Venus in Pisces February 2018

Venus symbolizes relationships, beauty, money/earned income, value and self-value. It reflects how you relate to others and your environment, and also how you see yourself through another’s eyes.
 
When Venus moves into Pisces (the unseen realms of life; the divine) we see the world in full color. There is so much more to this vast, mysterious universe than the meets the eye. This transit can inspire you to connect with something bigger than yourself and your everyday routine (virgo, the opposite sign of Pisces rules the day-to-day stuff). You may do this through a walk in nature, spending time with an animal friend, meditation, yoga, listening to or creating music, creating art, going on an adventure – whatever it is). 
 
Like the “App,” Snapchat, Venus in Pisces can adorn you with a pair of cool-looking, rose-colored glasses – keep in mind, especially if you have met someone new, that sometimes things appear “rosier” than they actually are. You want to see the beauty in everyone and everything thing now, and it’s easy to overlook details (Pisces is not, ahem, known for their detail work – anyone who is friends with or married to a Pisces will probably laugh, knowingly, at this).
 
You may feel more compassionate now and able to forgive more easily; this is a “live and let live” transit. Speaking of living, I once shared an apartment with a friend who had and abundance of Virgo and Aries in her natal chart; she had many amazing qualities (proactive, energetic, reliable and disciplined to name a few) and she was also hyper in tune to details (at the expense of the bigger picture) and quick to criticize others – she seemed to see the world in black and white. I often found myself saying, during that year, the phrase “Live and let live.” Pisces is like a soothing balm in that way; it’s a non-judgmental and open-minded, and it’s shadow side is that it is susceptible to slipping into the role of the victim, which is often more subtle than we realize. Pisces is like a sponge, super sensitive, absorbing everything, including pain and negativity, and so people with Pisces prominent in their charts need to learn to create firmer boundaries in order to protect themselves. Pisces is also the chameleon of the zodiac; they can become what they think you want them to be (many talented actors have this sign prominent; they are able to step into someone else’s shoes, so to speak).
 
These are all themes to be aware of when Venus enters Pisces. Are you honoring yourself and your needs in relationships, or are you giving your power away? There is a soft, and often foggy, quality to Pisces and boundaries can play tricks on you now, or people you love and are in relationships with can seem out of reach. Relationships with composite Pisces or 12th house energy strong are often hidden relationships; they can also be beautiful and soulful.
 
You can use this Pisces in Venus Transit to connect with others in a deep and meaningful way, to enjoy romance and beauty, to forgive past hurts and see situations from a wider perspective, and to create from your heart – basically, to realign with what really matters.

Sun (in Aquarius) Square Jupiter (in Scorpio)

Jupiter in Scorpio is squaring the Sun in Aquarius today until February 11th.

What does this mean? I will break this down into its parts and then give you an overall idea of how this energy may play out in your life.

Jupiter represents a bigger than life energy; it’s jubilant, carefree, brimming with ideas and potentials. Those who have Jupiter prominent in their natal charts like to kick their shoes off, throw a care to the wind and enjoy life. They don’t want to be tied down to too many responsibilities and commitments.

Ok, now we will look at the sign our freedom-loving Jupiter currently resides in: Scorpio. Jupiter will be in Scorpio until November 9, 2018 (due to Jupiter turning retrograde next month), so what I am about to describe applies for the next several months. Scorpio has two distinct sides: the Scorpion, crawling on the earth, and the Eagle, flying with expansive wings, above it all. Jupiter expands the sign it’s in and so can bring energy to either the “lower” end of Scorpio (e.g., fears, trauma, grudges, resentment, deep emotions connected to past trauma and pain) or the “higher” end (e.g., healing, empowering yourself and others, a deep understanding of the subtle layers of life, focus and determination, inner strength). You may be feeling, lately, old emotions and grievances coming to the surface. You may also be drawn to esoteric subjects or involved in research. Scorpio is also about merging resources/partnerships, intimacy, sex, death and taxes (ya know, the lighter subjects of life).

The Sun represents what we want; our drive and ego. It’s like a light shining on our life-path. Where do we want to go and how do we get there? The Sun is lighting up quirky and friendly Aquarius these days. Aquarius themes and archetypes are groups, friendships, communities, the bigger picture of life, getting involved with humanitarian causes (it’s the Robin Hood archetype), the rebel (doing things your own way/being non-conventional), the underdog, freedom, the mind/intellect, the internet and technology (anything future oriented), a spark of insight. When the Sun is in Aquarius we may be focused on or driven by any of the above.

So, as I noted, Jupiter expands like a balloon whatever it touches, usually in a positive way, in order to open us up to potentials and opportunities connected to that sign; it can also expand areas we need to work on for the sake of inner and outer growth. Since Jupiter wants us to grow beyond our perceived limitations, it can blow up Scorpio baggage (yikes). This does not feel so good at the time. If you have, however, done a pretty good job of cleaning out your closets (“I’m sorry mama…”), this Jupiter Scorpio arrangement can enhance or bring into your life partnerships that enable you to be stronger and more effective than you could be on your own. It may be a time when you are merging resources with someone, such as a business partnership or moving in with someone you love. For some lucky peeps, this can be a time when you come into money (Scorpio rules money from the intangible realms, such as stocks and bonds).
 
Ok, getting there …
 
The Sun represents what we want; our drive and ego. It’s like a light shining on our life-path. Where do we want to go and how do we get there? The Sun is lighting up quirky and friendly Aquarius these days. Aquarius themes and archetypes are groups, friendships, and communities, the bigger picture of life, getting involved with humanitarian causes (it’s the Robin hood archetype), the mind/intellect, the internet and technology (anything future oriented), the rebel (doing things your own way/being non-conventional), the underdog, freedom, a spark of insight. When the Sun is in Aquarius we may be focused on or driven by any of the above.
 
When the Sun is SQUARE Jupiter, it is creating a so-called challenging aspect. Squares can bring tension and friction. Squares mean the planets involved are working at cross-purposes like a tug-of-war; thus the challenge is to figure out how we can best work with these two sides that do not want to compromise in order to create balance. If we can “figure it out,” squares can result in fulfilling and dynamic outcomes. They can sometimes result in forced change, like a breaking point. A great way to deal with a square is to look deeply at both sides of a situation (especially the opposite side that you are aligned with) and to create lists of pros and cons.
 
Tying this all together (finally!). The Sun in Aquarius wants freedom, to connect to big picture pursuits and do things in a unique, maybe unconventional way, and, most importantly, to stand in one’s truth/be genuine. This drive to be yourself is somehow at odds with Jupiter’s super sizing of Scorpio. Remember that Scorpio feels things deeply and wants to study things thoroughly, to inspect and probe beneath the surface and, ultimately, purge anything that is no longer needed, anything that blocks you. It’s like a Roto-rooter. Scorpio is known, ahem, for dwelling and can at times make the good ole’ “mountains out of mole hills” (for instance, Scorpio can go down the rabbit hole of fear and resentment based on a look someone gave them or a perceived insult). Aquarius is above all that petty stuff and doesn’t do emotions well. Aquarius would like to remain in the mental realms of life, safe from all that murky junk. Both are, at their core, genuine and haters of BS.
 
The question is how do we free ourselves from baggage that creeps up and causes negative feelings and the tendency to dwell, which can create a feeling of being stuck, while honoring our drive to move above all of that and see the bigger picture of life, and (ideally) use our visions to serve others/humanity? Whoa. My head is spinning. I am sure yours is, too. Who the heck knows, really, (these are big questions) but I think we can start by facing our fears. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from my Aunt MaryAnne, when I told her I was scared, was: “So, do it scared” – meaning don’t let your fear rule you. That stuck with me and I have a done a lot of things scared – some worked out splendidly and others seemed like failures … still, “I did it” rather than avoiding my fear, which always feels worse in the long-run and covers up our authenticity.
 
There is one more layer (wide eyed emoji). In your Natal Chart, these planets fall in specific houses (the “where” or area of life you may feel this energy coming up). You can easily access your natal chart (if you have your birth time) on astro.com or contact me for a reading!

Ayurveda Practices for Staying in Balance

Ayurveda translates to the Wisdom of Life. I like this definition because it reflects the truth that wellness and health cannot be separated from the larger whole. Our bodies and beings are intrinsically connected to our environment, to the larger whole: what is outside of us is also within us. 

Ayurveda philosophy is rooted in the three Doshas or Constitutions, which embody the elements of nature: they are Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth). According to Ayurveda, there is no “one size fits all” approach for wellness. For instance, a raw food diet, although it may work great for a Pitta dominant person, can wreak havoc on a Vata dominant person’s digestive system. I am a Vata dominant person so I can attest to this: Vata people are delicate like flowers while Pitta people tend to have a “strong constitution.” There are, however, daily morning practices, called Dinacharya, that work well for all three Doshas. They can also be tailored to meet the specific needs of your current state of being (note: your current state may differ from your dosha/natural constitution).

Below are the daily morning Ayurveda practices that I have committed to. They are simple and yet the accumulated affect is that I feel more grounded and balanced in the morning (the morning has always been difficult for me so this is a big deal). I encourage you to adopt any or all of these morning practices. If you’d like to learn about your natural constitution and current state of being through an Ayurvedic lens, I offer an online Ayurvedic Assessment and Wellness Plan.

  1. Use a tongue cleaner before brushing your teeth and on an empty stomach (7-14 scrapes). The Ayurveda perspective holds that a tongue cleaner is essential as a toothbrush because it helps to reduce Ama (toxins) in the body by keeping the bacteria level in the mouth healthy and stimulates the cleansing of the gastrointestinal tract.
  2. Drink a glass of warm (not cold and not hot) with lemon – this helps to soften Ama (toxins) and is cleansing for the system. *If you need to stimulate Agni (the digestive fire/metabolism), add fresh ginger.
  3. Meditation and/or Pranayama (I know this is a ‘toughie’ but you can make the time for at least 5 minutes! Shoot for 10 -15 minutes, but 5 is a great start.) *Pranayama is yogic breathing techniques for, for example, centering or stimulation/energy. This breath-work can be tailored for your dosha and/or current state . The benefits of meditation are many! A few I have noticed since I began meditating on a daily basis are greater mental focus and an ease of expression (i.e., easier time finding the “right” words), a feeling of contentment and more balanced emotions.
  4. Oil Pulling. On any empty stomach, take a tablespoon of Sesame Oil or Coconut Oil (or blend of the two)- swish it all around your mouth (in front and in back of your teeth) for at least 5 minutes and up to 15. It takes a little getting used to but there are many benefits! A few are: healthy teeth and gums, improves respiratory health (helps with allergies and asthma), supports the body’s process of releasing toxins. Banyan Botanicals, a site I used for my Ayurveda Products, developed a product called Daily Swish that has peppermint and spearmint essential oils so the taste is more palatable!
  5. A splash of cold water on face/eyes. This reduces heat or leftover pitta energy from the night, when your body undertakes repair work. It’s also stimulating and refreshing.
  6. Before shower or about 10 minutes after, put 1-2 drops of Nasya Oil in each nostril. This is a blend of  oils, herbs and essential oils. The nostrils are a direct passageway to your brain and in order to feel well and balanced this passage needs to be clear and unblocked so the breath/prana (life force) can flow. Nasya Oil helps to clear congestion, cleanses the tissues, supports mental clarity and is said to improve vision and the quality of the voice.
  7. Self Massage: I love this one as it especially beneficial for my prominent dosha, the Vata dosha. If you are a fellow Vata, you can do this after the shower like I do because your skin tends to be dry, but if you have oily skin this can be done before your shower. I use Sesame oil and this is the preferred oil for the Vata dosha (Sunflower or Coconut oils can be used for Pitta, especially during the summer months, and dry brushing may be more appropriate for Kapha). I add a few drops of essential oils, which is optional (lately I use Lavender and Eucalyptus). Massage the oil on your body, using long strokes on limbs and circular strokes on joints and broad circular strokes on belly (clockwise) and chest. There are lots of benefits, such as: improves sleep, promotes healthy skin, nourishes the tissues, stimulates circulation and the internal organs. This takes me about 5 minutes in the morning and truly makes me feel more grounded and supported. The oil is like a protective layer on your skin as you navigate the different experiences and energies of the day, and so, as I mentioned, this practice can be especially helpful for Vata because Vata people tend to be sensitive/delicate.
  8. Sun Salutations and Moon Salutations. Take 5-15 minutes to practice morning Salutations. Switch it up to Moon Salutations during the Full Moon Phase or any time you’re in the mood for a softer morning yoga routine.
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When Transiting Venus Conjuncts Your Natal Chiron, Hidden Gifts, and Dharma

A few days ago, I had an exact conjunction between Venus in the sky and my natal Chiron. I didn’t realize it until I checked my Transit Chart halfway through that day, thinking to myself what the heck is going on with me today? 

It started with a wayward paycheck. I sent a third email to the person who was supposedly in charge of payroll to ask when I could pick up my now 3-week late check. There were a few other minor work issues I was trying to sort out and as I spent the morning trying to track down money I was owed or pinpoint things that didn’t seem pin-able at that moment, my rising emotions took on a life of their own and I got swept away. (Note: the moon was going to be Full in two days, when emotions tend to swell.) I have had a recurring dream, on and off for years, of tidal waves and tsunamis and I remember one in particular in which I was in a canoe with an old friend in the middle of the ocean (ya know, just chilling) as an oncoming tidal wave roared toward us, turned our little boat vertical and we rode down the side of the wave. Interestingly, the canoe never capsized and maybe this is a sign of my internal strength even as I have navigated the turbulent waters of life.

I digress.

The issues I was facing this particular morning were, on the surface level, of money/income/getting paid for my work and also of receiving support I needed to complete tasks. On a deeper level, this was about supporting myself in the world and feeling valued for the work I am doing, for what I am giving. Chiron wounds have deep, deep roots. The spot in the Natal Chart where Chiron dwells points to the wounds that we have trouble even looking at; we bury them well. It’s the place where we feel inadequate and cut off from ourselves and we may attempt to compensate in some way, by either proving ourselves again and again (an endless cycle), or giving from an empty place (the giving is, therefore, not genuine/pure), or withdrawing and taking ourselves out of the game altogether because it feels safer than the rejection that may come if this wound was revealed or activated.

I have Chiron on the cusp of Taurus and Aries and so issues of self-worth, confidence, and valuing myself run deep. Taurus rules, among other things, the material world and earning an income, which is intrinsically connected to how we value ourselves. Aries rules the self and the physical body. Somewhere along the way I learned not to value myself and my own needs, and that to do so was somehow inappropriate. It’s no surprise then that I have often faced circumstances of not being paid enough (or at all in some cases!) for my work.

And so my emotions were running high this morning.  I decided to do a yoga practice. Note: if you have Chiron in Aries, yoga and other types of therapeutic body work are excellent for you. I use Yogaglo (online yoga classes) when I can’t get to the yoga studio and I’m in the mood to be guided. I have a few favorite teachers on Yogaglo and as I searched for a class to take, a new class taught by one of “my teachers” popped up. It was, amazingly, a class on Artha, the Sanskrit word for having the wealth or resources to fulfill your dharma or life purpose, i.e., using your innate gifts for service in the world. I felt like he (the teacher) was speaking directly to me. I have to pause here to say how cool is that? The universe was supporting me. Recognizing this inherent support is the first step in healing/integrating my Taurus/Aries Chiron wounds. It’s no coincidence that when I teach I often hear myself asking students to accept support, to feel the support of the earth underneath them, etc. We teach the lessons we are learning ourselves.

It’s interesting to note that I currently have Saturn transiting my 2nd house of earned income/material resources/self-value. I liked the way my Astrology teacher/mentor whimsically described Saturn Transits: “Wherever Saturn is in the chart, you know he’s going to be busting chops.” The chart house Saturn visits usually calls for some restructuring, discipline, hard work/effort and facing whatever it is you neglect in that area of life, so that you can fully utilize your resources and create something solid, something lasting. Once you get used to looking at Natal and Transit Charts, themes begin to pop out at you; if you see something significant (like, Venus making a conjunction with my natal Natal Chiron) chances are that theme will be highlighted elsewhere in the chart. Saturn is pushing me to face and organize this area of my life (my material resources), so that I can receive the support I need and, in turn, support others.

When Venus and Chiron get together in the Natal or Transit chart, ancient wounds connected to relationships (how we relate to others and our environment) can resurface and fester, and there is also a chance to clean them out. I love the idea of the wound actually being the gift, which is why I resonate with the Rumi quote: The wound is the place where the light enters you. The wound remains a wound, I believe, because we cover it up and emotionally cut off that area of life or ourselves. You can look to the sign and house Chiron is in to learn more about your ‘wounds’ and how you can learn to re-integrate them.

If you recall, my Chiron is on the cusp of Taurus and Aries and it sits in my 5th house, right near the cusp of my 6th house. I am learning to care for myself (I have an Ayurveda daily morning practice) and to support myself in the material world (building my business). I teach yoga and it has taken me a long time to free up my creative energy (5th house) and voice (Taurus) so that I can be “myself” when I teach. When I connect to my own creative flow students can connect to theirs. I notice that if I am “in my head” too much when teaching or when doing anything in life, I don’t give others the space they need to be in their own “flow.” It’s a good thing I started teaching yoga later in life, as I was beginning to face my Chiron wounds and lessons, or else I would have believed I was no good at it and have moved on AKA quit (6th house Chiron), which is what I did, work-wise, throughout my twenties and early thirties (tried something, deemed myself unfit and jumped ship).

I can only do my work and service in the world when I face these wounded pieces of myself because it’s difficult to give when operating from a place of lack. Once you “own your Chiron,” it’s as if you have a new found, unshakeable power that comes from those dark experiences. We can then use this power, this strength, to support others who have similar wounds. This is why Chiron is called the Wounded Healer.

I am learning how to play the harmonium and it’s a whole new world for me. I didn’t play instruments as a kid and have a memory of a Middle School chorus teacher insulting my voice (Chiron in Taurus). After that, I pretended to sing, mouthing the words, which is sad because I loved to sing as a child and always sang in the shower. I said to my Harmonium teacher, who happens to be interested in Astrology, “I have my moon in Taurus and I have read that this placement can indicate a hidden gift of singing or using your voice.” I said it with a chuckle because although I can carry a tune, I am clearly not a gifted singer and I didn’t want her to think I was delusional. She seemed to understand and confirmed, without hesitation, that it was indeed “a gift.” By singing and playing the harmonium I am healing my wound (freeing up my voice and my creative expression).

It’s no surprise that my throat is one of the most vulnerable places in my body; when I get sick I get a sore throat first. For most of my life, I felt I didn’t have “a voice,” that I couldn’t express myself well and clearly. I didn’t know how or have the capacity to express what was on the inside, what I really felt. For this reason, I never felt “heard.” Although I longed to be heard and seen, I deeply feared being heard and seen: my Chiron block. Leo rules the 5th house, where Chiron lives in my chart, which is about being seen and heard, how you shine, and using and expressing your creative gifts.

On the vision board in my bedroom, which I created at the beginning of the year, it says “I am enough.” Although I think the phrase is a little corny/cliche, as I spontaneously cut the words out of a magazine I knew it was an integral component of my “vision” for this year, without fully understanding why. Now I know.

“I am enough” is a good mantra for a Chiron/Venus aspect. With this aspect, there can be a feeling of giving a lot in relationships and not receiving in return what you need, hence the feeling of support needs to first come from within. We can do that through daily Ayurveda and yoga practices, for example, or any other form of self-care that keeps us feeling balanced. Taking the time to provide ourselves with care and nourishment is self-love. The key is to love ourselves enough in order to feel that we are worth this effort (something I am learning). As I cultivate self-love, I believe I will continue to draw situations and dynamics into my life that feel supportive and enable me to do my dharma. I am learning that my dharma is using and sharing my hidden gifts (creative self expression, being playful/joyful, teaching children) to support others in their creativity, in whatever form that may take.

If you’d like to know more about where Chiron is in your Natal and/or Transit Chart, please book a Reading with me. 🙂

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Retrograde Planets and Durga’s Roar

We currently have four (soon to be five) retrograde planets in the sky, through the end of May. To take a step back, Retrograde refers to the appearance of a planet, from Earth, to be moving backward in its orbit. It is said by Astrologers that the illusion of the backward motion turns the energy of that planet inside-out, so to speak. In other words, if Saturn (when in Direct motion) is about responsibility, structure and discipline, when Saturn is in Retrograde motion these themes are reversed. It’s not that Saturn Retrograde is about being irresponsible or undisciplined, although it can show up in your life that way; it is, instead, a time to reassess, review, re-do (anything with an “re” prefix, basically) or fine-tune your responsibilities and your relationship with discipline, so that you can make sure that your life practices are in line with your true values. For this reason, the Retrograde energies urge us to pause, to slow down, and to go inward (a time for self-work/self-awareness) in order to re-align any aspects of our lives that may be out of whack.

My friend shared an article yesterday on her inspiring Blog that illuminates the deeper meaning of the Retrograde planets. The author of the article, Tanaaz, writes: “Retrograde energy is also highly feminine and in these patriarchal times, on a subconscious level, many of us struggle to accept and integrate feminine energy into our every day lives.” This was an AHA moment for me. I had never thought of it this way. When many of us, who know something about Astrology, think of planets in Retrograde, we understand that life can feel more chaotic, less smooth or productive, during these times. Why is this so? As Tanaaz expresses, it’s because we are meant to take a step back from our worldly pursuits at this time in order to align with the “feminine,” the non-doing side of life. So, it seems, if we resist this energy and try to force our will because we want to see immediate results for our efforts, we will be presented with obstacles that show up in various forms and frustrate us. The antidote is the act of, good ole’, Letting Go.

How do we let go? Well, we can start with breathing practices and meditation and yoga. I noticed today, as I was reading my book, a nagging feeling that I was wasting time because I wasn’t doing something that was going to produce tangible results, at least not right away. These feelings and patterns are not easy to unwind because they are so ingrained, however just being aware of them is, I believe, an integral step in making shifts. Letting go our our agendas, of how we think things should be and look frees up a huge amount of energetic space. It frees up our creative energy. The Feminine is not attached to a gender: it is our creative energy, the force behind our inspiration and passion. The purpose of the Retrograde periods is to restore balance in our lives, so take a breather. 🙂

I have four Retrograde planets (well, five, if you count Pluto in Shadow Period) in my Natal Chart and one of them is Mars. Retrograde planets, as I discussed above, turn the energy of that planet inward thus the fiery and fierce energy of Mars has been, for me, internalized and I have had difficulty expressing my strength and power, moving it out into the world. I see now, in a moment of integration, that I have been on a path of learning how to own my ‘Mars’ energy, to use it in a fair and balanced way (past-life karma likely at the root of this one: I have my South Node in Aries), so that I may lead/teach in a strong yet loving and compassionate way. True strength comes from compassion and this is the lesson of Durga, the Warrior Goddess.

Yesterday, I re-visited (during retrograde periods you may naturally find yourself re-visiting things from the past) one of my favorite books and teachers: Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton. I like to teach my yoga classes around themes, so I was looking for inspiration on what to teach next. According to Kempton, Durga is both the Goddess of Battle and the Divine Mother. Her ferocity and commitment, her ability to overcome obstacles, comes from a true inner strength (core strength) and compassion.

Our lives are full of connections and synchronicities when we are present to notice and absorb them. It dawned me, after reading Tanaaz’s article about the Retrograde planets, that it was no coincidence that I was re-reading my book about the Divine Feminine Energy in all of us (Shakti). With all my Natal Retrograde planets, I have embodied a more passive and gentle nature, or at least I think I have been seen that way throughout my life. In my family of origin (I’m sure the roots are deep), femininity was linked with being modest and not going after one’s needs and desires. I learned to be the “good girl.” I also believed that if I was not the “good girl” I would be shunned. This created a chasm within me and trapped energy (Shakti) inside me, waiting to be freed, to roar (Durga rides a lion). This trapped energy has come out over the years in bursts and eruptions, built up frustration and anger that I haven’t quite understood and that has caused me to feel shame. Like Persephonne, the Queen of the Underworld, who starts out in the story as the innocent maiden, before being captured by Pluto/Hades, King of the Underworld, I have a dark side too. We all do.

When, some years ago, I was immersed in my second Yoga Teacher Training, my mentor, after watching me practice teach one day said, matter-of-factly, “You’re a good teacher,” to counter my evident self-doubt, and “It’s time for you to step into your authority.” I have thought of these words often. I used to find myself in situations with women who embodied the shadow side of Durga: controlling, harsh, quick to anger. My immediate response was withdrawal. This is an ancient feeling, a core reaction: I’m like my cat when he hears the doorbell and zooms under the bed, as if the person at the door plans to kill him. Jungian psychology posits that when we disown a part of our personality, it appears in our lives as the shadow side of the energy. I was always surprised that I seemed to attract these fierce and, sometimes, harsh women. A yoga teacher who lost her temper because I had stepped the ‘wrong’ foot back; a boss who was controlling and, therefore, disempowered her employees. I understand that I am meant to reclaim my power and am in the process of doing so now in my life’s work. A different type of woman and mentor has entered my life now; one who shows and feels deep compassion and seems to ‘see’ me in a way that I have not previously felt ‘seen.’

In  Sally Kempton’s beautiful book, the myth of Durga goes like this: the Devi gods, who represent light and joy, convince her that she must fight the battle against the Asuras, who represent the ego gone astray and corruption, in order to restore balance in the world. She is the only one who can defeat the demon kings because those wise guys made a pact long ago with Brahma, the Creator, that they could not be defeated by any man or god, but there was no mention of a goddess. When Durga meets the demon kings, she is disguised as an innocent, beautiful maiden goddess and they, of course, want her. She tells their servants that she made a vow when young to only marry a man who can defeat her in battle. They laugh and think this is absurd but she persists and they become impatient. They send their men to go and get her, to drag her into their palace by her hair. Durga raises her sword and the men’s bodies are dissolved into thin air. The devil kings finally realize who she is (Shakti) and they remember the loophole. They know that they must defeat her in battle or die. Durga has the powers of all the gods and goddesses within her and so they don’t stand a chance against her. When she defeats them, they are returned back to source, the heart of the mother, and the balance in the land is restored. The stories of the goddesses are about integrating dark and light and finding our way back home.

The Retrograde planets are calling for a similar energy: by slowing down and releasing the need to produce something tangible in the world, we will reconnect with ourselves, with nature (get outside and take more walks during this time!) and with divinity (the connection to all that is), so that when we create things in this world it comes from a balance of heart of mind.

For 2017 Retrograde timing, check out this website (scroll down for 2017).

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Your Astrological Moon & House Sign: What Nourishes & Balances You

 

When I was a little girl, I was in awe of the moon. I was also frightened of it. I gazed, one evening, at the luminous globe in the sky and spotted the outline of a figure inside it, confirming my suspicions.

“The man in the moon? Who told you that?” my mother laughed.

I remember feeling that she didn’t understand the weight and urgency of the subject. There was someone living inside the moon and I needed to get to the bottom of it. Was he friend or foe? Was he watching us? What were his intentions? I didn’t know how to put all of my Man in the Moon anxieties into words so I simply questioned, “He won’t hurt us?”

My childhood moon concerns may have been an early indication that I would, in my adult life, need to face and integrate fear and anxiety in order to receive and appreciate the magical and mystical qualities of life. In some Native American traditions the moon is referred to as Grandmother Moon. She has wisdom and guidance to offer us. The Moon represents our past and our habits, our instincts, emotions and needs. It is our default way of handling and responding to situations and is connected to our child-like self and memories of childhood (the Inner Child, in New Age language). The Sign and House of the Natal Chart that the moon falls in represents what comforts us, the ways in which we feel nurtured and cared for, and the relationship we have with our emotions. The Moon placement is said to symbolize our experience of our own mother (i.e., the way we were “mothered”) and the way we are drawn to mother.

Below I’ll share a description of the Natal Moon in each Sign and House of the Natal Chart. Read for BOTH your Moon Sign and House. If you know your Moon Sign and House skip to the paragraph below; if you don’t know which Sign and/or House your Natal Moon resides in, you can go to Astro.com and create a Profile. Once you have logged in click on “My Astro” and enter your birth details (birth date, time, place). Then go to “Free Horoscopes” and “Extended Chart Selection” – on the top of the page you’ll see a drop-down menu: click on your name and “Go” and then look for the Moon glyph/symbol in your Natal Chart to see which House and Sign it’s in. Those are your Natal Moon Placements.

Remember, as you’re reading the descriptions below, that this is one piece of the big picture; all of the planetary placements in your Natal Chart will temper the Moon placements in different ways, but you will undoubtedly recognize qualities of “your” Moon Sign and House as being part of your makeup.

Natal Moon in ARIES or The FIRST HOUSE:

When the Moon is in Aries or the First House, the native’s emotions and feelings are strongly connected to the self. The native may need to connect experiences to the self in order to understand or relate to them. Emotions can be passionate and strong and come in flashes, and when the native wants something he or she may be driven to get it. Those with this Moon Sign can reflect a child-like innocence that is charming and sincere, and they can be defensive if they feel criticized or hurt in any way. Lunar Aries people can be dare devils (especially when young), impatient/hasty and fighters by nature. They don’t always remember to acknowledge others’ needs and feelings; this is just not their “go to,”  which can be because their focus is on their goals or, in some cases, survival issues and therefore they don’t have the option or luxury to focus on other people’s feelings. If you think of the energy of a soldier who must be vigilant and fierce, not necessarily taking other people’s thoughts/feelings/views into account, you can get a sense of the Aries archetype. If there is a strong Aries emphasis in the overall Natal Chart, these people can be trailblazers and pioneers, forging ahead with strength and fearlessness into unchartered territory.

Aries Moon Natives will likely need and feel nourished by Action, Fast-paced Environments, Movement (they may be runners), Conquests and Contests (Aries loves/needs to win!), Taking Risks, Adventures, and Praise (i.e, anything that boosts the “self”).

When Lunar Aries/First House folks go out of balance they can become impulsive, diving into situations without thinking them through, which can of course have positive or negative results. If your Aries Moon self winds up in situations that you wished you hadn’t gotten into, you can balance this tendency to make hasty decisions with thoughtfulness, with slowing down and taking the time to do more research. My Aries South Node (the part of the Moon that represents the past/past patterns and, as some Astrologers believe, past lives) traits have often lead me into situations that I, in retrospect, wished I had thought through better, e.g., spending a lot of money on a year of a MA program that wasn’t suitable for me. I may have realized by doing research (e.g., speaking to people who had gone through the program) that it wasn’t the right one for me, saving myself a lot of time/energy and money. When those with an Aries or First House moon become unbalanced they can also become impatient, intolerant (harsh, even) and overly judgmental of others because of their tendency to not see things through other people’s eyes.

Those with an Aries or First House Moon can, as I stated above, benefit from learning to slow down and look before they leap, to gather information that will aid them in decision making, to take time each day to relax (especially if the natal chart has a lot of Fire and Cardinal placements), and to consider perspectives other than their own, especially before making a decision that involves others. Meditation is a great tool for these folks! If it is difficult to sit still, explore Pranayama (Breathing techniques that help to relax the body).

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. Here is an example from one of my dearest (Aries Moon) friends: I was a very daring kid. I remember loving to go on my friend’s roof, walking on a slender strip of the roof up to the top, so I could see the view from up high. In the town where I grew up there was a dam my friends and I would go to and I would hang over the side of it, holding on with one hand; it was a 100-foot drop. In college there was an ad for being in the transportation department on a movie set, and one of the requirements was that you had to know how to drive a Winnebago. I was so excited at the prospect of working on a movie that I lied about my experience. I cried as I drove the Winnebago for the first time, in the middle of Vermont, having no clue what I was doing. I will add that my Aries Moon friend learned how to drive that Winnebago well! Aries often learns to do things well by throwing themselves in (trial and error), so this also a positive trait (just sometimes need to be balanced with practicality).

Natal Moon in TAURUS or the SECOND HOUSE:

Taurus/Second House Moon natives are nourished by nature: bare feet in grass, for instance, can be very soothing. A home-cooked meal or a relaxing bath with essential oils at the end of a long day is just what the doctor ordered. Lunar Taurus/Second House need “earthy” things to feel a sense of security, such as creating things in the tangible world (e.g., one’s own business or a dependable relationship with a significant other) and having something to show for their efforts. These natives can be a great source of support and strength for friends and family, projecting a sense of calmness and steadiness. Lunar Taurus/Second House people can be very stubborn when they make a decision or come to a conclusion about something, and they will usually be slow to change their minds. They may need to watch the desire to over-indulge their senses and, instead, give themselves the things they truly need to feel nourished and supported, like a walk in nature, a hearty yet healthy meal, listening to music, connecting to the body (through yoga and dance, for example).

When Taurus/Second House Moon Natives go out of balance, they can become lethargic, lazy and over-indulgent, which leads to a feeling of heaviness (depression, even) and a sense of being weighed down by all their earthy pursuits. Because Taurus is a Fixed Sign, those with this placement (or Taurus/Second House prominent somewhere in their natal chart) can be resistant to change and can, therefore, feel a sense of stagnation or being stuck (the “heavy” quality). Movement (such as yoga, dance, hiking) is key for these people to get their energy flowing and shift their perspective. Meditation is also great for this Moon Sign for the reason that it can help them to detach from whatever/whomever they feel attached to and see/feel the bigger picture. A great practice for my Taurus/Second House Moon friends is to discard stuff they no longer need. They will benefit from periodically going through their belongings and making piles for donation; with each bag of stuff they drop off they will feel lighter.

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. I have my moon in Taurus, so here are some examples of how my Taurus Moon has shown up in my life: I grew up with my Greek Grandparents and food was an integral part of my childhood. My grandmother was an amazing cook and my grandfather had a two-story vegetable garden, which included grape leaves for the delicious dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) my grandmother made. Gardens are Taurean in nature (mother earth); I think of hands in soil. Speaking of soil, my childhood homes (there were a few) were full of plants because my mother is a plant lover. My earliest childhood home often smelled of my grandmother’s homemade apple pies baking in the oven (I rarely eat apple pie as an adult because it usually pales in comparison to my grandmother’s). As a baby I was wrapped in those soft blankets I talked about earlier (my mother is super sensitive to fabrics feeling itchy on her skin so I am sure that everything she put on my body was “itch tested”) and dressed in beautiful clothing (my mother worked for a French fashion company when I was little). I was very attached to my mother and because she worked full-time when I was young I pined away for her. Taurus/Second House Moon wants to feel stable and grounded and my mom’s schedule was busy and sometimes erratic so so she was unable to always meet me at the bus stop on time. For me, it was destabilizing (this is also due to other placements in my natal chart) and I would freeze up and cry while I waited for her. An Aries moon might have liked the challenge of walking home alone or a Gemini Moon might have been busy chatting with the other kids, but my Taurus Moon was concerned with stability and safety and had a difficult time with an inconsistent routine. Since Taurus is a Fixed Sign, it can have a hard time with change but Uranus opposing my Moon in my birth chart is all about change, so we learn over time to balance the contradictions in our Natal Chart/personality.

Natal Moon in GEMINI or The THIRD HOUSE:

With the Natal Moon in Gemini or the Third House, the native will likely feel nourished by Talking/Communicating, Books, Writing, Learning new information, Puzzles (anything that challenges the mind), Movement, Short-distance travel, Spending time in one’s neighborhood (gym, bookstore, local restaurants) and Siblings/Relatives. Lunar Gemini/Third House people may seem to be “all over the place,” always on the look out for something new and different. They may enjoy driving around (short road trips) and be in constant communication with friends and family. They like to joke around and laugh and be playful and they usually connect well with children due to their playful nature. They’re good at multi-tasking and they usually accomplish tasks in a round-about way, starting something and then quickly moving to something else and then looping back to the first thing. If there aren’t challenging aspects involving this Moon Placement these natives may get a lot accomplished in this circular way (even though it may drive their family members crazy- hehe). These are the people who are naturally good test takers and often don’t need to study as much others (i.e., their earth-moon friends) because they are continually taking in and processing information even as their attention seems to be focused elsewhere.

When Gemini Moon folks go out of balance, they can feel scattered and ungrounded due to spreading their attention and focus too thin. Too much multi-tasking can boggle the system and freeze it up. Because Gemini/Third House Moon natives enjoy communicating they can, when out of balance, expend their energy on shallow or mundane topics (e.g., gossiping), which ultimately does not nourish them. Lunar Gemini peeps will benefit from “unplugging” periodically (i.e., no phone, computer, electronics) and it’s a good idea for them (and everyone for that matter) to turn off cell phone & computer by early evening. Meditation is a great tool (although probably not easy) for our Gemini/Third House Moon friends to help them clear their minds and connect to the unseen realms/ the bigger picture, away from all the details and thoughts of the day. Yoga and any kind of body or energy work is a perfect counter to the mind-based realms of Gemini/Third House. When these people connect to their body they can connect more easily to their emotions and balance their tendency to over-think or over-analyze.

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. This is my memory of my childhood best friend’s older sister who has her Moon in Gemini: She was babysitting for my younger brother one day. When I got home, I noticed a note in my bedroom (on my pink, bunny pad; I still remember it) by my dollhouse. She wrote to “take note of the people in the dollhouse.” She had placed the little dolls in various rooms, putting them to work in the kitchen or lounging in the living room and one of the dolls (the one she wanted me to “take note of”) was in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet. This strikes me as a playful Gemini moon situation. 🙂

Natal Moon in CANCER and The FOURTH House:

Cancer and the Fourth House are connected to one’s physical home, Real Estate endeavors, and one’s Inner Home (which stems from childhood experiences and may be subconscious), therefore those with Natal Moon in Cancer or the Fourth House will likely feel drawn to home and family and their roots (i.e., where they came from and those who came before them). Those born with Moon in Cancer/Fourth House feel emotions fully and tend to get a “feeling” about something/have a strong intuition. They may have an affinity for antiques and old things, things that have a history.

When I think of this Moon placement I think of long summer nights, comfort foods, family gatherings. During my childhood and adolescence we had a “family picnic” every summer, when the extended family gathered at a park near my aunt’s home. There were grills for barbecuing and plenty of food to go around. This Moon placement also evokes an image of being cozy at home in my pajamas or puttering around the house in the morning with a cup of coffee in hand, tending to domestic tasks like tidying the kitchen or watering plants. As I mentioned above, Cancer and the Fourth house rule the Inner Home (our sense of security and well-being: our foundation) and our Childhood Memories or Child-Like Self, so Cancer Moon folks may feel drawn to “inner work,” like therapy, and they may feel nostalgic for their childhood homes (depending, of course, on other placements in the chart). They may be comforted by looking through old photos and journeying down memory lane. They may be drawn to projects related to their ancestors, like Family Trees.

Lunar Cancer/Fourth House folks will feel most nurtured by Family, Home, Domestic Affairs, Care-taking/Mothering, Summer nights, Being near water, Baths, Feeling/expressing emotions (in a healthy way), Comfort foods — the ones that your parents or grandparents made for you as a child. For instance, when I was a child, my grandmother made me tea with milk and honey, eggs and bacon for breakfast, chicken parmesan with fresh mozzarella and her homemade tomato sauce, homemade, crispy french fries (now I’m getting hungry!) and the most delicious, tart apple pie for dessert. I still go for these foods when I am yearning for comfort. Comfort foods are usually connected to one’s past and this Sign/House is connected to the past. I discussed my childhood home and my grandmother’s cooking in the Taurus Moon section and it’s also connected to Cancer/Fourth house (I have my South Node of the Moon in Cancer, the point of the Moon that represents our past, including past lives if you believe in that). My father’s Natal Moon was in the Sign of Cancer and he loved cooking dinner for us on his day off. He was fascinated with History and read many books about historical events; I often felt my father missed his calling as a History Professor.

When Lunar Cancer/Fourth House people go out of balance they can become overly emotional and overreact to situations that trigger old emotions. Learning to be with and express their emotions in a healthy way is a valuable practice for them. The book, The Presence Process by Michael Brown is a great tool for this. Since Moon Cancer/Fourth House folks tend to be home-bodies they can get “stuck” at home, self-isolating, and therefore feel heavy or depressed. And they can become needy or too dependent on their family and/or friends. It’s important, for this reason, for these natives to push themselves to go out sometimes, even when they are cuddled up and content at home and don’t feel like going anywhere; they will probably enjoy themselves once they get past the initial discomfort of leaving their cocoon. Along the same lines, it’s good for these people to move out of their comfort zones, taking small risks or changing up their routines from time to time, which can be as simple as driving a different route to work or stopping on the way home to watch the sun set. Moon in Cancer/Fourth House natives may benefit from pursuing their own hobbies and passions and taking some of the focus away from their families/children (and of course, as a reminder, all of these tendencies will be increased or decreased by the many other placements in the chart).

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. My friend with a Cancer Moon sign is, not surprisingly, in Real Estate. He buys and fixes up homes to sell. He planned to sell the house he lives in now but fell in love with it in the process of fixing it up and moved in. It’s an old home, from the early 1900’s, with a lot of history. Cancer rules the past and so he is drawn to “old” things, which this home was full of when he bought it (maybe some ghosts, too!). The couple who sold him the house were elderly and moving into a nursing home so they were unable to bring their belongings with them, which would have been discarded. My friend amended the contract that stated the house was to be sold “broom clean” and purchased it with all of their belongings in it because he didn’t want them to be thrown out. He has some of their paintings on the wall and discovered business records, letters and thousands of cancelled checks from the early 1900’s; the man who wrote the checks lived in the home prior to the couple he bought it from, who had been there for sixty years, and was the president of a Fabric and Patent company. My friend was fascinated by what he found and pieced together this man’s history. As my friend was having the house renovated he said to any spirits who may have been privy to the changes, “I hope you like what I’m doing to the house.” This is a great example of the Cancer Moon placement because it shows both my friend’s compassion (for the elderly couple who were leaving their home) and the value he places on the past (he didn’t want anything of value to be thrown out). The polarity of Cancer is Feminine, meaning that the energy of Cancer moves backward, so people with a Cancer or Fourth House Moon (or Cancer/Fourth House prominent elsewhere in their chart) tend to honor the past and traditions.

Natal Moon in LEO and The FIFTH House:

With the Moon in Leo a person will likely feel nourished by cultivating and expressing their creative gifts/talents in whatever form resonates with them. Those with a Leo Moon may also feel nourished by Romantic Gestures, Love Affairs, Parties, Play, Children (whether their own or children they spend time with), and being in charge of something/leadership. Since Leo is both authoritarian and playful in nature, they are good at holding people’s attention and they love to be the center of attention. These natives will feel nourished by taking time to play and be child-like: I am thinking of going to a park and playing on the jungle gym and feeling like a kid. Whatever creative pursuits they enjoy (poetry may be one!), taking the time to cultivate those gifts is important for these natives. Lunar Leo/Fifth House people are nourished and fulfilled by expressing themselves in any way that makes them shine and makes them feel special.

Lunar Leo/Fifth House natives also have a tendency to be, ahem, dramatic and overreact in certain situations, and especially with the Moon in this sign, there can be a tendency for emotions or anger to flare up, creating dramatic scenes. For this reason, these people benefits from practices that help them handle their emotions in more productive ways, for example having a creative outlet (i.e., if they have a creative outlet they are less likely to be dramatic for the sake of it). These people may love the theatre and may, depending on other chart placements, have a talent for acting. They may have a deep-rooted desire to be famous (seen and respected in the public eye).

Since Lunar Leo/Fifth House folks have a deep need to be seen and heard, recognized and appreciated, they need to be aware of this tendency because their desire for recognition can get in the way of true fulfillment. When they go out of balance the desire for attention is not aligned with their true needs and values; for instance, they may believe that becoming famous or well-known in their field will make them feel happy and fulfilled and then discover, when they do receive the attention they were seeking, that they don’t feel any better, any more “special” than they did before. The fulfillment and joy they seek can come from simply cultivating and sharing (in some form) their creativity, whether or not they receive any sort of fame for it. If a Leo Moon person chases fame she or he may become very unhappy, attempting to fill a bottomless void: the key is to acknowledge themselves and their gifts, to know and appreciate their own worth rather than looking for it outside of themselves. Ironically, once these people feel/know their own value they may get the recognition they were dreaming about.

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. I have a friend who comes across as fairly reserved, shy even (she has a Taurus Sun and Virgo Ascendent), yet on social media her Leo Moon shines through. She shares creative and “show-y” photos of herself: she was a dancer when younger and is now a yoga teacher and enjoys all sorts of body arts, like Acro Yoga and Pole Dancing. Although this is not a rare phenomenon in these social media times, I feel it’s a relevant example because there is a performance aspect to what she shares and Leo is the Performer. Another friend who has a Leo Moon loved break dancing when he was younger and when he attended a wedding would show off his break dancing moves on the dance floor. It’s interesting to note that my friend in the first example is a Taurus and my friend in the second example has Taurus Rising; this is a combination of “body” (Taurus rules the body and the senses) and performance (Leo).

Natal Moon in VIRGO and The SIXTH House:

Remember my childhood fear of the moon (at the beginning of this blog post)? My Natal Lunar House is the 6th House, Virgo’s House. The dark spots on the moon suggested to me that something was wrong and I was fixated on them, blind to the bigger picture of the beautiful, mystical moon. Virgo and Sixth House people have a tendency to focus on each tree, forgetting to step back from time to time and take in the wider forest view. Lunar Virgo and Sixth House tend to be perfectionists and, hence, are no strangers to anxiety. Since the Moon is connected to our Emotions, there is a need with this lunar placement to have structure and order (“ducks in a row”) in order to feel secure and grounded. If the focus on details becomes too extreme, people with this placement may become fixated on what is wrong (Hence, the Debbie Downer reference). When I worked in the restaurant business I had an intense (to put it politely) manager who drilled into us, every shift, that we must constantly scan our “section” for what is wrong, what is out of place (“there is always something wrong,” he reminded us each time we came to work). This is a perfect example of Virgo/Sixth House energy.

Those with a Virgo or Sixth House moon will be nourished by Routines and Structure, Service to others (Virgo is the sign of Service: I think of the Nurse archetype), Day-to-Day Work, Doing their work in their world, Staying aligned with their Heath Needs (e.g., eating the foods that nourish them and exercising daily), Furry friends (Virgo people tend to be drawn to smaller animals), Practical Pursuits and anything day-to-day that adds up to a bigger picture of Health and Well-being. It’s very important for this lunar placement to be fastidious about their daily health/wellness routines because when these natives go out of balance it can directly affect their health. For instance, during my twenties I jumped around from one unfulfilling day job to another (Sixth House rules day jobs) and could not “find” my niche/purpose. I felt so unhappy in these empty jobs that and I would get sick (e.g., stomach issues/indigestion, colds/flu). When I was working as a waitress, I had a terrible, deep cough that lasted for what felt like the whole winter. The restaurant I was working at was chaotic with very late hours and I was, therefore, neglecting my Sixth House Moon need for a stable routine and healthy daily habits (I was sometimes eating dinner at 2 am and later). I will add that the planet Uranus flavors my Sixth House Moon (meaning that it is an a challenging angle with it) and that Uranus is the planet of excitement and unpredictability, so I need to honor and balance my need for both structure and change (not easy!).

Yoga, Tai Chi and any sort of balanced, more meditative exercise is great for a Virgo or Sixth House moon because of their tendency toward perfectionism/anxiety; they need support in “letting go” of the need to do the exercise in a certain way so they can move into “being” mode. Since those with a Virgo or Sixth House Moon can become bogged down by details, which can impede their progress or feeling of forward momentum, we want to balance this tendency by bringing in the opposite energy of the bigger picture (the forest, so to speak). Tools to connect to the “bigger picture” are meditation, being outside in nature/placing hands or third eye on a tree, and anything that moves one away from the thinking mind and into the more spacious qualities of “being.”

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. When I was little I went, one summer, to camp at a YMCA. We were barefoot and walking on what seemed like a dirty floor to me. I was repulsed and didn’t want to put my (pure, clean) feet on this gross floor, so I was taking every step cautiously, studying the floor as I placed each foot gingerly down, trying not to subject my whole foot to the filth (thinking of it now I still find it repulsive; we could have gotten a foot fungus – says the 6th house moon gal). I remember gazing up to the camp counselors’ curious faces as they laughed and asked what exactly I was doing. Although I may never let go of my need for a clean floor, I do recognize the benefit of managing my tendency to immediately put things in their proper place (when I cook I have a habit of doing this almost compulsively) because I recognize that things need to get messy sometimes in order for us to be creative and feel our emotions and really live life.

Natal Moon in LIBRA and The SEVENTH House:

With the Moon in Libra or the Seventh House, one will likely be nourished by Relationships and have a strong need for them in order to feel balanced. Those with a Libra/Seventh House Moon will likely have a deep-seated desire to feel a sense of harmony in their environment and relationships, and may struggle at times with finding balance between giving and receiving, spending time with others and being alone, expressing emotions and doing it in an “appropriate way.” Balance is definitely a theme for Lunar Libra/Seventh House folks. They may feel nourished by Beautiful or Peaceful environments, like an art show, a fashion show, a museum, or a beautiful garden (having tea in the garden sounds Libra-ish to me). Manners and niceties define Libra and with a Libra or Seventh House moon one may need to cultivate balance between the desire to be polite and the ability to express emotions and needs.

When I think of Libra/Seventh House, I think of a book my aunt bought me when I was young about Etiquette (Table manners and Thank you note writing were two of the chapters that I can recall). When I was growing up, my aunt and mother, who are sisters, put quite a lot of emphasis on proper manners and being “lady-like.” In my mother’s home, the style was Victorian and there were painting from that era of ladies in beautiful, buttoned up dresses. I remember getting into trouble with my aunt when I was a kid for sitting in Hero’s Pose (legs folded, butt resting on the souls of my feet) at the dinner table because it was not the proper way to sit; for some reason, it was more comfortable for me than sitting on my butt with my feet touching the floor, like everyone else (maybe I was a monk in a past life). Writing thank you notes and gift wrapping were themes of my childhood. This energy can be, deceptively, repressive and maybe I feel that way because I grew up in the Pluto in Libra generation. Pluto, the planet of the subconscious, blows up the energy of the sign it is in and seeks to transform it. Is it any wonder that as a teenager I rebelled against my mother’s idea of beauty, ridding my room of anything “feminine” and wearing baggy jeans with holes in them? My poor mother must have been heart broken. She kept all my dolls and pink things that I no longer wanted. Those with their Moon in Libra/Seventh House may have, on the other hand, held onto the “feminine”/pretty things in their room due to concern for their mother’s feelings or how she might respond. (Pluto, on the other hand, is about cleaning house so that is how the Libra energy moves through me).

When Libra/Seventh House Moon is out of balance these natives can fixate on social standards and etiquette at the expense of authenticity. It’s important for Libra Moon natives to honor their needs and not always compromise themselves for the sake of “keeping the peace.” Because Lunar Libra/Seventh House folks are drawn to relationships and being around people it is a good practice for them to cultivate independence by also taking time for themselves to do things that bring them pleasure, without the needs of anyone else in mind.

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. My baby niece is six-months old and she has her moon in Libra and she is the sweetest little love in the world (no bias here). I can already tell that she has a sweet, harmonious and likable nature; she giggles and smiles often. She loves music and dancing and is mesmerized by a certain A Cappella group, called Pentatonix. When my sister-in-law plays their music videos my niece’s little body becomes completely still and stares, wide eyed, mouth open (and one time when I was holding her, her arms wide open, like wings), until the song is over. My sister-in-law has taken to playing their music when she has to get some cleaning done. If you recall, from the beginning of this blog post the moon represents our experience of our mother. My sister-in-law dresses my niece in adorable and stylish outfits; she already has little jeans. Libra is the sign of beauty and fashion and my sister-in-law certainly is beautiful and enjoys fashion. I can already see how mother and daughter will be great friends (Libra represents our friends); they laugh together and really enjoy each other’s company.

Natal Moon in SCORPIO and The EIGHTH House:

Scorpio/Eighth House represents the underworld or the dark side of life. When I think of this Sign/house, I think of the Eleusinian Mysteries: the myth of Persephone, the young goddess who was captured by Pluto (Hades, in the Greek version) and taken to live with him in the underworld. As the story goes, Persephone’s mother, Demeter (Goddess of the Harvest), grieved for many days and nights as she searched for her daughter with the help of Hecate. When she finally discovered what had happened to her beloved daughter she was furious at Zeus, who had played a hand in Persephone’s kidnapping, and refused to allow anything on the earth to grow and bloom; so, the earth turned to darkness until Persephone’s return. Zeus eventually agreed to return Persephone to her mother but before the two reunited Pluto made sure that his beloved Persephone ate a handful of pomegranate seeds, which ensured her permanent tie to him. Persephone was forever changed by her experience in the underworld and transformed into the Queen of the Underworld. In some versions of the story she relished her role, and this is the version of the story that resonates with me because Persephone discovered her power by embracing the darkness. The innocent maiden has another side to her just like everyone. Since Persephone is now irrevocably tied to Pluto, she spends half the year with her mother (the Spring/Summer) and half the year with her husband in the underworld (Fall/Winter), symbolizing the integration of dark and light.

Scorpio/Eighth House represent Deep transformation, Death and Rebirth, the Mysteries of life, Taboo or avoided subjects (e.g., sex, death, and taxes), Joint Resources, and Other People’s Money. The symbol often referred to to describe Scorpio is the phoenix rising from the ashes; this is because those with Scorpio or the Eighth House prominent in their natal charts have likely experienced “rock bottom,” the type of suffering that no one wants to face. When they transcend their suffering and rise again, it is from a deep internal/core strength that nothing can diminish. Persephone is also called Kore in some versions of the myth and this makes me think of our Third Chakra/the Solar Plexus: it is our Core or Power Center.

With the Natal Moon in Scorpio/Eighth House, there is intensity surrounding emotions, desires and needs. These people feel things deeply and because of this they tend to take things personally or fixate about something that someone said or did (sometimes to the point of delusion). Attachments can be very deep and strong and these natives can have trouble “letting go.” For this reason, the practice of releasing emotional baggage is important for Scorpio/Eighth Moon folks.

Lunar Scorpios are likely drawn to Esoteric Subjects (Astrology, for example!) and are natural Detectives, uncovering information and reading between the lines to pick up on subtle cues. When I think of Scorpio/Eighth House energy I think of Depth Psychology. Scorpio and Eighth House Placements have a deep understanding of the unspoken, of the way things are connected and how one thing can cause another.

Lunar Scorpio/Eighth House people are likely nourished by Intimacy, Deep and Passionate Bonds, Sharing resources, Connecting to and expressing their emotions (may be difficult for them as they tend to be private), Creating, Research, Protecting loved ones and showing Loyalty, Letting go of fear (especially fear that blocks intimacy). A Scorpio or Eighth House Moon energy can, in the lower vibration, create obsessions and distortions of reality (especially if there are challenging aspects to the Moon). They may be drawn to drama and create emotional roller coaster experiences because on some level they are seeking rebirth and transformation.

In order to balance Scorpio/Eighth Moon energy we want to bring in a “light” energy. It’s that balance of light and dark we need with this placement, as depicted in the myth of Persephone. This can be done in different ways, for example, if one enjoys Creative Writing or Journaling that is an excellent way to develop objectivity and humor around difficult life experiences. Journaling or any type of Therapy (Art Therapy or EMDR, for example) are helpful tools to gain self awareness and cultivate Self Acceptance. Yoga is supportive for this Moon Sign as it can help to shift emotions or change one’s perspective (for example, to release brooding). Grounding practices, such as a walk in nature, can be good for lunar Scorpio/Eighth House since they can get lost in their emotions and obsessions. Basically, whatever practices or creative outlets enable this Lunar placement to release stuck energy and to feel lighter are beneficial.

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. When my friend’s son was just a few years old she heard him talking to himself at night, before bed, on the baby monitor. She wondered what he was saying so she started listening closely and realized he was running through a check-list of how he had been wronged throughout the day, as in “Mommy said no dessert because I didn’t eat my dinner.” She was, of course, amused and also surprised. My friend and her husband grew to call it “The Airing of the Grievances.” He was holding on to things from the day, which is Scorpio-esque in nature, but perhaps he was intuitively reciting them at bedtime in order to release them. My friend, after realizing what he was doing, made an effort to ask him each day about the things that he felt happy or good about.

Natal Moon in SAGITTARIUS and The NINTH House:

When I think of Sagittarius/Ninth House energy, I think of someone who let’s her hair down and laughs easily. My childhood best friend had the best laugh: it was jolly and hearty and unexpected because she was petite. You couldn’t help but laugh when she did. I don’t know what her Moon Sign is but I would not be surprised if it is Sagittarius or Ninth House.

My brother has his Moon in Sagittarius. He is an ‘old soul’ in that you could discuss philosophical subjects with him when he was an adolescent. In his teenage years, he traveled all over the United States, driving cross-country with friends, attending concerts and partying. Sagittarius/Ninth House is known for partying and enjoying life, and this can definitely lead to excess if not balanced with Earth or practical energy.

If your Moon is in Sagittarius or the Ninth House you will likely be nourished by Celebrations and Festivities, Exploration and Adventure (taking off in your car on a whim for a road trip), Hiking and the Outdoors, Higher Learning (out of the box type of learning), Teaching (e.g., professors, yoga teachers, spiritual teachers), Philosophizing, Spirituality, Learning about other cultures (including tasting different foods), Traveling (especially, long-distance travel), International affairs/pursuits, Freedom, Wide Open Space.

When Lunar Sagittarius goes out of balance there can be a tendency toward over-doing (remember the Dave Matthews song lyrics: “I eat too much. I drink too much. I want too much.”) and a desire for freedom at the expense of everything else, causing the person to break commitments. In order to bring Lunar Sagittarius/Ninth House back into balance, one needs a dose of reality or grounding. Sagittarius is naturally enthusiastic and wants to do things in a big way so it’s wise to temper that quality with fine-tuning (e.g., attending to details) and doing one’s due diligence so that a project or venture, for instance, will be more likely to succeed. Inner work for over-doing (which can turn to addiction) might be needed. Yoga and Meditation is grounding (as it for many of the signs). Sagittarius/Ninth House Moon natives are known for their optimism and faith in life, which is a beautiful quality, however when unbalanced this can turn into a “blind faith” that needs to be rooted in reality.

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. My brother, who is nine years younger than me, has a Sagittarius Moon. As a child, he was adventurous and seemed to have the “no fear” gene that is characteristic of Fire Signs. I remember the day my mother and I set out to teach him how to ride his two-wheel bike. He was probably Six Years old. My mother and I looked on in amazement as he jumped on his bicycle and began riding around the driveway like he’d been doing it for years. No hesitation. It had taken me many long days of my mother holding the back of my bike as I attempted to balance (Earth Sign Moon here). I also remember my brother barging through the front door of our house with two broken and bloody front teeth due to soaring off his bicycle and careening over a jump he and his neighborhood buddies had built. This happened not once but TWICE and resulted in many dental appointments and permanent issues with his front teeth. Sagittarius is not, let’s say, overly cautious but they sure are fun. 🙂

Natal Moon in CAPRICORN and The TENTH House:

Capricorn/Tenth House natives may feel both lucky and unlucky. I am reminded of Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist who has ALS. In response to how he feels about his life and his physical limitations (he was diagnosed at the age of 21 with ALS and not expected to live much past 25) said: “Who could have asked for more?” This quote gives me chills every time I read it, and I believe it exemplifies the Capricorn/Tenth House energy well because he not only transcended his severe physical limitations but has found great peace and fulfillment in his life’s work. 

Those who have their Moon in Capricorn or the Tenth House will likely feel a deep need to accomplish something in life, to be respected and recognized for their work. Since the Moon represents the mother/maternal energy and Capricorn is known to be less expressive than some of the other Signs, having this placement may indicate that one’s mother was not overly affectionate or demonstrative. Because we integrate our mother’s mothering, the Capricorn/Tenth House Moon native may also be less expressive emotionally or have some blocks to expressing emotions. It’s not that Capricorn/Tenth House Moon people don’t feel deeply but they may have been taught from young that it’s not okay to show emotions and for this reason have learned to hold emotions in. With this placement, there may have been early rejection in one form or another. My mother has this moon placement and I know that her mother, my grandmother, had a miscarriage before she became pregnant with my mother and that baby would have been a boy. My grandfather, I believe, was distraught when he learned he would have another girl (no boys to carry on the family name) and it sounded as though my grandmother may have been deeply depressed about it. Interestingly, my mother was a “tom boy” as a child. There is often a deep need to be accepted with this Moon Sign placement and these natives tend to keep busy, constantly in “doing” mode, in order to stave off these feelings of rejection that stem from early childhood or, even, gestation.

Lunar Capricorn/Tenth House people will likely feel nourished by their Career/Life’s work (they may feel they have something to prove and career success can support/enhance their self worth), being in a position of Management or Authority (especially related to career), accomplishing Tasks thoroughly, Hard and Honest Work, feeling Accepted and Respected (of course this has to first come from within), Humor (those with Capricorn energy have a good sense of humor; it comes from a “needing to laugh or I will cry” place and so tends to be of the “dry” variety), Writing (Capricorns can enjoy writing as it helps to objectify experiences and make them lighter), Traditions, the “Tried and True,” Classic styles. The Capricorn/Tenth House energy is drawn to things that are classic, elegant in a more subdued but not “show-y” way. If your Natal Moon resides in this Sign/House you will likely feel an affinity for items of true quality (not just a fancy label) and things that have staying power; not the transient trends that are here today and gone tomorrow.

When Lunar Capricorns or Tenth House folks go out of balance they may be “all work and no play” or become so focused on the “doing” mode that they forget to relax and enjoy life; that’s why humor and writing and things that create space, so to speak, are helpful. They may also become too serious or strict, focused on rules and the way things “should” be done at the expense of freedom and creativity/open-mindedness. Lunar Capricorns/Tenth House will likely benefit from taking breaks to just “be,” whether that is curling up on the couch with a book and cup of tea, wandering in a bookstore, going on an unplanned adventure or sitting in meditation. Lunar Capricorn/Tenth House natives will also likely benefit from Journaling or Free Writing (something without structure) and doing “inner work” that helps them to feel safe expressing their emotions (EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique, for example). A stroll in nature can be uplifting for Capricorns or a watching a comedy (not of the slap-stick variety). Those with natal moon in Capricorn/Tenth House will benefit from doing the “inner work” to accept themselves fully for all that they are, and then they will receive the respect in the world they are seeking.

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. My mother has her Moon in Capricorn and she is one of the most energetic people I know (this is partly due to a Fire Rising Sign). As you may recall from above, Capricorn is a Cardinal Sign, which means Action, and so my mother has a deep need to “do,” to keep moving and be productive. My mother seems to have a sense of duty “on the job” and because of this she always performed well at work, and her superiors were fond of her. Two examples of this stick out in my mind: When my mother was young she worked for Candid Camera (She has a Leo Ascendent and wanted to be an actor). Because she was such a “good” worker and also outgoing (Leo) they loved her and promoted her quickly; she began as the “Gal Friday,” as they called it back then, (a Secretary, basically) and then began to act in the skits. The second example is that my mother worked in a clothing shop in her 50’s. The owner of the store had a tough personality and he didn’t readily trust his employees. I remember overhearing from my cousin’s wife, who was the owner’s Assistant at the time, that they walked into the store early one morning to bring in some new items and my mother was there, before opening time, cleaning the furniture (when my mother cleans it’s no joke). He, of course, was impressed by her dedication and promoted her to Manager after that. This was at a time when my mother was going through personal upheaval and so the cleaning (i.e., the doing) probably calmed her. My mother has a sense of duty, resilience, and ethics connected to her work, which exemplifies well the Capricorn/Tenth House Moon energy.

Natal Moon in AQUARIUS and The ELEVENTH House:

Those with Natal Moon in Aquarius or Eleventh House may very well have a fear of intimacy, of messy merging with others because when you merge with others your freedom is, in one way or another, compromised. When these lunar folks are committed to a cause they are fully committed but they relish their freedom (on every level) and may not want to answer to anyone or be shaped to fit a certain role. Aquarius, unlike “by the books” Capricorn, defies traditions and norms and if someone attempts to put too many restrictions and rules on an Aquarius native he or she will likely flee like the wind.

Those with their Moon in Aquarius/Eleventh House will likely be nourished by FREEDOM, Originality and Change (they will easily become bored by routines), Movement, Fighting for their rights (Angelina Jolie’s tattoo: “Know your rights” is Aquarius-esque) and Humanitarian causes, International affairs, the Internet, anything Inventive or Innovative (finding a new way to do something), Expressing their Truth, Standing for something they believe in (a woman I know, who is an attorney, defends/fights for prisoners on death row; she surely has Aquarius prominent in her natal chart), Social Gatherings, Group Activities, Community-based Endeavors, Risk-taking and Excitement, Working toward and manifesting their big Dreams.

Aquarius/Eleventh House Moon people are energized by excitement and need to feel stimulated or will become restless. For instance, I have Uranus opposing my Moon (i.e., making an important aspect to my moon) and I need to change up my routine often so I don’t inadvertently create change in a way that is disruptive or destructive. I’m a yoga teacher and I always have a different class sequence and theme; teachers talk about re-using their sequences, which sounds wise to me but I don’t think I have ever done this; something in me (Uranus/Moon energy) needs the constant stimulation and challenge of creating something new and different.

When Lunar Aquarius/Eleventh House folks go out of balance they will seek change and stimulation to avoid something (e.g., commitment, emotions) or simply for the sake of stimulation and may create disruption in their lives that feels chaotic and unsettling to them and others. They may feel restless and “on edge” or they may rebel or create sudden change due to emotional blocks or unintegrated emotions, creating chaos and then they can, as a result, lose credibility with others. In order to balance this wild, refreshing and free-spirited Aquarius/Eleventh House energy, Lunar Aquarius/Eleventh House people need to be involved in a cause or effort that they feel inspired by; this way they can put this big energy into something they feel good about and then have the ability to relax when it’s time to relax (which they will be too restless to do otherwise). Lunar Aquarius/Eleventh House natives will benefit from yoga and martial arts and any type of body or energy work (e.g., massage, myofascial release, EFT; the more alternative the better) that gets them connected to their body. Aquarius rules the feet, and these Lunar people need “grounding” practices to balance their electric, “air” quality, which can easily turn to anxiety. Walking in nature is good for them, especially big expansive areas so they can see the sky while having their feet on the earth. Putting their hands in soil or on a tree can help to calm their energy when they are feeling imbalanced (I used to do this naturally when taking a walk; I would feel drawn to place my hands on a tree I was passing). Lunar Aquarius/Eleventh House natives may need to get in touch with their emotions, so that they know what they need; this will help them to connect to their truth, which is part of their life’s quest (esp. if there is a lot of Aquarius/Eleventh House energy in the natal chart).

I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. My friend has her Moon in the Eleventh House and in the short time I have known her we have been Flying Trapeze-ing, Paddle-boarding, taken a road trip to a wine vineyard, gone to an Adventure Park and spent many fun nights out on the town. Moon in Aquarius people really need, as my mentor Annie Botticelli says, personal space and freedom of thought (freedom on all levels). 

Natal Moon in PISCES and The TWELFTH House:

 One of my favorites songs is Magic by Coldplay (from their album Ghost Stories). And if you were to ask me after all that we’ve been through still believe in magic … yes I do … of course I do. These lyrics remind me of my childhood and my father, who had Pisces prominent in his Natal Chart. When I was little I thought he was a magician. This an excerpt from an essay I wrote about him:

My dad rolls up his sleeve and lowers his elbow onto a table as if preparing for an arm wrestle, and with his other hand picks up a shiny quarter. I watch with wide eyes as he slides the quarter up and down the back of his forearm. He stares at his arm as if this takes great focus, great care, but despite his efforts the quarter repeatedly falls from his grip, bouncing and settling with a clank on the hard surface. He shakes his head each time, a twinkle in his eye as he picks the quarter back up and begins again. My child eyes absorb each moment. My dad is a magician. I have seen this trick many times but it never fails to fascinate me as he slowly opens his hand. Nothing falls out. The quarter has vanished.
“Where did it go?” I squeal, mystified.
“Magic,” he laughs

 Those with a Pisces/Twelfth Moon will likely feel nourished by the Ocean and being near Water, Baths, Processing and Expressing Emotions (they tend to keep their emotions hidden), Artistic endeavors (e.g., painting, film making, acting, poetry), Beauty (of a dreamy nature, like impressionistic artwork), Story-telling, Romantic gestures (these natives can be very expressive of their love and affection), Animals (they have a deep connection with beings that are vulnerable), Movies/film (getting lost in movies and stories; they may also have a talent for impersonations). Those with a Pisces/Twelfth House Moon may have a highly vivid imagination and dream life. Dreams may be highly intuitive (psychic, even). They may have a deep need/desire for blissful and beautiful experiences and connections with others, which can sometimes be a form of escapism/delusion if they are not operating with awareness. Since the Moon Sign also relates to our experience of mother, those with a Pisces Moon may have a spiritual or intuitive connection with their mother and/or a sense of abandonment by mother.
Avoidance and escapism are the demons of Pisces/Twelfth House energy.  These natives understand what it is like to be in the dark, lost in the turbulent waters of emotions or addiction. When Pisces/Twelfth House Moon people go out of balance they may turn to drugs/alcohol/over-eating or any form of addiction to escape reality/what they don’t want to feel. If they avoid life circumstances, they can feel lost at sea or, as a fellow Astrologer/Writer with Moon in Pisces put it, “get stuck in their emotions.” This theme makes me think of the Children’s book/song, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt:  
We’re goin’ on a bear hunt
We’re going to catch a big one,
I’m not scared
What a beautiful day!
Uh-oh!
Grass!
Long wavy grass.
We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
Oh no!
We’ve got to go through it!
Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy!We’re going on a bear hunt…
Oh-uh!
A river!
A deep cold river.
We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
Oh no!
We’ve got to go through it!
Splash splosh! Splash splosh! Splash splosh! 
The song continues on like that with various obstacles that must be surmounted. Can’t go over it. Can’t go under it. Gotta go through it. This may be one of the greatest lessons for this placement.
Those with Pisces/Twelfth House Moon may benefit from “fire” energies to get them moving in a clear direction (to “go through” those obstacles). This can be in the form of rigorous exercise and core-work (I have Neptune prominent in my chart and I feel much more focused when I do core work) or, perhaps, a fiery yet compassionate friend or mentor to inspire them. Therapy and 12- step programs are, of course, necessary/beneficial if these natives are lost in addiction(s). Capricorn energy can also be very good for these people (if they don’t happen to have a lot of earth in their natal charts), in the form of tempering expectations, being more practical, setting goals, and facing/doing mundane work (that will, ideally, support their bigger visions).
I like to give real life examples of astrology placements because I think it helps to really understand what the placement is all about. My friend, who has her moon in Pisces, shared this with me: If my mother and I had gone several days without talking on the phone, I would randomly pick up the phone to call her and her phone would be busy (several times). When I reached her, it turned out her phone was busy because she was trying to call me at that exact same time. My friend with a Pisces Moon also said this of herself: I have a strong intuition and am fairly good at reading people’s moods/emotions after having a short conversation with them. I think I’m sensitive to the energy they give off. People with Moon in Pisces/Twelfth House (or Pisces Prominent anywhere in the Natal Chart) tend to be extremely sensitive/intuitive (some are psychic), readily absorbing the energy around them, and for this reason they need to create firm boundaries between themselves and others and choose wisely who they spend their time with.
If you’d like to learn more about your Natal Chart, please book an Astrology Reading with me here:
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And as we Wind on Down the Road

I almost accepted a job a few months back that on the surface seemed like a good opportunity but as I de-coded the fine print I realized it was not. I would be managing a well regarded small business, which happens to be owned by a famous actor. I know, I know. Sounds exciting. And I was excited. I was also honored to be considered for the somewhat prestigious position, but I didn’t want to lose sight of my needs, so I attempted to gather more information to ensure the job made sense for me practically and financially. Read: I am not a twenty-something or even a young thirty-something that can gamble with time, and I am already behind the game if you gauge by tangible measurements. I will note that I may be ‘ahead of the game’ in other more subtle ways, like developing a solid internal foundation and moving through issues that were holding me back, however I definitely did not want to take another wrong turn: I have had my fill of lessons learned from missteps, if you catch my drift.

So I asked for more information and in turn I was given vague promises and fluffy encouragements (“yes, yes, plenty of room for growth!”) that felt good for a minute until I realized I had received a whole lot of nothing in the way of information (i.e., no details). What did this elusive growth look like? I would be working for a small business so a career path was not obvious, especially because I would be filling in for the current Manager who was going on maternity leave. Would she be returning? And, if so, what would my role look like when she did? Would I be assisting her? In what capacity? It was a mystery. The side of my personality that likes to please others and not be “too much of  a bother” accepted, albeit uneasily, the non-specific answers. Hm, as I write this I am reminded of our friend, The Donald: fluff with no specifics. I digress.

So I was feeling increasingly unsettled about the idea of changing my schedule (e.g., dropping classes I teach, leaving a well paying part-time office job) for an “Interim Manager” position (the contract was for 4 months) that, although more aligned with my career path, was, basically, a big question mark. In addition to the uncertainty, I would need to work a 6-day/week for a fairy low hourly rate (definitely not, in my estimation, a Manager rate in an affluent area for an experienced worker and, from what I hear, what Mcdonalds now pays). I would also be on call in this position, meaning I would need to check emails from home and be on top of things when I wasn’t working, since I would be the main and only point person (apparently the part-time staff had all left). On top of that, I discovered that I would not be paid for teaching classes and private sessions, which would be a requirement and was a major factor in my acceptance of the job (I thought it balanced out the lower hourly rate and would offer me the opportunity to consolidate my classes). AND (rant almost over) I would not even be paid for classes/privates if I taught them outside of my allotted work hours. I have to stop here (if anyone is actually still reading and following) to say WHAT?

This revolting development obviously sealed the deal; it had come up in a round- about way through a question I asked about managing payroll and at this point I was 3 or 4 weeks away from the start date. That same day, I noted that someone who had worked there part-time as a desk-person/receptionist was making more than my “manager” rate. Sure, the person had probably been there for a couple of years and received raises but, still, this did not sit right with me. The Managerial position entails a lot of responsibility while the desk-role entails a fraction of that (essentially greeting and checking in students).

So what is my point? Why bother to write about this? To answer my own question (don’t mind if I do) I think I felt compelled to flesh this out because in the past I have said “yes” to situations that were not supportive of me; and to be frank, some that were wildly inappropriate, but that’s another story. I have compromised my values and needs at times to please others or try to make something work that is entirely unworkable. Saying “no” to this position wasn’t easy because I felt I was letting someone down and I knew I’d be cutting ties with this person by doing so. But say no I did and I said it boldly. I will admit that I may have written, ahem, a somewhat rambling email that could have benefited from a bit more editing but it was also honest and real. And after the initial distress/drama of turning the position down — I had already trained for a few days (no pay offered for training days, by the way)– I felt stronger because I had turned away from something that was clearly not right for me, i.e., not worthy of my experience, background and the level of dedication I would have brought to the position. And it wasn’t that old, familiar feeling of escaping something I didn’t want to do, a way out rather than a way though (a hard learned lesson); instead, it was a deep, knowing that I had taken care of myself, something that does not come all that naturally to me (my fellow Vatas will understand). So, yes, it was kind of messy and I wished I had given less wiggle room (i.e., benefit of the doubt in response to vague answers), saving us both time and energy, but we learn from each experience (well, that’s the idea anyway; sometimes it takes several of the same experiences). I’ll try to be more aware next time I am offered a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Truth-Day Tuesday

I am not trying to be all scrooge-y … well, a little I am … but I was thinking that along with Facebook’s ubiquitous “Throwback Thursday,” or TBT, we should begin a Truth-day Tuesday revolution: a day of sharing what’s really happening in your life, i.e., “I just had a hideous argument with my significant other”, or “I am declaring bankruptcy”, or “my husband slept with the nanny.”

Ok, Ok, I don’t really mean that. I don’t think we want people unloading their dirty laundry on social media sites — now I am conjuring up an image of my SNL friend, Debbie Downer (fine line, I guess)– but I do think that the social media culture has engendered the need to project one’s self in a certain light (i.e., a pristine, flawless one).

The flower we planted in our garden may bloom and that is special. Or we get all gussied up before a party. I’m not saying these aren’t snapshot worthy moments or moments worth reveling in, and I think it’s natural to want to share them. The point is that these moments are there but that they are fleeting. The flower dies. We get food on our blouse or have to unbutton our pants because we ate too many cookies (that might just be me). The day to day details, rather than the rewards, are what we most often are dealing with. The act of holding up an unrealistic image of everything in bloom all the time is not only untrue but isolating.

I think all we humans beings want, truly, is connection. When we connect on a deeper level (beyond the niceties and small talk) it can be healing. Small talk is necessary, no doubt, and hard to avoid and I am no good at it. I am in awe of people who actually excel at it, but that’s another story. My point is that ‘small talk’ can be isolating. “How are you?” “Great!” Meanwhile you want to crawl under your blanket and cry. That schism between expression and emotions (when there is no outlet for real or raw expression) is, I think, what leads to deep unhappiness, depression even.

Connection is the crux of 12 step programs and why they are considered spiritual: the simple act of sharing what is real for you in that moment and having others listen, truly listen with no agenda, is healing for many people. When people share stories with similar themes people begin to feel a sense of connection because they realize they are not alone with feelings that may have been overwhelmingly painful.

Sooooo … maybe just for one day (Tuesdays!) instead of those perfect, happy images (please note: I am not exempting myself by any means) we will share a more realistic/truthful depiction of ourselves: a grumpy, pre-coffee photo, a few lines about why life sucks. Kidding. Sort of. I’ve noticed that when friends who are mothers post something more truthful about the challenges (as well as joys) of parenting that other mothers really appreciate it. We don’t have to pretend that everything is amazing all the time. How about “So cursed” instead of “So blessed.” Again, kidding! Debbie Downer is sneaking out again (she and I used to be a little too close but not to worry, I have created stronger boundaries).  All kidding aside, let’s break the illusion together one Tuesday at a time. Truth-day Tuesday, here we come — or is that TMI?!

Here is my first attempt at a TDT post (we can pretend today is Tuesday): Last night I ate an obscene amount of cookies.

Greek cookies

On the Inside

Lately, I’ve been pondering speech patterns we develop over time (analyzer that I am) and what they reflect about our inner workings, specifically my mother’s relationship with the word “inside” (I’m sure she’d be thrilled). For example, in response to a question about where something is located, like “Where is the cat?” my mother might respond, “He’s inside.” She means he’s not in the room she currently resides in but in another part of the apartment (just to be clear, he is not an outdoor cat so she is not referring to the literal meaning of the word). In  essence, wherever she is, inside is not. It occurs to me that she, from this perspective, is always on the outside. This is interesting to me because I have felt like an outsider for most of my life. I don’t doubt that this pattern emerged long ago, a family relic, something she picked up from her mother, and which her mother, my Grammy, picked up from her mother (Yiayia). I naturally also picked up on these familial speech patterns, carrying these words from one generation to the next. Several years ago, I was a nanny for two children, ages 7 and 9. We were in the kitchen one day and one of them asked where something was–their backpack, I think. “It’s inside,” I responded, meaning it was in the dining or living room. They began to giggle and one of them acknowledged, “We are inside!” It hit me in that moment that the statement didn’t make much sense. I laughed too.  Although, I have to say, a part of me still believes this sentence makes perfect sense.

For the past several months, I’ve been doing core work. Physically speaking, I am doing the work that will strengthen my abdominal muscles enabling my transitions from one yoga posture to another to be more fluid, graceful, easeful. Metaphysically speaking, I am connecting to my center, the unwavering space inside free of worries and concerns and the opinions of others. My center is where I can access my sense of power and grace.

Toddler photos of me reveal a cute, protruding belly; it seemed to be one of my signature features. My aunt once told me that my mom was a little concerned: “Will she grow out of this?” To answer her question, at the ripe age of 37 I may finally be ‘growing out’ of or transcending my belly issues. In my teenage and young adult years, I hid my stomach. It was usually dissented and I was embarrassed. My stomach expands easily; sometimes, when I drink water or eat fruit my stomach grows into what looks like a pregnant belly or an inflated balloon. I’m thin and it’s easy to hide but it’s uncomfortable; you can’t breathe well when you are sucking in your stomach.

It occurs to me that I have been hiding my power center for most of my life.

I had a dream several years ago that I had the ability to move objects by the sheer power of my will. Similarly to the little girl in the movie Fire Starter (remember that movie? It was a favorite of mine), I could set my gaze on an object and rather than set it on fire, I could send it flying across the room like it had acquired wings. It was one of the most vivid dreams I’ve ever had and I remember becoming aware in the dream of this inner power I’d possessed my entire life. Of course, I thought to myself in the dream, of course I have always been able to do this. It was a little frightening–these super powers I held–but at same time made perfect sense to me. When I awoke it took me a little while to understand that it was ‘only a dream,’ that I could not move objects by gazing at them. I even tried.

If I were to have a most-used-words contest “might” and “maybe” and “hopefully” would be contenders. Tentative words. Uncertain words. Maybe this. Might that. Hope this or that. I watch them fall from my mouth, pause and, if I am feeling grounded/present, change my word choice to something more certain, confident. My body posture, pre-yoga, also reflected this tentative nature, this unsure heart of mine: when I began practicing yoga and bringing attention to my body, I realized that I stood on the edges of my feet. A bizarre balancing act, I called it in one of my essays about how yoga has enabled me to shift unsupportive patterns in my life. As I allowed my feet to feel the ground beneath them, I realized I had never stood fully, comfortably on my own two feet. I had never felt supported and like I was “inside”, connected to myself and others and my environment, a part of something bigger. I felt, as the songs goes, that I was “always on the outside, looking in on other’s lives.”

The opposite of those wishy-washy maybe’s and might’s is will: I will do this.

The Manipura chakra or the third chakra, located in the solar plexus, means “lustrous gem” or “city of jewels” and is the seat of our willpower. To take a step back, the chakras are likened to energy wheels or vortexes that live along the spine, from the base to the crown of the head, and reflect the metaphysical or ‘subtle body’ underpinnings of that area of the body. It is represented by the color yellow (the color of the sun) and is connected to our willpower/inner power, our confidence, our truth. Interestingly, yellow had always been one of my least favorite colors and now I am drawn to it. The manipura chakra represents our power source; just as we cannot live without the sun’s energy, we cannot thrive with a weak power center. I am not speaking about the type of power that is manipulative or forceful (in fact, that type of power use likely indicates an imbalance in this area of the body) but a purity that comes from knowing yourself and what you need, and the ability to meet those needs, and to express yourself honestly with both strength and kindness. A few days ago, at the close of my yoga class, a student came up to me to tell me that she loved the way I taught because my voice was “commanding and clear” and that I moved at a pace she could follow. This was the best compliment I could have received because my voice, my self expression, is one of my greatest struggles (it is why I write: to make sense of what I feel). The student’s comment reminds me that my core is beginning to shine through, even if some days I don’t feel that way (i.e., it is a, let’s say, work in progress). Even on those days that I feel weak again, I do know this: I am less fearful these days of being seen and heard and of being rejected, which I believe is the culprit behind my weak core and hidden power. Not good enough said the little voice that plagued me every time I attempted something new, put myself out there, so to speak. It might as well have said Boo Hiss, you suck, rotten tomatoes. I listened to that crabby, little voice for a long time, was beholden to it.

I believe my bloated abdomen is due to my sensitive system (I try to avoid foods that seem to cause bloating) and, on a metaphysical level, my inability, for a long time, to absorb and process what nourishes me. Maybe I didn’t feel good enough about myself to accept nourishment, support. That has slowly been changing over the years, each time I step onto my yoga mat and reconnect to my body. Building, strengthening my abdominal muscles is part of the process and, even more importantly, I think, is the commitment to a practice each day; for many years I’ve practiced yoga but never, if I’m honest, consistently (until more recently). That, I believe, is how the willpower is developed and sustained. Step by consistent step or one step at a time, as the saying goes.

You may have heard yoga teachers invite you to “Find your center.” The center is the essence of who we are beyond all the stuff that covers up our truth and beauty (not perfection beauty: beauty beauty) and brightness. When I am feeling centered, I notice that I am not as easily swayed/affected by other’s opinions and responses (whether positive or negative). I can carry on strongly and gracefully whether or not I feel “liked” or “accepted” by others because I have accepted myself; I can rely on my own center to support and sustain me. When I am in that zone I feel nothing (relatively, speaking) can knock me off my course. It occurs to me that I don’t want to live on the periphery of life anymore. I have begun my journey inward but I have a lot of work to do still. I want to feel my emotions and I need to be able to breathe freely in order to do this (emotions begin in the body), so I can face them, process them (digest them) and risk being rejected and hurt (the elusive culprit of my fear), so I can truly live on the “inside” of life and, from that centered place, reveal and share my light.

 

 

From Shopaholic to Yogaholic: How Consistent Practice Curbed My Unhealthy Habits

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I listened to my mom grumble as she begrudgingly put on her jacket. “I can’t stand this jacket anymore.” In her defense, this was during an unseasonal spring snowstorm, and after a long winter; we were all tired of our jackets. But mom’s coat complaint did make me think about the way I sometimes feel when I wear an old item of clothing that I no longer like or feel good in—that tired, “this-thing-again” feeling. And the opposite sensation that arises when I wear something new: that elusive promise of a fresh identity, a clean slate.

Maybe it’s not the old, worn-out winter coat we wish to replace, but our perspective.

Shopping is a form of searching/seeking. When we shop, we’re searching for something much deeper than the items we buy. We believe, on some level, that material things can fill us up or satisfy us, and since they cannot (not for long, anyway), we shop for more things. Pema Chödrön, an American Buddhist, reminds us that shopping is a way of “always trying to find security, always trying to feel good about yourself.” Maybe it’s not the old, worn-out winter coat we wish to replace, but our perspective.

This is where the yoga comes in. Over the past several years, as my practice has become more consistent, my incessant desires to shop, obsessively highlight my hair, and engage in other various unfavorable behaviors (like dating unavailable men) have dwindled. I’m not saying I’ve been forever cured, but I am getting there (although I’m still working on my sweet tooth—last night I polished off so many cookies that I lost count).

It’s difficult to tackle unhealthy behaviors at a purely cognitive level because these habits are embedded too deeply in the psyche. Real change needs to happen at a cellular level first. Yoga does this first by changing the way we carry ourselves, improving our posture and our body alignment. The practice draws attention to habitual physical tendencies that may not be supporting us, and to the places where the body is holding stress. Looking at what lies beneath these habits and physical patterns is the first step. When I first started practicing yoga, I was constantly asked to plant my feet firmly on the ground. I’d think “why does the teacher keep harping on this?” and then realized that I never stood solidly on my feet during the day. My pattern was to balance awkwardly on the edges of my feet, and I finally recognized that it didn’t feel good. It hurt!

Our bodies reflect what we feel inside. I stood on the edges of my feet, a tentative posture and a bizarre balancing act, because that’s how I felt inside: ungrounded, like I was balancing on the edge of life and unsure of where to place my feet. The yoga practice brought my attention to this unconscious tendency that was certainly not supporting me (our feet support our entire body) and I worked each day to adjust it. It felt good to feel the ground under my feet!

Yoga is about more than pretty poses: it’s a deep way of working with yourself.

Changing deeply seated habits is a gradual process. It happens silently and over time. It is often unglamorous, and even uncomfortable. Yoga is about more than pretty poses: it’s a deep way of working with yourself. People sometimes worry about the cost of yoga (understandably so), but if your yoga practice helps you cut down on mindless shopping, it may actually be saving you money. I still have moments of desiring shiny new things (and sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered). But on the whole, that impulsive need to fill a void by purchasing a new item or, as I mentioned earlier, sacrificing my hair (my hair once wound up fire-engine red; it was an interesting look) is gone. My yoga practice has filled that ubiquitous void because it enables me, through the mind-body connection, to leave the thinking mind (or, at least, to make more space between thoughts) and to move into the present moment of life where all the true newness and shininess exists.

Original Article Date: July 14, 2015