Archive | Open-hearted

new moon in scorpio

I love a new moon. I get all buzzy during a full moon, but a new moon usually feels grounded and cleansing. This one has been intense, though.

Officially, the new moon was yesterday, Saturday, Nov 18, 2017. (Sorry I didn’t get anything out!) In any case, the energy flows from a day or so before the new moon to a day or so after. There is still time for magic.

What’s the story with the new moon in scorpio? Lemme tell ya….

Lisa Schrader from offers this:

The theme for this new moon is creating positive change out of challenging circumstances.

This is one of our most challenging tasks, isn’t it? To not collapse into frustration or despair, but to use that energy instead as fuel for transformation. That’s where the Shakti is.

To harness the support available to you with this New Moon, give yourself some time just for you in the next 24 hours, while the moment is ripe. A sacred pause to cozy up and attune to your own feminine heart.

New Moon moments are supercharged to support shifts in thinking, realignment with truth, a reset so you can get back on track. I invite you to join me in using the moment wisely.

You are a daughter of the divine; life is created through your body. Put a hand on your belly and rest in knowing that you posses that kind of awesome superpower.

From Chani Nicholas:

Scorpio is unwaveringly connected to its own sources of power. It asks for nothing but every ounce of emotional honesty that we’ve got. It does not sugar coat the truth. It does not shy away from the intensity of the moment. It does not cower in the face of a challenge. It bears down. It has the stamina to get to the heart of the matter. What some might call an obsession with the truth.

No matter the consequences, Scorpio will dig through and into what most would spend their life avoiding. Scorpio holds the horror, the shadow, the refused, forgotten and the feelings of betrayal. Scorpio is a repository for all things that the collective shuns from consciousness. Scorpio reminds us of what we have tried to leave behind. Divorce ourselves from. Wash ourselves clean of. But what we reject within ourselves holds a piece of our humanity. Everything in us is connected. From the praiseworthy to our greatest disgrace. We have to leave room for all of it. We reclaim our power overtime if we refuse to deny the truth.

Sitting with Venus and Jupiter, this new moon wants to help us transmute poisons into potions for our transformation. Venus is the planet of love. The bringer of bonding. When in Scorpio, Venus knows that love requires us to be tough and tender. Love demands the entirety of us. It requires that we go through underworlds if we want to experience the highs of healing that love’s transformations can bring.


Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash


Marybeth Bonfiglio offers tarot readings for each sign in the new moon. My Aquarius reading is for the card ‘Strength:’

There has been a power surging through you, an energy you are not sure what to do with. Maybe with some of you, it’s gotten stuck in places in your body, in stories on your timeline, in space in the dreamtime. This energy is slaying the beasts within you. The ones that bring you anxiety, panic, rage- the ones that constantly make you go into trauma shock. Feelings that don’t feel good or true, they are something you carry that’s not really you. This power is a reckoning, like what is happening without, in this world, in nature too, it’s happening within you as well.

Strength is coming through your body in it’s own way and it’s own force. It’s pulsing and making you feel mad, restless, unable to sleep well at night. It’s making you want to re-live old mistakes, choices of the past that you need to be done with. But you are holding fast – you are becoming courage/strength.

This card comes in and says a few things. First, feel this energy, like really feel it. In it’s other worldly discomfort, it’s also deeply seductive and sensual. It’s of fire and alchemy. So learn how to dig into it and like it. And then it says, be compassionate. Be gentle with yourself even in your bad ass beast slaying cycle, be gentle, like a cozy little kitty, licking it’s wounds in a strip of sunlight on an old wide plank wooden floor. It will be over soon. Let the beast slay. Don’t stop it before it’s done. Revel in it. Rejoice. Rest. Rise. Be Fire.


Naimonu James (a new fave!) offers a reading of this week (not just the new moon) and four questions:

knowing that this may change over time and that is okay, what is my truth? how do i behave when i am aligned with my truth? (or, how will i behave when i am in my truth?)

if i am experiencing anger, where is it coming from? who is it directed toward? if anger is being directed at me, what boundaries can i set to reduce harm to myself and others?

if i am called to make shifts in my life, how can i make these shifts and not cause harm to myself and others? for i am sacred as are all beings. am i willing to commit to treating folks with the respect and dignity they deserve even if i am angry/sad/hurt/tired? what does that look like? how will i speak? what behaviors and gestures will i need to watch out for?

how can i get support through these transitions and transformations (for they can be extremely difficult)?

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

What can I say except that, even in the midst of this new moon which usually feels so calm and lovely, all of this intensity is exactly where I am right now. It’s not the easy new moon I usually enjoy. I have been in the truth of my emotions for the last 24-36 hours and it’s been intense (even to the point of forgetting to take my vitamins- all my logic has just been…ppphhhhtt). I think that’s the energy and guidance of this new moon- whatever has been emotional for us, whatever has been desired, whatever has been pulling our interest- that’s our truth. (What’s yours?)


The new moon is for  planting intentions and hopes. I know what mine are: healing and hope. Healing and hope and shared understanding- and grace for the next steps.

Wish me luck, fellow travelers. I think I’ll need it.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo




fear nothing.

Just a reminder, beloveds:

You are a ghost
driving a meat-coated skeleton
made from stardust,
riding a rock,
hurtling through space.

Fear nothing.


All my love from the road,
Joanna :: xoxo




risk and regret

[Was gonna start by apologizing and/or explaining my weirdness. Not gonna do that. Anymore. Ever. You’re either here cuz you like my shit or you go away. Simple. And it means I don’t have to explain myself. I’m weird and it makes me great; deal if you don’t like it.]

Sometimes I think about what I want to happen at my funeral.

I worked in a nursing home for three years as an undergrad. In grad school I worked at an HIV clinic and a dialysis unit. I watched bodies fall apart. I saw death.

And this frightens the fuck out of a lot of people. You have to be strong to handle the reality of death, I suppose. But the fact is, when you’ve seen it, you don’t really need strength, you just know it’s a thing that happens. In any case, I don’t feel somehow especially strong because I have seen death up close- I just feel like I got the chance to see the whole picture.

I have been given the gift of knowing that – short of being hit by a bus on any given day – I will live to either the age of 76 or 84. I am hoping for the long game. And that means that at my next birthday I will officially be halfway towards death. This makes me think about my funeral sometimes.

[Side note: I don’t actually think of my life as ‘half lived’ yet. We spend the first 20 years of life just getting to where we can take care of ourselves. So, I feel like I’ve lived 1/3 of my ‘awake and aware’ life. And I still have 2/3 left to go. Forty-two more years of knowing I’m alive and living is really a very long time.]

I will most definitely make them play “Mysterious Ways” by U2 (I have officiated 2 memorial services and they were kinda boring- I don’t plan on doing that). And the people in the chairs will have to endure either the entirety of “The Prayer Cycle” by Jonathan Elias or selected bits from it. And “Patient Eyes” from P.M. Dawn (it’s going to be a 90s music-fest at my funeral).

I would like to have someone read a favorite bit by L.M. Montgomery, but I haven’t decided what yet. Most certainly there will be a poem or two from William Stafford (his poem, “Epiphany” will always be a favorite). I have recently thought that I’d like to read them on video and play the video so people could hear and see me one last time. Mary Oliver might also make the list. I’d like a passage written by Elizabeth Lesser to be read and some chapters from the Tao te Ching.

I have also thought about making a video to play where I just sit there and say, “I love you” to everyone. Because that would be the truth. I might also make a list of the people who took more from me than they knew they should, but then I would say, “I forgive you” – because it would be true. Even if they were dicks. I would want to console everyone there by saying I loved them. But I think the living need not to see the dead person so alive, so this is still on the back burner.


Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash


One thing that happened this week is that I found a song I wanted to add to the list for my funeral. It’s “Kill Your Heroes” by AWOLNATION. I’ve listened to it a hundred times (iTunes says 68 times, actually), but something about it struck me more deeply this week. That I wanted to play that song, loud:loud:loud, as the last song before we left the place. And I wanted to play it because it reminded me of what it is to live.

I came alive a bit more this week. I reached out for a connection and felt really alive in taking that action. It didn’t work, more due to  a giant misunderstanding (about what I was asking for) and cultural differences than anything, I think. But it made me feel so alive.

I know what it feels like, in my body, to risk. To have my heart beat wildly because I am unsure of how things will go. (I usually only make calculated risks.) But this week- I jumped. I felt what it was to be seen as a fool. I felt what it was to know what I wanted and go after it.  I felt the fear and did it anyway.

And it was scary as fuck. I probably blew out my adrenals, I had so much adrenaline rushing through me. But, goddamn, it was wonderful and beautiful and I wouldn’t mind doing it again a few hundred times before I die.

I know that when I get to death, I want to regret as little as possible. And that means risking. And now I know it’s worth the risk, no matter what the outcome is. We all die. We might as well go out with the widest hearts we can- wide because we have opened them to what we want, to asking, to hope, to possibility. We might as well risk, rather than regret.

“Well I met an old man dying on a train/
No more destination, no more pain/
Well he said, “One thing, before I graduate/
never let your fear decide your fate.”

I say you kill your heroes and fly, fly, baby don’t cry/
No need to worry ’cause, everybody will die/
Every day we just go, go, baby don’t go/
Don’t you worry, we love you more than you know.”

Kill Your Heroes | AWOLNATION


I love you more than you know, fellow travelers.
Joanna :: xoxo




trauma as (unrecognized) native tongue

I grew up with an emotionally manipulative parent. It took years for me to understand that the reason I was so good in a crisis situation and so good at helping others was because I’d learned to help my parent (and, more truthfully, my family members who were also dealing with that parent) in emotionally charged situations. Emotional charge felt ‘normal’ to me, because I’d been through it so often, and therefore I could function efficiently and effectively in it when others couldn’t.

These situations also taught me to be kind and supportive and love people unconditionally, because I didn’t receive those things in a way that I felt them easily. (Which is to say, parents can give love in many ways, but kids don’t always receive it. Know your kids, their personalities, and their love languages.) From early on, I had a drive to get out of my house. I have a drawing from second grade that says, “Someday I will…get married so I can live in my own house.” (Six year-old me wasn’t a feminist yet.)

Growing up inside emotional manipulation also helped me become as straightforward and honest with people as I possibly could be. I know the pain and damage manipulators can cause, so I try not to be one. I try to be as honest with myself about what’s going on, what I feel, what I need, and what I want so that I can express that thoughtfully to others (with care and clean edges). There is no hidden meaning behind what I say or ask for- hidden agendas just cause confusion and pain.

And yet, I am sure I still emotionally manipulate people sometimes. I know I do because there are times when I revisit a conversation (which I do about 10,000 times because I’m an INFJ) and realize I did something emotionally manipulative. I read and edit my emails several times so that I’m not being emotionally manipulative (and yet, I’m sure some things still get through). I feel like an asshole when it happens and always try to do better.


Photo by Karim Ghantous on Unsplash


One of the strange things is, though, that I still don’t necessarily see or hear emotional manipulation when it’s coming from others. To this day, my partner has to say, “Don’t let this [situation or person] emotionally manipulate you.” And sometimes I still don’t know what that looks or sounds like. It’s very much as if he’s saying, “Look, that’s a foreign language that we don’t speak,” but to me it is native tongue and so easy to speak I don’t even recognize it as foreign. Unlearning this language is tough business.

I wonder if it is like this for all who suffer trauma.

Does this ‘foreign’ language get so ingrained – because of young age or simple repetition – that we see it as ‘normal?’ I think, probably, yes.

And when we find a way out, when we begin to realize that other emotional, non-traumatic languages exist, it is like moving to another country. I keenly remember the first few times I felt unconditionally loved and safe- it felt like a party in my heart, a healing, a joy. It was a language I wanted to speak and found that I could. Which was both strange and beautiful.

The thing about learning this new language (what others know as ‘normal’) – and sorry to switch metaphors- is that it’s like the fish who realizes it breathes water, and that it is evolving into something that breathes air. That is what I have felt like for years now. That ‘water’ is my native tongue- the emotional manipulation and the life that creates- and that I am evolving to breathe air. But still, water is easy to breathe and I have to be reminded of what it is, of who I am and what I want, so that I do not fall back into the water language of emotional manipulation.

Maybe it’s not trauma that is our native language, but the form of abuse (whether large or small) that causes the trauma which itself feels normal. Abuse is what is done to us, trauma is our response. And when that abuse is repeated, it begins to be habit, and habit is what constitutes ‘normal’ (at any age, pretty much).

Despite my Master’s in Social Work, I’m not sure about this theory. (Actually, I’m sure there’s piles of research and it probably has a name, I just didn’t take the time to go research it.) What I do know is that I’m watching myself and many other people wake up and figure out that something from their past is broken, broken inside them. And as they begin to deal with this wound, they learn that they have been speaking a foreign language for some part of their life. It is only with patience and awareness, forgiveness and soothing, that they begin to speak the language beyond trauma.

Do we ever lose that native tongue entirely? I’m not sure. But I think we can refuse to speak it as much as possible and continue to dig after each root as it shows itself. And perhaps, as we tend to the growth of our healed self, the old language, the trauma language, will lay quietly. Not dead, but no longer bothersome.





I am clearing a space.

I am clearing a space
here, where the trees stand back.
I am making a circle so open
the moon will fall in love
and stroke these grasses with her silver.
I am setting stones in all four directions,
stones that have called my name
from mountaintops and riverbeds, canyons and mesas.
Here I will stand with my hands empty,
mind gaping under the moon.
I know there is another way to live.

| Morgan Farley |


Photo by Beat Schuler on Unsplash