing, as well as things like cleansing and purification. The idea that I had—or I think of it more as recollecting, right? I don’t really think that this is original to me; I think this is something that’s been there, that I saw. We have the liberal arts, right? We have, for those who are familiar with them, the things like math and literature, the trivium and the quadrivium classically. We have all of these spiritual practices, but we often treat them like they’re separate.

I might pray, but my prayers don’t necessarily have anything to do with the way that I dream or the way that I think about my dreams. They don’t necessarily have anything to do with the kinds of ceremonies I might use on a regular basis to mark certain occasions, right? They’re separate things. For me that felt wrong; that felt like it wasn’t the holistic understanding that I had been brought up with and that I wanted to share with other people. So, the sacred arts are my attempt to bring these things together and show how they’re related. And just like the liberal arts have their own primary source materials, I would say that the sacred arts do as well, and that their primary source materials are things like story and myth, and fairy tales, and folklore.


TS: I want to take a moment first of all, just to thank you for coming up with the term “sacred arts,” because at Sounds True we’ve never really known how to refer to this collection of practices. And I never liked the term “new age” for all kinds of reasons; it brought up terrible connotations for people and “woo” or “woo-woo,” especially when you get into the woo-woo, has a kind of derogatory feeling. And “sacred arts,” it’s such an elevated, beautiful term. So my hat off to you. Thank you.


BS: Thank you. I felt the same way, I thought “new age” was a really odd term because so many of the things are quite ancient, right? I was like, “That doesn’t make sense.” And “woo-woo,” which was really popular when I started working online, has always felt dismissive and tantalizing, right? So, I completely agree, and that was why I was looking for a better way to language the family of practices.


TS: Yes. For people who love words, it’s actually a really big deal that you came up with this. OK, now, in your writing about what are the sacred arts, I pulled out this sentence that I want to talk to you about, “My fundamental standpoint is that a great body of interrelated sacro-magical practices which have been the global norm in civilizations was thrust into darkness, occulted as a consequence of complex historical factors.” I wanted to understand more about this, what were these complex historical factors that put this collection of practices that you named—ceremony, ritual, divination, astrology, magic, prayer, blessing—into this category known as occult?


BS: That’s a really excellent question. Basically, my standpoint is that it is the norm, and I’m very blessed to have clients not just in America or first world countries, but I have clients that are in third world countries and developing nations. And in many of those places where “progress” hasn’t quite made the inroads that it has here, many of these things are just part of what you do. Of course, you have your child’s natal chart cast and interpreted—I mean, who wouldn’t do that? Of course, you have prayers that you open and close your day with—why wouldn’t you have those prayers? […] In developed, highly educated, more secular places around the world, we’ve lost the sense that this is what people do. We create ritual and ceremony and meaning—it is part of what we do, it’s part of how we are created.

The forces that drove that under—I mean, take your pick, right? Where do you want to start? We have forced migrations of people all around the world. In a way we’re just starting to deal with the consequences of that; we’re just starting to recognize that entire groups of people have been forced off of lands, out of relationships with lands and with places that were fundamental to how they understood themselves as a people. We have disease that has scattered various groups, and various families, and various tribes. I have a dear friend who is part of the Kawaika Pueblo in New Mexico, and I talked with her a couple of years ago about the issue of appropriation—huge issue in our field, right? And she told a story that in her tribe they had to go to all of the other Pueblo tribes to get their ceremonies back because an entire generation of elders had been wiped out by disease, and they hadn’t been able to pass down the knowledge.

These things are very much a part of the everyday, but because of the way that we’ve been forced to move, because of disease, because of economic pressures—and because of shaming as well, right? I mean, right now we’re in a very interesting time where if you’re interested in the sacred arts, actually there are some very good resources; there are places like Sounds True that are publishing really great books that dive into these subjects. But for a long time, if you were interested in this and you were in a country that’s more developed and more educated, people would make fun of you, people would use that against you. So, this is a time where I think we can call some of this knowledge back; I see it resurfacing, but I mean, the number of historical forces that have been at work in occulting it have just been vast; and they’re global, they’re everywhere, and they’ve touched everyone’s lives.


TS: Now, you mentioned to me that your clients call you Miss Bri, and I asked you if I could call you Miss Bri and you said yes, so I’m just going to keep going with that. So, Miss Bri, I want to ask you this question, not in a spirit of shaming—and I really hope it doesn’t come across that way because that’s not the spirit I mean it in, and I say that because I feel in my heart and in my life a full embrace of ceremony, ritual, prayer, blessing, magic, etc.—however, I do notice that there’s part of my mind, and I don’t think it’s just been formed because of being raised in a culture of shaming; I think it’s also been formed through a lot of critical thinking that comes up sometimes when I hear people in this world of sacred arts taking things at face value and not questioning them, and just assuming things are factual. I don’t quite know, and this is where I’d love some wisdom from you, of how I can both walk successfully. You seem to do it in the world of critical thinking—rational thinking, questioning, looking for evidence—and a full embrace of the sacred arts. How do I do both?


BS: I am such a fan girl of critical thinking. I think that it’s one of the big missing components in what I would term the wider sacred arts community. I think it’s because of exactly what you said. You read someone like Spinoza—my background is in classics—and he very much is like, “This is all superstition.” And it’s easy to look at many of the things that people across culture, across place do and say, “Oh, there’s a rational explanation for that,” or, “Oh, that is a superstition.” And you’re not always wrong, right? I think that discernment is key. Discernment is your best friend when you are walking that path devoted to the sacred arts, but also taking full advantage of all of the boons and all of the blessings that rational thinking and critical thinking and reason have brought to us.

I think that one of the big problems within the community is a shaming that happens on the other side—and I have received this personally—which tells you to get out of your head and only be in your heart or only be in your body, as if we’re able to take ourselves apart that way. It doesn’t make any sense to me. When I’m looking for people to learn from, and when I’m looking at my students—I just had a bunch of students come on board with me—I’m looking for people who are going to ask questions, I’m looking for people who are not afraid of using the full power of their reason, the full breadth and scope of their critical thinking and their analysis, and I’m looking for people who are even a little bit cynical.

I was raised—I think I told you the last time we talked—half of my family is Baptist, and if you’re a Baptist you read the Bible; you know it backwards and forwards. One of the things that I always loved about biblical stories was how the prophets argued with God; they were like, “Well, maybe it can be more like this.” There is a negotiation; and there is a give, and there is a take; and there’s a questioning that is very, very old, that I think many of our modern practices either lack or they’ve lost. Too many teachers or authorities in the field get their feathers ruffled when people ask them questions, and we should be able to ask questions, we should be able to test our ideas and to see do they really hold up or not?


TS: Well, first of all, Miss Bri, you’re my kind of sacred arts teacher, so thank you. Now, how do we take something like discernment and apply it to astrology? Your new book, Star Child: Joyful Parenting Through Astrology—I think astrology is one of those things that, depending on who you talk to, you get all kinds of reactions; so how do we bring discernment to it?


BS: I would never have thought after Making Magic that this would be my next book, but I knew that I was going to write it, and I knew that I would write it for myself because I wanted to have it laid out. I think discernment in astrology really begins with the understanding that astrology is not about pigeonholing; it is not about type casting; it is not about putting people into boxes; it is not about saying, “You’re a Libra, now I have it all figured out.” It is actually about the opposite. It is about expanding categories and jailbreaking us out of positions that are too narrow and too shallow, right?

That’s where I start with discernment in astrology, is just reframing what it even is that we’re doing. Because astrology—where does it start? It starts in the sky, it starts in the stars. Can you think of anything that is vaster and bigger and deeper and less limited than space? I can’t.

It serves then to reason that the mystical study of that celestial realm is also going to be vast and deep and limitless, and in many ways astrology really is. People get started down the path of learning astrology, and they quickly discover there’s always more to learn, there’s always more to discover, and that is absolutely true. So, discernment has to start with knowing that this is not about putting a label on who you are and what you’re about, right? Every person contains all of the signs, and so this sacred art is really about relationships between these various celestial aspects and how they speak to your life here and now.


TS: OK. But just to ask a slightly challenging question here, which is, the book, Star Child is laid out with a chapter on each one of the signs of the Zodiac, each one of the Sun signs. I can imagine a parent who gets the book immediately turns to the chapter that is the Sun sign of their child, how do they get out of this pigeonholing idea? Like they read all about what it’s like to have a Taurus child, how do you not pigeonhole?


BS: Hopefully they read the chapters before we get into the Sun signs, because I talk about this, and I tell them exactly not to do that. I think I write, “This is what you’re going to want to do, and I would like you to not do this,” so I hope that they begin there. But what they’ll also find is that towards the end of each chapter, we have a section on the ascendant or the rising sign, we have a section on the Moon signs, so maybe your child’s Moon sign isn’t Taurus, right? We also have a section on the inner child. My hope with those sections is that we start to encourage parents, and those who are doing inner child work, and those who have children in their lives that they care about to think beyond the Sun sign. The Sun sign is a great place to begin, but it’s a beginning, right? It’s not where we want to stay. We want to be able to expand out from that information.

The other thing that I hope serves as a doorway into that are the stories themselves. As you know, each chapter starts with a story that illustrates some of the essential qualities of each of these signs. But the stories are different, and they take us into different territories, and they’ll bring up different things for people. I also hope that the stories function as doorways for people to say, “Wow, there’s a lot more to this than what I had originally understood. Now I want to look at my rising sign, now I want to look at my Moon sign.”

The other thing that will probably happen for some people as they look at these chapters is, they’ll come across a chapter and they’ll think, “That does not describe my child. My child is a Libra, but I’ve read the Libra chapter and that does not describe my Libra child.” In those cases, it’s especially important to go farther, because often what’s going on is you may have an individual who—maybe their son is a Libra, but they may have a lot of other stuff in, say, Scorpio. So, you definitely would want to read that chapter and it might actually describe your child better. That can be a good thing, right? If you read it and you’re like, “That’s not my experience,” that can actually be super helpful in encouraging you to take that next step.


TS: OK. In talking about astrology, you brought us to the vastness of space, and you begin Star Child by emphasizing the importance of looking at the sky—stargazing. And you write that astrology and all star lore begins with the naked eye. I wonder if you can share with us some practices, if you will, for a family that wants to appreciate the stars together, what would you suggest? And especially for those of us who might live in cities where it’s not that easy.


BS: Yes, these are tough because of all of the light. A really good place to begin is watching the Moon, right? The Moon is bright, it’s usually pretty easy to find, and its phase changes, as we know, all of the time. There are so many myths and there are so many stories about the Moon, and it’s not just conceptualized as feminine; often that’s how it’s talked about, but in many of the oldest stories the Moon is a hunter, the Moon is the hunting party, the Moon is migration. So, it’s a really great place to begin and it starts to really orient the entire family because a lot of adults don’t spend time looking at the sky either, right? We’re busy. Looking at the Moon starts to orient you with not only that it’s changing, but also its rise and its set, what’s actually happening when we have a full moon, or what’s happening when we have a new moon, the way that the angle of the Earth and the Moon work with one another, that’s a great place to start.

Now, if you wanted to take it a step further, of course, it’s always great to identify things like the Big and the Little Dipper, to identify where Polaris is, but I actually like to just begin with getting a sense of what a summer sky looks like as opposed to a winter sky, because they change and the constellations that are visible are going to change as well. So those are really helpful places to start. The Moon works even in cities because it is so bright. For stars, you might need to go to a place where you have a little bit more darkness, but there’s a lot to be learned just from working with the Moon. And I have students that I advise to work with the Moon and to find the Moon every day, and years later they’re still doing it, so that’s a great practice. 


TS: And can you say a bit more why you emphasize so much this naked eye sky gazing as part of understanding the Star Child material?


BS: So, we go to the internet, right? We go to the internet to try to understand all of the jargon and all of the terms; it’s a little bit like wheels moving within wheels at some points; and it can start to feel very overwhelming, and it can start to feel very complicated. I really emphasize looking at the sky with your naked eye, not even with a telescope, not with your iPhone app that tells you where the stars are; those things are great and they’re fine, but this is what our way, way ancient ancestors did—they looked up at the sky and they noticed patterns. They noticed how those patterns spoke to other things like weather and food availability, and where the best place to build a shelter might be, and they told stories. They created stories. I think some of our earliest stories come from looking at the sky. And when you go out with your children or with your loved ones, and you go and you look at the stars, it’s kind of like looking at clouds during the day—you’ll find that you start to see patterns and we start to create stories about them.

I want people to remember astrology has been developed for millennia; it’s gone through a lot of different historical periods; it’s gone through a lot of different academic periods. And I want people to understand that while there are some terms that you want to be familiar with, and there is some jargon that’s going to come up (you’re going to see it or you’re going to read it), I want people to understand that’s not where it starts. It starts with our immediate relationship to what’s happening, not only above us, but all around us because we’re surrounded by the stars. Not just above our heads, but all around our planet.


TS: You link a story, a myth, or a fairy tale to each one of the Sun signs, and I’m curious how you came up with that linkage.


BS: As you know, I love story, and I have many stories that I’ve heard, or they’ve been given to me, or I’ve come across in my own work. And because I am an astrologer as well as a storyteller, I’ve always noticed that certain stories have a feel to them that would for me, evoke the energy of a specific sign’s qualities, and so I started there. As I went through, the stories really stepped forward and were very insistent about, this is the story for this. I knew that the Fisher King would be the story of a Pisces long before I had the Pisces chapter written, I knew that the Bamboo Princess would be the story for Leo long before Leo had been written.

And that was interesting because I hadn’t made a conscious decision to represent stories from around the world, I was just going to let the stories show up and then work with them, but it turned out as it happened, as these things go, we do have stories from around the world. And I like that because the language of astrology is one that we find around the world, it’s not necessarily the same as Western astrology coming out of Babylon, but every culture has their own star lore, and every culture has their own astrology. And so I like the fact that I was able to bring in stories from various cultures that speak to some of these themes.


TS: You write in the book, “Astrology literally means the speech of the stars,” I thought that was so beautiful.


BS: Thank you ancient Greek, right? Astro-logos—it’s the speech and the thought, but really, logos, I think, is best translated as “speech of the stars.” I love it too and I think that’s exactly what it is; it encourages us to not just learn the language of astrology, but also to listen. In the sense that stars, the heavens, the firmament might have something to tell us, in the same way that I absolutely believe that a tree has something to share if we know how to listen to it.

We’re reading Tolkien right now in my family. My husband reads it before we go to sleep. We got through the part with the Ents, and Ents tell their stories very slowly because they are these great, ancient beings; they are these great, ancient trees. I like that we’re coming into a time where we’re able to see that many of the things we tend to think of as not having speech, actually do have a kind of speech; it’s just different. We have to learn to listen to it in a different way.


TS: I thought as a way to make this real for our listeners and to let them enjoy your terrific storytelling gifts, you could share a story that links to—ready for this?—the child of our engineer on Insights at the Edge, who was born on January 12th, a Capricorn child. You start this section of the book with the story, “The Elves and The Shoemaker,” and I wonder if you can both share the story and also let us know how this might start our engineer on a journey of inquiry and curiosity through the story about his Capricorn daughter.


BS: Yes, I love it. Let’s start with the story and then I’ll talk about why this is particularly appropriate for a Capricorn child, and what the parent of a Capricorn child might want to really focus on in this story.

“Once upon a time we were walking across the land and our feet were protected by the most beautiful shoes: leather stitched on leather, inscribed, carved, embroidered with silk, firmly soled. And these shoes that were able to walk the land and listen to something of what it has to say were crafted by a man in a village not so very far away. Our shoemaker was known far and wide for the excellence that he brought to his craft, the patience that he took with every single slipper, the care that he took from the beginning of the project to the very end. He was thorough, sure-fingered and excellent at all that he did. And because he was so gifted, and because his work was so very fine, and because he himself always wanted something more and something better, especially for his lovely wife, he grew busier and busier with more and more orders for shoes.

As joyful as this made our shoemaker, it enraged his lovely wife. She had not, she said, married him only to never see him, only to hear him work toiling day and night in his workshop at his bench. She had not, she said, married him so that he can spend more time with lifeless leather, and board, and paste, and embroidery floss than he did with her. What mattered most was not another order or more gold in the pocket, but the time that they spent together. The shoemaker was so distressed, “But my love,” he said, “I’m doing this for you, I’m doing this for us.” And she simply raised a brow as if to ask, “Who are you really doing this for?” And she turned, and she walked away, and not long after, the bell over his shop door rang and another order for another set of shoes came in. Well, the shoemaker was at a loss, he wanted to please his wife and he was devoted absolutely to his craft. And so he sat at his bench as the day came to an end, knowing that he needed to go home, wanting to go home, but also knowing how much work still was before him.

He felt low and he felt sad. And he remembered his mother, God rest her, who is no longer with him, but had taught him that when he felt low and when he felt sad, he could always call upon the fairies. He could leave an offering, a bowl of milk in the corner of whatever room he was in, and they would come and they would brighten his day. And so, laughing at himself, he did exactly that, poured the cool milk into a clay bowl, placed it into the corner of his workshop. He blew out the lanterns, he closed the door, he locked it and home he went, where his wife was somewhat surprised to see him actually home on time and delighted. And they feasted together and made love that evening.

When the shoemaker returned to his workshop the next day, he found something quite curious, all of the shoes that had not yet been made from all of the orders that had not yet been filled, were lined up perfectly, every detail exactly in place. There was no one to be seen, nothing to hear, no note, no letter, no explanation for how this miracle had come to be. And so, for the first time in years, the shoemaker was able to close early and to return home to be with his wife. Of course, when one is excellent at one’s craft one is always in demand, and so by that afternoon even more orders had come in. The shoemaker went back to his workshop, began working, grew so tired that he actually fell asleep at his table. And it was then deep in dream that he heard the sound of bells, the sound of chimes, the sound of tiny little pitter patters, almost like rain drops falling on his worktable and his work bench.

One eye slowly opened, and he saw tiny little people dressed in beautiful colors scurrying this way and that, picking up silver shears and ribbon, needles and embroidery, paste and board, and leather, and silk, and crafting the most beautiful shoes. And he knew then that his mother was right, and these were the fairies, the fey, the elves, the little people, and that they were thanking him for the small offering of milk that he had made. He stayed still the way that you do when you’re trying to gain an animal’s trust, but he watched with that one open eye as they toiled. And when they were finished, they cleaned everything up just as he liked and disappeared. And so, in return once they were gone, having taken count and measure in his mind, he created tiny shoes, perfect in every detail, exquisitely beautiful for each one of the elves that had helped him fill his order. Once he was finished, he went home, gave his wife a huge kiss and told her that he would, from this day forward, be able to spend more time with her for he had found the right helpers and he knew how to honor them. And that day marked the beginning of a beautiful relationship between the shoemaker and his elves, who would help whenever there was need and who were thanked by always having the most exquisite shoes.”

Let’s talk about what this says about Capricorn. Capricorn, our goat—it actually was conceived of as a sea goat for most of astrological history, at least in the West. And what I like about this story is that the work ethic that the cobbler or the shoemaker brings, there’s no shame around it. And this is super important for people born under the sign of Capricorn and also those who have a lot of Capricorn in their chart, right? Because Capricorn-influenced people love to work. They take pride in their work, calling them a workaholic is probably the nastiest thing you could do. They see a work ethic as something that informs their whole character, and they do good work, and they are excellent. Capricorn is the sign of excellence and mastery at a specific skill, it is an energy that anyone who’s looking to get better at something should call in, right?

Call it into your life, call it into your room, because this is the energy of a master. This is somebody who’s going to work until they have every detail perfect, and that’s what our shoemaker does, and he is successful. And worldly success is important for Capricorns. Again, we’re not shaming, we’re not interested in shaming, we’re interested in understanding worldly success, recognition, honor; “I worked really hard, I developed this skill, I want the reward, I want the recognition, I want to be the best, I want to be seen as the best, this matters.” This is a way to acknowledge the gifts that Capricorn brings into our lives. We all have really fine things like fine clothes and fine handbags because somewhere out there, there’s a Capricorn demanding that it be that awesome.

And there’s a shadow side, right? The shadow side is what really matters. Sometimes Capricorn[s] can get caught up in the doing and can be so nose-to-the-grindstone. I also think about tarot cards for every story, and the tarot card that I think of for the shoemaker and the elves is the eight of coins, if people are familiar with that one. It’s like he’s carving out the coin; his nose is to the grindstone. With Capricorn we can be very focused on the work at hand and forget that there are other things that are as important or more important than work, and that work is here to support our life, that your life is not here to support your work. And that honoring those other things like a lovely wife, a lovely husband, a lovely dad or mom is something that actually will make our work all the sweeter. So those are some of the things that I would take.

Congratulations again on your sweet baby girl. She’ll be into what she’s into, right? She’s going to be super focused; she’s going to be super intense about it; she’s going to like to work at the things that she likes to work at. If she doesn’t care about something, then she probably won’t want to mess with it at all. Grades might be really important to her. A lot of times Capricorns are like, “But I need to get a really good grade on the test, and I need to have really good grades on my report card.” She will value metrics that tell her that she’s improving, and they like rewards, they like shiny things. With a Capricorn child, they tend not to be behaviorally more challenging like some of our other signs, but easy, positive reinforcement here. Give her a medal, give her a shiny gold sticker, literally give her a gold star, she will be so happy. These are the things that will really help her come into her own and support her, and let her get into what she gets into, but also keep her balanced, right?

Keep her tethered to the bigger picture, and the things that restore her and the things that replenish her. Remind her to take care of herself. And as a little bitty baby, she’s going to be super tactile. All of the Earth signs—that’s Capricorn, Virgo, and Taurus—they often communicate more through touch than they do through word, and so being held, being snuggled—of course we do that with all little babies—but she will really like that. She will like order most likely, […] everything in its place and a place for everything […]. The shoemaker has that with his instruments and his materials, right? They all live in a certain place. So those are some of the things that I would draw out from that story.


TS: Gorgeous. A couple things, Miss Bri, one, I’ve worked with some Capricorns, and I wish I worked with more; I wish we could hire hundreds of them at Sounds True; they’re the best for business, but I’ll tell you something that really floored me, is that you just told that story right here, spontaneously. I wanted to understand a little bit more what’s going on for you—do you shut your eyes and see a film? Like, you know there’s a story I want [you] to tell—I just asked you to tell the story of “The Elves and the Shoemaker”—and then it unfolds frame by frame in your mind and you’re describing it, or how does it work for you?


BS: I do close my eyes and I try to listen to what parts of the story—OK, let’s take a step back. I see stories as beings. I see them as beings. Somebody asked me how my writing process began. I was being interviewed about Star Child, [about] when I first am asked to write a book, and I actually told them I make an altar. I make a sacred space for the book, and I invite the book in, because I think that these creative ideas, they have shape, they have form, they have life. Same with stories; they have shape, they have form, they have life. I close my eyes so that I can call it in and call it out, and as I’m telling it, I’m feeling it. It doesn’t unfold frame by frame. I like that; I wish sometimes that it would; but I listen to what parts need to come out. And I never tell a story the same way twice, because I can’t, because, depending on who I’m talking with and what the situation is, something’s going to come out in this telling that doesn’t come out in another telling. That’s how I do it.

I listen and I take my time, when you’re telling a story, you can give it some room. I know when I listen to a story or even when I listen to music, I like it when people let it have a little room to move around. As I’m giving it that room, I’m listening, “OK, what needs to come out next, what’s important?” Like in this story, the shoemaker and his wife made love, I don’t have that in the story in the book. I think she gets pregnant in the story in the book, but I don’t actually bring out their lovemaking, but this time that needed to be said. And it makes sense because there’s a sensual component to Capricorn as well, that obviously wanted to be heard. So that’s how I work it.


TS: Well, you are gifted, I have to say. It was awesome. I could listen to you tell stories all day, but instead I’m going to ask you this other question, which is, you mentioned how the book Star Child, we could use it to apply to the children in our life, as we just did with our engineer’s Capricorn child, or we could look at our own inner child. I’m wondering, I want to hear a little bit more about that. In this case, I’ll go ahead and throw myself out there as a proud Leo—how will the Star Child book help me with my inner child?


BS: This part really came in the writing of the book. As I was working with each of the signs, I realized that every single sign has heard something negative. Like an Aries—I’ll use Aries as an example before I get to Leo—with Aries it’s like, “Be quiet because Aries are often pretty loud, not always, but often they’re pretty loud.” With Leo, the message is often, “Get out of the way,” or, “Who do you think you are?” Leos are amazing. They’re the Sun. They are heart and they’re often one of the signs that gets, as I’m sure you know, critically treated in astrological write-ups because people are like, “Oh, they’re selfish and egotistical.” But Leos are actually love and they are generosity, and when they are functioning and they’re supportive and in their best place, they pour that out on everybody else. And they stand in the spotlight, but they encourage every single person around them to stand in the spotlight as well, right? In whatever way and whatever form is appropriate for each person.

When you’re growing up as a little Leo, you’re something along the lines of, “Get out of the way,” or “Move,” or, “Let somebody else have a turn,” or, “Don’t take up the center of the stage. Back off.” I was writing this and I was like, “Every sign has its gifts, every sign has its challenges, but then every sign also has wounds that we sustain.” That is what I wanted to speak to with the inner child work. I wanted that inner child, Leo, and to be clear, you may, when reading this book, feel like it may not be their Sun sign. I might be a Libra but I might have been told to get out of the way, and so this is where I need to do my healing work, is around the Leo inner child.

When you’re doing that, first of all, we just acknowledge it like, “Oh, there was this thing that was said or there were these things that were done and they hurt and they caused wounds. And let’s heal that, let’s see what medicine we can bring to that.” I think of it very viscerally: let’s comb out that lion’s mane and let’s get that lion looking sleek, and happy, and healthy, and not feeling ashamed for being its beautiful leonine self. That’s what the inner child piece was really about; it was really realizing that whatever your sign happens to be, each one of these signs—and again, we all have all of them, have wounds that they carry just from being in the world; nobody’s necessarily to blame. You want to look at that and you want to address that, and putting it in terms of astrology, I think is a really helpful way to start to do that


TS: Two final questions I want to make time for here, Miss Bri. One is, as the book comes to a close, Star Child, you talk about the power of seeing our children really for who they are, and that in this we’re taking good care of our descendants. And that makes good sense to me, perfect sense. The thing that really got my attention is when I was reading about your work with sacred arts, that you include, in the community of practices that you offer and teach through sacred arts, lineage and legacy. I wanted to understand more about that, how it’s a sacred practice to look at our lineage and legacy and how this work with Star Child helps us with that.


BS: We have ancestor work and honoring our ancestors. Recognizing the gifts and the problems and the challenges in our lineage is work that a lot of people are doing right now. It’s awesome and I love to see it. It continues to happen, and it’s happening collectively and it’s happening individually. Our legacy is an awareness of the ones that come after us. The way that I was always taught this is that you’re cleaning the waters of your lineage. It’s a river that’s flowing forward and it’s flowing through you and through your life, and you’re cleaning the waters of your lineage so that the ones that come after you are going to drink the cleanest water possible and that they don’t have as much cleaning to do, right? We want to leave things better than we found them; we want to leave things cleaner than we found them. That is legacy work, and it’s not talked about as much.

I was just talking to a friend who studies with a traditional South American shaman, and it’s the first time that I heard descendants mentioned outside of the work that I do. And I was super pumped to hear it, because I know that it has traditional roots that [are not] in our lingo yet widely. The idea of descendants is that it’s not just whether or not you have children. We all have descendants. We all have a legacy that we’re leaving. Our lives have touched so many other lives, which in turn touch so many other lives. We have work that we bring through us, like I said, I see stories as beings; I see a book as a creature with a shape and a form that gets to come through or not, depending on what I do.

Those are the things that make up our legacy […]. Part of the work that I want us to be able to collectively do is see our descendants more clearly and be able to not only envision, but really call forward and do the practical work of fashioning a future for them that’s a clean, nourishing river that supports and sustains as opposed to diminishing. I feel that there are many ways to do that. Astrology is a really good way because there’s a lot of […] temptation, as a parent especially, but as anyone who has children in their lives, but even with things like a book, to think that there’s a one size fits all approach. “This is the way you write a book. This is the way you raise a child. This is what a two-year-old is.” And if you’ve had children or written books, or created a business, or done anything, done any kind of creative act, you know that’s not true, absolutely not true.

There’s the way that you’re going to do it, and part of that hopefully is informed by what the thing that you’re creating needs or asks for or demands. And that’s where astrology can be really helpful in letting us see this is going to be supportive to this kind of a child. I’m not going to worry about this thing over here that maybe some people are saying is a problem, but I know that it’s not. My oldest is a very heavy Pisces, he has a lot in Pisces—incredibly gifted artist, incredibly gifted musician. When he was little the teachers were like, “He’s not very social,” and I knew, I was like, “It’ll come”—and it has—“and I’m not going to worry about it. I’m going to get that piano under his fingers because I know that’s going to be a way for him to process all of those big feelings through music, through something beautiful.” That’s the visionary capacity that we need to bring to all the things that we’re creating and all the things that we’re nurturing, and the world that we’re setting up for those various beings to live in.


TS: Just to underscore something here, we started our conversation talking about sacred arts—what are they, how did they get lost, and how do we honor them in our time. I think, certainly, in many people’s minds, if they were to make a list of sacred arts, there might be ceremony, ritual, divination, astrology, magic—I’m with you; but lineage and legacy, you’re the first person I’ve heard include those words when listing off these other kinds of metaphysical art forms. I think in a way it completes it for me. It’s so important for me, so I want to thank you for that and just underscore it.


BS: Well, I have said I wrote Making Magic for my ancestors. My ancestors were in many cases not listened to; they didn’t have a voice for a whole bunch of reasons. I talked with them and I said, “This is the book I’m going to write for you.” And Star Child is the one that I wrote for my children, but also for this idea of the descendants. Because again, when we look at places that are closer to these practices, they’ve been doing it more or less without interruption, this is where it starts and ends; it starts and ends with your beloved dead, the people who went before you who literally made your life possible, and with the ones who come after—that we are, in our actions, determining what they inherit […]. Talk about discernment, when you live in between those two awarenesses; you have to be really discerning, because there’s a lot riding on what you do.


TS: Final question here for you, Miss Bri, you write in the book Star Child that the earliest astrologers were also magicians, and I thought, “Huh, that’s interesting.” Then I thought, “Ok, I’m talking to someone right now who’s an astrologer magician, and I’m talking to them at this critical time, in my view, in human history.” Many people say that we’ve just entered the most critical decade for humanity in terms of, will we shift our collective structures and systems so that we can have the future descendants and legacy that we want to have. What do you have to say as an astrologer magician about this next decade that we’re in, what’s your view?


BS: My view is that it is time to get on the bus, right? My view is that we don’t have time to waste, and the sacred arts practices that we’ve been talking about throughout this conversation help us live in a more meaningful and a more aware way, that right now awareness and right relationship are of paramount importance. I feel like people can get there without the sacred arts, but I feel like it’s way easier when we integrate this part of our history and this part of our lineage into our lives. And from a magical perspective, astrologically, a lot of astrologers have been talking about how this next decade, I mean, we are going to see certain things that we thought would never give way giving way, it will happen—


TS: Like what? What are you referring to when you say—


BS: I think that we’re going to see a lot of the societal institutions that we’ve always—like banking as we’ve “always” understood it, economics as we’ve “always” understood it, protection and security as we’ve “always” understood it, those things are going to be changing. They’re already changing, but we’re going to see massive change in those kinds of institutions. As a magician, what I would say is, “Look at alchemy, baby”—in order for something new to come in, something has to die. You don’t get to add energy to it without some kind of a sacrifice, some way of making something sacred. We need to get comfortable with the give and the take.

Magically, what that means to me is, you need to keep your internal house in order, and you need to keep your eye on what you’re devoted to, what really gives you meaning and what your purpose is, because in the next ten years there’s going to be so much that would take you away from that. And I firmly believe every single person is uniquely gifted to be a blessing in the world and a blessing to one another. Even the ones that make me want to tear my hair out, even the ones that I’m like, “Is it possible?” Being clear about your purpose, and being centered in yourself, and keeping that internal house in order are going to be really, really critical. Personally, I am not a huge fan of sitting practices, I have always had a hard time with them, but I do them. I do them partly because I have a hard time with them, and I also do them because I feel like stillness practices amid the storm are very good magic and very good medicine for the time that we’re in.


TS: I’ve been talking to the founder of the Sacred Arts Academy, someone who—you don’t just inspire me, I feel awestruck by you and your work. Briana Saussy, she’s the author of a previous book with Sounds True called Making Magic: Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary, and a new book called Star Child: Joyful Parenting through Astrology. Miss Bri, I hope we can talk again soon.


BS: Yes, I would love it. Thank you so much, Tami, for having me. I so appreciate it. Your questions as always are just beyond excellent; they are the cat’s meow. I appreciate it.


TS: Thank you for listening to Insights at the Edge, you can read a full transcript of today’s interview at If you’re interested, hit the Subscribe button in your podcast app. Also, if you feel inspired, head to iTunes and leave Insights at the Edge a review. I love getting your feedback, being in connection with you and learning how we can continue to evolve and improve our program. Working together, I believe we can create a kinder and wiser world, waking up the world.


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