Happy Imbolc and Aquarian New Moon

Happy Imbolc & Aquarian New Moon! Imbolc is a Gaelic holiday that marks the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, a time that begins the process of life's reawakening, of nature rebirthing itself. The word 'Imbolc' means 'in the belly,' referencing the hidden potential of Spring, of renewal and revivification. At Imbolc, we sense the stillness of winter beginning to shift toward a more lively state. It reminds us that Spring is on its way, and in order to prepare for its arrival, we are asked to make space. Which aspects of our winter selves are we ready to be cleansed of, letting go of the somewhat slumbering forces that keep us moving more slowly, in order to make room for an enlivened way of being?

This weekend has been a celebration of Imbolc at my house, if simply because it involved a lot of cleaning! This felt like such a purification ritual, one in which both my partner and I were in a flurry of activity to accomplish. With 3 dogs, cleaning is a regular pastime, but today felt like quite a special occasion with us both spending extra time to clear out what had been building up in the nooks and crannies of our home. It felt deeply gratifying, and I feel like I can enjoy our space even more after occasions like this. I find that our bodies can be thought of similarly. While I truly love the yoga practice no matter when it happens, I find the transition from 'winter body' to a spring/summer version of my organs, bones, muscles, tendons, fascia, and skin to be quite a welcome one! Postures that have felt a little more challenging and closed to me begin to feel more easeful, if but for the shift in temperature, attitude, and season. This is something I naturally find myself sensing and relishing at this time of year, perhaps opening to possibilities for the practice and for life.

It seems like the birds in my hood had the same idea today. As I walked through the snow this afternoon with my partner and 3 dogs, I heard what sounded like 20 of them chirping away in the trees, hearkening the revival of life. It felt like a nature party, lifting my spirit and heart. I find that if I simply make space to observe what's happening in the present, the wisdom of life just expresses itself in clear and effervescent ways. The inherent intelligence that's always present just comes through if only I bring my attention to it, and whenever I do.

This year, Imbolc has fallen just a few days before the Aquarian New Moon, which takes place on Monday, February 4th at 1:04pm PST/4:04pm EST. What are we making room for as we open to Spring and its season of renewal? Calling upon a little Aquarian wisdom can bring clarity here, helping us tap into the essence of authenticity and genuine expression. Aquarius reminds us of the importance of listening to our most resonant path, of living a life that is authentic to who we are in our heart of hearts. Even if it's doing something different than what others may think is best for us, Aquarius knows that listening inwardly and living this truth outwardly is healing and thus of utmost importance. Perhaps a dream that hasn't yet come to fruition but that's been brewing beneath the surface is ready to make itself known in the world. Or a dream that's been realized in part is ready for a new phase of its existence, shapeshifting to express another cycle or level of nuance. As long as it's still feeling deeply resonant and consistent with the energy of the intention with which it was created, all is well. And if not, it can be an amazing practice to check back in with the original dream and what it offered. Is there alignment on all fronts with intention, action, expression? If not, how can this be clarified so the truth of this expression can be articulated more skillfully? There is always a way to realign and "course correct" when necessary!

I think about my decision to go back to school for 5 years as I write this. Did I make the right decision? Yes, undoubtedly. Is it challenging in most of the ways I can think of? Also, yes, undoubtedly! Would I change this decision? Absolutely not! But there are ways I can stay more true to myself, to the way in which I move through the program, the time, energy, and attention I place on what's important in life. Like cleaning! I kid, but keeping a clear space helps me have a clear mind and spirit. So taking the time to nourish myself with the practices that feed my soul is more important than pushing too hard to make it throug a program in a year less than I would've otherwise. And that feels right. We could call this Aquarian wisdom. Or we could call it a deep knowing that comes from within. Either way, it's something I'm grateful to experience and to integrate into my life.

What are this Lunar Imbolc and Aquarian New Moon welcoming for you? Whatever it is, may you enjoy it thoroughly. The Force is always with you!

Opening to the Possibilities of 2019

Happy New Year!

I write you on the day of the first New Moon of 2019, and a New Moon Eclipse to boot! Last year saw the beginning of eclipses that will be taking place, this year especially, on the Cancer-Capricorn axis. And today marks the New Moon in Capricorn, a sign that carries with it an energy of looking forward, climbing mountains, enduring what we must to make our dreams come true, and cultivating the integrity we need to live an outer life that is truly consistent with our deepest core values. While Cancer reminds us that listening to the heart's true whisperings is necessary for a fulfilling and nourishing life, Capricorn gives us the tools to be able to make that life possible, one step up the mountain at a time. Right now there are 6 "planets" in the sign of Father Time:: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon. With all of this symbolism here, the Cosmos are on our side when it comes to getting real about intentions and resolves for the new year. Less about making ourselves do something we think we "should do", and more about doing things that have been calling to us and we feel it's time to actualize, this process is about opening ourselves to listen inwardly, then taking measures to make whatever it is we hear happen. One of Rumi's quotes seems quite apropos here:: "The soul has been given its own ears to hear things the mind does not understand." Perhaps we've been hearing an inkling from deep within for some time that's been inquiring us to make it happen, and now the conditions are right for this to come to fruition. The awesome thing about Capricornian energy is that it is patient and persevering, so if it takes a long time, this energy doesn't mind!

A year and a half ago, my partner Cheyne (Shane) and I moved to the Kootenays, an amazingly beautiful part of British Columbia that has magnificent mountains and full on seasons. Summers are hot, reaching 90 fairly regularly, and conversely, last year we likely got a total of 6 feet of snow! Thankfully not all at once. We bought snow shoes so we could still take our dogs outside and spend time in nature, one of the greatest gifts of living here -- the vast and stunning landscape. This winter I'd been contemplating some interesting and fun ways to interact with this awesome wintertime other than the usual snow shoe or winter hike with the dogs. So I bought a used pair of downhill skis and hit the ski hill that's literally 5 minute from my house! Thankfully, I grew up skiing, and after a few runs, my body remembered how to carve and turn down the mountain, and the "flow" state was similar for me to that of moving with my breath on my yoga mat, or surfing waves in the vast ocean. It left me feeling open, clear, and stoked!

This exercise reminded me that getting outside of my comfort zone is important and worthwhile. It's opened possibilities that were already living latent within, ready to be tapped into and expressed. This is truly a Tantric teaching, and one of my favorites. We can't experience something in our lives that isn't already inside of us, whether it's joy, anger, beauty, love. And we have inside of us the ability to make so many of our dreams come true, if only we give them the time and awareness they deserve. My intention of interacting with the place I live in a more direct way immediately opened up more opportunities for that -- connecting with community members, spending time with the majestic mountains, challenging myself in new ways. So while I may have a way to go before I'm shredding epic powder, I'm content with having taken a step in a direction that feels authentic, empowering, and aligned with my spirit at this time. The rest will come just as it needs to, and the wisdom of Capricorn knows and trusts this. Rather than become rigid and too goal-oriented, the spirit of Cap is best used when the resolve is there, yet there's room for life and its magic to step in and expand possibilities in a way that our minds may never imagine.

Is there something that your heart's been whispering for you to begin or pick back up? An experience that calls to you when you let your mind or spirit wander? An aspiration that feels ready for your energy and attention? I encourage you to that this year! May you move toward manifesting even more of your heart's deepest yearnings. Enjoy! The Force is with you!

A Celebration of the Light:: Diwali and the Scorpio New Moon

The story is the same -- we've heard it often, but with different characters, in different times, with different subtle undertones. The stories we watch in movies, read in books, tell aloud to our children and grandchildren, are the stories that are meant to be told. They're the stories that remind us of who we are, who we came here to be, who our ancestors were, and of the timeless quality of humanity. Myths have long lived within the human tradition, carrying wisdom, meaning, truth. The battle that goes on within our hearts and our minds is the very battle that is at play in the world:: a battle for goodness, hope, and light in the midst of ignorance and darkness. It is something that we know as humans, something that lives in our DNA in an effort to remind us of what's possible, what we're capable of, and also where we've been, so that we might learn from our mistakes in times past.

Today isn't so different than any other day, truly. Yes, it might feel more real because here we are, living in our tissue, embodying THIS incarnation of ourselves. And what a time it is, to see humanity shape-shifting before our own very eyes! Yet toward what? No one really knows. But we're in the process of the metamorphosis, and it's asking us to bring ALL of ourselves. Each and every part. Every aspect of who we are is important.

Scorpio season is a time of unearthing, digging deeply, probing the inner depths for riches that have yet to be discovered, shadowy parts of our souls that have been waiting to be acknowledged, recognized, honored, integrated. It's a time of being willing to stand in our own vulnerabilities and wounds, looking them in the eye with the resiliency in our spirits that can't be denied, claiming the ancestral wounds as our own, yet not choosing to blame or project them. Rather, choosing to use them as fodder for this battle of love, of truth, of wisdom, a movement that must be addressed on the inside of ourselves so that healing is possible. The healing that our world so dearly needs can't be done out of desperation; it must be done out of a commitment to owning every part of ourselves, from what keeps us down to what makes us fly. And choosing this is choosing to embody what Scorpio reminds us:: that alchemy is always a possibility, but never just that. It's our birthright. To change what doesn't serve us or others into what does. This is what we've always been capable of. This is what we know in our souls, what the myths and legends we've always felt moved by remind us.

During this Scorpio New Moon, one that falls on the day of Diwali, the Celebration of the Lights, a celebration of the triumph of goodness and light over evil, this is what we're called to. We're called to know what it feels like to heal both our own and our ancestor's wounds, visiting or revisiting parts of ourselves that still seem hurt, not so that we're re-traumatized, but so that we may reclaim our souls from any and all experiences that have created separation of ourselves from the true nature of who we really are. We're invited to choose empowerment in the strength of the Heart that never ceases its power to BE an embodiment of truth, love, and wisdom in the world. Diwali is a celebration of all that is good, all that is beautiful, all that is inspiring, but it's also a reminder that mud is fecund; earth is fertile; soil is rich. The more we know this reality, the more alchemy we're capable of. As such, we are reminded of this valuable and important process in the midst of the ongoing "battle of good and evil" that has always taken place within us and within the world right now. This is what's shaped us, what's reminded us of who we really are, and what's taught us how to embody what we value most.

Happy Diwali, and Happy Scorpio New Moon. The Force is always with you! Enjoy.

Embodying Equanimity in Turbulent Times

The quote that seems most appropriate to me at the moment is Mahatma Gandhi's,
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." And if peace is what you're after, it's what you must become! The New Moon in Libra invites us to an inner equanimity that is maintained through an enduring self-awareness, soul-mated relationships that support this harmony, and activities that soothe our souls in just the right ways. Libra as an air sign, and that of the scales, reminds us that when the wind blows this way or that, the balance that was there only a moment ago disappears, leaving the scales tipped in a direction that feels like what they've become:: cattywampus. Yet there are many ways to bring the scales back to equilibrium, and this New Moon is an opportunity for all of them!

For likely longer than humans have been recording history, the outer world and its quick pace have been reason to need practices and exercises that bring us back home to ourselves; practices that soothe our souls and nourish us deep within. Today, of course, we see more of this need with the encroaching internet and media, things that were once easy to unplug from but are now everywhere we turn! Creating this respite that our minds, bodies, and souls so need has become more of a challenge; thus, it becomes ever important to create boundaries for ourselves in all the ways that feel life-enhancing and ease-inducing. Making time in our lives for those we care about and who reciprocally care about us is a good Libran boundary to have! So is limiting screen time in lieu of a walk in the woods or the park, creating an altar or meditation space in our homes that feels like a sigh of relief and release, or making a "work of art" (we don't have to be artists for this!) that allows us at once to feel both creative and pleased with the beauty now before us. Or perhaps even buying the favorite art piece we've been admiring for awhile so we can return to it over and again, reminded of the balance that's always a breath or two away.

Libra as the sign of intimacy needs deep connection with others in order to be truly seen, felt, and understood. S/he freely offers this medicine to the person sitting in front of her, bestowing her gifts of kindness, grace, and dignity upon them. The rapport here is soothing to her soul, and it may bring tears to her eyes or a heartfelt smile to her face. And this experience drops her into the equanimous place within, reminding her that it's perhaps possible when her mind least expects it. What she craves and deeply needs is true connection:: something so simple, yet often so hard to come by these days. At least the connection that comes when we're sitting in the same room as the person with whom we're feeling it! Yet it's of utmost importance during this time, and Libra knows this better than most.

People who were born form 1972-1984, regardless of the month, have the natal planet Pluto in the sign of Libra. Pluto is both the Lord of the Underworld and the Lord of the Riches, reminding us that in order to embody the peace we know we can, we must first go inside and confront the darkest of places within. While this may take years, there is no time like the present since this New Moon falls in a conjunction with natal Pluto, bringing out the need for unearthing the truth and doing some soul-reclamation in the process. This is especially true for those born from 1979-1981, who are also undergoing transiting Pluto square natal Pluto. Diving into the dark reaps rewards, but it must be faced fully in order to transform what was once a wound into medicine. Believe me, I am personally experiencing this at the moment, and it is fierce to say the least! It may not be fun, but it is definitely rewarding. And necessary. The more harmony we tap into by facing, healing, and integrating the unconscious places that have yet to be discovered, the more we can embody this harmony in our world that truly needs it now. And when we choose NOT to do this important work, we are left to blame, criticize, and attack others since we don't want to look at what's hiding within. This may have become all too prevalent in the outer world, yet when evil is lurking, we can be even more inspired to BE the change we wish to see in the world. And inspire others to do the same.

The Libran time of year corresponds to Autumn, which is associated with boundaries, the skin, and the Lung/Large Intestine pair in Chinese Medicine. This is a time of year when nature gets dry, with the leaves falling from their trees and then crumbling, becoming compost and fecundity for the earth to recycle into its soil. Sometimes our skin feels this way in the fall, and we begin to turn to oils that nourish us, keeping some suppleness around for the dry season. Because Autumn goes with the Lung, breathing well is an awesome way to re-balance ourselves during this time. And breathing deeply is soothing to the soul, something Libra needs and appreciates. Whether it's a few simple conscious inhales and exhales, a practice of nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breath) for 10 repetitions, or ujayi (literally, "triumphantly uprising"; the "ocean breath) for 10 counts, breathing the crisp, cool Fall air is an amazing way to connect with Life itself, re-establishing a relationship with the inherent peace that's within. The Lung goes with acceptance and our ability to let go of what's necessary. Whether that's an old pattern that is surfacing to be looked at and released, or a relationship that no longer serves, the Lungs aid us in opening to what IS in this moment, using the help of their biao-li (exterior-interior) pair, the Large Intestine, which gets rid of what is no longer nourishing us. Thank you, Lungs and Large Intestine, for keeping us in balance.

Now is the time for some soul-soothing, deeply connecting exercises that remind you what it feels like to embody your innermost nature, which is always equanimous and balanced, even when the outer world is topsy-turvy. Turn to your best friends, partners, beloveds, and animals! Open to the inspiration that comes when you create the space for it. The Force is with you! Enjoy.

Virgo'an Places:: Organization and the Blessings of Late Summer

New Moon in Virgo Tidings! I hope this Late Summer finds you well and thriving, enjoying this last month of warmth before our transition to Autumn.

Recently at a family wedding, which was a truly beautiful and heart-warming event, a few of my friends with Virgo Suns in their birth charts shared the awesome phrase they've been working with, "We're Virgo'an/Virgo'in places". This has since become one of my favorite expressions! As a person who's got a fair amount of Virgo in her chart, it's an energy I've been working with my whole life. With the Virgo New Moon falling today, Sunday, September 9, and the Sun having been here for two and a half weeks, we are certainly in the reign of the virgin. This energy is one of purification and organization, perhaps of "getting ducks in a row" in order to facilitate a more smooth and easeful sense of being. While Virgo tends to get a bad rap for being too detail-oriented for her own good, relegated to the Dewy Decimal system of life, as my teacher Steven Forrest points out, there's no sign of the zodiac so willing to grow and evolve! The energy here is one of commitment to working toward a vision that is deeply fulfilling. And details are important for this vision to be seen through! The details support the whole, inviting the expression to be efficiently and effectively crafted, while Virgo refines her gifts as she goes along, something deeply fulfilling for her.

The downfall here is that create what she may, Virgo may seem like she never actually gets to her vision, falling short of an ideal she's built that is just that:: too idealistic. But here's where the crux of Virgo really is! As astrologer Jason Holley shares, Virgo reminds us that pure potentiality brought into the world of form gives us the capacity to concretize our dreams. And in so doing, perhaps we are able to make a sacrifice, which comes from the word "sacrificio," as in making something sacred and doing it in the best way we can even though we're not totally perfect at it. To recognize that we've done the best we can requires letting go of expectations we have of ourselves and to simply allowing the process to unfold in the clearest way possible. I included this topic in last year's Virgo New Moon post, which speaks to the Sanskrit word "purnatva", or "perfection." Another translation for this word is "fullness," as in offering fully from the totality of our being in order to bring "pure potentiality into the world of form." When we do our best in the moment, recognizing that we don't need to create in order to be more full or whole, that our innermost nature and the true nature of Reality is already that, we can give ourselves a break and both enjoy and appreciate the process of bringing to life in this physical world what isn't yet. I used to think that because there were SO many amazing yoga teachers in the world, I should certainly not contribute what I had to offer because of this feeling of falling short, of never measuring up to the unreal expectation we're talking about here. With time, practice, and openness, I realized that everyone's gifts are important, and since we're all unique expressions of the One big energy that is everything, no one person has more importance than another in terms of sharing his/her gifts. Your gifts are just as valid and beautiful as anyone else's, just different in their expression. And what a benefit this was! This realization freed me up from pain and suffering and allowed me to recognize that releasing limiting ideas of how or what something I create should look like invites the process to be full, whole, and "perfect" just as it is.

These past couple of weeks for me have been an invitation to getting organized in a way that Virgo is pro! She has major gifts in the realm of systemization, and an ability to make lists and carry them out in ways that support life's flow. I've switched internet plans (rural peeps can be challenged in this arena!) as well as mobile phone companies, ensuring that my bills are way lower and my coverage way better. Score one team Virgo! And the purple bedroom that's been sitting just too, well, PURPLE, for the past year is now a neutral color for our guests to enjoy more when they come and stay. It was either that or paint a unicorn on the wall and sprinkle glitter everywhere! And with school starting again this week, I've felt called to refine my daily schedule so that an overall balance in life is supported, which definitely feels great.

Virgo corresponds to the element of Earth in Western Astrology. In the Five Phase Theory of Chinese Medicine, the Earth phase corresponds to Late Summer. This is when the last of Yang energy is expressing itself before the turn to more Yin-like times in the Fall and Winter. We still have ample light in the day to formulate routines in our lives that give support for a nurturing daily rhythm. Earth in this theory has an affinity for the Spleen/Stomach pair and especially the Spleen's capacity to regulate the mind. It's the Spleen that's connected to making associations and cross-referencing like a librarian might. Sense the Virgoan connection? The Spleen is associated with the mind's capacity to relate what it's seeing and experiencing to the memories of what we've experienced previously. Yet if there's imbalance in the overall system, we might over-think, over-analyze, get too in our heads, and honestly feel somewhat nuts. Here, balancing the Spleen-Stomach with the whole body-mind-spirit allows the Spleen to carry out its function of discernment and separating the clear from the turbid more efficiently. For example, rather than wasting time and vital energy thinking in circles about the same topic, when the Spleen is properly functioning it gives access to putting the appropriate life force where it needs to go, then letting go. This is a bit like Virgo's capacity to let go of expectations and the worry that something's not perfect, freeing herself up to be productive in effective and fulfilling ways. The Spleen's ability to provide nourishment is allowed here, and we're able to release all that isn't worthwhile and helpful in the larger scheme of things.

I know that my mind can obsess on things if I let it! Thankfully mindfulness practices have helped balance this over a couple decades. I've also learned that if I employ the use of lists to help me organize my thoughts and my time, carefully appropriating my energy where it's most effective, I feel accomplished and empowered to create what's being called for. While my mind could stew on the purple bedroom for longer than is helpful, my just deciding how to go about getting it done allowed my Spleen to discern the importance of this matter, and my Liver (more on that later!) helped carry out the plan. The Spleen's (and Stomach's) energies were freed up, as was the Liver's, and a sense of balance and freedom from what could have been an overwhelming situation ensued. Hence, a healthy flow of qi and blood, promoting a more healthy digestion of food, thoughts, and life itself! And for more on the topic of the Spleen Stomach and Late Summer, you can read here:: https://www.tcmworld.org/late-summer-the-season-of-nurturing-and-transformation-2/ .

How can you access Virgo's gifts of organization and creating order to enhance your daily rhythm? Which routines need to be created or shifted in order for a more healthy flow of life? How can you help out your Spleen, employing discernment well, effectively using your life force energy to keep you vibrant and balanced during the Late Summer?

May you continue Virgo'an places! As always, the Force is with you. Enjoy!

Shining Brightly and Refining our Creative Expression for Leo's New Moon Eclipse

The Leo New Moon and Partial Solar Eclipse falls on Saturday, August 11th at 2:57am PDT and 5:57am EDT at 18°41’ Leo. With Mercury retrograde just a few degrees away at 14°41’ Leo, the sentiment might be just a tad bit quieter than Leo is used to, perhaps an unfolding that has been taking place deep within us, but whose repercussions are roaring and powerful. New Moons tend to be softer times of reflection and opening to the mystery, yet with the eclipse bringing new information to light, there may be some sparklers that have been brewing beneath the surface and are ready to go off! Mercury retrograde almost directly at the same position of the Sun and the Moon reminds us to stay open to the inner conversation that’s taking place, receiving the insights that come from being able to shift our perception with regard to how we’re expressing ourselves in the world, bringing our creativity to life, and essentially, being ourselves.


This New Moon is a time of opening up to the force of aliveness in all things, and to do so in a way that allows this creative energy to flow fully through us. In Tantra the word for this is Shakti, or the animating force of life. It is Shakti that gives rise to all things, granting them life and movement, allowing them to be the unique expressions that they are. The wind in the trees is propelled by Shakti; the currents moving a river, Shakti; the breath that moves within us all, Shakti. Allowing this force to express itself through us, as us, is a gift that Leo delights in; she loves letting this flow of animation move through her, sharing her gifts with the world, receiving instant feedback from those with whom she shares, her soul nourished and fed. For Leo, this energetic exchange is an opportunity to feel enlivened, filled with vital energy and a soaring spirit, and nothing gives her more joy. Now is the time for allowing a truly authentic creative expression to come to the surface, celebrating being alive and all it entails. And sharing with those souls who are open to this spirit that naturally expresses itself spreads the love further, allowing the fire of Leo’s energy to shine brightly from within.

This eclipse is an invitation to open to the wisdom of Leo that inherently knows how to lila, or to delight in the grand play of life, bringing the gifts of light-heartedness and playfulness into being. Yoga reminds us that everything we experience, both in the outer world and the inner one, is a part of this grand play. The more we learn to get out of our own ways, letting the bigger energy move through us, joy and even bliss are natural byproducts. This isn’t to say that we’ll walk around blissed out as though we’ve just sung kirtan for hours, but that when we plug into this bigger energy (the force, Shakti, the divine, our true nature, etc.), we have access to infinite joy and limitless expression. Yes, we’ll still need to sleep, eat food, and take care of the things that go along with being human, but rather than taking ourselves so seriously, a natural delight will be given the space to arise, a delight that comes from knowing the creative flow of life and the divine presence in all things; a delight that comes from letting this divine presence express itself clearly and joyfully through us.

Carrying the archetype of the child, Leo also reminds us to take care of our own inner children. Recently in a yoga training I’m leading we did some of this inner child “work”. And sometimes it feels that way…like work! Yet it’s only work when the inner child hasn’t received the healing and love s/he so needs in order for all parts of our being to thrive. If there’s still a wounded little being inside, whether s/he’s super young, an adolescent, or in her/his late teens, s/he needs some attention for the deep integration to happen! When given a chance, this inner child lets us know that s/he needs some tender love and care. And when s/he’s given what s/he needs, feeling this love and support from the people we are now, an integration is allowed to happen, and the flow of Life moves through us more readily. As long as there’s disharmony within, the Shakti becomes blocked and dis-ease is created in the body/mind/spirit. Yet with a deep level of integration that comes from exploring and unifying all the parts of ourselves that feel separate or disconnected from life, the life force moves through us in naturally expressive and expansive ways, inviting us to delight in the grand play of life that moves through us magically when we let it.

If there are places inside that need to express themselves more fully in our lives, Leo reminds us to open to them, shining more authentically in all the ways we can and naturally do. The feedback we receive from those around us can inspire the Shakti to move through more even more playfully, expressively, clearly. I remember teaching yoga to a small class of men years ago, and teaching on the principle of “hug in to shine out.” There was a young man named Carl with Down’s Syndrome in class who I remember fondly. When another male student in class asked, in a somewhat peeved manner, what I’m even talking about when I  say “shine out,” I had Carl demo a pose. The way he expressed the pose was naturally a “shining out”; his spirit expressed itself beautifully and inspiringly. As he demoed the pose, I said “this is what I mean by shining out”, but I honestly didn’t need to say a word. Carl’s expression of the pose said everything, and everyone in the room got it. His spirit was the perfect example of Leo shining radiantly like the sun on a beautiful day. And now we’ve an opportunity to do the same! If there are parts of you that need more applause from your shining brightly in your own life, there’s no time like the present to open to this part of yourself and your life.

What invites you to open to the play of life, letting go of inhibitions to go with life’s bigger flow? How can you delight in the Shakti that’s expressing itself through you, as you? How does your perception need to shift in order for this to happen? I hope you fully enjoy this creative, expressive, and playful New Moon Eclipse, opening to the force and to your own experience AS the force in all the ways you can. Enjoy!

Feeling Fully & the New Moon Eclipse in Cancer

This month's New Moon Eclipse falls on Thursday, July 12th at 7:49pm Pacific time and 10:49pm Eastern time at 20° 41' Cancer (healing through feeling, trusting the emotional experience). New Moons are times when the Sun and Moon are conjunct, or right beside one another, and this one will be directly opposing the planet Pluto (the Lord of both the Underworld and the Riches) in the sign of Capricorn (integrity, patience, and perseverance).

Cancerian energy is the epitome of the Moon, with all its mystery and splendor. Standing out under the moon in any of its phases allows us to bask in the beauty of something so primal and so magical that it takes us out of our heads and puts us directly into our hearts. And an experience such as this one is exactly what this New Moon is about. The heart. Always a treasured gift among mystics, lovers, healers, and artists alike, this aspect of being knows no limits, sees without judgment, and welcomes possibilities as yet undreamt of. If each of us were to see through the eyes of the heart just a bit more regularly, there would be a marked change in our world, guaranteed! A change in which people would feel more comfortable to be themselves, nourished by their family and friends in ways that allowed for authentic expression and being, ways that value tenderness and care and the pronouncement of these virtues.

It amazes me that across so many traditions and cultures around the world is the association of the Moon with mother and grandmother, beings in our lives who are linked to nurturance and love. The relationship I had with my grand was such a special one that it often leaves me speechless today, a couple years after her passing, making my eyes water and my heart expand when I call her to memory. Even as I type, reminiscing of this amazing woman in my life, my eyes get a little misty. I feel fortunate enough to have been able to know this kind of devoted, unconditional love, or as we might say in Sanskrit, prema. This love can move mountains and would give the shirt off its back, wildly offering itself to those whom it loves fully, whether or not they understand what a gift the offering is. And this is what Cancer is about evolutionarily: caring and loving to the fullest, and in so doing, shedding the shell enough to fully trust this highly emotionally-charged waterscape, reveling in its experience and expression.

This New Moon is an invitation to probe the inner realms, allowing our emotions to flow in just the ways they're meant to. And with the Plutonian influence, as well as Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces, this is an opportunity to access some of the deeper stories of limitation we carry, recognizing that they don't have the power to hold us captive, and that we can, in fact, live from a true space of heart rather than the sense of separateness that these stories create in our experience. Perhaps in daily life we don't feel safe enough or like we have the time needed to approach the vast emotional realm, or perhaps our family of origin scenarios taught us that feeling and expressing emotions was negative, or "just for sissies". As we know, they're far from it; these are powerful forces that move through us, regardless of what our heads have to say about them! The more we learn to be with and work with them skillfully, the more access we have to "healing through feeling", one of my absolute favorite Cancerian terms. If we push this important facet of ourselves inside, brushing it "under the carpet", the more deadened we become. When we say "yes" to letting our emotions flow in healthy and positive ways, uncovering what needs to be looked at to integrate and heal it, we are made whole in every way. Cancer intuitively knows this and is here to unlock this great gift and to trust the emotional experiences as they arise.

What does it feel like when you center yourself in your own heart, letting go of the movement of your mind, if just for a few moments? For me, all sense of separation dissolves, and there's a true unity of heart, mind, body, and Life itself. This might be more of a Piscean interpretation than a Cancerian one, as I am very much a Pisces, but my eyes might water, my lips might curl into a smile, my being might feel light with a sense of the Oneness is that is all-pervasive. Water signs encourage us to feel into the part of life that is always present, with its depths, its intensity, its peace that passeth understanding, and everything in between. During this New Moon, may you delight in all the facets of life that is expresses itself through your very own experience, letting the water be your guide!

Perception Shifting with Gemini's New Moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Embodied Easefulness with Taurus

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

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

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

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

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

The Force is with you! Enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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