Thursday, March 9, 2017

on Black Moon Lilith and the Dark Goddess, Western Hemlock, our ultimate transformation

 Tsuga heterophylla : Western Hemlock

(Not related to the poisonous hemlock which is a flowering plant of the wetlands, and is incidentally an invasive non-native here in the PNW). This is a tall conifer prefers lowish elevations and coastalish ranges. Hemlock likes the places in the forest which are coldest and dampest, seeming to thrive where its darkest. As with all plants, where it lives can indicate what it will help us with; Tsugas (like many conifers) are warming and are therefore indicated for wet/damp, cold conditions, like congestion, various pain (specifically suited to the ligaments) and the kidneys.

But that's not really why I wanted to talk about this tree. I wanted to talk about this tree because today Black Moon Lilith squared both the North and South Node, effectively throwing the doors to our past and future wide open, offering us a cosmic grand choice; do we choose regression into the comfortable past, or evolution into our next phase? The trouble is, both options are equally open to us. It is just as easy to slip into old patterns as it is to build new habits. This is a slippery slope, but its also an encouragement; we all know how easy it is to go back to our "old ways", so we should take heart, and take that next step into the new manifestation of ourselves.
But what is that new manifestation?

The South Node is in Pisces now, while the North Node is in Virgo; these are our collective clues for our collective evolutionary process. As a society, we are experiencing crisis, and we don't have to look far to find evidence of this. The catastrophic election of Donald Trump and the horrific human rights violations at Standing Rock are just two examples. Intoxicated by our consumerism, reality shows, daily stress, as well as intoxication by actual substances, we are blinded to the suffering of ourselves as well as others around us, just as an alcoholic cannot effectively care for themselves or their loved ones. These elements of delusion, intoxication, and addiction are Pisces shadow qualities, and it is these that we are being invited to leave behind.

Virgo as the North Node is our chance to "level up", to hone our self mastery and self awareness, to walk with eyes open and hearts humble, and to grow our love so that it nurtures not just other humans, but fish and birds, whales and trees, dirt and water as well.

Be sure to check out your own nodes by looking at your birth chart (try, because this also occurs on a very personal level as well, and so what this means for you in your personal life may be very different than what I've just described. For example, my natal North Node is in Pisces, and my South Node is in Virgo, which means this is flipped for me in my personal life. But how can this be, you ask? Picture this like an orchestra; we all need to play a song of wide love, justice, nurturing, and holding the self accountable. But each persona has their own individual piece to play. Mine is the Oboe, and it is a tune of private, deep, watery spiritual practice. My partner, North Node in Aries, is playing the Trumpet, and his song is one of standing firmly in his own needs and desires, speaking his truth, and being a little selfish and firey. We each need to play our individual parts for the grander song to work out. So look this stuff up! We need your best self!!

Back to today's sky; As I said, the doors to the past and future are both wide open. There is no lock, we don't need a key or a bobby pin, we don't even have to turn the knob. And who do we have to thank? Black Moon Lilith, that's who. The oft disparaged dark goddess saunters staunchly into our frame of view and tells us exactly how we can make this transformation possible; by using magic, intuition, and assertiveness.

And Hemlock. The spirit medicine of this tree is one which makes use of decay; often the young saplings are seen taking root on fallen nurse logs. These same saplings are able to thrive low light of the forest understory for years, growing slow, biding their time, and waiting for that instant a bright gape in the canopy is rendered. This is when they put all those slowly stored resources to use, and bolt up towards the light.

We are now living in dark times, and they threaten to grow darker yet. For many of us, the oppressed, the ignored, the manipulated, these dark times are not of our direct doing. The light is clouded bwyond our control. But this time is not in vain; in the darkness, we lie in wait, gathering, swarming. Like the unassuming Hemlock, we know how to nourish new life from ruin and destruction, and this is our best secret. We will make good nutritious use of the decay from the systems which W I L L fall. And when they fall, when that shock of light hits our eyes, we will be ready, and R I S E.

[photo of Lilith obtained from, though I'm pretty sure its public domain. Also, check out those chicken feet!! hello, Baba Yaga anyone?]

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

On the Dark Moon in Sagittarius and Cutting Through the Bullshit

Monday was the Dark Moon (or New Moon) in Sagittarius, the fire sign characterized a truth seeking wandering. It is also my natal moon (which I just found out I share with Trump which is probably the worst news I've ever, ever heard and which I'm going to ignore forever).

A little bit about Moons and Fire Signs.

The moon in the natal chart describes our inner life and emotions, and as the unguarded self its the part of us that is most instinctual, coming out strongly when we're either very relaxed or suddenly find ourselves in a moment of defense. Sagittarius' are firey, fighting, questing, and leaving. They are described as a sign to whom trust in the universe comes easy, who find answers in spirituality and religious pursuits, and act on those firey flashes of instincts and inspiration without much planning or thinking. This makes it directly opposite in many characteristics to my Sun in Taurus which explains a LOT about me. Like, a LOT.

Explore Explore

My favorite way to check in with what the planets are doing is to do a card reading, so I pulled out my deck and followed along to the spread created by @escapingstars over on instagram

The "arm" of the arrow is cards
1. "What part of the past holds me back?" Page of Wands
2. "What doubts and lies distract me and need to be addressed?" The Moon
3. "How can I learn from the past without getting lost?" 3 of Wands

The "arrow" of the arrow is
(the top two)
4. "What message does the universe have for me at this chaotic time?" King of Wands
5. "How can I best shed my self-consciousness and express my truth fully?" The World
(the bottom two)
6. "What will benefit from these new beginnings?" 5 of Cups
7. "What intentions should I set?" knight of Wands

And the point of the arrow is
8. "How can I harness this new moon's energy?" Ace of Swords/The Emperor

(Sometimes when I read I elevate the Ace, which is when anytime you draw an Ace you place it at the top and in this way it "hovers over" the whole spread, lending its energy to everything. So I elevated this Ace and drew The Emperor to take its place, but for some reason the Ace here just felt right, so they share that spot.)

The Wand suit is associated with the element of Fire, just like Sagittarius is a Fire sign, and here half the cards I've drawn are fire cards. Even the Emperor is a Fire card. I've even got the Moon card here. Basically, the cards showed UP for this reading.

Breaking it down(Disclaimer; I don't know who, if anyone, reads this. And this makes it very easy for me to turn it into a public journal of sorts. This is going to be kind of personal, trying to not be too personal, but anyways. Idk. It might be rambly)

1. "What holds me back?" Page of Wands.
The Court cards are sometimes used to symbolize people in our lives, and which court card it is will give you hints as to WHO it is, and Pages are typically someone younger. I often struggle when reading court cards. But here, I knew exactly who this was. A person in my life. Younger. And this is where we start attempting to vaguely discuss family strife without giving away any identifying details.

Why is it that we struggle so much when we are loving? Why is it that our family, our first community, the people we will know the longest, are the ones who wont return our calls?

There is one relationship in particular which has been keeping me up nights. I mean that really, I wake up three times a night thinking about it, and it keeps me awake, following each imagined thread of what their reasons could possibly be. I replay the times I asked for forgiveness, and I count up all the ways I know this forgiveness has not be given. Then I turn over my own pain in my head, the pain I was in when I caused this person hurt, and the pain I feel over their actions. I think about what its like to be held responsible for something I did ten years ago. And I'm exhausted. And its time to sort it out, and let it go.

2. "What doubts and lies distract me and need to be addressed?" The Moon.
The Moon is an anxiety card. It has positive meanings too, sure, but even those are brooding. It often is a card that shows up for me when I need to do some shadow work, when I've forgotten to keep my demons close and they've slipped out of sight. It is almost always a card of division, and here is the lie.
The lie is that we are separate. We are not.
These lies of separation withing my family, within myself, within my community and my world, even though they are lies, lead me to behave as if we were separate, behaving as if I was cut off from my self, my shadow, my family. So I guard myself. And I have imaginary arguments. And I weep as if my heart were broken, as if I'd lost everything. Because in a way, I have.
It is time to draw near, and to bind tight. It is time to stitch together and make a whole.

3. "How can I learn from the past without getting lost there?" 3 of Wands.
Her is a leaving card. The Sagittarius out, to quest and discover the truth. This is the journey. It is bright and well lit, skies are clear. The traveler stands tall, firmly grasping the staff. Instantly what came to my mind was a quote from a Dharma Talk I recently listened to given by Sallie Jiko Tisdale at the Dharma Rain Zen center here in Portland titled "Do Otherwise." This Dharma Talk was about the Buddhist confession ceremony, and how a Buddhist confesses, what to do when we stumble and hurt someone. The quote I thought of was this

"This is simply autobiography. I am here. I am this. I confess knowing I and only I have done this. And I confess knowing there is no I at all. It is said that confession is a non-dual act. It doesn't require another person. You don't confess TO another person. We just confess. But it doesn't require YOU either. It is life confessing to life. Emptiness confessing to emptiness. You know the phrase Buddha recognizes Buddha? Buddha confesses to Buddha. And repentance isn't to solve your problems. It is done for ALL beings. And in order to do it completely for all beings you have to completely do it for yourself. It requires acceptance and love for yourself, not leaving yourself out. And then we say "I now confess everything whole heartedly." We repent without asking for forgiveness. When you ask for forgiveness you give the power and the responsibility to somebody else. Buddhist repentance requires us to take completely responsibility for ourselves, not just for what happened, but for what's about to happen. So if you're waiting on someone else to forgive you so that you can feel better, you're not taking responsibility. Just stand up."
Just stand up. Stand in the truth. Yes I did that thing. I did it because I was hurting. No that's not an excuse. That page doesn't know my pain. That page may never acknowledge my pain. I take full responsibility for my confession and my forgiveness. I stand up.

4. "What message does the Universe hold at this chaotic time?" King of Wands.

Stay focused. Keep the fuse lit, stoke the fire. As The Mister so perfectly put it; Rise above the chaos.
The Wand suit has a very special element to it; the lizard. Lizards, much like snakes, live their lives with their bellies on the ground (or very near it, at least). In this manner they are creatures of connection to the earth, staying grounded, staying plugged into nature. The "lizard brain" is a term used to refer to the oldest part of the brain, the brain stem, the place responsible for all the primal instincts. This is the seat of emotion, addiction, and so forth. This is that shadow self I was saying I'm disconnected from. This is the wolf howling next to the domestic dog in the Moon card. This is the wild side. Keep it near and bind it tight. Stitch it together to make a whole. The King has his lizard close. So ought I to stay centered, grounded, tapped into that first part of me.

5. "How can I best shed my self-consciousness and express my truths fully?" The World.
The Mister had input for this one as well, saying "You're already in victory. Keep it up." I'll take it.

6. "What will benefit from these beginnings?" 5 of Cups.
One of the more dismal looking cards in the deck, it isn't a doomsayer, rather its a wake up call regarding our perspectives, our grief process. What good will come of this? By letting go, by taking responsibility for before, now, and later, I will experience a new perspective, fresh and positive. I'm ready.

7. "What intentions should I set for this cycle?" Knight of Wands.
It's the final stretch of school, the nights are long and the dreariness of the 5 of Cups bogs me down. Yesterday I told The Mister my brain feels like mud. Well now more than ever is time to manifest energy and motion. Time to kick it up to a rolling boil!

8. "How can I best harness this new moon energy?" The Ace of Swords/The Emperor.
I have a tumultuous relationship with the Emperor, but after all this fire and motion the Taurus in me was happy to see a staunch (s t a u n c h) card like this. It makes sense to me.

There's a story I read in a Thich Nhat Hanh book called "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" thought I think this story is pretty universal. A man on a galloping horse came charging into town. The towns people shouted "Hey! Where are you going?" The man, already past, shouted behind him "I don't know! Ask the horse!"

The energy of all those wands in such a wandering sign has the potential to be very much like that story. The best way to harness this energy is to keep both hands on the reigns, keep both eyes on the road, and have my GPS set to audio alerts so I have an idea of whats coming and what I need to do about it. The Emperor is dense, like rocks, and in control.

What does this look like in practicality? Making lists. Get a schedule going, start a few routines. And wake up that sleeping militant inside me. I've kept her sedated because I fear her. But now I see I need her. Its time we learn to work together, because is the only one who can help me stay on course, keep this schedule and routine.

The Ace or Swords is a tool that cuts right through bull shit. There can be no lies nearby. Now is not the time for mincing words, or for sparing feelings. (this doesn't mean being careless and hurtful; there is a palm of peace hanging from that crown after all.) This card says my job is not to coddle right now. My job is to stay firmly and un-apologetically plugged into the core truth at all times.

Hello, who ever you are, who is reading this. May you, too, remain plugged into the core truth of you. Of us. May you, too, have the confidence of The World to take responsibility, to love yourself fully, to accept yourself fully, and to just stand up. And as always, thank you, whoever you are, for reading.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

On baggage and setting the table.

Yesterday's prompt for Augusts Tarot challenge is "How can I embrace my body and my sexuality?"

Look at all that baggage! So much conflict and strife within one reading, and its totally accurate. On one side of the reading there is celebration and plenty, adoration almost; on the other side there is chosen poverty, loss, and disappointment. Do you want to talk about life after/with an eating disorder, because this is what it looks like; success and sometimes feel like failures, and failures like a success. Define and apply those terms any way, every way, yes.

I left this reading and came back to it several times, I filled many journal pages, I prayed about it, I napped about it, and I still feel everything. But I'm not going to take you on that ring around. I'm going to cut right through and get to the nugget of truth on the inside of the bullshit. Join me.

We need to hash out this conflict, first and forever. Grey skies and clear, wealth and poverty, joy and sullenness. You know what we've got to do with dichotomies don't you? We narrow that gap.

How? Start with Accepting. Accept that my body will disappoint me. It will get sick and age. It will be soft where I wish it wasn't. It will be stiff when I want it to flow. Accept that the creases under my eyes appear to be here to stay. Accept my tummy, my arms. Accept that this is my subconscious's attempt to communicate with me, using the physical body as a metaphor because its still uncomfortable with its unpracticed language of healing. It is not about creases or jiggles. It is about perceived worth and survival, with a little bit of creepy religious penance thrown in for good measure. Accept what is, and what is not.

But above and beyond and through all, accept that recovery is a cycle. It is not linear. And it may go round and round like this for the rest of my life. So ease in and get comfy with it. Get to know it so that the next time it comes around I can be ready with an extra place setting at the table.

The medicinal qualities of Cattails are off the chart, making it a remarkable first aid herb. The pollen has hemostatic actions when place in a cut, and blood moving properties when taken internally. The sticky gum at the base of the leaves is antiseptic and even numbing. Cattail says I need to triage. SOS, STAT. Time to clean the wound and stop the bleeding. Goldenrod has the same medical potency, though it's healing action is for the long term. (this is an echo of Jera, the middle Rune of the central three, who says that living in the present and doing the work in the present lays a strong foundation for the future, and not to forget that this is WHY you're doing todays good work). The Latin name is Solidago, from the word Soldare, meaning "to make whole". To. make. whole! Are you kidding me?? That's amazing. Goldenrod has been stalking me the last few weeks since I watched a bumble bee visit each flower while listening to Thich Nhat Hanh talk about second body practice, and it's time to take its message to heart.

Each Rune says in turn to accept life and fate and that some things are just the way they are, and then they each say "But don't forget to do your magic, do your work, you're responsible for your own manifestations."

The first, Elhaz/Algiz is about courage in the face of fear, and this is key, because you have to know if you need to flee, fight, or if you just need to chill and breathe. It is a powerful teaching force should one choose to open that chapter, and can connect you with the Divine in the world around you and yourself, if you're into that sort of thing. 

The third Rune, Nyd, is about Need, and our complicated relationships with our own. It is resistance, struggle, effort. It is trying to start a fire with two sticks on a cold day when it starts to rain. Its kind of dismal. It looks a lot like that failure card; all the effort, all the dreams. But all is not lost. Don't forget that without resistance form would fall about, and that's science my friend. This is not bad, rather it is a force that, when understood, can actually function as a means to protect and meet these needs. But the first step is to accept the process. Sometimes its raining, and all you have is two sticks to start the fire; don't fight it just get to it.
Jera, the central Rune, patient and steady. The Taurus Rune (if you as me, that's not actually what it is). Harvest from right action; you did good work, and you will reap the rewards, but in a real mundane and ordinary way. Like you planted a seed and now you have a fruit. But don't mistake the amazingness of this. Just like first you triage, then you work on a long term plan towards healing, first you plant the seed, then you harvest food for the winter. This is nothing short of a miracle. This Rune too is about cycles and seasons, but not in a time sort of way; this is the inhale and exhale, this is the heartbeat, the biorhythms, dawn and dusk, menstruation, gestation, sleep, awake. The force of Jera is slow and unstoppable. It is not sudden, you cannot force it. It is best to make small changes that can be sustained daily. Practice the language of healing and recovery. Practice the patterns of self care and acceptance. Work your magic every day. And breathe. And breathe.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

When the Activist of the Sky meets the Ultimate Lover...

Today Eris in Aries semisextiles Venus in Taurus, and I want to talk about this.

The Eris of mythology was a warrior princess of epic skill and ferocity, and if you try to research her astrological activity you'll find her described as the goddess of chaos and discord.

But I don't think so. I think of her as the Activist of the Sky. This is someone who defends the people who don't have the resources to defend themselves; children and mothers specifically (this is just my hunch) but also for sure includes the whole family unit as well. This activism often involves overturning the current regime. And yes, that often looks like chaos.

When Eris meets Venus we often get warnings of "hey watch out for fights with your significant other right now!" But I think that's just a little bit missing the point (and also this only applies to you if your relationship isn't meeting your needs. The stars can't make problems that weren't there to begin with).

When planets meet up and do things together in the sky I like to think of it as them holding council. When Eris and Venus hold that council in the sky its a huge opportunity to make big shifts in the way we move through our communities (of self, of family, work place, neighborhood, world, cosmos) and to look at issues around justice from the fresh standpoint of Love.

So what are they saying today? Heavy stuff, that's for sure.

The four cards at the top are their signifiers; Judgement + 10oCups for Eris (I'm so captivated by the similarities between the cards! And look, families!) And the 10oSwords + QoPentacles for Venus (this was rough to see.) The fact that they both have 10's is significant; this is a final and first hour of something. This is go time; Time to level up.

BUT leveling up, and pushing past and on to the next phase can be really hard. Here we see t
he Queen in mourning over the loss and pain in the 10oSwords. When I saw those cards together all I could think of was our Earth, in pain and betrayed. The Queen, Sensual earthy goddess, watches in and almost helpless sadness. I feel this despair. We hear statistics saying that we're past the tipping point of climate change; its easy to loose hope in the face of that, easy to go on living our doomed lives as we've always lived them because whats the point.

BUT things can be done, even still, to lessen the effects of climate change and shorten our planets recovery time. All we have to do is act. And that's what Eris is all about; sounding that alarm, waking us up with a decisive call to direct action.

The three cards at the bottom are their message. They're saying that we need a complete overhaul of our governing systems. "Overthrow" I whispered when I saw them. "Overthrow". But what are the systems that govern our lives? Yeah, the government, but also the economy and the media, and it all boils down to this; capitalism. It is capitalism that truly rules our life. It is our governing body, it is the fuel of our decision making, and it is the whisper in our ear that keeps us afraid and fighting. It is the excuse that allows us to pollute the countries of the poor and call it a green initiative. Its the blindfold that lets us say we're the greatest nation in the world while we are actually the sickest; sick with dis-ease, with mass incarceration, crippling poverty, shocking childhood hunger, and the highest levels of debt.

In the face of something so huge, what does our action entail? What does this "overthrow" even look like?

Start asking yourself why. Why do I think this way? Why do I want that thing? Who told me to be afraid of this person? In this way we begin to un-knit the capitalist white supremacist patriarchal web that has a hold on us. This is the first step, and once we take that first step, they* are over thrown. The process, once begun, is completed.

The second thing that struck me about these cards was their number and gender similarity to the election. (Am I reaching? Maybe, but we're talking about Tarot here so I think I'm well within an acceptable realm here.) And I became instantly concerned. Because who is the upright Emperor??? Whoooo???? I pulled a lot of cards and none would tell me. The Mister and I talked out the presence of the Emperor till we could be sure he was who we wanted him to be; at first I thought war mongering mars=war mongering Trump. But THEN I thought Emperor with his marching boots on=project starting Mars=get to work Mars=firey Mars that can Berrrn (see what I did there?) and I'm totally willing to entertain this idea.

However, and probably more importantly, I also see that we ought to adopt the attitude of the Emperor. We must be steadfast, secure, confident, ready with our marching boots on.

Seeking more clarity, I asked "To what end?" And I pulled Victory and Balance. These efforts ensure our Victory over injustice, and the creation of balanced and fair world. Then I asked "But how?" and turned over The Sun and Love. How do we work this work? How do we fight injustice and change our world for the better? We do it with Love. This love that allows us to behold the face of God, that banishes fear and brings paradise, Love that is just, Love that serves. If faith the size of a tiny mustard seed can move a mountain, and Love is greater than faith, then think of how much we can do if we do it in Love.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Burst, bloom. Happy New Year.

It is the last day of the year. And what a year, she said with a sigh, before taking a grateful gulp of whatever was in the cup (it was coffee). This year has been full of love, the kind that saves, and the kind of pain that saves, too. And sorrow, and joy, and the rug as it flies out from under you and suddenly you're floating. This year has been open, open, openness. Raw and riotous, like a wound, like a bud warmed by the sun; burst, bloom. Have you ever watched a flower bloom? Time lapse photography is a gift. It's slow going at first, the bravest petals unfurl like toes testing the waters. Then suddenly a symphony crescendo, a sudden sighburst, bloom, and it's opened to the light, the bees, the shock of cold air on pink petals. Feeling, for the first time, it's own glorious weight. That's what this year has been like. Open, like a sigh.

I am still learning all of last year's lessons, and diuble. I said I wanted to let sorrow dig a well in my chest where I could find deep and nourishing streams. Instead, time bought me callouses and cement. I am still learning to be soft. I am still learning to be mindfull. I am still learning to let loving kindness be my first reaction. I should tattoo that on my knee for when it jerks.

For Christmas The Mister brought me home a sweet bouquet of white flowers, sprigs of juniper, and two mystery buds. Time has passed and the sneaky buds have begun to bloom; pink carnations. Shock of color. Riotous sigh.

A year in retrospect seems like the right thing to do right now. With my ever faithful helper cat close at hand, I wanted to share it with you, because I have a lot to say about it.

A week or so ago, when asking about clarity and my lack of it, I pulled the 8 of swords upright-what was blocking my clarity? Me. And it was true. And it felt heavy, like a weight you've been carrying for so long and then someone says "wow that must be heavy ".

But today she's reversed, like a cup whose contents have been spilt, allowed to return to the earth. That energy is gone, that weight set down by the road side. Release. Burst, bloom. Walk away.

Fast forward to the Home card in a position I dubbed "what to let go". Why do I have to let go of cozy comfy feelings she whined and cast here eyes out the window. Okay, take another look. This is not, per se, about a home with a mailbox. That's a house. This is about letting go of the notion that home is anyplace outside of yourself. Home is not an address, or a familiar block (as a Taurus that's hard to say), and as nice as that line "home is wherever I'm with you" is, that's not home either. Home is in your breath, the cathedral of your ribs, the glory of your cells as they flash into being and then die, like stars. This new truth will keep you safe.

The three of cups landed in the "darkness" spot. Yes, I've neglected my craft. But that's okay. It was a hard year and I couldn't find up.

How to combine the light and the dark? Ace of swords. Grasp that which wounded you. Embrace your suffering. The truth will set you free; speak yours.

What to take with me? Wisdom. These experiences want to make me wiser. Those lessons want to be learned. Compile them where they can be easily accessed for future needs. They can be written in a book, and they are. But I like the idea the Monarch butterflies had; store your wisdom in your dna, let it live in your cells like a map to guide you long after mountains crumble. Tattoo them on your knee, so when it jerks, you have a wise response.

To what end? Healing. Simple. How beautiful. Burst, bloom. Riotous sigh.

(Before I go, look at all those birds. A Raven, a Swallow, a sparrow or some other LBJ. Here I sit now, at my window, watching crows and gulls swoop and dive in the blue, clean-slate sky. What of their daily struggle, when they let go and glide, and are this effortless on the winds? Riotous sigh.)

If you're there, thank you for reading. I hope your new year is full of love, and peace, and deep breaths.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dark Moon in Scorpio 11*11

Today is the New Moon (Dark Moon, for those of us) in Scorpio, trining with Chiron, sextile Jupiter. Chiron is the healer asteroid who teaches us how to navigate our past as we move ever forward into our future. Jupiter is the great expander, calling us to grow in as we grow out. And Scorpio, oh Scorpio, her medicine is destruction and creation. Magnificent and terrible, her heat reduces us to our elemental forms, and we emerge as something entirely new. Or as new as we want. If you've been looking for a change, now is your hour.

Or maybe your heart is hurting. Maybe your summer wasn't as kind as it should have been. This New Moon, with her deep, deep Scorpionic and Plutonian waters, with her overarching, expansive sky, can heal that ache.

How? Mercury is sitting close and snuggly with the New Moon, offering us his microscope, that we may see with sharp clarity the elements of our lives. What helps us, what hinders us; our thought patterns, love habits, how we care for our bodies. And Chiron offers a remedy.

But that all sounds very esoteric. How, you may be asking again. How do we access this remedy? How do we spot it in the first place?

Well first off, let's talk about Chiron a bit more. As I've said, Chiron is the healer, and also the teacher of the cosmos (and the Greek pantheon, he's an interesting Google search). He originated in the Kuiper Belt, near Pluto, an area full of debris thought to be left over from the big bang. Pluto is ruler of the underworld; Chiron is the trigger of our deepest, most primal wounds. Chiron is the trigger that brings this wound to the surface, so it can heal.

So one way to facilitate this healing is to check out your birth chart to see where Chiron was when you were born (try, and pay special attention to what house it's in, as well as what sign). This will tell you where your wound is located, and offer a remedy. For example, my Chiron is in Gemini, who is already ruled by Mercury. This means that my wound is located in communication; I struggle with feeling uneducated, I find it hard to believe in my own ideas, and I often feel unheard. And my prescribed remedy is about learning to speak and stand up for my truth, and to fully let go of what others think.

Another way is just simply to plug in. Again, how? Meditate. Have you ever imagined that swirling around your spine was a warm, glowing Kundalini serpent? Do that now. Just try it. Sit back and feel the warm glow, spiraling wider as it works it's way down. Now feel it unwind and dip into the earth. (If you, like me, live 8 floors above the earth, this will take a little longer. Watch that root reach down past each floor, twisting along the steel frame, and then finally bursting through the concrete. Don't worry. Roots were meant for this). Feel it pass through earthen layers till it suddenly plunges into a deep and secret pool. Linger here. Drink the water and let it nourish you. Dwell on the transformative power of water, how it whittles away all that would hinder it. Now think of what hinders you. Send water rushing over it, till it is swept away.

(Or, if snakes are scary for you, you can also think of a crab stepping out of its shell. That's what I mean by growing in while we grow out. We grow out of an old self and into a new one.)

As you do this work, answers will float to the surface. This is a time of intuition. You'll know it when you know it, and then it's your responsibility to apply these answers. Its up to you to call on these cosmic energies. Change doesn't just happen. You must do the work. And as you do the work, you can know that you are infinitely, cosmically supported.

What does this have to do with knitting? Destruction, creation. What don't you want? What doesn't quite fit? Take it out and examine it closely, find the snag, seek out thee missing, or the extra. Undo. Redo.

How is this New Moon treating you? What do you see when you look through Mercury's microscope?

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November, your voice is a flute.

Its a new month. Its the best month.

Its odd that for me, a spring baby, the deep autumn-that-is-almost-winter is the most important time of year for me. Its full of unique energies, and I make good use of them. Its a time for getting down to brass tacks and into the heart of the matter. This is the shedding time in the cycle of regeneration and rebirth. Just like snakes shed their old skin and crabs crawl out of shells that no longer suit them, the trees shake loose their leaves and flowers trim themselves back to the root bulb. There is often talk of dormancy, but I don't think its dormancy that dominates this time of year. It is waiting yes, but a useful, productive waiting. There is ruminating, germinating, rehabilitating, and rest. This is when the roots and branches and birds really get to spend their time thinking. I imagine them holed up with good books and warm lamps glowing, keeping out the cold and finally free of the burden of making and raising young.

(Not to mention that now is the time of year that the crows move to my block. Hoards of them come in with the sunset and crowd together on roof tops and in the bare trees, silent and still as stones, standing watch. And the leaves on the hill have begun to smolder, and this is what I watch when I write to you, or when I do my homework.)

I've begun a new tarot challenge. Having hopped on board a few days late I'm playing catch up, and so today I'm doing the spread for the 3rd of November, who's prompt was simply "Shadow".

Sometimes I jump unceremoniously into readings. But there are some questions, and some journeys, which we know will go deeper and into darker places, and these require a bit more preparation. Descending down, gingerly over rocks and under earthly ceilings into the still air of musty roots, you will need smoke, you will need fire, and you will need mindful breath.

Lighting my candle, I bathed in lavender smoke for a few moments before I fanned out my cards. This prompt comes at an opportune time. My shadow self has been particularly active of late (I've written a bit about it already) and its been a real effort to keep myself afloat. The best response to a looming Shadow is to walk right up to it and ask "What do you need?"

But this is careful work. My Shadow Self comes in the shape of a small girl child, my inner child, shut away in the past by PTSD, phobias, eating disorders, and loneliness. So it doesn't do to go charging into the dark corners and demanding answers or obedience. I don't think Shadow Selves of any age or sort respond to that approach, but I could be wrong. A more tender approach, slower and deliberate, is required. Here's that smoke, here's that breath. So I fan out my cards and place my hand over my heart. And I inhale. And I exhale. And I ask, sweet and soft as Lavender smoke, "What do you need?"

The Sun, 2 of Wands, and the runes Nauthiz and Wunjo.

What does my Shadow self need? Attention, apparently.

This is an almost endearing response. Or it would be, if Shadows weren't known for fucking your shit up. While I talk often of this topic and use words like tenderness, mindfulness and understanding, its important that we understand the power involved here. I think of my eating disorder and my shadow self and my inner child as all the same thing. Merging them helps me manage them and maintain a sort of adult "inchargeness" over my compulsions. But even as an incharge adult, I have to admit I'm frightened by this girl child, however "merely conceptual" she is. There's a reason why scary child ghosts are put in horror movies for adults; they're deceptively small, but having lived for an untold number of decades, they're stronger and meaner than you'd think. A combination difficult to overcome. If you want a picture of what this interaction looks like when it goes wrong, picture Elastic Heart. A very small, very scary person who pops up and wrecks havoc.

Another very scary thing pops up and wrecks havoc is an eating disorder. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illness. I once compared it to Gollum and the One Ring; its the thing that you love which kills you, and it cares not; it wants your life, and it will undo your connection to reality as well as your very humanity to get it.

When looking at The Sun in light of all this, it could be interpreted as an almost comical or maybe even a deceptive response. But I don't think so. When we follow this disorder to its deepest root, what we find more often than not is a child, wounded.

This is an image before the Sun was blotted out; her first and truest nature. Free, innocent, greeting the world with a gleeful warmth. She's bursting forth in rays of light and flowers in their fullest bloom while the 2 of Wands looks on.

So what does my Shadow self need? Attention. But lets pause, that needs some more thought; there's good attention, and bad attention, and children who aren't shown good attention will seek both without distinction. So how I can I give what is needed in a healthy, productive way?

I pulled Nauthiz from the pile of runes waiting in my lap. It is an image of two sticks rubbing together to make a fire. This rune has a lot to say about struggle, resistance, and constraint. It talks of hard effort and the force of growth. What it also says to me is "patience" and "understanding". In an tired voice its telling the tale of how the Shadow got here, and reminding me to be kind.

I then pulled Wunjo; Joy. A rune that has been showing up often for me, and a most welcome sight. Wunjo is Joy, Harmony, correct application of will, contentment, hope, family, bonding, trust. "It wards off woe and sorrow so that abundant gifts of the multiverse have no trouble bestowing themselves on you." "In Wunjo we find harmonious energies characteristic in functioning families." "Wunjo reduces alienation by broadcasting love into the human energy field."

This is what I can give her. As an adult I have access to all these things, because as an adult I can correctly apply my will and make these beautiful elements part of my reality. It is this that is being handed to that small baby on horseback.

This idea of multi-generational, multi-dimensional healing isn't a new concept. Its one that's been hard at work in Buddhist psychology for ages. Thich Nhat Hanh writes about it, saying "If we take one mindful step, we take it for our ancestors who have come before us, and those who will come after us. If we take one mindful breath, then they breathe with us." Another particularly pertinent passage comes from his book Touching Peace;

"When we touch our pain with mindfulness, we will begin to transform it. When a baby is crying in the livingroom, his mother goes in right away to hold the baby in her arms. Because mother is made of love and tenderness, when she does that, love and tenderness cover the baby and, in only a few minutes, the baby will probably stop crying. Mindfulness is the mother who cares for our pain every time it begins to cry. ... When pain is in the basement, you can enjoy many refreshing and healing elements of life by producing mindfulness. Then when the pain wants to come upstairs, you can turn off your walkman, close your book, open the livingroom door, and invite your pain to come up. You can smile to it and embrace it with mindfulness, which has become strong. If fear, for example, wishes to come up, don't ignore it. Greet it warmly with your mindfulness. "Fear, my old friend, I recognize you." If you are afraid of your fear, it may overwhelm you. But if you invite it up calmly and smile at it in mindfulness, it will loose some of its strength. After you have practiced watering the seeds of mindfulness for a few weeks, you will be strong enough to invite your fear to come up anytime, and you will be able to embrace it with your mindfulness. It may not be entirely pleasant, but with your mindfulness you are safe."-Thich Nhat Hanh, Touching Peace.

I appreciate the fact that he says "probably stop crying". Any of us who have cared for babies, even if for just a short time, know that this isn't always the case. Sometimes it takes hours and some pretty inventive measures to get babies to quiet down. Mostly it takes an intuitive listening to what is needed. But with patience, and love, and understanding, it happens.

I also appreciate the cautions Thay shares, saying that only once we've strengthened our mindfulness through meditating daily on joyful things can we bravely and skillfully invite our pain and fear to sit with us and be transformed. Its a wise piece of counsel.

I go back to the cards and take a loot at them, because I always wonder what I can do in actuality. These are nice concepts and ideas, but what can I do in a physical, material way to facilitate this healing? Wands are the suit of creative energy, creative fire. Practically speaking, maybe its time to explore and express myself in a creative way, beyond the cerebral sphere of words. Perhaps its time to paint a picture, create some happy trees for my wall.

Here's to hoping you find the sun, even in your November shadow.