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!

Creative Play:: New Moon in Leo

This first of two Leo New Moons this year falls on Sunday, July 23 at 2:47 AM Pacific Time/5:47AM Eastern Time, and brings with it a feeling of powerful and playful creativity. Leo roars into manifestation what she feels called to create from deep within her spirit. And with the next Leo New Moon being a Total Solar Eclipse, this first round of Leonine energy is an opportunity to get clear on what’s ready to come to life in the world of manifestation!

With the New Moon in Cancer needing to probe the depths of the inner world, this Leonine New Moon brings an energy of resoundingly expressing what delights the heart and soul. And this expression beckons to be seen, heard, and felt in the world; it seeks an audience and playmates so that others might experience this offering and be delighted just the same. 

Whenever I sit with the energy of Leo, a Broadway (or off-Broadway!) musical comes to mind, its characters acting and singing to life their heart’s yearnings for the whole audience to experience. Many performers are familiar with the idea of “the 4th wall”, the invisible wall that’s between the performers and the audience. Knowing that there’s a whole universe of people out beyond this “4th wall” is part of what evokes the depth of emotional range that lives within the performance. Having an audience to aide in bringing to life creative force and potential can be revealing for everyone involved, most especially the people on the stage! If you’ve ever been invited to demonstrate a yoga posture in front of an entire class, you’ve experienced firsthand what Leonine energy is about. Perhaps you were “shaking in your boots” before the demo, not quite sure if you’d even be able to do what your teaching was asking of you. Yet with your peers silently cheering you on, and the Shakti (life force) working from deep within you, you likely did a lovely demo, maybe even expressing the posture more beautifully than you had ever done it before! This energetic dynamic is an example of Leo at work: other people help to “draw out” the expression that’s inside, just waiting to be made manifest. And the relationship that takes place between the “performer” and “audience” is where so much of the magic takes place!

But having an audience isn’t exactly what Leo is about, although it certainly helps! Leo needs to create for the sake of doing so, not merely for others’ approval. Leo is the astrological sign of the Lila, a Sanskrit word meaning the “divine play of Consciousness.” From the Tantric yoga view, all of life is a play ofthis One inherently divine energy, and the Shakti that animates all things to life is an inherently blissful energy. We as participants are encouraged to cultivate practices that allow us and others to delight in the dance of Shakti and live life as a celebration. To do so, Joseph Campbell expressed well, “Follow your bliss. Find what it is and don’t be afraid to follow it.” Perhaps in your upbringing or culture you weren’t taught to do the things you love, yet this New Moon is calling for liberation — doing what you love is exactly what this play wants! The Lila seeks expression as and through all beings, and part of this is connecting with the seat of authentic spirit, then expressing what naturally springs forth from there. In other words, remember who you are in your Lion’s heart of hearts, and do what you love in the world from this place! The Lila is a grand affirmation of Life, delighting in the diversity of the expression that comes from each participant, regardless of the results. As long as you’re coming from the most resonant place within, you can’t and won’t be led astray!

The Queen, radiantly shining and with poised dignity, is one of Leo’s archetypes. This isn’t the Queen in relationship to the King; rather, she is a being who is sovereign unto herself, capable of holding the fort down when times are peaceful or intense. When she arrives in the room, others are immediately soothed, feeling a sense of safety that comes from her grandeur. This aspect of Leo is that of shining so brightly that others may be temporarily blinded. Yet eventually they become inspired to their own greatness as well, for in Leo’s shining brightly, it frees others to do the same. The Marianne Williamson quote comes to mind:: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us….we are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” What would happen if you were to don the regalia of a Queen, shimmering in greatness and splendor, not from haughtiness, but from grace? What would happen if, during this New Moon time, you allowed yourself to be the brightest version of yourself possible, regardless of your social or cultural programming? What would that FEEL like deep in your being-ness?

Another of Leo’s archetypes is the child, as mentioned above, playing and shining by virtue of being herself. Children are masterful at being spontaneous…play a game with a child, and you might be saying things, in character I might add, that you’d never imagine yourself saying in another context. This spontaneity of spirit is a gateway through which Leonine silliness can come, jubilantly making itself known in the world. Honoring the inner child is a perfect practice during this New Moon, sitting with and listening to her needs. Our inner children seek expression through the current version of who we are, and when they’re feeling seen and heard in the ways they need to be, there’s balance within our own personality and character. There can be a deep and real integration amongst all the different facets of being when we create a relationship with and truly value this beautiful little presence inside. 

Often in pop astrology we hear of Leo’s pride. Yet there’s something to be said of being healthily proud of one’s creative endeavors, be they actual children, projects, gatherings, or otherwise. During this Leonine New Moon, what would you be proud to be a part of or to create? What is seeking expression through you, as you? Which blissful endeavor or creation is wanting to blossom into the realm of manifestation? Which inner processes need to be roared to life? Gather together with people with whom you can celebrate life and be your silly self, and play a bit!  Follow what’s beckoning you to an even more full and content heart, and delight in where you’re led!

Cancer New Moon ~ Nourishing the Inner Realm

The Cancer New Moon falls on Friday, June 23 at 7:32 PM Pacific Time. Gemini’s hustle and flurry of activity brings Consciousness to a quiet, inward space that is Cancer’s home. The most subjective of the astrological signs, Cancer seeks to shelter itself from the chaos and intensity of the world, creating a sacred place in which to withdraw and find nurturance. 

The first of the water signs, Cancer makes its appearance in the zodiac just in time for Consciousness to seek and to find the solace that it requires. Often considered the sign of “nesting”, Cancerian energy lovingly creates a sanctuary of nourishment. It’s in this space, the boudoir, that the goddess Parvati goes to soak in bath salts, adorn herself with the luscious scents of her favorite essential oils, and nourish herself in the ways that revitalize and rejuvenate her goddess-ness. The boudoir is tucked away from the rest of the world, with Parvati the only one allowed within its walls. It was in this space that she concocted a magical potion that contained turmeric, just the right amount of each of the elements, scents, herbs, and spices. Through her care and magic, Parvati created her own little boy who came to be Ganesha, guardian of the threshold. She and the energy of Cancer represent the deep Ocean of Consciousness that lives inside one’s heart, and Ganesha the one who keeps the space safe, only passable when we’re soft and open enough to enter its realm. 

The tucked-away nature of both Cancer and Parvati’s boudoir is also synonymous with the care that a Mother provides. The womb-space, a place that gives rise to creative energies in the myriad of ways they express themselves, childbearing or otherwise, contains the essence of potentiality. Like an egg, filled hidden possibility, the depths of the heart and the womb are the places where dreams not yet shaped marinate before making themselves known in the world. Basking in the creative inner space to bring new projects to life contains the essence of Cancer, as care must be given in order to nourish the possibilities within a child, an endeavor, or a vision brought to life. Yet Cancer must remember that this same support must be offered to herself, lest she “over-mother” others, becoming identified with the role of Mother rather than balancing this task with that of honoring her own needs and taking excellent care of herself.

Cancer is the only sign that is ruled by, or has quite an affinity for, the Moon; so it’s the most lunar of them all! Read the word lunatic as loon-A-tic, and you get an idea of la luna’s connection to the emotional realm with its immense capacity to take us as far beyond the rational mind as we can possibly go. Stand and let the moon, at whichever stage it happens to be, captivate you with her beauty, and you’re generally taken over by a sense of awe for her magnificence. All thoughts leave, and you’re likely left with feelings instead. The lunar territory that Cancer inhabits invites us to feel into the depths of our souls for yearnings waiting to be expressed, personal myths longing to be constructed, and inklings of stories waiting to be brought to life.

Cancer is considered to be the most sensitive of the astrological zodiac, feeling with such immensity that it can sometimes be overwhelming. Yet that’s exactly what Cancer came here to do — to remind us to trust in and fully open to the emotional tapestry that is available within. The emotional realm may seem a daunting one at times, yet each emotion holds valuable keys for the heart and the soul to express themselves and, ultimately, to heal. All of the emotions (rasas, or flavors, feelings) must be felt and moved through the body in order for vibrant health to be fully present. Cancer reminds us that this is the most natural, and can be one of the most graceful, processes we experience as humans. When we open ourselves to this inner landscape and allow the energy to move in ways that it needs to, we become conduits for life’s expression, thereby allowing for a healing to take place. We learn to trust in our own intuitive capacity as women to let emotions flow, trusting their natural movement, for it is ultimately to the experience of Wholeness and Oneness that IS everything.

Evolutionarily, Cancer is here to shed her shell at just the right time, opening up and trusting her emotional processes, even when that feels like the most challenging thing to do. But she’s here to do this anyway, though having the support of just the right people is always a good idea. Cancer reminds us that withdrawing from the world can be the perfect opportunity to immerse oneself in the inner realms to gain clarity and understanding of what is to be created in the outside world at just the right time. 

During this Cancer New Moon, how can you turn inside to marinate in your own creative juices? Perhaps you find (or create!) a space in your home that is sacred to you, one that inspires you to connect with your intuition and feeling, letting the power of potential energy “speak” to you in an utterly “sensational” way. Perhaps you marinate in the tub, allowing your favorite essential oils and bath salts to work their magic on you as you absorb the nourishment. Open yourself to the inner tapestry that beckons you to its chamber, allowing the feelings to flow, the emotions to move, and the space of possibility to awaken you in a way that is truly healing.

Taurus New Moon ~ Settling into Simplicity

The Taurus New Moon falls on Wednesday, April 26 at 5:18 AM Pacific Time. After the intensity of Aries, Taurean energy invites us to a calmer, more grounded place. In a word: simplicity. Imagine a bull resting in the pasture, chewing the green grass, breathing in the fresh air, nourished by his sensory experience. Tap into the feeling of this scene, and you’ve tapped into the energy of Taurus. This energy is about coming home to the body, and giving it what it needs to feel nurtured and secure. The security of materiality for the sake of it is not the point of Taurus — but the security of being in one’s body in a healthy way, absolutely is. 

Creative projects often begin with an energy of excitement and enthusiasm, just as Spring often does. Yet we’re not meant to be in the beginning phase of a cycle the entire time. If we lived here for the whole cycle, burnout would certainly ensue. Taurus comes at the perfect moment, when the fire of Aries and the power of Iccha Shakti has been lighting up our lives, perhaps quite powerfully; and at this point in the zodiac, we get to uphold our creativity differently. The passionate burst of Arian vitality gives way to a sweet and sensual energy that invites us to settle down.

Taurean energy is symbolized by the bull (and not the Hemingway bull, mind you, running through the streets of Madrid!), doesn’t need to talk. It is quite happy living life through the senses: breathing, experiencing, being. That is what brings Taurus back to herself. Animals and the natural world are wonderful ways of reconnecting Taurus with her sense of animal kinship. Notice how you feel when you spend some time with your favorite four-legged friend! Each has an instinctual way of bringing you back to your uncomplicated, sensory self.  

Taurus is nourished by activities that invite her into her body — activities like a slow, intentional yoga practice, a massage therapy session, or a date with her essential oils. A quiet walk in the forest is especially effective, as it’s an opportunity to be embraced by nature’s abundance, a place where Taurus feels especially connected. Yet even the activity of washing dishes, of knitting, or of doing something crafty with her hands, is a lovely Taurean outlet. Practices that give Taurus the ability to be comfortable in her own skin, and to feel good in her body, soothes this energy.

Music also has the ability to pull Taurus into a place of serenity, and its pull can be quite direct. A harmony experienced by the ears is easily felt by the heart, and for Taurus, it has the capacity to welcome a similar tranquility as the forest might. The Musician is an archetype for Taurus, as one who both works with her hands, while also creating melodies that pull on her heart strings! Listen to a symphony play your favorite Mozart piece, and you might just be basking in Taurean reverie.

Routine can also be a fantastic way to calm the energy of this time, aligning with Nature’s flow. Yet routine is not synonymous with the mundane, so as long as the routine is purposeful, and feels grounding and clarifying, it feeds this earth sign.  

Enjoy the sweetness of this time…take a forest walk, light some candles, pull out your favorite essential oils, and put on some heart opening tunes. Sink down, grounding into the earthy simplicity of Taurus!

Aries New Moon ~ Cultivating Courage

Happy New Moon in Aries! The first new moon of the year, this is a celebration of life and its reemergence. It's a time of revivification, of waking up, and of living one's authenticity out loud. Aries carries with it vitality, as it represents the life force itself, an energy of Awakeness and Aliveness. Nature sings its expression all around us with the return of this vigor. Evolutionarily, Aries is about the cultivation of courage...we have an invitation to start the cycle of life anew, daring to dream a life that is as spacious, clear, and unique as possible, and to now bring it fully into being in all the ways we're called to. Are you willing to stand in the most powerful and conscious version of yourself? Are you willing to face the fears of your ancestors, your family, yourself, and to skillfully use the energy you transform by facing these fears as the Force for healing, good, beauty, and bounty? Now is the time to embody the spiritual warrioress, roaring to life all the dreams you've come here to create. What stands between you and these dreams? Whatever it is, Aries' warrior strength and commitment to truth can give you the boldness you need to face what is no longer true for you, and to enliven your highest potential here in the world. If you act from the place of fear, you'll never know what might have been. Aim your arrow of truth in the direction of your Heart's deepest yearnings...the power of the Cosmos are with you as you stand in your authentic truth and courageously bring it to life.

Pisces New Moon Solar Eclipse & ShivaRatri

Happy New Moon Eclipse in Pisces! Happy ShivaRatri! During this time, the energy of possibility becomes more palpable, and we're invited into the formless mystery, the void, & the Ocean of Consciouness to connect with all possibilities for expression in the world of form. As this is the last New Moon of the Winter and the first Eclipse of 4 this year, we're being beckoned deeply into the vast inner tapestry to prepare for what we're calling to life this Spring and this year.

This is also a celebration of Shiva, who, in his personified form, is the meditating yogi, the one who can be seen sitting on the mountaintop, dreaming the Universe into and out of existence for thousands upon thousands of years. His realm is that of Pisces and the place we go when we're beyond rational mind and thoughts, as he rules the domain of imagination and intuition. It's time to connect with these much-needed facets of the human experience in order to dream a reality that is harmonious, compassionate, and unified...one in which we see beyond the veils of perceived separation to the underlying Oneness that IS. Shiva beckons us into his space of Unity consciousness to merge with all of Life so that we can live in the world from a clear place that's beyond old patterns of thinking and being. He invites us to our innermost nature. In fact, he IS our innermost nature. This potent new moon eclipse portal reminds us of who we really are...the part of us that's beyond old belief systems, thought patterns, and separating ways of understanding. It invites us to the collective expanse of humanity, a place where all limitations dissolve into the One.

Shiva is both this and the energy of transformation, representing what is needing to be let go of, shed, and even to die, in order to create space for the Truth of what is unfolding from within our hearts and within our lives in the present. Shiva serves as a support and guide when doing the work of taking a real look at ourselves and ushers us into the place of what's real, raw, and vulnerable so we can move through the process of becoming whole once again, reminding us that we were always so. His powerful Piscean presence reminds us that we have the strength and love we need to move through all that arises, and that going through the process of shedding layers to live from the ground of Truth gives us access to compassion of what all beings must go through on the sweet yet sometimes challenging journey of life. His nature, your innermost nature, reminds us that all of this life is sacred and valuable, and the ways that we show up in the world bring this knowing to form.

Call on this force of awakeness and aliveness within you! This force of intuition, imagination, compassion, and unity. Take some time to meditate, go deep into the chamber of your heart, and open to what the Universe is wanting to bring to life through you without limitation. The Universe is with you...enjoy!

Aquarian New Moon 2016

Happy Chinese New Year! Happy New Moon in Aquarius! Aquarian energy, from an evolutionary perspective, is about authenticity and individuation...marching to the rhythm of one's own drum. Whether the peanut gallery agrees with you is not the point...what does your authentic and clear voice sound like, even if it's whispering? What truths are you being invited to uncover and live? Now is the time! Especially with Uranus (Aquarius' ruling planet) in Aries sextiling this New Moon, we're being invited to courageously look at and embody the truth of who we are in the world. And because Aquarius is also an energy that needs its tribe or sangha, we attract the "right" people to ourselves when we're able to be the people we were born to be, rather than the people we were conditioned to be. You are NOT the stories you've told yourself for so long. You are authentic aliveness, in this very moment, without a story attached. Aquarius, as an air sign, can see life from an expanded vantage point, or with upeksha. This is partly why it's called "the water bearer", because it has access to seeing from a panoramic view, then responding accordingly. Rather than doing what's always been done, this energy welcomes a perspective that is innovative, fresh, and that pushes the bounds of society into new ways of being, thinking, and understanding. When each person stands in her or his authentic truth, (the truth of being that can never be conditioned), our world changes as a result. "The truth will set you free," but being willing to recognize it might shatter your old views in a big way. And what are we waiting for?! May we welcome this expansive energy and call forth the most authentic version of ourselves during this powerful time!

Capricorn New Moon 2016!

Happy New Moon in Capricorn! We get an extra dose or two of Capricornian energy for this new moon with Pluto conjunct the Sun and Moon and Mercury retrograde in the sign of the sea goat. This mythical creature is the only sign of the zodiac that thrives in the water and on the land, making her an unstoppable force. Yet Capricornian energy is slow and steady, recognizing that in order to carry out any task with success, there must be patience and perseverance. This earth sign has to do with creating structure and form and has the awesome power to uphold and support the framework that's being manifested! The time is potent for setting long-terms goals, whether they be for a one-year cycle, a 5-year cycle, a 10-year cycle, or beyond. Mercury's retrograde status in Cap invites us into ourselves so that we connect fully with our own inner values and let them guide us to create these important goals. Pluto represents both wounding and fierce empowerment, so be sure that you're creating from a discerning and conscious place. What have you learned over the past year or few that can be used to create a clear trajectory moving forward? Integrity is the key word here...this energy is about marrying your outer world with your inner world and the awareness that lives there. Rather than doing something because it's expected or comes from a place of obligation, Capricorn teaches us to be wise and competent masters of our own design. The sea goat is especially good with strategies and carries with it a sense of inherent practicality, so tapping into its formidable force allows you to bring whatever task is at hand to completion. Yet as with any astrological influence, nothing is guaranteed. Take time for solitary endeavors and things that allow you to simply be with yourself to get super clear in your stance, no matter what the peanut gallery expresses. Then move from this place, one step at a time. Be open to what is offered, but never forget the truth of your own inner voice. “The journey of 10,000 steps begins with the first.” Cap understands this like no other sign. Tap into its wisdom to create what is wanting to unfold from within you.