Full Moon Mad Lib

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As the full moon approaches, an exercise to help us reach and be comforted. Maybe we already have every reason to be confident. Maybe there's a slight tweak we can make to help us going forward.

And as we interact with others, a variation might help us put ourselves in each other's shoes: "If I were _______, I'd have less confidence in my ability to ________.

If you've been blessed, see that. Feel it. Pass it on. Look for ways to accept and extend mercy today.

Today's Pisces moon and entering the flow

This morning I woke up in a panic: How should I use my day off? I have so many projects going at once -- astrology projects, gardening projects, and general family projects that are ever looming. The last photo album I made for Lyndon went up to age two. The symbolism of the sky is so centered around creativity and expression that it can be both exciting and overwhelming. Am I doing enough?

I was thinking about the fixed nature of this week’s Aquarius full moon, and the idea that our lives and ideas have lasting impact. They just do. We’re all important. But every now and then we see ourselves as separate from the mix. We wonder where we fit in. When that happens, what’s our natural instinct: Is it to assert ourselves, seek company, recede?

I noticed this week that Lyndon hasn’t turned the pages on his Page-a-Day calendars since June 25th, his last day of school before summer vacation. He doesn’t know what day it is. He just goes with the flow. And under today’s Pisces moon that’s inspiring to me. I started a new job two weeks ago. Maybe today I can give myself a break.

Flooded by input from superstars and influencers, it can be hard to look beyond images to see the deeper ways we’re all the same. The mutable water symbolism of Pisces reminds us of both change and source. Has the flow of our lives taken us away from or brought us closer to whatever happens to be our own personal source - - God, creativity, family, love...?

It might help today to take a break from structure and routine in some way, even if your nature is more hard-driving and productive. The work and the ideas will be there when you get back, and they may gain new inspiration.

Sometimes we need to lose ourselves to find ourselves. But a lasting spark remains. To quote one of my favorite Pisces, Mister Rogers: “You can never go down the drain.”

 
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Venus's Day (Friday)

Sometimes while I’m driving Lyndon to school we’ll talk about one astrological concept that can get us through the day. When I was looking at the chart of the day this morning, what popped in my mind is Venus.

Friday is ruled by Venus, whose gifts are love, beauty, art, and peace. Today’s Libra moon is also ruled by Venus. So there’s a double message of peace and connection with others. Where the message gets nuanced is in the current sign of Venus, Sagittarius. Sagittarius is an independence-loving sign, seeking and striving for adventure and inspiration. And restlessness isn’t always a great remedy for peace. So how do we reconcile these energies?

That’s for all of us to explore personally, but just knowing that both coexist might help us through today. Maybe we can seek interactions with interesting people; maybe learning, reading, or exploring in some other way can bring us peace. And maybe taking time to remember our best adventures or start planning our next one can help us see where we have freedom and options and get reacquainted with inspiration again.

Exploring Lyndon's and my progressed moon

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I’ve been feeling guilty that I haven’t been writing as much. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. I’ve just been more reserved. I’m wondering how much this instinct to become more private is connected with my progressed moon having recently entered Scorpio. The progressed moon symbolizes our evolving emotional needs and states, and its 2¼-year length is helpful to explore in terms of significant emotional phases throughout our lives.

When my moon progressed into airy Libra I started writing and communicating more in general. I wrote and shared more about relationships – strategies for connecting and finding common ground. I felt compelled to check in. My counseling practice picked up. Even through a divisive presidential election I tried to show respect to people with differing opinions – a huge stretch for a Sagittarius. I was learning to be more considerate.

My moon progressed to Scorpio this summer while I was on a Holocaust Remembrance Trip in Europe with my family. I haven’t written much about the trip because there’s so much to unpack psychologically, and at the same time I’m aware that what I saw and felt over two weeks pales in comparison to what millions of people lived through. In the Jewish Museum of Prague I photographed these children’s drawings from the 1940s. Their teacher, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, held secret therapeutic art classes in the Terezín ghetto, determined to connect the children to beauty and inspiration even as their lives got more restricted and terrifying. Eventually Dicker-Brandeis was sent to and killed at Auschwitz. I still think about her, trying to understand the evil that she was up against, wondering how I also can be an instrument of love and hope even in darkness. And it’s not always clear to me. It’s just a question. Sometimes the darkness is so potent.

I’ve become more aware of these kinds of difficult truths – how life can be unfair or cruel. And I think it’s giving me more empathy. Fellow water signs Cancer and Pisces are more often touted for their compassion and ability to love. But I’m starting to believe that Scorpio doesn’t get enough credit. With its penetrating ability to plumb the murky and intense, I wonder if the fixed water energy of Scorpio is partly about finding the strength to continue to love and empathize even when it would be tempting to shut out or shut down. Developing the right protections to carry a sensitive soul, like Cancer, renewing in dreamy darkness, like Pisces, but with the reliability of fellow fixed signs Taurus and Leo: You can depend on me. I’m not going away.

Somehow progressed moon signs or phases kick in when we need them to, when we are ready or when life is ready for us to express a new quality. Right before my moon progressed to watery Scorpio, Lyndon’s moon progressed to fiery Aries. Lyndon’s rising to the challenges of his new middle school: changing classes for the first time, meeting new friends, taking responsibility for his homework and grades. I see a decisiveness that wasn’t there when his progressed moon was in Pisces. Then he was more likely to be swayed by what other people said or just to try to blend in and not make waves. Now he’s speaking up with a budding confidence. I have to check myself when he’s a little harsh with me: Do I point it out to him or let him practice this new voice until he gets the right balance? Aries and Scorpio make an uncomfortable aspect to each other – a quincunx – and the two of us try our best to adjust to each other these days. We both can be a little too spiky. In some ways Lyndon is over-confident: He fervently debates that he’s old enough to take two subways and walk a mile by himself to get home from school every day. I counter that parents have a sense in their guts about what’s safe for their children. He doesn’t buy it. But I need to honor my strong intuition, too. He’s 11. It was only last year that he was the spacey kid who got a pencil stuck in his forehead. (For the full story, see my Parenting with Astrology webinar.) So I send him for smaller trips alone and see how he does. I defer when he tells me he’s too old this year to take a Christmas card photo. That’s a hard one for me. But I have to make sure I don’t come off as too authoritarian while he’s learning an Aries sense of his own power.

If I didn’t practice astrology, I could still find a language for what Lyndon is experiencing through developmental stages. And thank God there are so many ways for us to figure out meaning and next steps. But the progressed moon is a simple tool that helps me on a daily basis to understand emotional landscape and phases and cut myself and my family more slack.

I have two more years in Scorpio territory, and I don’t know what that will mean for me as a mother or wife, artist or astrologer, woman or simply a human. The progressed moon in Scorpio merges two symbols of mystery. And so I’m very much exploring right now. The clients who have come for readings lately seem to want to sit in deep space together. I love that. Yet I also feel socially awkward navigating this depth in other settings. What’s appropriate to share and with whom? I’m not always sure. Part of Scorpio is discerning between privacy that feels good or right and privacy that just reinforces a sense of shame.

Both Aries and Scorpio can be powerful, passionate and extreme. They’re both ruled by Mars – the red planet and God of war. And so for the next two years Lyndon and I might not always be so comfortable to be around. We might have to push back in situations we last year would have tolerated. We might have to tell harsh or awkward truths, to each other and to the outside world. In some ways that’s exciting, and I’m happy to be aligned with my child in this way. I have an Aries moon natally and I’m curious to see those energies reflected in Lyndon for the next two years. What will I admire? What will I see that I don’t like? What might I be able to help him understand? How will seeing Aries in Lyndon help me embrace untapped courage and leadership, too?

In two days transiting Mars will enter Aries; it’ll stay in Aries until Valentine’s Day. For Lyndon and me, this will ramp up the intensity and focus of our progressed moons. For all of us in some area, the symbols represent willpower and desire, boundaries and bravery. Pay attention to any unrest or passion, aggression, excitement, or fear you notice, either around you or within you. The next two months will be rife with opportunities to act and react – to challenge our natural patterns and try ways that feel more aligned with who we are right now.

I hope for me that means challenging myself to shed some of the shell I’ve been fortifying myself under – or at least exchanging it for a larger one that leaves space for more company. And so if you’d like to explore your progressed moon or your child’s, please reach out to me. The moon is a symbol of life’s natural phases of growth and renewal. It rules parenting and childhood, our inner life and creativity and our ability to recover and heal. It reveals the most tender parts of us. It can be an act of love to ourselves just to sit in that space, alone or with another: to feel, to wonder, to marvel – at where we’ve been, who we are and who we’re still becoming.

Mercury stations direct

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When Mercury goes retrograde, the information it imparts has to do with the sign it’s in and the aspects it makes to other planets during the retrograde cycle. It will have a specific message for our own individual natal charts, but it will have a collective message for all of us, too.

Mercury stationed retrograde November 16th at 13°29’ Sagittarius, squaring Neptune in Pisces. Mentally, we were all in a fog about something. It stations direct today at 4:22 p.m. EST at 27°16’ Scorpio. For many of us this has been a rough one, but hopefully it also has brought all of us a little more clarity.

What informs this clarity?

During any Mercury retrograde period, insights arrive both from within ourselves and from the past in some way. Yesterday Shutterfly helpfully sent me this reminder of how incredibly cute Lyndon was. Shutterfly regularly sends me photo memories, and most of them are sweet. But it rarely sends me pictures of Lyndon’s. First. Christmas. And that’s the feeling of the end of this retrograde cycle in Scorpio. What we’re seeing or taking in through any of our senses deeply pierces our hearts in some way. Maybe we missed the learning opportunity the first time around, or we forgot it in some way that was crucial. And if the lesson is deep and powerful enough, it can take our breath away. This was a retrograde of searing truths. So if you’re in that heavy space, honor the breadth and depth of what you’ve been processing.

Mercury retrograde famously is associated with mistakes, misunderstandings, and glitches. And they can be our teachers, too – slowing us down, helping us be more intentional. This Mercury retrograde cycle I tried to pay attention to the interactions I had because of the setbacks. Who or what showed up to help me? Who or what had I not noticed until a moment of frustration or vulnerability? Which creative options did I discover out of necessity that I may want to carry forward with me?

During this retrograde period I also heard my own words or vocal tone comes back to me – for good and for bad. I heard kindness and encouragement from coworkers, a cheery sing-song from my Mom. I heard an aggravated, impatient tone in Lyndon’s voice that never used to be there. They were different illustrations of my own voice, showing me what I like about my communication and what I can still do better.

At the beginning of this retrograde period, Mercury squared Mars. And so in some way, Mars has been our teacher. Conflict and courage were part of the message of the past three weeks. As we encountered anger, aggression, will, or fear, have we drawn a boundary or forged ahead in a new, uncharted way?

Later Mercury aligned with the sun and Jupiter in Sagittarius. Part of this inward or backward retreat has been to reclaim our own faith, hope, light, and immensity. What did we forget or never notice about our own possibility and essence? Because Mercury travels so closely to the sun and retrogrades three times a year, we get this chance symbolically to see and express ourselves anew several times a year. But this sun/Mercury conjunction in Sagittarius related to the self we want to be philosophically. Our beliefs have been in the spotlight. Exploration and wisdom have been in the spotlight. And hopefully this searching period has shown us some risks we needed to take to be more true and free.

As Mercury stations direct on this day when the Sagittarius moon joins the same degree as Jupiter, it could soothe us to absorb and connect meaning to some of the wisdom we’ve personally gained during the last three weeks. Importantly, tomorrow will be a new moon and Mars and Neptune will join at the same degree. Our strength is aligned with something bigger than we are, even if we still can’t yet see the way forward.

This Mercury retrograde has come during Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the Temple after its desecration, and Advent, the Christian season of waiting for the arrival of Christ. And in that duality we find ourselves: Even as there’s more to prepare for and anticipate, there are victories and signs of hope, big and small, worth seeing and celebrating.

 

 

 

A story for the Festival of Lights and the balsamic Scorpio moon

"I have no answers, but I have a lot of questions, and those questions have helped me live better than any answers I might find."
- Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, interviewed in this episode of "On Being" with Krista Tippett.

Dr. Remen's lifelong struggle with Crohn's disease has shaped her work as a doctor. She says it's important to remember that even when you don't have the ability to cure, you can always heal. Her grandfather, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi whom she lovingly refers to as a "flaming mystic", told her this story as a gift for her 4th birthday:

"This is the story of the birthday of the world. In the beginning, there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof. The source of life. And then, in the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand, thousand things emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then... there was an accident. And the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world -- broke. And the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, was scattered into a thousand, thousand fragments of light. And they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day. According to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, to lift it up and make it visible once again. And thereby to restore the innate wholeness of the world. It's a very important story for our time, that we heal the word one heart at a time. This task is called tikkun olam in Hebrew: the restoration the world."

"...This is of course a collective task. It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently living, all people yet to be born: We are all healers of the world. And that story opens a sense of possibility. It's not about healing the world by making a huge difference. It's about healing the world that touches you. That's around you. And that's where our power is.... I think we all feel that we're not enough to make a difference, that we have to be more somehow, either wealthier or more educated, or somehow or other different from the people we are. And according to this story, we're exactly what's needed And to just wonder about that a little. What if we were exactly what's needed? What then? How would I live if I'm exactly what's needed to heal the world?" (It's worth hearing her tell the story herself, at about 4.44.)

And finally, wisdom for today's balsamic Scorpio moon, combining themes of letting go, loss, going deeply into dark spaces, and powerfully, lovingly transforming: "The fact is that life is full of losses and disappointments. And the art of living is to make of them something that can nourish others. And it's taken me a long time to find the recipe that's mine... but I had a sense of what might be possible and that I needed to look to find the way for myself."

https://www.wnyc.org/story/rachel-naomi-remen--the-difference-between-fixing-and-healing

A poem for the Moon in Leo

Yesterday a reader of my posts reached out to me to ask me how I’m doing. I haven’t written in a while. The truth is with my 1st House Aries moon I’m a person of passionate phases, and some (like my Whitney Houston phase) last and some (like my Madonna phase) don’t. I can’t rush or fake them. They confuse even me. I was wondering if writing might be another of my phases.

The past month I’ve looked at the daily aspects but haven’t known what to say about them. I couldn’t find my voice. I was hoping that when Neptune stationed direct last week I would be clearer. I wanted to be helpful and productive again.

I sat down yesterday to write something about the moon in Leo, but this came out instead. The current Mercury retrograde began at the same degree as my natal Neptune, and I’m still in a Neptune-y fog. Neptune can represent dreams, images, poetry, water, inspiration, loss, confusion, longing, and oneness with God and all that is.

I don’t know if this is a poem or a reflection. The moon is still in Leo, combining feeling and mystery with the risk of showing and sharing who we really are. Today I am nebulous and in-between, but still wanting to connect and wish you peace.

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Sometimes I don’t water the plants in my office,
even when I know they’re thirsty.
Instead we behold each other,
desolate and parched.

One day could become five or seven.
I might water this plant but not those.
I never know how much company I’ll need in my yellowed, drooping state
or for how long.

The tips of their leaves turn brown
until finally I’m moved to save them
with water and not just what’s left of my tea.
The next day they’re greener, grateful.

Maybe I’m not a lily of the field
but a potted plant
on a dusty sill:
Long- waiting and wilted,
Then, suddenly, saved.