Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Moon November 27, 2008: A Practice of Praise

Your depression is connected to your insolence
And your refusal to praise. If a man or woman is
On the path, and refuses to praise- that man or woman
Steals from others every day - in fact is a shoplifter!
The sun became full of light when it got hold of itself.
Angels began shining when they achieved discipline.
The sun goes out whenever the cloud of not-praising comes near.
The moment that foolish angel felt insolent, he heard the door close.
~ Rumi translated by Robert Bly

I’ve been looking for a way to reframe the word “crisis”. Somewhere between panic and escapism, there must be a response to profound change that affirms what remains good within and around us. There must be a response that invites possibility for making our world even better. With Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn, we have been experiencing some profound shifts. Just as Pluto likes to do, the ground has opened up, exposing what we misuse or take for granted about Capricorn issues. We have some things to look at. I need a new way to approach this investigation.

This month’s New Moon is in Sagittarius. Sagittarian energy is celebratory. It is hopeful and expansive. We can use these qualities to remember why we are grateful—what is good about our lives. In spite of all we may be feeling and hearing about crisis right now, the act of praising is an antidote to despair. This New Moon in Sagittarius takes place on Thanksgiving this year—a cosmic reminder that praising is an important spiritual practice.

I find that praising shifts perception. After reading Rumi’s poem about praising recently, I decided to begin a personal practice of praise, not because I easily felt grateful, but because bitterness seemed to be taking over my internal dialog, and I wanted a tool to stop it. Now, whenever the bitter dialog pops up I offer up praise for five things, any five things that comes to mind. For example, I may pray aloud:

All beings, to my body I give praise!
To my family, I give praise!
To the beauty in this room, I give praise!
To the abundance around me, I give praise!
To the heartfelt connections with friends, I give praise!

This breaks the spell of despondency and I reconnect to the energetic flow of possibility.

Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius, is a good ally for learning how to reframe despair. Right now, Jupiter is traveling through the last degrees of Capricorn. It entered Capricorn December 2007 and will leave for Aquarius in the next lunar month. During this Sagittarian season, Jupiter may be the best guide for teaching us how to embrace crisis as opportunity. Through Jupiter’s gift of storytelling, we may be able to re-story how we will greet Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn. Instead of crisis, this is our opportunity to redefine what we mean about Capricorn issues like wealth, authority, and success. What about these things haven’t been working for you? What about these things haven’t been working for the world? How do we choose to redefine the very structures of our culture? If you have ever wanted a world that had a different relationship to money and authority, now is your opportunity! What can we create? What tools are you using to move forward?

At the New Moon, Jupiter is conjunct Venus, trine Saturn, and sextile Uranus. This is all good. Venus rules both money and beauty. These things are not in conflict with each other but this planetary ally invites us to consider which is more important to us. My practice of praising reminds me that in the moment I am wealthy when I praise the beauty in my life.

There is also a cluster of planets called a stellium in the first degrees of Sagittarius. The Sun, Moon, Mercury and Mars combine forces. This energy invites truth into our hearts and a willingness to act upon what we believe. We will want to expand our horizons this month. We’ve just elected a new president. As Caroline Casey says, we’ve just elected a new story. As we set intention at the New Moon, we may be able to animate that story with hope and action.

Uranus stations direct on the day of the New Moon, giving a strong tone of unpredictability to this month. The opposition transit between Saturn and Uranus has begun. We’ve reached the tipping point. The dialog between order and chaos continues to be relevant. All transits to Uranus (see below) will emphasize our desires for change. Uranian change often comes from unexpected places and in unexpected ways. Transits to Saturn (see below) will emphasize structure and process. Saturn process slows us down and invites us to reconsider.

The Full Moon on December 12 is quite dynamic. There is a Grand Cross of planets. The relationships in a Grand Cross are challenging. The planets involved are the Sun and Moon, Mars, Uranus and Saturn. We may need to practice our tools for reframing the word “crisis” at this time. The transit of Mars to Uranus and Saturn will very likely trigger new expressions of the opposition between Uranus and Saturn. This is a good time to pay attention to the forces that are pulling us in opposite directions. How do we find the balance point between?

The Sun enters Capricorn at the Winter Solstice on December 21. The chart for this moment is called the Capricorn Ingress. This chart shows us a map for the whole season. Mars features prominently in this chart as well. Mars relates to war, to action, to desire. In the Tarot, Mars corresponds to the Tower card. Structures may fall this season. At the Winter Solstice, the Sun is conjunct Pluto within minutes of being exact. Both Pluto and Mars turn over stagnant forms so that we may revitalize them. The chart for the winter does not look particularly restful, yet we need the dark time of winter to dream and replenish. What are your tools for being present to the moment while seeing the larger picture? Jupiter rules the winter chart. In spite of challenges, we are called to dream the bigger dream. With the Moon in Libra, we will want balance and harmony. Perhaps this desire will help us find solutions to inherent tensions. This Moon supports the middle path that Obama seems to be taking in his appointments to his cabinet. What middle path do you choose?

Important dates for our story.

Nov. 27 Uranus stations direct
Nov. 28 Venus (18° Capricorn) sextile Uranus (18° Pisces)
Nov. 29 Venus (20° Capricorn) trine Saturn (20° Virgo)
Dec. 1 Venus (22° Capricorn) conjunct Jupiter (22° Capricorn)
Dec. 4 Mercury (18° Sagittarius) square Uranus (18° Pisces)
Dec. 6 Mercury (21° Sagittarius) square Saturn (21° Virgo)
Dec. 10 Sun (18° Sagittarius) square Uranus (18° Pisces)
Dec. 12 Mars (18° Sagittarius) square Uranus (18° Pisces)
Dec. 12 Full Moon.
Dec. 12 Mercury (0° Capricorn) conjunct Pluto (0° Capricorn)
Dec. 12 Sun (21° Sagittarius) square Saturn (21° Virgo)
Dec. 15 Mars (21° Sagittarius) square Saturn (21° Virgo)
Dec. 21 Sun enters Capricorn
Dec. 24 Mercury (19° Capricorn) sextile Uranus (19° Pisces)
Dec. 26 Mercury (21° Capricorn) trine Saturn (21° Virgo)

The energies of the aspects:
Conjunction – merging
Sextile – encouraging
Trine – harmonizing
Square – challenging