The Wheel Turns: Solstice Full Moon


On this Full Moon, summer–and the longest day of the year–arrives in the Northern Hemisphere. During the past few months, the Sun has been marching toward its northernmost limit on the horizon. It now lingers there awhile. That’s what “solstice” means—to stand still. It’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere; the days are short, as the Sun stands at the southernmost limit of the horizon. North or South, it’s a significant turning point in the wheel of the year.

Recognition of the Solstice is in our genetic code. Deep in our cells we know what to do. In the North, all that is nurtured by the Sun is energized. It’s time to bang the pots and celebrate the King, our Sun. Our bodies want to dance. Our arms want to open and receive its power. In the South, we’re turning inward, preparing to conserve faith and spirit for the cold days ahead.

North or South,  during the days before, after, or on the Solstice, we need to connect with the Sun. Let a part of yourself drift out of your routine and into the archetypal realm. You don’t have to be at Stonehenge to have a mystical experience. You may be surprised; at a random hour, while sitting at your desk, walking on the street, or sipping an espresso, the Sun will find you. It will wink at you from a knothole on the fence. Or beam through a window and touch your arm. Like an old friend. Stay awhile. Just let the Sun touch you and give thanks. Expressing your gratitude for the Sun is not a fancy Solstice ritual—but it’s potent nonetheless.

At Solstice, Father Sun enters Cancer, the Mother’s sign. We become more motivated to secure our foundations, to root ourselves, to connect with intuition, our deeper way of knowing. What are you nurturing now? Perhaps there’s an acorn in your hand that’s hoping you’ll commit to the oak it can become. Cancer is the season to commit more deeply to yourself and important projects!

At this time, I often think of P.D. Eastman’s children’s book Are You My Mother?  In the story, while a mother is hunting worms, her baby bird hatches—alone. It falls from its nest and wanders through the town confused, asking every creature it meets—a dog, a cow, an airplane, even a steam shovel—“Are you my mother?” Something like that happens with us now too. What’s confused and needy cracks out of its shell and goes looking (quite naturally) for comfort and safety.

Just when we want to commit to something, we notice a rising insecurity, a certain clingy-ness, fear of rejection, or timidity about acting on our goals.  This happens because whatever part of us is growing—whether we’re launching a new habit or an ambitious project—always begins as something soft and vulnerable. It can’t feed itself. It needs a mommy. We search—sometimes in the wrong places—looking in the snack section of the grocery store or to our mates. But what we really need, we can only find within.

In Eastman’s story, the baby bird finds its mother and his happy childhood begins. Our projects will also start their happy childhood when we make Cancer’s necessary discovery: We are the baby and the mother we’ve been seeking. New strength pours in during Cancer’s season whenever we approach ourselves as a mother would her child: tenderly, cautiously, protectively, full of sensitivity and commitment. How we treat our feelings can become the model for how we treat our goals. Cancer’s journey from insecurity to strength is something we do every year. We go from lost child to confident mother again and again.  In summer or winter, it’s how we grow.

3 Minute Full Moon Ritual

Ritual: Gemini Sagittarius Full Moon

Drawing down the moon…

Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit. Stand and raise your arms above your head. Let your palms face each other and curve slightly toward the moon. Feel as though you’re a sacred chalice, drawing the power of the Great Mother into every cell of your being—from your toes, to your womb, to your breasts, to your jaw, and your eyes. Feel the pleasure of this energy. It is vibrant with the power to give, to receive, to nurture life, and manifest what is possible.

Sending your blessings…

Draw your hands to your heart. Massage this area. Feel that you have become the goddess, capable of balancing the earth and harmonizing its opposing forces. In particular you are tuned to the forces of Sagittarius and Gemini, signs devoted to knowledge, truth, understanding, and communication. Out of balance, they bring righteousness, gossip, judgment, confusion, and lies. This negativity circles the globe like a dark smoke. Know that if you breathe in this smoke you have the power to transform it in your heart and breathe it out as the pure white light of the goddess. Read the affirmations and visualize the world’s darkness dissolving with your breath. Find a comfortable rhythm and repeat the statements until your light has transformed the world.

  • Breathing in…
    gossip and lies.
  • Breathing out…
  • Breathing in…
    righteous judgement.
  • Breathing out…
    knowledge and understanding.
  • Breathing in…
    confusion and hatred.
  • Breathing out…
    insight and love.

Grounding the energy…

See the world bathed in the purifying light of your offering: the sleeping babies, the politicians arguing, the starving children, liars and thieves. See the world transforming with this light, growing peaceful and calm. When you are ready, bring your hands to your sides, palms facing the earth. Send your divine light deep into the earth. See this energy take shape as a round moon, gathering below you in the center of the earth. Feel yourself slowly coming back into your body. Rest in this peace until you are ready to return to your life. Blessed

Gemini New Moon : Star-Crossed Love


Of all the quirky, beautiful items I inherited from my dad, this Alberto Vargas print of Scheherazade is my favorite. The legendary storyteller has a place of honor opposite my desk, where she inspires me as I write.

So I was recently thrilled to discover a gorgeous film from 2000 based on her story. In this movingly told tale of the Arabian Nights, clever Scheherazade marries a vengeful sultan who’s bent on destroying her, and spins mesmerizing tales that lift him out of darkness to love again. The accomplished young woman, who had loved the sultan since they were children, not only saved her own life with storytelling, but healed the sultan’s hardened heart and inspired him to become the wise ruler he was born to be. Theirs was truly a star-crossed love.

Stories can heal and nourish our souls. Aren’t there books and movies you return to again and again when you need a dose of their special medicine? I have a whole collection of them.

Whatever medicine you need right now, you’re apt to find it at the Gemini New Moon (Sat. June 4, 8 pm PDT). The Sun and Moon in clever Gemini join lovely Venus, bringing healing balm and inspiration as they launch a new nine-month cycle (until the next Sun-Venus conjunction) for love and creativity. Because Venus is an evening star at this time, the new cycle is deep and introspective, rich with symbolic meaning and a hint of danger.

Those with planets at mid-degrees of Gemini will be particularly impacted by this New Moon. For all of us, though, creativity and love will be at the forefront, for better or for worse. Since the Sun and Venus oppose Saturn and square Neptune, there is a star-crossed quality to this New Moon. Though magic is definitely afoot, make sure that any big decisions are well thought-out, and that you’re prepared to take on new responsibilities and work through obstacles. Mars is still retrograde through the end of June, so forward motion may not be favored quite yet in whichever house Mars is transiting for you. Be like Scheherazade and keep spinning the tale, steering it in the direction of the highest, best outcome for all concerned.

If you need help charting your course, here’s a Gemini New Moon ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life. You’ll also discover how to activate your Knowledge gua for inspiration and clarity.

Ask Flora-June 4, 2016

Dear Flora, What I am I best suited to do in my career that will fulfill me in all ways? The doors to the past seem closed.  I can’t see clearly and don’t know how to proceed.  I wish I could find the right path, seize the opportunity, and secure a job.  I am willing to study and continue educational development. Thank you, Geraldine

Warmest greetings, Geraldine, Recognizing “the doors to the past seem (or ‘are’) closed” means you are already on track for beginning anew.  You now have the benefit of a blank slate, and an opportunity to invest yourself in the present rather than attempting to return to the past when it is already history!

When you say you’d like a “career that will fulfill you in all ways,” I imagine what you mean by that is that you’d like to align yourself with work that gives your life meaning and purpose.  If so, then this is the perfect time for you to receive the support of Wild Oat flower essence which is indicated for those who are experiencing a lack of clarity, commitment, or focus with regard to their life direction and work.  Wild Oat aids in deepening one’s relationship with their life purpose and with work that is in alignment with their inner calling.  As you deepen into relationship with Wild Oat, notice what your life experiences bring your way, and how those experiences may be pointing your way forward.

You added, “I can’t see clearly, and don’t know how to proceed.  I wish I could find the right path, seize the opportunity, and secure a job.”  Although it can feel very unsettling, it is okay, Geraldine, if you are currently not able to see clearly.  See this lack of clarity as an invitation to try something new.  Try this–try relaxing into the blur.  I know, it may sound odd, but if you are willing, give it a try.  This means allowing yourself to be okay with not seeing clearly for now, and trusting that clarity will come, and with absolute perfect timing.  You also don’t have to know how to proceed, nor do you need to find the right path.  Instead, practice letting go of the need to “know” and to find the “right path.”  Remind yourself you are already on “your” path, and that is the best and only path for you!  This is simply a time in-between two chapters.  One has ended, and the new one is still forming.  This is a time of questioning, of listening, and of exploration.  Give yourself permission to be in this in-between time with curiosity.  Consider “living with” the following questions and seeing what life presents in response to your inquiring within:

What inspires you?

What awakens your heart? 

What brings you joy? 

What feels playful? 

If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do? 

What enables you to serve others in a way the gives your own life meaning and purpose?

Giving yourself permission to experiment with multiple ideas will allow you the breathing room for recognizing your next steps, including the possibility of studying and continuing your educational development.

Be sure to give your relationship with Wild Oat ample time to facilitate a shift.  If you are willing to commit to four full months of receiving this essence, I trust you will feel a new direction beginning to form.  Given the proper space and time, and through focused and committed creative exploration, you will find a career with meaning and purpose, Geraldine.  How fulfilling that will be for you, and for those you will be serving through your new vocation!

Blessing to you during this essential “in-between” time!

Calling Gemini at this New Moon

Little boy playing with can phone connected by string, concept for talking to yourself

 New Moons are potent times to forge new alliances with the gods. Visit the invisible world and open yourself to its 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 Gemini

Gemini travels at an exhilarating pace. He makes the most of unexpected opportunities. Just last week at a wine auction in Province, he picked up some wild gossip that soon brought down a minister. This morning, in the jungles of Brazil, he discovered a plant that can cure the terminally serious of their deficient humor. His words are sharp as a quill’s point. His hands turn quick as the pages of an absorbing mystery. His eyes flash like twin stars.

Just think of what you can accomplish in alliance with this archetype! Gemini’s New Moon brings the year’s best opportunity to stretch your mind. Challenge yourself to learn something new. It doesn’t have to be complicated or deep—catching up on the latest cultural memes or mastering five new options on your cell phone could have surprising benefits for your brain. Succumbing to gossip or sarcasm are signs that your mind is bored, in need of more interesting stimuli. If you’re nervous, stressed or scattering your energy, can you turn the present moment into a learning opportunity?

While the rest of the world is sleeping, Gemini is often reading. He speaks all languages and manages to know a little bit about everything. He’s a brilliant storyteller and frequent Wikipedia contributor. He’s playful too. He loves shooting marbles and tonight he’s building a glow-in-the-dark kite. As a toddler, he palled around with that mischievous monkey, Curious George. Once they were supposed to deliver newspapers. It was Gemini who pointed out the river in the distance: “Aren’t you curious what it’s like over there?” At the river, it was Gemini who figured out how to fold their undelivered papers into a clever fleet of little boats. And later that day, it was Gemini who fed the bugle to the ostrich—after the circus owner warned them: “An ostrich will eat anything!” “Well…aren’t you curious to see if that’s true?”

One year I discovered a secret about Gemini: he loves silence too. This perpetually busy messenger loves what you can learn by listening. When the Sun entered Gemini that year, I was invited to a living room satsang. I sat for a long while in silence with a group of other seekers, each of us sinking into our own pools of dark treasure. One meditator began crying, another felt a strange buzzing in her body, another discovered old insecurities. “There is something to explore, right here, right now,” urged our Zen teacher. “Nowhere to go,” she said, “you’re already here.” And to each physical sensation or emotional wounding that came up, she would offer a Gemini message: “Get curious. Be with it. Observe it, without trying to manipulate it into anything else.” We all learned plenty that night.

Silence may be the smartest way to get Gemini on our side. Not a dull silence, but an expectant one, fueled by fresh curiosity. Sit quietly with whatever is true right now. Whether you’re happy, sad, harried, wounded, or somewhere in between, before you ride on the wings of Mercury toward something new, and you will, because that’s what we do in Gemini’s cycle, sanctify your experience of this New Moon with some quiet curiosity. Spend five or fifteen minutes to just be. Close your eyes. Listen to the sounds coming from the street beyond your door. Feel the air. Can you notice how it’s gently touching your skin? Tune into your body. Is there tightness anywhere? Numbness? Or are there pleasant sensations? Let your body communicate. It’s telling you exactly what’s going on in your life right now. Ah… how nice to be the one who is listening.

Gemini’s Response

Of course Gemini always adds a few surprises of his own. Waiting for his response is the fun part. No way can I predict how he’ll arrive. Gemini frequently appears as youths and travelers—also liars and thieves! He rules siblings, neighbors, tradesmen, journalists and gossips—an encounter with any one of these might be particularly significant. Gemini is a Trickster too. To keep you from settling into humdrum views, he just might pull the rug out from under you—which is one way to keep your world fresh and new. Those who accuse Gemini of being fickle misunderstand him. The ancients used to swear their honor by Gemini, ending their oaths with “By Gemini!”(which later became “By Jiminy!”) This cycle, end your promises this way too. And keep an eye out for the winged messenger.

Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere see the Sun now heading toward its northernmost limit on the horizon. Appropriately for Gemini, North is the direction representing “knowledge and wisdom” in cultures around the world. At the Summer Solstice (June 21), the Sun will slow to an imperceptible pace. That’s what “solstice” means—to stand still. Gemini brings us to a turning point, when summer (or winter in the Southern Hemisphere) officially begins. As the days lengthen or shorten in Gemini (depending on your hemisphere), reach for new information, enjoy stimulating conversations, and take your curiosity everywhere.

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.

© 2016 Dana Gerhardt
All rights reserved

What’s your journal doing right now?


Has it been sitting on a shelf? Are its pages silent?  Gemini is THE cycle for talking and writing. And one of the best ways to do this–without risking the mischief that thinking out loud can cause–is to visit your journal  if you already have one. Or start one if you don’t .  Anne Frank is one of the world’s most famous journal keepers and not surprisingly, she had Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter in Gemini.  Whether your journal is elegant or funky or just a file on your computer—Gemini doesn’t care.  Write on scratch paper if you have to, but allow yourself the joy of stimulating your inner writer and listening to your thoughts. Discover what you didn’t know you were thinking.

Gemini Meditation: Your Wisdom Voice


Our spirit guide for Gemini’s New Moon journey is Mercury. This trickster god of small talk, idle speculation, and airy fantasies has another, deeper side. Known to the Greeks as Hermes, and to the Egyptians as Thoth, he is the god of wisdom, the inventor of writing and commerce, also the primary guide for travelers, including the dead who journey to the underworld. In the Tarot, he is pictured as the Magician. Mercury is the divine designer of alchemy, symbolized by his staff, the cadeucus, which transforms everything it touches into gold.

Mercury is also the son of the Moon, indicated by the crescent Moon atop his astrological glyph. His sacred task is taking us to the depths, so that we might return with a life-giving message of truth and wisdom. Soul talk, not small talk, is his real passion and that’s where he’ll lead you this month, should you care to follow.

To tune into the voice of wisdom at this Gemini New Moon, begin by filtering out the static that fills the air waves of our digital age. Imagine that you have returned to a time when the only sounds are those of nature-the wind blowing, water splashing, crickets chirping, and the deep solitude of a forest glen. Creating such a space is like stepping into a sunlit clearing in the midst of the overgrown forest of your life.

Hidden within this sacred chamber of nature, you find that your ability to hear grows keener. As you listen, scattered bird calls begin to sound like a musical arrangement. Rustling tree branches seem to be whispering words in your ear. The wind sighing sends signals that penetrate to your deepest layers. All of nature is like a holy being seeking to impart meaning. The universe, it seems, is trying to communicate with you.

Then, imagine that you hear a voice speaking directly to your soul. Like the voice who spoke to Job through the whirlwind, or the Greek oracle who, possessed by the spirit of Apollo, uttered parables of wisdom, the voice that speaks is the intelligence of the universe seeking to give you a message. You are the question; the voice is the answer. Whether in words, or an implicit sense of wordless knowing, this voice articulates truths to a question you have long pondered. Suddenly, you understand; understanding, your mind becomes transformed-clear as a light dawning, a sun rising.

As you sit within this chamber, continue to savor the wisdom imparted to you by the universe. Immerse yourself in the echoed reverberations emanating from the voice that has spoken. Like a precious keepsake, you vow to keep its imprint within your heart—a holy text to contemplate when life makes no sense or you are lost at a crossroads. Then, you will know to grow still and listen to the voice of wisdom that speaks both within and without to the listening ears of your soul.

3 Minute New Moon Ritual

Ritual: Gemini New Moon

Ground your body, clear your mind…

Become aware of your body. Notice how gravity holds and connects you to earth. It’s as though your body is an ancient stone temple—solid, strong, secure. Sanctify this temple. Imagine a priestess is pouring sacred water and scattering rose petals, all the way down, from your head to your toes. Any anxiety or negativity washes away. Notice the thoughts and feelings leaving the temple—your judgments, your distracted mind, your worried heart. Be sure to honor them. Give each a smile and a piece of cake as it departs.

Draw a circle of protection, call in blessings…

Visualize a ring of fragrant flowers surrounding you, protecting you. Know that you are safe and relaxed. Breathe deeply. Feel the power of the Sun and Moon pouring into your circle. The energy of Gemini is gathering in your circle. It is intelligent, curious, and quick. It breathes through your lungs and expresses through your hands. It is skillful and clever, versatile and articulate. Gemini loves a good laugh. Continue absorbing this energy as you read Gemini’s affirmations.

  • I have multiple talents.
  • When I am still, I understand more.
  • I am interested in everything.
  • I love a good question.
  • I adjust quickly when I need to.
  • I am always learning.
  • I attract the information I need.
  • The world loves to hear what I’m thinking.

Allow seed intentions to form…

Your intentions for this cycle are gathering. You may already know what you wish to accomplish. Or you may not. Trust that all will unfold perfectly in time. Know that this brief ritual has aligned you with spirit. Now ask your heart if it has a closing message for you. This may come in words or as a picture, perhaps as a body sensation or sound. Give yourself time to receive this message. Digest it. Write it down. Then, in gratitude to yourself and spirit, return to normal awareness. Place a symbol of your Gemini New Moon message on your altar.

Healing with Moonlight

julia full moon crop4

Full Moons can be busy times. If you’re feeling tired and a bit off balance, you may be suffering from “energy retention,” a condition much like water retention (which is also common during Full Moons). With energy retention, the currents or flows in your field seem to expand without actually going anywhere. It can feel like you just ate a big meal, stuffed and lethargic. If you find yourself in this condition, there’s a simple remedy: Fill your inner self with moonlight.  It has the power to calm soothe and dissolve the tension.

Your imagination and your breath are all that you need.  As you draw breath inward, imagine that moonlight is also drawing into the internal spaces of your body. It helps to do this slowly.  If you have an area of your body that’s congested, in pain, or otherwise weakened, draw moonlight here.  Another  great practice is to fill your feet with this healing light.  Your feet represent precious soul space in your body.  They have connections with every other part of your body’s temple.  Bring moonlight into your feet and notice how the entire inner space gets charged. Or just keep filling yourself.  Draw the light all the way to the top of your head.  Do whatever will be most healing for you now.  Let the mind cool.

Filling with this wonderful medicine while you’re bathing  in outer moonlight usually improves the experience–but sometimes the energy is too much. Experiment. Is this practice more profound if you’re outdoors or indoors? Be sure to notice how you feel before your moon-working.  Notice how you feel after.  Move slowly. Allow the energy to find its natural flow again.

Full Moons are a traditional time for contemplation. But there are many ways to do Moon practice. More is available in my monthly Moon Workshop:  info and enrollment here!

Sagittarius Full Moon: New GPS

Hiker woman with a compass in the mountains

Did you ever read the children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth? It’s a story about the importance of being willing to engage our life journey, and to learn from it. It begins with a young man named Milo, who is bored. He receives a package one day, with a map, and note that reads, “For Milo, who has plenty of time.” The package instructs him to have a destination in mind, but he disregards that, and as he plays in his room a whole world opens up and he’s taken to his first stop, called Expectations, where he is sidetracked by the Whether Man’s incessant banter, and daydreams his way into the Doldroms, a colorless, boring place. But as he engages his journey, he meets companions, is inspired to undertake a quest and just when he decides life and the world is thoroughly interesting and beautiful and he was all wrong about the “boring” part, he’s dropped by the phantom tollbooth back into his own bedroom with a new note that reads: “For Milo, who now knows the way.”

Our natal chart is like Milo’s map, an object of wonder with its hints and suggestions “head this way… no, go that way” and even glimmers of arriving at a true north. Yet even if we have a map we all bungle through life to some degree, don’t we? That’s because we are here to have experiences, make new connections and learn. None of us are given a guidebook, a scripted “how-to” for seamless navigation of life’s ups and downs. Life is an object lesson in improvisation, in thinking on our feet, connecting the dots and reading feedback. We’re ALL doing stand-up here.

Especially, now. Doesn’t it feel like we’ve entered a new world, one where a high degree of uncertainty and volatility is the new normal? Gemini is the mentally agile part of us that responds to our busy, changing environment with curiosity. Gemini says, It’s a fascinating, changeable world, and one worth discussing. It’s an information-rich sign, with a lot of ideas– all worth considering –but too many can spin our brains into cotton and lead us into confusion. Sagittarius can be the evangelical know-it-all who expresses that there’s only one right way and morally condemns others for their views -or- the wise counterpart to Gemini, helping us to step back from all the noise, sort through information, look at the big picture through a philosophical framework, use higher reasoning to get to higher ground. This lunation asks us to cut through the noise and find our own inner mountain top, though we can get easily sidetracked in the heat of the moment.

I’ve been witnessing a lot of heated debates about right versus wrong, lately, people condemning others for their opinion while placing theirs above others. Mars in Sagittarius retrograde joins this Full Moon. Self-righteousness is in the air. There is a right way and there is a wrong one, and you better know the difference…. That’s ego’s perspective. Ego separates. Yet none of us can claim to know what the world, or others, truly need. That’s Spirit’s perspective. It’s helpful to distinguish.

Fiery Mars invites us to engage life with our energy and choices, but retrograde, that may mean its time to pull back, disengage, recalibrate our compass. Maybe a behavior is no longer working.For instance, entertaining too many opinions, gossip, mental worry can fragment and divide the attention we need to be in the driver’s seat of our life. Ah, the Whether Man. The more people take a fiery moral stance, the more it seems to cause division and drag everyone down. You’ve now entered the land of Expectations –bound to disappoint. Let’s remember that we’re all doing improv, here.

I’ve been on my own Mars journey, getting new information by connecting meditatively to my higher self – an unexpected side effect of starting to do energy work to learn how to manage being an Empath (Mars in Sagittarius has been retrograding around my Neptune). It feels like I’m driving the same car, the same body, but I’m getting a new GPS download, a new way of driving my vehicle. It’s been unexpected, but it wasn’t unintentional. I engaged the uncomfortable things that were happening in my life and I became willing to grow and learn from them. That’s always been my personal philosophy, and it’s served me well in terms of growth and life satisfaction.

What’s your guiding philosophy? Is your compass, your GPS, working – or could it use an upgrade? We are each intrepid explorers on a quest for personal truth in a world full of uncertainty and differences, and while we have more in common than not, we are also so different. It’s easy to generalize truth with a capital T, but that’s not working anymore. The old GPS says there’s one right way for everyone. The new GPS says there’s a right way for you, and only you can know exactly what that looks like for you.

If you have more questions than answers, that’s in the air, too. We’ve got time to puzzle this one out; this is the first of two Sagittarius Full Moons. But with Mars’ placement, this is a clear call for deliberate action/choices, from higher wisdom ground. After all, life will always generously carry you along its stream, but only you decide, with your willingness to engage, read feedback, and learn from your experiences, whether you end up any wiser for the ride.