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?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fear and Attraction

When we look at beginning a journey ~ classes, a new season, travel ~ it's always an adventure. There's an edge to it because its outcome is unknown. Sometimes even its direction doesn't turn out as our original plan described it.

If you consider your life, even the recent past, you'll find a beginning that is, or quickly becomes, uncertain. Maybe a visit to meet a friend where one of your arrivals is delayed. Perhaps a class you planned to take from one instructor, but another shows up instead. Beginning an exciting new job in a new town or part of the state where other team members are unknown. Or going on an outdoor adventure with an unknown guide.

No matter how prepared we believe we are for each of these new journeys, these beginnings, these adventures, there is always the possibility of change and challenge. This is the numinous place. The point where we are fearful, apprehensive, perhaps even terrified. The point where we are also intrigued, attracted, perhaps even exhilarated. Things aren't going precisely as planned, or maybe they are, but not as we thought they would. Yet we are caught up in the beauty and wonder of how it all continues to work together.

If we're truly lucky in our lives, these moments will happen repeatedly ~ at irregular intervals so we don't, or can't, get complacent. They are often the moments that define who we are, the moments that change us.

One of those moments happened for me when my brother drove us up Mt. Evans in Colorado this summer. I had suggested the trip ~ instead of the more traveled Pike's Peak. Although both are part of Colorado's Fourteens (mountains over 14,000 feet), Mt. Evans is a bit higher. The drive was a paved switchback that began its ascent through beautiful forests. By 12,000 feet, we were above the timberline. With no railings or guards, it looked as though we could fly off the road at every turn. Terrifying, yet exhilarating. Then, after walking around on the top, we had to reverse the course downhill.

Was this physically challenging for me? No. Was it part of our plan? Yes. However, if we had thought about and discussed the fearful parts prior to our ascent, we may have decided not to make the trip. We would have missed that remarkable numinous moment of being both afraid and attracted. Personally, I would not trade that moment for the world.

When did you experience a numinous moment? Did it fall into your plans? or was it outside of them? Who were you with? Did you share the fear and attraction? or did one of you feel it and the other/s not? Did you talk about it? Would you repeat that kind of moment again?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Passing through Judgment

When I was little, I used to gather flowers from the field across the street and give them to my mother. She would always find a vase or a jar, fill it with water, place the flowers in it and put the arrangement on the counter or table. I probably did that once or twice a week for several summers. Most of the flowers would be called 'weeds' by many people, but my mother accepted them as graciously and lovingly as though I had brought her a bouquet of roses.

As I got older, though I can't remember precisely when, I learned that the dandelions I included in the mix were weeds. I learned that weeds were undesirable plants. So I stopped picking the dandelions. Then I overheard someone calling the purple and pink clover weeds, so I stopped picking them too. Eventually, I stopped gathering flowers altogether. The judgment of others had presented a different image of the plants and I learned to accept that opinion.

At one point in my life, I taught students who had social and emotional issues. Many of those students came from group homes. Many were also involved in the court system as delinquents. In much of our society, these young people would be considered weeds ~ problems to be plucked out of the general garden of our school environs and our neighborhoods. I found that these were the students I loved most of all. They were rough around the edges. They had unusual ways of viewing the world. For the most part, they were also beautiful and spirited and enthusiastic. It was someone else's judgment that labeled them weeds or problems.

As I got older, I learned that there were many different uses for the dandelion. I ate dandelion greens in my salad. I drank dandelion tea for digestion. At a friend's harvest festival, I even sampled dandelion wine. The beauty of the dandelion is not altered by anyone naming it a weed.

Like those dandelions, I watched my students' gifts come through. One could draw landscapes beautifully. One could spell any word after seeing it one time. Another was protective of our group. Another shone as a mother to her toddling daughter. I cultivated their skills and beauty with every attempt to counter the label they received.

I also found that I am not unlike those weeds ~ either the plant or people kind. Sometimes I am so common that I am overlooked. Or I am seen as invasive or somehow out of place. I have had to contend with my own internalization of those reactions from others. I often seek to hide, to not be noticed, to find a way to be considered the beautiful flower. When I do that, I also hide my own gifts from the world and that is not what I am here to do.

What part of you gets judged a weed? Do you accept that judgment? What gift does that judgment hide? Who have you judged to be a weed? Why? Do you see any gift in them? What do you think you miss when you judge yourself or another? What do you lose?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Memory and Time

What do you recall of your childhood? Do you totally trust your memory? Has it been aided by stories others have related?

Most of us are sure of our memories for the same reasons that Louise Banks states in the movie Arrival. We are bound by the order of time. So our first memories must be our earliest. Or vice versa. What we recall of our earliest years must be our first memories.

I have a memory, one of the early ones, of walking across a dusty rose colored couch with embossed swirls. The arms of the couch were only slightly higher than the couch itself. They were flat and probably about five or six inches across. I would climb up on the couch, toddle across it, step up on the arm, take a wobbly step or two, and crash down to the floor. These images are clear in my mind. How old was I? Maybe eight months. I started walking at seven months. Is my memory, the time and shape of it, really that crystalline for that time frame? I recall little else about that age.

I have another memory. This one is of my mother telling me this story to describe and emphasize her relationship with her sister ~ who didn't like that my mother tried to stop me from toddling across the couch. She told her sister, "Watch her." And I enacted the scene I described. My mother never described the color of the couch or the upholstery. I knew exactly what happened and how. I saw my aunt in my mind's eye. I heard her gasp as I tumbled off the arm of the couch. Had my mother's description become my memory? Had it triggered my memory? Had I recalled it on my own as she spoke? Had I dreamt it?

At the beginning of the year, we look back. Unless we have taken meticulous notes about our dreams, thoughts, memories, activities and relationships, we rely on the vision within our mind. Sometimes we remember an incident one way and another person involved remembers it another. Does that make one of us wrong? How does deja vu fit in?

A friend recently told a story about being in a clinic with a woman who was getting a biopsy. At one point, he felt she needed him. He followed that instinct and asked if he could go back to where she was. She was crying and said she'd been calling out to him. His isn't the only time I've heard this type of story. Where does that fit into our concept of memory? and time?

When you think about the past year, what is the first memory to show up? What is the strongest memory? What story/memory have you told, or has been told about and to you, often enough that you can recall every detail of it? What does memory mean to you? How do you experience memory in relationship to time?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Looking Back, Looking Forward

This is the time of year when we reflect on the past and plan for the future. Stephen Hawking provides his own perspective on it.

It's easy to think of the future as a spectrum of possibilities because we understand the opportunities we have to choose our next step on a forward-moving path. We perceive time as linear: from our point on the timeline back is the past; from our point forward is the future. The point itself is the present. Is it truly so cut and dry? Or are there bumps or cycles or turns in that timeline?

Have you ever, when first being introduced to a person, discovered you already knew they had three siblings? Has an unknown person sitting next to you on a plane voiced a question you just thought? Have you walked past a stranger on the street and turned back to find them turning to look at you as though in recognition? We've all experienced moments like these. We brush them off with comments like:
He kinda looks like my ex.
I must've muttered my question.
Her coat is the same color as my boss's.
Maybe we saw each other in the parking lot before
It couldn't be anything more than a fluke.
Because, of course, the past is fixed on that timeline. It already happened so what we're seeing now, what we're thinking, what we're experiencing, can't be real. Reality fixes time in a linear, clearly-defined path, doesn't it?

If Hawking is correct, and the past is also indefinite, then perhaps we have met that person before. Or that sense of having experienced this moment before? We have a phrase for that: deja vu. We shake our heads, smile with embarrassment and mutter an apology.

When we look back at our lives, we rarely think of it in linear terms. One story reminds us of another that happened years before. Or the scent of cookies takes us back to several childhood holiday baking memories that run together like watercolors. Did I burn my hand when I was six? or eight? Did we make marzipan with cousins or alone?

2016 has been labeled by many people as a year of troubles to leave behind. Was the entire year that way? Or was it only sections of it? Are our feelings accurate? And what does accurate mean when it comes to emotions?

My personal experience of the year was a bit of a roller coaster. I had several high points, including submitting my resignation and beginning the next phase of my life. Several low points, including a distressing election season and a broken toe, happened closer to the year's end and made leaving 2016 behind much easier!

What were your high points in 2016? What were your low points? Did they balance out? Did their proximity to the end of the year change how you viewed 2016? What are you looking forward to in 2017? What experiences of deja vu have you had recently? How do you feel about them? How do you perceive Stephen Hawking's comment on time?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hold Your Own Pen

As one year ends and a new one begins, it's a great time to pause and consider how our personal stories get written.

We tend to allow our lives to go on with no real thought as to who writes them. We assume our lives are of our own making. At the same time, we bemoan whatever we feel, think, believe we have no control over.

We determine when we rise from sleep in the morning. We choose what we wear. We decide when and what we eat during the day. We live in a particular place because we want to live there.

Yet ~~ still ~~ we complain that we have to wake too early to go to jobs we feel stuck in. Or housing in the neighborhood we would love to live in is way too expensive. Or we would prefer to eat locally grown veggies but they don't grow here in winter. Then there are the bigger things... The boss just put more work on our desk and we aren't done with what we have. The election didn't quite go the way we wanted it to go. The weather is too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry. The dog slid off the porch on the ice and broke a leg. The monthly insurance payment went up by $50... or $500.

Some of these are totally in our control. Some of them less so. Others are not determined by us at all. So are we really in charge of the pen that's writing the story of our lives? Even when it may not feel as though we are, the truth is not quite as simple. The story of our lives is made up of these little building blocks and road blocks. How we choose to react to them, what we choose to do with the information, determines the real story. The importance doesn't lie in each block, each event, but within us. It's visible by the way we present ourselves to the world every time something happens.

The pen we hold as we write our lives is filled with the ink of our attitude and our outlook. Those our the intangible blocks we control. Don't give that control over to anyone else. Hold your own pen.

What are the building blocks you have in your life as the new year begins? What are the road blocks? How do you feel about them? How do you express your feelings? How do you want the story of your life to be written? What do you want others to say/read about you? What is the most important thing you want written about your life as 2017 begins?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Be a Swirling Vortex in 2017

Most of us are ready to put 2016 behind us. Our reasons include: personal illnesses and traumas; loss of family, friends and significant public personages; the elections and all they brought up; finances; and it goes on. We all have the general idea.

A couple of weeks ago, this quote by Dr. Richard Bartlett showed up:
You are more than your thoughts, your body, or your feelings. You are a swirling vortex of limitless potential who is here to shake things up and create something new that the universe has never seen.
As we step into the New Year, here's a new feeling, a new thought to bring with us. We are more than who and what we think we are. There's a potentiality in us that is without limit. No matter our age, our gender, our education, or our background. We are here to create anew.

Over the years, I've heard a multitude of speakers tell me these things. It's not that I haven't believed them. I've felt the truth of what they've said. And I imagine we all have done the same on some level. The message is overwhelming until we are ready step into the unknown.

The definition of potential is a latent quality that might be developed in the future. In physics, potential energy is the stored energy of an object. Any way we look at it, being a 'swirling vortex of limitless potential' is unknown. What is the direction of our potential? How to we tap into it? How do we harness its energy for good? Even the basic question Is it good? leaves us without an answer until we step into that swirling vortex ourselves.

Stepping into a new year certainly has the potential of a swirling vortex. Something that may move us forward or sideways or into another dimension of ourselves altogether. Yet... yet... that potential may carry us away from what we know ~ and that includes our place of safety. But if we're truly ready to let go of the old year and the old ways, can a swirling vortex bring us renewal? or revive our sagging spirits? or offer us the change we seek? I'm ready to step off the edge. Are you ready to join me?

What do you want to leave behind in the old year? What are you looking for in the new? How do you plan to move forward? What newness do you expect or want as you cross the threshold into the new year? Are you willing to step into the vortex and embrace your potential?