Beltane Blessings & the Taurus New Moon

Happy Beltane! Also known as May Day, today represents the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. If you've ever been part of a Maypole experience, you've undoubtedly been a part of this festival with Gaelic origins. A time celebrating the flowering of nature, the abundance of life, and the richness of the earth's and our own creative potentials, Beltane is a beautiful time to get our hands dirty in the garden, spend some time with flowers, or participate in any activity that connects us more fully with the flourishing of life. I remember being a 4-year-old and participating in my first Maypole celebration. Of course we had no idea what we were doing, but the colorful ribbons on the pole still stand out in my mind, as well as the lively and playful atmosphere (perhaps there was a little chaos too!) marked by this time of year. I love that this memory lives on in my awareness, that it was strong enough to be carried forward. It's a sweet time of year, and an awesome one for making May baskets filled with flowers, edible or medicinal plants, perhaps some baked goods, and even eggs (boiled, preferably), and giving them to someone not necessarily expecting them. What a lovely way to express appreciation and gratitude for someone! This May basket tradition is something we celebrated in North America in the early to middle 20th Century, and NPR even has an article about it here:: https://www.npr.org/sections/npr-history-dept/2015/04/30/402817821/a-forgotten-tradition-may-basket-day. If you're feeling excited about the blossoming of life around you, you're feeling the May Day spirit indeed! 

This festival falls, quite appropriately, when the Sun is in the sign of Taurus, oftentimes when the it's about halfway through the sign. And this Saturday marks the New Moon in Taurus, with the Sun and Moon indeed falling midway through the sign of the Bull, carrying with them the energies of connecting with Nature, settling into simplicity, and returning to our senses. With Uranus here too, it can infuse the energy needed to shift old habits and create space for ones that are more helpful to our fullness:: body, spirit, and mind, together. We're invited to sit outside, breathe in the fresh air, and experience life's magic in the most uncomplicated ways we can. Taurus as the bull isn't the Hemingway bull, but rather, the bull who's hanging out in the pasture, chewing the cud, enjoying the wind blowing the hairs on his back. This is the most physical of all the signs of the zodiac, and as such, we are reminded of the importance of being comfortable in our own skin, connected with the inherent wisdom of our bodies. In a culture that's not monumentally amazing at honoring the body's innate knowing, this Taurus New Moon is a time that can provide healing in this regard. For example, as someone who works for myself, I can be quite good at "pushing through" my body's need to stretch, walk, eat, drink, etc., in order to finish a project, plan, or complete a task that my mind is just so set on finalizing, and right now. Yet when I give myself the opportunity to stand up from whatever it is I'm doing, move and stretch for a couple minutes, close my eyes and breathe, eat a snack or a meal, or drink some water, I am amply more productive than if I hadn't listened to the simple yet ever-present wisdom of my body. And of course studies confirm this:: after 20 minutes of sitting in front of our computers, we should technically give ourselves and our eyes a little break in order to come back with more energy and health to accomplish the task at hand.

Music is also an amazing way to connect with this sense of inner peacefulness that Taurus carries with it. Putting on a soothing melody that invites us to move, to meditate, or to chill the heck out is Taurean medicine. So is Nature and returning to our animal instincts. Being in the garden and communing with the plants, walking barefoot on the earth, or going on a nice hike and experiencing the energy of the earth are all lovely experiences and expressions of the wisdom of Taurus.

Taurus invites us to calm down and experience the tranquility that is available when we remember its presence and allow ourselves to attune to it. Being in school is an awesome invitation to do this! I cannot count the times over the past couple of years that I've been in my head, trying to get information to stick in my brain, and perhaps feeling overwhelmed by the process. Yet when I've taken the time to settle into my being and sink into a space of inner content, the stress does melt away, at least for as long as it needs to, and my brain is actually more able to absorb the information I'm wanting it to! Amazing how that happens ;) A calm and easeful mind, body, and heart are key to most things in life, and accessing information is certainly included here. 

Taurus is associated with the goddess Venus, and the aspect of her that inherently values what is available in this present moment. In yoga, Lakshmi can be likened to Venus, as both goddesses remind us that there is always something right here, right now, in this experience that can be valued and honored, even if it's uncomfortable. In this moment we can find something that is Shri, or inherently beautiful, and cultivate more of it in order to honor the abundance of Life. Because the mind can often be addicted to negative thought patterns or what it doesn't want, it might take us for a ride here and there to keep us in this cycle of negativity and thus disconnected from the abundance of life. Yet, this is coming from a place of thought and mind, a place that is truly disconnected from the experience of being in our bodies, connected with presence, right now. What happens when we allow the negative thoughts to drop away, if only for a moment? There is an opening for the innate beauty of the moment, the universe, the ever-present divine, to express itself, regardless of what we're thinking. And while we must eventually get to the root of the negative pattern appearing in and taking up our mind space, weeding it out for good, the practice of seeing what's going on in our minds, and choosing to reconnect with our bodies and hearts can be an amazing one for connecting with the power of the present, represented here by inherent value (Venus), inherent beauty (Lakshmi), and the simplicity of dropping in (Taurus). So if this is 'all' you do to mark the New Moon in Taurus on Saturday, I'd think you'd be up to something amazing.

This Beltane and Taurus New Moon, I hope you connect with the flowering of nature and of your own consciousness in ways that celebrate life, abundance, and tranquility. May you listen to your being's deeply-rooted wisdom, may you flourish, may you add beauty to what is innately present right here, right now. The Force is with you! Enjoy.

Spring, New Beginnings, and the Aliveness of Aries

April 5th marks the New Moon in Aries, the first new moon of the astrological cycle. The zodiac, quite appropriately I find, starts with Aries, the sign of birth, creation, regeneration, ALIVENESS. It begins as Spring does with the Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and is infused with an energy of new beginnings. What I love about this is that New Moons ALSO carry with them an energy of new beginnings. So here, we're getting an infusion of revitalization, creativity, and new life! Nature has been slumbering through the winter, for some more than others, and this time is one of true reawakening. The birds are chirping their return now more than even a few weeks ago, the snow has significantly melted, only to reveal....yes, bare earth! And for those of us who've been walking on ice and snow for the last few months, sinking our feet into the ground is such a welcome change! Now, even more than on the Spring Equinox just a couple weeks ago, we get the sense of shaking off winter's slumber, clearing away the cobwebs, and reemerging from our dens.

The Spring in Chinese Medicine is associated with the Liver and the phase of Wood, thus carrying with it the energy of direction, aim, focus, and intention. The word for this in Sanskrit is "sankalpa," or literally, to place one's energy in a specific place for an extended period of time. Interestingly enough, Aries, too, is known to be focused with clear aim and direction, and because of these attributes, can be archetypally connected with the leader, the warrior/warrioress (of any cause or ideal), and the pioneer. Aries reminds us the we are ALIVE (the winter may have confused us in this regard!), and that now is the time to begin the journey that's been stirring inside, waiting for us to say "yes" to it. Aries reminds us that it is the time to take a risk, moving clearly in the direction of the intention that may evoke fear, but greater than this fear is the inspiration and courage needed to keep us moving on exactly the path we're meant to take. If you've been feeling a bit restless or crunchy around the edges, this is likely why! Shaking off winter to make space for new life and growth is Aryan indeed, and the Universe's movement is encouraging, inviting you to manifest in the outer world the spark that's come to life from deep within you.

Part of this shift for me has included a major overhaul of my office, clearing out old papers, books, and files, as well as finding more appropriate homes for the many binders and notebooks that include yoga, evolutionary astrology, and Chinese Medicine materials that needed some revamping. Now when I come into my office, a favorited room in my home, I feel ready to create, write, read, and make lesson plans without disorganization or unfocused energy around me. I've been inspired to reinvent my Cosmically Aligned program, one that has become close to my heart over the past year, and one that I am thrilled to be offering again in a "new and improved" format. My partner and I have planted seeds for the first year of our garden, and we have little seedlings just beginning to sprout! Plants that will later feed us directly from our yard! It feels exciting. I feel connected to my teaching in ways that are inspiring me in new directions. And the school semester is oh-so-close to being finished, bringing new waves of life that are, in simply having the space to explore them, promising projects and adventures that keep my spirit and vision clear.

And speaking of vision, the Spring and the Liver go with the sense organ of the eyes. The eyes give us an ability to bring the clear vision from within ourselves to the outer world, seeing where we need to go there. And what is good for the eyes in this heavily aim and goal-oriented culture of ours? Probably closing them! And giving them some rest. I remember being a little girl and spending lots of time with my beloved grandmother. Because she had glaucoma, she would always put her eye drops in and lie down to rest her eyes for at least 15 minutes in the middle of each day. I had no idea the impression this left on me until recently. Over the years in my study of yoga and now Chinese Medicine, it's become more obvious just how important it is to rest our eyes. But in the closing of them, we get to see, listen, and feel inwardly, becoming more aware of the inner voice that's always so clear when we give it space. While not necessarily Aries in nature, going inside IS Piscean, a cycle we've just shifted out of, and rather than moving completely away from our inner wisdom to live in the world, the merging of Piscean and Aryan energies reminds us that clear vision comes from within in order to manifest it without. The wisdom of Chinese Medicine also recognizes this in its understanding that closing the eyes to the outer world allows us to open them to the inner one. And opening the eyes outwardly gives the ability bring to life what's inside the spirit, out.

Aries says that if it demands courage, now is the time. If it scares the life out of you (momentarily, that is), you may be more ready than you think. If it takes your breath away, it's worthwhile. If it's an inspiring challenge, begin the adventure. If it's something you KNOW you must do, there's no time like the present. Why postpone the inevitable? The journey of the 10,000 steps always begins with the first.

During this Aries New Moon, the continuation of Spring, and the time of Liver's clear purpose, may you courageously move in the direction of your most beautiful dreams. They have always been within you, waiting for you to co-create them. And remember, the Force is with you! Enjoy.

Inherent Intelligence, the Force, and the Pisces New Moon

Yesterday marked the New Moon in Pisces, the last new moon of the winter. Always one of my favorites, this time is one in which we're invited to connect with the inherent intelligence that's alive in all beings, in all things. This is a time of deeply attuning with 'the Force' that permeates all of existence and is simultaneously at the root of it all. In yoga, one word for this is 'Sat', which is translated as "That-ness," "Truth," or "Pure Being." This could also be called "divine", "God," or "holy". Regardless of the name, when we're connected with this part of our innermost nature, we're connected with this "spirit that moves in all things", the Awareness that propels everything forth into movement but concurrently remains silent and still.

Of all the signs of the zodiac, Pisces feels a deep and clear need to unite with this ground of being, whether through meditation, yoga, walking in the forest, staring into space, or any practice that allows one to drop into the nature of existence. It could be running, fishing, or surfing; watching a sunrise or sunset, cuddling with animals, or honestly, doing nothing. And while all of this may sound like a big deal when we talk about it, it's honestly the most simple thing we can do! As my teacher Adya says when referring to those who consider themselves spiritual seekers, the thing we're seeking is hiding right under our noses! This revelation of who we really are at our core is hiding in plain sight, always closer to us than we could ever imagine! And Piscean energy not only senses this, but senses the deep seated need to connect, over and again, with Source energy, and to live life from this place, the truth of one's being.

And right now, we're getting even more Pisces vibrations with Mercury having gone retrograde in the sign of the mystic (on March 5th) until it turns direct again on March 28th. So if life is feeling even more topsy-turvy than you're used to, that could be why! Mercury symbolizes how we perceive reality, how we communicate from this perception, and how we communicate not just with others, but with Life itself. We're getting an invitation to press the pause button on certain aspects of our lives so that we can take some perhaps much-needed time for unity consciousness, or as I like to call it, "spacing in." Mercury retrograde tends to create more chaotic conditions than usual with regard to the daily flow of life, the interactions we have with others, and the timing of things. Late-runners might find this tendency exacerbated when Mercury appears to go backward from Earth's view. And with Mercury in the sign of Pisces, there's an added feeling of dreaminess, of getting pulled into the realm that's just beyond the waking one, a place that is infinite and otherworldly. It's an amazing place to be when we choose to spend some time here willingly, but if we're being pulled to Piscean places when we need to be getting things done, then it's a different story! Quenching the collective cosmic craving by appeasing Pisces' need for spacious awareness with regular meditation practices or the like will certainly help with productivity when we need it most!

One of the sentiments I've been feeling this week is that it would be nice if schools would plan exam schedules based on the movement of the planets! I just finished up midterms this week, and a couple of them were during the New Moon/Mercury retrograde in Pisces window. Not only did my brain feel out to lunch for these last exams, but a part of me felt like I desperately needed to just sit and meditate or do some breath work in the middle of the exam. And I was certainly not alone, observing the demeanor of my fellow classmates and the goings on at school! Thankfully I knew what was up cosmically, pun intended, so I could expand my awareness rather than straining my brain too hard for information that I'd at some point committed to memory. "It's in here somewhere, right?..." Also, thankfully, no more exams until Mercury goes direct again. Whew.

Pisces as the meditator and yogi is really wanting some time to be in with the cosmic realm, and there is really no time like the present! What are your favorite ways to connect with the inherent intelligence that moves all of life, including you? I hope you spend some time doing THAT this month.

And of course, the Force is with you, perhaps felt more fully NOW! Enjoy.

Happy Imbolc and Aquarian New Moon

Happy Imbolc & Aquarian New Moon! Imbolc is a Gaelic holiday that marks the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, a time that begins the process of life's reawakening, of nature rebirthing itself. The word 'Imbolc' means 'in the belly,' referencing the hidden potential of Spring, of renewal and revivification. At Imbolc, we sense the stillness of winter beginning to shift toward a more lively state. It reminds us that Spring is on its way, and in order to prepare for its arrival, we are asked to make space. Which aspects of our winter selves are we ready to be cleansed of, letting go of the somewhat slumbering forces that keep us moving more slowly, in order to make room for an enlivened way of being?

This weekend has been a celebration of Imbolc at my house, if simply because it involved a lot of cleaning! This felt like such a purification ritual, one in which both my partner and I were in a flurry of activity to accomplish. With 3 dogs, cleaning is a regular pastime, but today felt like quite a special occasion with us both spending extra time to clear out what had been building up in the nooks and crannies of our home. It felt deeply gratifying, and I feel like I can enjoy our space even more after occasions like this. I find that our bodies can be thought of similarly. While I truly love the yoga practice no matter when it happens, I find the transition from 'winter body' to a spring/summer version of my organs, bones, muscles, tendons, fascia, and skin to be quite a welcome one! Postures that have felt a little more challenging and closed to me begin to feel more easeful, if but for the shift in temperature, attitude, and season. This is something I naturally find myself sensing and relishing at this time of year, perhaps opening to possibilities for the practice and for life.

It seems like the birds in my hood had the same idea today. As I walked through the snow this afternoon with my partner and 3 dogs, I heard what sounded like 20 of them chirping away in the trees, hearkening the revival of life. It felt like a nature party, lifting my spirit and heart. I find that if I simply make space to observe what's happening in the present, the wisdom of life just expresses itself in clear and effervescent ways. The inherent intelligence that's always present just comes through if only I bring my attention to it, and whenever I do.

This year, Imbolc has fallen just a few days before the Aquarian New Moon, which takes place on Monday, February 4th at 1:04pm PST/4:04pm EST. What are we making room for as we open to Spring and its season of renewal? Calling upon a little Aquarian wisdom can bring clarity here, helping us tap into the essence of authenticity and genuine expression. Aquarius reminds us of the importance of listening to our most resonant path, of living a life that is authentic to who we are in our heart of hearts. Even if it's doing something different than what others may think is best for us, Aquarius knows that listening inwardly and living this truth outwardly is healing and thus of utmost importance. Perhaps a dream that hasn't yet come to fruition but that's been brewing beneath the surface is ready to make itself known in the world. Or a dream that's been realized in part is ready for a new phase of its existence, shapeshifting to express another cycle or level of nuance. As long as it's still feeling deeply resonant and consistent with the energy of the intention with which it was created, all is well. And if not, it can be an amazing practice to check back in with the original dream and what it offered. Is there alignment on all fronts with intention, action, expression? If not, how can this be clarified so the truth of this expression can be articulated more skillfully? There is always a way to realign and "course correct" when necessary!

I think about my decision to go back to school for 5 years as I write this. Did I make the right decision? Yes, undoubtedly. Is it challenging in most of the ways I can think of? Also, yes, undoubtedly! Would I change this decision? Absolutely not! But there are ways I can stay more true to myself, to the way in which I move through the program, the time, energy, and attention I place on what's important in life. Like cleaning! I kid, but keeping a clear space helps me have a clear mind and spirit. So taking the time to nourish myself with the practices that feed my soul is more important than pushing too hard to make it throug a program in a year less than I would've otherwise. And that feels right. We could call this Aquarian wisdom. Or we could call it a deep knowing that comes from within. Either way, it's something I'm grateful to experience and to integrate into my life.


What are this Lunar Imbolc and Aquarian New Moon welcoming for you? Whatever it is, may you enjoy it thoroughly. The Force is always with you!

Opening to the Possibilities of 2019

Happy New Year!

I write you on the day of the first New Moon of 2019, and a New Moon Eclipse to boot! Last year saw the beginning of eclipses that will be taking place, this year especially, on the Cancer-Capricorn axis. And today marks the New Moon in Capricorn, a sign that carries with it an energy of looking forward, climbing mountains, enduring what we must to make our dreams come true, and cultivating the integrity we need to live an outer life that is truly consistent with our deepest core values. While Cancer reminds us that listening to the heart's true whisperings is necessary for a fulfilling and nourishing life, Capricorn gives us the tools to be able to make that life possible, one step up the mountain at a time. Right now there are 6 "planets" in the sign of Father Time:: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon. With all of this symbolism here, the Cosmos are on our side when it comes to getting real about intentions and resolves for the new year. Less about making ourselves do something we think we "should do", and more about doing things that have been calling to us and we feel it's time to actualize, this process is about opening ourselves to listen inwardly, then taking measures to make whatever it is we hear happen. One of Rumi's quotes seems quite apropos here:: "The soul has been given its own ears to hear things the mind does not understand." Perhaps we've been hearing an inkling from deep within for some time that's been inquiring us to make it happen, and now the conditions are right for this to come to fruition. The awesome thing about Capricornian energy is that it is patient and persevering, so if it takes a long time, this energy doesn't mind!

A year and a half ago, my partner Cheyne (Shane) and I moved to the Kootenays, an amazingly beautiful part of British Columbia that has magnificent mountains and full on seasons. Summers are hot, reaching 90 fairly regularly, and conversely, last year we likely got a total of 6 feet of snow! Thankfully not all at once. We bought snow shoes so we could still take our dogs outside and spend time in nature, one of the greatest gifts of living here -- the vast and stunning landscape. This winter I'd been contemplating some interesting and fun ways to interact with this awesome wintertime other than the usual snow shoe or winter hike with the dogs. So I bought a used pair of downhill skis and hit the ski hill that's literally 5 minute from my house! Thankfully, I grew up skiing, and after a few runs, my body remembered how to carve and turn down the mountain, and the "flow" state was similar for me to that of moving with my breath on my yoga mat, or surfing waves in the vast ocean. It left me feeling open, clear, and stoked!

This exercise reminded me that getting outside of my comfort zone is important and worthwhile. It's opened possibilities that were already living latent within, ready to be tapped into and expressed. This is truly a Tantric teaching, and one of my favorites. We can't experience something in our lives that isn't already inside of us, whether it's joy, anger, beauty, love. And we have inside of us the ability to make so many of our dreams come true, if only we give them the time and awareness they deserve. My intention of interacting with the place I live in a more direct way immediately opened up more opportunities for that -- connecting with community members, spending time with the majestic mountains, challenging myself in new ways. So while I may have a way to go before I'm shredding epic powder, I'm content with having taken a step in a direction that feels authentic, empowering, and aligned with my spirit at this time. The rest will come just as it needs to, and the wisdom of Capricorn knows and trusts this. Rather than become rigid and too goal-oriented, the spirit of Cap is best used when the resolve is there, yet there's room for life and its magic to step in and expand possibilities in a way that our minds may never imagine.

Is there something that your heart's been whispering for you to begin or pick back up? An experience that calls to you when you let your mind or spirit wander? An aspiration that feels ready for your energy and attention? I encourage you to that this year! May you move toward manifesting even more of your heart's deepest yearnings. Enjoy! The Force is with you!

A Celebration of the Light:: Diwali and the Scorpio New Moon

The story is the same -- we've heard it often, but with different characters, in different times, with different subtle undertones. The stories we watch in movies, read in books, tell aloud to our children and grandchildren, are the stories that are meant to be told. They're the stories that remind us of who we are, who we came here to be, who our ancestors were, and of the timeless quality of humanity. Myths have long lived within the human tradition, carrying wisdom, meaning, truth. The battle that goes on within our hearts and our minds is the very battle that is at play in the world:: a battle for goodness, hope, and light in the midst of ignorance and darkness. It is something that we know as humans, something that lives in our DNA in an effort to remind us of what's possible, what we're capable of, and also where we've been, so that we might learn from our mistakes in times past.

Today isn't so different than any other day, truly. Yes, it might feel more real because here we are, living in our tissue, embodying THIS incarnation of ourselves. And what a time it is, to see humanity shape-shifting before our own very eyes! Yet toward what? No one really knows. But we're in the process of the metamorphosis, and it's asking us to bring ALL of ourselves. Each and every part. Every aspect of who we are is important.

Scorpio season is a time of unearthing, digging deeply, probing the inner depths for riches that have yet to be discovered, shadowy parts of our souls that have been waiting to be acknowledged, recognized, honored, integrated. It's a time of being willing to stand in our own vulnerabilities and wounds, looking them in the eye with the resiliency in our spirits that can't be denied, claiming the ancestral wounds as our own, yet not choosing to blame or project them. Rather, choosing to use them as fodder for this battle of love, of truth, of wisdom, a movement that must be addressed on the inside of ourselves so that healing is possible. The healing that our world so dearly needs can't be done out of desperation; it must be done out of a commitment to owning every part of ourselves, from what keeps us down to what makes us fly. And choosing this is choosing to embody what Scorpio reminds us:: that alchemy is always a possibility, but never just that. It's our birthright. To change what doesn't serve us or others into what does. This is what we've always been capable of. This is what we know in our souls, what the myths and legends we've always felt moved by remind us.

During this Scorpio New Moon, one that falls on the day of Diwali, the Celebration of the Lights, a celebration of the triumph of goodness and light over evil, this is what we're called to. We're called to know what it feels like to heal both our own and our ancestor's wounds, visiting or revisiting parts of ourselves that still seem hurt, not so that we're re-traumatized, but so that we may reclaim our souls from any and all experiences that have created separation of ourselves from the true nature of who we really are. We're invited to choose empowerment in the strength of the Heart that never ceases its power to BE an embodiment of truth, love, and wisdom in the world. Diwali is a celebration of all that is good, all that is beautiful, all that is inspiring, but it's also a reminder that mud is fecund; earth is fertile; soil is rich. The more we know this reality, the more alchemy we're capable of. As such, we are reminded of this valuable and important process in the midst of the ongoing "battle of good and evil" that has always taken place within us and within the world right now. This is what's shaped us, what's reminded us of who we really are, and what's taught us how to embody what we value most.

Happy Diwali, and Happy Scorpio New Moon. The Force is always with you! Enjoy.

Embodying Equanimity in Turbulent Times

The quote that seems most appropriate to me at the moment is Mahatma Gandhi's,
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." And if peace is what you're after, it's what you must become! The New Moon in Libra invites us to an inner equanimity that is maintained through an enduring self-awareness, soul-mated relationships that support this harmony, and activities that soothe our souls in just the right ways. Libra as an air sign, and that of the scales, reminds us that when the wind blows this way or that, the balance that was there only a moment ago disappears, leaving the scales tipped in a direction that feels like what they've become:: cattywampus. Yet there are many ways to bring the scales back to equilibrium, and this New Moon is an opportunity for all of them!

For likely longer than humans have been recording history, the outer world and its quick pace have been reason to need practices and exercises that bring us back home to ourselves; practices that soothe our souls and nourish us deep within. Today, of course, we see more of this need with the encroaching internet and media, things that were once easy to unplug from but are now everywhere we turn! Creating this respite that our minds, bodies, and souls so need has become more of a challenge; thus, it becomes ever important to create boundaries for ourselves in all the ways that feel life-enhancing and ease-inducing. Making time in our lives for those we care about and who reciprocally care about us is a good Libran boundary to have! So is limiting screen time in lieu of a walk in the woods or the park, creating an altar or meditation space in our homes that feels like a sigh of relief and release, or making a "work of art" (we don't have to be artists for this!) that allows us at once to feel both creative and pleased with the beauty now before us. Or perhaps even buying the favorite art piece we've been admiring for awhile so we can return to it over and again, reminded of the balance that's always a breath or two away.

Libra as the sign of intimacy needs deep connection with others in order to be truly seen, felt, and understood. S/he freely offers this medicine to the person sitting in front of her, bestowing her gifts of kindness, grace, and dignity upon them. The rapport here is soothing to her soul, and it may bring tears to her eyes or a heartfelt smile to her face. And this experience drops her into the equanimous place within, reminding her that it's perhaps possible when her mind least expects it. What she craves and deeply needs is true connection:: something so simple, yet often so hard to come by these days. At least the connection that comes when we're sitting in the same room as the person with whom we're feeling it! Yet it's of utmost importance during this time, and Libra knows this better than most.

People who were born form 1972-1984, regardless of the month, have the natal planet Pluto in the sign of Libra. Pluto is both the Lord of the Underworld and the Lord of the Riches, reminding us that in order to embody the peace we know we can, we must first go inside and confront the darkest of places within. While this may take years, there is no time like the present since this New Moon falls in a conjunction with natal Pluto, bringing out the need for unearthing the truth and doing some soul-reclamation in the process. This is especially true for those born from 1979-1981, who are also undergoing transiting Pluto square natal Pluto. Diving into the dark reaps rewards, but it must be faced fully in order to transform what was once a wound into medicine. Believe me, I am personally experiencing this at the moment, and it is fierce to say the least! It may not be fun, but it is definitely rewarding. And necessary. The more harmony we tap into by facing, healing, and integrating the unconscious places that have yet to be discovered, the more we can embody this harmony in our world that truly needs it now. And when we choose NOT to do this important work, we are left to blame, criticize, and attack others since we don't want to look at what's hiding within. This may have become all too prevalent in the outer world, yet when evil is lurking, we can be even more inspired to BE the change we wish to see in the world. And inspire others to do the same.

The Libran time of year corresponds to Autumn, which is associated with boundaries, the skin, and the Lung/Large Intestine pair in Chinese Medicine. This is a time of year when nature gets dry, with the leaves falling from their trees and then crumbling, becoming compost and fecundity for the earth to recycle into its soil. Sometimes our skin feels this way in the fall, and we begin to turn to oils that nourish us, keeping some suppleness around for the dry season. Because Autumn goes with the Lung, breathing well is an awesome way to re-balance ourselves during this time. And breathing deeply is soothing to the soul, something Libra needs and appreciates. Whether it's a few simple conscious inhales and exhales, a practice of nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breath) for 10 repetitions, or ujayi (literally, "triumphantly uprising"; the "ocean breath) for 10 counts, breathing the crisp, cool Fall air is an amazing way to connect with Life itself, re-establishing a relationship with the inherent peace that's within. The Lung goes with acceptance and our ability to let go of what's necessary. Whether that's an old pattern that is surfacing to be looked at and released, or a relationship that no longer serves, the Lungs aid us in opening to what IS in this moment, using the help of their biao-li (exterior-interior) pair, the Large Intestine, which gets rid of what is no longer nourishing us. Thank you, Lungs and Large Intestine, for keeping us in balance.

Now is the time for some soul-soothing, deeply connecting exercises that remind you what it feels like to embody your innermost nature, which is always equanimous and balanced, even when the outer world is topsy-turvy. Turn to your best friends, partners, beloveds, and animals! Open to the inspiration that comes when you create the space for it. The Force is with you! Enjoy.

Virgo'an Places:: Organization and the Blessings of Late Summer

New Moon in Virgo Tidings! I hope this Late Summer finds you well and thriving, enjoying this last month of warmth before our transition to Autumn.

Recently at a family wedding, which was a truly beautiful and heart-warming event, a few of my friends with Virgo Suns in their birth charts shared the awesome phrase they've been working with, "We're Virgo'an/Virgo'in places". This has since become one of my favorite expressions! As a person who's got a fair amount of Virgo in her chart, it's an energy I've been working with my whole life. With the Virgo New Moon falling today, Sunday, September 9, and the Sun having been here for two and a half weeks, we are certainly in the reign of the virgin. This energy is one of purification and organization, perhaps of "getting ducks in a row" in order to facilitate a more smooth and easeful sense of being. While Virgo tends to get a bad rap for being too detail-oriented for her own good, relegated to the Dewy Decimal system of life, as my teacher Steven Forrest points out, there's no sign of the zodiac so willing to grow and evolve! The energy here is one of commitment to working toward a vision that is deeply fulfilling. And details are important for this vision to be seen through! The details support the whole, inviting the expression to be efficiently and effectively crafted, while Virgo refines her gifts as she goes along, something deeply fulfilling for her.

The downfall here is that create what she may, Virgo may seem like she never actually gets to her vision, falling short of an ideal she's built that is just that:: too idealistic. But here's where the crux of Virgo really is! As astrologer Jason Holley shares, Virgo reminds us that pure potentiality brought into the world of form gives us the capacity to concretize our dreams. And in so doing, perhaps we are able to make a sacrifice, which comes from the word "sacrificio," as in making something sacred and doing it in the best way we can even though we're not totally perfect at it. To recognize that we've done the best we can requires letting go of expectations we have of ourselves and to simply allowing the process to unfold in the clearest way possible. I included this topic in last year's Virgo New Moon post, which speaks to the Sanskrit word "purnatva", or "perfection." Another translation for this word is "fullness," as in offering fully from the totality of our being in order to bring "pure potentiality into the world of form." When we do our best in the moment, recognizing that we don't need to create in order to be more full or whole, that our innermost nature and the true nature of Reality is already that, we can give ourselves a break and both enjoy and appreciate the process of bringing to life in this physical world what isn't yet. I used to think that because there were SO many amazing yoga teachers in the world, I should certainly not contribute what I had to offer because of this feeling of falling short, of never measuring up to the unreal expectation we're talking about here. With time, practice, and openness, I realized that everyone's gifts are important, and since we're all unique expressions of the One big energy that is everything, no one person has more importance than another in terms of sharing his/her gifts. Your gifts are just as valid and beautiful as anyone else's, just different in their expression. And what a benefit this was! This realization freed me up from pain and suffering and allowed me to recognize that releasing limiting ideas of how or what something I create should look like invites the process to be full, whole, and "perfect" just as it is.

These past couple of weeks for me have been an invitation to getting organized in a way that Virgo is pro! She has major gifts in the realm of systemization, and an ability to make lists and carry them out in ways that support life's flow. I've switched internet plans (rural peeps can be challenged in this arena!) as well as mobile phone companies, ensuring that my bills are way lower and my coverage way better. Score one team Virgo! And the purple bedroom that's been sitting just too, well, PURPLE, for the past year is now a neutral color for our guests to enjoy more when they come and stay. It was either that or paint a unicorn on the wall and sprinkle glitter everywhere! And with school starting again this week, I've felt called to refine my daily schedule so that an overall balance in life is supported, which definitely feels great.

Virgo corresponds to the element of Earth in Western Astrology. In the Five Phase Theory of Chinese Medicine, the Earth phase corresponds to Late Summer. This is when the last of Yang energy is expressing itself before the turn to more Yin-like times in the Fall and Winter. We still have ample light in the day to formulate routines in our lives that give support for a nurturing daily rhythm. Earth in this theory has an affinity for the Spleen/Stomach pair and especially the Spleen's capacity to regulate the mind. It's the Spleen that's connected to making associations and cross-referencing like a librarian might. Sense the Virgoan connection? The Spleen is associated with the mind's capacity to relate what it's seeing and experiencing to the memories of what we've experienced previously. Yet if there's imbalance in the overall system, we might over-think, over-analyze, get too in our heads, and honestly feel somewhat nuts. Here, balancing the Spleen-Stomach with the whole body-mind-spirit allows the Spleen to carry out its function of discernment and separating the clear from the turbid more efficiently. For example, rather than wasting time and vital energy thinking in circles about the same topic, when the Spleen is properly functioning it gives access to putting the appropriate life force where it needs to go, then letting go. This is a bit like Virgo's capacity to let go of expectations and the worry that something's not perfect, freeing herself up to be productive in effective and fulfilling ways. The Spleen's ability to provide nourishment is allowed here, and we're able to release all that isn't worthwhile and helpful in the larger scheme of things.

I know that my mind can obsess on things if I let it! Thankfully mindfulness practices have helped balance this over a couple decades. I've also learned that if I employ the use of lists to help me organize my thoughts and my time, carefully appropriating my energy where it's most effective, I feel accomplished and empowered to create what's being called for. While my mind could stew on the purple bedroom for longer than is helpful, my just deciding how to go about getting it done allowed my Spleen to discern the importance of this matter, and my Liver (more on that later!) helped carry out the plan. The Spleen's (and Stomach's) energies were freed up, as was the Liver's, and a sense of balance and freedom from what could have been an overwhelming situation ensued. Hence, a healthy flow of qi and blood, promoting a more healthy digestion of food, thoughts, and life itself! And for more on the topic of the Spleen Stomach and Late Summer, you can read here:: https://www.tcmworld.org/late-summer-the-season-of-nurturing-and-transformation-2/ .

How can you access Virgo's gifts of organization and creating order to enhance your daily rhythm? Which routines need to be created or shifted in order for a more healthy flow of life? How can you help out your Spleen, employing discernment well, effectively using your life force energy to keep you vibrant and balanced during the Late Summer?

May you continue Virgo'an places! As always, the Force is with you. Enjoy!

Shining Brightly and Refining our Creative Expression for Leo's New Moon Eclipse

The Leo New Moon and Partial Solar Eclipse falls on Saturday, August 11th at 2:57am PDT and 5:57am EDT at 18°41’ Leo. With Mercury retrograde just a few degrees away at 14°41’ Leo, the sentiment might be just a tad bit quieter than Leo is used to, perhaps an unfolding that has been taking place deep within us, but whose repercussions are roaring and powerful. New Moons tend to be softer times of reflection and opening to the mystery, yet with the eclipse bringing new information to light, there may be some sparklers that have been brewing beneath the surface and are ready to go off! Mercury retrograde almost directly at the same position of the Sun and the Moon reminds us to stay open to the inner conversation that’s taking place, receiving the insights that come from being able to shift our perception with regard to how we’re expressing ourselves in the world, bringing our creativity to life, and essentially, being ourselves.

 

This New Moon is a time of opening up to the force of aliveness in all things, and to do so in a way that allows this creative energy to flow fully through us. In Tantra the word for this is Shakti, or the animating force of life. It is Shakti that gives rise to all things, granting them life and movement, allowing them to be the unique expressions that they are. The wind in the trees is propelled by Shakti; the currents moving a river, Shakti; the breath that moves within us all, Shakti. Allowing this force to express itself through us, as us, is a gift that Leo delights in; she loves letting this flow of animation move through her, sharing her gifts with the world, receiving instant feedback from those with whom she shares, her soul nourished and fed. For Leo, this energetic exchange is an opportunity to feel enlivened, filled with vital energy and a soaring spirit, and nothing gives her more joy. Now is the time for allowing a truly authentic creative expression to come to the surface, celebrating being alive and all it entails. And sharing with those souls who are open to this spirit that naturally expresses itself spreads the love further, allowing the fire of Leo’s energy to shine brightly from within.

This eclipse is an invitation to open to the wisdom of Leo that inherently knows how to lila, or to delight in the grand play of life, bringing the gifts of light-heartedness and playfulness into being. Yoga reminds us that everything we experience, both in the outer world and the inner one, is a part of this grand play. The more we learn to get out of our own ways, letting the bigger energy move through us, joy and even bliss are natural byproducts. This isn’t to say that we’ll walk around blissed out as though we’ve just sung kirtan for hours, but that when we plug into this bigger energy (the force, Shakti, the divine, our true nature, etc.), we have access to infinite joy and limitless expression. Yes, we’ll still need to sleep, eat food, and take care of the things that go along with being human, but rather than taking ourselves so seriously, a natural delight will be given the space to arise, a delight that comes from knowing the creative flow of life and the divine presence in all things; a delight that comes from letting this divine presence express itself clearly and joyfully through us.

Carrying the archetype of the child, Leo also reminds us to take care of our own inner children. Recently in a yoga training I’m leading we did some of this inner child “work”. And sometimes it feels that way…like work! Yet it’s only work when the inner child hasn’t received the healing and love s/he so needs in order for all parts of our being to thrive. If there’s still a wounded little being inside, whether s/he’s super young, an adolescent, or in her/his late teens, s/he needs some attention for the deep integration to happen! When given a chance, this inner child lets us know that s/he needs some tender love and care. And when s/he’s given what s/he needs, feeling this love and support from the people we are now, an integration is allowed to happen, and the flow of Life moves through us more readily. As long as there’s disharmony within, the Shakti becomes blocked and dis-ease is created in the body/mind/spirit. Yet with a deep level of integration that comes from exploring and unifying all the parts of ourselves that feel separate or disconnected from life, the life force moves through us in naturally expressive and expansive ways, inviting us to delight in the grand play of life that moves through us magically when we let it.

If there are places inside that need to express themselves more fully in our lives, Leo reminds us to open to them, shining more authentically in all the ways we can and naturally do. The feedback we receive from those around us can inspire the Shakti to move through more even more playfully, expressively, clearly. I remember teaching yoga to a small class of men years ago, and teaching on the principle of “hug in to shine out.” There was a young man named Carl with Down’s Syndrome in class who I remember fondly. When another male student in class asked, in a somewhat peeved manner, what I’m even talking about when I  say “shine out,” I had Carl demo a pose. The way he expressed the pose was naturally a “shining out”; his spirit expressed itself beautifully and inspiringly. As he demoed the pose, I said “this is what I mean by shining out”, but I honestly didn’t need to say a word. Carl’s expression of the pose said everything, and everyone in the room got it. His spirit was the perfect example of Leo shining radiantly like the sun on a beautiful day. And now we’ve an opportunity to do the same! If there are parts of you that need more applause from your shining brightly in your own life, there’s no time like the present to open to this part of yourself and your life.

What invites you to open to the play of life, letting go of inhibitions to go with life’s bigger flow? How can you delight in the Shakti that’s expressing itself through you, as you? How does your perception need to shift in order for this to happen? I hope you fully enjoy this creative, expressive, and playful New Moon Eclipse, opening to the force and to your own experience AS the force in all the ways you can. Enjoy!

Feeling Fully & the New Moon Eclipse in Cancer

This month's New Moon Eclipse falls on Thursday, July 12th at 7:49pm Pacific time and 10:49pm Eastern time at 20° 41' Cancer (healing through feeling, trusting the emotional experience). New Moons are times when the Sun and Moon are conjunct, or right beside one another, and this one will be directly opposing the planet Pluto (the Lord of both the Underworld and the Riches) in the sign of Capricorn (integrity, patience, and perseverance).

Cancerian energy is the epitome of the Moon, with all its mystery and splendor. Standing out under the moon in any of its phases allows us to bask in the beauty of something so primal and so magical that it takes us out of our heads and puts us directly into our hearts. And an experience such as this one is exactly what this New Moon is about. The heart. Always a treasured gift among mystics, lovers, healers, and artists alike, this aspect of being knows no limits, sees without judgment, and welcomes possibilities as yet undreamt of. If each of us were to see through the eyes of the heart just a bit more regularly, there would be a marked change in our world, guaranteed! A change in which people would feel more comfortable to be themselves, nourished by their family and friends in ways that allowed for authentic expression and being, ways that value tenderness and care and the pronouncement of these virtues.

It amazes me that across so many traditions and cultures around the world is the association of the Moon with mother and grandmother, beings in our lives who are linked to nurturance and love. The relationship I had with my grand was such a special one that it often leaves me speechless today, a couple years after her passing, making my eyes water and my heart expand when I call her to memory. Even as I type, reminiscing of this amazing woman in my life, my eyes get a little misty. I feel fortunate enough to have been able to know this kind of devoted, unconditional love, or as we might say in Sanskrit, prema. This love can move mountains and would give the shirt off its back, wildly offering itself to those whom it loves fully, whether or not they understand what a gift the offering is. And this is what Cancer is about evolutionarily: caring and loving to the fullest, and in so doing, shedding the shell enough to fully trust this highly emotionally-charged waterscape, reveling in its experience and expression.

This New Moon is an invitation to probe the inner realms, allowing our emotions to flow in just the ways they're meant to. And with the Plutonian influence, as well as Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces, this is an opportunity to access some of the deeper stories of limitation we carry, recognizing that they don't have the power to hold us captive, and that we can, in fact, live from a true space of heart rather than the sense of separateness that these stories create in our experience. Perhaps in daily life we don't feel safe enough or like we have the time needed to approach the vast emotional realm, or perhaps our family of origin scenarios taught us that feeling and expressing emotions was negative, or "just for sissies". As we know, they're far from it; these are powerful forces that move through us, regardless of what our heads have to say about them! The more we learn to be with and work with them skillfully, the more access we have to "healing through feeling", one of my absolute favorite Cancerian terms. If we push this important facet of ourselves inside, brushing it "under the carpet", the more deadened we become. When we say "yes" to letting our emotions flow in healthy and positive ways, uncovering what needs to be looked at to integrate and heal it, we are made whole in every way. Cancer intuitively knows this and is here to unlock this great gift and to trust the emotional experiences as they arise.

What does it feel like when you center yourself in your own heart, letting go of the movement of your mind, if just for a few moments? For me, all sense of separation dissolves, and there's a true unity of heart, mind, body, and Life itself. This might be more of a Piscean interpretation than a Cancerian one, as I am very much a Pisces, but my eyes might water, my lips might curl into a smile, my being might feel light with a sense of the Oneness is that is all-pervasive. Water signs encourage us to feel into the part of life that is always present, with its depths, its intensity, its peace that passeth understanding, and everything in between. During this New Moon, may you delight in all the facets of life that is expresses itself through your very own experience, letting the water be your guide!