May 11, 2021 – New Moon in Taurus

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Today’s New Moon in Taurus provides an opportunity for a grounded, reflective approach to how we want to experience the next six months. With several planets on the verge of retrograde cycles, plus the start of eclipse season with the coming Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on May 26, now is the time to work on setting intentions.

Here’s the planetary lineup as of today:

Sun, Moon, and Uranus in Taurus

Mercury and Venus in Gemini

Mars in Cancer

Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius

Neptune in Pisces

Pluto in Capricorn

The planetary scorecard:

      • 4 planets in air signs
      • 4 planets in earth signs
      • 2 planets in water signs

We also need to look at modalities: with five planets in fixed signs, there’s a much slower pace. No planets in fire contributes to feelings of indolence, stasis and stagnance. But the Moon in Taurus is here to remind us that sometimes the most beneficial growth and change happens over an extended period of time.

Moon in Taurus

You may remember from my November post on the Full Moon in Taurus that the Moon is exalted in this sign. Taurus, a fixed earth sign, surrounds the Moon with creature comforts. Uninterested in abstract notions of emotional fulfillment, a Taurus Moon says, “What will make you feel good right now, love? A warm bath scented with jasmine and roses? A glass of Bordeaux? How about a slice of chocolate cake?” It invites us to find emotional pleasure in connecting with sensory experiences, and reminds us that the psyche is most open to manifesting when it’s well cared for.

Here’s what Chani Nicholas writes about the Moon in Taurus in her book You Were Born for This:

Planets in their exaltation will tend to get attention for their ability to perform their duty. Here, the Moon is productive, giving, and generative.

With all of this in mind, a Taurus New Moon is ideal for manifesting and setting forth intentions. Even if you’re not planning elaborate ritual work today, you can sit quietly and reflect on what you wish to see manifest in your life by November 2021.

New Moon in Taurus – Affirmations for the Signs

Check your Sun/rising sign for affirmations you can use as a starting point for intention setting, journaling, and meditation. I’ve also included areas where you may want to consider manifesting a fresh start.

Aries Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Values, self-worth, financial resources
I create my own security.
All my actions lead me to greater prosperity and abundance.

Taurus Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Physical appearance, identity, outlook on life
Being unapologetically myself is my greatest strength.
I love, respect and approve of myself.

Gemini Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Subconscious, limitations, connection to divine
I trust the flow and process of life.
I know that divine action is taking place right now.

Cancer Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Goals, friendships, social consciousness
I am appreciated by everyone in my life.
I attract people into my life who love, respect and support me.

Leo Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Career, reputation, ambitions
I am good at my job.
I am capable of succeeding in life.

Virgo Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Belief systems, life lessons, aspirations
I bring my knowledge, skills and abilities to everything I say and do.
I am open to learning more about myself and the world around me.

Libra Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Shared resources, instincts, regeneration
My personal transformations allow me to learn and grow.
I willingly share what I have with others.

Scorpio Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Partnerships of all kinds, cooperation, relationships
People are respectful, kind and good to me, and that’s all I ever attract.
I am comfortable establishing and maintaining boundaries with others.

Sagittarius Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Health, service, routines
I am capable of creating new, positive habits and routines.
I am focused on living a healthy, happy life.

Capricorn Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Creativity, pleasure, self-expression
I am limitless in my creative ideas.
I express myself clearly and with love.

Aquarius Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Ancestral history, home, family relationships
I allow myself to release the past.
I build foundations that nurture and support me on my path.

Pisces Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Communication, sharing information, awareness
I have a voice that is meant to be heard.
I freely share my knowledge with others.

Not sure about your rising sign? Visit https://chart.chaninicholas.com/ to generate your natal chart for free.

Manifesting at the Taurus New Moon

I’ve mentioned Wayne Dyer’s Meditations for Manifesting before, and once again I highly encourage using this resource as part of your New Moon manifestation ritual work. I can personally attest to seeing changes in my life as a result of working with this meditation practice.

May this Taurus New Moon provide a moment of intention setting and manifestation that will see you through the coming Mercury retrograde and eclipse season.

Try out my New Moon Tarot Spread here.

Paramahansa Yogananda & the Lake Shrine Gardens

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My copy of Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, on top of a pink cotton scarf – both purchased at the Lake Shrine Gardens gift shop several years ago.

 

Today is the birthday of Paramahansa Yogananda, the man responsible for bringing yoga to the West over 100 years ago. I found out about him more than 15 years ago when I lived in Southern California – and the Lake Shrine Gardens, which became part of his Self-Realization Fellowship in 1950, quickly became my favorite place to visit for reflection, meditation, prayer and guidance. It’s said that Yogananda meditated and prayed all over the grounds during the process of its development into what we see today. I can tell you from personal experience that a feeling of tranquility comes over me as soon as I step into the garden, and the meditation sessions I’ve had while visiting have been life changing.

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The Lake Shrine Gardens, Pacific Palisades, CA
Lake Shrine Chapel, Lake Shrine Windmill Chapel, Lake Shrine Gardens, Lake Shrine, Self-Realization Fellowship, Yogananda, SRF, girl with moxie
Gateway at the Windmill Chapel, Lake Shrine Gardens
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The Windmill Chapel at the Lake Shrine Gardens

One of the last times I visited the Lake Shrine Gardens, I purchased a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi, the book Yogananda wrote about his life and which was originally published in 1946. When I read this book for the first time in the early 2000s, I had vivid dreams at night about meeting gurus and great philosophers. In its pages I found guidance that allowed me to reconcile my Christian upbringing with my newfound spiritual beliefs and studies. I’m currently on my third or fourth reading of the book – it’s a wonderful way for me to wind down before going to sleep, and with each reading I gain new insights.

white dove, dove, Lake Shrine Gardens, Lake Shrine, Self-Realization Fellowship, Yogananda, SRF, girl with moxie
This beautiful white dove came to greet me at one of my last visits to the Lake Shrine Gardens.

I don’t consider myself a devotee of Yogananda, but I am definitely a huge fan of his work. His words resonate with me and bring me peace and comfort when I read them. At the Lake Shrine Gardens, there is a small bas-relief near the entrance that says, “Many Paths, One Truth.” That one simple sentence has given me a foundation to show compassion to those who have different beliefs than I do. Because if they are choosing love – which is the truth that I try to live by – then we have something in common.

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Flower at the Lake Shrine Gardens

You can find out more about Yogananda and his life’s work here.

All photos in this post are from my personal collection.

Please request permission before sharing or reposting these images elsewhere.

November 30, 2020 – Lunar Eclipse in Gemini

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In much the same way that October ended with a powerful Full Moon in Taurus, November ends with a Lunar Eclipse in Gemini. Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth’s shadow blocks the Sun’s light. In astrological terms, a lunar eclipse is a Full Moon hopped up on caffeine & energy drinks. All the energy that we’ve come to expect during a Full Moon is amplified during a lunar eclipse.

Moon in Gemini

If you’ve been reading my lunar posts for the past few months, you’re well acquainted with the Moon’s rulership over emotions, intuition, instinct, and more receptive/yin energy. When the Moon is in the sign of Gemini, it is chatty, versatile and a tad flaky. It’s high energy and wants to keep busy. But because Gemini is interested in communicating, it’s way more interested in talking about feelings that come up – and not always about actually feeling them.

I want to emphasize, though, that Gemini isn’t a bad placement for the Moon. If we think of the Moon’s movement through the zodiac as a quest or hero’s journey, then its travels through Gemini are important because it becomes emotionally curious, trying on different feelings and experiences to see how they feel. Before the Moon stepped into Gemini, it was in Taurus, which you’ll remember is where the Moon is exalted. Personified, Moon in Taurus is all snuggled up in a blanket, sipping hot cocoa and watching baking shows. It’s all about creature comforts. In Gemini, the Moon throws off the blanket, turns off the TV and puts the mug in the sink and says, “Gosh, I’m bored. Let’s do something! What else is there to do? What would it feel like if…?” This emotional curiosity gets satisfied by the time the Moon enters Cancer, the sign it rules (also known as its dignity).

via GIPHY

With this in mind, the Gemini lunar eclipse is our opportunity to look at what’s going on in our lives and examine all the possible emotional responses we can have. Our investigations take place in the house where the lunar eclipse falls.

via GIPHY

Questions to Consider during the Gemini Lunar Eclipse

Since Gemini loves to ask questions, I’ve come up with questions for you to consider during the next few days. Look at your rising sign first, then your Sun sign. You may want to journal out your answer (which is a very Gemini Moon activity) or perhaps meditate on them.

Aries/Aries Rising

  • How have my communication skills changed over the last 6 months?
  • Where do I need to express myself more clearly?
  • What has been a recent trip or journey that has offered me some clarity or insight?

Taurus/Taurus Rising

  • How have my feelings of self-worth changed over the last 6 months?
  • Where have I been spending my money the most? The least?
  • What objects in my life have brought me the most satisfaction over the last 6 months?

Gemini/Gemini Rising

  • How has my personality shifted over the last 6 months?
  • What aspects of my physical appearance do I wish to change?
  • Where have I experienced changes in how people perceive me?

Cancer/Cancer Rising

  • How have I been addressing old wounds over the last 6 months?
  • Where have I drawn boundaries or limits with others?
  • What situations trigger a withdrawal response in me?

Leo/Leo Rising

  • How have my friendships & social interactions shifted over the last 6 months?
  • Where do I want to see myself in the next 6 months?
  • What do I wish for myself and the world around me?

Virgo/Virgo Rising

  • How has my career changed in the last 6 months?
  • Where do my current ambitions lie?
  • What do I most want to be known for?

Libra/Libra Rising

  • How have my personal beliefs shifted over the last 6 months?
  • What are the big questions that compel me at this time?
  • Where do I long to go once I feel it’s safe to travel?

Scorpio/Scorpio Rising

  • How have my intuitive abilities/gut instincts evolved over the last 6 months?
  • What areas of my life are ready for transformation?
  • Where has my personal power been centralized or challenged?

Sagittarius/Sagittarius Rising

  • How have my personal and professional relationships changed in the last 6 months?
  • Where am I my own worst enemy?
  • What do my conflicts with others teach me about myself?

Capricorn/Capricorn Rising

  • How has my health (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) changed over the last 6 months?
  • Where do I find myself most drawn to being of service?
  • What work brings me the most personal satisfaction?

Aquarius/Aquarius Rising

  • How has my creative process developed or shifted over the past 6 months?
  • What activities bring me the most pleasure or joy?
  • Where do I find it easiest to express myself?

Pisces/Pisces Rising

  • How have my family relationships changed over the last 6 months?
  • Where in my home do I feel most/least comfortable?
  • What from my past needs further examination or study?

I hope your curiosity is satisfied during this lunar eclipse, and that you discover new ways to learn and grow as a result!

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.

Faces of Depression, Day 26

Since the last 2 days were spent at the DMV, today was a catch-up day: client work, grocery shopping, laundry. In the morning, I had some nasty anxiety pop up related to finances (yet again), so I meditated using Wayne Dyer’s Meditations for Manifestation, which usually helps me shift my focus. Combined with my litany of affirmations, I feel I have some decent tools to combat the anxiety and depression that crops up. Today was a 5 out of 10.

Took this photo at 8:45 pm. I'm tired but not too overwhelmed with depression or anxiety. That said, I'm looking forward to bedtime. Today is a 5 out of 10.
Took this photo at 8:45 pm. I’m tired but not too overwhelmed with depression or anxiety. That said, I’m looking forward to bedtime. Today was a 5 out of 10.