Tomorrow is the new moon. The last one of Autumn. The moon cycle that starts tomorrow will move us on the wheel of the year from the north west corner to due north. That happens when the sun is the furthest from earth on the Winter Solstice, December 21, the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern hemisphere.
When we move north on the wheel of the year, it is the season of winter. The element is earth and the stage is death, rest, and renewal. Earth teaches us again and again the seasons of growth and decrease. Of gain, and letting go. Of life and death, followed always by more life because of the season of rest.
The Winter Solstice is the metaphoric new moon for the year, as well.
This year, the Winter Solstice occurs on a full moon.
An incredibly meaningful spiritual time, the Solstice marks entryway to rest and renewal. We celebrate that after the longest night, the light begins to wax, or grow, again.
To have a full moon on the longest night of the year is special, too. It reminds me of a sacred and fun practice a sister and I have kept in years past. To try and stay awake all night long :0) The full moon is a way to honor that no matter the dark, there is a light in the center of everything. This year you can celebrate that, that night, just by honoring the alchemy of longest night with brightest bright, all the way through.
Tonight though, we celebrate the times in the dark with no light. We honor the medicine of trusting in what we cannot see.
Here’s a poem from my dark moon medicine circle outside today. Happy New Moon!
instructions, during dark moon, right before winter.
ask her connection to come alive in you again
give this time, the response.
trust her. show up, enough. without rushing. trust her to come thru
be as gentle in your return to her as you would be with your self
be as gentle with you as you are when you find yourself returned again, to her
it is the time of year you wear the outside inside with you, a thin cold sheet that lives for minutes still on your skin and hair when first you get indoors
she is here
go to her. anyway, in spite of cold: outside. know the right layers to wear and wear them. to the place where you can hear your self.
once there say thanks. then listen. listen for the loud. the loudest you. the noisiest part. listen until your noise is all the way out. listen for the subtle. the deepest and most in solitude. the most far away. say thanks for this, too.
stay long enough there for you to calm. calm to such quiet that you no longer need to be heard. now stay longer, til you hear the outside. til the outside is as big as it truly is.
far bigger than you
explore. let your senses guide you, be led to explore by how you feel
remember, you are the world in which you exist, you co-create
deprogram from any unconscious rhythms caused by being away from the world too long. expand.
let yourself be refilled by her intuitive space
you’ve found each other, again, after being lost a minute. celebrate that a minute felt so long: it is a big deal to know what is missing, and how to return…
return. again. return to your body, on hers. circle, circles, circles and in the center, always, the heart. the choice to love, to love her, to love you, your body, your outside, your within. to love the return, again
in the dark, at the darkest corner on the wheel of the year.
cherish this: in the dark we are forced to surrender.
in the dark, we rest and reset. we get turned under to renew. to begin, again.
may the letting go be an act of having faith in the part of the process you can’t see.
may what you can’t see be held by a dream of love that hasn’t happened, yet
may it be~
image, Mama Bones
by Tom Kuebler, at the IX International Celebration of Imaginitve Realism in Reading, PA
Random things I’m thinking on the start of Lunar Samhain (starts today is one way to see it because the moon becomes last quarter today): The academic field of dom culture professionals–I acknowledge I am part—talks about the swamplands as a collective place of painful, shamed feelings we like to, as humans, repress.
Thinking about the Baltimore basements and Clubs we used to party in. Early 90’s. Thinking about the low end of Maryland, Pocomoke, dark waters, cypress creeks and loblolly swamps. Thinking about how we don’t, we will never, own the Land.
We are benefactors, for but a slice of a millisecond. Make zero qualms about it, she will shake us off, come too much harm.
Thinking about the child that died. As the arguments begin over suicide or lynching. Thinking about the mass cultural trauma that exists indicative of our daily discourse. A GOD DAMN argument over suicide or lynching? Both epidemic of toxic proportions. Lynching a three hundred year old tradition that lives un-rectified in our blood. In our bones. In the LAND.
A child died: A mother’s son. Our desensitization to cultural violence is preposterous. It is the un-rectified wound of the masculine house.
Our desensitization to not acknowledging all individual’s rights to safety (I am speaking inherent civil or human, of the people for the people rights, as well as disavowing them the right to be heard and validated in their experiences, as well as one’s physical body not being guaranteed the right to safety because of opinions about their race, gender, heritage, sexuality, disability etc) is grotesque.
Cards come due. Everything in my moon tending tells me Judgment is here. I’d take heed y’all. The wheels of Fate spin deliberately onward and we each co-weave as we choose.
Learn your family of origin and the stories that make you. Go far back as you can in your ancestors and their stories.
Respect all stories. Do not tolerate unaccountable hate. This is a finely shifting line.
Remember, there is a relationship between grief and rage.
Choose mentors and elders, and know their stories, too. Be accountable to this work.
Help people voice their stories.
Love truly is all there is.
Begin with yourself. Begin every day, repeat several times a day, and follow this with behaviors of kindness and small regular routines of water, food, sleep, fresh air and other natural elements, humor, art, music, relations, and information. Be mindful of the information you consume and undertake to enjoy the work you do. Be gentle with yourself when you forget all of this. Sleep and don’t get out of bed if you can’t. Limit this to every so often. Cry when you need to, for as long as you can, but watch self-pity and blame because they will steal a day’s worth of energy a day at at time no matter what. Make still time to be quiet, or quiet time to be still, whichever you need. Make good use of forgiveness, open-mindedness, and willingness to understand. Also this won’t make sense to some but it’s helpful to be able to track time bc then you can track your intentions.
Cultivate the Sacred in whatever way is most meaningful and real to you. In this you are cultivating yourself. All is hallowed.
Swamplands can turn to like, oil, if you wanna hang metaphorically with me a minute. Like the kinda inner juice that optimizes your machine. Tap deep in to the deepest parts of you that you resist. Do the work to transform. Put your head down and do the work. Find the people who support you in this. Help them with their work, too.
This weekend is maybe the most vital dark moon period of the year to do this work. Lunar Samhain activates a week from today. Today begins all-is-sacred-week.
Keep your love light on~
Remember, the work is L O V E.
Remember, stories live in the land.
Remember, our stories are all we have~
Oh mother, holy mother, ancient mama, sacred mama~
I honor the fire I build, its slow burn in all this wind. Feeding of wet wood and kindling, faded newspaper, scrap by scrap. Feeding sure as I have fed and grown this harvest season, season of light and peak of summer sun. How many lives that live inside just one? Feeding that eats, and transforms.
I honor the water of you, mama Atlantic, salty brine and seaweed hair. Waters of upcoming fall, season of emotion, reflection, season to clean and cleanse~
Season to rest, to make room.
Gibbous moon, yellow behind grey sky, silver cast over the sea. Last of summer’s wax! Last of the element of fire, as we lean now west, water bound, yes. You will peak mama moon just after it has become Fall. I can feel your tension already, the shine light on what we have grown, what we have fed. On our last/ing growth of summer-into-fall. How it gets activated this weekend, what we have grown! Alchemizing into what will last, and what will compost during the season of dark and rest. That which IS becomes what was, which will renew~
What will be?
My feet sturdy upon you, oh mama earth, your new morning and no sun. My heart open to you, new day, grey sky this morning and still the promise of new direction, dawn. Beginning again.
I thank you the lessons! The births and deaths. The ways you’ve taught me round and round the wheel of the year, again and again. I thank you Harvest, what I have grown, what we have done, holy community I thank you, sacred sisters sacred brothers I thank you, what I have given up, what we have, what we feed and grow and give up, how both can happen at once. Old world and new one creating, all at once! I thank you, this passing, I thank you this staying the same. This seasonal ebb into fall, same time as our lunar peak flows into full moon. Ah, thank you tension. Thank you, sacred mama, this power-full, precious, simple dance.
Living and dying and living again, sometimes separate. Sometimes all at once and the same. Holy medicine, equinox weekend of holding both, and. Equal day light, equal night. Equal awareness of both. Passing of season of light into season of dark. Holding steady under full moonlight, holding what it means to be in between.
image, Gwynn Marie, Moonchild
This week of sacred first harvest, let me return to the most simple and vital wisdom I could ever give out on this site. The invitation to set aside the chatter of your head, put down any and all e-devices including tv, and get back to your home.
The constant whir of busyness, of personal and political tumult, of stress and sickness and crisis, is not consistent with the nature of true reality.
It is an indicator of the collective soul sickness of humanity.
Your part in the collective impacts not just you, but the collective. You are made and remade by it, much as you make and remake it.
Your true natural state is one of safety, love, vulnerability, joy, healing, grace and connectivity.
Get back outside where the unfettered rhythm of life is untouched by satellite or cell tower interference.
Let the grandness, the power of the earth and the sun and the moon in the consistency of their infinite dance do what it does. What its bigness is meant to do.
This is the root of real magic.
This is the rising of the ocean’s tide, highest at the gravitational peak of full or new moon. This is the rising of sap in the tree, result of the tension of the elements of the seasons. This is busting seed into both deep down root and breaking ground bud. This is the power of fruit and flower into full bloom.
This too is the source: the reliable recycling of life energy eating itself to birth newness again, again, and again.
Be still, and know this. Patience. Change comes.
This practice is available at any time for any living being to access. There are no secrets, only breaking down or putting down the defenses built up against the patterned chaos of Wild.
It requires you only to re-connect to it. Never underestimate the body’s ability to, in my friend Sepideh’s words, recalibrate, once we’ve gotten our body back onto the earth and away from all the distracting artifice.
My own mental and soul health cannot be separated. Recently, after the loss of my long time wise woman elder, I found myself experiencing professional and personal burn out. I knew that now more than ever it was necessary I heed my own “wisdom”–a word that I use always to mean that which translates from one’s own, personal experiences. 10 years ago I made the commitment to my self that I would travel the road, wherever it took me, to be able ultimately to work for myself, according to my own wisdom, soul, passions, and medicine. That I would blaze my own trail, whatever that took.
I arrived here, back to me, my own hand-built life and dream, over this past year. Who could know that the spiritual mentor, my wise woman Gretchen, whose guidance so surely and regularly led me back to my own while on that path, would depart the earth at the same time as my own arrival into this level of self-autonomy. I had to reach down deeply and trust my own life.
I examined the calendar and chose a week to take off completely. To turn off e-devices and get away from all distractions entirely, to disconnect from the go go go pace of the do do do material world. I chose the time of the month of nature’s elemental reset, the dark moon’s balsamic wane, before the moon remerges as new each month, that I’d make my return. I chose the time of the year when the growing season of summer leans into its own great pause, a great expanse of release and rest, from which the quickening of energy will then surge of itself into first Harvest.
My dark to new moon tide staycation, the dark tide that would birth us into this moon cycle right now, Thursday’s full moon: First Harvest for those in the Northern hemisphere.
My dark moon staycation took what I knew it would, days to simply allow for the stress of my MindBody, my somatic muscle memory juiced and running on amped up nervous system, to dissipate. Then time and more time: it took more days, of moment to moment existing, fire building, cooking fish in the coals, swimming for hours, tent pitching, surfing for hours, laying on the earth in hot drenched sand or beneath trees drowsy with a book over my chest. No agenda, no drive. Just right now with mama nature’s healing rest.
It’s a lot of years I’ve walked this path, and returning to me by returning to her has never led me wrong or let me down. It is always a reset to the imprint of my rhythm, and it is always stunning to me the unexpected doses of harmony and serendipity that occur whenever I do.
It is always a practical miracle how much more I am resourced from within when allow for that reconnection.
Whether or not you nerd out on tracking your own life by the tides of the moon and the seasons of the year as I do, on the real, actual alchemy of it–this medicine can return any of us back to the great majesty of truth in Life:
We are all connected in this sacred web. We create, much as we are created.
The magic of the female body is the rhythmic reliability of this very understanding. The fertility of the full moon is reflected in the peak hormonal time for menstruating women during ovulation each month. At ovulation the psyche is inspired and sparkly. The decline and reflection of the waning moon is aligned with the interior, hormonal alchemy of reflection and release. If we learn to take the time to treat our bodies with reverence, rest and quietude during this time, conscious transformation happens on the psychological, spiritual and physical levels when the period comes.
Learn how to deprogram from the artifice of the material world’s rhythm. The world devalues the feminine orientation of process and change, intuition and emotion. So you must choose to value it in order to find your own rhythm, and to further explore how and in what special, unique ways your own rhythm aligns with nature. This is a gift that will certainly come as result.
To me, it is the gift. The great grace of living. Magic.
Lunar Lammas, celebrated traditionally Aug 2 as Lammas, is reflected the world around in agricultural and indigenous societies that follow the cycles of growth and decline in nature. It is celebrated as a women’s or lunar mystery when the moon grows full while in the sun sign Leo, which this year is this Thursday night, peaking on Friday afternoon.
It comes to us as an imprint of when the late daylight and ample moonlight allowed for the stocking up on the harvest of this season’s fruit, vegetables, and animals.
It is, as all sabbat(h)s or holy days on the earth path, when we too can consciously deepen into a meaningful flow of our own day to day living by being reflective about what we have made of or with our own life.
The energy of a full moon lasts about three days. It holds us still. My sister Chantal, who leads our moon circles, reminded us this week that this week’s full moon is accompanied by a lunar eclipse.
Mama moon, some say, dictates our inner life and systems, what’s under the surface. Eclipse is when her light is blocked by the earth, which some might say dictates growth in the material, concrete world. So count on something deep in the interior life transformed by your own willingness to release or make changes in specific details of your outer life.
Llewellyn’s moon sign datebook, that tells when to plant, fish, and harvest by the moon tides–given by my soul sis Beth–suggests that we lay low this weekend as this eclipse may generate anger: “fury and wrath.”
In my experience, disembodied rage is an entry point to calling the self or soul back to the self, back to the body. The world devalues the individual’s right to his or her own body’s experience. It devalues the emotional truth of this, too. So when overpowering anger happens, this is often the start of a healing experience that can allow for deep-seated core beliefs (what I frequently call shame stories) to bubble to the surface. Be mindful, for both the deep masculine and the deep feminine lay beneath disembodied rage. Fury lingers as a defense to the wound of the body being not allowed to trust itself. Rage is an indicator and fuel for true inner transformation.
What a powerful tide this could be, if the eclipse helps us alchemize the hurts and faulty beliefs underneath our anger!?
The tide of energy is on the side of creation this week! It is on the side, by the weekend, of active release.
Remember, when we release something it is often helpful to be mindful of what we wish to grow in its place. You get to choose that, if you’re willing to keep returning back to the process of helping it grow!
So most important, what is your flow? How are you feeling? What do you really need?
Ask. Listen. You are more powerful than the world would ever, ever have you believe.
Be mindful of the anger at the gate to your truth.
Experience you, learn from your own medicine, your own life experience: your unique Wisdom.
Who we are is what and how we do. Embrace your harvest, friends.
Get outside and celebrate, because you’re here, and you can.
Lammas blessings!!! Begin, again~
image, Antonio Rubino, 1907
I love this picture I just found on tumblr here .
Lunar Beltane was over the weekend and I officiated a wedding and stepped into my own elder priestess role in what was a fully whimsical and fabulous and sacred way, and the whole thing was epic, finish to start. All this and also I have a broken heart, which Life as life will is presently breaking more than once in the same spot.
On the new moon we burned the herbs and drank the violets and banged the drums as the sun went down to welcome in the new moon and Spring. I said my bows to Chantal and Elisa and the medicine and healing we will do together. Now the holiday comes and it is potent and I burn candles and wait out heart break, I fly home to the midatlantic to see all the trees have bloomed green. There was a thick rug of yellow pollen on my car. It is traditional Beltane or May Day and also the first day I go swimming here in the sea.
Here is more on Beltane, from my old site The Impulse Itself. It was written in 2011:
So Beltane comes to us from the peasants, or country folk, all over Europe.
Pagan, or peasant or folk (of the people) religions centuries ago meant worshiping polytheistic, or worship of more than one God. I think the reason I was drawn in my teens to learn more about Paganism was specific: Pagans also worship female divinities or Godesses. Mary, though present in my Catholic upbringing (if I tried hard I could still remember the words to her prayer) was never a female godhead to whom I, as a grl in the eighties and nineties, could readily relate.
Depending on the culture, and in this application we can span the whole world, folk religions in every single country as far back as anthropologists have dated venerate or make holy all kinds of Gods and Goddesses.
There are corn gods, fire goddesses, snake gods, bird goddesses, elephant gods. For every god there’s a goddess you can find and likewise. It goes on and on and on and is a beautiful, traditional example of the everything is holy approach, that ever-present basic tenant of all great dogmas: how you treat life is how you get treated…do unto others…etc. Joe Campbell, the pre-eminent mythologist of the last century, normalized the idea that the world was far more encompassing than Judeo-Christian myths or beliefs, and in his many books and interviews put it this way. (I am paraphrasing.) Indigenous, folk cultures of old applied their religions as if everything in the world was a Thou.
Beltane was celebrated traditionally all over old Europe as May Day, time when the female aspect (the Lady, the Moon, or any one of many different Goddesses,) and the Male (the Great God, the Green Man, the Sun or any one of several Gods) came together to make life. It was a celebration of the fecundity, or ever-re-creating fertility of the earth. In those days the earth, and the food and fruit it provided, was holy because of the integrated relationship the peasant people had with their environment. Literally, the earth and its harvests were how they lived and sustained. Beltane was when the first crops started to put forth, and it was this Thou which was celebrated.
The ancient world over, this earth holiday was celebrated in different and various forms. You find history of it in Native American, Chinese, Roman and Grecian traditions as just a few examples.
Religious applications, as far as how the individual practices, vary and are as different as footwear is from person to person in one single pew at church on Sunday. That said, a tenant of Paganism that I have always intimately enjoyed is the enlivening of the female aspect within Life. I’ve never, personally, worshipped many different Gods or Godesses, though I do pray periodically to everything from trees to the ocean to Marilyn Monroe to Jesus to Kali-Ma, depending on how my spirit and heart and poet words and the whimsy move me. Afterall, I believe in Thou. But that said, as a poet who speaks in the first language of metaphor, or symbol, my studies of Paganism continue to inform me of a rich and ancient heritage that specifically embodies and empowers the feminine aspect of the Divine. The moon often is a symbol of this energy.
Folk wisdom teaches us that the earth lives and dies and lives again in cycles (what the Old Sun-God did, every year. As later the Son of God did, dying and being re-born right around Beltane, she wrote with an ironic wink…)
Personally, I just really like having a significant tide to tie my own inner-life processes, and outer-life growth and changes, to. The parts of me that live and die and come back to life, too. The moon cycles work really well for me to watch myself, it’s an active, hands-on way for me to feel connected to this great, wide and holy Life as a whole. The full moon is a time that life peaks, we are fertile, abundant, shiny. You cut crops then, both because the moon helped the field workers see AND because the grow cycle, as all is connected, is at its peak. Just google farmers almanac and full moon for more on these old folk ideas. It’s really beautiful and will undoubtedly connect you to someone in your family (we all come from agricultural roots in this country) maybe only a generation or two back.
Flower Moon or Taurus Moon is often in May (or when the sun is in the constellation of Taurus), and is also known as Lunar Beltane. It’s time to celebrate the growth aspect–union of man and woman and the converging fertility as result–but with the moon as your starting point. The moon lights up the dark. The feminine aspect, as the Chinese teach with Yin, is the flow aspect inside every person, it is that which cant be contained. It is the dark or pureness of void-potential, or to my liking, where the light of gnosis or Knowledge makes its entry point. Yang, the male energy in each person, is solid, concrete, manifesting. To this one person’s way of thinking, this application is how to capture just some of the celebration of Life using old folk holidays as a guide. We use our consciousness or doing-aspect of Yang to find the Stillness in there, the moving beating constant of presence which is Yin. At the conjuct of Yin-Yang is your own Holy Thou in the center. My intention from there is to be happpppyyyy about Life, and that all of Life may Beee Happpyyy, too. As within. So without. Amen amen amen.
image, Dugald Stewart (1753-1828)
Here’s a question to ponder, no right, no wrong. Just right now and what comes up organically when you trust yourself, and listen to your own inner voice.
What happened over the weekend? What was the theme? Who were you with? How did you show up to you, your needs? What was most meaningful?
To what, whom, how, did you arrive?
On the earth path, we consider where the tide of nature is in its seasonal energies, and where the moon and sun are in their cycles, too.
This past weekend was the dark moon–the last dark moon phase–of the winter, or season of the dark. The dark or reflective energy of life orients us to awareness that is hidden, shadowed, or that we are not conscious of, as much as it also is associated with rest, renewal, rejuvenation, restoration, nutritive descent, and disintegration of one form in order to emerge with one anew. It connects us in rich ways to process as the whole.
Dark as metaphor for winter is North on the medicine wheel, the phase of death and dying, the element of earth, and time spent underground. Over the weekend, with the alignment of the dark moon, it was a rich and wholesome time to embody this medicine in ways that were natural and complete, as we were simultaneously at the end of a natural cycle of nature.
The earth continues on in the completeness of this process of eternal regeneration. Yesterday, the last day of winter, I heard my first osprey! A seasonal, coastal bird of prey, Osprey has long been an organic sign for me of the earth changing seasons. As well, the week prior I found a fresh and tender patch of chickweed in the muck of swamp tidelands. Such sweet green, this little weed is a spring cleanse–I just LOVE that I happened on her in the decomp and decay of the swampy bogs!
And so it is that the tension of dark catalyzes new growth. The Vernal or Spring Equinox, today in the northern hemisphere, occurs when the center of the sun and the center of the earth pass.
This is a transition time, when we are literally in-between! Because of these orbits, we experience equal amounts of day and night on an equinox, or of light and dark. So we are in between equal dark and equal light right now as I write this at twilight. Literally the center line of the yin/yang.
Holding both. The light and the dark.
This is a powerful space right now to deepen this metaphor. No judgement, no shame: what do you consider is your light side, what do you consider your dark? How do the two overlap, how are you at allowing one side to inform the other? How are you at holding your own balance, relating to each? The yin inside the yang, the yang inside the yin.
Spring medicine turns us eastward on the medicine wheel. It is the element of air, and aligned with the seed breaking out of its casing to send roots downward, and to send first green shoots upward, again the medicine of both, and…! Instead of one or the other. It is time for birth on a continuum, specifically as birth is connected to the death of one form during winter and how that motivates growth and motion now.
From today onward, sunlight gains in minutes every day until we peak at the longest day on the summer solstice. We enter the season of light when energy is activating, in motion, and most apparent above the ground.
We gradually move into the time of year for engaging growth and change outwardly in your day to day!
I say gradually so that again, we do not miss the potency of in-between, of holding both, which is what the Equinox is all about!
Be well, friends! Be true to you. Begin within, then go on, get out there! Have fun.
Don’t let them tame you~
Death has been a primary teacher for me.
This started when I was 20, that epic summer me and a bestie and a brother who’s now passed from drugs travelled an 11,000 mile circle around our country. Two decades ago already.
A week before that trip started, a young man my brother and I grew up car-pooling to school, lunchtime swim sessions bologna sandwiches bmx bikes and saving the princess with, got killed in a gnarly car accident on the side of I-95. My brother was invited to be on the trip in the car with him but did not go.
That tragedy shook us down.
A week after we lost him, right at the start of the summer on Solstice tide, my Grammy died. She and my pop who died in 87 had this little two bedroom plus an attic house right inside the city line, Brooklyn Park, Bmore Maryland, USA. They brought 7 kids and near three times the amount of grandkids to this world.
So between losing Grammy and our neighborhood homie, that summer I went on the road the first time death was running my ass down.
Later, by the time I got the La Catrina put on my back, I was well versed in death wisdom. I was sober by then. I had buried countless friends to drug addiction and its associated physical and mental fall out. I had also undergone a powerful inward transformation as the result of the end of a longterm romance. Endings are a kind of death. That ending initiated me into the power of the Darkness as the realm of the Feminine.
The year I lived way out on the river to grieve the ending of that part of my life, La Catrina used to call to me on the river wind. I mean it. I was an english teacher to undocumented, mostly Mexican students. I lived on the river and confronted who I am alone? I was reading for the upteeeenth time Women Who Run With the Wolves, and in reverence daily with “my inner wild wisdom” as I’d taken to calling that endless, indestructible still point within. La Catrina became for me that point of reverence, that river below the river, that ONE life that holds all. She even showed up on an artist date with me, a ceramic figurine in a little store that used to sit on a corner at the docks in downtown Annapolis. That figurine and a similar one sit atop my alter as I write this right now.
Death is our one fundamental truth as humans. The only thing that’s guaranteed.
My embracing of this particular wisdom is the single motive behind why I jump into my life with passion and presence and vitality a day at a time. It’s how I maintain loving as much as I possibly can.
The female body knows all about this metaphor of death, dying, decrease. Our body’s teach us every month. Dark wisdom. For the feminine, through the death, rebirth, life, death cycle our biology inherently experiences, holds all gnosis concerning the secrets of life. In the soul work, the women’s wisdom soul work, we look at the parts of us we had to kill off to survive. We embrace the healing of grieving for those old wounds and losses, and in that way, breathe life and living, rebirth, back into our heart’s broken spaces.
Today is an important day in the Samhain tide. All Souls Day for the Catholics, this is the final day of the Los Dias De Los Muertos, the day in which we pray for the souls of our dead.
From the Wisdom of the Dark Feminine perspective, it is a power tide for naming our own losses to self, for both women and men. A great equalizer, death or the Thantos archetype in the soul is part of the continuum of the balance of life. When we embrace who we have become because of what we have let go. And perhaps, who we are still yet to be by re-embracing parts of ourselves we killed off or forced away.
The full moon peaks this weekend. Death on the medicine wheel reminds us. What has been, is, and is yet to be all emerges from the same place. This is a moon to tend this.
Samhain tide. When we are called with reverence to the fleetingness of life. To embrace, celebrate, grieve, give thanks. And maybe? To get real… That is a medicine of death and dying to me. To practically look at the truth of things. At what simply is.
When we give ourselves the freedom of this clean kind of looking at life, space is created because we no longer resist what we cannot change. When we look at what is real then we can transform not what we see, but how we choose to respond.
A good meditation on the day of prayer for All Souls.
Nothing teaches you the patience life requires better than life itself. A basic axiom that even kicking and fighting each of us are tasked to learn: Letting go. That is the medicine I am finding myself practicing this week, as we enter the stillness of the lunar reset, the void chaos-rest space of the balsamic moon. I don’t know about you guys but my energy is sure on that wane. Being reminded of the power and the struggle: accepting that over other people, and over the variety of possible manifestations of the future in the right now, I have no control.
Ohhh life!! And how I’ve learned and relearned! That in letting go, space is always created. And spaciousness allows softness, tenderness, the capacity to move, to relax, to receive. To grow…
This is the medicine of right now on the year’s wane. This week’s new moon is the gnostic entry into the Underworld, the third and final harvest rite. The women’s wisdom or celtic earth path calls this Lunar Samhain and the women in my women’s circle seemed all to resonate to the same theme: Finally, We Enter Darkness. Sacred Invitation to Rest.
First, however, the pitch and UnRest! Of Lunar Samhain.
Traditional Samhain, known also as the more mundane Halloween, is about the relationship between peak fruition of fertility into the lean of life force completing its whole potentiality by decreasing and dying. We hate death and dying, ward off the dark by dressing up as the creatures and monsters we fear at Halloween. But what of the wisdom? What of the medicine of the dark? Letting go and surrendering is a process of absorbing and reflecting all at once, holding all the growth and reintegrating all of the different aspects this year of “Us”. Accepting, no judgment, no shame. All of the experiences that lived through you and who and how you’ve been shaped. This is now a distilling process, clarification by review of all this, and release…
And that can feel tense, flat. Still. Exhausting. Remember, it is the dark moon motion to hold us in a entropy feel. The moon cycle that will come after will increase the length of nighttime darkness more and more until winter is ushered in. For me, with a small gentle sigh and lean, it has felt like the active alchemy of opening my heart even though I don’t want to because it’s getting dark!! but trust is an action word, so allowing what I am carrying this year, all that I have fed and tended and grown, to fulfill its course with or without my control.
Patience, acceptance, letting go. Lunar Samhain: trusting the process of dark, of what we can not see. Of the passive power of energy wane, of decrease… and renewal.
Harvest season exists the world around and is one of the most ancient of all rites. Every person every place has a place that raised her and as long as there’s been life on MaMa Earth, this holds true. Her seasons move in increase and decrease, and so at Samhain we allow this letting go. It is time too of the religious holidays of All Saints and All Souls Days and Sukkoth, as well as the reverence for ancestors and death as a divine power of life during Los Dias De Los Muertes, and is also connected to a variety of both ancient goddess venerations and modern agricultural festivals. The weather changes, it is reflected in the length and depth of dark shadows, the steady motion of wind whisper in the tops of trees, the burnish bronze of late season light in the leaves and colors. We go on hayrides, drink hot cider, pick pumpkins and other seasonal gourds.
I like the earth path because our custom as American’s is the Harvest tradition of Thanksgiving, but gently tending blessings and harvests now, and letting go and space-making through out the Fall usually helps me walk into the holidays mindfully and with minimal chaos. This week especially we mind mind, note tensions and what is living, what is lost. What makes us feel uncomfortable if we have to hold still! We note life’s living/letting go wisdom, the transient power of bittersweet joy/pain over getting to experience without always being able to control. When we consider the station of Fall and the West on the medicine wheel, we think of sunset, of that precious moment of last light on the horizon. We recall that ultimately, all things pass.
And the new day will come again.
And so it is often my practice at Samhain tide to revere, among my blessings of the year and what must be let go, my ancestors. When I remember those that are no longer here, I see the ways in which I am a living growing example of their seeds. What a miracle this is, how I get to be tilling the ground for my own life’s accumulations and legacies tomorrow, and how none of that could’ve happened without my own ancestral and community webs.
From what and where do we seek our values, and how? How do we practice this, and how do our energies align? What is our legacy, what will we leave? How do we repay the gifts our elders have bestowed upon us, and how do we practice accountability and responsibility to any ruptures, injuries, or wounds? To whom are we connected, and how? Am I accountable?
How are my relations? There is not a more powerful time in our history, as far as the four short decades I have been here that is, to ask questions like these.
The power of consciousness: choosing to witness and be mindful in your own life. To say thanks, to tend your tides of growth and release, of the season’s fruits being turned back to the earth. Marking with reverence the accompanying cycles of letting go, rest, renewal, death, rebirth. Knowing that all we can do is be true to our own self right now, and take whatever small actions we can just for today, allowing the heart to soften into the knowing of right now is plenty, is enough, embodying such wisdom… These, the lessons of reflection put into practice as the natural season ushers in the Underworld this week with Lunar Samhain. How that can burn, to open the heart in such a posture of releasing and allowing, how it can feel so counter to life’s frenzy, to pause right now. Be still. Be still with the wane. The release. Acknowledge the power of the season of the dark.
…tomorrow night, last harvest moon, sheath of layered lace and bounty coming up over the sea. Harvest moon peaks full this eve~
There is harvest wisdom right now in your every day. In practical ways, in the actions and reactions, the many details of the life you are presently living. The invitation right now is to look upon your world metaphorically, a wee bit deeper perhaps, and ask yourself how the details of right now, this week, fit the theme of your year.
You can color this in by considering how to look at those themes with an open heart and grateful eyes…The final Harvest season full moon comes early this year which marks for me the time I mindfully slow down, tune in to my conscious living day by day, get outside as much as possible and live in the luminescent sweetness of this transient seasonal middle ground, and soften my daily attitude to fixate upon the world with gratitude-eyes.
What is the bounty in this season of your life?
Harvest blessings dears. May the gifts of this and your life be dancing conscious blessings alive in your own two hands.
What a year, no? Our first moon cycle in 2017 inaugurated a man as the leader of our metaphoric house who bragged about the exploitation and objectification of the female body. Our values supported this.
The normalization of exploitation in this house is unacceptable.
The female body. The female body. The female body.
How is your house? How are you tending your one true sacred space?
At home–here on earth, our first and most taken for granted body–what’s it been like for you? What level of your own shame stories, meaning your internal narratives about your worth, about being or not being good enough, about your rights, have you become more aware of this year?
How mindful of the stress you are carrying, its physicality, are you? The stories that your body is carrying about you and your experience?
How well have you been at declaring your own right to your own path of unique heart, spirit, soul?
From an earth-based perspective, the growing season of the year relies as much on what has decomposed being turned under, transforming to nutrients, as it does on the potentiality of wild starry fruits blossoming from a single seed. It is an endless continuum of stages and cycles, from dying and dark to birthing, blooming, fruiting, and harvesting, too.
When the moon is dark she is between the earth and the sun, and her other half sends the light of the sun back at itself. We here on earth fall still in her darkness, a holding, receptive gravity.
The moon holds all, receptive and active.
When she is active or full she is at the height of light, actually reflecting the light of the sun back on us here on earth.
Between these two polarities are the fluidity of transitions of dark and light. Metaphoric, yes. And also cyclic and specific. Both applications, and all their subtleties, are necessary. Again, the feminine holds all.
From a menstrual perspective, we track our personal moons. Chances are our personal moon doesn’t follow the actual moon. So we use the moon’s phases as a metaphor to understand both the biology and psychology of the feminine psyche.
The new moon as metaphor is day one, or when we first bleed. When we first bleed, we are dying and birthing at once, as now we re-engage the solar or ovulatory, fertile aspect of our selves. As the days of our cycle accumulate, we track where we are. We learn to re-embody the fluidity of the inter-lobal functioning of the female body, for again, the feminine holds all. For example, at stage four, the Gibbous moon, which can be anywhere from about day 7 through day 17 depending on your unique, beautiful and powerful body, we undergo an abrupt rise in the neuropeptides FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). There is a rise in estrogen level and left hemisphere brain activity and simultaneous testosterone and right hemisphere activity and increase in libido. Read Dr. Christiane Northrup’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom to learn more!
Our discharge is known at this time as E-type mucus, which is when small tubules are present in our discharge that hold sperm! This is us in our fertile, almost full cycle. At stage 5, our metaphoric full moon, G-type mucus immediately follows the release of our ovum, and this sort of mucus actually keeps us from getting pregnant. Like the moon at her peak active phase when she’s full, our bodies too lean from our full momentum back into ourselves. And so at peak fertility we start again towards the reflective, recycling, dark and dying phases.
The growing season on earth follows these 8 stages, too!
Lammas, again using the metaphor of the phases of the moon, can be understood as stage 6, the Disseminating Moon. Like for the year! Disseminating moon, according to Demetra George’s Mysteries of the Dark Moon is the “first stirring of dark,” when the seed has become what it was meant and the “life impulse must fulfill, distribute energy and disseminate and share the value of the meaning.” From a menstrual perspective, it is “the luteal phase” when “we turn more inward, preparing to develop or give birth from something deep within ourselves.” (Northrup, 2010)
Disseminating moon is the fruiting phase, or harvest. Whether an ovum has been fertilized, or it was the fertility of a new idea that peaked, maybe a transformed inner narrative, or however it was that you lived out this growing cycle psychologically, biologically, spiritually and creatively, the disseminating moon phase from a menstrual perspective is the fruiting time, our first harvest. After peak fertility phase.
And so it is we celebrate Lammas, the First Harvest of the earth’s natural growing year. People who tend these concepts, embodying them and staying close to nature, outside with feet grounded upon her and skin and blood and biology and body in one rhythmic inhalation exhalation of all that is, recognize this as connected to a variety of different anthropological rites. Traditions the world over acknowledge with celebration the bounty of fruit on the vine at summer’s height.
From a lunar perspective, which for me is the feminine-embodied perspective, we celebrate Lunar Lammas when the moon is in the sun sign of Leo and full.
So, ya with me? We learn to track the phases of the moon, and then to metaphorically apply these phases. They can inform the dark and light aspects of our biology, and of the seasons of the year. We too learn to hold all, to think quantum or multi-dimensionally, to hold our still point within, and All At Once at once!
Lunar Lammas is the full moon on Monday, August 7, this year. Already the sun-made shadows of heaping breathy green tree walls here are muddled, that certain angle of soupy dark I so love.
Mind what this moon cycle brings. It is your harvest. What will you reap? Mind what stories live, what experiences happen. Mind your light and your dark. Mind your experiences this month from a reflective viewpoint that holds the continuum of the year, all those spirals of moon around the far side of the earth and back to between the earth and sun, again and again.
What is illuminated under the active light of her reflecting back the height of the summer sun? For that is what happens on Lunar Lammas.
Unplug from your computer or other e-devices. Leave your phone in the car and get outside. Restore your natural circadian rhythm from all that electronic interference.
Give yourself back to yourself. Back to your body. Back to the earth. The natural perfect spheres of rhythm. Happy first harvest season friends~!!
To understand more, make some time and visit my Facebook page. We will spend this month learning more about the moon’s 8 phases.