Monday, July 10, 2017

Find Your Tribe

Yesterday, I wrote very briefly of the significance of our tribe ~ the people with whom we feel most comfortable. This motif has repeated itself recently, including bringing forth this image and quote.

Though we hear the call to live our passion, we don't always do that every moment of every day of every year. Many find ways to keep it alive within us even when expressing it is difficult.

The more important task is finding those who help kindle our passions and those who inspire our pursuit of them. These people comprise our tribe ~ the ones who call us on our laziness and support us through our dark moments.

Our tribe doesn't always reside in the same place. Sometimes those individuals we call part of our tribe don't like or even know each other. We aren't stagnant, single fixtures even with our passions. So our tribe may not be either.

Obviously, I write. Each person who reads my blogs is part of my tribe. By showing up and reading it, you encourage me to continue to write. Is that important? Yes. It fans my personal flames even when I feel discouraged.

I have other writing tribe members. Some are friends who've read my letters, blogs and stories over the years, encouraging me to continue. Writing course and group members who point out phrasing that strikes them in a positive or negative manner. Writers whose works I read and whose style I may in some way emulate or incorporate into my personal voice.

Beyond writing, I have tribal membership with spiritual groups. I have learned about different forms of divination, including tarot, dreams, astrology, shamanism ~ each of them calling forth their own tribes. These tribes sometimes overlap with each other as well as with my writing, family or work tribes.

Everywhere I go, in every form of passion I have, I find people who fan my flames. And whose flames I, in turn, also fan. Being part of a tribe is like that. It's as important to have others who provide you with true inspiration as it is to provide them with inspiration.

What tribes do you belong to? What passions are awake within you? Who fans the flame of those passions? How do you fan the flames of others' passions? What support do you need? How do you ask for it? What support are you willing to give others? Do you find yourself supporting others who do not support you? Do these relationships feel tribal to you?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Capricorn Full Moon 2017

©2017 ML Monroe
If your favorite thing in to remain secluded at home, the Capricorn Full Moon may not be your best supporter. Even though the sun is in Cancer and home base is easily and completely the focus, Capricorn is going to tug you out for all the world to see.

Cancer is all about beginning; Capricorn is about the making it to the goal. Neglecting either of these will not work. The best path during this Full Moon would be to find a place of balance between the two. There's a strong flow of emotions between these two extremes and we are in the space to express our feelings and see where they lead. Something is about to be birthed.

This Full Moon is also called the Blessing Moon. Even though it may not herald a changing season, it is calling forth change. With July as the start of the second half of the year, that call for transformation is fitting. It's a good time to breathe deeply and look for every possible chance to express gratitude.

Alongside the Full Moon is a Moon-Pluto conjunction. This is the particular point of that deep summoned transformation. It's also where a sense of solitude or even loneliness can show up. We are being called to identify our tribe as well as define our place of safety.

A curiously strong aspect of this Capricorn Full Moon is that balance point between home and work, inner and outer pursuits. We have the opportunity to choose how we are going to present ourselves and our being to the private and public aspects of our lives.

Think about what is happening in our world today. The G20 meeting recently completed, we found ourselves facing decisions and agreements made without the overarching influence of the current President of the United States. There are actions being discussed in every region of the world that will influence every facet of our future environment ~ natural, political, economic, educational, physical, etc.

This Full Moon, with its polarizing focuses of the Cancer home/internal and the Capricorn work/external, also affords us the chance to connect with others in an entirely new manner.  We can choose to yell and scream and call others out on their 'stuff' ~ whatever that may be ~ while ignoring our own or we can choose a quiet one-on-one chat about our differences.

Drawing people in to conversation grows from the Cancer home quality. Consider the shaming and name-calling and how it shatters the tribe. Drawing people in gets past individual, systemic or privileged identities as well as beyond oppressive, limited and limiting definitions of ourselves and others.

For the past several years, Pluto has been residing in Capricorn, the sign of the Middle World, of established institutions. While it's been digging up the foundations for that entire time, the Cancer Moon makes it personal. The Capricorn Full Moon shines its glaringly bright light on both the large and small aspects of our world and asks us to pay attention to where we would like it to go from here.

What cracks are showing up in your world? In which aspect of the world (personal/private or work/public) are they? How are others influencing or affecting your current sense of the world? How are you affecting or influencing those around you? How do you want to see and experience the world in the future?

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. 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 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?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Scorpio Full Moon 2017

©2017 ML Monroe​
This explains everything. Scorpio, the fluid sign of depth, setting its edginess over the May Full Moon. As the saying goes, the energy feels like we're tumbling down the rabbit hole. Remembering, as with Alice, we have the sense that we're taking a long time to land.

Scorpio is about transformation, about reaching higher and deeper into personal consciousness. It carries the potential for attaining the heights of Divine consciousness as well as diving into the deepest levels.

No matter who you are, the impact of this Full Moon will last a long time as it gradually opens you to seeing and experiencing things in a new light.

Use this pivotal point in the year to embrace change and transformative shifts​ for personal forward movement. Days later, as this Full Moon energy fades, understanding will increase.

We often forget about out own inner strength and power which provides us with everything we need to step up and take responsibility over our lives. When we ignore or give away our power, we find ourselves sinking into whatever difficulties come our way. When we remember the vast wisdom and potential that resides within us, we can navigate and rise above the troubles. This Scorpio Full Moon is the perfect time to recall and time into that inner energy. We only need trust and engage the magic coming from the cosmos and send our wishes into the ethers at this auspicious moment.

Like the light of the moon coming through the branches of the tree, this Scorpio Full Moon shines light in through the darkness. It brings a new, deepened focus to all that needs to be transformed on our path and in our world.

What needs to be transformed in your life? What is bubbling forth into the light? How are you tumbling down the rabbit hole? How are you feeling about it? What new potential is revealing itself in your life?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Living Like a Saguaro

While on my first visit to Arizona, the friend who picked me up commented that we were driving through a saguaro forest. I'd never heard that term. When considering cacti, even ones as large as the saguaro, the term forest was an alien concept. So I asked her to pull over somewhere so I could take a picture. The do indeed grow in groupings akin to a forest of trees. The differences I noticed made me think about how we humans live together.

Look at how they form community: close, yet not. Much like the way we live. If we have choice, we move into neighborhoods because of their reputation for safety or friendliness. Yet we remain separate. We get to​ know our neighbors, yes, but we keep our prickly selves a bit apart, slightly distant.

The saguaros are also tall and erect. If I were to anthropomorphize them, I'd say they look proud. Which is also a trait we exhibit in community. Sometimes, that's an important stance to take. We show we can make it, we have a strong sense of ourselves, we are productive members of society. On the other hand, there are times when that pride can separate us, keep us from speaking our truth, telling of our need of others.

Also like the saguaro, we embrace the conditions around us and offer shelter for those who peck their way into our core. With no defense to keep them out, we take them on and protect them. We offer the deepest part of ourselves, no matter the cost to us. We share much in common with these stately, sometimes comical cacti.

What keeps you apart from others? What keeps you rooted in community? How does your prickly self show up? How do you act when it does? What do you do to change it? Or do you embrace it and remain apart? Who's made their way into your heart, you life, despite your prickly effort to keep them out?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Moon in Taurus 2017

the nearly New Moon
Focus on both the Moon and the Earth during this Taurus New Moon. The sky focus presents the opportunity for us to reach beyond ourselves, to set goals matching our dreams. The earthy focus offers us the sensual enjoyment of our daily lives: food, nature, movement. Earth brings us stability, security and comfort. Moon brings us dreams, reflection and passion. A good time to assure the safety of our foundation as well as to bring to light the elements that contribute most to our happiness. Find our comfort zone and move forward, however ploddingly, to make changes. In the helper role for this is the trine formed with the New Moon and the North Node of destiny as it wraps up its time in earthy Virgo.

This is a good time for switching gears, for noticing what needs to be changed and making the decision to do so. As we let go during a New Moon, we set a path toward fulfillment at the next Full Moon. This New Moon calls us to look at what is right in front of us while we assess our goals, a good balance. With both the Sun and the Moon in Taurus, the energy of Venus, currently on a healing journey with Chiron, gifts us the energy to conscious, sacred healing of our hearts amidst the slowly churning chaos.

We are also affected by several planets in retrograde:
Venus: Awakening our hearts (March 4th-April 15th)
Mercury: Activating our awakened hearts' clear & concise voice  (04/09 - 05/03)
Jupiter: Reassessing and reinvigorating goals & intuition (02/06 - 06/09)
Saturn: Taking responsibility for our choices & reclaiming our power (04/06 - 08/25)
Pluto: Uncovering our closets' hidden skeletons & transforming our lives (04/20 - 09/28)
Planets further from the Sun will affect us more on the deep, subconscious level so we may not feel their effects as clearly as those closer to the Sun ~ and to the Earth. Times when planets are in retrograde are good times for reflection and introspection. Cooperating with the slow energies of the Taurus New Moon, we move forward into healthy, positive, balanced progress on our goals.

In the midst of what dreams do you currently find yourself? Which goals do you need to reassess? In what new direction are they pointing? What in you needs healing? What is the border of your comfort zone? How can you move yourself beyond it? What will help you feel more stable? more secure? What makes you happy?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Energies for Travel

Starting out on a month of travel, I chose a couple of cards from the Mythical Goddess Tarot by Sage Holloway and Katherine Skaggs. My focus as I shuffled and drew: What Energy/Energies go with me as I head out on this journey?

The first card was the 8 of Seas with the title Depletion. My initial reaction was that I'd somehow made a mistake. I hadn't been concentrating on the 'right' thing. We all know the truth of those kinds of reactions. Sometimes what we fear, what we draw away from, is precisely what we need to understand.

I grabbed the guide and read:
Saturn in Pisces
Beached whales lie ashore on gray sands under dull skies. There is no vitality, no light, ... in this landscape. This card is a caution against burnout and emotional depletion.
Your heart must have the nourishment and attention it needs, ... It is a top priority for you to nurture yourself and pay attention to your feelings ....

My jaw nearly dropped in amazement. Then I began to chuckle. Obviously, there was more to this draw than I'd appreciated on first glance. I'm growing past an experience that left me with a degree of PTSD. Even though I've been feeling better and life is going more smoothly, there is some residual angst. My journey is to visit friends who have always been supportive and uplifting. This card reassures that I am going to the right place for my continued healing.

The second draw was Uzume on the Fool. She looks exuberant dancing on the drum head. I love the Fool.

From the guide:
Uzume is the whirling Japanese Goddess who lured the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, from her dark cave. ...
The Goddess Uzume dances to the whirling cosmos, without regard to the rules and restrictions of the physical world. Like the air element she represents, she has no agenda and no baggage. Uzume draws forth the child-like innocence in everyone she meets. She is the essence of Spirit. She embodies nonconformity and the transcendence of the earthly realm. Uzume is the archetypal Wild Woman. ...
Uzume as the Fool reminds you to be free in your expression and the way you view the world. .... Be like Uzume and free your inner radiance into expression, by being true to your genuine essence, released from the restricted limitations of your genetics and the world around you.

This brought home to me the other reason for my trip: to fully embrace the wildness and wonder of life. I have the opportunity to dance in a way that I haven't for awhile. I've felt this urge growing in recent weeks: the desire to move more freely, and with more joy, in my journey through the world. What an incredible pair of cards to draw!

How are you moving through the world? What saps your vitality? How does depletion show up in your life? What do you do when you feel the urge to dance, in whatever way that shows up? How does it show up in your life? When was the last time you opted to do something that had an element of the wild? What did you do? If it hasn't been recent, what can you do to encourage your own joyful nature?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bottle Cap Tarot

Every now and again words of wisdom pop up in the strangest places. I shake my head and chuckle when that happens. It's the strip of words in a fortune cookie striking a chord. Or the magazine ad attempting to catch the consumer's eye catching the heart instead. Or the teabag tag with literary quotes.

Or it shows up on a bottle cap: Live life to the fullest.

In the midst of today's craziness with the media bombarding us with the most devastating and negative information. With governments in every sector taking strong or threatening or isolating stances. With events in nature distracting and destroying. All around us, something offers the opportunity to step into a defensive mode.

What of all this negativity and defensive posturing is truly in our best interest? My first response would be, 'None.' Simplistic and reactionary. Realistically, some of it is in our best interest. Knowing what's true about climate change is in our best interest even if it makes us sad or angry or defensive....maybe even because it does. Seeing the devastation caused by war-like behaviors and natural disasters help balance out our perspective on things that go wrong in our own lives. Awareness of governmental shifts that may adversely affect those with little or no voice is important to know so we can join our voices on those issues.

Of lesser importance is the posturing of angry men ~ and women ~ who may have authority and power, yet are mainly looking to keep us distracted. There is a sleight of hand happening over which we have no personal power.

At the times of our greatest frustrations, we need to keep in mind the wisdom of this little bottle cap: Live life to the fullest. We are responsible for our own lives. We are accountable only for our own actions, including our attitudes and our happiness. Life is for living fully. As we reach out to those we who are nearest and dearest to us, we experience moments of joy, peace and contentment. Our capacity to step into those experiences thwarts the power of the negativity and the naysayers. We take control of the definition of a full life. It's the best form of rebellion and resistance we have.

How do you respond to the negativity in the news today? What do you find works in your best interest? How do you break away from participating in the negativity? How do you define a full life? How do you share your definition with those around you? What is it about your definition that keeps you positive?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Going with the Overflow

Haindl Tarot

As I was heading into the week, I drew a Tarot card from my current favorite deck by Haindl.
My question: What is the theme for the week?
My card: Three of Cups (Overflowing; Hexagram 28)

from the guide:
28 Preponderance of the Great. Three cups are in an upward pointing triangle symbolic of fire. The cave indicates that the card deals with inner experience. Rocks at the bottom hint at danger; however, the cups overflow with joy.
The I Ching hexagram on the card is 28 Ta Kuo ~ whose declaration is Preponderance of the Great. The bottom three lines are Xun (entrance, the wind); the upper three Dui (joy, the marsh). Together as Ta Kuo, they signify a large excess. The large masculine is excessive and the feminine is needed to properly counterbalance that excess.

In order to follow the energy of life, we discover that it is always seeking the best of what we may become. Nature's creativity thrives in diversity and brings opposites together. Cooperating with creative change generates the means to take us beyond our defenses in order to strike a balance and embrace the change.

Within this structure, the chance of danger remains. Creativity brims with life and vigor. Reaching for those elements presents an overstepping of the edges of safety and comfort. That's always a danger zone. Sometimes we tumble over that edge. Our response in those moments can take us further into that overflow of joy and trust or scrambling back to fear and limitation. The choice is always ours.

What is your experience of joy? How do you work with the sense of fear or loss that can arise with it? How does creativity show up in your life? What stops you from stepping fully into the flow? or into the overflow?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter/Ostara/Pesach 2017

At this time, Christians celebrate Easter. Jews celebrate Pesach, or Passover. Pagans celebrate Ostara. Muslims observe Al Isra' wal Miraj, Mohammed's Ascension to Heaven.  All these holy days have common elements.

Egypt celebrates Sham el Nessim. In India, the celebration is Baisakhi, the Punjabi New Year. Cultural groups throughout the Northern Hemisphere celebrate Spring, coming Summer, blossoming and rebirth.

Underlying each celebration of Spring is an acknowledgement of renewal, of rebirth, of resurrection. We watch each Fall as around us all of nature fades and either passes into the season of hibernation or lays down its living self to become part of the mulch. Winter brings with it the strong time of hibernation and struggle for survival.

When Spring comes and the greenery breaks through, we rejoice. When our domesticated animals begin their season of reproduction, we rejoice. In the midst of the new work of planting and birthing and coaxing growth, we set aside time to rejoice.

The greatest element in this time of year is resurrection. Everywhere we look there is new life. Even though our minds recognize that it is the usual cycle of the seasons, our spirits are moved by that internal cognizance of nature's rebirth.

Each and every culture celebrates the renewal of life. This is one thing we share, no matter what language, culture, religion, gender, ethnicity. This is a time of rejoicing ~ and we would do well to acknowledge it and participate in the joy.

How do you celebrate the renewal brought by Spring? How has your family historically celebrated? What is different about your celebration from your family's? How do your neighbors celebrate? your friends? your co-workers or classmates? What are the similarities between the celebrations? What are the differences? What brings you the most joy in this time of resurrection, rebirth and renewal?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 2017 Libra Full Moon

©2017 ML Monroe

This month's Full Wind Moon is accompanied by the steady little light of Jupiter (bright dot on the right side of the image higher than the Moon). Considering this in mythic terms: Jupiter always watched the beautiful and powerful women around him ~ mostly in order to capture them and get them with child. The salient point to remember is that he watched those who were significant and powerful in some manner. That makes this a time to be aware of being observed as well as of the nature of the observer. Dance in the fullness of that attention and be awake to what's bearing fruit. [True for every person, regardless of gender.]

There is also a continuing Grand Square in the cardinal signs [Libra, Capricorn, Aries, Cancer] keeping us on our toes and calling forth the necessity of connecting with our spiritual source. It creates a dance of crisis leading to opportunity. Since the interaction with this Full Moon is in Libra, a mental air sign, it will partner with both emotional analysis and emotional objectivity. An overriding energy in the collective continues with expansive, fortunate Jupiter opposite changeable, original Uranus and evolutionary, hidden Pluto squares them both. Working with this energy, we have the opportunity to change our story.

This Libra Full Moon is about relationships ~ ALL relationships. Strengthening them. Living life fully within them. Sharing ourselves honestly. Respecting the Earth and all Her creatures and resources. Recognizing we are in relationship with all that is around us. It's the time and space where we are called to heal our woundedness concerning the Divine Feminine. Bringing all to wholeness.

Another pattern is also happening: a Yod with Mars, Ceres, Vesta and Saturn ~ known as a 'Finger of God' ~ helping heal sorrows we carry from our past and allow to get between us and others. For the time it is with this configuration, action-oriented Mars can focus and assist us to move more fully and directly into that healing.

What are you called to do in this lifetime? How do you allow others to be themselves? How do you release judgments you have of yourself? of others? Can you be fully yourself with others? What masks do you wear that you can release at this time? How can you be of benefit to others? How can you best be your truest and most authentic self? Who do you most influence? Who most influences you?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Ask Better Questions

Questions elicit answers in their likeness. Answers mirror the questions they…meet. So while a simple question can be precisely what's needed to drive to the heart of the matter, it's hard to meet a simplistic question with anything but a simplistic answer. It's hard to transcend a combative question. But it's hard to resist a generous question. We all have it in us to formulate questions that invite honesty, dignity, and revelation. There is something redemptive and life-giving about asking better questions.
                                        - Krista Tippett

Schools on all levels often teach the Who-What-When-Where-Why-How method of questioning. Using those questions once was the sign of a good investigator as well as a good reporter. It was about getting to the crux of the matter, exploring the details, and cross-checking the facts. Those questions, couched in a variety of other wordings, informed our opinions as they taught us about the many facets and faces of the world around us.

Some people worded their questions to elicit specific responses ~ either in word or in denial. Many asked questions from a mindset that expects particular responses. We learned to listen with ears attuned to words we wanted to hear. It's no longer about finding the facts or telling the most complete version of the story. It's about proving ourselves right. Getting the story out there first took precedence ~ and if some facts were inaccurate, well, we could update it later. Nevermind that most people would never see or hear the update.

To get back to that place of curiosity and wonder, we have to relearn how to do less guiding with our questions. Ask more open-ended, generous and invitational queries. Ask better questions ~ not only in their complexity, but also in their authenticity and genuineness. Set an intention to invite and welcome others, whether they are family, friends, neighbors or total strangers. As we open ourselves to asking better questions, we learn more about those around us. We develop a more sincere way to express ourselves in the world as well.

What questions would you want someone to ask you? How do you respond to quick or simplistic questions? What questions form themselves in your mind when you meet a new person? What keeps you from asking them? How do you pursue conversations with others? Why is it important to you to ask ~ and be asked ~ open and authentic questions?

Monday, March 27, 2017

March 2017 Aries New Moon

The Aries New Moon is the first New Moon of the astrological year. A new opportunity to set intentions into motion accompanies it. Mars, the planet of action, influences us to get our plans going ~ but Mars is influences by realistic Saturn focusing us on planning and preparation before acting.

2016 was all about endings; 2017 is all about new beginnings. It's the time to release what no longer serves our best interest. Aries brings an energy of leadership, action and new ideas. It moves us in the direction of charting new courses through new waters. What will we do? Who will we be? How will we show up? This New Moon is the one to set the intentions about what we will manifest throughout the coming year. There is no wrong path. There are no mistakes. Stay awake and aware of the guidance the Universe is providing to you.

More influences at the time of this Aries New Moon include a conjunct with Venus, which is currently in retrograde, and a trine to Black Moon Lilith. Though deeply and more directly influenced by Mars and Saturn, the New Moon is also dancing with two strong Goddess energies as well. Even with Venus in retreat, there is influence and power there. They emphasize and draw out the mythic and the spiritual for us.

New Moons in general signal the end of one 28-day cycle and the beginning of the next, making it the best time for moving forward. The best time for taking those actions and stepping into the new projects in the first two weeks as the Moon moves from New to Full. For the Aries New Moon, it's time to set our sights higher and dream bigger than we have before. Get the best possible intentions out into the Universe ~ and this New Moon will help create the action plan.

What are your dreams and wishes for the coming year? How can you upgrade your goals? What dreams are you seeking to manifest? How can you change your strategies to help your goals and dreams become reality? What new, creative energy do you want in your life? How can you best embrace possible changes?

Monday, March 20, 2017

March Equinox

Equinox ~~
[from Latin, meaning 'equal night']

1: either of the two points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator intersects the ecliptic
2: either of the two times each year (as about March 21 and September 23) when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are everywhere on earth of approximately equal length.
~ Merriam-Webster online dictionary 

The wheel of the year is divided into either four or eight segments, depending on how often you want to recognize, ritualize or otherwise celebrate the changing of the seasons. Since as far back as we can figure recorded time, humans have noticed and marked the passages we call the Equinox. Stonehenge, Chichen Itza, Angkor Wat and the Sphinx are all equinoctial markers.

Besides its delineation of daylight's increasing or decreasing, the Equinox is a balance point for the Earth's axis pointing neither toward nor away from the sun. For me, it is a spiritual time as well, revealing how everything finds balance on the eternal journey through the cosmos. My reflection on this Equinox is directly informed by the notion of balance.
At this time of season's change, poised astride a sliver of time where all rests balanced, I pause. In this place of balance, I dream of the direction the coming season will take. Allowing the dreamtime its intuitive flow, I breathe in the creative energy and breathe out what no longer serves. With my dreams and discoveries in heart, I adjust my movements into the season to come.
What does the Equinox mean to you? How do you define your balance point? How does it define you? What dreams are the Equinox presenting to you? How will you open to its creative change? What form is the new season taking for you? What support will you need as you move forward?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I Will Be Myself

In high school ~ in a previous iteration of myself ~ I researched and wrote a paper on the Brontë sisters who are currently edging into popularity again, perhaps because it's more commonly known that they used masculine identities to publish their works.

My personal favorite of their books continues to be Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë intentionally wrote her character as a plain and rough-edged woman as well as strong-willed, forthright and devoted. One of Jane's statements is the quote on the image:
"I am not an angel," I asserted; "and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself."
That statement epitomizes what consistently endears the book and its heroine to me, wrapped particularly in those last four words: I will be myself. Born into a middle-class urban family with many privileges, the fact remained that I was a female in a decidedly androcentric world. Being as intelligent as any of the young men in my class and surrounded by young women with the same level of intelligence and potential, nevertheless, we females were not encouraged to express our full selves. The expectations were different; the focus askew, never quite the same.

Now, decades later, as I stride forth into retirement, I am again confronted by that sentiment: I will be myself. How has that expressed itself through me over the years?
  • Opposing the attempted anonymity of my neighbors when their prejudices frothed ugly when my not-like-them friend showed up on my doorstep.
  • Standing beside an ostracized newlywed couple whose husband chose to leave the priesthood for love of his bride.
  • Attending the NGO Forum before the 4th World Conference on Women.
  • Participating in the extraordinary ordinations of women to the priesthood.
  • Honoring the individuality and capacity for self-determination of every person.
  • Marching in the Women's March the day after the inauguration.
Looking around me as I type this at my local coffee shop, I sense the diversity of my connections within my community. Over time, I grow more and more cognizant of the occasions when I allowed others to define me, when I remained silent for fear of being caught out, when I kept my support, vision and voice subdued. I have awakened to the strength of my desire and determination to live into the words of Charlotte Brontë in the voice of Jane Eyre: I will be myself.

How has your presentation of yourself in the world changed over your life? What interferes with you being yourself? Where are you most challenged to fit in? How diverse are your connections? Where are you most comfortable in being yourself? Where are you least comfortable?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Full Moon in Virgo 2017

©2017 ML Monroe
The past month has been filled with activity both in the sky and for me. Last month's Full Moon was accompanied by a lunar eclipse ~ so there was more than enough information in the ethers and on the internet. Eclipses tend to do that ~ and there was both a lunar and a solar eclipse in a relatively short span, which adds to the buzz.

This month, the Full Moon is in Virgo ~ the Virgin, the Woman Complete Unto Herself. Virgo is an Earth sign ~ grounding, deep connections to seasonal cycles. In the Northern Hemisphere, we are on our way to the Vernal Equinox. Close enough to feel the beginnings of its blossoming within our bones. In the Southern it is Autumnal, the feel of letting go. Either way, we flow and tumble into the midst of the cycles.

Also this month, we are surrounded by the square between Pluto and Uranus triggered by expansive Jupiter and affecting the socio-political setting in which we live and move. We must step into that mix, show up with full confidence, integrity and conviction to set ourselves to the task of clearing the way to follow our dreams. It's the time for stepping up and stepping forward to acknowledge our Feminine strength and power.

There is a Rectangular Aspect Pattern called an irritated rectangle formed with the Sun opposite the Moon on one axis and Jupiter opposite Uranus on the other. This creates a gap between two possibilities and tension ensues. An irritated rectangle forms to help clear away what no longer serves. If something is irritated, it rises to the surface and can be released ~ if we pay attention and allow it to go.

This is a Moon of change. In some Pagan traditions, it is called the Storm Moon due to the reference of March going in like a lion and going out like a lamb. In some Christian traditions, it is called the Lenten Moon for its signaling the start of Lent and the changes that can be consciously undertaken during this season. Whatever you choose to call it, think about the change it is calling forth in your life.

What works for you? What in your life is broken beyond repair? What has been fulfilled and completed? How can you release it all without regret? How do you embrace your Feminine strength and power? What new or up-coming adventure are you being called to begin? How did you go into this month and how do you want to go out of it?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Women Heal

When everyone else gives up, it is women who sing the songs of warriors.

Patterns formed over the lifetime of recorded history and myth continue to show that women are the strongest, most dependable healers. Their healing may begin ~ or end ~ with the physical, yet that is not often ~ or necessarily ~ the core of their power.

From earliest childhood, we train children who get injured while playing to run to their mothers for a kiss to heal a bump or wound or sore. We know it works too. As soon as Mother's cool lips touch the tender place, the child perks up, feels better and is off and running again.

Women often have a broader and more pervasive understanding of their world and the essence or nature of healing. Their nature is to connect with the cycles of the Moon and the Earth. In so doing, they have a regular opportunity to feel the heartbeat of the Universe. They provide succor to, encourage and nurture life. The cycles also teach they about the ebb and flow of life ~ that sometimes we must let go in order for life to grow and continue. Sometimes we need to withdraw. Sometimes we need to grieve. These are all ways of healing.

We don't usually refer to or think of women as warriors, with the possible exception of particular women, yet women are warriors as well. Sometimes in the guise of a military campaign, in uniform or not, they confront the enemy directly with weapons drawn. Other times, perhaps more often, they are in the background supporting, guiding and providing their own kind of reconnaissance, being watchful without being observed. Women also sing the warriors songs of going forward in strength, fighting courageously, and returning victoriously and alive. The end goal of all these activities of women is always to find a place and space of peace.

What is your earliest memory of a woman's healing touch? How have you experienced that healing most recently? Why do you think women heal? How have women in your life proved to be warriors? How have they supported the men going off to battle? What woman in your life has sung a warrior's song?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Alternative Valentine

While leafing through poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, I stumbled across her exquisite 1917 poem Witch-Wife:

She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun 'tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.

Looking for an image online, I found Julian Peters' wonderful comic. How fitting both are for this Valentine time of year.

As I read through the poem, prior to finding the image, I pictured the Witch-Wife differently. The phrase But she was not made for any man left me with the question, Who was she made for? Was it another woman? Was it for her own strong self? Was it for multiple partners?

My personal definition of the title, Witch-Wife, gave me pause to lean toward the second ~ she was made for her own strong self. Being a witch means having developed powers that may range from using healing herbs to having animal familiars to understanding the movements of the stars and seasons. Or an entire host of other knowledge ranging from the commonplace to the arcane. Fairy tales are not for the faint-hearted and have woven into their telling truths about human actions and interactions. And she learned her hands in a fairy-tale.

She clearly was made for her strong self with the phrase And she never will be all mine. Although I like Julian Peters' comic image, I believe the point was not that she had many men. Rather that she belonged to herself and not to any man.

In modern language, we use the term wife to mean a female spouse. So I decided to look up the origin of the word. It comes from Old English meaning woman and some Germanic derivatives with uncertain origin. In Dutch wijf slangily means girl or babe, having softened from an earlier meaning of bitch. Although, again, there I would go with that final term being added to my definition of witch.... and end up with a knowledgeable badass woman! One incredible Valentine!!

What images struck you as you read Witch-Wife? Do you like the version depicted in the comic image? Are you a wife? By what definition? Are you a witch? How do you define that? Do you know/have a wife? How do you define her? Would she agree with your definition? Is the wife you are/know/have a Witch-Wife? How do you know?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Night of the Snow Moon 2017

Tonight's sky is busy ~ the Full Moon in Leo, a penumbral lunar eclipse, and the New Years comet (45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková) on the heels of the eclipse.

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes within the narrow path of the Earth's northern or southern penumbral edges and outside its umbra. [The umbra is inside the shadow of the Earth; penumbra is the partial Earth's shadow where the Sun's illumination is only partly cut off.] This particular eclipse is special because almost the entire face of the Moon will pass within Earth's penumbra, making the reduction in brightness more visible. It will be visible in Europe, most of Asia, Africa, most of both South and North America over the space of nearly four hours beginning at 22:34 (10:34 p.m.) UT Friday night, peaking at 00:33 UT Saturday morning.

The lunar eclipse calls us to release past and/or deep wounds and move beyond our old fears. As we do this, we can also transcend any negative patterns that emerge from or around our Shadow. Though possibly intense, the effect of this eclipse looks to be one that is shorter-lived ~ a time for quick letting go and completion. Release. Breathe. Release. Breathe. Relax.

The comet won't be visible to the naked eye ~ or even with binoculars ~ as it makes its closest fly-by since 2011. Yet its influence will still be felt. It reminds us that everything has its season and opportunity to move.

The Snow Moon is in Leo, a sign brimming with passion, courage, wisdom and presence. This Moon reminds us that we are in charge of our own destiny ~ and we need to step into that power and take responsibility for it. Full Moon in Leo brims with creativity and playfulness as well.

The sun right now is in independent, airy Aquarius, focusing us on truth and the reality of what is going on with and around us. The regal Moon in fiery Leo, challenging us to step into our own sovereignty.

Other factors are in the mix right now as well: Uranus in Eris, the Spiritual Warrior; and Chiron, the Wounded Healer, at the apex of the Finger of God (the Moon and Jupiter make the base), pointing us toward our growth and healing. They direct us toward showing up, standing up and participating in our own ~ and the community's ~ healing. They remind us that life isn't a dress rehearsal. It's real and present and live.

With the New Years comet in play at this Snow Moon, we also release what no longer serves us from 2016 and step more fully into finding the gifts and lessons of 2017. To prepare for the next event, the Solar Eclipse coming in Pisces on February 26th, step into that responsibility by following the insights we are receiving right now.

Are you on your own path ~ or connected to another's? What makes you 'roar'? What is your passion? What inspires you? How do you express your own uniqueness? What 'old business' do you have to release? What is your plan to do that? What wound is being healed within you? How does that wound point you toward your unique expression of healing?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ancestors' Dreams

We are our ancestors' wildest dreams.

As this gentle ancestor stares into that place called 'middle distance,' I wonder what she's seeing..... who she's listening for....

In my quiet lucid dream state, I rest on a bench beside her. She turns her head slightly, slides her eyes in my directions. The corners of her mouth barely turn up. Then she returns to her vague focus stare.

"What do you see, Grandmother?" I whisper.

"You, my child."

I blink, turn my head to see what she sees. A shadow-child slips across my field of vision. I blink again... and it's gone.

"How can you see me there when I am here beside you?"

"It is you ~ and not you, my darling. It is a wild dream of one who is to come. One who will heal the lineage from which she came. One who will dare to bring about the deepest and most necessary soul changes."

I was afraid to speak lest I jar her from her vision .... which is what I realized she was in. There was still more to come. I could see it in her eyes, clear and keen; in her posture, body alert and forward; in the way she held her head, tipped ever-so-slightly to one side as if listening for something.

A barking laugh emerged from her. After a pause, another. Then she lifted her head and a full, deep, extended belly laugh bubbled out of her. I smiled as I sat beside her, infected with the joy she was expressing.

"There are many of you, child. Many who will carry forth the life of our people as they walk on this earth. It brings me great joy to see their wild dancing selves! They laugh, play, love, wander. All the phases of life and earth bloom within them. Nothing grows without them."

I wanted to ask how she knew this. I wanted to tell her I understood. I wanted to run and hide. So much was in her vision of the world. How could I live up to her expectations?

As though she read my thoughts, she said, "It is not only you, child. It is all my children and my children's children and my children's children's children on and on and on. That's what brings me joy. Because it also brings me hope."

I sat beside her for awhile longer. Quiet, reflective. One moment I was aware of her at my elbow, the next my head was jerking up as though from dozing. The old woman was gone. My memory of her was clear yet ever so slowly fading. I found myself staring into that same middle distance she did ~ and wondering when I would be old enough and wise enough to see the way she saw.

What would your ancestor look like? How would you be with them? What does your dreaming self hear them say? How do you express being your ancestors' wildest dream? How would you like to dream your children's and children's children's worlds?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Balancing Paradox

n the midst of everything else going on in our world today ~ all the craziness, every mundane context, individual moments ~ I find myself turning inward and finding a safe, quiet place within.

When I lift my head out of those moments of slipping away, or more precisely, diving deep, familiar words find their way into view. The quote from Frederick Buechner was one. I find myself reading it, breathing it deeply into my lungs, letting it fill me up. I live, we live, in that world where "beautiful and terrible things will happen." Often, both of those extremes can make us afraid. We exalt in and love the beautiful, yet fear that it will go away, that simply having it and acknowledging it will curse it into nonexistence. Yet we most need to remember to let go that feeling of fear. Understand that these things will happen.

The terrible things leave us wary of anything new ~ or of the news itself. What next? Where will the next quake hit? What's happening in the arctic? How long before the disease (whichever one it may be) takes Auntie or Grandpa? So much opportunity for terrible things. Again, along with our best efforts to allay or avoid it, we have the same need to let go of the fear. It takes us out of being present to the moment.

Another quote that flowed easily into my view was this one by Parker J. Palmer:
The spiritual life is lived in a balance of paradoxes, and the humility that enables us to hear the truth of others must stand in creative tension with the faith that empowers us to speak our own.
Everything that is most important to us rests on the balance point of those paradoxes: hearing the truth of others and speaking our own truth. We move forward too quickly and we stop listening to others. We stand still too long and we stop voicing our truths. We are here, in this world, with these beautiful and terrible things happening, to face each other and help each other through the most profound Darkness and the most resplendent Light.

This is a time of facing our rebellious, passionate natures. This is a time of honesty and clarity. This is a time of living in and through our truest and deepest selves. This is not about being meek in the world. It is about being aware and truthful alongside being loving and strong. It is also a time of owning our own personal Darkness as well as revealing our brightest Light. We are not only balancing the paradoxes, we are the very balance point of them.

How do you speak your truth? How do listen to the truth of others? What is your passion? What do you fear? How do you view the beauty in our world? What terrible things are in your life now? What action will you take to refute fear? How are your practices working? What paradoxes are you balancing?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Aquarius New Moon 2017

The Aquarius New Moon occurred at 00:07 UT on Saturday, January 28th. For much of the Western Hemisphere, it will be occurring some time Friday, January 27th.

2016 was a year of endings and 2017 is a year of beginnings. Death and Rebirth cycling through our lives in many ways between the two years. The Rebirth cycle will begin in earnest at the Spring Equinox. So the next month and a half, beginning with this New Moon, will be a time of planning and preparation.

The energy of Aquarius is fresh and expansive. Think big ~ or bigger ~ and think outside the box. So with this Aquarius New Moon find a way to let go, begin afresh expand your outlook.

Aquarius also carries revolutionary energy which is flowing in the Death and Rebirth pattern. More change to come ~ and many people stepping into the control of their individual lives are involved in that change. As we venture into the light of the moon's return, more light will be shed on all that is happening and needing to be changed for the benefit of the global community.

Another factor at play on January 28th is the action planet Mars coming to its home sign of Aries, the first sign in the zodiac. This reinforces new, passionate, independent initiatives. These two together, the Aquarius New Moon and Mars returning to Aries, support moving forward and taking responsibility for that move.

In the midst of all this independent, rebellious, passionate energy, the U.S. is experiencing waves of passionate, rebellious responses to government actions. Those actions, in turn, are a type of rebellious attempt to end and change things in the country. It seems that the Death-Rebirth energies are playing themselves out on every level.

What is ending in your life? What is beginning? What do you feel passionate about? How are you allowing those passions to show themselves? What effect are the endings having on your life? What effect are the beginnings having on your life? What are you doing to take responsibility for the beginnings or rebirths in your life?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Women's March

By now, I can say with reasonable certainty that many people are weary of hearing about the Women's Marches that occurred all over the globe, literally on every continent. I can also say with at least as much certainty that others cannot get enough of the information and energy of those Marches.

One of the images I found posted on some social media ~ without attribution ~ was this one of the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt in Riverside Park, NYC, decorated with one of the pink hats so many were wearing. I chuckled at the thought of Mrs. Roosevelt as a woman of our era, marching with us, wearing this symbolic chapeau.

Over the years, many of her statements have made their way onto my 'wall of quotes' for various lengths of time. These are a few of my favorites:
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Do what you fee in your heart to be right for you'll be criticized anyway.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
As I dug into my stack of quotes, three surfaced addressing the heart of the Marches:
Too often the great decisions are originated and given form in bodies made up wholly of men, or so completely dominated by them, that whatever of special value women have to offer is shunted aside without expression.
The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long standing and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it.
One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.
It would be easy to go into a long discourse of my thoughts on each of these, but I will leave them right here ~ for each individual who reads this to ponder and discern their meaning for one's own life.

I want to consider those women who went before me ~ before us ~ marching, standing, speaking for the rights of women. I chuckled about Eleanor Roosevelt in a pink pussy hat because it seemed too radical a statement for her. Yet, when I read and re-read her words, I find a woman daring other women to be radical, to make their own statements, no matter the response and reaction of others.

I marched for my generation and for future generations of women ~ and of men. Without the balance of feminine and masculine voices and actions, no matter where on the gender continuum a person is, the world will continue its path of disorder and destruction. The Marches in the US were collectively the largest scale protest ever. That was not counting those happening at other locales around the world. The momentum needs to continue, needs to be voiced, needs to be heard.

My heart aches for those who believe disavowing the Marches is in anyone's best interest, including their own. Women who don't fully comprehend how out of balance our 'equality' is. Men who want to maintain the semblance of power at all costs. The USA is a country with no clear policy for maternity leave ~ or parental leave in general. Young women on most college campuses are provided with basic tips on how to be safe at night crossing the campus or being out at all. It's called Rape Prevention ~ only recently have young men been provided at least the statement Don't Rape. Why are women given more instruction? Because they are the ones whose body could be violated and need to fear it and protect themselves. We accept this as normal. In Japan and Singapore, it is not. The pay gap between men and women in the US is 20% ~ obviously favoring men. Why did I march? In the hope that someday soon, equality will be so ingrained in our culture that Eleanor Roosevelt's statue won't have to be decorated with a pink pussy hat.

Did you march, or support someone who marched, in the Women's March? Why or why not? What is your definition of equality? How do you perceive equality for women to be exhibited in access to health care? in cost of that health care once accessed? in pay or rank/title in your chosen profession? in safety? in 'beauty'-based assessment? in intellect-based assessment? How do you plan to support the young women and girls around you? What do you want for their future?

Friday, January 13, 2017

January Full Moon in Cancer

©2017 ML Monroe
Today's Wolf Moon rests its haunches in emotional, compassionate, feminine Moon-ruled Cancer. For those, like me, who like the play of numbers, it occurred at 3:33 a.m. PST. Since this is the first Full Moon of 2017, it is setting the stage for the remainder of the year. It calls us into our truth and power.

A Full Moon in Cancer brings emotional responsiveness to the forefront ~ and that includes intuition, empathy and dreaming. You may process many emotions during this time. Let the emotions bubble up and let them go ~ they may not all belong to you. Safe surroundings and people could help with the feelings of vulnerability that surface too. Take time to recognize what newness is flowing into your life and allow it in, even if it's beyond your comfort zone. One caveat: be careful and aware of the reasons behind the choices you make. Though this is a time for newness, it is also a time for clear intentions.

A Cardinal Grand Cross joins this Full Moon, adding its energy and tension to the mix. It's formed by the Moon in Cancer and the Sun (and Pluto) in Capricorn on opposite ends of one bar, and Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Libra on opposite ends of the cross bar.

With the Full Moon in Cancer (security, emotional needs, family, home) and the Sun in Capricorn (work, outside world) crossed by Jupiter (big picture beliefs and morals) and Uranus (the unexpected, freedom, innovation), there is opportunity for conflict and high emotion. The energy of this Grand Cross is not new and will be continuing for some time to come. It's time to plant the seeds that you want to see grow and flourish over the next several years. These seeds are not only personal, they are also communal and will ripple out to the world around us.

For you who feel Pluto's influence, it may uncover some buried matters or issues with others in authority or attempting control.

In numerology, 2017 is a '1' year [2+0+1+7=10; 1+0=1] which makes it a year of beginnings. In Tarot, it is the year of the Magician, the bridge between Spirit and Humanity, and the carrier of alchemy, the stuff of transformation. The Magician signifies that you have the power to make a difference as long as you consciously make the attempt.

What emotions are surfacing for you right now? What is challenging you? In what area of your life is there tension? Where do you feel vulnerable? Who do you trust with that vulnerability? What decisions are coming up for you? How clear are your intentions as you go forward? What is beginning for you this year? What is transforming?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bumps in the Night

Saskia in Bed by Rembrandt

Although most of us don't look quite like a Rembrandt sketch, we can still relate to that look of discomfiture at being awake in the middle of the night. Insomnia occurs for various reasons. Some reasons are deep and broad, requiring medical help. Seek that help.

Sometimes we are still occupied with thoughts of our day: What did he mean when he said....? How can I pay for....? What should I wear for 'casual Friday'?

Sometimes we worry about our plans for the future: Will it be sunny for the yard sale this weekend? Who should be invited to next month's review meeting? Summer vacation can't come too soon!

Sometimes our mind floats to the realm of fear: 'What's going on with my stomach? Is it cancer?' 'How long will grandpa be around? He seemed so frail today.' 'She hasn't contacted me for a follow-up interview. What if I don't get this job?'

In all these cases, our mind keeps us awake. That often overactive, planning, questioning, determining organ that is our boon and bane in turn. That's generally the case. Look at Saskia's expression in Rembrandt's sketch. You can almost hear her thinking, When is this going to be done? I have work to do.

There are those times when outside energies also play a part in the insomnia. The days when we drank that extra cup of caffeinated whatever. Or we ate too much too late at night. Or took a three-hour nap before dinner. Or we watched an exciting late-night show or movie that got our adrenaline pumping.

I recently had one of those nights. My mind was skittering and skimming over the day. A few hours before bedtime, I felt queasy and let my system clear itself out in the bathroom. My partner and several friends were getting over the recent round of flu. Monkey Mind started chattering, Bet this is the start of the flu. Maybe something worse is happening. Why do you think you'll get by without getting it? I did some deep breathing and felt a heaviness lift from my chest. I challenged those other thoughts by consciously changing them, I'm thankful for my health....grateful for my partner. Amazing how my friends are sick yet functioning. What courage! Thank you, Divine, for the roof over my head and the food in the kitchen....  I began to relax. With that relaxation, I recalled that in a generous act of thanks for my help with a minor problem, a friend bought me a refill on my Starbucks' drink. I started chuckling. Waaaay too much caffeine today! Then I returned to the gratitude list and fell asleep.

It's easy for us to find dark thoughts to bump into during the night. The Darkness itself coerces our Monkey Mind. We have to remain conscious, reach for the Light, change our thinking, take on those Bumps. Our recognition that we have the capacity to change how we view things helps us to step into that change.

When was your last bout of insomnia? What caused it? Were there outside forces, e.g. caffeine, aiding and abetting it? Did you intervene with the Dark thoughts? How? Did you find your way to Light thoughts and ease?