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!

Perception Shifting with Gemini's New Moon

June's and Gemini's New Moon falls on Wednesday, June 13th at 12:45pm PDT and 3:45pm EDT. Perception-shifting is the name of the game as we move through the Geminian portal that invites us into a space of wonderment, curiosity, and awe. Imagine seeing the world through the eyes of a child again, beholding everything with bright eyed-ness and bushy tailed-ness, as though taking life in for the first time! Yet sometimes, these virtues feel about as far away as our Aunt Edna in Wisconsin! Just as true, life graces us with a moment that is mind-blowing and epiphany-creating, moving us to the aforementioned qualities. The remembrance here is that we have to be open to being moved, or the moment passes us by like a sack of potatoes.

Evolutionarily, Gemini needs to keep the lens of life free and clear, accessing what we might call in yoga "beginner's mind". Each of us probably knows in our own way that life can be filled with the doldrums, the drudgery, and that this can sometimes get the best of us. Although Gemini seems to mentally (and sometimes physically!) move at the speed of light, this is its happy place, and it needs to continually be shifting the scenery in order to maintain this openness. As my teacher Steven Forrest says, "boredom is the cardinal sin of Gemini," so of course she's whizzing around with many things to do and often lots of energy with which to do them, fitting as much into one lifetime as is possible! Those of us without much of this sign in our charts might be exhausted just watching someone who does; and, of course, it IS possible for someone with lots of Gemini in her chart to get moving even too quickly for herself! This is Gemini's shadow, and once the mind flutters a million miles a minute, the nervous system and body are effected too, leading to an incessant freneticism that's much like the rabbit in "Alice in Wonderland." Being late isn't necessarily the issue; the mind on overdrive and its inevitable overflowing into the body IS!

So if a lack of focus and a craving for more stimulation are issues arising in your own life at the moment, you're likely sensing this New Moon's energy! It can be helpful to switch things up spontaneously, welcoming small changes to your routine, or "playing hooky" for a day or even an afternoon, doing something out of the ordinary to keep your mind stimulated in just the right way. Activities that engage the body can be helpful here, as the mind can focus on moving and breathing rather than the whirlwind of indistinct thoughts racing through its arena! Anything that invites you to "suspend your disbelief" is an awesome idea, as this frame of mind invites the openness that Gemini so craves. And if you're not used to doing this, challenge yourself to a story, movie, or situation that does! Now's definitely a good time to try it on for size...

Gemini's archetypes are the story-teller who's always suspending her disbelief, the ever curious and inquiring journalist, the mentally sharp and often talking teacher, and the witness. In Sanskrit, the phrase for the witness is "sakshi bhava," which refers to the part of us that is inherently open to all that arises in life without needing an outcome to look a certain way, without grasping for life. It literally describes our innermost nature. This isn't something that's outside of our regular experience, for it lies at the very core of it. Yet so often the mental chatter is playing LOUDLY, and the inner witness is content being quiet, doing what its name describes: witnessing! I love that the witness, too, is a part of Gemini, for it's not just about being a literal witness to an accident or something unfortunate. It's the part of us that is always present, within each and every experience, that never goes away, that is aware of thoughts, ideas, belief systems, emotions, literally everything that we ever experience! And when we are embodying this place within ourselves, we are at One with all of life. The witness merges with Life, able to move with it gracefully, lovingly, excitedly, calmly, in just the right ways and times. What moves you to a place of such openness so you can experience the part of you that's always present? Who is aware of your thoughts, your experiences?

Synchronicity is a lovely word for the intelligence of the universe working and making itself known in our own lives. When we're open to life, we notice things that we may not have otherwise, and this absolutely shifts our perception of reality. The Universe is constantly communicating with YOU, and in unique and beautiful ways. Gemini is all about communication, but this communication isn't limited to other people! It's about a conversation that takes place between you and Life itself, in all the ways that Life intimately reveals itself to you in the most perfect of ways. There is an inherent movement of life, and Geminian energy has both a unique ability to recognize the different ways that this movement chooses to express itself, and an ability to delight in the ever-shifting play. It's kind of like being in the right place at the right time. For example, if you hadn't decided to go home a different way than usual from work, you wouldn't have had the urge to stop at your favorite park and watch the sunset, running into an acquaintance whom you hadn't seen in 10 years, gone out for dinner, and had a ridiculously lovely and spontaneous evening with plans to hang out more. Not to mention the breath-taking sunset that reminded you of the last sunset you watched with your grandmother before she passed across the threshold of this world and the next. Wow! What a magical evening, and all because you broke your routine, got out of your own way, and went with life and its abounding synchronicity!

For this New Moon, I invite you (and myself!) to suspend your disbelief for just a moment or perhaps many more, and open yourself to the magic that is life. Now would be the time to "become like a child." Not the tantrum-throwing kid, but the one who's curious about and awed by it all. It literally only takes a moment for this shift of perception to happen! In what ways will you play? As always, enjoy!

Embodied Easefulness with Taurus

Tomorrow marks the New Moon in Taurus, and a few hours later the planet Uranus will be moving into the same sign for the next 7 years, quite a big deal from an astrological perspective! We'll dive into this momentarily. But first, let's get Taurus straight from an evolutionary perspective. While pop astrology may have given Taurus a bad rap, (as it has many of the astrological signs), Taurus is deeper than what you might have read in a horoscope. For, evolutionarily, Taurus is here to create a true sense of embodied equanimity. S/he is here to be able to feel comfortable in her own skin; grounded, strong, and clear in her being; connected to the natural world in ways that allow her deeply-seated peace; kinship with animals; open to life through her senses; perhaps a love of the subtleties of music that soothe her soul; and a need for silence and its splendor. Yet so often what we hear about Taurus is that s/he's stubborn, digs her heels in consistently, is too materialistic or vain, or too wrapped up in sensuality. What I've just listed are the aspects of Taurus that, in evolutionary astrology, we'd call the "shadow" aspects of Taurus. It's not the they aren't real, because they certainly can be! But it's that we have a choice as to how we work with the energies of Taurus, or any sign, planet, and house, for that matter. And the shadow elements of the sign only come out when someone isn't doing the energies of their specific signs well, be they Taurus, Sagittarius, Gemini, you name it. Because we all have free will, we get to choose how we respond to and work with the energies of our birth charts, and thus our lives, recognizing the important interplay of "fate" and free will. We get to create and manifest our own destinies, hopefully led by the deeper forces of Life that guide us into harmony rather than succumbing to folly that could be avoided. And doing Taurus well is spending time with things that allow for this feeling of inner tranquility:: connection to Nature and its inhabitants, music and its melodies, silence and its mystery and virtue. 

So, as promised, Uranus. A dinner party last night prompted the conversation of how to pronounce this mysterious planet. Ur-A-nus or Ur-in-us or Ur-Ah-noose? I like the middle one, but it's likely a personal pronunciation preference! More to the point, he is the god of thunder and lightning bolts; the god of change that comes when we least expect it; the god of authenticity and individuation, something that the late Carl Jung would ask of all of his clients, and likely every human. Uranian energy, in shadow, can be rebellious, teenager-ish, stubborn without having a real reason, and dissociative at its most traumatized. Yet, he's also the energy that gives us the ability to do what we need to do for ourselves in life, even when those around us think we've gone mental. This planet gives us the ability to live our authenticity out loud in ways that perhaps we couldn't have even imagined. And when we get it "right," we feel free, alive, and connected to life; we feel more like ourselves, and less like an idea of who we think we should be because people want us to be that way.

When we bring the two together, Uranus and Taurus, interesting things can happen, as with many combinations in astrology. I think a story might best illustrate this one, though. My partner and I had 4 dogs up until a few days ago. We'd raised them mostly together, the first 2 with my late soulmate of a dog Dakota, the last 2 after Dakota had made her transition beyond the veil. There were 2 males, and 2 females:: Izzy, Grommus, Tema (short for Artemis), and Ødin. Recently the girls, Izzy and Tema, stopped getting along (hormones!), and started getting into bloody fights with each other. Tension built in the pack, and they could no longer be trusted together. We literally had to keep the 2 females separated at all times, and there was a feeling of unrest in the house, in the yard, all around. One night last week, while trying to reconcile their differences, a fight broke out again, and Izzy put a few holes in Tema's face. Not terrible, but bad enough to pull the plug. My partner Cheyne called his parents, amazing people who certainly show up unconditionally for us. Perhaps they've wanted grand-kids, but they've learned to treat their grand-dogs like royalty. Although Cheyne's mom absolutely never wanted a dog, she and Cheyne's dad agreed to take Izzy after a transformational conversation with Cheyne. It was a moving situation, sad for us in many ways, yet super beautiful considering how much his dad loves animals and has wanted one as a companion for a long time. On the phone last night, the truth came out: Cheyne's dad has wanted a dog since he was 6 years old. And now at 73, he finally has one. The even more amazing thing about this story: Cheyne's late sister Tara always wanted a puppy growing up, but she never got one. Though Tara left the planet too early, her memory lives in Cheyne's and her parent's hearts, and part of that memory is her kind spirit and her love for animals. And now, each of us knows that Tara had this all planned from the beginning: Izzy found her dad, and he found her. So as sad as Cheyne and I were to see her go, it couldn't have been a better scenario.

All of a sudden (Uranus), we had to do something to create more stability, security, and peacefulness (Taurus) in our home; something that was authentic to us and our pack family. We had to let go of an idea of what we thought "stability" was and open to a new version of this. It was the right thing, and we're moved by the details of the story. Because I don't do predictive astrology (I can only tell you the influences coming into your life and how to work with them well, not the decision you'll make), I don't know what this movement of Uranus into Taurus will create for you. But if you have Taurus prominently in your chart, or Scorpio, or Leo, or Aquarius, you'll be asked to get more authentic to your unique needs and desires, perhaps faced with an "out of the blue" scenario that you wouldn't have imagined, and if in Taurus, one that attunes you to an embodied easefulness and calm. It might not be easy to initially get there, but when worked with well, most anything is possible. 

A final contemplation question to go with the mood:: Have you gotten so comfortable with an aspect of your life or what you consider to be yourself that really isn't you anymore? Uranus will invite us to question these so-called parts of ourselves, encouraging us to new territory that invites greater freedom if we go with it.

The Force is with you! Enjoy.

Heeding what Truly Resonates:: Aquarian New Moon/Partial Solar Eclipse

The Aquarius New Moon falls on Thursday, February 15th at 1:06pm PST and at 4:06pm EST. This New Moon will also include a Partial Solar Eclipse to go along with the one we experienced a couple weeks ago on January 31st, in which the Full Moon in Leo opposed the Sun in Aquarius. Since eclipse cycles always occur over a period of a few years, this New Moon Eclipse will most especially hearken back to the Total Solar Eclipse that took place on August 21st of last year. What’s so remarkable about this New Moon Eclipse for those interested Cosmic geeks is that it is happening not even a couple degrees from the August 21st magic! In more technical terms, last year’s Total Solar Eclipse on the Leo New Moon happened at 28 degrees, 52 minutes Leo, or about 29 degrees Leo. This New Moon Eclipse is taking place at 27 degrees, 7 minutes Aquarius, or about 27 degrees Aquarius. Because the signs of Leo and Aquarius oppose each other, this axis of energy is yet again highlighted and brought to life in a way that may reveal what’s been brewing beneath the surface, waiting to come to life at just the right time. And now may just be that time, in a way that brings more light to a process that was unfolding last August.

Aquarius…when many people hear this word, they think of (or start singing), “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, Age of Aquarius, etc.” You probably know the rest of the chorus, even if it was recorded before your time! The song brought this idea of the Age of Aquarius into the mainstream, giving it life in the public eye. In fact, the Age of Aquarius IS nigh, yet for more reasons than this New Moon Eclipse in the sign of the rebel, the truth-sayer, and the breaker of out-dated social norms. My teacher Steven Forrest wrote an article about this one, which you can find here (, and I highly encourage the read. But speaking of the NM eclipse on February 15:: those of you with planets near this Leo-Aquarius axis, as well as the Taurus-Scorpio axis around the same degree, will certainly be feeling this New Moon, if you haven’t already been experiencing some (emotionally!) powerful times in your life.

Aquarian energy carries with it the archetype of the rule-breaker. This can be in not-so-helpful rebellious ways, and it can also be in ways that are quite healthy. In fact, a phrase that I often use with my clients who carry this energy with them is the importance of “resisting cultural coercion.” So often as humans we become identified with the culture we come from, thinking that we have to follow the social tendencies that we’ve been brought up with in order to be happy, or normal, or to simply not rock the boat. Yet for a person with an Aquarian Sun, Moon, or planets, this “following the herd,” so to speak, is quite possibly the most detrimental choice that could be made. It would lead to living a dissociated kind of life, one in which our well-intending Aquarius goes through the motions of her own life without even really wanting to be there. On a soul-level, in order to be deeply fulfilled and sane, she needs to be the one who steps outside of the social boundaries that she was born into, going the way that she is deeply inclined to, even if it proves a more challenging path than she thought upon originally setting out.

I’ve just started watching Call the Midwife, and wow, is it a fantastic and wholesome show — I cry almost every time I watch it! Definitely my kind of entertainment. In an early episode, one of the midwives Chummy, who’s fallen in love with a police officer, is asked to marry him. In her heart of hearts she knows that it is most definitely the right thing to do. Chummy is generally awkward, strange, quirky — actually quite Aquarian in many ways! Yet when she is with him, she feels safe, happy and loved. When she has her mother over to meet the fine gentleman, Mom — a very huffy sort of lady who is used to getting her way — completely disapproves, and our lovebird allows herself to be convinced not to marry her beloved beau. Chummy grapples with this for the entire episode, of course, until in the end, she stands up to her mother, has a wedding in the church where she lives as a midwife, and does the ceremony in exactly the way she wants, even refusing to wear white since she “spilled the beans” before the actual wedding day. This is the perfect idea of meeting the situation in an Aquarian way! Chummy didn’t make the rules that she must marry so-and-so in order for the family or neighbors to think highly of her, and she didn’t make the rules of not having an intimate encounter before the big day either. So rather than let herself be dominated by cultural expectations that make no sense to her and keep her unhappy, she chooses to do what she knows deep down is right. And that, to me, makes her a heroine, especially in the 1950s!

Aquarius asks us to look at these rules, these so-called societal “normalities”, and to do so with a questioning mind. Why? Partly because we weren’t the ones who made the norms that we were born into and expected to comply with. And Aquarius is here to seek and find the freedom that she needs to spread her wings and fly in the ways that only she knows in her heart of hearts. I liken this to the “internal guidance system,” or “IGS”. Everyone has one, yet Aquarian energy is all about knowing this IGS so clearly that even when the peanut gallery — in the form of family, friends, community, society — disagrees, Aquarius knows she must do what is right for her. She must cultivate and claim the freedom that is her birthright, choosing the path that is in her highest good, even when others don’t understand. This is made all the more challenging if and when she feels as though she’s letting others down. But she must follow through with her ability to be authentic to herself and her deep inner knowing no matter what, letting it guide her through the world regardless of the perceived ostracism from those who matter in her life. She is here to move through the world with the freedom to create what feels most resonant and alive for her. When she does this, she shines more brightly, and those who love her will understand that, even if they don’t understand what motivates her.

Evolutionary Astrology is quite Jungian in nature: it works with archetypes, the truth of synchronicity, and the importance of individuation, amongst other things. defines individuation as, “the determination or contraction of a general nature to an individual mode of existence; development of the individual from the general.” This doesn’t mean that there is anything bad or wrong with culture, tradition, etc. Recognizing and honoring the beauty and intricacies of the cultures we come from is quite a powerful endeavor. Yet the moment we feel entrapped by them, something in our souls is stifled and blocked. Jung understood this and the need that each person has to live her life fully, truly allowing her being to thrive in the ways that it’s meant to. This Aquarian ideal is what gives us permission to choose both a life and a lifestyle that are inspiring in ways that our grandmothers may not understand, but that they would certainly be happy in knowing how deeply gratifying our lives are for us. And perhaps in a way, we’re living the freedom now that they couldn’t necessarily have 50 years ago. Learning how to be free of the unhealthy aspects of society is heroic, and it absolutely creates a change in the collective, in the greater matrix of reality we’re all a part of. When people realize they don’t have to be held captive by rules that don’t make intuitive sense to them, the collective does start to change, and people begin to live lives that are more fulfilling and moving to them, which in turn, makes our world a more interesting and inspiring place to live.

Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus, who’s also known as the ruling planet of astrology. Uranus is the god of thunderbolts, lightning and electrifying energy, and carries with him a power that shakes us to our core. When we go through Uranian transits, this energy of almost being awoken abruptly from a dream shakes us to our true selves, if we’re open to listening, reminding us of the importance of living what’s really resonant, especially if/when we haven’t been! I vividly remember Uranus moving over my Ascendant (how you dawn on people, come across to others, social style), and I felt called to leap into a life reflective of my inner authenticity, moving to Canada and covering myself in tattoos, even though the place I come from looks down upon inked skin in a big way. But Uranus is not bothered by social constraints, as you might imagine! The whole process felt freeing and deeply right; I have a feeling Uranus was pleased, and this shift has been the source of much growth, happiness, and integration.

After much pondering of who and how Uranus sits within the pantheon of yogic deities, I’ve come to understand that while Indra might be the most obvious outer connection as the god of thunderstorms, clouds, and lightning, the energetic representations of Uranus are a bit different than this god of the heavens. Here I see Shiva and Kali as more than fitting the bill, for aspects of the revolutionary typify them both. In her book Awakening Shakti, Sally Kempton even calls Kali the goddess of Revolution. Uranus, Kali, and Shiva all have energies that can be so powerful they break us out of outdated/inauthentic modes of being. Shiva, in fact, is known as the dread-locked yogi who doesn’t often get invited to parties because of how ‘weird’ he is! Take one look at Kali and you might understand why she’s not the one most people want to invite over for a sweet and soft conversation. My friends and I would always say, “Kali isn’t casual.” And this is just the point! None of these energies are casual when they need to welcome a person to a breakthrough. If they were, the breakthrough likely wouldn’t happen. I understand them as beautiful and necessary parts of the process of transformation that must be faced and integrated for each person to truly know and live from their innermost nature. For in truth, any idea that we have of ourselves is a falsehood, yet most humans walk around thinking that they’re defined by the idea of “Nancy” or the person they’ve created in their minds. Ultimately, living from this separately identified place is also living from a disconnected reality — you are not and have never been who you think you are. Uranus, Kali, and Shiva all carry with them the energy and power to break the trance of individual identification (different from individuation!), moving people into a space of their innermost nature, which has always been held deep within each and every moment of life. And that is revolutionary!

If Aquarius is about authenticity and living this fully, Leo is about creative self-expression and roaring it joyfully. Weaving these two sides of the axis together is an important piece of what this eclipse time is offering. Yet getting out of the way is certainly part of this equation too! When life is free to move through us in unhindered ways, the innermost nature that is naturally luminous can shine brightly, and we, as well as others, delight in the expression. And again, if there are naysayers that make themselves known during this process, the energies of Leo and Aquarius together get to continue their authentic expression with even more hutzpah, laughing in the face of it all. If going back to the Leo New Moon Total Solar Eclipse post helps with the integration of the Leo and Aquarius here, I invite you to that.

This is a time of Living your Truth out loud, singing it into being, honoring the way that the One grand weaver of Life works through you in the most meaningful and magical ways possible. When you’re in alignment with the force of aliveness that is in all things, you trust the ways that it moves through you, delighting in the expression of authenticity and unique beauty that only you can express. Now is the time for that…and really, it’s always the time for that. Enjoy!

Patience, Perseverance, and Grace for Capricorn's New Moon

The Capricorn New Moon falls on Tuesday, January 16th at 6:18pm PST and at 9:18pm EST. With Saturn, the ruling planet of Capricorn, having just moved into its own sign for the next three years, as well as Pluto, Mercury, and Venus currently in the sign of the sea-goat, the feeling of the Cosmos during this New Moon is quite in alignment with this mythical figure.

“Why the sea-goat?” you might ask. This web-hoofed creature is one that represents Cap’s ability to endure and persevere no matter what the challenge. For the sea-goat is the only sign in the zodiac that is able to survive and thrive in two mediums: both on land and in water. And this unique feature of its symbolism carries with it a depth of meaning. No other sign is so willing to challenge herself to work toward a goal in clear and strategic ways than Cap. Once she sets an intention, she has the staying power and fortitude to make that intention a reality. If it takes 30 years, she’s unfazed. Better to have purpose and time to work toward it than to be aimless and directionless. This is the deep need of Capricorn, and she’s utterly driven by her larger objective. Indeed, if there were no challenge or “great work”, she’d lose her purpose altogether. Cultivating patience along the way, she knows how to put one foot in front of the other, over and again, climbing the mountain with persistence and fortitude.

As my teacher would say, Capricorn is the least lunar of all the signs of the zodiac. Lunar energy invites us to feel, to sense, and to get out of our heads and into our hearts and bodies. For example, we don’t go out to look at a Full Moon and immediately feel compelled to make strategic life plans or grocery lists! Rather, we look at the Full Moon and become utterly moved or awed by its beauty and the sense of magic it holds. Yet Capricorn energy is not as susceptible to this “lunacy” as its opposite sign, Cancer would be. But this doesn’t mean it’s not effected in its own way. It just means that practicality will likely play more of a role in this moon than it would in any other of the New Moons. For practicality is at the heart of Capricorn. While Cap isn’t the sign that needs to be led by its emotions, it IS the sign that needs to be led by its inner ethics, morals, and values, creating a life that is a direct reflection of these important virtues. In a word, it is the sign of integrity. defines integrity as, “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty,” as well as, “the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.” These words express Capricorn’s need to marry her outer world with her inner world, creating a life that is synonymous with what’s held deep inside. These are some of the most important aspects of Capricorn, inviting us to reflect during this New Moon…What do I deeply value in my life? What values do I honor so much that my life becomes a beautiful expression of them? If there’s any dissonance here, what steps can I take to create more alignment between these values and their outer expression in my life?

In a way, Cap’s energy and its ruling planet Saturn can be likened to an old man version of Vishnu. Saturn is Father Time, after all! We’ll get to the feminine aspect shortly, but for now, let’s remember that Vishnu represents the preserving aspect of the Universe. He is about maintaining orderliness, structure, and integral values. In the two epic stories of India, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Vishnu is said to come into the world as an avatar, taking form as both Ram and Krishna, respectively, in order to “hold the fort down” and keep human reality from turning to utter chaos. He carries with him this unshakeable ability to uphold the dharma, or Universal Order/Law in order for humans to remember their ability to contribute to a meaningful and purposeful whole. Vishnu reminds us that when forces of discord and disharmony come into play in our own lives, returning to our core values and the true nature of who we are and what we hold dear is necessary and course-correcting. Becoming so clear in these values that we’ll stand for them when things get super challenging inwardly, outwardly, or both, is aligning with the steadfastness of Capricorn. And while this may not be an emotional endeavor (one of the Moon’s associations is deep emotions), it does require heart and soul, very lunar aspects of the self indeed.

Capricorn is known as the sign of the elder, sage, or sophos, an archetypal energy described by Carl Jung. (More on this here: .) And in order to become elders, great role models in society who are virtuous and kind, we are invited to move through life in ways that develop wisdom, lest we become old fogies. This phrase is in the dictionary, I might add! The old person no one wants to hang out with is an example of how NOT to Capricorn or to Saturn. The old person everyone wants to spend time with is just the opposite: how to work with these energies so well that even with an aged face and body, others want to hang with these beautiful beings because they sense wisdom and truth pouring from them. Think Gandalf or Merlin…beings who contribute to society because they’ve taken the time and energy to develop themselves in honorable and inspiring ways. This isn’t easy, which is what makes it so valuable; if it were the easy path, everyone would do it! And it’s also what makes the wise old man or woman more rare. The relationship with Father Time (Mother Time) is clear; this person has taken her time in life to move through hardship and challenge, yet she hasn’t let it harden her or make her rigid. In fact, she’s learned to laugh in spite of these challenges, embodying both fortitude and grace. And while Capricorn may not be a sign that immediately evokes “grace,” working with its energy well is meant to bring the person on the journey to a refinement of sorts. This refinement isn’t elitist or superior — that’s not what’s meant here. Rather, it’s a way of engaging with life so skillfully that a person become elder moves through the world with awareness, clarity of purpose, and presence of being. Hence, a refined approach to life.

In readings I often liken Saturn to Dhumavati, the Crone Goddess of Disappointment and Sorrow. Sometimes when I talk about this with people they laugh uncomfortably, and other times they nod in complete understanding of what I mean. Saturnian times are invitations to a wisen-ing, maturing process. They remind us that how we’ve been doing things is not going to work anymore, as we’ve outgrown the place in our charts and lives where Saturn is transiting. And again, as the ruling planet for Capricorn, this is an important facet of our exploration here. A feminine part of this process of growing old, and hopefully wise, is facing the disappointment that might come with these life transitions. Our culture wants us to look like we’re 30 or 35 until we’re almost dead — not a positive or feasible endeavor! So facing this process of growing old with a bit of Capricorn’s practicality and Dhumavati’s ability to face sorrow and what we must let go of is important. For in the letting go of an old version of ourselves, who we once were and can no longer be, there is wisdom, truth, and acceptance. Rather than fighting against reality, we learn to go with it, moving with both grace (yes!) and poise, and hopefully a bit of piss and vinegar too, when appropriate. Dhumavati reminds us that there is a different kind of beauty in facing and embracing disappointment, which leads to a release of the old version of ourselves, and space is made for a more enlightened and delighted version of who we are to be expressed. The scene in Fried Green Tomatoes comes to mind, when Kathy Bates blissfully rams into the car over and over again of the younger women who rudely took the parking spot she’d been waiting patiently on. This scene is a little overkill, but a lovely comedic example of the “older” woman who’s claimed her place as a matured but still playful individual who can go with life’s flow and have a little fun with it too. My teacher reminds us that true elders can be identified by the twinkle in their eye, even though their bodies may look more aged and withered than they once were. This twinkle is what reminds us of the wisdom that’s carried deep within.

Capricorn is also known as the master of solitude, one who spends the necessary time on her own so she doesn’t become overly concerned with others’ approval of her own goals and objectives. Cap needs time to herself, regardless of whether she’s a partner, sister, mother, auntie, teacher, etc. It’s important that the sea-goat carve out alone time so she gets recharged necessarily and has the energy she needs to share when it’s time. So taking space to oneself during this New Moon is a good idea — time to reflect, contemplate, and sit quietly, as well as time to create goals and strategies for moving toward the goals that are both inspiring and practical. Nothing sits more heavily than the overwhelm that comes with working toward unreasonable and far-fetched objectives! Because Cap can be sensitive to the feeling of weightiness, or heaviness of responsibility, even more important to be real about what can be accomplished from a connection with the deep core values within.

During this New Moon time, remember that, “slow and steady wins the race,” if life can even be called that! Slowing down and taking some solo time to get clear on intentions and aspirations and how to work with them well are awesome Cap-inspired endeavors. No goal is too large if it’s wanting to manifest itself, yet being realistic about this manifestation will help the process unfold with integrity and grace. If you feel so called, look to some elders who inspire you to live your life more skillfully, and remember your important part of upholding the dharma that is our Universe. What you have to offer is valuable, and the tried-and-true wisdom of “good things come to those who wait” is applicable here! The word “intention”, or sankalpa in Sanskrit, refers to coming back to something over and again for an extended period of time. So if it doesn't happen next week, it’s not a bad thing. Long-term objectives are often underrated these days, but as we know in yoga, the process is the point. No mountain is too high, but do give yourself time to cultivate the necessary wisdom along the way. It should be fun sometimes too, even for the “old sea-goat”.

The Quest for Meaning: Sagittarius New Moon

The Sagittarius New Moon falls on Sunday, December 17th at 10:31pm PST and on Monday, December 18th at 1:31am EST. In the context of the Cosmos, Jupiter, Sagittarius’s ruling planet, in Scorpio until November of next year, continues helping bring up and out all that’s been hiding in the darkness within individual psyches and thus, that of the collective. Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius for just another week is inviting us to continue pressing pause on the outer conversations and finish the necessary ones with ourselves. And Saturn, the Father Time planet who encourages integrity and healthy boundaries, is in the last degrees of Sagittarius before moving into its own sign of Capricorn in just a few days. This is an exciting time of exploration and expansion with all that’s been and will continue to be uncovered. Add to that the approach of the Winter Solstice and the turning point of light and dark this year, and the feeling in the air is quite Sagittarian indeed!

Sagittarius for me has always evoked a scene of people sitting around a campfire listening to someone who’s just returned from adventuring, for perhaps years of her life, sharing her tales and warming listener’s spirits by giving them a sense of lived experience. This warmth radiates from her in the same way it radiates from the campfire: it’s just the perfect temperature to feel lit up from within, yet not too hot to be burned or overwhelmed by the intensity of the flames. It can also be translated to a generosity of spirit, one that people can’t but help be uplifted by. The contents of her sharing seem to carry with them a richness of being, as though the listeners were transported to each place described in detail: in the midst of a bazaar in Delhi, with the scents, sounds, colors, and feel of the setting having come to life; or the lush jungles of the Amazon with their humidity and fecundity; the epic mountains of Nepal in their majesty and awe-inspiring beauty; or the streets of Prague with its elaborate architecture and sense of grandeur and rich culture. While the places aren’t exactly the point for Sag, what they’re inviting our protagonist to experience IS. And in sharing space with her, we also get to delight in the glow from the campfire, for Sag herself is the force that brings radiance with eyes glimmering, spirit shining.

Sagittarius is a sign who has an inherent recognition that life is a journey, a quest for meaning that “goes ever on and on.” And having the freedom required to make this journey is an evolutionary need for her so that she might discover exactly what she’s meant to. This quest motif is an expression of the outer journey beckoning the protagonist on an inner journey that is far more significant than she may have imagined upon first setting out. For in the exploration of something new to Sag, she undoubtedly uncovers a myriad of facets of herself that she couldn’t have known before. And this unfolding is as long as the lifetime is for this triumphant sign. Her passion ignited, she couldn’t imagine rushing this important process.

One of my all-time favorite stories comes to mind here: The Lord of the Rings. At this time of year, I always end up listening to, reading, watching, or a combination thereof, this epic adventure. It’s as though the part of me that sits around the campfire listening in the above example needs to steep in stories that evoke the feeling of just how grand the journey of life really is. From the first time I ever read this story, it had my heart. The tales of Frodo’s adventures and all those who shared them have made hours upon hours of story-sharing and story-receiving, and they remind listeners that life is constantly beckoning us on a grand and interesting excursion, filled with triumphs and joys, and at times heart-wrenching sadness and guttural frustration. But that’s just the point: regardless of how challenging it actually is, the adventure is worth it! This life journey always invites us to become more of ourselves by saying yes to what it’s offering us in the moment. This is the Tantric approach to yoga. It’s about affirming what IS rather than turning away from it (what we resist persists!), and being so present with life that we learn how to skillfully engage and respond in each and every moment without hesitation or holding back.

As well, this story reminds us that hope may be found in the strangest of scenarios, in the darkest of places, but that it’s never far away, no matter how hard things get. It is this hope that carries Frodo and Sam to the end, along with those faithful companions who set out as the original company, and those whom they encounter along the way. Hope is completely relevant at this New Moon, for Sagittarius is also the most resilient of all of the signs of the zodiac! In this way, Sag is Samwise Gamgee, who, even when he’s been as honorable as he can be, having toiled for days on end to support his “master” Frodo, then been mistreated and sent away by Frodo himself, he still comes back to help Frodo finish what he’s started in carrying the ring back to Mordor. Sam is the generous-hearted being who keeps the faith and sees the quest through to the very end, almost unable to let the buoyancy of his spirit be deflated in the most dire of situations. While so many in the story could be considered heroes and heroines, Sam is a true example of Sagittarian resiliency that cannot be squelched.

Joseph Campbell, when he shared with us his famous quote, “Follow your bliss. Find what it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it,” captured a Sagittarian impulse and desire, as Sag has a deep need to immerse herself into what stokes her inner fire, inviting it to come to life as her own spirit. She is here to embark upon the quest of life to expand her understanding of its great gifts, as well as her meaning within it! My teacher Steven Forrest talks about Sag not as the centaur who shoots the arrow, but as the arrow itself, flying through the varied scenes of life, gathering as much of each experience as possible before moving onto the next. This energy needs depth over breadth, diving deeply into each of life’s micro-ventures to fully absorb and truly know their meaning. It’s this kind of interaction — a full engagement with all that is calling her spirit — that allows Sag to expand her awareness of life. She gains a real sense of purpose through this immersive process, different parts of herself sparked to life as she explores both the outer and inner worlds simultaneously. With Sagittarius, life can be likened to a marvelous tapestry that holds within it an infinite number of brilliant colors and scenes, evocative and rich. She is here to delve into and fully experience the parts of the tapestry that intuitively call to her, for in so doing, she gains an understanding that stretches beyond her rational mind, opening and expanding her spirit, allowing her to sing meaning into her life in the ways she always knew she could but hadn’t yet uncovered. Each color has meaning for her, each scene has purpose for her, each understanding a seamless flow to the next phase of her journey, over and again. And this is why one of the archetypes of Sagittarius is the gypsy — ever-learning, ever-immersing, ever-expanding, she moves through life as if pulled by an inner force that ignites her spirit when she comes into contact with all that brings her endless enthusiasm to the surface.

At this time of year, perhaps especially after the intensity of the Scorpionic New Moon time, this lightness is welcome, and it goes well with the feeling of basking in the holiday spirit. This is Sagittarius’s language, and she delights in the brightness that is the holiday season. Ever a student of life, a philosopher questing for meaning, she may have an altar for each different spiritual path that speaks to her, recognizing the value in each. A Jesus here, a Shiva there, a Durga here, a Brigid there, the dogma behind what each figure stands for isn’t what she’s after. It’s the knowing that every representation of spirit that adds merit to her life is worthy of being expressed in her home and in her heart, for they enliven her life in personal ways. Each being a face of the supreme Source is enough for her, and how they speak to her and through her is the point. She seeks to grock their full meaning, embodying it as her own in purposeful ways.

Sagittarius needs to travel outwardly and inwardly to discover and reveal all that’s necessary as the pilgrimage takes place. And it’s always meant to awaken aspects of character that have been waiting to be fleshed out, enlivened and understood more fully. So during this holiday season, even as we move into the sign of Capricorn, I invite you to channel your own inner explorer, and let her take you on an adventure hither and thither, no matter how big or small. Whatever it is that stokes your inner fire, let it inspire you to life, and notice how your spirit responds. You might just light up the whole of your family with the joy you uncover, for it’s always been there, waiting to be uncovered in the most surprising of circumstances or places.

Entering the Underworld:: Scorpio New Moon

The Scorpio New Moon falls on Saturday, November 18th at 3:42am PST and at 6:42am EST. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere have crossed the threshold into the darker months of the year, and Scorpio beckons us into this darker space within ourselves — to explore, uncover, and integrate. This diving into the shadows isn’t so we can live there all the time, but so that we’re made into more integrated, whole beings; beings who are lighter and more aware in body, mind, and spirit. With Jupiter having entered the sign of Scorpio for just over a year in October, and Venus sitting beside him for a few weeks to come yet, this is a bit of a Scorpionic symphony in the Cosmos, and one that is powerful in many ways, especially for people with planets in this sign, or its opposite Taurus, or the squared signs Leo and Aquarius. And interestingly enough, where the Scorpionic New Moon takes place this month is just 2 degrees off the mark of where the Leonine Solar Eclipse in August took place. Coincidence? Not likely! The word “synchronicity” is more accurate, and this intelligence abounds when it comes to Cosmic events.

So what is the sign of Scorpio really about, and what is this New Moon inviting us to? Scorpio is a water sign, and as such, it has a powerful connection to the emotional realm. Yet Scorpionic energy isn’t just about feeling emotions in a “normal” way. It’s about feeling emotions, and indeed, life itself, with such intensity that the emotion becomes so real that it can’t not be felt. The emotion comes to life in the viscera, the fascia, and the whole of one’s being so fully that its experience can overwhelm the body, mind, and thoughts, expressing itself in an intensified way as possible. And this is just the point of Scorpio — it needs to feel with this kind of intensity to make known what isn’t. For, evolutionarily, Scorpio is all about making what is unconscious conscious.

To do so this seemingly impossible task, it draws us into the deep, dark interiors of both the psyche and the body. Scorpio is represented by the shaman, or the one who leads people to places within themselves that they haven’t yet uncovered or integrated. For those of you who’ve ever experienced any kind of shamanic journeying, you know that it’s not always the most comfortable experience. Yet it’s a necessary part of life for those of us who are here to become more of ourselves and less of the pain and wounds that we once thought defined us. Or even more so, those of us who are committed to growth and transformation, which includes the traumas and wounds that our families or ancestors have experienced. Epigenetics reminds us that it’s not just possible, but likely, that we humans pass down traits from one generation to another. And these traits aren’t just about hair or eye color — they’re also about tendencies toward depression, alcoholism, the Protestant work ethic — you name it! When we choose to participate in the work that we do in yoga, especially when it’s shamanic in nature, ie., work that has to do with shifting patterns and transforming more challenging aspects of ourselves into positive ways of being, we are embodying the energy of Scorpio as the shaman, or shamaness. This is no small feat, for anytime we choose to participate in this powerful healing work within ourselves, it is said that we are shifting patterns for the seven generations who came before us, and for the seven generations who will come after us.

The story of Shiva comes to mind when he, in his blue-throated, or Neelakantha aspect, somewhat miraculously transforms poison into nectar. After an unfortunate incident, the demons had taken control of the celestial realm from the devas, or the gods and goddesses, and they were wreaking havoc in what used to be a delightful and beautiful place. The devas called on Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe, to help them come back into power and thus create harmony in the heavenly domain once again. He came up with an activity called “the churning of the ocean of milk,” in which the demons, or asuras, came together with the devas, using a large mountain called Mount Mandara as a churning rod. Since the ocean was just beside the mountain, it would be churned in order to create the nectar of immortality for the devas to drink. The naga king, or serpent king, Vasuki, volunteered to be the churning rope, so the asuras and devas worked together with each other, the asuras being at Vasuki’s head and the devas at his tail. What a plan, indeed! The churning got to be so intense that as the ocean moved, not only nectar was emerging, but so was a toxic poison. This poison was threatening to destroy all of the Universe, so Vishnu decided to call upon his homie, Shiva. Shiva and Parvati, the yogis of the Hindu pantheon, came to the scene at once, and Shiva had just the plan. With a quick wink at Parvati, Shiva drank the poison that the churning process had brought up, but he didn’t swallow it. In fact, Parvati held his throat so that not even a drop of it would be spilled into Shiva’s inner universes! While he held the poison in his throat for hours in an alchemical event that turned his throat blue, many devotees came to chant to Shiva, to meditate with him, and to bear witness to his amazing accomplishment. And indeed, he transformed the poison to nectar, thereby saving all of creation and reminding yogis in the process of their own capacity for transformation of what is heavy, burdensome, and narrow, to what is light, inspiring, and expansive in its perspective. Of course, the story ends with the devas restoring harmony to the heavens, after Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty, abundance, and nourishment, arose from the ocean, as well as many other gems. 

Lakshmi’s appearance at the end of the story, as well as the story itself, reminds us that when we go into the dark, we become capable of transforming things that once weighed on us heavily into gold. Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it’s only transformed. Going into the dark gives us the ability to become more aware of the tendencies we’ve been carrying around, perhaps without even knowing it. The tendency to project negativity and blame onto others is diminished, for in going within, we become empowered to embody our innermost nature of wisdom and unconditional love, no longer held captive by the wound that once ate us alive, or perhaps even guided us unknowingly in decision-making. The Ocean of Consciousness represented by the ocean of milk in the story is held within each of us. We have the ability to spew poison on ourselves and those around us, or to transform the toxic energies that we carry, and perhaps have been passed on for generations, into nectar. And I know you know what I mean! How have you chosen to transform toxic patterns or behaviors in your life into positive stories of purpose and wisdom?

I often liken Scorpionic energy to a hurricane, an eddy pool, or a washing machine. The water in each of these examples has the ability to pull us into deep and dark, sometimes even deadly, places. Yet what is made known from the depths of these scenarios is valuable and necessary for our growth and inner alchemy. During a hurricane, what was deep in the ocean is thrown upon the beach, out in the open for all to see. Yet if the alchemical event hadn’t happened, one may have never known what was there in the first place. Sometimes diving into the depths gives us abilities and awareness we never thought were possible. And perhaps a small death happens — the death of who we once thought we were and identified with in order to be the more conscious and intact person we become.

Psychotherapy is often a wonderful tool of a Scorpionic nature, as moving into the shadow and understanding what it has to reveal is a Jungian concept. But more than just a concept, it may provide amazing results that echo for years or lifetimes to come. Practices like memory cuing or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) have the ability to unlock potential in ways that heal trauma and give people a sense of soul-reclamation. And this is Scorpionic, indeed. When I walked into my amazing psychotherapist’s office one day, ready to confront the suicidal depression I’d carried into this lifetime with me as a result of my grandfather’s “successful" attempt before I was born, life would never be the same. All the work I’d done up to that point had led into a place of being completely ready to confront Pluto — Scorpio’s ruling planet, considered both the Lord of the Underworld AND the Lord of the Riches. My therapist ushered me into this Scorpionic underworld —not hell, but the unconscious realm — walking me through traumas I’d carried around in my body for years but could never access, and she helped give me the ability to unlock and integrate what felt like lifetimes of pain and suffering. My story was never the same again. The person I once identified with no longer even exists. Yet she was key to unlocking this autobiographical tale and healing old wounds that seemed like my only reality for years. 

As well, the meaningful rituals that we can create for ourselves, calling on our ancestors and/or guides, invite us into a similar space of empowerment, healing, and alchemy. During times like these it can be key to create a space where we can be vulnerable, open, and raw; a place for shifting our own consciousness, opening completely to the transformative process. There’s almost a Durga-like quality to this process, a personal claiming of our own capacities to be the shamaness and choose to step fully into a place of healing and wholeness. When we surrender ourselves to whatever emotion or sensation needs to be experienced in a healthy and empowering way, we open ourselves to the process of transformation. We can allow the power of the emotion to move through us, and to eventually unwind from our systems, leaving us with a glimmer of insight, a revelation, or a sense of living more in our skin than we did before. How can you call upon your own inherent nature as the alchemist in this powerful time?

We are talking about Scorpio here, so the primal, erotic self must certainly be mentioned. This part of ourselves has for too long been relegated to the shadows, and so often in an unhealthy way. Scorpionic energy is an invitation to embrace the passionate, divine feminine side of ourselves, embodying this energy healthily and empoweringly. This isn’t about pleasing others, but about truly knowing what we need to be fulfilled in a sensual way. Not that our partners can’t be involved, of course! But we as women claiming our sexuality as our own, as a gift to experience and a gift to celebrate with our beloved, is revolutionary. Entering into and trusting this space of primal energy and vulnerability is an important part of this reclamation of the spirit and the self. And this process, too, might unlock more awareness than we can anticipate!

Kali, one of my favorite Scorpionic deities, is generally seen naked, clothed only in a necklace of severed heads and a skirt of severed arms. Tongue sticking out to lick up demon blood, she is truly a sight for sore eyes! Yet she is the primal, raw, empowered version of the divine feminine, erupting from Durga’s third eye center when she needs it most. Kali’s ferocity seems to shock those who aren’t used to her intense ways, but she’s also as soft and loving as she is ferocious…you just have to get her on the right day! When we call on her to guide us into the dark, she answers, serving as a beacon of steadiness even when our hearts feel like they might collapse under the pressure of exploring the shadow. Yet she reminds us that rather than carrying around dead energy, stories that no longer serve, and heaviness in our hearts, we can choose to move through what once limited us, letting go of all ideas and concepts of who we thought we were, instead making space for what was there all along: our innermost nature of wisdom, truth, and unconditional love.  

The need for truth, for raw and real honesty no matter what, is nigh. What unfinished business is calling you toward it, inviting you into the shadow to investigate, reveal, and alchemize? What kind(s) of ritual might serve you best during this transformative time? Which ancestors or guides might you call upon? Trust yourself and your own inherent capacity to embody the being you came here to be. You are always supported!  

Venus & Lakshmi:: Beauty, Relationship, & Grace in Libra's New Moon

The Libra New Moon falls on Thursday, October 19th at 12:12pm PDT and at 3:12pm EDT. The feeling of this moon is Venusian in nature, as Venus rules, or has a great affinity for, the sign of Libra. The Cosmos seemed to have perfectly planned this New Moon, aligning it on the same day as the Hindu celebration Diwali, or the festival of lights, a time of venerating the goddess, and most explicitly the goddess Lakshmi. Venus to the Romans, also known as Aphrodite to the Greeks, is in some ways synonymous with Lakshmi of the Indian tradition. Each of these goddesses remind us that this is a time of uplifting our hearts, coming together in relationship with those we hold dear, and recognizing that we as humans hold much more in common than not. In meeting each other with kindness, reciprocity, and grace, choosing to acknowledge the divine beauty in ourselves and in each other, we are able to connect soulfully and lovingly. We are able to connect in a Libran way.

Venus, the goddess of love and relationship, is the aspect of us that both seeks and is able to establish bridges of rapport and deep connection with others and with life. When it comes to relationship, she is the best friend and the lover who is always there for us, and the part of you who knows how to be fully present in your most intimate relationships. She holds reciprocity as one of her core values, so naturally shows up in relationship in this way, knowing when and how to give her care and grace to the beloved people in her life. There is an authentic ability here to truly see and experience others as who they are, no matter what they’re going through. It often reminds me of the movie Avatar, in which the line, “I see you” is used rather than, “I love you.” This evokes a feeling of completely recognizing and honoring the full experience of the person with whom you are sharing space, andyour ability to offer kindness and grace regardless of what that experience is. I’m sure you know just what I mean:: these are the times when you and your best friend or partner completely meet each other in the moment, and are able to hear, see, and understand each other in a way that breaks down any barriers that may have been there. There is a real soul connection that’s felt between both people. This is Venus’s way and her magic. In so being, she invites us to be the soul mates and soul sisters that we naturally are; and to find relationships that fill us in just the ways that her energy can. The archetypes of the best friend and the lover are Libra’s archetypes, as energies of knowing and honoring the truth and beauty that are experienced and expressed when two open and receptive people meet each other, and share a moment of divinity in the space of connection. These moments are precious to Libra, and she cherishes them as such.

Both Venus and Lakshmi are known as goddesses of divine beauty, and Lakshmi as the abundance of this beauty that pervades life. Living inside of us and inside of all beings and all experiences, she reminds us that it’s often only a matter of subtly shifting our perspective that gives us access to this way of knowing reality. I remember being younger and, partly because I’m inherently Venusian in nature, seeing beautiful clothing, jewelry, and altar pieces, and wanting them so badly for my own. I’d curse myself for having human tendencies and wanting what was in front of me rather than being content with what I had already. Instead, I turned away from the beauty in life and in myself for a more “monk-like” approach to living…until this approach came back full tilt, initially in quite an unhealthy way. Consumerism and materialism are real things, of course, and certainly a shadow tendency of Venus and Lakshmi! But what I was denying in myself was my ability to recognize the abundant beauty that is alive in reality. Once I began to honor the presence of Venus and Lakshmi in my own life, welcoming this energy and reminding others of it, I remembered that it’s not bad to be attracted to or to desire beautiful things. But it’s important to identify where the desire is coming from. Is it coming from the place of lack that we discussed last month in the shadow aspect of Virgoan energy? Or is it from a place of recognizing the beauty in something and wanting to honor it by adorning ourselves or our homes and lives in remembrance of this? So I stopped refusing to buy ONLY baggy, over-sized and secondhand clothing (although still a fan of this part!), and began treating myself to items that would remind me that this body is a vessel of the divine feminine, and an expression of its grace. The way that I feel in my body and in my home allows the energy of abundance to be present. It took some years for me to come to a healthy balance in this regard, but the recognition behind it was a huge one. Constantina Rhodes, a Lakshmi scholar who published Invoking Lakshmi: The Goddess of Wealth in Song and Ceremony reminds us that, “Every woman is an embodiment of the Goddess.” The Hindu texts she references absolutely say so! These goddesses want you to remember your inherent divinity, beauty, and grace, and to adorn yourself accordingly in attitude, intention, and even in materiality, but authentically, of course. How does it feel when you acknowledge and honor your body and home as temples, and act in a way that reflects this?

John Lennon, a true expression of Libran energy, once sang, “Imagine all the people living life in peace…”. And the words have echoed on through the decades since, perhaps a call and a reminder to embody this ideal, even when it seems impossible. This sentiment is Libra in its expression as the peacemaker; the one who knows that there is almost always a way to let go of our perceived differences, even if it’s only for a bit, to find common ground that’s really closer than our limited minds would have us think. There is an energy of the peaceful warrior here, one who stands in the face of disharmony and chaos, yet knows that peace is always a choice. “YOU must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi has been a huge and inspiring example of this choice we have in each moment. It’s not that the “demons” of suffering and pain don’t live within us all. It’s that we can choose how to engage with them, facing them in ourselves so that we can BE the peace that “passeth all understanding”, especially when it seems the most challenging choice available. More on confronting demons next month, but this being the peace is one facet of Libran energy at its finest. How do you support yourself in life so you can BE the peace as you walk down the street, interact with your family and community, and with yourself? How does peace express itself as you?

As the sign of the scales, Libra is often recognized as representing the energy of fairness and justice, and rightfully so. Libra recognizes the paradox that both this AND that are accurate representations of the truth simultaneously; one being right doesn’t negate the other. And in doing so, Libra reminds us that it always takes at least two parts to make up the full truth in the world of duality….or perhaps as many parts as there are people! “Devil’s advocate,” anyone? Two people can of course be right at the same time, and these opinions can sit side by side without needing to prove their validity to the other. When two people are having a challenging go at relationship, it’s generally this way:: one isn’t right and the other wrong. They’re simply both experiencing reality from their own perspectives, and are also hopefully open to what the other is expressing, for no one opinion is ever the sole opinion! Libra the Mediator is the aspect of the energy that gives access to this remembrance, establishing connection even when none seems available. How do you approach situations that challenge your perspective? Is finding middle ground a tendency of yours? 

Evolutionarily, Libra’s aim is to create an unshakeable, unbreakable inner harmony. For those of you who are part of a yoga, meditation, qi gong, or any kind of inwardly-focused practice, you know the place within. But sometimes it’s hard to maintain a connection with that innermost space, as we likely well know! And Libran energy is a very sensitive one. As an air sign, it’s sensitive to the symbolic wind blowing, making its finely-tuned scales all caddywampus! The Libran nervous system is easily left in quite a state of overwhelm, so tactics and techniques can be used to re-create or maintain this space of equilibrium in the ever-changing world. One such technique is creating beauty in one’s environment that allows for a deep sigh of relief and calm. Imagine having had a rough day, feeling flustered with a shaken nervous system, and walking into the Cistine Chapel, or approaching the Taj Mahal (or any place that evokes radical beauty to you). As you allow the experience to envelop you, the stress of what created a disheveling of being melts away. The beauty takes your breath away, then allows it to return to a natural, even rhythm. Perhaps a tear is shed in utter astonishment as part of this melting. Perhaps the sense of harmony makes a direct connection with your own innermost harmony, and you remain in that space, almost entranced, for the rest of the day. Either way, Libran energy has been balanced and returned to its “resting tone,” so to speak. She has been made herself once again. This little ditty reminds us to surround ourselves with beauty during this New Moon and Diwali celebration! Is it time to reinvigorate your altar space, creating a feeling of artistry in your practice space or home in general? How can you remember Libra’s, Venus’, and Lakshmi’s beauty by allowing your home to be an extension of their grace that calms the heart and soothes the soul? And if you’re an artist by trade or pastime, have at it! What’s created during this experience of connection with your inner artist permeates all levels of being, as you well know! The practice of creating beauty pacifies in a way that is as lasting as the aforementioned experience, and you even have physical results to boot! That may not necessarily be the goal, but the piece created might be the one that renews your harmonious spirit when you need it most.

Another amazing tool for Libra is the connection with the best friend, lover, or both. So for this strategy, see above in the paragraph with Libra needing Venus as her ally, establishing bridges of rapport that allow her to feel completely “seen,” when she’s feeling frazzled! Sometimes a bear hug really IS the best medicine! Yet when this phone call or in-person connection isn’t possible in the moment, it’s helpful for Libra to have some tactics that allow her to hit the reset button on her own. Maybe it’s striking a pose like down dog when the kids go off to school or their friends’ houses, opening to your breath and softening. Maybe it’s closing your eyes for 10 seconds and connecting with the always harmonious inner space, or picturing the beautiful altar you’ve created at home and imagining yourself sitting in front of it, drinking in its beauty. It might even be carrying a little Lakshmi or crystal or picture around with you, and pulling it out at just the right moment when you need reminding. The more you steep yourself in this space of inner equanimity, the more readily available it is, no matter what.

And a word of caution on the shadow of this sign, as all signs have. Because the energy of the scales and their accompanying goddesses value connection and peace as much as they do, sometimes they compromise too much. Being a doormat is not what this energy is about when in balance, although it can be when it’s not! My teacher Steven Forrest often gives the example of a couple sitting together and being hungry. One asks the question, “what do you wanna do for dinner?” The other answers, “oh, I don’t know…what do you want?” The answer, “oh, I’m not sure.” And the response, “I really can do whatever you wanna do.” Imagine this going on ad nauseam, and you get the point. Being so without opinion that one loses herself in her partner’s or friend’s views, needs, or feelings can be tricky territory, and can have quite negative repercussions. The idea here for Libra is to perhaps compromise in a certain scenario or on a certain subject, but never to compromise herself or her ideals. These remain intact and clear so that the peace, beauty, and reciprocity she so stands for can be embodied and expressed. 

Wishing you blessings during this Libra New Moon and Diwali! Enjoy this time of grace, artistry, and relationship! Let it come alive in ways that nourish your heart and soul, and remind you of the inherent harmony that always lives inside. Do this, and you’ve tasted Libra’s essence, and likely won’t forget it! 

Grounded, Purposeful Service: Virgo New Moon

The Virgo New Moon falls on Tuesday, September 19th at 10:29pm PDT, and on Wednesday, September 20th at 1:29am EDT. The first New Moon after Leo’s spectacular double take last month, with a mind-blowing full solar eclipse to boot, this New Moon hearkens Autumnal energies and a settling into the changes that last month brought with it. If the changes for you were palpable and full on, this new moon time is one of integration and movement forward with renewed commitment, perhaps carrying with it a feeling of completion of one phase of the journey and the opening of a new one, or clarified intent and purpose.

And I must express this, as well, with all the hype around last month’s full eclipse::  if you did not experience a sense of profound revelation last month, not to worry! We’re certainly not all effected by cosmic events in the same way or at the same time, nor do we need to be! Because each person’s birth chart, often seen as a soul contract of sorts, is unique in its needs, gifts, and ways of expressing, the ways that each cosmic event effects a soul and her chart is unique as well. Thanks to the synchronicity of the Universe and its inherently intelligent rhythm, each person is given just what she needs and is ready for at just the right time. Because evolutionary astrology is personal astrology, we recognize from the get go that while the transiting planets (where planets are currently moving in the sky) are of utmost importance, the ways that this importance is revealed and integrated is absolutely different from one person to the next. So if you experienced the eclipse with many people who have the 2nd half of Leo, Aquarius, Taurus, or Scorpio lit up in their natal charts, you may have all been having epiphanies that wouldn’t quit! But if your experience of the eclipse with people with not much at all in the above signs, it would’ve been an incredible show from nature, but without the energetic fireworks attached. And this is the beauty of astrology, and of Life!

But alas, we’ve moved from the explosive creative energy of Leo to a more concentrated, focused energy with Virgo. Of all the signs in the zodiac, this one is the most interested in and capable of deep and sustained transformation and growth. As a mutable earth sign, Virgo has the ability to see where she is, and simultaneously where she wants to be but perhaps isn’t, and put steady and consistent time and energy into moving toward her aspiration.

What is the driving force behind this characteristic of Virgo? A deeply-seated desire to become skillful at her trade, not simply for the sake of it, but to enhance the ways that she is available to be of service to her people. Virgo is here to become masterful at her craft, or crafts, as the case may be. She is willing to put forth all that it takes to hone and refine her skills, over and again, for the sake of her offering. Be it teaching yoga, playing the piano, calculating taxes, or writing novels, the fruits of Virgo’s labors must be experienced by others. She is utterly tied to her purpose, and she needs ways to express this meaningful work in the world so that she might be genuinely fulfilled. 

Virgo is known for commitment to the craft, as well as a detail-oriented way of being that borders on anal retentiveness. But remember, it’s for the sake of the craft! This attention to finely-tuned detail is absolutely essential to Virgoan energy. For example, if someone is in Trikonasana with her front foot turned in just a bit too much, there could be binding in the front hip flexor, pain in the knee, or an inability to fully integrate the femur bone into the hip socket. Turning the foot so that it’s “‘perfectly” parallel to the sides of the mat tends to create stability in the supporting muscles, proper alignment of the bones, as well as freedom and flow of energy. This is when complete accuracy is important, especially if someone practices the asana everyday! When Virgo can use her knowledge to be of assistance to others in ways such as this, she experiences deep satisfaction.

Virgo’s name might steer us in a certain direction, as it almost fully contains the word “virgin,” but this misses the point of her true meaning. And in fact, Virgo in olden times often represented the bounty, harvest, grain, and fertility. Interesting how the lens has changed, and I’m quite confident that we could have a lively discussion on this! Yet rather than being virginal, this energy is one that naturally moves toward purity and perfection. She is, indeed, the perfectionist. Virgo recognizes that she can always better herself and the world in some way, and she’s wired to find deep fulfillment through evolving in a specific direction. There’s absolutely a part of this energy that wants to make life better through effort and offering. A sentiment here might be, “I came here to add what I have to give.” And this addition isn’t for recognition, fame, or anything of the sort; these aren’t things that fulfill Virgo, and deep down she knows it. Her offering is for the sake of the offering itself, and the knowing that what she contributes can, and likely will, make a difference to the whole. This “whole” can be translated in Sanskrit to “purnatva”. Interestingly enough, this word is also a word that can be used for “perfection,” although it’s from a much different lens than we Westerners might use! Other translations of “purnatva” are “fullness,” “completeness,” or something that is brimming over with perfection that it could never be lacking in any way, shape, or form. When Virgo is able to fully offer her gifts, skills, and “magic” in the moment, completely bringing all of herself to her work, she gains access to this fullness. She becomes it. She’s of course been this fullness all along, but the act of expressing herself skillfully to help others connects her with this deep knowing. And the world is made better for her doing so.

Like Gemini, Virgo is also ruled by the planet Mercury, the messenger god, who, if you remember back to June’s piece, has quite an affinity with Saraswati. Sally Kempton reminds us that Saraswati “is the offering we make to perfection. She has this virginal, above-the-word quality, which teaches us that we need dedication and immersion in order to extract the subtle truths of life and art” (Awakening Shakti 189). A beautiful aspect of Saraswati most present in Virgo is resonant with Kempton’s sentiment here, and it is Virgo’s ability to be articulate — not just with her words, although that may be, and not just with her numbers, although that may be — but with her efforts. As the goddess of flow, Saraswati is the mother of voice, speech, learning, music, creativity, and insight. This borders on Virgoan territory in the way that Virgo expresses her time, energy, and efforts; she does so with great articulateness, efficiency, and effectiveness. She can have a clarity of expression that is direct, precise, and highly refined. Think of someone who’s been perfecting her craft for three or more decades; it’s as though she could do whatever it is she’s good at in her sleep! It seems effortless and almost magical, and she has an ability to express her natural gifts with ease, yet complete refinement; this is a lovely example of the effective energy that lives within Virgo. Yet it didn’t happen overnight — it’s been a long process of distillation, refinement, and transforming the skill into true excellence. 

From the evolutionary perspective, Virgo has come here to learn humility; yet this is different from humiliation. She has come here to be of service; yet this is not subservience. Sometimes this energy, because it is so humble and service-oriented, can border on unworthiness and self-doubt just because she’s not already perfect at the new craft she just picked up an hour ago! Or because she taught a class or wrote an article that wasn’t up to par with some expectation she’s created in her mind. A helpful way of working with this shadow expression of the energy is to celebrate the small things. I like to remind people that the small things are often the big things — remember our Trikonasana example from above! What our mind considers a small thing might have enormous repercussions, and when any shift is made in a pattern or perspective, there is growth and change. This is something for Virgo to celebrate! Yet she might continue looking at where she is and where she wants to be longingly, and perhaps even a feeling of desperation enters her mind and spirit. The perfect chant for her in a moment such as this one sums up all that we’ve explored. It is the Wholeness or Fullness chant that you’ve likely heard or chanted, and perhaps it’s even a favorite:: 

“Om purnamadah purnamidam

Purnata purnam udachyate

Purnasya purna madaya

Purnam eva vashishyate

“That is whole; this is whole. From wholeness emerges wholeness. When you take the whole from the whole, wholeness remains.” All of Life, including YOU, is what this wholeness refers to. Virgo is here to know this. Then everything she does is an expression of that knowing.

Virgo can respond especially well to mentors, as they provide her with the guidance she so craves in moving forward on a particular path. Think of an auntie figure who’s able to show her niece the ropes in a way that mom can’t. And when it comes to the actual craft, if you want to want to get better at something, hang out with people who are better than you at the said task. By spending time closely working with and learning from people whose artistry Virgo admires and seeks to embody herself, she expands. And if she does fall into the shadow tendency of being hard on herself, a mentor is the perfect person to turn to for reminders of just how far she’s come. In time, Virgo becomes the mentor herself.

During this New Moon time, I invite you to steep in the part of you that is already full in the ways that you feel it most, whether it’s through gathering herbs, making potions, writing, practicing yoga, chanting, or anything else! How do you take the time you need to refine your craft, honing your skills so that you can be of greater service to our world? How do you care for and nourish yourself to ensure you have the energy needed to be of service? How do you remember the innermost nature of Wholeness, even when the record player of the mind begins its old script? What meaningful skills do you have to offer, and how can you do so with even greater excellence and effectiveness? And when you remember that you’re already THAT, how does this change the expression of your gifts? Enjoy!