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How to work with the energies of March 2018’s Blue Moon

As with so many English phrases, we can thank Shakespeare for coining the term “blue moon” to describe something rare. A blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. This is a relatively rare occurrence, but in 2018 we have had two, and this is the second.

Typically, a blue moon has the same magical significance of all full moons–a time to harvest what was planted at the new moon, issues bubbling to the surface to be dealt with, heightened power and energy overall.

Astrologically speaking, this moon has a lot going on. The full moon is 10 degrees in Libra. Represented by the scales, Libra seeks balance, and this sign is all about peace, harmony and relationships. At the same time, the moon is square Saturn (ruler of limitations and fears) and Mars (ruler of base drive). When two planets are square, there’s a big tug of war going on. So all the balance of Libra is being challenged by the forces of Saturn and Mars.

Not to mention, we are currently in Mercury retrograde. So, if you’re feeling ridiculously out of sorts, that’s okay! You can work with this energy in a positive way.

Relationships are super in focus right now, whether with others or with ourselves. The full moon in Libra, which is also the Ostara moon, is calling us to take the actions necessary to bring balance to our relationships and our lives.

Ostara is the spring equinox, when dark gives way to light, which happened on March 20. At that time, it’s likely that something was brought to light in your life that can no longer be kept in darkness, no matter how much you’ve done to suppress it or put it off. This full moon possesses the energy to help you achieve the balance that you need to establish in whatever area of your life has been keeping you out of whack. If there’s an action that needs to be taken, or an obsession that needs to be relinquished, now is the time!

Especially is this is an issue from your past, Mercury retrograde can help you rather than hinder you here. If Saturn and Mars are stirring up your fears and/or anger, that’s all the more reason to free yourself from whatever it is once and for all.

This moon offers potential for real growth. Let’s begin this spring with a step into the light!

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Astrology

4 Ways to Handle the Holiday Retrograde

Because everything that exists is essentially energy that is interwoven and connected, we and our bodies–physical and subtle–are influenced by the movement of planetary bodies. And one particular planetary movement that seems to be especially influential (and frustrating) is Mercury Retrograde (MR).

3-4 times every calendar year, Mercury appears to move backward in the sky. Susan Miller explains how this works at Astrology Zone:

“Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the Sun, its orbit is much shorter than Earth’s. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth, and that is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period. If you were in a car and another car passed you, you could tell it was going faster than you. But if it slowed down and you then passed it, it would appear that that car was actually going backward. Then when the other car speeds up and passes you again, it kicks up all of the dust in the road. As Mercury speeds by, it is like a train flying past, creating a powerful, turbulent gust of “wind” in its wake. The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades can affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives.”

Mercury rules communication, travel, and contracts, and these areas of life can be heavily affected during MR periods. Also, each MR is influenced by the sign it occurs in, as well as the situation of the moon.

By nature, MR shifts energy. Forward momentum is not supported at this time. However, intuition is strengthened for those who do not let themselves be frustrated by the backspin. What MR has to teach us will be understood–and helpful–when Mercury goes direct again.

MR stirs things up, especially unresolved relationship and communication issues. Add to this the coinciding Gemini full moon and the holiday season (Gemini and Sagittarius are also communication rulers), and there’s potential for things to get extremely interesting.

While it may be tempting to hole up in a cave by ourselves during this time, we are not meant to avoid our lives during MR. We’re still going to travel to be with our loved ones. We’re still going to spend lots of time in close quarters with our families. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. When we’re aware of what’s going on in the big picture, it’s easier not to get in our heads about things.

Here are a few recommendations for handling the holiday retrograde:

Find your zen while traveling Travel–especially air travel–can bring out the worst in people. It is going to be stressful, if not for you then for a lot of other people. If you’re driving, you could be facing traffic or a myriad other annoyances. If things don’t go 100% smoothly, you need to be able to stay calm. Bring some essential oils with you. Download a meditation app. Pick out a good book. Plan extra time into your travel itinerary and give yourself a backup option if possible. Whatever it takes for you to maintain your center, do that.

Postpone the tricky convos

With everyone under pressure, the holidays can be a volatile time. Those grievances between siblings or child and parent are likely to rise to the surface. But now is not the time. If you feel a conflict brewing, delay it until after December 22. Even if you have to say, “Because astrology says so” and make them roll their eyes or think you’re crazy, it’s better than what could happen if you feel the MR monster. Just save it until Mercury goes direct and all the stirred up emotions have settled into clarity.

Reflect on the past

Take advantage of the lack of momentum by revisiting memories that make themselves known to you. Perhaps they have a gift for you. If there are things you brushed past or shoved into a locked box in your mind, there may be valuable lessons for you in them now. Maybe you’ve dissociated from some memories because you were ready to handle the emotional burden. If it’s still not the right time to go there, you’ll know. But if you feel the past calling to you, then you are ready to handle whatever life has for you now. Think about how you’ve grown over the last year. Give yourself credit, appreciate your lessons, and know that you got this.

Tap into your intuition

If things appear to be going wonky in the external world, tune in to your inner world and see what’s going on there. This may not be a time for communicating and doing, but MR is a good time for knowing and being. Be on the lookout for signals from your body and for synchronicities. Meditate. Don’t worry about figuring out or sharing the messages you receive. There will be plenty of time for that after Mercury goes direct. Just enjoy what you know.

As in all things, how MR will affect you will depend on your attitude toward it. Really it’s just like the holidays. If you stay connected to your center, you can ride the waves. And you may not really want to receive some of the gifts you’ll get, but you might just find that you didn’t know you needed them.

Blessed be.

Esbats

Tapping into the Mourning Moon’s Energy to Let Go

Mourning is not something anyone wants to do. Mourning means we have lost something. A loved one. A dream. An ideal. Mourning is painful.

Yet, mourning is absolutely necessary. If we avoid mourning when we experience a loss, we hurt ourselves far worse than we would if we would just go through the process. Some of us are experts at mourning avoidance. One way or another, though, the mourning we need to do is going to hurt us. We might as well get it over with in a healthy way.

In Wiccan tradition, November’s full moon is known as the Mourning Moon. As with all full moons, the energy of this time will stir up the stored energies within us. If there is something we need to let go of, the Mourning Moon will show it to us. We may receive signs in the forms of injuries, illnesses, conflicts, accidents, disappointments, opportunities, reminders of the past, oracle readings…whatever will get our attention. We do not want to carry old pains and fears into the new year, and the Mother wants to help us let go.

Before we may be reborn, we must be free of the stories and past selves that keep is tied to our old life. A good use of the Mourning Moon’s energy is to mourn and release the previous versions of yourself. Even in a single life, people live many lives. We were different people 10, five, two years, even 1 month ago. As we live these lives, we accumulate energetic baggage, because we do not mourn and release our old selves as they need to die. What you needed to do and how you needed to be then very likely does not work for you and your life now. And yet…you may still be doing things the old way. If that’s the case, you need to let go.

To let go, first we mourn. To mourn, we must allow ourselves to feel loss. When we grow into a new life, we lose our old one, and whether our old life was full of joy or grief, the loss is felt all the same. To grow into our fullness, we must accept our loss with our gain.

We may be totally unaware of how our old selves’ energies preventing us from living fully now. Either way, now is the time to invite them to resurface one last time. Like everyone, our old selves just want to be seen. They are still here with us because we continue to fight them, to shove them away into the darkness. Well, we’ve entered the season of darkness, and it’s time to learn what the darkness has to teach us. 

When we invite our old selves for one last visit, we must be prepared to receive them. They may show up immediately, but more likely they will make themselves known over the next several days. Beware of situations that bring them out in you. You asked for these events to happen. These are your opportunities to let go. You feel the impulse to turn to a person you used to be to tell you how to respond and behave in these familiar scenarios. But that person isn’t here anymore. That person passed away. You are here now, in this situation. 

You let go–you free yourself from emotional blockage and energetic baggage–by choosing to behave differently now.
As hard as it sounds, mourning is about moving forward. The Mourning Moon will move you. To make the most of its gift, be moved and move in kind. 

Sabbats

Why Witches “Dance with the Devil” at Samhain

Witches have long been accused of–and killed for–being associated with the Devil. At Samhain, in particular, when the veil between the worlds is thin, people’s fear of the Devil may be intensified, and thus their fear of witches.

In most ways, such people are terribly mistaken. Witches do not “worship the Devil;” how can we, when we don’t believe in a literal Devil or a literal Hell? Yet, there is an element of truth in the religious patriarchy’s irrational fear. At Samhain, we do get in touch with what the Devil represents: the unconscious.

The Devil is feared as the one who leads people away from the light. Pagans do not adhere to this dualism. We know that dark and light are one, as are the conscious and the unconscious. Although we may not be aware of them, we all wear chains that hold us to some reality.

We all are influenced by temptations and vices; we all participate in harmful behaviors. We stay in relationships that prohibit us from reaching our potential. We reach for cigarettes or junk food to numb difficult emotions. We believe we are unworthy of abundance and thus do not receive it. We choose the easy or the safe way. We do not give as much as we could. We make decisions based on fear.

Is this the work of the Devil? Yes, but it’s not something to fight or fear. We are not meant to conquer the Devil, but to understand it. The Devil is a part of us. It is not the behaviors themselves, but the energy behind them. The Devil is whatever we want to hide, whatever truths about ourselves we fear to acknowledge.

imageWe can see this in the representation of the Devil in Tarot. Take, for instance, this version from a Rider-Waite-inspired deck. The Devil appears as in popular imagination: red with horns, tail, and cloven feet. He sits in the darkness above a man and a woman, both chained to a tiny wall. Yet, what is he doing? He is not keeping the people where they are. In fact, their chains are loose enough that they could escape if they wanted to. Notice too how the Devil is shining light upon them, waving to get their attention. However, they are too afraid to look into the dark to find their freedom.

Like Death, the Devil represents not a final destination but a gateway. He is the guardian of the unconscious. In the Wheel of the Year, the God has taken his position as the Lord of the Underworld at Samhain. He has brought his Goddess to join him, and he gathers departed souls as they cross over into their next state of being. When we meet the Devil, we need not fear him. He is not leading us to hell, but to a deeper understanding of how we have created our own hells. He shows us our chains: how we have bound ourselves to harmful patterns and energies that prevent us from growing into our truest, best, and freest life.

image
The Wildwood Tarot

If the Devil is scary, that’s a sign of something we fear to admit about ourselves. If we turn away from this fear, rather than dealing with it, we keep ourselves energetically bound to the past. To fully enjoy our lives as we are meant to, we must accept our whole selves, the darkness and the light and everything in between. There is no shame in having a dark side. There is only shame when we try to hide parts of ourselves. The act of burying truth is what creates a Hell. 

At Samhain, witchy folk may commune, or “dance,” with the Devil, because this is the way to the new life. We reflect on the lessons of this past year. We settle our debts. We honor our dead and help them find peace. We free ourselves from the energies of the previous cycle by meeting them, accepting their wisdom, and laying them to rest. We do not shirk from the darkness. We walk through it, knowing that we will find truth and freedom.

Sabbats

Death, Darkness, and Haunting in the Season of Samhain

This is the season of Samhain (pronounced SOW-en). The leaves are changing color. The air is blowing cooler. The days are getting shorter. The veil between the material and spiritual planes grows thinner. The season of death and darkness has begun.

For many, the thought of death and darkness inspires fear, but that’s not a bad thing. Death has many forms, and, in one way or another, it is always the beginning of a new cycle. That is why Samhain marks the witches’ new year.

It is well known that this is the time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest and “ghosts can walk the earth.” But what does that mean?

The spiritual and the material worlds are never actually separate; they coexist, but when we, as physical beings, are preoccupied with our physical lives, we do not so easily sense the presence of the spiritual.

In spring and summer, we have work to do–planting and growing and harvesting. And even though, for most of us, our work is not tied to the land anymore, the energy of the seasons that influence our lives is the same as it has always been. So in autumn, we put up our harvest and prepare for winter, when the physical world is cold and dark and dead.

As night gets longer and overtakes day, we respond by spending more time inside, literally and figuratively. We naturally become reflective and introspective. This is the time to settle all our debts and our overhanging issues, so that we do not carry them into the new year. We put to rest what needs to be done with.

This is why we might experience “hauntings.” If we have residual energy tied up in issues that will hold us back from growing in the new year, that ghost will come knocking. As scary as it might be to face our ghosts, the fate of locking the door is far worse than answering it. To be free from haunting, we must let the ghost pass through us. We must make peace with our issues, learn our lessons, and lay rest what must die. Then, and only then, can a new life be born.

The days leading up to Samhain are a good time to invite our ghosts to visit us. Perhaps our ancestors have wisdom to share with us to help us along our path. Maybe a previous version of ourselves, from a former life in this incarnation or another, has unfinished business that needs to be settled. Whatever the case may be, we honor the lessons that death has to teach us, individually and collectively, in our Samhain rituals.