Archive | Sacred pop culture

Full Moon in Gemini

Well, ya’ll, I’m a day late with this. My apologies. The full moon was yesterday, December 3rd. But it still looks real pretty tonight, so squint your eyes and pretend it’s still full.

It was also a super moon.

And Mercury in retrograde started yesterday as well. (You know I love me some Mercury in retrograde.)

I think tonight we’ll start with a short definition of terms for the newbies.

The full moon generally signifies shedding light on things or the fruition of intentions set in the darkness of the new moon. It also symbolizes wholeness and completion. The Chinese associate the full moon with the femininity, which is yin energy. Several cultures understand the full moon to be part of the natural cycle of life, moving though light and dark, death and birth.

A super moon simply means the full moon happens when the moon is at its perigee with the Earth- the closest to Earth that it will reach this cycle. Energetically, this just means whatever is already going on with the moon itself is now amped.

Retrograde planetary motion is an optical illusion which makes it appear that the planet in question (in this case, Mercury) is moving backwards. The opposite of retrograde motion (or Rx for short; I also use MiR to keep it super short for Mercury) is direct motion. Of course, the planets are not really going backwards. And, as my friend, X, pointed out, Mercury is in Rx half the time, so that feels a little more like yin/yang balance than something to be feared. But, choose your own adventure, folks.

The Tarot Lady continues:

“Mercury is attributed to communication, travel, electronics, thinking and mechanical objects – so when this planet begins to stall, we may experience problems in those areas.

The transit lasts for approximately three weeks.  And those who are sensitive to this transit may actually begin to feel the energy early during the shadow period, which begins about three weeks before the actual retrograde.” (For more info, see her article here.)

For most people, shit tends to go wrong in the areas listed above during Mercury in Rx, but not for moi. I love Mercury in Rx because my life tends to run better during those weeks. No idea why.

Anyhooo….now you have your terms. Let’s see what’s being served up with this super, full, Mercury in retrograde moon.

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In thinking of the week leading up to yesterday’s full moon, Chani Nicholas writes:

This is a weekend where folks will want to reach for the ideal scenario. A weekend that can remind us of the exquisite importance of optimism. A weekend that makes known the consequences of mistaking a mirage for a final destination.

As Jupiter trines Neptune (the first of three transits between these two over the course of the next year) the urge to connect is magnified. These two together want to bring out the best of our human hearts. They want to elevate our minds to places where we might remember how incredible a gift it is to make even the smallest acts of kindness central to our everyday life. They want to bring us back to the importance of striving for some larger understanding of our little human life and extending that out to all we come in contact with.

It’s a high worth riding.

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Photo by David Zvonař on Unsplash


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Over at Empowering Astrology, they’re saying:

This is the time in the lunar calendar when the spotlight shines on communication and the mind, from writing and speaking to classes and learning. Gemini is driven by a need for information and new ideas. It’s a sign that also shows us that there is two sides to every story.

On paper Gemini is fun. It likes play, especially if it involves language. It likes to keep things fast and loose. It’s generally not a sign known for its committal…So, what happens when Gemini has to make a choice? And choose just one?

The story that this full moon is highlighting is far from over. Mercury Retrograde means that we have to go back and reexamine our beliefs or how we see something, double check the facts, and do more research. Mercury Retrograde means that whatever we’re working through has karmic underpinnings. Have we made the right decisions? Are we open to new ideas or are we shut down by inflexible beliefs? Mercury won’t get back to 29 Sagittarius until January 10, so this story will play out into the new year.

The best remedy for this full moon is to find a quiet place to reflect. Neptune wants us to find our intuition and find the truth within. Spend time meditating over the next couple of days. Journal your feelings if you like to write. It is in the quiet that we can take awareness of our choices and be conscious of how we use words, language, and ideas. By the new year we’ll have a clearer idea of how to move forward.

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Mystic Mama writes:

SuperMoon in Gemini is prismatic with information, able to shapeshift into multiple expressions.

Not an easy path to discern. Best not to get swept up with the tides of misinformation, instead ground into your own center and listen deeply to your Soul.

With Mercury just having turned retrograde, there is much to reflect on. This a healing time as well as a time of self-mastery where we have an opportunity to cleanse our perceptions and open up to a new way.

Time to upgrade our thinking and remember that we are free to perceive our experience in what ever way we choose.

We are powerful beyond measure. Trust in your process and trust in your heart.


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Trust in your process and trust in your heart. Good advice, fellow travelers. I’m trying to do that here, too.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo




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)?

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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




Tequila on Thursday Morning

Last Thursday, May 18th, I sat at my desk at 10 am and took two shots of tequila.*
One for Chris Cornell’s death.
And one for his life.

The life that came through that amazing voice.

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I haven’t said anything yet, because my grief is not over. Barely begun, honestly. The 3-day emotional cycle of social media is not enough for this death, for me.

Chris Cornell was someone I chose to listen to, a few years after the biggest rush of grunge. I bought Temple of the Dog as one of my 10 CD selections with BMG (only a penny, do you remember that?). It wasn’t a case of being caught up in the music of my generation, it felt more intentional than that. It was an adult purchase, inside of my budding adult sense of myself.

He was important because of his talent, because of his emotions and how much he loved Andrew Wood, because of how his beautiful voice conveyed all of it. But also, for me, because his voice and music fed the seeds of my self.

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Because I am from Seattle, I have a lot of friends back there, and with Chris Cornell being a son of that city, there were lots of memories.

A former roommate talked about taking a Chem class with Soundgarden’s bassist, Hiro Yamamoto at Western Washington University (my alma mater. I remember when he came back from class to tell us what had happened, how it had been discovered. Great story, not gonna tell you; it’s his business).

Another friend, who I knew had worked for the King County Coroner’s office (but didn’t put two and two together until she shared), talked about being part of the team that catalogued and packed up Layne Stayley’s remains when he was found in 2002 (15 years ago, my god). Another voice that can never be duplicated, lost to drugs. (“So many sharps,” my friend said, “so many.”)

And people who had served Chris Cornell around town. Or seen him in the early years. There was a comedy show in Seattle in the 1990s called “Almost Live” where Billy Nye got his start. Soundgarden was part of “The Lame List” piece once. (See also: ‘High Five-n’ White Guys’ and ‘Chihuly and Jones’ – INFJ’s have a terrible sense of humor.)

Who had not seen him in concert once or twelve times? When Lollapalooza was still a mud fest in what was the backwater of Enumclaw, WA. (For a joke we call it ‘Enum-scratch.’) I listened to each song as people posted their favorites and felt my own connections. I read some reports and some posts (this one is my favorite) about what his music meant. And I thought about why I had included him as one of the first members of the ‘Shiva’ board on Pinterest (which seems a ridiculous thing to say as a Gen-Xer: Pinterest). He embodied the full sense of masculinity to me. He was not afraid of himself. He had his demons, to be sure. But he explored so much of life, of himself- and made beauty from it. I deeply admire that.

I had last seen him when he came to Providence on his solo tour. He was on stage simply to have a good time with music. The kid who sat next to me was not born before 1996, and I took umbrage with his youth, but not with his taste in music. Chris Cornell as a god of both our youths. And there he was, taking requests, also denying requests, and just messing with music until it sounded good to him. He left the stage as a warped chord echoed so loud it hurt. It made your head buzz in the way you knew you would not be able to speak in a normal tone of voice until the next morning.

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But now, at 42 and with a master’s degree in mental health, one thing in particular stays with me: mid-life masculine depression. Yes, Chris Cornell dealt with depression and anxiety either due to or related to his drug use. But so many men deal with undiagnosed depression at this age. At the very least, it deadens them and kills their relationships, and sometimes their work.

I work with many women whose male partners suffer from depression (which has different symptoms than female depression). Male-specific symptoms of depression include physical ailments, anger, and reckless behavior. Men tend to turn their depression outwards, while women turn it inwards. And, especially for men, treating depression makes them feel inadequate. So they don’t treat it…and their relationships falter or they lose their job…and they feel inadequate so they don’t treat… You see where this goes.

There are a variety of reasons that depression happens in men. We all have inside of us the capacity to have every mental health disorder there is in the book. But the silence of it is what makes it so dangerous for men. As my friend, Jenifer said, “Suicide was stalking him (Chris Cornell) and we couldn’t help. How could we have known suicide was stalking him?” Only if he told us.

And the same is true for those around you. If you suspect you are (or your partner is) depressed, please seek help.There are lots of treatment options, many of which are not pharmaceutical (if that bothers you).

Male mid-life depression is a thing.
Male depression is a thing.
And you can have treatment and support.

The music of your life is deeply valuable to someone. Many more ‘someones’ than you suspect, probably. Your fans want you to live, just as we wish Chris Cornell could have.

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I think there is more to say about Chris Cornell’s death, but it’s not yet formed. I’ll share it when the time is right. And if you’re mourning- maybe it’s finally time for that trip to Seattle. Here’s my map. Visit ‘A Sound Garden,’ will ya?

Blessed be, Chris Cornell. Rest in peace.


*I’m not given to drinking much. I like a little wine sometimes, and some champagne on New Year’s Day. But Thursday morning I needed the burning gold of tequila running down my throat in the same way the hot tears ran down my cheeks.




Full Moon in Scorpio

I’m late again! Sorry, friends. It’s been a weird week.

My friend, Melissa Kaiser, made a beautiful graphic for this full moon. And she asks:

How deeply, intimately, fully are you connected with your heart? How connected are you to what you love? Open, she says, to the full expression of what you love and who you truly are. 

God, that feels so good- I’m so there, right now. Delicious.



Chani Nicholas writes:

Being alive means engaging in a continual process of transformation. Nothing in the natural world stays the same. Everything shows signs of being in relationship with its environment. Trees cannot deny the effects of a forest fire. Rocks do not try to hide the smoothness that results from the relentless pounding of waves upon them. Icebergs do not feign being untouched by the rising temperatures of our planet.

Yet we humans try to defend ourselves against the inevitable changes. Aging. Loss. Grief. We spend so much of our resources chasing some external solution to our internal discomfort. We have such difficulty sitting with the feelings that, if felt all the way through, could renew us. Release us. Transform us. 

Our transformation depends on our ability to sit with and accept the feelings that arrive with the truth. Not our version of how we wish life would be and not the version of reality that we need to be true in order to justify how we are living. Just the honest truth. How it lands with us in this moment. What it means for our life. Right here, right now.

I think I might have been born in the wrong sign. Scorpio feels more like me, if this is what it’s about. Click her name to read the rest of the post- it’s great.


And lastly, it’s not about the moon, it’s about nodes. (I don’t pretend to understand this, I just know it resonates.) From my fave, Bairavee Balasubramaniam:

There´s been an incredible amount of energetic spring cleaning as we´ve been asking to disconnect from things that no longer serve or resonate with us (as we perceive it to be). Sometimes this leads to healthier choices, and sometimes it leads to deeper delusion.

That´s up the individual and how they choose to walk their path…

When you see that Love has fire and teeth just as it has softness and surrender …. those neat little categories dissolve instantly. And unconditional love can just as easily hold you in warmth and connection, just as it can boot you out of its space, wishing you well from the core of its soul.

Too true.

That’s it for now. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately- my own interfaith training and how magic works and decolonization of the latter. More later, loves.

Best wishes from the trail,
Joanna :: xoxo