Archive | Nature

Summer Lovin’

Happy Lughnasadh! It’s a little late, but this is another turn of the wheel of the year. Today we celebrate where we’ve gotten to so far this year. (And if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, Happy Imbolc!)

So, have a seat, take a breath, center in your self, and think about where you’ve been so far this year.  Think all the way back to January- where were you then? Where are you now? What growth have you stepped into? What have you changed about yourself or your life? What are you grateful for today that you didn’t even know about in January? I hope it’s a happy celebration.

In honor of that, I’m sharing a list of songs that have been keeping me company this summer. It’s not a playlist, per se, because it’s not at all curated, it doesn’t send me any particular place, it’s just what I’ve been humming to on the radio and Pandora for the last few weeks.

If I Didn’t Know Any Better | Alison Krauss & Union Station

Witness | Sarah McLachlan

All That You Have Is Your Soul | Tracy Chapman

Tennessee Whiskey | Chris Stapleton

All At Once | The Fray

Endless Summer Nights | Richard Marx

The Next Time I Fall | Peter Cetera + Amy Grant

Meet Me Half Way | Kenny Loggins

On My Own | Patti LaBelle ft. Michael McDonald

Make Me Lose Control | Eric Carmen

I’ll Be Over You | Toto ft. Michael McDonald

I guess I’ve got a thing for Michael McDonald? Anyway, these have just been fun to listen to (some of them more bittersweet, which is my favorite emotion). The summer is definitely starting to wind down- I can already see the changes starting to slowly add up. But we still have our big summer trip to come and that’s going to be lots of fun. I’ll post pictures, I promise.

In any case, enjoy the music, celebrate your life and all that you’ve made happen so far this year, and love what’s left of this season.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

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New Moon in Aquarius and Solar Eclipse

I consider it a personal gift from the planetary gods that the entire month of February is without a full moon. All the dark, all the time. And tonight is the darkest day of the month (one day after my birthday, too!)- the new moon. I’m all dance-y and giddy right now.

Here’s what you need to know to navigate the next couple of weeks.

::: ::: ::: :::

From TheGoddessCircle:

Change. Beginnings and Endings. Try new options. 
Make plans- stick to them. 
Moving relationships forward. Follow inspiration.
Positive change. Let go of the complicated. 
Open to new solutions. Don’t shut off emotions. 

 

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From The Hood Witch:
[Description of Aquarius is spot on.]

On the 15th is when things get weird. At 1.05pm PST there will be Solar Eclipse in revolutionary Aquarius. A Solar Eclipse happens during a New Moon, and this one provides an excellent time to get free. Expect some serious upheaval in your life, but don’t worry – it’s happening to help point you in the right direction, not to knock you off course. Pay close attention to the themes in your life this week, and also remember what was going on around January 31st because you’ll be integrating these themes until the next Solar Eclipse on July 12, 2018.

Aquarius is a sign that is concerned with humanity, even if it finds actual humans low key annoying. Pay particular attention to the gap between what you theoretically believe and what you can emotionally handle at this time. New Moons are openings – they’re beginnings of a new cycle – and the Moon is always concerned with the flow of your heart. Aquarius can be really heady, which is great for so many things, but not so much for feels. Don’t run after false ideas that only work for you in theory. If you can’t back your ideas up with emotional presence and material action, they’re just ideas and nothing more. This Eclipse is a chance for you to start fresh, but this can’t be done from up in the clouds or without clear intention. Show up. Be here for the uncomfortable bits, especially for your own feels and the emotions of the people you care about.

From the 16th-18th, irritable Mars will square escapist Neptune, and the self-centered Sun will sit on top of analytic Mercury. These transits are a big part of the Eclipse and are likely to muddle things quite a bit, so here’s a Pro Tip to help you through: you don’t have to do anything except for take care of your side of the street. It’s not your job to call out the wrong in others; all you need to do is what’s right for you. If you’re seeing things in people that you don’t like, try to sit with it for 72hrs before making a call or taking action. 

 

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From Empowering Astrology:

Each month the page turns, the characters change, and the story progresses. It’s the solar eclipses, however, that set a new chapter.

And here we are; it’s a new chapter.

When we reach Aquarius Season, we’re coming to the end of the astrological year. As the eleventh sign, Aquarius bridges the worldly ambitions and responsibilities of Capricorn and the liminality of Pisces. Aquarius is consciousness. It’s thought made manifest. It’s the systems that form our world. It’s the social fabric as well as the sense of belonging to something larger. Aquarius is connection. So, over the coming six months, we’ll be living out a story framed around this theme of connection and, by its polarity, disconnection.

Do you struggle to feel like you’re a part of something? What does tribe mean to you? What role does friendship and community play in your life? What does social justice mean for you? How do you balance your own needs against the needs of the collective? And, because this is a South Node eclipse, we have to work through our past karma as well as our past choices around these Aquarian themes.

When we look at the chart of the solar eclipse, we see the energy pointing towards Saturn in Capricorn. There’s something blisteringly real about the coming six months, an ultimatum — Saturn doesn’t sugarcoat things — to clean up our act, set boundaries, and take our responsibilities seriously.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Aquarius is consciousness — consciousness that forms patterns and shapes. This consciousness can either support and inspire or imprison. (If you know someone who is caught in negative thought patterns, then you know what I mean by imprison.) Aquarius is also anti-consciousness in its negative polarity, the times when we willfully looked away from reality. So, with that in mind, we’re working with consciousness over the coming six months, the systems and patterns that we hook into, the times we’ve disconnected or looked away.

 

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From The Sky Priestess:
[Click the link and check the title; it’s me in this post.]

Blessings. The Solar Eclipse / New Moon in Aquarius asks us to set the seeds for innovation, collective engagement, ideational breakthrough and networking. It is when we develop upon or dissolve older frequencies of thought and experience and step into newer modalities of being. We are asked to let go of more egoic notions of selfhood before accessing some of the higher-frequency stuff. This requires us to deconstruct and decolonize our minds of concepts, paradigms, and ways of seeing the world that make us invested in a particular ego-personality. It asks us to come back to the roots of our being and not the false self we have been conditioned to believe we are.

The way we do this is by engaging the energy of the heart and allowing the leadership of the Inner Child to light the way to the Heavens. Go back to what made your heart sing and do it. Repeatedly. Whether it´s watching a childhood movie, dancing, playing, singing, speaking on stage – let your emotional body engage with the mental body. One cannot exist in isolation of another. For those of you whose mother tongue is not English – go back to your mother tongue. You will access genetic codes unique to your culture and its connection with the Earth. Never underestimate the power of that connection.

Whilst Aquarian energy can be compassionate, that compassion stems from ideology – rather than emotional connection. Aquarian energy can be very headstrong in its understanding of the ideals by which humanity ought to live. It´s not very fluffy-cuddly, but is a lot more abstract.

With Mercury (25 Aquarius) and Juno (26 Aquarius) so close to the actual Eclipse (27 Aquarius) – expect a high degree of communication amongst members of (what looks like) your soul tribe. This may include romantic, spiritual and/or platonic soul-mates. This aspect of the energy is a little double-edged as Juno does not always indicate a positive marriage partner or soul-mate experience, rather she comes to show us the type of energy who can help us awaken the soul to other possibilities. In other words, soul-mates can help us grow through pleasure, nurture and healthy support – or they can push us to growth through pain, abuse and/or neglect.

Through my study of Juno in clients´ charts, I have found her to be a mixed aspect at best. Either way – whoever shows up now holds the key for your re-connection to the Feminine aspect of being. Just wait before you declare s/he´s ´The One´. Collect a little more data.

In terms of Mercury´s influence, say what you have to say with respect to your truth, be it through written or spoken form – and then let it go. There´s going to be a lot of energy present through social media channels, and not all of it is good. Do not expect others to share your opinion of the world – as one works with their own truths at the pace that they can handle it.

Remember that we are prone to choose truths that make us feel comfortable – and whilst that makes for a more consistent perception of the world, it´s not necessarily great for growth.

::: ::: ::: :::

It sounds like this next two weeks might be a doozy. But finding our way, finding our truth, and growing are always useful- even if they are hard. I hope you learn with ease this new moon season.

Big love from the trail,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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With each footfall…awaken

Yesterday’s post about sweat (and exercise) reminded me of this poem I wrote a few years ago about running. One of the most sensual experiences I have ever had was running in a warm, soft rain. I can still recall the exact feeling of the rain on my skin and the way my body moved through it. I felt like sex itself, honestly. What a gift and a pleasure it is to move the body.

::: ::: ::: :::

Ode to an Autumnal Morning Run

I am not fleet of foot,
Like Artemis or Athena.

I run like a beast;
My compact body hits hard.
I am Atalanta’s adept;
Solid and capable
Learning to fight my own battles.

I used to run in quarters,
Afraid of what I could not do.
Quarter minutes.
Quarter miles.
Quarter runs.

But my goddess body knew better.
Now I run in thirds.
In halves.

On my path, the bittersweet covers the trees
As fear used to cover me.
Pulling at my life, and letting me hide.

Like Persephone I rise from my grave of fear
Wipe the dirt from my eyes
Spit it from my mouth.
I learned in the dark-
I learned of my dark.

I am no longer scared-
The dark is sacred, too.

I see my serpentine self everywhere as I run
the sinuous vines and branches.
I feel her, too
Sensually winding
Undulating
As feet, ankles, knees, and hips roll forward
Aware of the shift of each movement
Both ecstasy and pain

My heart throws itself against my rib cage
Not just from the work of running
But also for the aspen leaves
So dense with yellow
I want to eat them
So rich red and fiery orange
I would paste them to my skin
And make more beauty of my sweating messiness.

I breathe
I breathe
I breathe
This I was also afraid of

I have breathed so many of the wrong things
Into myself

But running has made me strong.
Strong enough to breathe without fear.
Strong enough to endure.
Strong enough to finish.

And to start again
With each footfall
Awaken
Awaken
Awaken

::: ::: ::: :::

I still run, but only in the Summer and early Fall on our local bike path. In the winter I’m a cyclist, which isn’t quite the same, sensually. Either way, I’m glad to be living in a body that loves to move and can do so with ease.

 

 

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Full Moon in Cancer

Okay. So. Some say the full moon was yesterday, Jan 1, and some say it’s today, Jan 2. Some say the full moon was at 2:34 am EST this morning. Or something. I don’t know. I’m just here to report on the energies, which can be felt in the days before and after it actually hits 100% full. So there you go. I love you, you weirdos. Thanks for being here with me.

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Full Moon in Cancer and here’s what they’re saying:

From SheWhoIs:

This is a triple-feminine energy, a year beginning with the sign of the full moon itself, exalted in the mothering, feminine arms of Cancer, in a month producing two full moons* and a lunar eclipse. We are being called to attention, fruited from within, to bear sacred witness to mysteries centuries in keeping. Veils are being lifted, and a new aeon ushered in. It is important to differentiate that these energies, having always been present, are in the state of revelation, and whispering for those who will hear to bear witness. 

Magic, mayhem, and mystery are keywords to both this influence, and the new year before us. Truths will be revealed, some beyond the realm of belief, though deeply embraced by our eternal and inward knowing of Spirit. Expect upsets, and topplings of structures that no longer serve us. However, many helpers and tools await with which to create the lives we envision, so long as our spirits and hearts align with our will and path. 

The moon’s energy beckons you to cocoon alone in silent space and meditate on what you truly desire. This requires deep knowing of your self and Nature, which this energy will lend you, if you are open and will allow. 

* Bitches and witches, there is no full moon in February this year and I feel like that is a personal gift to me from the gods and the planets. My whole month, nearly my whole sign (Aquarius), will be in the dark- fucking y-e-s!!

 

From TheGoddessCircle:

Truth. Drop the masks. Stop hiding behind old patterns. Stop pretending everything is fine. Open up in relationships. Emotional. Don’t settle for less than you deserve out of loneliness. Focus where you want growth. Have courage. Show your truth. 

[I dig the succinctness of this.]

 

just a moment for my inner nerd.

 

From ‘Following the phases ~ moon love ‘ on Facebook:

As we approach the New Year and the first of our full moons in January, I would like you to pause. Breathe in this moment and many moments which are now and remember that you are blessed…no matter your circumstances. 

Life is full of birth, death, and rebirth. Just look at the moon! The wheel turns in a continuous cycle, but each a birthing of a new moment. 

As I think now of my journey here, I have had many experiences and not all pretty. Not all voluptuous, not all light. But every experience helped me grow. *

I have lost people who I have loved and experienced true, raw, depths of pain…

…Not realizing that this burning was also expansion. 

…Every scar, every tear, every withdrawl.
Every smile, every laugh, every expansion….

Brought me to my now. 

Every beautiful creation, every beautiful soul, every mistake, every sleeper, every heartache…

Helped me experience the fullness of life. 

You are not the pain, the joy, the emotion.
You are the awareness.

This is a sacred moment and the power is within you.
Write your new story.
Be mindful how you speak to you…because you are listening.

Read the books you love, find your people, eat your foods with compassion and joy, listen to the music that resonates with your soul, exercise dance, laugh, cry, create…and love!

* We do not believe that everything in life should be ‘light’ around here. Only the full expanse of human experience and emotion makes us fully human. Light and dark. Lots of gray. Dark stuff is nothing to fear, unless we hold it back.

 

Finally, from The Witches Box:

The energetics of the Full Moon in Cancer:

  • water
  • emotions
  • cardinal
  • nurturing
  • nourishing
  • mother
  • intuition

Make your own magic.

::: ::: ::: :::

What can I tell you, my peeps? This is a good full moon. What do you do with it? Sit under it. Let its light fall on you. Let your heart tell its truths in this light- and fucking listen to what it says. Fall into the softness of the feminine, let it hold you. Wander inside yourself. Find your magic and let it lead you.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Samhain | All Saints Day | Dia de los Muertos

Today is All Saints Day for many in the Catholic and Anglican faith traditions. A celebration of the saints who have meant something important to them or their journey.

It is also the Dia de los Muertos in many Spanish-speaking countries (fyi, Dia de los Muertos is not ‘Mexican Halloween;’ it is a holiday all of its own with rich traditions, symbols, and context).

And, of course, last night was Halloween in America, a tradition that was originally about the acceptance of death and the very human desire to flee from it, or to dance with it in the dark.

For me, Halloween also represents the biggest step of the descent into darkness for the circle of the year. I know we are supposed to celebrate the shift into darkness at the Autumnal equinox, but it never feels quite dark enough or cold enough for me. So, yesterday was the doorway into death for this year. This phase is pretty much always the time of year where I learn a life-changing lesson and carry it both down into the depths of my dark heart and then grow up through it into the Spring.

And, in all Life’s wisdom and wit, we were without power for the last 2 days (it finally came back on last night). We have been sitting with pillars of candles on our table, reading and talking (and the kids bored out of their skulls), and noticing the dark and how it seeps in as the sun goes down.

Our electricity- and that of most of our neighborhood- went out with a storm on Sunday, Oct 29. A tree on our property gave its life to one final dance with the electrical wires and an explosive electrical canister. [fwiw, they give off spectacular, blinding blue sparks when hit.]

Yesterday the arborist came to chop up the tree. And while I was glad to have it off the power pole, I also cried as they cut her down, into massive chunks. Her life was truly done and over; the season of death deeply upon us.

 

 

I have been thinking about my perspective as an interfaith minister- what ‘interfaith’ means and if it is even a valid idea [I’ll share about that later]- and I don’t want to appropriate any tradition that isn’t mine, but none of the above traditions are mine and I still need a way to honor the darkness of this phase of the year.

Raised Protestant and now living something Tao-Pagan-Buddhist, I’m not sure how to honor this time of year. Samhain (SAH-win) is closest to me genetically (Gaelic…waaaaay back there in the double-helix code) and feels as close as I can get to a Taoist perspective (in harmony with Nature) that feels right with what’s actually happening in Nature.

But, because the veil between worlds is thin at this time of year, I also feel the pull of honoring my dead. And the weight of tradition that comes from honoring saints also appeals. But ‘appealing’ doesn’t mean I can steal it for my own uses.

Can I put these things into the tradition of Samhain? Because it is the end of the year in Nature, can I also give honor to that which as been dead for many seasons- my family, friends, and ‘saints’ of many stripes? If I could, I would expand the definition this way so that the celebration and recognition would encompass all that I need it to. I suppose I need a bigger container for all that I have experienced; perhaps that is why ‘interfaith’ appeals so much.

So today I wanted to honor the end of this year. To remember my dead. To let go of what’s done. And to welcome the dark, cold, fallow time of the year. And to bless those who have blessed me. The list…

My Papa who showed me how to make snapdragons talk and fed me snap peas from the vine.
My great grandma who loved to dress me up and take me out; who also discovered my diabetes.
My islet of Langerhans, dead nearly 36 years.
My great grandpa.
My father-in-law, who never met most of his grandchildren.
The tree from our front yard.
A gaggle of great aunts and uncles who I know watch over all the descendants of Margaret.
Our old house.

I also lay on the altar of death my ideas of who I thought I was.
The part of me who thought she always had to be kind to move ahead.
The belief that some savior is the net for this chaotic world.
My lack of belief in my intuition.
Guessing that I am strong; I know I am, even in my softness and vulnerability.

I name the saints of my life (no one you will recognize, but very important to my journey):
Ms. B who believed in my writing.
Mr. B who opened my mind and showed  me symbolism.
Steve B who gave safe boundaries to my budding soul.
Monica and Michelle who told me desire was okay, welcome, gorgeous.
Gabrielle’s son, for showing me how to sweat my prayers.
LMM and William Stafford for the way they wove spells with words.
Jennifer who pioneered self-care for white women.
The town of Exeter, Devonshire for red mud, one-footed ducks, and lessons out the wazzoo.
Seattle- I carry the memories of time that is dead and long gone.

Tonight I will light candles and recognize the dead ones, my own changes, and give thanks to those who have guided me, dead or alive. The end of the year is here and I am ready to lay it down. I will enter the dark with the support of tradition- and the delight of truth.

 

 

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