Call and Response: Cancer New Moon

winter solstice1crop

New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. Visit the invisible world. Bow and open yourself to their touch. Make an offering. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the zodiac, the gods do respond!

Water was Cancer’s first language. As a child, she babbled like a brook, thundered like a waterfall, and sank deep into thought like a well. Speaking this way, she learned how to feel all of her feelings completely. When somebody vulnerable is in danger, her heart can storm like the ocean. But most days she flows like a cool mountain stream, soothing harsh edges, blessing the roots, and finding out everyone’s secrets. She’s the Moon’s own daughter. When Cancer smiles her Moon-face smile, you can’t help but feel loved and safe. Into summer’s landscape, she carries safety pins, a damp cloth for soothing brows, colorful band-aids, and a miracle tea that makes you feel like you’ve enjoyed a peaceful sleep with happy dreams.

Visit Cancer and she’ll watch you like a pot that might boil over. “Here, you look like you need this,” she’ll say, handing you something home-baked and delicious. She knows what the birds are thinking. She can cry at the drop of a hat. Her sensitivity used to make me wonder about the durability of her blessings. But over time I learned that she’s nobody’s fool. She has a genuine talent for making things grow. Just look at her garden!  When she sits so calmly next to you, she’s steady as a mother watching a sleeping infant. She’ll feed you with quiet spoons of strength, protection, and the knowledge that wherever you are is your home. If you accept what she offers this cycle, her blessings can nurture you for months to come.

It’s easy to call in Cancer. Just find a safe place and come to stillness. Let your weary mind go, as if you were dropping into a cool bath on a hot summer day. Sink into the good that sustains you. Cancer is a water sign—its energy is fluid, cleansing, and receptive. Water sign cycles are particularly sweet for making tender connections with loved ones. They’re auspicious for spiritual practice too; whatever you sit with now can be more deeply absorbed. Listen to your intuition. Follow the intricate paths of your imagination. Commit to your creativity.

Each Moon cycle brings new energy for growth. But what specifically should you grow now? Astrology typically answers “what” questions by looking at houses. Look to the house of your birth chart with Cancer on the cusp: here’s your personal seed bed this month. This is the place where you usually “do” this sign, where the Moon is most at home, and the dance of her phases is most relevant. The New Moon may bring a unique opportunity here… but you must tune in.

Cancer’s Response

Waiting for Cancer to show up is the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. You may get a brilliant new idea for a creative project—or a sudden urge to really clean your house. It’s amazing what clearing and organizing your space can do. It’s like birds building the nest before the eggs appear. Or perhaps you’ll be asked to act as Cancer’s agent. You might bake a cake for a friend who’s in the doldrums. A child or lost cat might need your help. Cancer’s message? Notice how much you receive whenever you selflessly give.

But what if nothing wonderful happens? What if you simply feel stuck? That’s a sign that you’re under the spell of the Dark Mother, the one who resists your growth. She’s the one who always keeps you from the party because something bad could happen. On the first day of your diet, she likes to surprise you with your favorite dessert. According to Jungian analyst Marion Woodman, the Dark Mother is like “a great lizard lounging in the depths of the unconscious.” She is threatened by change. She wants you mired in inertia, feeling so incapable, that you can’t aspire to anything new. In the old days, knights took swords to the dark-mother dragons hiding in their caves. But now, with an open heart and courageous awareness, you can simply relax and coax your inner dragon into the light. There you can see how fearful she is. Speak softly, stroke her brow, and tell her everything is going to be all right. Once you gain her trust, the old dragon will change before your eyes into a willing and magical partner.

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Moon Workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac.

Call and Response: Aries New Moon

shutterstock_aries

It’s another new moon: when the magically minded make wishes and astrologers attempt to divine this cycle’s intentions. The wishes you make now may indeed be super-powered, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect special favors. If you rarely go jogging with your wild Uncle George, don’t expect him to take you sky-diving. New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. Visit the invisible world. Bow and open yourself to their touch. Make an offering. When you call out to the gods, they do respond!

Calling Aries

Aries never looks before he leaps. His mother never cautioned, “If you run with a stick you’ll poke an eye out!” At six, he challenged bullies twice his size. At sixteen he built his castle; he made the ceilings tall as sequoia trees. He strung an acrobat’s tightrope from room to room—sixty feet up, no net below. Now that he’s much older, he flies a hang-glider from the bedroom to the library, where there are books everywhere. Biographies and autobiographies—all about him: how he crossed the Alps with Hannibal, wrestled grizzlies, escaped from pirates; he’s even been to the Moon.

Aries is popular with the ladies—the celestial ladies. They guide his feet up snow-drenched mountains, fling trees to block his enemies; they send magic rope, golden eagles and unbeatable swords his way, just in the nick of time. Ask them why they take such good care of him and you don’t get the usual answers. He’s handsome, of course, dripping with youthful enthusiasm. He’s got strength to die for. Sexy too. But it’s his heart they swear they love. So pure. Whatever he does, he believes in.

“I wasn’t always this way,” he confesses. “I was reckless, an egomaniac. Until I burnt my house down while playing with fire. I spent the whole night studying the flames. By morning, I had learned its language. Fire leaps up with love, you know; it has more secrets than a forest of trees. If you can draw it into your heart and contain it, you’ll achieve impossible things.”

With Aries, “self” and “doing” are everything. Aries wants you to do yourself as though you were a verb. Call him in with some positive narcissism. I did not know what this meant until I relinquished my dislike of Aries people. Zodiac aversions arise when, out of the countless people you find annoying, you discover two or three share the same sign. This entitles you to roll your eyes and look knowingly whenever that sign is mentioned—until, as a spiritual person, you learn that everyone you dislike is a reflection of yourself. You resolve to appreciate that sign’s virtues, but keep coming up with more reasons to dislike it. Then one day you stumble across the thing you can’t do, and you realize those fill-in-the-blank-zodiacpeople can do it without a second thought.

My mother is an Aries. A former boyfriend was an Aries. That co-worker I tangled with in 1991 was an Aries too. Despite their sunny, inspiring nature and boundless enthusiasm, I’ve found Aries people can be rough and reckless—Stanley Kowalski brutes to my faint-hearted Blanche DuBois. Their ruling planet Mars connects them to their passions, so they compete, strike, and leap without being braked by thought. I may say I’d like to do something for months, even years before I do it (if I do it). I like to think about my actions, have discussions with friends in town, imagine strategies, consider the consequences, fantasize the rewards. But Aries people will just go off and do it. They’ll even skip the conversations with friends. (This is what makes them chaotic and unpredictable.)

But then one year I called on Aries for help and something new got into me. I had a writing project that had been languishing for months. The next day Aries startled me out of bed and sent me into my office where I just started writing. I had no plan. I simply showed up at my computer and started doing. Four days later, I had the entire project designed. I was delighted, of course, but also amazed at the creativity that had been inside of me, waiting to come out. Ah, so that’s what it means to discover yourself through action—the Aries way!

Aries’ Response

Waiting for Aries to appear is the fun part. No way can I predict his entrance. But it will likely be full of passion and energy—so do be careful when driving, crossing streets, starting political discussions, or working with knives. Aries likes to sneak up on you and yell “Surprise!” So be on the lookout. You might find him in the garden bursting with new colors and growth. You might hear him in the treetops singing a joyful song. If a sexy red dress calls to you from that little shop around the corner, it could be Aries trying to get you to have a little more fun. He might strike as a sudden desire for “something more.” He might rise you up off the couch one day, ready to cut through boredom, fear, useless anger, self-doubt, or the self-image that no longer fits. You may be surprised at your new daring. Don’t worry if you know exactly where you’re going. Just go!

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Twelve Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, the zodiac… and you!

© 2011 Dana Gerhardt
All rights reserved

Calling in the Pisces New Moon

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The wishes you make now may indeed be super-powered, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect special favors. If you rarely sip tea with your quirky neighborhood psychic, don’t expect her to throw rings of protection around your house. New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. Visit the invisible world. Bow and open yourself to their touch. Make an offering. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the gods, they do respond!

Calling Pisces

Pisces plays the mandolin and wears sky blue shirts that smell like lavender or sometimes roses. When he visits, you might hear snow melting. Tulips and daffodils poke their heads above ground to greet him, while starlings dream of their future: finding a soul mate, nest-building, teaching their young to fly. Pisces’ mother used to worry about him. He’d spend long hours alone in his room. Whenever she pressed her ear to the door, holding a bowl of soup or grilled cheese sandwiches, she would hear strange voices, sometimes sobbing, maybe a violin, or a trilling bird. One year he drew a thousand portraits of clouds. Next year he took up face painting, until every kid in the neighborhood had become twelve fantastic animals. The year after that he spoke just one word: “Ah.” He studied poetry and took long naps in college. Later he tried the corporate world, but missed too many meetings. One day he kidnapped the shipping department and took them to a matinee just before Fed-Ex arrived.

Pisces says that life’s too short and there’s important non-work to do. “Each day listen to your desires and follow them exclusively. That’s the wisdom of flow.” I’m suspicious: “How would anything get done?” His eyes grow wide and mirthful, as if to say “You’ll see when you finally try it!” I’d like to, for when I spend time with Pisces, my worries exhaust into a peaceful sigh, like petals releasing from a tired rose. At night Pisces tells me to sit in a dark room with a single candle for at least two hours. If I stay there long enough, I don’t know who I am anymore. Yet my heart grows as big as the world.

Let your heart likewise expand this cycle. Let your imagination run free. Business can take care of itself. The cherry trees are in bloom. You might be yearning for a little poetry or the delicious escape of a movie marathon. You may get lost in the sound of a symphony or the gentle touch of silk. Can you let yourself drift and dream? Soon enough the Equinox will be calling you to action. Next month brings the Warrior’s New Moon. Prepare now by first drawing closer to your soul.

If you stir dirt into a glass of water, it gets murky. But if the glass sits for awhile, the dirt will settle and the water will clear. Something similar happens to the mind in meditation, which is another fine way to meet this New Moon. Sit. Come to stillness. Wait at Pisces’ door like an initiate at the gates of a great teacher. Without expectations, enter the void. This is the end of the zodiac; all signs are contained within it. Perhaps you can sense this, how harmoniously Pisces holds everything and dissolves everything, how this readies us for the Aries adventures to come.

Of course, no matter how dreamy we might like our lives to be, there’s always some unpleasantness. Sure as there are fairies making everything right, there are complainers making everything wrong. How do we respond? Pisces can inspire our most saintly self—or our most victimized. When you’re unconscious of its gifts, Pisces will make you whine: “Poor me!” or “Why me?” Remember that unhappy dinner last night? Maybe the sesame chicken was too dry. Maybe the salad dressing was bottled instead of fresh. Or maybe your dinner date never showed up. Pisces only wants you to understand that everything was just perfect.

Pisces’ Response

Waiting for Pisces to appear is the fun part. No way can I predict his costume. But if you find yourself wandering into rooms for reasons you forgot, if you feel the urge to float for hours in the bathtub, or to take a long drive to nowhere, Pisces may be present, trying to get you to pause, listen, and come into this moment, where he promises you’ll find everything. Pay attention to your nightly dreams. Listen to your daytime fantasies. These are the expressions of your soul. Can you read their language? In the weeks ahead, you might find yourself suddenly weeping, overwhelmed with compassion, for the orphans in Kabul, the Libyan widow, the bankrupt yoga teacher, or the tense soldier prowling volatile streets on the other side of the world. This cycle may we all find, on our fragile spinning globe some grace, some power, the hand of sweet guidance. Call it faith or hope; both belong to Pisces. And let’s join with Swami Beyondananda in his prayer to the hot dog vendor:  “Make me one with everything.”

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac.

Calling in Sagittarius

sagittarius_signcrop

It’s another new moon: when the magically minded make wishes and astrologers attempt to divine this cycle’s intentions. The wishes you make now may indeed be super-powered, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect special favors. New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. Make an offering. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the gods, they do respond!

Calling Sagittarius

The challenges of last month’s Scorpio cycle were meant to strengthen your capacities for patience, perseverance and resilience. Perhaps you were reminded of your strength. You do know how to put one foot in front of the other and survive. But Sagittarius plays an entirely different game. Even if your work this month is similar, you’re meant to take it to a higher plane. In this expansive, Jupiter-ruled cycle, seek out the people, places, and texts that open your mind and get you excited about the future again. What questions have you been pondering? Where have you felt stuck? Surrender to Sagittarius and the Centaur will reward you. Now is the time to shift perspective, expand your horizons, and let your life become adventurous again!

Yippee. More items to add to your to-do list. Don’t worry. Opening to the adventurous Sagittarian deva is fun—like racing a horse across green pastures, giddy with the joy of movement. Sagittarian energy is big, buoyant, generous, and prosperous. Its concerns are honesty and wisdom. To attract the Centaur, assemble the following transcendent ingredients: Time and space to roam, a hunger for truth, the certainty that life means something.

Next: Ascend. Beam up. Climb the highest hill or building in your town, scan the horizon, let your lungs fill with fresh air, relax in this wide space. Or imagine you’re floating on the wings of an eagle, looking down on your world. Look again at whatever experiences may be challenging you. From this perspective, your luck can improve. If you’re feeling particularly frisky, lay back with open arms and shout “Take me, Sagittarius!” If this makes you weep with joy, you got the connection!

Or visit a university library. Preferably a big one. Walk through the book stacks with a quiet mind at a leisurely pace. Stop whenever you feel like it. Take a random book from the shelf and read a paragraph. Keep moving. Read the thoughts of more thinkers whenever intuition directs. Then go outside and commune with the horizon. Enjoy an exotic foreign drink when you’re done.

Or recite your gratitudes. Being thankful alters the mind much like reading books or sitting in higher spaces. It’s a powerful form of prayer. Make it a practice to list your daily gratitudes for 21 days and your world will transform. It’s not what you’re grateful for that makes the magic–it’s just the juice of gratitude itself. Thank the anonymous hands who built your house, who planted the trees on your street, who sat in a factory and made your shoes, for everything and everyone who brought you where you are today.

And finally, if you’re not feeling buoyant enough yet, buy some helium-filled balloons. Take them for a walk in the park, not knowing when the moment will come when you’re inspired to let them go, just so you can watch them sail into the sky and disappear. Of course, you’re always free to innovate. In whatever way you choose, at the Sag New Moon, call in the spirit of this expansive and prosperous sign.

Sagittarius’s Response

Waiting for the response is the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. But in the next few days or even weeks, keep your eye out for Sagittarian visits. You might receive a surprise gift. Maybe an opportunity to travel. If you have an urgent question, you’ll likely receive a wise answer. Or a flash mob could suddenly sing the Hallelujah chorus in your local food court. A stranger may say your name with such a delightful foreign accent, it transports you to the other side of the world. The Sagittarius Centaur could arrive as a belly laugh, big and warm as Zeus. Or maybe it just hits you—that you’re in falling love with your life all over again. However the Centaur appears, let the meaning of the visit touch you deeply.

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac.

© 2010/2015  Dana Gerhardt
All rights reserved

Scorpio Call and Response

shutterstock_scorpiogod

Whether we view time as a marching calendar, as cyclical waves, or dotted with portals to other dimensions, in all systems, the New Moon is a special doorway. The wishes you make now may indeed be super-powered, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect special favors. If you rarely visit your Aunt Bernice, she’s got little motivation to fund cat’s surgery. You have to visit the invisible world. Bow and make a sincere offering. The invisible powers will renew their interest in you. When you call to the gods, they do respond.

Calling Scorpio

Scorpio draws us into the mystery of the underworld. Here Isis and Ishtar descend. Persephone savors her pomegranates. Cerridwen stirs her cauldron. The snake goddesses respect Scorpio’s powers of transformation and its gifts of wisdom. They understand that underworld empowerments usually come with a price. Initiates must be willing to enter the unknown no matter how fast their hearts are beating. They must be willing to lose what they thought they couldn’t give up. They must develop the kind of patience that travels with passion and strength.

Of course your New Moon offering needn’t be so dramatic. A simple ritual would be to play in the dark. You might learn it’s not so bad in there. It can be creative, mysterious, wondrous not to know what you think you know. When your eyes can’t see, what will your other senses uncover? One night soon enter a favorite room in your house, turn off all the lights, and stand in the center. Sense the room. Isn’t it amazing what you can know and feel without seeing? Now go to your least favorite room and do the same thing. A little different, right? Stay with it until any fear or resistance dissolves, and you start discovering.

The dark can take you to a place deep within yourself if you let it. But there are other doorways. We in the Northern Hemisphere can follow the example of trees, the infallible and natural gurus of the time. Why do trees turn crimson and gold in the fall? The short answer is, no one is entirely sure. Yet what scientists have discovered so far is instructive: An autumn leaf is busy with purposeful activity. The trees are dismantling the chlorophyll in their leaves, drawing its nutrients back into their centers, storing its energy for new growth in spring. Some believe fall’s brightly colored leaves are simply left-over pigments, a tree’s version of graying hair. Others believe the reds and yellows serve a protective purpose, as a natural sunscreen, or a warning to insect predators. Either way, the trees are looking ahead. And so, perhaps, should we.

By releasing something, we will draw new energy into our core. Have your Scorpio ceremony beside a trash can: throw away something you’ve been hanging onto. Pay slow attention to the process. Is there regret? A tightness? Sorrow? Or simply relief? Let the event teach you something about yourself.

Or just sit with a tree that is transforming. Be with the intelligence of this tree. As you stand as still as the tree, sense how busy it is. Connect and listen. As the cycle unfolds, maintain your relationship. When the bright leaves of your tree go brown and fall to the ground, observe how your own transformation is progressing.

Or simply light a candle and say thanks to Scorpio for all the gifts it has brought you through death, loss, and rebirth. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it sincerely, and in the spirit of Scorpio

Scorpio’s Response

This is the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. But in the next few days or even weeks, keep your eye out for Scorpio visits. You may in a dream get a gift of power, an important message, or a sign. Scorpio’s surrogates may appear in your outer world. A pack of young Goths, dressed in black and chains, might cross your path. Or a raven will land outside your window and begin cawing. You’ll see an unusual poster with a snake or a smiling skull. You’ll feel an electric charge as a deeper part of you recognizes who sent them. Link this appearance to whatever you were thinking about at that moment. There will be a message. And it will be a gift.

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the sun and moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac. 

© Dana Gerhardt

 

Cancer New Moon: Call and Response

Hans_Thoma_Mondcrop

New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. Visit the invisible world. Bow and open yourself to their touch. Make an offering. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the zodiac, the gods do respond!

Water was Cancer’s first language. As a child, she babbled like a brook, thundered like a waterfall, and sank deep into thought like a well. Speaking this way, she learned how to feel all of her feelings completely. When somebody vulnerable is in danger, her heart can storm like the ocean. But most days she flows like a cool mountain stream, soothing harsh edges, blessing the roots, and finding out everyone’s secrets. She’s the Moon’s own daughter. When Cancer smiles her Moon-face smile, you can’t help but feel loved and safe. Into summer’s landscape, she carries safety pins, a damp cloth for soothing brows, colorful band-aids, and a miracle tea that makes you feel like you’ve enjoyed a peaceful sleep with happy dreams.

Visit Cancer and she’ll watch you like a pot that might boil over. “Here, you look like you need this,” she’ll say, handing you something home-baked and delicious. She knows what the birds are thinking. She can cry at the drop of a hat. Her sensitivity used to make me wonder about the durability of her blessings. But over time I learned that she’s nobody’s fool. She has a genuine talent for making things grow. Just look at her garden!  When she sits so calmly next to you, she’s steady as a mother watching a sleeping infant. She’ll feed you with quiet spoons of strength, protection, and the knowledge that wherever you are is your home. If you accept what she offers this cycle, her blessings can nurture you for months to come.

It’s easy to call in Cancer. Just find a safe place and come to stillness. Let your weary mind go, as if you were dropping into a cool bath on a hot summer day. Sink into the good that sustains you. Cancer is a water sign—its energy is fluid, cleansing, and receptive. Water sign cycles are particularly sweet for making tender connections with loved ones. They’re auspicious for spiritual practice too; whatever you sit with now can be more deeply absorbed. Listen to your intuition. Follow the intricate paths of your imagination. Commit to your creativity.

Each Moon cycle brings new energy for growth. But what specifically should you grow now? Astrology typically answers “what” questions by looking at houses. Look to the house of your birth chart with Cancer on the cusp: here’s your personal seed bed this month. This is the place where you usually “do” this sign, where the Moon is most at home, and the dance of her phases is most relevant. The New Moon may bring a unique opportunity here… but you must tune in.

Cancer’s Response

Waiting for Cancer to show up is the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. You may get a brilliant new idea for a creative project—or a sudden urge to really clean your house. It’s amazing what clearing and organizing your space can do. It’s like birds building the nest before the eggs appear. Or perhaps you’ll be asked to act as Cancer’s agent. You might bake a cake for a friend who’s in the doldrums. A child or lost cat might need your help. Cancer’s message? Notice how much you receive whenever you selflessly give.

But what if nothing wonderful happens? What if you simply feel stuck? That’s a sign that you’re under the spell of the Dark Mother, the one who resists your growth. She’s the one who always keeps you from the party because something bad could happen. On the first day of your diet, she likes to surprise you with your favorite dessert. According to Jungian analyst Marion Woodman, the Dark Mother is like “a great lizard lounging in the depths of the unconscious.” She is threatened by change. She wants you mired in inertia, feeling so incapable, that you can’t aspire to anything new. In the old days, knights took swords to the dark-mother dragons hiding in their caves. But now, with an open heart and courageous awareness, you can simply relax and coax your inner dragon into the light. There you can see how fearful she is. Speak softly, stroke her brow, and tell her everything is going to be all right. Once you gain her trust, the old dragon will change before your eyes into a willing and magical partner.

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Moon Workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac.

Scorpio Call and Response

scorpio

Whether we view time as a marching calendar, as cyclical waves, or dotted with portals to other dimensions, in all systems, the New Moon is a special doorway. The wishes you make now may indeed be super-powered, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect special favors. If you rarely visit your Aunt Bernice, she’s got little motivation to fund cat’s surgery. You have to visit the invisible world. Bow and make a sincere offering. The invisible powers will renew their interest in you. When you call to the gods, they do respond.

Calling Scorpio

Scorpio draws us into the mystery of the underworld. Here Isis and Ishtar descend. Persephone savors her pomegranates. Ceridwen stirs her cauldron. The snake goddesses respect Scorpio’s powers of transformation and its gifts of wisdom. They understand that underworld empowerments usually come with a price. Initiates must be willing to enter the unknown no matter how fast their hearts are beating. They must be willing to lose what they thought they couldn’t give up. They must develop the kind of patience that travels with passion and strength.

Of course your New Moon offering needn’t be so dramatic. A simple ritual would be to play in the dark. You might learn it’s not so bad in there. It can be creative, mysterious, wondrous not to know what you think you know. When your eyes can’t see, what will your other senses uncover? One night soon enter a favorite room in your house, turn off all the lights, and stand in the center. Sense the room. Isn’t it amazing what you can know and feel without seeing? Now go to your least favorite room and do the same thing. A little different, right? Stay with it until any fear or resistance dissolves, and you start discovering.

The dark can take you to a place deep within yourself if you let it. But there are other doorways. We in the Northern Hemisphere can follow the example of trees, the infallible and natural gurus of the time. Why do trees turn crimson and gold in the fall? The short answer is, no one is entirely sure. Yet what scientists have discovered so far is instructive: An autumn leaf is busy with purposeful activity. The trees are dismantling the chlorophyll in their leaves, drawing its nutrients back into their centers, storing its energy for new growth in spring. Some believe fall’s brightly colored leaves are simply left-over pigments, a tree’s version of graying hair. Others believe the reds and yellows serve a protective purpose, as a natural sunscreen, or a warning to insect predators. Either way, the trees are looking ahead. And so, perhaps, should we.

By releasing something, we will draw new energy into our core. Have your Scorpio ceremony beside a trash can: throw away something you’ve been hanging onto. Pay slow attention to the process. Is there regret? A tightness? Sorrow? Or simply relief? Let the event teach you something about yourself.

Or just sit with a tree that is transforming. Be with the intelligence of this tree. As you stand as still as the tree, sense how busy it is. Connect and listen. As the cycle unfolds, maintain your relationship. When the bright leaves of your tree go brown and fall to the ground, observe how your own transformation is progressing.

Or simply light a candle and say thanks to Scorpio for all the gifts it has brought you through death, loss, and rebirth. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it sincerely, and in the spirit of Scorpio

Scorpio’s Response

This is the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. But in the next few days or even weeks, keep your eye out for Scorpio visits. You may in a dream get a gift of power, an important message, or a sign. Scorpio’s surrogates may appear in your outer world. A pack of young Goths, dressed in black and chains, might cross your path. Or a raven will land outside your window and begin cawing. You’ll see an unusual poster with a snake or a smiling skull. You’ll feel an electric charge as a deeper part of you recognizes who sent them. Link this appearance to whatever you were thinking about at that moment. There will be a message. And it will be a gift.

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the sun and moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Twelve Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac. 

© Dana Gerhardt

Painting by Johanna Uribes. See more of Johanna’s work at her website.

Call and Response Virgo New Moon

calling_zodiac

It’s another New Moon: when wishes can be super-charged with sparkling fresh energy. Yet if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect buckets of fairy dust. New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. But you must be willing to meet the invisible world. Bow and open yourself to their touch. Make an offering. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the gods, they do respond!

Calling Virgo

Call Virgo and she’ll appear with the fresh grace of a virgin. This goddess wants nothing, is attached to nothing, and fears nothing. She walks the ripening fields, knowing that when the Harvest Moon rises, round as a pumpkin above the waiting barns, it’s harvest time. Her eyes are honest and appraising. The smallest details can’t escape her. Call her in at this New Moon and she’ll help you scrub your floors, organize the family photos, alphabetize your spices, and empty the medicine cabinet of old prescriptions. She likes to plan for the future and knows the most efficient method for everything.

People sometimes feel worried or guilty when Virgo is around. In small doses such feelings can have a purifying effect. But one year, guilt had me hiding in the closet. “That won’t do,” she frowned. “Take a salt bath and clean your room, discard whatever feels too dark, then pick one or two useful objects to give away.” Her magic worked. Next year, when I was overwhelmed with worry, she handed me a small black bag. “Fill it with sticks and stones from your backyard, one for everything you fear. Pass it through a cleansing smoke, then bury it in your front yard, where it will transform.” A week later, above the buried bag, a dozen pure white moonflowers suddenly appeared.

Usually I call in the signs, but this year Virgo calls me. She asks me to join her on an Oregon back road, where the blackberries thrive like weeds; just now, they’re ripening. You should join us too. Five geese are squawking overhead, speeding somewhere… but let’s just amble, past the occasional picker with her Tupperware bowl, so absorbed in her task she doesn’t notice us. Berry picking requires concentration. If you don’t move carefully, the thorns will harvest you, grabbing your clothes and dragging you into the bush. To do it right, you have to work the Virgo way: With discrimination. Unhurried. Absorbed yet industrious. Reverent. With a quiet mind. You’re tuned to perfection: finding gifts from Nature that are perfectly ready to eat.

Your eyes will tell you a lot. Leave the red ones alone. Scan for those whose purple is so intense it’s almost black (hence the name “blackberries”). If the berry looks like it’s about to burst, it’s a good candidate. If it has the sad look of a deflated tire, it’s too late. Study the finish. The ripe ones aren’t too shiny or too dull; their sheen is a vibrant cream. Out of the fifty berries you scan, you spot a likely candidate. Now here’s the real test. Tug on it. If it instantly releases into your hand, it will be delicious. If you have to tug a second or third time, if you yank it off the stem, when you pop it into your mouth, it will repay you with a tart explosion. “Ha!” It says, as your mouth endures a sour rush: “You can’t fool Mother Nature.”

I wish I could tell you that I only pick the ones that are ready to eat. But I am impatient by nature. And more often than I can count, I’ve yanked the ones my eyes have determined should be ready. I eat them and get the appropriate reward for my impatience. Virgo has blessed me with a new resolution this year—to harvest more wisely in my life. I want to tug only on those things that are truly ripe. I want to let everything else take its sweet time.

Virgo’s Response

Virgo brings a precise, analytical, and useful energy to our September New Moons. We’re invited to survey our lives and sort what is useful from what is not—like the Virgin, separating the wheat from the chaff. If you call Virgo in, she may gift you with the humble willingness to work or an impulse to get newly organized.

I have Virgo rising—which means she rules my basic personality and approach to life. As a schoolgirl, every year when the Sun entered Virgo, I’d take out a clean sheet of paper. With a bold, optimistic hand, I’d write at the top: “The New Me.” Below it I would list all the wonderful qualities I was determined to adopt in the coming school year. (“Smile,” “Be helpful,” “Always say something nice.”) One year I read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and following a suggestion in the book, made note cards of its winning slogans and strategies. Each time I conjured my New Self, I felt like this act of conjuring was itself new. It wasn’t until I became an astrologer that I realized I did this every year at Virgo’s insistence! Which house does she activate in your chart? What important message does the Virgin have for you this cycle?

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Moon Workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac.

© 2010 Dana Gerhardt

Painting by Johanna Uribes. See more of Johanna’s work at her website.

Call and Response: Pisces New Moon

calling_zodiac

The wishes you make now may indeed be super-powered, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect special favors. If you rarely sip tea with your quirky neighborhood psychic, don’t expect her to throw rings of protection around your house. New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. Visit the invisible world. Bow and open yourself to their touch. Make an offering. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the gods, they do respond!

Calling Pisces

Pisces plays the mandolin and wears sky blue shirts that smell like lavender or sometimes roses. When he visits, you might hear snow melting. Tulips and daffodils poke their heads above ground to greet him, while starlings dream of their future: finding a soul mate, nest-building, teaching their young to fly. Pisces’ mother used to worry about him. He’d spend long hours alone in his room. Whenever she pressed her ear to the door, holding a bowl of soup or grilled cheese sandwiches, she would hear strange voices, sometimes sobbing, maybe a violin, or a trilling bird. One year he drew a thousand portraits of clouds. Next year he took up face painting, until every kid in the neighborhood had become twelve fantastic animals. The year after that he spoke just one word: “Ah.” He studied poetry and took long naps in college. Later he tried the corporate world, but missed too many meetings. One day he kidnapped the shipping department and took them to a matinee just before Fed-Ex arrived.

Pisces says that life’s too short and there’s important non-work to do. “Each day listen to your desires and follow them exclusively. That’s the wisdom of flow.” I’m suspicious: “How would anything get done?” His eyes grow wide and mirthful, as if to say “You’ll see when you finally try it!” I’d like to, for when I spend time with Pisces, my worries exhaust into a peaceful sigh, like petals releasing from a tired rose. At night Pisces tells me to sit in a dark room with a single candle for at least two hours. If I stay there long enough, I don’t know who I am anymore. Yet my heart grows as big as the world.

Let your heart likewise expand this cycle. Let your imagination run free. Business can take care of itself. The cherry trees are in bloom. You might be yearning for a little poetry or the delicious escape of a movie marathon. You may get lost in the sound of a symphony or the gentle touch of silk. Can you let yourself drift and dream? Soon enough the Equinox will be calling you to action. Next month brings the Warrior’s New Moon. Prepare now by first drawing closer to your soul.

If you stir dirt into a glass of water, it gets murky. But if the glass sits for awhile, the dirt will settle and the water will clear. Something similar happens to the mind in meditation, which is another fine way to meet this New Moon. Sit. Come to stillness. Wait at Pisces’ door like an initiate at the gates of a great teacher. Without expectations, enter the void. This is the end of the zodiac; all signs are contained within it. Perhaps you can sense this, how harmoniously Pisces holds everything and dissolves everything, how this readies us for the Aries adventures to come.

Of course, no matter how dreamy we might like our lives to be, there’s always some unpleasantness. Sure as there are fairies making everything right, there are complainers making everything wrong. How do we respond? Pisces can inspire our most saintly self—or our most victimized. When you’re unconscious of its gifts, Pisces will make you whine: “Poor me!” or “Why me?” Remember that unhappy dinner last night? Maybe the sesame chicken was too dry. Maybe the salad dressing was bottled instead of fresh. Or maybe your dinner date never showed up. Pisces only wants you to understand that everything was just perfect.

Pisces’ Response

Waiting for Pisces to appear is the fun part. No way can I predict his costume. But if you find yourself wandering into rooms for reasons you forgot, if you feel the urge to float for hours in the bathtub, or to take a long drive to nowhere, Pisces may be present, trying to get you to pause, listen, and come into this moment, where he promises you’ll find everything. Pay attention to your nightly dreams. Listen to your daytime fantasies. These are the expressions of your soul. Can you read their language? In the weeks ahead, you might find yourself suddenly weeping, overwhelmed with compassion, for the orphans in Kabul, the Libyan widow, the bankrupt yoga teacher, or the tense soldier prowling volatile streets on the other side of the world. This cycle may we all find, on our fragile spinning globe some grace, some power, the hand of sweet guidance. Call it faith or hope; both belong to Pisces. And let’s join with Swami Beyondananda in his prayer to the hot dog vendor:  “Make me one with everything.”

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac.

Call and Response: Aquarius New Moon

It’s another New Moon! The wishes you make now may indeed be super-powered, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect special favors. If you rarely visit your eccentric Aunt Ella, don’t expect her to gift you with a new iPad on your next birthday. New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. Open yourself to their touch. Bow and make an offering. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the gods, they do respond.

Calling Aquarius

People say Aquarius the Water Bearer was actually human. He was a shepherd named Ganymede, who was so gorgeous, Zeus spirited him to the heavens to serve the thirsty gods water and wine. But this isn’t the full story. He was also a radical, always disturbing the village. He was teaching the sheep how to climb trees. While his sister was sleeping, he dyed her hair purple and blue. Afternoons he served fortitude tea to the crazy woman everyone hated. She adored his inventions: a thorn-bush goblet-scrubber, sandals-on-wheels, a wooden cart with wings, an eyepiece that revealed the fish on the Moon, and finally, a catapult that carried his resume to the heavens. He wanted to serve in a big way. Zeus hired him to be the gods’ water bearer, until Aquarius devised an ever-flowing water urn out of stars, leaving him free to pursue other ambitions.

Often, when Aquarius visits, he acts like a teenager. He rolls his eyes a lot, always hates what I like, spends hours locked in his room. He’s constantly texting, tweeting, updating his Facebook profile, or playing with the apps on his iPhone. At first I thought Aquarius disapproved of me. Then I discovered the notes he left in all my favorite places. Some contained a quietly brilliant idea to make my life better. Others posed a question so startling, my world spun. Twice he shared visions of my future in such detail I believed they would actually come true. He’s a good friend now. His face betrays little emotion, but he’s very compassionate. He cares more about the world’s well-being than anyone I know. He loves this season, when the snows melt and it rains on Saturdays. When the clouds break, he takes me to an orchard of dead-looking trees and points out the tiny buds sprouting on the branches. His eyes are always looking to the future.

Honor Aquarius this month by breaking out of your box. Awaken from the midwinter slumber of your limitations. Your inner genius is ready for a revolution. Aquarius is the cycle to raise your energy. In fact that’s the best way to call in Aquarius: Liberate yourself!  Is there someplace you’ve been feeling stuck? If you’re not living the life you want, Listen. What has your spirit been longing to do?  No sign has a greater connection to the future than Aquarius. It rules progress, innovation and breakthroughs. But first you’ve got to clear out all the musty, droopy, angry, wimpy, static energy of the recent past.

The inner and outer spaces mirror each other. If your work has been uninspired, rearrange your office and throw out old papers. If family relationships are not as harmonious as you like, give your home a top-to-bottom cleaning. A simple ritual for this New Moon is to become your own Water-bearing Angel. Fill an atomizer or spray bottle with energetically charged water. Charge the water by placing a crystal in it for at least 24 hours (before that, clean the crystal by soaking it in a bowl of salt or under the sun’s rays). If you’re familiar with Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work, you know that writing positive intentions on the water bottle (“grace,” “radiance,” “fertility,” “passion,” or “peace”) will further charge the water molecules. Dip a sprig of pine in the water to double its energetic potency. Pine is purifying–it smells clean too! On the day of the New Moon, visit all the rooms in your house and mist them with your ritual water. You should notice the difference instantly! Enjoy the newly charged air. Be alert. New inspirations may come pouring in.

Aquarius’s Response

Waiting for the response is the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. But if you’re edgy, itchy, and irritated, know that you’ve been touched.  If you find yourself shouting “No!” to something you’ve tolerated too long, Aquarius may be prodding you.  Or you might be suddenly inspired to figure out all those gizmos you’ve received as gifts—like your latest palm device. Or maybe you need a new appliance or two. Aquarius is THE cycle to upgrade your life. Take advantage of the latest technologies. Gadgets may seem like a tame way to celebrate this brilliant deva-but they are potent emblems of the possible human and its divinely inspired capacities. With a palm device you can instantly connect with the world. With your Aquarian genius, you might log onto the brilliance of the universe.

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac.

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