The upcoming Full Moon in Aries will be a Super Moon in the Northern Hemisphere, which means the Moon appears at its largest from Earth. The concurrent Lunar Eclipse will be best visible to us Arizonans at 7:47 p.m. (here's a nifty site to find maximum viewing times in your city). Every Full Moon opposes the Sun, thereby activating a pair of signs; for this lunation, the Aries/Libra channel is turned up. I can best describe the dance between these two poles as balancing the impulse, authority and uniqueness of our selves with the yearning to gel socially and environmentally and to belong. In Aries, we find the smoldering desire for self-actualization via understanding the instrument of our own being. In solitude, according to writer and social critic Thomas Mann, we can birth our original selves. And the Ram does enjoy its alone time. Yet if we carry a "blazing hearth in [our] soul" without sharing our warmth, the intense burn of our bottled up offerings can feel unbearable.
Countless creatives laud solitude as an essential key to knowing ourselves and earthing our genius. Personal projects flourish within a sacred space we create and where we give ourselves exactly what we need: quiet, inspiration, pampering, ritual or perhaps play. Willful Aries fully supports healthy boundaries and dedicated, vigorous pursuits (and fun play!). In solitude we are transformed. I feel fairly safe to say every path to spirit/realization includes some form of intentional seclusion. The root of alone is the Old English all ane, literally "all one." As we shift, expand and change, we will almost inevitably encounter resistance and misunderstanding in the outside world. To aspire to truth, integrity, and authenticity (all Aries values) requires the courage to be alone sometimes... or often. And not just physically. Even if we don't meet with outright rejection as we bring forth our uniqueness, we still struggle with these inexplicable realizations and the out-there but juicy and irreplaceable wisdom housed within each of us.
We experience all kinds of rejection in life which adds layers upon the social mask we wear. We cover and tame our truths, our enthusiastic hearts and our big dreams because it is too painful to bear their being dismissed or ridiculed. We buffer and dull the edge of our engagement with this world. The locus of connection where self meets other and world is Libra territory and the consequences of our surface-level engagement abound. Every "awesome!" "great!" or "amazing!" reflects how we are ultimately stuck, in fear, in the shallow end of the connection pool. This maybe sounds extreme; I myself respond superficially to life all.. the.. time and I don't feel like I'm in a constant state of fear paralysis. But think about it: the efficient, automated, soul-scant exchange dominates in our convenience-driven culture. To go deeper, we have to pry open and release ourselves from the mighty jaws of social conditioning and that takes tenacity and strength -not to mention vulnerability!
Our burning need to share is not satisfied by these fly-by interactions. We also see so much over-sharing because our landscape of connection is so very arid and stark. Aries is a sign of will. Without getting too esoteric, we can distinguish the motivations of our personality (typically in response or service to our self-image) and the subtle impulses of our seed of potential - the self to actualize - in this lifetime. Neither set of drives is "non-spiritual" or bad in any way. But moving from the promptings of our bliss or purpose carries a resiliency and positions us within a perspective that is sustaining regardless of external circumstances. And the best part is, because unfolding is a process and the full extent of it remains fixedly beyond us, we don't have to worry about any of the particulars! We just get to be ourselve
The Conscious Universe
I learned a little perspective-shifting technique that feels right to share (the origin of this practice escapes my memory so... sorry and thank you!) Imagine one hand is resting on your heart. Do not actually place your hand but use your imagination to feel it. Once you connect with that sensation, gently gaze at something in your environment. Simultaneously feel your heart awareness and perceive that what you are looking at is looking back at you. Though it is inanimate, sense its return gaze. The connection to your heart facilitates your recognition and reception of its consciousness. After some time with this practice - and I find it does take practice - you become increasingly aware that all of the universe is alive. Sitting in this recognition, external validation no longer really makes sense and it is near impossible to feel alone. Because the urge to share is fulfilled by the understanding that, down to the subatomic level, we share everything with everything; we can feel the interpenetrating flow of creative energy within all life.
Always there is more to say and better ways to say it... In closing, for now, I honor your/our solo/shared journey. Many blessings for this Super Moon/Full Moon in Aries!
Hello everyone! I had a beautiful post written about today's Fall Equinox and wouldn't you know it! Mercury in Retrograde taught me a big lesson in non-attachment. The post was overwritten somehow and is not recoverable. In fact, several of my recent life events have tested my ability to release what is beyond my control. Mercury the trickster wants to make extra sure that I am walking my talk at the Cycle Keeper, letting go of expectations and not attaching to outcomes.
From what I remember about what I wrote yesterday, I laid out the dynamic between the first part of a solar cycle - that burst of initial creativity and action - and the second half which begins at the Fall Equinox and takes us on an inward journey. For most of us the stretch and stress of hard work (spring/summer), challenging as it is, feels more comfortable than the intensity of self-inquiry (fall/winter). This shows up when we would rather pull a week of all-night productivity fests and feel accomplished than be with ourselves when we feel useless or discouraged. We may prefer a slew of exhausting social engagements over confronting a deeper loneliness. We can devour a handful of self-help books but might not want to get curious about why we feel we need fixing.
Take a moment on the Fall Equinox today or even tomorrow to appreciate your accomplishments and growth since the spring. Sink into some well earned satisfaction and feel out a few priorities that you wish to sustain and nurture through the coming seasons. Everything else, just let it go with a thank-you and a good-bye. One of the main reasons that stuff gets clingy in our system is that we crave external and tangible resolution. If we do not feel sufficiently validated, acknowledged or seen in our experience it can be difficult to release those threads. Let your awareness be enough and make formal amends with anything you know you no longer need to carry. Recapture loose energy and channel it towards your priorities, recommitting to yourself through winter and beyond!
Have a Happy Fall Equinox, everyone!
Last week's New Moon/Solar Eclipse in Virgo called up the theme of embodiment: the wonderment of being and the idea that existence is is ordered by the hand (or, rather, heart) of love. Kicking off next week with a First Quarter Square, we continue exploring physicality and the mysterious forces that move us as the Sun in Virgo squares the Moon in the sign of Sagittarius, the seeker. The yearning for experiences and truth that typifies this sign is like the inner impulse of the seed to emerge from its hard skin, instinctively compelled to the surface towards light. Cradling our New Moon intentions, we can engage the activating and agitating Sun/Moon square to clarify the source of what moves us in the world and in the moment. Saturn, having also entered Sagittarius as of late, also asks us to refine our inner core from whence action and engagement spring.
With regards to forces that stir and compel our being, materialism really has a hold on us. Beyond the desire for physical security and assurances, psychological materialism finds us avoiding feeling confused, incompetent or incorrect. The spiritual variety wards off intimate, direct realization or experience of the sublime in favor of escape or retreat from the very intense and ambiguous real. I am temporal. Existing in time means I am always unfinished. Embracing my existential condition with an open heart, I can radically loosen the grip of materialism. Each time I sit down to write, I open negotiations with my materialistic need to provide exacting and correct insight, to daringly deliver a satisfying bit of closure for myself and anyone who reads my work. My honest motivations are a blend of desire for self discovery, spiritual promptings and delusions of some big, wowwy finish.
Every twenty-nine and a half days heralds a New Moon: the liminal space between the now retreating and newly beginning cycles, where Luna is dark and receptive as soil. The mutable earth sign Virgo relates to the body, digestion and the processes of integration and synthesis. Mercury (communication, insight), the traditional ruler of Virgo, marks its upcoming retrograde path through Libra (relationships) on Sunday. Embodiment on earth happens in/as/through relating: to others, to our environment, to information, to ourselves and the sacred.
I think of the story of a Swedish duck farmer as poetically portrayed in the PBS series, The Mind of a Chef. His well-loved and carefully-tended flock produces meat of unprecedented quality. In the episode, he also expresses his deepening pain over investing in and nurturing animals he must inevitably slaughter. He admits, somewhat tenderly, that he cannot numb or adjust to the worsening ache of being both care-taker and under-taker to his beloved ducks. The farmer remains open and consciously connected to his work, the animals and, ultimately, his humanity. His devotion and personal integrity express a high potential of Virgo energy, as does the discernment and commitment to quality of the chef who sources duck from this farmer.
Perhaps we mostly believe that human beings inherently understand and practice love. (I think that) I think that this is true. And I also know that to learn and survive socially, we are repeatedly pressured to bury, compromise, and negotiate that loving. We often internalize a hierarchy where closeness (family, nation) and sameness (human, similar physical traits) equate to worthiness of being loved, or at least most loved. We also learn to think of love in terms of only positive or pleasurable experiences. A picture emerges of transacting a scarce resource, where love is only given to well-known individuals with the expectation of a return on investment of equal or greater value.
Consider the phrase "falling in love" and the senses that arise: a physical pull, weight moving through space, gravity. Love requires an atmosphere of presence to breathe. Life is energy and everything is in motion; even the particles of an apparently solid object hum and vibrate. Do you feel where this path is leading? We are the universe embodied with the same patterns found everywhere beyond. We know we are love because we can never fully grasp or explain the intricacy of our being. Why does a flower unfurl in velvety petals, mounting in richness and radiance of color as you near the center of the bloom? And why the softness and amiable scent? After all there are other, more plain and direct ways to attract a bee.
When we see the independent reality of existence we are seeing beauty because of its "just is-ness", the apparent being for being's sake. Below the surface of beauty as a pleasant appearance is a mix of appreciation for the way something is and the wonder about why it is not some other way. The wonderment of being, the absurdity and exquisiteness of embodiment, the suggestion that life is (patterned on) love all somehow connects and reconnects back to these Partial Eclipse/New Moon energies. There is a slippery truth at the intersection of all of it, but I just have to put down my "pen." I will kneel in reverence and surrender to all that infinitely outdares language and understanding.
At the same time I may never stop seeking to get friendly and conversational with it. I want to dance my connection with the underlying creative restless rhythm of it all. In unfamiliar use of time and space, spontaneously moved by the mystery, I intend to welcome the awkward along with responsive and flowing satisfaction. I desire to inhabit and create new rhythms and responses. I wish to love my body and my life as is and as they become.
New Moon time is a magic portal for seeding the future. What do we intend to do about it?
This past Sunday night, a colossal monsoon storm hit my and surrounding cities, knocking out power in large swaths of neighborhoods, uprooting trees and laying them to rest in the streets. Out in space, the amplifying power of Jupiter continues to oppose mystifying, stormy Neptune in the polarity of Virgo/Pisces (daily routines/breaking from the "real world"). For one long night, our virtual realities of living comfortable, amenity-filled lives in the valley desert of Arizona were disrupted. And yet several people I know admitted they felt more charged and alive. In my room full of sultry air and sleeplessness, the quietened drizzle of rain hovered like a thin veil over a very palpable silence. The buzz of electricity and the endless exhale of air conditioning usually engulf me in white noise. I wondered about the subtler layers of sound (and emotion) that we miss as our perceptual filters convert ever more grating input into the backdrop of our modern lives.
Like the roots of the wayside trees, our interdependence was also exposed by the storm. Thousands of households waited through the night for someone to restore their power. Just after the eleventh hour, our home whirred back to electrical life. Many nearby neighbors, traffic lights and transit stations were out well into Monday. Gemini teaches us that everything is interconnected. The energy of the Twins also lends us the power of mind to rationalize endlessly, reinforcing the buffers between ourselves and a truth we are resisting. We can easily maintain the fiction that we are invulnerable, self-reliant and self-made until mother nature reminds us who is ultimately the more powerful.
This charged Last Quarter Square bestows the gifts of sensitive curiosity and open receptivity (Moon in Gemini), and quite possibly some triggering moments to test them out! The mutable signs Gemini, Virgo and Pisces are extremely activated, offering us lessons about adaptability. We may be required to be resourceful and creatively respond to life. We may need to acknowledge where our flexibility has made us a doormat or caused us to conform away from our true heart center. We may need to come to terms with change in its various forms and take the pulse of our resiliency.
Traveling on bike through the storm's aftermath to work, I noticed that the winds disturbed and relocated countless could-be "found objects." I was caught in fantasizing (Neptune in Pisces), as I often do, about artfully re-purposing (Sun/Jupiter in Virgo) interesting bits of debris. When we encounter "weather" in our lives, no doubt it can unearth the unlikeliest of treasures. The cosmos is calling upon our imaginative abilities to intentionally refashion and transmute whatever we encounter. This Last Quarter Square provides fertile ground to nurture our powers of intuition (Neptune in Pisces), deep perception (Moon in Gemini) and devotional resourcefulness (Sun in Virgo) needed to alchemize our immediate reality (Gemini).
Enjoy the last week of this lunation until the New Moon in Virgo (September 13) kicks off the new Libra/Aries cycle!
Heads up: Venus retrograde in Leo stations direct the day after the Last Quarter Square and begins again to move forward, reintegrating the lessons learned through the latter half of Leo into 0 degrees Virgo. Mercury began its setup phase around the time of the Full Moon in Pisces last week, and will retrograde in Libra on September 17th. More on this later!
My little, well-loved slice of cyber space is like a playground, a pillow for my head to dream upon, a public confessional for the sweetest secrets of my humanity. Thank you for visiting, whoever you are!