Welcome to Gemini season, 2016! This Saturday's Full Moon in Sagittarius was very personally revelatory. To understand the energy and influences of Sagittarius, I like to view it in context as a part of the third quadrant of the zodiac, associated with the fall season and made up of: Libra (October), Scorpio (November) and Sagittarius (December). The whole wheel of the zodiac is a metaphor for the cycle of conscious evolution. During the fall portion of the wheel, we balance and reflect in Libra to prepare for a battle to the death in Scorpio and a realignment to a truer, clearer vision in Sagittarius. As a mutable sign, Sagittarius ties up the loose ends of the activities of this quadrant before the inauguration of the final season, winter, in Capricorn. The core insights gleaned in the alchemical process of the fall months comes to fruition in the winter, much like the decay and regeneration of composting that creates a fertile and refined environment for the peak expression of life and growth.
These heavier and hard-worn processes may seem inconsistent with a sign typically known for its high-flying optimism. But a matured expression of Sagittarius is not one of naivety or rashness but a deep-rooted trust and a resiliency born from an unwavering commitment to the tasks of Scorpio before it. Traversing the harshest depths of ourselves and our world will add depth of soul, refine and vivify our appreciation for life, fortify our muster and basically reorient our whole being.
It may also seem strange that Capricorn, which occurs at the winter solstice, should represent such summery themes as flowering and peak growth. The zodiac's metaphors are riddled with paradox and this is no exception. The impossible task of bearing fruit and coming to full bloom in harshness of winter is indeed quite a fitting description of coming into our own in a lifetime. Blizzards of doubt will block your vision and ask you to go back inside where it's safe. You will have to emerge through seemingly impenetrable barriers of frozen ground both internally and externally. Standing exposed to the elements, perhaps without another encouraging soul around, you carry on with only your passion to flourish despite all odds. As opposed to the summer-time ripening of the child with full support of Cancerian mother energy, the Capricorn path is the adult and solitary version of individuation.
I find my poetic sensibility at the bedrock of my ability to cope with all of this. Language comes from lack. Our primary urges toward expression come from the need to communicate our needs and desires. We mature and master the ability to meet these needs on our own and then there is an excess of language. My life is much less chaotic when I keep it simple rather than build up ever more complex desires to meet my ability to language them. But what to do with these staggering vocabularies? Channel them poetically! Cultivate a metaphorical lens that fosters healing by giving meaning and richness to experiences both pleasant and painful, reconnecting with the transient nature of existence and breaking out of narcissism to offer up some beauty. Gemini rules communication, language and thought. We are supported to take stock of how these things operate in our inner and outer world and transmute them with the power of poetics.
Last week's New Moon in Aries was a huge opportunity to release self-absorbed patterns. I wrote about my exhaustion with perfectionism which, personally, ANCHORS me in a negative self-focus. I weigh my expressions, thoughts and impulses against impossible mental, emotional and spiritual standards. It dawns on me: how long I've felt like I'm no good and nobody wants me. I'm not sure whether I hope these are 'normal' feelings or not...
Two days ago, at the first-quarter square moon, a man on the light-rail train yelled at my face to "FUCK what other people think, y'know?" In my periphery vision all these heads flipped towards us, like a school of fish. "Don't let 'em rent space in yer head they sure's shit can't afford." I responded with long, steady eye contact.
I'm trying now to imagine what it would be like for someone else to rent a room in my head. Would they feel comfortable? Could they see themselves living there? Sure, there's a tyrannical landlord who wrested control of the property so long ago I don't remember when and they constantly berate the way I live. But there are quiet, secret rooms. These spaces open up into unfathomably vast, beautiful, magical realms for me. No one knows. No one knows.
I had a dream about whales the other night and I googled it. "Awakening inner depths," the site said. The ache to share this inner magic is unbearable sometimes. The man on the train also told me, in a much softer voice, to be patient with my art because it will come, "just be patient... it will come."
Yesterday was a New Moon doozy. As the first sign of the zodiac cycle, Aries represents the (re)birth of the self. For the past... I'm not sure how many weeks, I have had zero inspiration to write about astrology. As winter gave way to spring, I was immersed in this human experience which at many points felt like pure chaos. Time-consuming personal matters aside, I haven't been tracking astrology cycles because I just really didn't want to. I feel stuck in an old approach without a clue how to breathe new life into my process.
Pisces season served me up a giant plate of dissolution inside and out. I've been deconstructing some old mental structures. I have covered some truly decrepit thought forms with neat facades. I re-paint them occasionally and surround them with potted plants that quickly wither into eye-sores. And I'm tired of maintaining this shit. I don't even remember building all of this... stuff. Shit. Stuff-shit.
Jupiter (amplification) in Virgo (perfectionism) entering the Saturn square Pisces mix tells me it's a good time for exactly this process. Years of keeping up a tidy front and avoiding the messy reality inside has left me with deep self-worth wounds. I obsessively disinfect them - that is, I surround them in stark emotional sterility - so I can't figure out why the damned things wont just heal. My faltering self confidence is a spiral into evermore excruciating and impossible attempts to look like I'm okay and my life is together. "Together" according to my standards which are hard-core perfectionistic. Yay italics. Do you know what I mean??
Circling back around to this blog, I am beginning to see that my writing about astrology is suffering. I am treating it with this same suffocating approach that's running my life. I keep the chaotic, sensual, disorganized REALITY of my writing at a distance via abstraction and orderliness. And if I can't find a trim and thematically consistent way to precisely communicate then I just don't WANT to DO it. BLAH! I'm tired of impossible standards that suck the joy out of every activity. I'm sick of failing to meet those standards and eating shame for it. I'm worn out on perfectionism.
Healing journey to follow. Have a nice week!
Welcome to the Full Moon in Virgo this Monday! What do I notice, what's resonating, what's up during the Moon's transit of Virgo (she was there yesterday, too)? Heightened sensitivity. It's tough, in partnership with yourself, to remain present and loyal to your feelings when the demands and quirks of your deeply entrenched emotional nature make it so awkward, so painful, so intense you want to skip out.
How did I come to be so fearful of endings that I stay pulled back and out of direct experience? I hover around in the sidelines fretting the inevitable. That dreaded future moment looms backwards all the way to the present and I let it loom large. The more we think inside our virtual realities the easier it is to conceive of easy and total abandonment in many forms.
Depending on the thing, though, it can fall into disrepair and drift gently out of our memories and into the forgotten. Can areas of our internal landscape ever do the same? They can and do, but can it be "okay"? Depending on the thing. A gift of Virgo is to sort through these... things. Ultimately time sorts the lasting from the everything else. Healer-teacher time... The "everlasting" is another question. No answer today.
Happy New Year! May you find a renewed sense of self and connection going into 2016.
As much as I've learned about astrology - all the technical stuff - I am starting to see that, in so many ways, it is just a powerful pretense. When I read a birth chart, the contents (house signs, placements, aspects) are guideposts but do not have certain, inherent meaning - they cannot describe life on their own. Similarly, these blog posts are inspired, yes, by current transits but come more from my process of sensing the "field" of experience. I know how woo-woo that sounds. But a dawning sense of a truth- and life-oriented astrology is blossoming in me; an awareness that this ancient art is a powerful pretense for connection with self, others, life.
I think astrology holds a special allure because most people like the idea of magic and inexplicable correspondences and they generally like hearing about themselves. I know I do! Recently I've been cleaning my closet of values and weeding the garden growing in the soil of my attention/imagination and it has got me mulling over why I (and others) are attracted to astrology. I cannot honestly say how long I've been studying it, but until recently, I've never considered why I've been so eager to invite this particular cosmology into my life.
What I've discovered is that the form - astrology - doesn't really, really matter. I would still want to nourish my intuition. I would still want to reach people and frame our journeys in a sense of interconnectedness: as above, so below. I would still seek that pretense to research, write, create and connect to the cycles and rhythms of the flow of time.
So I'm slowing dropping the need for the contents of astrology to inherently mean anything. And thus my practices grows more truthful and full of life. It is in the process of astrology that connections alight: with dampened or unknown parts of myself, with living archetypes, with unique and beautiful life stories I would never otherwise have heard...
We're coming up to a Capricorn New Moon and this is an energy that takes all the resources available to it - everything it is and everything at hand - to make masterful work in the world. It teaches us the magic of trust and of and resisting destructive self-doubt. It is highly capable. It has unwavering intentions.* Capricorn's ruler, Saturn (now in Sagittarius), urges us to look beyond the form or contents of our actions and life processes to see the energetic systems that support them. To see where we may be stuck on the surface of a thing, not seeing the underlying motivations or connecting with the reasons that drive us to keep up our pretenses. To Capricorn, pouring itself into an activity with no sense of love, connection, purpose, etc. is anathema.
As we approach this New Moon, we are supported in giving new life to our pursuits by taking a long look at, and refreshing, embracing and/or moving towards healing with the core values motivating those pursuits. Saturn in Sagittarius will heighten or awareness of place to spring from that feels true. Beyond "shoulds," pressured guessing, fear or shame or even of super-sized delusion. A humble place of quiet knowing. A place of love.
*This in an archetypal/energetic sense, not a generalization of people with a Capricorn Sun or Rising sign.
WOOSH! Anybody else hit with powerful (even painful) insights and openings during that Full Moon in Gemini two weeks ago, and the first Saturn/Neptune square the day after? I couldn't write about it I just had to lean in to some profound discomfort and mind-bending happenings. And the hits just keep on coming... stretching my ability to love and giving me real opportunities to do so unconditionally. There were so many moments of unbearable tension and resistance and then... breakthrough. When I feel that inner chaos now, a part of me gets excited as more and more I recognize this for what it is: a sign that new tenderness and intimacy with life (Venus in Scorpio) is nigh.
In keeping with the themes of this New Moon, there is just too much to express. Jupiter rules Sagittarius and this augmenting force in Virgo speaks of overwhelming detail, beyond even Sagittarius' expansive sights. My intuition tells me we are all undergoing a serious realignment with our life force. But being un-apologetically you is going to trigger some folks, because there is no known point of reference for what you're bringing from your deepest core. From that place, you aren't worried about the unfairness of projections or making sure the other person understands or accepts what you (re)present. Rather, you can't help but commit to seeing yourself with sometimes excruciating honesty. At this point, a good laugh usually does the trick to deliver you into a humble and loving space. Sagittarius is learning to express its joy rather than seek it.
I cannot think of a more representative placement for the unique genius (Uranus) inherent to each self (Aries) than Uranus in Aries, which exactly opposes Mars in Libra around this New Moon and forms a T-Square to Pluto in Capricorn. It may feel mighty uncomfortable to not just be who we are, no shits given, this weekend. But not from a wounded place. Because Mercury, also in Capricorn, may tend towards becoming distant as a form of self-protection, if given the chance to commune with others. But its sextile to Neptune in Pisces and Venus in Scorpio offers the urge to express those buried treasures of self (Mercury in Capricorn) and truly marinate in the beauty of those around you. Moving towards compassionate "being with" (Neptune in Pisces) and true intimacy (Venus in Scorpio) - and the vulnerability that comes with it - we can finally topple outworn structures (Pluto in Capricorn) and channel the generative tension between adhering to our core (Uranus in Aries) while being amongst others - in relationship and even in conflict (Mars in Libra).
Aside from Jupiter in Virgo, every planet and astrological feature is found in the "upper" part of the chart for this New Moon. This speaks to showing up and risking being seen. I know this process of coming out with who you really are is pure magic. Saturn in Sagittarius trine Uranus in Aries speaks of making that initial commitment, which is the most difficult part. But then you speak and intuition fills what you thought would be blanks. More than likely, waves of self-consciousness will weave in and out as you keep on channeling. The peaking energy of excitement as you express what you never knew was inside of you can really trip you up too. Although - returning to this notion of inner treasure - if those momentary gems weren't so rare, would they be so valuable either?
So there you go. My little demonstration of bringing some more "me" out. Oscillating between awkwardness and crisply wrapped gifts. Fuzzy ideas forming a few points of relative interest. Ending too abruptly.
Happy New Moon in Sagittarius!
The New Moon was in Scorpio yesterday and on the 16th Black Moon Lilith will enter the sign of the scorpion. Not surprisingly, I've been feeling into the collective shadow of our relationship to the feminine and encountering some deep, deep wounds recently. Whatever the root cause of our collective repression of this vital energy - patriarchal god-the-fathers, an imagined telos of transcendence through scientific progress that denies all earthly limitation, an unacknowledged fear of death - when we disassociate from our Earth Mother we are disconnecting from life itself. For lack of a less cheesy way to put it, we are all made of Her. And while this is not necessarily or inherently about gender - our biological categories are simply inadequate to describe life and its complexity - it can hardly be argued that Earth doesn't have an issue with the way we regard and treat women ("biological," "female" or otherwise).
As I write this, I feel more aware than ever of the dominant cultural values I've internalized that want to fashion and be serviced by my expression. Such as the importance of being 'knowledgeable' as a writer. Admittedly, I know very little, I don't have answers and am chronically unsure about why I even keep writing. How about the idea that projecting confidence or mastering your delivery ensures ten-times-more trust than actually being honest? In our absurd world, realness triggers suspicion and we endlessly strategize how to control our image. That is not to say that authenticity only exists in the raw. There are countless processes to pull what's true into more powerful expression through cunning artfulness, gentle-loving simplicity, undying desire to share what's inside beautifully... and on and on.
There are many examples of people who negotiate this territory fabulously. Who find balanced empowerment from a whole spectrum of qualities and don't feel so internally at odds. And maybe it's this New Moon and the impending ingress of Black Moon Lilith in the sign of sex, death and rebirth, but I want to over-compensate... just a little. I want to get bawdy because the only better tension release than an orgasm is possibly laughter. I want to let my silly woman speak with no pressure to be cool or witty. I want the right to be "boring," to relax and satisfy a deep, earthy appreciation for quiet and solemnity. I want to unravel with rage over mankind's destructiveness, arrogance and greed. I want to indulge in a good cry about the most beautiful things. Between achievements and destinations, I want to savor life. I want to home, and stay home, to me.
Tomorrow, as the Sun in Scorpio squares off with the Moon in Leo, the relationship between seriousness and play comes to mind. Although the two are not opposites nor mutually exclusive, if someone gets playful with someone else who wants to be taken seriously, what results can range from painful misunderstanding to open hostility. I think this productive tension - between an urge towards the depths and to remain on the surface, dissipating shadows and perhaps deferring pain - encapsulates the energy of a Scorpio/Leo square.
Square aspects, yes, are triggering. The gift that comes from negotiating the challenges of a square expresses the middle path between each side in conflict. The Sun in a water sign and the Moon in fire just underscores the suggestion of a yin/yang situation. Seemingly frivolous Leo can use humor to cope with and transmute human suffering. Having attended to the depths of sobering experience, Scorpio's expanded and refined soul tastes the sweetness of life all the more vividly and with greater appreciation for lighter times.
I see the New Moon as carrying the signature for the overall continuum of energies expressed in her full cycle. The New Moon in Libra stamped this cycle with themes of remembering life as a gift, appreciating the continual renewal of air in our lungs and the exquisite fact of the mystery that dwells in an around us at all times. Last week's Full Moon in Taurus furthered this message about our quality of presence, asking us to remain in the flow of our senses and enjoy the richness of experience we've already cultivated. This Last-Quarter Square in Leo invites us to become masters at balancing moments full of paradox.
Within the statement "everything I say is a lie" (the liar's paradox) there is simultaneously a vibration of truth and falsehood. Both sides of the polarity - the lie and the truth - exist together and, in fact, depend upon each other for their own meaning and existence. A poetic faith, a willing suspension of disbelief, aids us in maintaining grace and stability in witness to some of the most appalling facts of existence. Not in the sense of denying those facts as real, but as in meeting them on their own absurd terms. Perhaps it is an irrational hope for peace and healing. Maybe it means laughing at yourself a little if your concerns pale pitifully in comparison to those gripped by profound tragedy. Or it looks like a ritual enactment - taking a metaphor literally - and believing your gesture is helping, at least a little. What do you resort to when you feel like there is absolutely nothing to be done? A Leo/Scorpio Square is like the fine line between laughing and crying.
I wish you all the best in navigating this terrain. See you next week for the New Moon in Scorpio!
I have been all about making collages these days. Picking through old magazines and gathering a variety of striking images, playing with arrangement, trusting my intuition as guide. Because magazine content and advertisements are already attempting to access, ping and influence our subconscious, collages hit us at a deep level. Working with this medium defies my ability to first select a topic and then create from or about it. Rather, a stream of seemingly random choices contribute to a meaning that seems to choose itself. Once complete, a collage complicates the desire for a defined subject or a clear means to interpret what appears. It remains staunchly a mystery and thereby can hint at the unknowable.
The cycles of experience within collage-making mirror my life. Some days nothing seems to stick out or inspire. You can be working from the exact same materials from one session to the next and the magic just is or isn't there. There are times I feel a direct and full connection to life. I can tap into my well of intuitive power and sense a unique balance of elements that is highly conductive of love/art/spirit. At other times, everything is just... basically... shit. Through it all is a flowing current. We are not always consciously riding it but it carries us nonetheless.
A collage in the process of becoming takes very little conscious input. I sift through images and tune into that under-running current. Things begin to suggest themselves and it is as if forms just want to become. When I slip into analysis or evaluation I can feel a mounting frustration. That's when patience and trust come in handy. You can give your mind a task - just look for more images - when you can sense it trying to control and determine things. Skimming through pages is so meditative you easily glide back into the flow. I have found in collage a very healing spiritual practice.
Our fixed-earth friend Taurus is all about experience. This tendency can express as attachment to a specific experience but transmutes into being very sensuously alive and present. It is an energy that builds slowly, which is why I am called to speak to collage or any practice that steadily flows until contact with the mystery emerges and flowers. Tragedy, acute fear, close-calls, hallucinogens... all of these can thrust us into a sharp contrast with habitual reality and alter our consciousness, perhaps in valuable ways. But Taurus is about dedication and cultivation of change. This Full Moon in particular is about appreciation, especially for talents, delights, resources or states that you've been investing in and can now thoroughly enjoy. Thank yourself for all you've done to be able to find the right pace where you flow easily with life. Bask in your awesomeness. Have a lovely Full Moon!
The New Moon in Libra happening this evening has me thinking about inter-subjectivity (a fancy word for being in relation) and about how our senses grant us privileged access to this world of relationship. In Chani Nicholas' Libra Moon write-up, she beautifully describes how our relationships bring us into greater intimacy with all aspects of our self, even trigger points and wounds. These Libra-specific lessons have been right on queue for me inter-personally, as I am sure you all are feeling this to one degree or another. Mutable and Cardinal T-squares overlap at this lunation, involving all of the outer planets, the Moon and the Sun. These pressurized formations can feel like clearing via painful extraction. With Saturn (heavy) and Pluto (deep) at the head of the Mutable and Cardinal T-squares, respectively, we may be in the midst of a super-gunky process.
When the Moon is new, it aligns with the Sun in our sky signaling both the start of a new cycle and a moment of balance, a very Libran quality. Libra is a Cardinal Air sign and this configuration speaks to me of the in-breath. Air is something we all share, regardless of the mystery of our differences. Even just a pause for slow, full breaths can smooth the ragged edges of any given moment. Air surrounds us as our internal spaces and cells surround air. Air is our very first gift of life, gathered from the outside world in our mother's lungs and delivered directly through her blood. The average person takes 17-30,000 breaths per day. Our blood circulates our body about three times per minute, traveling the distance of about four U.S. coast-to-coast trips in one day. You are an intricately wrapped series of invisible yet critical, constantly in motion, hundreds of thousands of cyclical journies of renewal.
These incomprehensible miracles of being are free for you to touch upon, especially if you are feeling down, under-appreciated or under-whelmed in the wings of this New Moon. Like air, our core self, the truth of who we know we are, is invisible. Not subject to rational understanding, it can be felt. Right now, if you shut your eyes or fold your hands you can feel the embrace of self. Lid upon lid, lip touching lip, sense and recover the potency of these small, subtle, taken-for-granted points of self-contact. As these intimate, complementary parts come together the senses simultaneously withdraw and you are inclined to turn inside. The bumps in the road of relationship point to those features in our internal landscape that we can witness with compassion, tenderness and love.
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!