Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Moon June 1, 2011: The journey of desire

Where I live, spring is in full flourish. The incredible beauty of the fertile earth awakening and multiplying is delightfully awe inspiring. However, beauty can bring another response—important to acknowledge this month—the fear within the vulnerable, open heart of longing.

The journey of desire. Beauty nudges our hearts to want more. This desire is both exquisite and painful. I believe it calls us into life. The journey begins with asking this question, “What am I afraid to wish for, believing in the depths of my soul that I could never really have it?” The answer is different for each of us. But all of us have that story living deep inside. No matter how small, and it may be very small, that small kernel of shame or disbelief colors the story of our lives. It becomes an essential reality that impacts our lives profoundly. Perhaps this month will be a good time to notice this seed, to coax it out of hiding, to see the truth as well as the falsehood of our limiting beliefs.  
 
Eclipses. This lunar month begins with a solar eclipse. Physical reality informs my interpretation of an eclipse—the light goes out and then comes back. The waxing and waning of light and darkness is a rhythm repeated during the lunar and solar cycles of the year. Our human bodies understand this. Yet during an eclipse the cycle is quick and potentially unsettling. Suddenly, we are plunged into darkness. Suddenly, the light returns. Even when we cannot see the eclipse, we can feel its effects. A unique feature of the next two months is that there will be two solar eclipses back to back. The next lunar cycle beginning July 1 will also be a solar eclipse. The full moon in between these two will be a lunar eclipse. The last time this happened was July 2000.

Karmic patterns and the nodes of the moon. Shadows bring up stuff hidden within. An eclipse is an opportunity to illuminate long embedded patterns. This can be experienced in physical reality—something happens to us to create the possibility of a new awareness or a new path to take in life. Or an eclipse can work on the spiritual/intentional level. We are given an opportunity to understand ourselves in new ways. The two back-to-back eclipses are south node eclipses introducing the theme of karma to these experiences. Dana Gerhardt describes the south node in her excellent article on the nodes: “It's a comfort zone, describing attitudes and talents which, for good or ill, are easy to believe and express.” This comfort zone has a karmic component to it. What are the patterns that keep repeating in our lives? Even if these patterns are frustrating or harmful, we are used to them. Sometimes it feels more comfortable to live with the demons we know than to take a chance on awakening new ways of being. So, the possibility exists to erase the patterns that repeat, “I will never realize my heart’s desire and it hurts too much to let myself have that desire.”

Cracked open. The heart is a tough organ, the strongest muscle in the body. Yet the heart feels vulnerable. What the heart represents is so core to what it means to be human, that we work hard to create impenetrable defenses. Ironically those defenses prevent us from being in our hearts—open to longing and intimacy. Neptune and Chiron having been working to crack open these hard shells around the heart. Both are in Pisces, the mutable water sign of dissolution, transcendence, and ultimate connection. Both Chiron and Neptune station retrograde this month, which means they have stronger influence. Also these two planets will receive square aspects from a series of planets transiting through Gemini this month. These squares highlight the way that Pisces and Gemini dance together—the mutable dance of water and air.

Pisces and Gemini. Duality is an important theme for both of these signs. Both long to repair the sense of separation that duality evokes. Using water, Pisces feels its way to union. Using air, Gemini learns, discovers and communicates to understand what is missing. Gemini has the reputation of being a lightweight. The eternal youthfulness of Gemini fools us into thinking there isn’t any substance underneath. This month proves that wrong. Gemini holds up the mirror of reality—how we create our world through thought and belief and how we can alter that reality through changing our thoughts and beliefs. When longing is reflected back to us our souls are revealed.

Desire and manifestation. Jupiter enters the fixed earth sign Taurus this month where it will remain for one year. Jupiter’s focus on possibility and belief creates an impulse to embrace the gifts of the sign it is transiting. We will all want to be Taureans this year. Taurus is good at is using beauty and pleasure to manifest the heart’s desire. Although that sounds really good, and it is, shadows reside here too and we will have the opportunity to understand ours more deeply. When we give birth to our heart’s desire, it becomes mortal. Everything we bring into existence will eventually pass away. Forms change. One block to manifestation is the defense of keeping the heart’s longing within the heart, not letting it take form so we won’t feel this pain. Jupiter encourages risk. We have the opportunity to risk the pain of loss in order to manifest desire.

Full Moon Lunar eclipse. The Moon in the full moon chart is conjunct the north node. If the south node represents karmic patterns, the north node represents current evolution, the growing edge. The north node in Sagittarius is about the journey to truth and meaning. Perhaps the light will suddenly go out of a belief system of yours. Perhaps the light will suddenly illuminate another path leading you to new truths. Is it easier to believe we deserve the treasures that reside in our hearts if we align ourselves to the star that gives meaning to our lives? The heart is a muscle—it needs to be used. Keeping our desires hidden inside does nothing to strengthen our capacity to use our hearts for the highest good. As darkness and light play around the edges of your life this month remember to honor your heart.

Transits important to these themes. *

Eclipse triggers. Astrologers note that we may feel the impact of an eclipse both before and after the actual eclipse. Planets transiting the degree of the eclipse can trigger the effect. The eclipse of June 1 is at 11° Gemini. The eclipse of July 1 is at 9° Cancer. Dates when these degrees are transited are listed below.

June 3 Mercury 0° Gemini squares Neptune 0° Pisces
June 3 Neptune stations retrograde
June 4 Jupiter enters Taurus
June 5 Mercury 5° Gemini squares Chiron 5° Pisces
June 6 Mercury triggers solar eclipse at 11° Gemini
June 8 Chiron stations retrograde
June 10 Venus 0° Gemini squares Neptune 0° Pisces
June 12 Sun conjunct Mercury 21° Gemini (illumination of themes)
June 13 Venus 5° Gemini squares Chiron 5° Pisces
June 15 Lunar eclipse 24° Sagittarius
June 18 Venus triggers solar eclipse at 11° Gemini
June 20 Mercury triggers solar eclipse at 9° Cancer
June 20 Mars enters Gemini
June 22 Mars 0° Gemini squares Neptune 0° Pisces
June 27 Mars 5° Gemini squares Chiron 5° Pisces
July 6 Mars triggers solar eclipse at 11° Gemini
July 11 Venus triggers solar eclipse at 9° Cancer
August 16 Mars triggers solar eclipse at 9° Cancer

*These dates are not a complete list of transits for the month, but rather are times when the themes of these stories are stronger. Each aspect between planets carries its own energy of harmony or conflict. These shifting relationships create the plotlines of our stories. These are:
Conjunction – merging
Sextile – encouraging
Square – challenging
Trine – harmonizing
Quincunx - perplexing

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Moon May 3, 2011: Loving what we love

It has been a while since I’ve been able to look at the transits for an upcoming month and say to myself, “This looks pretty good.” Wow, considering the last few months that is something. Can it be that this next lunar month will give us a chance to deeply recuperate from the relentless reminders of personal and global crisis? We can use this opportunity to receive needed support to tend to our bodies and spirits. This month’s transits emphasize the importance of beauty and desire in our lives. At this time, in the season of Taurus, we are being invited to tune into the wisdom of our soft animal bodies, as Mary Oliver exhorts us to do in her poem, “Wild Geese.”

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.


This sounds simple, yet I realize that in many ways, I have forgotten how to really listen to what my soft animal body needs and wants and loves. As I prepare for the next month at this New Moon, I am interested in developing a better way to listen to my body’s messages.

This is the season of Taurus, the sensory-based fixed earth sign ruled by Venus. This planet represents the principle of beauty and pleasure, as well as abundance and fertility. The energy of Venus is strong this month as this planet makes important contacts with other planets, inviting them into alliance. On May 15, Venus enters Taurus and stays for a little over three weeks, leaving on June 9. Venus and Mars make a special connection this month as well. Mars enters Taurus on May 11 and makes a conjunction with Venus on May 23. The last time these two planets came together was in 2010, the next time will be 2013, and they have not joined together in Taurus since 2009. Mars and Venus represent the pulsating dyadic energies of life. Mars pursues and Venus invites. Through this dance we experience life more fully, more abundantly. What are you longing to have in your life? What are you willing to invite in? This month is an excellent time to explore what your soft animal body already knows it loves. 

The New Moon chart shows a line up of planets in Aries. Mars rules Aries, giving us a hint at the passionate nature of this sign. With Mercury retrograding through Aries last month, perhaps you noticed frustration in moving forward with attaining your heart’s desire. Now that Mercury is moving direct, it is easier to let the renewing energies of spring move us toward what we truly want, perhaps even surprising us in the ways we are willing to take risks or break old patterns to do so. This sense of fresh beginning flows soon into the languorous enjoyment of Taurus when Mars enters that sign on May 11 while at the same time Venus is conjunct expansive Jupiter in Aries.

A chance for magic. In honor of Venus this month, perhaps you’d like to try a little spellwork dedicated to what your soft animal body loves. Caroline Casey offers a wonderful Venus spell in her book, Making the Gods Work for You.  I love Casey’s book because it is written with great, galumphing spirit and also includes practical magic to try at home to cultivate relationship with the planet gods. Friday, May 13th would be an auspicious day to try this spell for several reasons. For one, it occurs in the month of Taurus when Venus is already happy. For another, all Fridays are sacred to Venus. The name for Friday comes from another love goddess, Freya. And the 13th day of the month is significant in working with the divine feminine principal. This number has gotten the reputation of being unlucky, but that may be due in part to its association with the number of Moon cycles in a year and the association that the Moon has with witches.

Casey says this spell is done to invoke the beloved, whoever or whatever that may be for you. She writes, “Take a round piece of bread, such as a roll, make a hole in it, and put a nickel inside (the number five, represented by the nickel is sacred to Venus). On top of the nickel, place a little piece of paper on which you have written the qualities you desire in your beloved. Put a little bit of honey on top of that, for obvious symbolic reasons, then place a short yellow candle in the hole. Light the candle.” Casey recommends enjoying ourselves with Venusian pleasure as the candle burns. To complete the spell, you may want to ritualistically release it into flowing water or burn it in a fire. Whatever you decide, it would be good to honor Venus while doing so with a clear spoken statement about your beloved.

A few days later at the Full Moon, it will be interesting to see what you have noticed in your life concerning love and pleasure. Full Moons bring illumination. The Moon will be in dark and sexy Scorpio while the Sun is in solid and sensuous Taurus. Scorpio contributes intensity and depth reminding us that love and beauty are the primary forces of life. It will be a very good thing to spend time in nature this month, observing how that world expresses love and pleasure, for after all we are animals too.

Jupiter completes its year-long transit of Aries this month. Next month on June 4th, Jupiter enters Taurus for a year. Wherever Jupiter is, opportunity and expansion follow. The work we do this month to cultivate better relationship with our soft animal bodies will align with Jupiter’s mission to seek for and explain life’s principal meanings. We shift from the stories of bold individualism (Aries) to the sustaining stories of body wisdom (Taurus). Not only are we encouraged to let our soft animal bodies love what they love, we are encouraged to understand more deeply how this animal connection gives us answers to many of the problems we face today. Let us invite that wisdom!

Transits important to our stories.*

May 9 Mercury conjunct Venus at 22° Aries
May 11 Mars enters Taurus
May 11 Venus conjunct Jupiter at 24° Aries
May 11 Mercury conjunct Jupiter at 24° Aries
May 12 Mars at 0° Taurus sextile Neptune at 0° Pisces
May 15 Venus enters Taurus
May 15 Mercury enters Taurus
May 16 Mercury conjunct Venus at 0° Taurus
May 16 Mercury at 0° Taurus sextile Neptune at 0° Pisces
May 16 Venus at 0° Taurus sextile Neptune at 0° Pisces
May 18 Mars at 5° Taurus sextile Chiron at 5° Pisces
May 19 Mercury at 5° Taurus sextile Chiron at 5° Pisces
May 20 Venus at 5° Taurus sextile Chiron at 5° Pisces
May 20 Mars at 7° Taurus trine Pluto at 7° Capricorn
May 20 Mercury at 7° Taurus trine Pluto at 7° Capricorn
May 21 Venus at 7° Taurus trine Pluto at 7° Capricorn
May 23 Venus at 9° Taurus conjunct Mars
May 23 Mercury at 10° Taurus quincunx Saturn at 10° Libra
May 24 Venus at 10° Taurus quincunx Saturn at 10° Libra
May 25 Mars at 10° Taurus quincunx Saturn at 10° Libra

*These dates are not a complete list of transits for the month, but rather are times when the themes of these stories are stronger. Each aspect between planets carries its own energy of harmony or conflict. These shifting relationships create the plotlines of our stories. These are:
Conjunction – merging
Sextile – encouraging
Square – challenging
Trine – harmonizing
Quincunx - perplexing