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August 3, 2020 – Full Moon in Aquarius & Full Moon Tarot Spread

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Today there is a Full Moon in Aquarius, but what does that mean? Here on Earth, when we look up at the full moon, it appears to be shining brightly because of where the Moon is positioned in relationship to the Sun and the Earth. A full moon marks the end of a cycle. The zodiac sign where the full moon occurs provides insight into the aspects of life illuminated by that bright full moon. After a period of living in the shadows, those aspects have gradually moved into the light.

Moon in Aquarius

When the Moon is in Aquarius, there can be emotional objectivity and detachment. The Moon wants to explore feelings and emotions, which requires a deep dive into our experiences, beliefs and attitudes and how we feel about them. Aquarius is focused on truth and objectivity, which requires ascending into the heavens to see humanity from a global perspective. At first glance, a student of astrology might think the Moon in Aquarius is a frosty, emotionally detached placement.

However, if we keep in mind that everyone has feelings, but has different ways of showing and managing those feelings, then it’s a little easier to understand how the Moon’s focus on emotional response can extract Aquarius’s desire for truth. For example, the Moon may ask Aquarius, “How do you REALLY feel about injustice?” and Aquarius replies with “I am AGAINST it!” The Moon encourages Aquarius to show those feelings in the ways Aquarius feels most comfortable. The Moon says to Aquarius, “show, don’t tell.”

The ways an Aquarius Moon could show its feelings include:

  • writing a letter to local officials about an issue in the community
  • signing and circulating petitions
  • advocating for justice & equality through participating in demonstrations and protests
  • educating others through sharing articles & resources

Full Moon Tarot Spread

A full moon is a perfect time to reflect upon the lessons learned since the last full moon, and what you wish to call forth for the next cycle. I developed this Full Moon Tarot Spread several years ago and use it at every full moon. This spread shines a light on the shadows of the cycle that has ended and casts its glow into what is to come.

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Full Moon Tarot Spread

Shuffle the cards and cut the deck as many times as you feel you need. As you shuffle, take several deep breaths and center your thoughts on yourself and your desire for deeper knowledge and foresight.
Lay out the cards in the pattern shown, or in rows of 3 cards each – whatever works easier for you.

  1. Where you are right now
  2. What influences you
  3. What you have learned since the last full moon
  4. What you are learning now
  5. What you take with you into the next cycle
  6. What you leave behind
  7. Advice
  8. What comes of following advice
  9. What to expect at the next full moon
Tips on Making the Most of Your Reading
  • Write it down. I like to record my full moon readings in my journal, adding any notes or interpretations on the reading in a contrasting ink color. Before I begin the reading, I write down my current state of mind.
  • Take your time. Schedule a time to do your reading when you won’t be disturbed. I find that my full moon readings can be done within 24-48 hours of the full moon being exact and I still get a very insightful reading.
  • Focus your energy. Turn off your phone, music, TV, etc. Sit silently for several minutes before you do your reading. If you do any other ritual work with moon cycles, include the reading as part of your practice.

 

Venus Retrograde Fridays

How’s everyone doing? Did you lose your mind after the first 30 days of stay-at-home orders or are you holding on to those last few brain cells? I have my good days and not-so-good days. This week has been really weird, with energy spikes and then 24-hour cycles of I-don’t-give-a-f**k.

But I have one thing I’ve been looking forward to every week since May 13: Venus Retrograde Fridays. I was inspired by Chani Nicholas’s workshops with a special section on Venus retrograde. Chani is a freakin’ brilliant astrologer who explains everything so clearly and with a focus on personal growth. If you’re not following her on social media, and you have even a passing interest in astrology, go follow her now and sign up for her mailing list. I’ll wait.

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A brief primer on Venus retrograde, taken from Café Astrology:

Occasionally, Venus appears to be moving backward in the sky. “Appears” is the key word here, because, technically speaking, no planet actually moves backward in their orbits around the Sun. In fact, they don’t even slow down. Retrograde-station-direct cycles are essentially illusions that result from our point of view from Earth, simply because the Earth is also orbiting the Sun at a different speed than the other planets. Venus is Retrograde approximately 40-43 days every 18 months.

Venus went retrograde in the sign of Gemini on May 13 and will station direct on June 25.

Why should you care? Well, Venus is the planet of beauty and aesthetics. She rules what we value, what makes us happy, and what creative pursuits we enjoy. She is all about sensory experiences: delicious food and drink, leisurely activities, delightful scents and sights. She also rules relationships – surprise, surprise.

So what happens when Venus is retrograde? Retrograde periods of any planet in astrology are a time when the areas ruled by that planet seem to go backwards or sideways. We have to reassess, reflect, re-do, rewrite, rethink; things might not move forward as fast or as easily as we’d like. Since Venus rules love, affection, beauty, values, aesthetics and relationships, that means these are the areas where we need to reconsider what we’re doing and where we want to be during a Venus retrograde cycle. You may start considering a new hairstyle or makeup palette. You might want to clean out your closet and reinvent your look. A romance that was already on shaky ground may end, or past loves may pop up and get you thinking about how that relationship helped or hindered your growth.

Most astrologers will advise you not to make any major changes during a retrograde period. During Venus retrograde, you shouldn’t cut your own hair or sell off your investment portfolio. I tend to agree with that, but I would also add: if you’re able to test out a change in a way that you can reverse it with minimal consequences, it might be worth trying.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about Venus Retrograde Fridays. Venus rules Friday, so Chani Nicholas recommends using this day to focus on Venusian activities. After nearly 8 months of intense client work and dealing with personal issues, I am all about taking better care of me while work is not as crazy busy. I’ve now had two Venus Retrograde Fridays and really enjoyed them, and figured I owed it to the last few regular readers of my blog to share how this works and ways you can honor Venus during this retrograde period.

Here’s a list of possible activities for Venus Retrograde Friday.

    • Lounge in bed for as long as you want.
    • Wear comfy clothes.
    • Play “closet” where you go through your clothes and try out new looks.
    • Reorganize your closet or dresser: by color, by type, by season, by outfit, by whatever.
    • Play “jewelry box” where you go through your baubles (as my fabulously fashionable friend Beth calls them) and put on all of them or try new combinations.
    • Put clean sheets on the bed and fresh linens in the bathroom.
    • Take a long soak in the tub with your favorite scents – bubbles, bath bomb or salts optional (bonus points if you have a glass of your favorite beverage nearby, or you eat a cupcake while in the tub).
    • Deep condition your hair.
    • Put on your favorite perfume or scented lotion.
    • Give yourself a mani/pedi or a facial (YouTube has tons of great tutorials).
    • Teach yourself a new updo for your hair (again, YouTube tutorials are the way to go).
    • Take a nap.
    • Bake your favorite treats and eat them slowly so you can enjoy every bite.
    • Make yourself a fabulous dinner and pair it with your favorite beverage – or order that meal for pickup/delivery.
    • Write a love letter to yourself to open after July 29 (when Venus ends its shadow period).
    • Write out affirmations focusing on loving yourself more, then read them aloud. Some good ones:
      • I am perfectly content to be me.
      • I am good enough just as I am.
      • I love and approve of myself.
      • I choose to love myself unconditionally.
    • Read love poems, a romance novel, chick lit, or erotica.
    • Watch a favorite rom-com.
    • Take a virtual tour of an art museum or historic residence/palace (my personal favorite is Versailles).
    • Write letters and cards to people you care about – or send happy mail to people who need encouragement and/or support. (Here’s a great site to start with if you’d like to write something semi-anonymous to someone in need. Here’s another one.)

While you don’t have to do this on Fridays, it will certainly kick off the weekend on a positive note. And if you can only do one thing you really love on Friday, that’s still good. Venus Retrograde Fridays are all about loving on yourself the best way possible. Enjoy!

Love Me, Love My Blog: On Blogging, Boundaries and Privacy

One of my initial concerns about blogging was how private I wanted to be. If this was a place for me to share experiences and explore ideas – many of which would be frowned upon by long-time friends and family members – did I want anyone and everyone to know what I was writing about? Or did I want to keep my identity a secret?

Initially I kept everything as quiet as possible. But I am notoriously bad at keeping secrets about myself. When it comes to my life, I am a believer in “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I believe we all want to feel known and understood, and if our online personas are the way we let people know who we are, then sharing that content might bring us that much closer to feeling known and understood – and, ultimately, loved.

Cyber Snooping

Reading through this post from 15 years ago, I struggle to remember which coworker this was, though I have a pretty good idea. She left a few months after I started and later helped me get an interview with her new employer, but I decided it wasn’t a good fit as the job was a lateral move in many ways.

I also realize I was making a lot out of nothing. She gave me the link to her blog and that constituted permission for me to read it. If I had told our mutual supervisor about her blog, though, that would have been a bad idea. (That supervisor was a hot mess, but I had yet to discover this fact.)

I still struggle to practice detached compassion, whether with colleagues, friends or family. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in other people’s problems, especially when your own problems feel insurmountable or trivial. Solving their issues – or helping them find solutions – is extremely validating.

Then there’s the matter of codependency. For years I saw that word as being exclusive to alcohol and drug addiction, but I finally came to accept that codependency is ubiquitous. It’s the subtext in so many songs and TV show plotlines. It sneaks into every relationship, whether with a romantic partner or a parent. In short: codependency is a bitch.

At the heart of all of this is boundaries: setting and maintaining those lines of involvement, whether physical, mental, spiritual or emotional. Knowing when to call someone on their behavior because they have breached a boundary line and dealing with the potential fallout. I still struggle with this, too. But like this blog, I am a work in progress.

It was 15 years ago today…

…that I began the Girl with Moxie blog. To paraphrase another song, I started at Blogspot, now I’m here (on self-hosted WordPress).

A lot has changed for me in 15 years, both personally and professionally. I started the blog out of boredom and restlessness at my office job. One day while surfing the interwebz, I found a wealth of bloggers who were writing about music, movies, TV, books, their lives, their jobs, their kids. I was introduced to music I had never heard of, found recipes and ideas that intrigued me, made new friends. I decided to dive in and write about whatever was on my mind.

I miss that simplicity. Because while I enjoy Instagram and Twitter is good for breaking news and a laugh, and Facebook does occasionally have its merits, there was something very gratifying about seeking out blogs to read and connecting with fellow bloggers on a much more low-tech scale. Long-form writing is still around, but it is often drowned out by all the video content.

Even though I don’t blog like I used to, I refuse to give up this site for many reasons, the main one being that it’s still an avenue for me to explore ideas and share my experiences without the editorial process of querying, rewriting, editing and handling rejection. I still get some traffic here (seeing the Google searches that bring people to the GWM blog is often amusing), a good friend hosts the site for free, and it’s an archive of my cyberpresence in a way that other resources aren’t.

Here’s the plan: I’ll share content from that first year and add some updates. I’ll try to carve out the time to craft new posts (it ain’t easy these days, for reasons I will get into later).

Let’s do this, kids.

Casting into the Waters: Symbolism, Spiritual Practice and Tashlich

Judaism has interested me for many years, probably due in large part to the fact that I was raised Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) and there’s a correlation between SDAs and Jews in how they observe the Sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) and their dietary restrictions (SDAs encourage and promote vegetarianism, but those who do eat meat will typically shun pork and shellfish). When you grow up in a religious tradition that is a bit outside of the box, even among other evangelical Christian groups, it’s nice to feel understood in some small part by another religious group without having to go into long explanations. This is particularly handy when you talk to fellow Gen X’ers about why you are completely unfamiliar with Friday night TV shows and Saturday morning cartoons during the pre-VCR years.

The Chosen, Chaim Potok I also had an English teacher at my SDA high school who was part Jewish and he had us read The Chosen by Chaim Potok, explaining to us about Jewish traditions and holidays. Momcat and I ended up reading all of Potok’s novels and she, too, was very interested in Judaism. Pops had a colleague whose father had been a rabbi, so she would ask him a bunch of questions about what services were like, the reasons for certain traditions (she particularly liked the use of stones on graves as a remembrance).

I think it’s all these things combined that make me very aware when the Jewish high holidays start. Tonight marks the first night of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish new year. I spent this morning reading about Rosh Hashanah traditions: the blowing of the shofar, eating round challah with honey, eating apples with honey, eating part of a fish or ram’s head. Not sure I would be up for that last one, but I do like the symbolism behind it.

It’s the symbolism behind many Jewish traditions that I find the most fascinating. I don’t recall feeling like it was okay to use or wear symbols of my faith or spirituality while growing up SDA. There were baby dedications in church, and full immersion baptism once you’d studied with your pastor, but iconography and talismans weren’t used or encouraged. I don’t remember any other symbolic gestures or rituals, and in hindsight I think I needed those to help me connect to a higher power.

During this morning’s research on Rosh Hashanah, I learned about Tashlich. The basic premise, as I understand it, is to cast your sins into a body of water. After the Tashlich prayer is recited, you shake your clothes as if to shake off the sins.

Tashlich, Tashlich prayer, Rosh Hashanah

Tashlich prayers (Image courtesy Chabad.org)

But here’s what really spoke to me about this tradition (taken from Chabad.org):

The goal of Tashlich is to cast both our sins and the Heavenly prosecutor (a.k.a. the Satan) into the Heavenly sea. And when we shake our clothes after the Tashlich prayer, this is a tangible act to achieve the spiritual goal of shaking sins from our soul.

Needless to say, the physical motions near the water and fish of Tashlich are not what grant us atonement. But if we pay attention to the symbolism and apply the sincere desire to heal our relationship with G‑d as portrayed in the physical demonstrations of Tashlich, then it serves as a crucial part in the process of repenting and returning to G‑d in purity.

When I lived in Southern California, I often went to the beach to look out at the ocean and have a talk with the universe about what was bothering me. Seeing dark, deep water stretched out in front of me, with no land in sight, was symbolic to me of how vast the soul is, how there is so much going on beneath the surface that I cannot even begin to fathom, but that as I dive down into the depths of my being I can find those parts of myself that need healing, bring them to the surface, then release them back into the water. Going to the beach to process was a huge part of my spiritual growth.

What’s clear to me in this moment is that what I was doing was a form of Tashlich: casting my troubles into the deep sea, letting a higher power help me release them from my soul. I found the symbols I needed and in so doing, I found the spiritual connection and inner peace I craved. And now, every time I go to the ocean, whether the Atlantic or Pacific, I know I can find it again.

Sunset Beach, CA – my favorite place to chat with the universe. (Image courtesy californiasbestbeaches.com)

Shanah Tovah to my Jewish friends, followers and readers.

Moxie’s Resolutions for Everyone Else: The 2018 Edition

It just seems like yesterday that I was writing the 2017 resolutions for everyone else. Where does the time go? Let’s get right to it for 2018.

1. Use blind cc (bcc: field) on group emails (everyone).

I feel like I shouldn’t have to bring this up, considering it’s been over 40 years since email was invented and around 20 years since we all had Outlook inboxes at work. But I’m still seeing people send group emails with every last email address in the To: field, which means people in that original mailing can Reply All, thereby making life a living hell until someone has the cojones to say “perhaps you should take this conversation offline.” Not sure where to find the bcc: field in your email provider? Look it up!

2. Place UPCs on top of cat litter boxes for easier shopping (cat litter manufacturers).

3. Create short-term incentive program for residents & businesses to recycle (City of Baltimore).

You’d think for a city that is notorious for its trash and littering problems they would be all about recycling and pushing hard to encourage people to use its recycling program. But I see TONS of garbage on the streets that’s recyclable. My building doesn’t even have a recycle bin – I have to collect my own and take it over to the recycling center about once every 6 weeks. I’ve talked to my community liaison from the Dept of Public Works about the possibility of an incentive program to get people recycling more – perhaps a tax credit or rebate. Money is a powerful motivator for some folks and it may be they’d be more willing to recycle if they knew there would be a pay-off later.

4. Stop trolling for women on Instagram (men).

5. Stop posting/sharing content with high ick factor (social media users).

You’ve seen these kind of posts: someone has shared content from another source prefaced by “EWWW” or “NOPE” and the shared content features something extremely disgusting or nightmare-inducing. For the love of Steve, why are you sharing what grossed you out? Do you want everyone else to suffer? Keep your sadomasochism off Facebook.

6. Create mobile device free zones/events AND/OR mobile device-friendly zones/events (theatres, concert halls, other performance venues).

I’ve seen many stories about performers stopping a show because someone decided their need to take a photo of the show or film the entire thing on their iPhone 20 trumped everyone else’s enjoyment of the show or film. I’ve also been the person asking adults to turn off their phones during a movie. (Three freakin’ times during Wonder Woman! I’m still annoyed when I think about it.) Since we all seem to be struggling to define proper cell phone etiquette, how about these venues take it upon themselves to designate special performances where mobile devices are not allowed? Conversely, how about events where mobile device use is encouraged?

7. Stop saying “I don’t see color/race/gender/disability” (everyone).

I know that many folks say this as a way to express their alliance and acceptance of diversity, but it comes off as disingenuous. Why? Because it’s okay to see these things; it’s quite another to take what you see and turn it into a reason to treat someone differently, whether it’s better or worse than you would want to be treated.

8. Design small apartments/condos with bathroom access from hallway or common area, not bedroom (developers).

I’ve been looking at apartments lately (hoping to move this summer, though we’ll see if it actually happens) and it seems many one-bedroom, one-bathroom units, regardless of the age of the property, are designed so that you have to walk through the bedroom to reach the bathroom. If I was a complete recluse who never had people over, I wouldn’t mind this. But on those occasions when people are visiting I would prefer NOT to have them traipsing through my bedroom to get to the bathroom. Even a Jack-and-Jill style bathroom like the Brady kids had – THREE doors! – would be better.

jack-and-jill bathroom, jack and jill bathroom, brady bunch

Sure, that Jack-and-Jill bathroom was too small for 6 kids, and Mike Brady could have designed something better, but it made for good television.

9. Add routes from Baltimore and Washington DC to Ocean City, MD (MegaBus).

I’m surprised MegaBus hasn’t added this route already, as Ocean City is a huge destination for folks in the DC and Baltimore area in the summer months. I’d like it for those times I want to go see Deena but don’t want to deal with driving out there. Of course, it would likely turn into a party bus, but that can happen anywhere.

10. Include expiration dates on lotions containing essential oils (cottage-industry/small-batch natural beauty product manufacturers).

Been a Long Time Gone

Sheesh, it’s been over six months since I last blogged. I’m way more mouthy and active over on the Facebook page and Twitter, but the long-form blogging well is dry. That’s a bit embarrassing.

What’s funny is that I have plenty to write about – I always do – it’s more about making the time to write something. And when I blog, I like to write well-crafted copy with references and links where appropriate. When you write for a living – well, I don’t write long-form content for my day job, but I still call myself a writer – there are certain standards you want to uphold. At least I do.

There were a few years when I did the NaBloPoMo challenge, but apparently that rode off into the sunset of the interwebs. It was taken over by BlogHer, which was acquired by SheKnows. They now have something called the BlogHer Writing Lab for getting writing prompts. They want to offer more flexibility, it seems. I don’t need flexibility with my blog posting. I need structure so I get more content on here on the regular.

Bah. No matter. I will look for some other challenges that maybe I can do in December to get this party back in gear.

On Ann Wilson’s Tribute and the Need for Slowness

It’s not even 9 am as I’m typing this, but the gears have been turning ever since I discovered I got trolled on Facebook – all for making a post about timing when, really, I was guilty of the same issue.

The back story: singer Chris Cornell unexpectedly died this past week, and as happens as soon as someone famous dies, the tributes and lists of the artist’s best work are all over the media. The golden-throated Ann Wilson of Heart sang “Black Hole Sun” on Jimmy Kimmel as a tribute to her friend, and because she was reading the lyrics off of a music stand, she got blasted for it in Rolling Stone’s video post (and I’m sure there were other posts as well).

I’m one of the people who blasted her – but not specifically for that reason. While I don’t deserve being called an idiot or other nasty names for what I said about it, I did need the reminder to slow down and think before posting.

As much as I enjoy what technology has brought into my life – a freelance career, new friends, fun gadgets – I am also aware that it’s made me impatient. I demand answers and satisfaction and I want them NOW. The laptop slows down, the tablet freezes up, the wifi goes down and I lose my shit.

This isn’t healthy. For anyone.

With Ann Wilson’s cover of “Black Hole Sun,” I came in with certain expectations. The cover she and her sister Nancy did of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Center is so good it gives me chills and makes me cry. It made Robert Plant and Jimmy Page get emotional. It set the bar so freakin’ high that I expected a heartwrenchingly beautiful version of Soundgarden’s song in a way that only Ann Wilson can do.

But Chris had just died. There was no time to rehearse and prepare a performance that would come even close to the shock and awesomeness of that Zeppelin cover. No time to craft something so masterful that music fans would be enraptured for years to come.

I’m inclined to think it’s because of the collective impatience we all have thanks to technology. It’s this impatience that the media plays into, time and again. It’s why stories and performances get rushed into existence. It’s why commenters like myself jump in with first-blush thoughts and feelings when we really need to slow down and process.

That said, I stand by part of my original comment: a well-rehearsed cover of “Black Hole Sun” by Ann Wilson would have been amazing. One using her own band, who know her and how to arrange a song for her voice.

But in order to do these things, we all need to be invested in slowing down. In not requiring immediate gratification. In being willing to wait for the good, the beautiful, the expertly crafted.

Until that happens, though, we’re going to need more moments like this to remind us of the value of slowness.

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Weird Things Seen on the Street, #50

Can you believe I’ve now posted fifty weird things seen on the street? It really should be more than that because there is definitely some weird shit on the streets of the world. Here’s one I saw in a Target parking lot in Baltimore.

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For you kids who don’t know what this is, I shall explain. Once upon a time cars did not have satellite radio or hookups to play MP3s or Spotify from your smartphone. Instead we had these things called tape decks. They played cassette tapes, which looked like this. Over time, as music moved from tapes to CDs (please don’t tell me I need to explain those, just google it for crying out loud), you could buy a special adapter that would play CDs from a portable player through your car’s stereo system. The adapter included a special cassette tape – and that is what this is. Probably circa 1992-3, I’m guessing.

Seen something weird on the street lately?

Send me your photo, along with where you saw the weirdness, and I’ll post it here!

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