Lunar Lammas and the Blessings of Late Summer

As I awoke this morning, a certain crispness in the air got my attention and propelled me to layer with more than usual upon getting out of bed. While the sliding glass door that opens to the outside of the bedroom is always left a bit cracked at night to let in fresh air, this morning brought an unexpected chill! This after me having just remarked last night about the days getting noticeably shorter, though it's still not yet dark until about 8:30pm. Yet the changes for me felt marked, and they carry with them the arrival of Late Summer. In Chinese Medicine, there are not just 4 seasons and 4 elements as we tend to work with in the West, but 5. And the fifth is that of Late Summer, arriving around the 3rd week of August and lasting until the Autumn Equinox around September 21st. In the Five Phase Cycle, Late Summer corresponds Earth, and both the Spleen and Pancreas, as well as the flavor of sweet. And as we are still in the Leonine phase of the Western zodiac, marking a time of celebration, merry-making, creative expression, and play, this is considered to be a time of gathering experiences that bring us joy and delight and storing them for the autumn and winter months ahead. Not that we're not allowed fun then, but play has quite a different feel to it in the winter versus the summer, as we well know! The Spleen is associated with memory, or as my teacher has said, with the library of banked experience stored in the mind. I love this correlation! We're reminded to take the time to enjoy ourselves in the warmth of the summer so that this warmth can be carried with us as the year continues and gets cooler.

Today also marks what's considered Lunar Lammas (English), or Lunar Lughnasadh (Celtic). This time of year corresponds to the beginning of the harvest, which would have technically begun 2 weeks ago with the New Moon in Leo, and yet the Lunar connection here with the Full Moon in Aquarius and the true feeling of Late Summer beginning is completely synchronistic. We are reminded to bask in the activities of summer because the Fall is coming close on its heels. And better to do this under the light of the Full Moon, letting it spark our creativity, reminding us to gather with those with whom we enjoy celebrating life, those who remind us of who we truly are. Authentic being, authentic speaking, authentic expressing are beautiful ways to play with the Full Moon in Aquarius while the Sun is in light-hearted Leo. And it's important to remember that creativity and authentic expression come in many different forms; it's not just about the performer archetype of Leo. Aquarius reminds us that the ways of expression that feel truly resonant with who we are are valuable in the world, and the world needs these expressions as part of the whole. So whatever is being called to life from within you during this time is important to be recognized, honoured, and shared.

On this note, I'm finding the need to let my own voice have room to shift in the ways that it needs to as life unfolds. While I thoroughly enjoy sending out e-newsletters and have for years, it feels like rather than simply working with the New Moons and Full Moons each month, there's a deep calling from within myself to be sharing in a bit of a different way. The Moon is something so powerful to me that it can't be encapsulated, but writing about it gives me the feeling of a deeper connection to it and the energy it's carrying with it at specific times of the year. At the same time, so much more happens in the Cosmos on a daily basis, and many of the transits (movement of the planets in the sky) taking place are hugely transformative events that can truly shift the fabric of one's being completely. In working with clients and indeed myself, I see and feel the intensity of certain rites of passage taking place and recognize that the position of the Moon must be experienced and understood in the midst of these larger initiations that sometimes last 4 years.

For example, the planet Pluto or Hades, which we jokingly call the "god of hell," is a planet that is also acknowledged as the Lord of the Underworld and the Lord of the Riches. This Underworld is the unconscious realm that lives within us all. It's a place where we store our traumas and wounds (Spleen connection!) until we're ready to heal and integrate them so the energy that has been stored as a wound can actually be used for positive expression in the world. Think of the famous scientific truth, "energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is only transformed." Yet if we never explore the unconscious realm, probing the depths of our psyches for patterns that have been created from hurt and pain in this life, including ancestral and karmic patterns that have been stored by the brain and body in this way, the result is a tendency to blame and project negatively onto others because we haven't visited good ol' Hades. Pluto is about power and empowerment and our ability to alchemize the wound, turning it into nectar. This is a Tantric Yoga concept, yet one that practitioners who work with energy have been aware of for many years. If we're given lemons, we learn to make some darn good lemonade. Or perhaps a sugar free version of this. Or some concoction I haven't even considered, bringing our unique Aquarian energy to the table. But I think you get the picture! So when we're from about the ages of 37-40, transiting Pluto squares natal Pluto in the chart, a big deal. It's inviting those individuals who dare to unearth some deeply-seated wounds, generally from this lifetime as well as others (if you're not open to this possibility, think familial patterns, which is completely accurate as well) to go into the dark, murky, unconscious realm, investigating the parts of themselves that are still caught up in a traumatic event, dragging it with them as they go through life, and to work with this trauma in a healing, transformative, alchemizing way. This might be through psychotherapy, hypnotism, shamanism, meditation, skillful use of psychedelics (welcome to the Age of Aquarius, everyone!), EMDR, letter writing and burning (one of my personal faves), or a tool/practice I haven't mentioned. But if we are to be the people we came to the planet to be, this work must be done. And it's one of my favourite aspects of my practice! Seeing where stored up patterns that are no longer serving people live in the natal chart and in life, and giving people tools for working with these energies in more integrated and healing ways is incredible! I've always been a fan of aiding people in their journey of transformation, and I feel incredibly blessed to have found such powerful tools for doing this work. So in light of the Plutonian square and the Aquarian Full Moon, this is what feels authentic, resonant, and real. This is where my truth lies, and I'm excited to see where the journey of life continues to lead as I weave more and more Chinese Medicine into the Evolutionary Astrology and Yoga as Transformation mix. The sky is the limit!

Continuing with the Pluto convo, the Pluto square is certainly not the only time we experience these kinds of opportunities! Pluto is currently at 21° Capricorn, so if you have any symbolism in your chart around this degree of Cap, Cancer, Aries, or Libra, you're getting an opportunity to do this work in your life right now! And Pluto is generally pretty obvious, so you're probably feeling this in different and likely uncomfortable ways. This will be especially true for people born around 1949-1951, as Pluto will be calling them to look at some karmic/familial past beliefs and patterns that need some transforming. Pretending that everything is hunky dory when it's really not, especially with regard to close friendships and relationships, isn't healthy. Addressing and getting to the root of an issue that has been unhealthy for years is freeing and medicinal in ways the mind can't imagine. And if I had your chart in front of me, I could tell you how this planet's transit through the sky is effecting you too! Suffice to say that most of us will do this work now or later, and that we're living in unprecedented times to do what's called "shadow work" in many circles. We are blessed to have such tools for healing, as many of our ancestors did not. The more we use them, the more capable, empowered, and bright we become.

What are you celebrating under the light of this Aquarian Full Moon? What is most authentic to you right now and needs to be expressed? How are you gathering experiences of joy and delight for the Autumn and Winter to remind you of Summer's warmth?

May you bask in the beauty that this Life expresses around you and deep within you.

The Mystery of the Moon and the Power of the Eclipse

What is it about the Moon that gives it such power and mystery? Perhaps it's the Moon's ability to guide the tides, to tap us into the emotional realm, or to sync up women's cycles. Perhaps it's the sheer beauty we experience when we gaze upon it in its crescent form, or when it's full and lighting up the night sky. Cultures have for thousands of years (and likely many more than that) written stories as to why the moon cycles in the way that it does, mesmerized by its mystery and magic. As a solar culture, one that reads horoscopes based on the position of the Sun in relationship to the zodiac signs, many have a soft spot for the Moon, what might be considered the Sun's "other half." The Yin to the Sun's Yang, the fluid and intuitive in relationship to the active and intellectual, the ever-changing against the backdrop of the Sun's constancy, the heart with regard to the mind, the Moon in astrology represents "the reigning need of the soul," and how the soul gives and receives nurturance, in reference both to oneself and to others. The Moon is inherently emotional and sensitive, its power one that we feel in the depths of our being. In evolutionary astrology, we feed our Moon the "diet" it needs, consisting of Sign and House information, for happiness and well-being. When it's not being fed as it needs to be, we feel the lack of these qualities in our lives, for our souls aren't getting what they need to be nourished. In fact, after 39 years of life in this body-mind-spirit, I'm just learning to take care of my moon in ways I haven't yet. This study and integration has brought what it promised -- happiness, a sense of true well-being, and deep nourishment. All because I opened to giving it the diet it needed!

When the New Moon takes place each month, it refers to a time when both the Sun and the Moon are at the same degree within a certain astrological sign. New Moons have often been associated with new beginnings and the as-of-yet untapped potential in a certain process. Because the Sun and the Moon are in the same sign, we get a real feeling of what the sign is about and have an opportunity to learn about what it can teach us in relationship to the rest of our charts. For example, when a New Moon takes place in Taurus, the first earth sign of the zodiac, it's a time of connecting with the body in healing ways, learning to trust our animal instincts, giving ourselves the opportunity to calm down, appreciating the simplicity of nature, music, quiet, and experiencing life through the senses rather than the mind. But when the New Moon in Gemini takes place, the first of the air signs, the energy is absolutely different! The need here is for opening to life and its inherent synchronicity, paying attention to its signs, symbols and omens, suspending one's disbelief, and expanding one's capacity to be curious about anything and everything, asking the right questions at the right time, and delighting in the myriad of possibilities that life offers in each moment. Where Gemini invites us to appreciate quickly moving scenarios, Taurus is about completely slowing down. And the journey through the zodiac continues in a similar way, providing a plethora of opportunities to experience the different energies of life through the lens of each sign. If someone is born with a Moon in Taurus, s/he will feel more "at home" during the New Moon in this sign, whereas with the New Moon in Gemini, she might feel a little ungrounded or out of sorts. This isn't always the case, but we do tend to feel more in sync with certain New Moons than others based on the information of the chart.

In Evolutionary Astrology we tend to place emphasis on the transits that take a longer time, sometimes years to copmlete. A transit takes place when a planet comes into an aspect with a natal (birth chart) planet or axis of importance. And the longer a planet takes to transit over an important part of our charts, the more it has time to transform us as we learn to integrate what the planet is attempting to teach us. Since the Moon moves rather quickly through the signs, it's considered a very fast transit, generally only spending 2-2.5 days in a sign. With this mentioned, I still find the movement of the Moon through the signs to be quite important, especially as it relates to the birth chart.

This month we have a couple eclipses on the Cancer-Capricorn axis, so people with this part of their natal charts emphasized will especially be feeling the power of these cosmic events! The New Moon eclipse in Cancer takes place on Tuesday, July 2 at 12:17pm Pacific time, highlighting Cancerian energy since both the Sun and Moon will be in this sign. Eclipses are times when things that have been brewing beneath the surface come to light. Cancer rules the watery inner landscape, inviting us to let our emotions serve us as guideposts, allowing us to open to their intuitive and fluid nature, learning about healing through feeling, and the art of self-care. Emotions tend to brew beneath the surface since that's where they live, until it's time to express them in ways that allow for a deeper healing. Opening to this kind of experience during an eclipse might be a cure for the soul that one may not have even thought necessary!

On Tuesday, July 16th at 2:39pm Pacific, another Lunar Eclipse takes place, this one at the Full Moon in Capricorn with the Sun still in the sign of Cancer. Capricorn energy is quite the opposite of Cancer's in many ways. Cancer is the Great Mother, and Capricorn the Father. Capricorn isn't led by emotions, but rather carries with it the need to cultivate solitude and integrity by designing a life that's completely consistent with her deep core values, and creating the self-discipline necessary to "climb the mountain" s/he chooses. This is an energy of inherent practicality, the "old goat" of the zodiac that knows life is a long climb to death. Excuse my blunt reality check, but this is Capricorn! In this case, it's the least emotional of all the signs, yet Full Moons still take place here at least once a year! So again, things that have been brewing beneath the surface being brought to life during this eclipse may yield clear visions for the future, strategies that help one move toward an important goal, or a deep knowing of what needs to be done in one's life even though the journey may be a long one. And while I'm not into the astrology of making predictions, I am into working with the energies at play in skillful ways that allow for transformation, alchemy and evolution. Which is exactly what eclipses, as well as the plethora of cosmic potentialities, are really about.

However these eclipses work within you and your life, may you open to them with a freedom that allows them to work their magic! May this special opportunity for tapping into the emotional realm allow for deep healing, as well as a clear path forward that this emotional releasing might evoke. Especially for those with natal planets on the Cancer-Capricorn axis, may this month bring some sweet experiences. And as always, the Force is with you!

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!