Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cancer New Moon 2017


Another New Moon ~ Wow. It seems like only a couple of days ago I was writing about the Full Moon. The pages of time keep turning.

Like all new moons, this one is about releasing, letting go, setting the intention for gathering back in. A Cancer New Moon feels like coming home because Cancer is nurturing and protective. Being ruled by the Moon, and currently influencing the New Moon, showers us with a fluctuating emotional current.

Mercury entered Cancer a few days ago. Since Mercury rules the mind and communication, this New Moon is poised to allow us access to more sensitive communications with those around us. We have an awareness not only of our own feelings, but also those of others. Stay mindful during this time of any tendency to overthink an action or situation. With the intense focus on watery Cancer emotions, this could lead to higher anxiety. If that happens, be gentle with yourself. Breathe and relax. Let go. Remember, that's the gift of the New Moon.

Neptune, the planet of compassion, is currently in its shift to retrograde. Neptune inspires dreams, imagination, creativity, psychic openness, and divinity. It connects us to both subtle shifting energy and high spiritual realms through its magic and etheric juiciness. Its creative domain is primarily visual arts, like photography and painting, yet it can also influence movement arts, music and literature. If we allow ourselves openness to to any of these arenas, Neptune and the strong empathy of the Cancer New Moon will work together to bring our gifts forward. This is not a time for us to hide within the hard Crab shell of Cancer.

What emotions tug at you during this New Moon? How are you experiencing 'home'? What creative gifts are coming to the foreground more strongly for you? How are your dreams or imaginings currently influencing you? What are you considering communicating to one or more people you care about? What is holding you back? What might you be overthinking? Where may you be attempting to hide? What do you need in order to show more compassion to yourself?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Solstice 2017






It is summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is
cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail
permanently, seriously
without thought
~ William Carlos Williams
The crowd at the ball game







Summer days are often seen as days for play, for enjoying the sheer pleasure of being alive. The Summer Solstice is the epitome of that sensation. Long with light, hopeful with warmth and growth, it embraces us with its energy.

William Carlos Williams captures this wonderfully: the crowd is laughing in detail, permanently, seriously, without thought. What great language! I've never thought about laughing in detail. Have you? Laughter is without words and so seems without detail. Yet, on Solstice, in the high energy of sun and celebration, laughter itself becomes the detail, the expression of sheer joy.

Why is the Summer Solstice important? It's been marked by civilizations at least since Stonehenge was built over 5000 years ago. It's one of the four seasonal markers everyone recognizes throughout the year, and one of eight celebrated on the pagan calendar. It's been a marker of the cycles, as well as the passage, of time far longer than any printed calendar or designed timepiece.

Every civilization uncovered and studied by anthropologists shares one thing in common. Some anthropologists refer to it as the search for the Divine. Others simply call it a search for explanations and meaning. Yet each civilization left remnants and reminders of its expression of the Divine and its rites and rituals, generally through icons and images.

It's that continuity that brings Willliams' words to light and life: laughing in detail, permanently, seriously, without thought. No matter the what or how of the celebration, the energy of it seems to be ingrained into us, into our culture, into the fabric of who we are. In the midst of the energies bouncing around in the world today, finding ways to release ourselves from their bondage by reintegrating the ancient laughter is vital.

How will/do you celebrate the Summer Solstice? What is your earliest recall of acknowledging the energy of this day? How have people in your personal lineage celebrated it? in your cultural lineage? in the lineage of your heritage?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Soul Dancing


One recent holy day, in the Christian cycle, was Pentecost. According to that tradition, this was the day the Holy Spirit flowed from on high and danced as fiery tongues upon the followers of Jesus. They claimed a direct experience of the Divine.

Pentecost is a holy day, as with those in many other traditions, that defies logic. We often read, or are even taught, these stories as metaphors, not as actual occurrences. As metaphor, they provide the basis for creed, doctrine and dogma without necessitating actual subjective experience.

No matter the religious or spiritual belief, embodied experience sets one apart. These are uncontrolled and uncontrollable mystical experiences. They are the moments when we touch, and are touched by, the Divine. We all can describe moments akin to these: the joy when we feel the first quickening of a new life; the quiet awe of a glorious sunset; the wonder of a rainbow after a wild storm.

Mystical experiences are like these, yet different. They are deeper, higher, broader, more intense. We can turn away from a sunset and miss the deep wonder of it. We cannot, often dare not, turn away from the Divine when Its touch reaches out toward us. The encounter with the Presence of the Divine without mediator, without outside sanction, is both thrilling and terrifying. We are in unknown territory with only that Ineffable Presence as guide. We have no clear idea what will happen.

And yet.... and yet these moments of intense encounter causes our soul to dance. Whether you believe, as the author of the above quote, that the soul is inside the body or that it is outside the body, it is an animating force. A mystical experience, an encounter with the Holy Other, enlivens that animating force as no other experience can.

I long to live my life, each and every day of it, allowing space for that encounter. Then, when it happens, I know my soul will dance.

How do you experience the Divine? What are your encounters with the Ineffable One like? What makes your soul dance inside your body? Is that a feeling you desire? Why or why not? Do you recall one or more mystical experiences you have had? What brings you the deepest joy? What do you want with/from your encounters with the Divine?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Sagittarius Full Moon June 2017


©2017 ML Monroe
This month's Full Moon in Sagittarius opposes the Sun in Gemini. This particular duality reveals Gemini's logical mind juxtaposed with Sagittarius's intuitive mind. This lunation invites us to find a balance between the two.

It's also about communication and attitude. If we look at our lives, private and public, over the past two weeks, we discover something has been building inside us. The cosmos demands we find ways to express those feelings.

Sagittarius is spontaneous and adventurous so that is also at play during the influence of this Full Moon. As we approach the solar eclipse, this Full Moon gives us another chance to explore and deepen our understanding of ourselves.

The 9th House, where the Moon sits, is all about beliefs, spirituality, philosophy, travel and communication. It is the place where we seek understanding and expanded experience where we envision possibilities. At the same time, the Sagittarius Moon requires that we sort through all the incoming information in order to deepen our practices and to assess where we're headed in that depth. Whatever it may be, it is ours and ours alone. We are in the process of defining our individual purpose. With Jupiter in Libra, we even have the opportunity to work together with others to outline a larger, group direction as well.

What emotions are tugging at you? How do you moderate their expression? What are you feeling at the gut level? What do you believe? What are your spiritual practices? What activities are calling you? Have you written any of these down? begun practicing them? Who in your life calls you to join a larger group purpose? What is your next step?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Arriving Home


Spending the past month traveling [on the road, pilgrimage, walkabout, however one names it], I've been fortunate enough to make a couple of pauses back home again. Several thoughts and insights arose from those pauses.

Foremost is gratitude for those who remain behind and continue to make that place from which I started a home. It's a place to which I'm happy to return. Not only the physical place, but also the comfort of family and friends. I recognize that everyone in it ~ from the baristas at Starbucks who know my name and my drink preferences to the musicians and other friends who follow me on social media to former co-workers asking for details ~ everyone reaches out with recognition and comfort when I return.

This particular T. S. Eliot quote has stirred my soul since I first read it in high school. Exploration includes travel, yet that is not all that it is. It encompasses much more than that. It's also the exploration of our surroundings in other ways. We step out into a new form of the world. We examine and try on new ideas, new thoughts, new identities. We watch ourselves grow and change into adults, partners, parents, friends. We move through our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual worlds ~ sometimes filled with care, sometimes crashing and burning, sometimes on quiet tiptoe. Even so, there is for each of us a resting place, a place from which we rose and a place to which we return. We may return to it as a different, changed person ~ but it remains deep within us nevertheless.

I used to think it was about returning to a particular place, home, neighborhood, city, whatever. As time continues to move forward in its ever plodding way, I believe it is more about that spot deep within us in which resides our personal and/or collective Still Small Voice. We can define It, name It however we choose: God, Goddess, Universal Mind, Creator, Higher Power, Allah, Great Spirit or even Lebowski. I doubt that It is particular about how we call It. Yet I firmly believe that It, that incredible Ineffable One, is the place from which we come and the place to which we eventually return.

What/How do you name your Still Small Voice? What are you currently exploring? What have you recently explored? Have any of the places you've explored changed in the recent past? Do you expect any to change in the future? Where did you start from? How do you feel about returning there?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Resurrection


Resurrection. The reversal of what was thought to be absolute. The turning of midnight into dawn, hatred into love, dying into living anew.
If we look more closely into life, we will find that resurrection is more than hope, it is our experience. The return of life from death is something we understand at our innermost depths, something we feel on the surface of our tender skin …
We give thanks for all those times we have arisen from the depths or simply taken a tiny step toward something new. May we be empowered by extraordinary second chances. And as we enter the world anew, let us turn the tides of despair into endless waves of hope.
~ Molly Fumia


Sometimes, when we least expect it, we find that we've been carrying some dead thing around with us or some unknown, unspoken grief has raised itself into our heart or a wound thought healed resurfaces. When that happens, we generally cuss, either under our breath or loudly, and get upset that we have, once again, to deal with the bugger.

In actuality, the return or reopening of that thing we wish would leave us alone is a blessing. Like the cactus, it has sharp stickers that insert themselves into the tender parts of our bodies, minds and hearts. But also like that cactus, it has an extraordinary beauty that blossoms and brings us joy ~~ eventually.

A personal story ~
Once, while participating in a sweat lodge, I found myself feeling claustrophobic. I'd been attending lodges regularly for years and this had never occurred previously. In fact, I was often in the innermost circle of a lodge ~ closest to the hot stones, with other women crowding close behind me. This time, however, the feeling overwhelmed me. I found myself requesting to leave. Outside, I sat on a log next to the fire. The firetender quietly asked what brought me out. I shared my feelings and my surprise, and wondered if he had any idea what may have made that urge to leave so intense. He didn't have an answer for that. It was my issue, my challenge. What he said was, Give it to the fire. The fire will burn it out and send the ashes to Spirit. Just know that, whatever the issue may be, it will return even more fiercely next time. The difference will be that you will know how to handle it. Each time it returns, it will be less and less of an issue.

I followed the firetender's advice and found it to be true. Now, whenever one of those issues resurrects itself, I take it to one or more of the Elements ~ fire, water, air, earth ~ and release it. The trick is in the release. I can't let it go then take it back again by worrying about it. That requires faith that eventually joy and beauty will replace whatever pain or ugliness shows up, even if it takes time.

Getting to the resurrection of joy and beauty requires that we change, that we allow the pain, the fear, the loss to be very real and present in our lives ~ and then release it into the place of transformation and watch for the blossom.

What feeling returns to haunt you? How often has it returned? How does it affect your life? What element can you imagine releasing it to? How might you do that? Who might help you do that? What does resurrection mean to you? for you?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Gift of Watching and Being Watched


©2017 ML Monroe

When for too long I don't go deep enough into the woods to see them, they begin to enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the pinewoods of my inner life. I want to live a life full of modesty and praise. Each hoof of each animal makes the sign of a heart as it touches then lifts away from the ground. Unless you believe that heaven is very near, how will you find it? Their eyes are pools in which one would be content, on any summer afternoon, to​ swim away through the door of the world. Then, love and its blessing. Then: heaven.
~ Mary Oliver
New and Selected Poems: Volume Two



My final evening visiting friends in Arizona, I stepped out on the back porch with my cell phone softly belching 'on hold' music. The air was fresh, cool and clear. Birds chirped and chattered. I turned the noise even softer. Distracted, I walked toward the end of the porch. Movement in the side yard caught my attention. Two young mule deer munched on greenery. I ended the phone call.

I stood still, staring at the two deer. One kept turning toward me. The other moved forward to munch on the leaves hang in front of the face turned in my direction. Not a great move. The first deer turned from watching me to rise up on his hind legs and push his sibling away. As the intruding deer moved away to find his own green space, the first deer turned his gaze toward me, and stepped in my direction. I stood quiet staring back, watching him prance one, two, three steps closer. I lifted my phone, opened the camera, and took the above picture.

As Mary Oliver says, When...I don't go deep enough...to see them, they begin to enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the pinewoods of my inner life. I breathed deeply, held myself ​as still as my muscles could manage, returned the direct stare of the gentle mule deer.

The deer showed up strongly as I prepared to travel on from this place. This lovely encounter opens to several meanings. The deer sees between shadows and hear what hasn't been said. It is sensitive, intuitive and in touch with the mysteries of life. It has the magical capacity to regenerate as well as pass through life and obstacles with grace. Its gentle vigilance teaches me to stay relaxed, at ease and aware.

I'm grateful for the coming of the deer. Much of my travel has focused on Ancient Peoples sites and stories. I'm grateful also for what they have taught and shared about the animals and land around them.

What creatures have recently showed up in your life? What of themselves are they sharing with you? How will you incorporate their message for you? How often do you find yourself acknowledging or even noticing the elements of nature around you?