This full moon (January 15th) is tangled up with intensity and more than a little angsty (square Mars & Venus) though trine Saturn invites healthy boundaries of love (instead of walls of fear). Feel your feelings, trust your gut, but know that reality is something else. Feel it and move on. Like this. You are not defined by what you feel or do or make. You do not need to blame someone else when discomfort arises. Notice the urge, but don't give in to it and restrain any desire to act from that place. Keep moving toward peace and connection. Like this.
If we tend to our guts, we tend to our emotional wisdom. Cancer moons often bring a craving for mother's milk. Here's a recipe that satisfies that craving in a healthier way:
3-4 Tbs chia seeds soaked in water just to covering
1 can coconut milk
1-2 bananas (or sweetener of your choice to taste, i.e. liquid steiva, maple syrup, honey)
Optional: 1 Tbs vanilla extract and/or cocoa powder for a chocolatey treat, chopped fruit, etc. (be creative, you can't do it wrong)
Blend coconut milk & bananas (or mix with sweetener and vanilla). Mix in chia seeds. Enjoy.
Photo credit: Sarai Schneider, a remarkable healer and fellow lover of the moon. Check out her work.
I'd be lying if I told you that this Solstice season brings with it an easy astrology. With Uranus moving forward now, we do seem to be regaining a sense of clarity about who we really are and how the past months have inevitably led to this moment. This sense of ourselves is in creative tension on Xmas day. It meets with other people's expectations of what we do with our energy and how (Mars in Libra). See "there is no such thing as other people's stuff" for clues on how to practice emotional intelligence in this tussle.
Most importantly, check your expectations. Most folks are anxious, irritable and trying to mold reality to conform to a fantasy script of the holiday season. If you figure out how to make that work, please let me know. In the meantime, be someone who can smile at the chaos and breathe through the crazy. Hope this helps:
Know that it is possible to get through the holydaze with peace, joy and grace this year as long as we center ourselves in a willingness to do the work & make the effort towards accepting what is.
Photo credit: Nathan Taylor
I've found myself telling all my clients to handle their holydaze shopping by asking themselves these questions:
1. Have I been considering buying this for a long time? Does this reflect my values in some meaningful way?
2. Is it beautiful and useful? Will I (or they, if it's a gift) actually use it?
3. Is it a great deal?
4. Is it returnable?
If your purchase/gift/action meets at least three of these criteria, give yourself a Venusian green light.
Venus' retrograde in Capricorn from 12/21-1/31 doesn't just call us to question what we spend our resources on. It also brings our relationships center stage. This includes our relationship to ourselves. A client recently commented that she might apply these questions to her relationship decisions over the next forty days and forty nights which I reckon is probably wise. Whatever you do, this holiday season and as we move into the new year, be supremely (self) loving without all the fuss. You probably will not find peace in a "beauty" product (and may make things worse if you make drastic change unless it meets the above criteria). You might, however, find peace in a simple, sweet, self massage. Check out these holiday thrival tips to expand your repertoire of simple ways to be love in action.
2014's New Years Day aligns with the dark new moon in Capricorn, an excellent time to be prayerful and reflective, make vision board collages and write your wishes down. A new moon and a new year feels auspicious despite the fact that I have my reservations about starting a new year in the middle of winter. Making re-solutions in the sense of recommitting to loving your self and your communities is wise and beautiful. Remember though, we make vows so that we are reminded of what's important to us when we forget. It's not about being perfect, it's about continuing to try.
Photo credit: Nathan Taylor
"The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others." -Carl Jung
On this healing path, I've worked a lot on "not taking on other people's stuff." This is a phrase we speak often in bay area healing circles. While I've benefitted immeasurably from the meditations where I've given people back their stuff, envisioned myself surrounded by a protective orb of energy and all that powerful woo, I'm feeling more and more like it's a lie that reveals the truth rather than the truth itself.
This Friday, October 18th the full moon brings us a lunar eclipse in Aries/Libra. So much of the Aries/Libra story is about self and other. Over the next year or so, our job is to learn as much as we can about how we relate and how we act as individuals in those relations. Now is a moment where we're probably getting a lot of information about that. I keep thinking about an old neighbor who was struggling with addiction. He was abusive, acting out in all sorts of ways and destroyed my garden more than once. Nothing I did got him to act more sane until I stopped trying to get him to do anything, hung up some mirrors on the front door and in the garden and started wishing him well. Even then, not much changed with him, but I did. Years later, in retrospect, as the child of an alcoholic, I can't deny that me learning how to live with addiction is completely my stuff.
It's so easy to get caught up in feeling wronged, feeling that if other people would just do what we think is best then we could finally relax and life would get better, we get distracted from what we actually can change: ourselves. The crucial thing to remember in this eclipse heightened time is that whatever is coming up is a mirror. All the things, especially when we're obsessing about the outer world, are just reflections of our inner life. Often they are mirrors of your beauty. Sometimes though facebook, our friends, our family, our inbox, etc. are reflections of our unresolved stuff. The good news is we're being given the (sometimes) agonizing gift of greater resolution and healing, if we take the time to go inward.
Two weeks from now on November 3rd, that inner work will help us rise to meet a solar eclipse in Scorpio. Along with mercury retrograde also in Scorpio (10/21-11/9), now is a time to look at that part of ourselves that keeps getting attracted to the same lessons, that keeps looking in the same mirrors (over and over and over again). Invite your psyche to tea and ask the bigger questions of what you are to learn from this shifting time. Let go of blame and heal what only you can heal.
Halloween and Day of the Dead remind us that Scorpio's time is a one to sit with the reality of death. Somehow this unifying thread amongst us all, this promise of a returning to source, even just as compost, helped me to see that the more I embraced the mirrors in my life, the more clearly I could see myself. Yes, we are separate, embodied beings AND in this mystery of oneness, whatever Scorpionic sh*t you're called on to deal with now is yours to compost, even if it appears to be somebody else's. Perhaps it's as simple as there is no other? Perhaps it's all just a lie that reveals the truth? Either way, enjoy the reflections.
Photo credit: Nathan Taylor
We're in Libra season folks and with the new moon (Oct. 4th) it's time to focus on what you're wanting to get out of yet another fucking growth opportunity. The themes this month are relating, releasing and figuring out how to do what feels genuinely good even in the midst of the hard. The sun and moon are caught up in the Uranus/Pluto square encouraging us to put the effort in against all odds (as Caroline Casey says, those are the odds that the divine likes).
A wise friend recently explained that she sometimes calls Libra energy "Liebra" because there's a tendency to sweep things under the rug, to sacrifice all conflict on the altar of harmony. As she said, shit still stinks even when it's swept under the rug. The good news is that Pluto and Uranus seems to be discouraging that expression. Whatever peace we're able to find will be because of our willingness to sit with the discomfort that often comes from growth and change. Is it a surprise that the US government has now shutdown over the right to affordable care? Not really. Am I hopeful that the good sense, decorum and kindness of Libra will woo the moment, indeed! The women, infants and children need it as do the places of great beauty, our national parks (amongst so many other ways we try, imperfectly, to protect our land, air, water and health).
I wonder if we're all not feeling shutdown in some way or another, perhaps where this new moon is happening in your birth chart. Know that when we sacrifice ourselves and shutdown, the most creative parts of us suffer. We lose our sense of possibility and feel stuck. The question for me has been, where do I need to feel my feelings and where do I need to reach out for connection to spirit, to friends, to trusted advisors for help dealing with whatever I'm trying to avoid. We all need to infuse a commitment to affordable self and community care into our daily lives as one small way to ride the rising tides forward. These themes will only build as we enter eclipse season and mercury retrograde later this month.
One of my most oft leaned on affordable care tools is comedy. Thank goodness for the truth telling court jesters Colbert, Stewart and their amazing teams in these trying times. I even dreamt about Louis CK this week. Louis CK is one of those brilliant people born in the late 1960s when Pluto and Uranus were presenting a more united revolutionary front. These blessed individuals get to bring that energy into this moment of more tense transformation. His sun is right next to Pluto/Uranus so his career as a creative person, after much Virgoan hard work and integration, has really taken off in this unique astro-ecology (I see a similar opening for a lot of clients born in the late '60s). His Saturn in Aries and Moon is Capricorn have been activated by Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn too. His career is what it is today because he's willing to break taboos about parenting, marriage/divorce, and society in ways that can give a sense of relief and liberation, of not being alone, of not having to sweep it under the rug anymore. He does this best by invoking the wiser, more connected parts of ourselves. We know that empathy, feeling our feelings and being uncompromising in our commitment to live whole lives even in a consumer society run amuck is more powerful than that deep sense of empty, loneliness that comes with being human.
Photo credit: Nathan Taylor (my title: running from the sad)
As this new moon approached, I couldn't help noticing a lot of angsty overwhelm escalating all around. Chalk it up to the Virgo season's attention to all that needs doing. The hard working, back to school energy fills the air and one can't help but wonder how it will all get done. On top of that, Virgo energy tends to want to do everything as perfectly as we possibly can (my inner critic is definitely a Virgo). Even as I write, I find myself stopping to re-read every sentence to make sure it's crafted clearly and concisely to communicate exactly what would be the greatest service to all. Forging ahead, imperfectly...
Every astrological wisdom I've encountered today says that it's time to clean house. While I love a tidy abode, I recently sat on my therapist's couch and shared how liberating it was to have a messy house AND feel at peace about it. With my Mars in the 4th in Virgo, I can get a little iron fisted and controlling about order in my home to the point where my sweetheart confessed that for the first few months that we lived together, he cleaned out of sheer terror. A year later, I'm publicly declaring that my house is mess and my well being isn't compromised by it (and no one is cleaning out of sheer terror). Perhaps it's the Chironic wounded healer in Pisces opposing this new moon, but I'm refusing to let my inner well being be determined by external circumstance and I can't advise you to either. I trust that it will all get done at just the right time and if it doesn't get done, it didn't need to get done. You are not your clean house!
If we give Virgo the space it needs to prioritize and put first things first, we may be surprised at what matters most. Perhaps it's attending to our health by relaxing with a book or a bath? If mopping those floors is what really wants to happen next then, by all means, but if your mental health is contingent on those floors being mopped (especially if you've be socialized as a woman), you might actually just need a break from all the endless doing, giving, striving.
For some (read me), it might be time to do the hard thing that we're avoiding with all the boring busy? Instead of cleaning house, I shared about the Spiritual Justice Series and learned how to put fancy buttons on my site so folks can register more easily. I also danced the tango, learned more about how to sing, ran errands for the Queer Astrology project, went to the farmer's market and listened a vet talk about how glad he was to be out of the army. It felt good to be in service, honoring my back to school routine AND not make myself miserable by judging what I didn't get to today.
All that's enough, but the secret I'm learning little by little is that it's also enough to watch TV, eat ice cream, drink cocktails, order in, sleep in, be "bad," read an entire book in a day, not return phone calls right away, set aside a day a week where nothing is scheduled, be late, laugh awkwardly at inappropriate times, not leave the house all day long and do an awful job of doing my best. Some emotional messes are harder to sit with, but getting to the place where I can say "that happened" and move on is where it's at. What if we all learned to accept exactly where our homes, lives, loves are at right now and smile in the crazy, laugh at the overwhelm? For me, that's the healing mojo of this moon. What is it for you?
I have to admit that I did feel a little panicked about what I should/could/would do in some small way to resist more militaristic madness and then I found this in my inbox. Perhaps you'll find taking action will help your heart find peace in the mess.
Creative commons photo credit.
I spent much of the day nagged by a subtle sense of despair. Every time I wrote the date, I paused and was distracted by unknown grief. The dark moon can be characterized by dread as we sit with uncertainty around what the next lunar cycle will bring. Yes, myself and many of my beloved allies are steeped in not knowing, living with a sense of shifting ground beneath us and big change brewing, but that did not explain away the fear. I hoped that the moon's moving to meet the sun in its home in Leo might shed some light on the gloom.
That's when I recalled that this year's Leo new moon shares its date with Hiroshima Day (8/6). What happens when the light shines so brightly that it burns? What happens when so much energy is manipulated and turned against all life? What are we to do in a world so pregnant with grief, fear and despair? As Audre Lorde says, "Use what power you have to work for what you believe in."
This new moon, I invite you to look for the spark inside the pain. What beauty, what truth, what vision can only you make real because of the ashes you've risen from? What brilliant expression of deep desire for peace is asking for our tender nurturance and playful exploration? How can we honor the lives of ancestors lost in nightmares too real and too grave to forget by living our dreams of peace and compassion now? I find relief in the naming and the asking of these questions. In that relief are the threads of the power of new moon magic to set intentions, make wishes, focus on that which you wish you create.
Knowing that tomorrow (8/7) brings a Pluto and Jupiter opposition activating the Pluto/Uranus square, bringing it into a T-square for the next few weeks positions me to honor the dance of despair and hope. Acknowledging that, I find resonance with Jessica Shepherd's wise words: "T-squares are packed with energy and momentum. Here's the formula: what needs to change or die (Pluto) + restlessness + new opportunities (Jupiter, Uranus) = sudden new paths." May we find a sudden new path towards peace, inner and outer, and may we release the struggle against what wants to be and accept what is. In that acceptance, may we feel clearly what wants to happen next, putting one foot in front of the other with ease and grace, as agents of peace and change.
"Bless you for your grief, it's a sign of great capacity...You are a sea of goodness" -Yoko Ono
Happy Summer Solstice! The night is returning. The day is to be celebrated and enjoyed. I read recently about a wise mother who, when her child became afraid of the dark, invited her to their backyard at night. There she shared with her child all things that were beautiful and right about the darkness.
The super full moon in Capricorn (6/23) asks us to walk the line in terms of doing and caring. Best thing to do is bring them together by doing that which demonstrates your care. I'm setting up a solstice ancestor altar, grateful for all that has been and trusting in what will be while doing my best to really occupy this space in between (now). It's all we have and all that.
Jupiter enters Cancer (6/25), the sign it will call home for the next year. This ushers in the summertime heavy hit of astro-weather, a Grand trine in water. Every time we say or feel love, a part of us knows that we'll also lose it, often to separation, always to death. Still, when the endings come, most of us know we'd do it all over again. Dreams, trance, meditation bend time and space and in that way mean moments of liberation and consolation. We must feel it all or feel nothing at all. The ocean flows from our eyes or we are thirsty in the desert, sometimes both at once. Death reminds us to live. Letting go reminds us to hold on while we can. Love it all. Swim.
Mercury goes retrograde in Cancer on June 26th-July 20th though we get to ride the shadow phase through August 5th. Talk with your feelings. Ask them what they want. I've been worried that my recent grieving has been too public, too vulnerable, too real. Grieving in the internet age is a different thing. No one can see me wearing black. And yet, I can't imagine any other way. This sadness isn't a private thing, it's everything and nothing, an illusion and all that is real. Whatever it is you're feeling, say it, dance it, sing it, draw it, share it, make it real enough to let go all the while allowing the waves to ebb and flow. Know also that we are not our feelings. When feeling enslaved or obsessed by the undertow, move sideways, give yourself a break, breathe, allow the flow to buoy you. Stop striving for perfection. Find the meaning and revelation in the mistakes. Love it all. You can't do it wrong. Your words can be salve. Use them wisely. Reap, rest, respect.
Uranus/Pluto-The intense tug of war between our need for collective transformation and individual liberation continues to tie us up in knots. There can be something meditative about untangling the knots. At other times, it's best to throw it into the cauldron and see what messages the flames bring. When panicked about a decision, it's probably not actually time to make it. Just remember, don't just do something, sit there.
I'm getting asked a lot about the intensity of the moment. It's not just the eclipses or the approaching mercury retrograde for most folks. The larger arc that many are feeling is probably the Pluto/Uranus square (exact most recently on May 20th). The last time Pluto and Uranus were dancing together was during the late 1960s, before that was the Great Depression. This moment we're in now has echoes of those eras-it's less dancing and more a sideways tug of war a la occupy/tea party mvmts. On a personal level, the need for deep inward change calls and the universe answers with unexpected outward shifts that make avoiding that deep call much less of an option. Themes around the individual and the collective call too. We've got a couple more years of this to go. Some astrologers have been saying "buckle up." The astrologers I've been most resonating with are saying that "buckling up" will do no good. The illusion of safety from the great turning holds us back from so very much and it's time to let go. You can find my favorite resource for dealing with this on a personal level (described aptly as a first aid kit for the soul) here.
I've noticed that folks born in the late 1960s seem to be experiencing a certain blossoming. A blog is brewing about that, but isn't yet ripe. If you're one of the folks born around 1968 or 1969, I'd love to hear how the past couple of years have been for you. I'd love to hear how the past couple years have been for all of you.
I'll be honest folks, these eclipses have been kicking my ass in the best and worst ways. Eclipses as the apex of changes that have been brewing for the past 3-6 months tend to do that, especially when they are activating tender parts of us. Sometimes the universe just knows we need to be further tenderized. In these times, I find myself leaning into care and community. I find that's where the meaning to near constant seeming barrage of transition and change crystalizes. Community and care is also where I find the magic insight I need to accept what is so I can rest in the chaos (something I'm learning how to do better and better). I figure I might not be the only one who needs to up the stress relieving ante right now and in that spirit, I offer you these:
Community Care Resources
Acupuncture - http://www.caworks.org/ (LOVE)
CIIS student therapists - http://www.ciis.edu/about_ciis/counseling_centers.html (sliding scale work that I've mostly loved as long as I've gone in telling them what I'm needing and being willing to change therapists if it's not working out)
Massage - http://nhi.edu/massage_clinic/index.html (sometimes amazing massages by students, not always, but you're not allowed to tip so it really costs what it costs)
Massage & acupuncture & herbs/nutrition & some free classes/support groups - http://www.kwanyinhealingarts.com/
Acupuncture - http://www.actcm.edu/content.php?topmenu=7 (haven't been here in years since community acupuncture opened near me, but I loved it and it helped me thru some tough times. They even have free ear acupuncture clinic where the suggested donation was $5)
Herbal medicine - http://herbesofafeather.com/about/ (so good)
Flower essences - http://starsinjarsessences.blogspot.com/ (spiritually nourishing)
Yoga by donation - http://www.athayoga.com/2007/01/mondays-from-8-to-930pm.html (most delightful yoga teacher I've experienced)
Haven't experienced these but know they are out there:
Therapy - https://www.queerlifespace.org/ (heard it's great)
Reiki - http://www.meetup.com/Reiki-Healing-Center/events/114047742/
Acupuncture - http://missionsfca.com/
Acupuncture - http://www.circleca.com/
Herbal medicine (east bay) - http://www.ohlonecenter.org/clinic/ (this is where the above herbalist studied and teaches)
Yoga - almost every studio I've been to has a community class aka more affordable. I've heard there are free classes out there, but none come to mind immediately.
These are by not means exhaustive, but rather what came immediately to mind. I'd love folks to share their websites and recommendations in the comments so we can build even more resourced movements and healing communities. Obviously, these are pretty SF bay area specific. For folks that don't live around here, I hope this helps you think outside the box to find the wellness resources in your communities. Please share them here for the rest of us. I travel a lot and have been amazed by the community acupuncture movements expansion to give working class folks access to those deeply healing needles.
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