October 16, 2020 – New Moon in Libra

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The New Moon in Libra is happening today, and it’s opposing Mars retrograde in Aries and squaring Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. There’s a whole lotta drama going on and it requires us to find balance (Libra) amidst all the conflicting energy in the skies.

Yeah.

All this heavy planetary action, plus some personal and professional issues, has me tired and preoccupied. That means I’m going to shift focus with this month’s New Moon post. Rather than write at length about the New Moon in Libra, I’m sharing links to astrology content I find to be insightful, and often revelatory.

Chani Nicholas‘s horoscopes for the New Moon are an excellent read every month, as are all of her horoscopes. I highly recommend her book, You Were Born for This. Order a copy through your favorite indie bookseller.

Rob Brezsny‘s Free Will Astrology offers a different take than what you’ll find in standard horoscopes. He offers weekly guidance for each sign through examples and analogies taken from all sorts of resources. Other content on his site and in his free weekly newsletter is guaranteed to make you say “wow.”

Rick Levine explains planetary aspects and transits in a way that’s accessible without being condescending. His YouTube channel is a fantastic resource for astrology students of all levels; you can find him on Twitter and Instagram, too.

Debra Silverman is a recent discovery for me and I love how she talks about aspects and transits. She does short videos based on the moon cycles; you can find them on Astrology Answers and on her Instagram feed.

Heidi Rose Robbins‘s daily moon posts on Instagram are one of the first things I read every day. She handwrites each post and takes a photo of it for her post – and they are always infused with love, compassion and tender honesty.

I hope this list of my favorite astrologers leads you to find content that enlightens and enriches you, and helps you along your spiritual path. I’ll share more of my favorite astrology resources in a future post.

Looking for my New Moon Tarot Spread? You can find it here.

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Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays

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Here it is, folks: the final Mercury retrograde cycle for 2020. On October 13 at 9:05 pm Eastern time, Mercury goes retrograde at 11 degrees Scorpio, backs it up into Libra on October 27, then goes direct on November 3 at 25 degrees Libra– just in time for the U.S. election. If you think this energy will make for a wild, strange October, you’d be right. But it’s not unmanageable – and that is saying a lot coming from me. More on that in a minute.

Mercury: The Basics

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Mercury, the messenger of the gods. Image credit: Rwendland / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Mercury (Hermes) is the messenger of the gods in Greek and Roman mythology. He did a lot of dirty work for Zeus, serial cheater who had a vengeful wife, Hera. He also saved the lives of several mortals and demi-gods who found themselves in difficult positions. Mercury is also a trickster and shapeshifter. He loves a good joke or prank. Some of the things Mercury rules includes:

  • Advertising
  • Bees and beekeepers
  • Books and literature
  • Communication – written, oral and electronic
  • Computers
  • Desks and offices
  • Keys
  • Licorice
  • Mirrors
  • Schools and teachers
  • Sewing
  • Stationery – pencils, pens, paper
  • Travel (particularly short trips)
  • Transportation – buses, trains, cars, bicycles
  • Writers and editors of all kinds – journalists, newspaper reporters, proofreaders, editors, novelists

In astrology, the term retrograde refers to when a planet appears to move backward through the signs. Retrograde cycles for the planets vary – and Mercury’s retrograde cycles are among the shortest, logging in at approximately three weeks. If it feels longer, that’s due to the shadow period, an approximately two-week period when Mercury is moving along a path that it will revisit later. There’s a pre- and post-retrograde shadow period: typically the post-retrograde shadow is not as intense as the pre-retrograde shadow and is more of a final review of everything that occurred during Mercury retrograde.

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The planet Mercury. Image credit: Brocken Inaglory / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Mercury managed to get the best PR team out of all the planets because so many people are aware of Mercury retrograde cycles and how it affects traffic, electronic devices, and communication. As a Gemini rising, I am all too aware of my love-hate relationship with Mercury, as he rules both Gemini and Virgo. I cannot tell you how many times I have cursed him out while dealing with a phone issue, downed wifi, car issues, or some other shenanigans. But I have also learned the necessity of planning ahead and being extremely organized before retrograde cycles, and going above and beyond my usual efforts to ensure my emails and social media posts are clearly written. I will review plans and task lists with clients and colleagues both verbally and in writing, so that we eliminate any possible confusion. I try harder to shut my mouth and listen to other people, too.

As you’ve read in my previous posts about Venus retrograde and Mars retrograde, you know that retrograde periods are a time to move inward. It’s an opportunity to slow down and be reflective on what that sign rules. And since Mercury rules Wednesday, I encourage you to celebrate Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays during his final retrograde for 2020. Starting on October 14 and ending October 28, spend the next 3 Wednesdays honoring this versatile, multitalented planet with some very mercurial activities.

Activities for Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays

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  • Write it down. Get a notebook or journal and write down what’s on your mind. Give it all to the page – it can handle what you have to rant or rave about. Read my post about daily writing rituals if you need some suggestions on how to start.
  • Take a little trip. Get in your car or on a train – whatever feels safest for you – and set off on a day trip. To really honor the free-spirited, impulsive nature of Mercury, don’t plan out where to go (but do make sure the car is full of gas, tires are properly inflated, etc.). Allow yourself to be surprised. Bonus points for bike rides!
  • Read. Mercury rules the written word, so grab a book or magazine or newspaper, your favorite beverage and maybe a snack, and settle down in a comfy chair to read. For this activity, I recommend going analog – Mercury may decide to zap your phone or tablet just when the action gets exciting, because he is a jerk like that sometimes. Do not ask me how I know this. Mercury also rules humor, so a collection of humorous essays or a satirical novel is an excellent choice.
  • Reorganize your office/work area. This includes your desk, files, shelves and bookcases. Definitely keep this activity to physical items – otherwise you may end up deleting computer files you needed. Again, do not ask me how I know this.
  • Watch something funny. Mercury loves to laugh, so scratch that itch by watching a movie or sitcom that makes you laugh. A standup comic special is also an excellent choice.
  • Clean the mirrors. Get some window cleaner or a spray bottle of white vinegar (my personal choice), a soft clean rag or paper towels, and clean all the mirrors in your home. You may even want to set up a new mirror somewhere, or perhaps buy a compact mirror for your go bag or purse.
  • Handwrite a letter or note to someone. Mercury rules handwriting, pens, pencils, and stationery, so this is an activity he can totally get behind. If you have no idea what to write, here’s a list of ideas.
  • Call a relative. Pick up the phone and call your mom, dad, sibling, your favorite uncle, the aunt who sends you care packages (shout out to my Aunt Gigi*) and check in with them. Doesn’t have to be a long conversation, nor does it have to be a heavy one. Just keep it light and loving, and you’ll both feel good by the time you hang up.
  • Sew. Mercury rules sewing machines AND needles, so if you enjoy sewing, set aside time on Wednesdays to sew a small project or work on a longer one. I love to sew, and I plan on doing this as much as possible – but you best believe I’ll be having a chat with Mercury ahead of time about not dicking with my machine, breaking needles, or jamming up the bobbin. Brand new to sewing? I highly recommend the Crafty Gemini’s tutorials for beginners.

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There’s a lot of planetary activity this year that poses some major challenges for all of us, and Mercury retrograde is just another part of it. But if we come at this cycle from a place of honoring the shift in perspective that’s required during Mercury retrograde, it can be a much easier transit to manage. Laugh along with Mercury as much as you can!

Freddie Mercury, Queen, rockstar, statue

Everyone’s favorite Mercury: the legendary Freddie Mercury. Image credit: Corvus / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

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Wednesday Wisdom: Acknowledge Your Creativity & Genius

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Once a week or so, I pull a card from my Power of Intention deck. This 50-card deck uses content from Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention, alongside vintage/retro drawings, to explore concepts that he discusses at length in the book. It’s a great companion to the book and has helped me considerably in my own personal growth and spiritual practice.

This morning’s Power of Intention card is Acknowledge Your Creativity and Genius. “The qualities of creativity and genius are within you, awaiting your decision to match up with the power of intention. Genius is a characteristic of the creative force that allows all of material creation to come into form. It is an expression of the divine.”

Once again I laughed at the results of my card pull, as it’s definitely what I needed to see today. A couple months ago, I began shifting my focus for this 16-year-old blog toward more spiritual and personal growth content, and it’s brought me a lot of creative fulfillment and joy to write more content that aligns with this new focus. That said, there are a few key tasks that I have yet to complete, and I’ve had a long list of excuses as to why those tasks haven’t been done – the latest of which is ongoing pain in my right shoulder. (Watch your body alignment while doing yoga, folks! Especially if you are over 40!)

But the truth is that I am working through some deep-seated fear related to my self-worth, and a long-standing desire for outside validation. These things manifest in indecisiveness and procrastination when it comes to matching up with the power of intention. And I believe it’s also manifested as pain in my shoulder.

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There’s a quote by Calvin Coolidge that I’ve loved ever since I first read it:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

This quote has been a powerful motivator – and yet that motivation does nothing if that initial decision isn’t made to align with intention.

Once we acknowledge and address the fears and beliefs that keep us blocked, we get the power boost necessary to match up with intention and it sets us off on our journey toward self-awareness and spiritual growth. By allowing our creativity and genius to travel alongside persistence and determination, using intention as our compass, we will reach our destination.

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October 1, 2020 – Full Moon in Aries

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After last month’s Full Moon in Pisces, punctuated by dreamy, relaxed energy, we now have a Full Moon in Aries, which is all about the adrenaline rush. Prepare for the crash when this energy burns itself out! While Aries isn’t an easy placement for the Moon, there are benefits to this intensity.

Moon in Aries

The Moon in Aries makes me think of a little kid who has found a box of matches and is lighting every single one: emotions and feelings are sparked, quickly burn out, and another takes its place. This placement is all about instant gratification. The character of Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is an excellent example of an Aries Moon in action.

Deena* is one of my closest friends and she has Moon in Aries. While she repeatedly calls herself lazy when it comes to cooking, it’s really impatience: she doesn’t want to spend her time preparing an elaborate meal, she wants food NOW and it better taste good and meet all her needs. Ever since we were angsty tweens, she’s been very clear about how she feels about all the nouns: people, places and things. Through knowing Deena (and a few Aries Sun natives, not to mention several Aries Moon natives), I’ve learned that Aries energy is fast and reactive, and excels in the 100-yard dash – but struggles to finish the marathon.

Full Moons occur in the sign opposing where the Sun is located at that time, creating a cosmic see-saw that can lead to disruption on the earthly plane. In today’s case, the opposition is between Aries and Libra, since the Sun moved into Libra on September 22, 2020. Aries is self-directed and seeks to satisfy its own needs first, while Libra is other-directed and wants to find satisfaction in its relationships with those around them. Today, Libra’s scales are heavily weighted by the Aries ram sitting on one side, angry and pouting because it can’t get its way, and Libra is exasperated because there’s no balance.

That said, the Full Moon in Aries provides an excellent opportunity to use the impetuous energy to our advantage and in healthy ways. Here are a few activities for the next couple of days.

Activities for the Aries Full Moon

Dance it out. Put on your favorite tunes and dance your ass off – it will burn off any frustration or anger and you may well forget why you were so mad to begin with.

Say what you want out loud. An old friend of mine used to joke about wanting to shout out her needs while standing in the middle of Nordstrom. While I wouldn’t advise anyone to do that (at least not without a mask and following social distancing rules), there is value in expressing what you want and need right now, AND also taking the time to differentiate between the two.

Wear red. Whether you’re decked out in crimson from head to toe, or wearing red underwear, you’re owning that Aries fire energy!

Crystals for the Aries Full Moon

You can place these crystals on your altar, if you have one, or in a prominent place in your home for 2-3 nights during the Aries Full Moon.

  • Bloodstone
  • Carnelian
  • Citrine

No matter what you opt to do to honor this Aries Full Moon, I hope you’ll find this energy burst to be useful in kicking off the last three months of 2020.

Want to try out my Full Moon Tarot Spread? Check it out here.

 

*not her real name

September 17, 2020 – New Moon in Virgo

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Today is a New Moon in Virgo: a moment when two feminine energies – the mother Moon and the virgin Virgo – join together to create an emotionally resonant bond.

Demeter, Greek goddess of agriculture, Greek goddess, Greek mythology

Attribution: Museo nazionale romano di palazzo Altemps / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)

I always think of the goddess Demeter in connection with Virgo. Demeter was the Greek goddess of agriculture and fertility, as well as health, childbirth and the harvest. Like the sign of Virgo, the virgin maid, Demeter was often depicted holding a sheaf of wheat.

Persephone, rape of Persephone, abduction of Persephone, Greek mythology

The Rape of Persephone by Luca Giordano

The most famous myth about Demeter involves the abduction of her daughter Persephone by Hades, the lord of the underworld. She was so overcome with grief that fields went barren and famine ravaged the land. It wasn’t until Zeus helped negotiate Persephone’s visitation agreement between Demeter and Hades that she finally turned her attention back to the harvest, averting what would have been a huge catastrophe for humanity.

Demeter mourning Persephone (Evelyn de Morgan, 1906)

One could say that when the Moon is in Virgo, it’s like the reunion of Demeter and Persephone: mother and daughter come together for a short time to renew their connection, work the land, and plan for their next visit. In this case, that would be at the Full Moon in Virgo, which takes place on February 27, 2021. For us earth-dwellers, that means the goals and plans we make at this new moon will be at a key stage of their development in nearly six months’ time.

Image from The Story of Greece : told to boys and girls (1914) by Mary Macgregor

Moon in Virgo

When the Moon is in Virgo, it weds the Moon’s instincts for self-care and nurturing with Virgo’s love of ritual and routine. This placement feels emotionally met when it is focused on usefulness. It may not always seem particularly touchy-feely, but its goal is finding bliss in practical pursuits. The Virgo Moon is the mom who says, “If you make your bed in the morning, it will feel so much more comfy and inviting when you’re ready to go to sleep.” And once you take her advice, you discover she was right.

This New Moon in Virgo is about developing practical approaches to daily living that also feed the soul. Here are some areas where the Virgo New Moon encourages development, and a few concrete ideas on how to use this energy:

I hope this Virgo New Moon opens up some possibilities in how you organize and plan for your future!

Is Tarot part of your new moon rituals and activities?

Try out my New Moon Tarot Spread.

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Mars Retrograde Tuesdays

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Mars, the planet of action, ambition, anger and athleticism, turns retrograde on September 9, 2020 in the sign of Aries, one of two signs the Red Planet rules (the other sign is Scorpio). It will appear to travel backward in Aries through November 13, 2020. During this time, we can expect to see some halted plans; any forward momentum we had may be thwarted. This can affect our activities at work, home, and school.

Retrograde isn’t all that bad, though. Any time a planet is in retrograde motion, we are given an opportunity to shift our focus to more inward pursuits:

  • Reflection
  • Review
  • Revision
  • Reassessment

The focus of the inner work is based on the areas ruled by that planet. In the case of Mars, those areas include:

  • Physical activity
  • Ambition and goals
  • Passion, lust, and sex

In the same vein as Venus Retrograde Fridays, I suggest taking one day a week during the retrograde cycle to do work in these areas. Since Mars rules Tuesday, set aside some time that day for Mars Retrograde Tuesdays. Beginning with September 15, 2020 and ending with November 10, 2020, here are some Martian activities to try:

Move your body.
If you haven’t already been exercising regularly, now is the time to get back on the bike, lace up the running shoes, roll out the yoga mat, and/or dust off the treadmill. Don’t push yourself if energy is low – lowered stamina is possible during Mars retrograde – but a 30-minute walk will get your circulation going and your heart pumping. One caveat: if you have been sedentary for a long time, don’t start a vigorous new exercise regimen. Use this time to research different physical activities you might want to try, or talk with your health care provider about ideas.

Eat something spicy or grilled – or both!
Mars rules garlic, ginger, and peppers, so cook up some Szechuan stir-fry, a Thai or Indian curry, or a Mexican feast. (You can check out my recipe for homemade salsa here!) Since Mars also rules fire, a grilled entrée or side dish would be perfect for Tuesday dinners.

Channel your anger.
This year has provided more than enough opportunity for outrage – but how are you working with that anger? How has it been manifesting in your life: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Some ways to work through your anger include:

  • writing letters to the people/places/things that make you angry (and not sending them – remember, you’re processing this anger for your own personal reflection and to get them out of your system)
  • joining a protest (if you can do so safely)
  • contacting your local and state legislators to express your frustrations
  • signing and sharing petitions related to causes you feel passionate about

Assess your personal and professional goals. Mars likes to make things happen, but during a retrograde period, that drive to achieve and succeed may be thwarted. Sit down with paper & pen and write out your personal and professional goals. Where do you want to see yourself in a year? In five years? Now’s the time to see where you’re at and where you want to go.

What about Sex?!

Mars also rules passion, lust, and sex – and it’s those aspects that often make the headlines for Mars. During a Mars retrograde cycle your sex drive may be the complete opposite of what it usually is, or you may find yourself sexually frustrated with your partner. If you’re not sexually active, Mars retrograde may leave you feeling restless, unmotivated or dealing with a creative blockage (especially if you are an artist or writer).

How to deal with all of this pent up sexual energy? A few suggestions:

Remember this is temporary. Even if you are skeptical about astrology and its effects on daily living, our sex drive ebbs and peaks over time. Shift your attention to something else when the frustration gets overwhelming: exercise, singing or dancing may help.

Open the toy chest. Since retrograde cycles are about reviewing and reassessing the areas of life ruled by the retrograde planet, take time to review what gives you pleasure sexually – and that means open up your toy chest, buy some batteries and figure out what turns you on.

Talk with your partner. Emotions may be running hot while your libido isn’t, and that can definitely cause friction (and not the good kind, either). Open up conversations with your partner about your sex life: what you love about it, what you’d like to try out, what you’d like to work on making even better.

You’re not restricted to just Tuesdays for these Mars-centric activities, of course. Working through anger issues is good at any time, and exercising at least 3 times a week is ideal. But sometimes it helps to know that there’s one day a week devoted to specific self-care rituals, and that’s what Mars Retrograde Tuesday is all about. Make the most of it!

 

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Image attributions:

By derivative work: QuartierLatin1968 (talk)Berlin_-_Brandenburger_Tor_-_Mars.jpg: Oliver Abels (SBT) – Berlin_-_Brandenburger_Tor_-_Mars.jpg, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74302639

Closeup of statue face
By Dosseman – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78185777

Planet
By ESA & MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA, CC BY-SA IGO 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0-igo, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56489423

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September 1-2, 2020 – Full Moon in Pisces

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The Pisces Full Moon happening on September 1, 2020 (or in the early hours of September 2, depending on your time zone) is a beautiful time to dream and reflect. We may feel more inclined toward emotional responses – tears close to the surface, for example, or moodiness – yet also feel receptive and softer than ever before. The Moon, which rules Cancer, a cardinal water sign, is more at home in Pisces, a mutable water sign, but it can easily get lost in the depths, or unable to maintain boundaries when necessary.

Moon in Pisces

When the Moon is in Pisces, it’s as if a spell has been cast over the collective, making us all a bit more tuned in to emotions and the subconscious desires of others. Some folks who have a highly developed intuition may feel extra sensitive during this time. Artists, writers and other creatives may feel overwhelmed with new ideas for projects. Dreams may be more prophetic or insightful. I like to imagine a Pisces Moon – especially this month’s Pisces Full Moon – as rising out of the ocean, soaking wet, with a neon blue octopus clinging to its craters.

Since I began studying astrology 20 years ago, I’ve come to know several people who were born when the Moon was in Pisces. They are dreamy souls, with an ability to see into the subconscious in ways that others cannot. They have incredible compassion and an innate understanding of humanity’s deepest needs. But these Pisces Moon natives also tend to get waterlogged, struggling to find solid footing in the real world.

At this point in 2020, the pandemic, protests, natural disasters and political activities around the world have lit up those areas where humanity is in need of massive change. We have experienced some collective grounding due to all these events and situations, and it’s caused immeasurable stress. This Full Moon in Pisces offers an opportunity for healing by allowing us to soften our gaze and dream a little. We get a chance to visualize what’s possible by tuning in to what unites us – and later using those visualizations to fuel practical, real-world solutions.

Here are some ideas for things you can do to channel this Pisces Full Moon energy. For optimal results, do these activities between Monday night and Thursday afternoon.

Activities for the Pisces Full Moon

  • Get wet. Dance outside in the rain, go for a swim, take a bath. Pisces and the Moon are both connected to water.
  • Visit a body of water. If you live close to a stream, river, lake, or ocean, the Pisces Full Moon is a wonderful time to visit and reflect on the role and meaning of water in your life, and give thanks for its existence.
  • Eat some seafood. Embrace your inner pescatarian and have a meal of fish and shellfish.
    • Vegetarians/vegans can enjoy cauliflower, cabbage, cheese, cucumbers, melon, mushrooms, pumpkins or turnips – these are all Moon-ruled foods.
  • Start a dream journal. This journal could include a daily log of your dreams, as well as a place where you can explore the dreams you want to manifest in the world. For tips on recording your dreams, check out this article.
  • Stare at the clouds. If the weather permits where you live, take a blanket outside, lie down and watch the clouds roll by.
  • Take care of your feet. Pisces rules the feet, so a Pisces Full Moon is a great time to pamper them. Give yourself a pedicure or foot massageor give one to your partner. Even simply washing your feet and following up with lotion or cream can be incredibly soothing.

Colors for the Pisces Full Moon

You can wear these colors in your clothing, jewelry, makeup or nail polish.

  • Iridescent and opalescent shades
  • Silvery grey
  • White

Crystals for the Pisces Full Moon

You can place these crystals on your altar, if you have one, or in a prominent place in your home for 2-3 nights during the Pisces Full Moon.

  • Chrysolite or peridot
  • Coral
  • Moonstone

Want to try out my Full Moon Tarot Spread? Check it out here.

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August 18, 2020 – New Moon in Leo and New Moon Tarot Spread

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Today marks a New Moon in Leo. New Moons are “no moon,” meaning that it is not visible because of its alignment with the Sun. Yet despite its cloaked nature, this moon phase is associated with the power of a fresh start. Farmers who follow moon phases for planting use the New Moon to plant annual flowers or fruits and vegetables that grow above ground, such as corn, tomatoes, squashes and melons.

We can use this same energy in our personal development by using the New Moon to plant seeds that we wish to grow. Determining what we’ll plant depends on the zodiac sign in which the New Moon happens, as the Moon will be Full in this same sign in six months’ time, when we harvest what we planted.

Moon in Leo

When the Moon is in Leo, it combines the emotional, intuitive, home-loving characteristics of the Moon with Leo’s loyalty, creativity and sense of drama. Whoever coined the phrase “go big or go home” may well have been a Leo Moon. This placement wants love and comfort, but also wants a controlled, organized environment in which they are in charge. Prepare to hear the lunar lion roar when it’s happy, excited, amused or feeling playful. But when a Leo Moon feels badly hurt, it may not do much at all.

When I was a kid, my mom often said to me, “If someone hurts your feelings, say ‘ouch.’” She wasn’t a student of astrology, but it was good advice for me, as I have a Leo Moon. There have been many times I’ve felt hurt or betrayed by someone’s behavior, but will come home to lick my wounds rather than publicly call out the person. Above all else, a Leo Moon has pride, and unless circumstances force the issue, they will exhibit a controlled emotional response.

This New Moon in Leo encourages us to plant seeds in the areas of:
• Creative pursuits
• Emotional vulnerability
• Leading with heart, not head
• Acknowledging our gifts, talents and skills

With this in mind, try out my New Moon Tarot Spread to gain clarity and insight in these aspects of your life.

New Moon Tarot Spread

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This New Moon Tarot Spread is one I began using earlier this year during my new moon rituals. It is designed to help you discover the seeds that need planting at this point in time, so that when the full moon in Leo occurs on January 28, 2021, you can reap a bounteous harvest.

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 rows of 3 cards each.

1. Where you are right now
2. What influences you
3. What you have released since the last new moon
4. What “seeds” (your goals and plans) need to be planted
5. How you can nurture the growth of your goals and plans
6. Other resources that are available to you during this cycle

Tips on Making the Most of Your Reading
  • Write it down. I like to record my 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 new moon readings can be done within 24-48 hours of the new 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.
daily writing rituals, writing, morning pages, journaling, daily journaling rituals

Daily Writing Rituals

Over the past 7 years I have developed a daily ritual that has become a key part of my self-care routine. Soon after I wake up, I fix myself a beverage – hot coffee or tea when the weather is cool, and cold-brew coffee over ice with almond milk and stevia in the summer – and sit down in a comfortable spot with my journal and a pen. The pen is usually a fountain pen. I love fountain pens for making my handwriting look beautiful, plus there’s a huge variety of ink colors and it’s much less strain on my fingers and wrist to glide a fountain pen across the page.

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In the course of an hour, I sip my drink and write out my thoughts. Sometimes this includes a recap of the dreams from the night before (in recent months I’ve taken to using a different color ink for jotting down dreams). Often I go over some of the happenings from the previous day. Some days I have a pastry or waffle to nibble on while I write. And I frequently have one of my 2 cats lying nearby, flicking their tail and blinking at me.

Establishing this daily writing ritual has proven to be such a blessing. It starts my day with a quiet, soft reflective activity that allows me space to process and set my intentions going forward. I don’t rush myself or set a timer. I let the words flow out as they need to and I stop when it feels right.

Some days the ritual is a little different. I may do more stream of consciousness writing or a free write in another notebook dedicated for that purpose. Or if the thoughts & ideas are coming really fast, I sit at my laptop and type them out. On multiple occasions the laptop writing sessions have turned into a blog post. But mostly they are for my eyes only.

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I’ve had people ask me how to establish a writing practice, or they want to know the “right” way to do what are often referred to as “morning pages.” I’m not a big fan of rules when it comes to generating content, whether for your own personal use or in your career. But here are a few things I’ve learned over time when it comes to journaling as part of self-care and creating a daily ritual that involves writing.

  • Pick a time when you can set aside at least 15 minutes to focus solely on writing. This time may be different from day to day, and there may be days when you cannot squeeze out 15 minutes. But if you can spend 15 minutes scrolling through social media feeds or reading articles online, you can devote 15 minutes to a writing session.
  • Find the writing tools that feel good to you. Don’t want to write by hand? That’s fine – you can use your computer or other device. You can even do voice to text if that works better for you, but know that voice recognition may lead to some unusual copy when you review it later. Do not ask me how I know this.
  • When you don’t know what to write about, keep it simple. Sometimes the blank page can feel intimidating, especially if you are just starting a writing practice. Here are a few opening lines that can get you started. Pro tip: when you really feel stuck, write down a list of things you love or hate.
    • Here is what I know:
    • Here is what needs to be written right now:
    • All the ways in which I have had it: [This is a personal favorite for when I need to rant.]

If you’re interested in exploring analog options for writing, visit my other site, Pensplaining, for product reviews & tips.

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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.