About Dana Gerhardt

A popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991, Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer. She has lectured extensively and written for astrology publications on several continents. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. Dana worked for many years in the corporate sector, where she observed the undeniable influence of natural cycles. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude from Occidental College in Los Angeles and did graduate work in literature at Columbia University and CSULA. Dana can be contacted by email.

Honor Venus this Beltane!

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Every year, when the Sun is in Taurus, I celebrate with my favorite Venus ritual.  I get out the calendar and look for the most auspicious Friday that month.  Best is a Friday when both the Sun and Moon are in Venus-ruled signs.  Even better if it coincides with a cross-quarter holiday, as it does this year. In my experience, this is rare!  May 1 is Beltane and the Moon is in Venus-ruled Libra, while the Sun is in Venus-ruled Taurus. You’ve got time to plan!

Schedule something fun, a little wild, even bawdy. Or just let yourself be free that day to be heart-struck with love and gratitude for your world.  I’ll post my Venus Santeria ritual next month, but you can get an advance peek here, so you can start gathering your intentions and ritual items.

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3 Minute New Moon Ritual

Ritual: Aries New Moon

Ground your body, clear your mind…

Become aware of your body. Notice how gravity holds and connects you to earth. It’s as though your body is an ancient stone temple—solid, strong, secure. Sanctify this temple. Imagine a priestess is pouring sacred water and scattering rose petals, all the way down, from your head to your toes. Any anxiety or negativity washes away. Notice the thoughts and feelings leaving the temple—your judgments, your distracted mind, your worried heart. Be sure to honor them. Give each a smile and a piece of cake as it departs.

Draw a circle of protection, call in blessings…

Visualize a ring of fragrant flowers surrounding you, protecting you. Know that you are safe and relaxed. Breathe deeply. Feel the power of the Sun and Moon pouring into your circle. The energy of Aries is gathering in your circle, vibrant, hot, and radiant. Fire sign Aries is spontaneous and impulsive-sometimes careless and rash. But you can feel its energy bursting within like a dancing flame, when you just have to DO something! Aries inspires the courage and leadership of a warrior. It stimulates the curiosity and dare-devil of a pioneer. To live in the Aries vibration is to think well of yourself, to follow your own instincts, to go where others are too fearful or unimaginative to explore. Continue absorbing its inspiring energy as you read Aries’ affirmations.

  • I’m courageous enough to feel my fear.
  • I can choose to fight or forgive when I need to.
  • Everyday I discover something new.
  • My life is a grand adventure.
  • I blaze new trails in my work.
  • I’m confident the world needs what I have.
  • I’m loaded with energy, vitality, and enthusiasm.
  • My inner radiance shines out for all to see.

Allow seed intentions to form…

Your intentions for this cycle are gathering. You may already know what you wish to accomplish. Or you may not. Trust that all will unfold perfectly in time. Know that this brief ritual has aligned you with spirit. Now ask your heart if it has a closing message for you. This may come in words or as a picture, perhaps as a body sensation or sound. Give yourself time to receive this message. Digest it. Write it down. Then, in gratitude to yourself and spirit, return to normal awareness. Place a symbol of your Aries New Moon message on your altar.


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New Moon or Solar Ingress–which matters more?

Sun and Moon

New Moon or Solar Ingress? It’s a silly question: because why should you have to choose. But it’s an important one. Here at Mooncircles, New Moons tend to get our attention. But it’s the Sun’s transits that actually inspire the changing qualities of every month. As the “hour hand” on the clock of the year, the Sun sets the seasons. It also guides us into auspicious activity, if we listen. Two days after the Aries New Moon this year, the Sun enters Taurus.

What new initiatives did you launch last month while the Sun was in Aries?

Taurus is the time to develop, stabilize, or complete
whatever you began in the last solar month
.

It was the opening hour of my natural time workshop. Terri, sitting in the front row, frowned. Like many eager to learn about natural cycles, she took lots of notes and asked urgent questions. She wanted to get it right. But when I asked her to apply the solar cycle to her own life, her enthusiasm evaporated. After a few minutes, she raised her hand.

“What if you didn’t start anything in Aries? What should your project be for Taurus? Have you ruined things if you slept through the initiating month?” I understood. I’ve had those years when I didn’t feel particularly daring or heroic in Aries. Yet there was always something that made the Aries month different from the Pisces one before it and the Taurus one that followed. It was this “different thing” that represented each year’s new seed.

I asked Terri a few questions. Eventually it came out that she’d quit smoking during the weeks the Sun was in Aries. “Wow!” The room broke into applause. Terri blushed, though she was still frowning. “Isn’t that pretty pathetic? I mean where’s the heroism in that?”

Quitting cigarettes or eating less sugar or taking a taxi cab for the first time may not seem like heroic acts. Yet the truth is few of us actually march off to war, climb mountains, or rescue cats from burning buildings during the Aries weeks. We don’t launch life-changing initiatives every year. Yet something in us will leap forward. And that’s what we need to honor:  the hero’s archetype—however it is expressing itself through us.

Often, like Terri, we just don’t see it. That day, she needed convincing. A workshop participant raised her hand, “I’ve heard that quitting cigarettes can be as tough as quitting heroin. Sounds heroic to me!” Another offered, “I still remember the day when I quit. That was twenty years ago.  Isn’t something you remember that long an important initiative?”

Terri brightened at the group’s validation. Still, she wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do now in Taurus. “Am I just supposed to keep quitting cigarettes during Taurus? That sounds dumb.” Stabilizing our heroic efforts is important and something the Taurus energy can help us to achieve. But rarely do we plan the Sun’s work. We need to enter each of its twelve months with awareness, willing to see what wants to evolve. That way we can keep ourselves moving in the right direction.

Sometimes when the Sun changes signs all you need to do is ask that very question: “What am I supposed to do now?” It’s like a Zen koan, a question that succeeds not so much by answering it, as by having it in mind. The work of one zodiac season always leads naturally to the work of the next. How that happens is each month’s mystery.” Terri looked dubious, but promised to give me a report.

A month later Terri called. She’d been reading in a spiritual book about the destructive power of negative mind states. She recognized herself in that, in particular, her habit of anger. In fact, after she’d quit smoking, her anger seemed even more pronounced. She watched with horror as she snapped at her children and said cruel words to her mate. She urgently wanted to change, but how? “Then it hit me,” she said. “I had successfully quit smoking. If I could give up that habit, couldn’t I do the same with my angry outbursts?” She went to work with determination and had a profound Taurus season. Several months later, she called me again. “I’m so much happier. Things that would have made me angry just slip by me now. I’ve wanted this for years… and I owe it all to that productive Taurus season. Amazing!”

May the awareness of your Taurus season be just as profound and your activity just as productive!

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in my Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, the zodiac… and you!

 

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Aries Energy Meditation

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Energy. Where to find it, how to grow it, how to conserve it, and how to channel it: that is the spiritual task for this month’s New Moon in the sign of impulsive and life-loving Aries.

As all true magicians know, the secret of magic lies in the skillful use of one’s life energy. How you choose to direct your energy is THE force that shapes your life.

To begin your meditation on energy, settle into a quiet, reflective state of mind.  Watch how your breath slowly finds its own rhythm. Let your mind follow this rhythm, like a boat gently riding on the water. Notice how calm you feel. As you breathe, your usual worries and concerns recede and disappear. From this relaxed and expansive space, observe your energy level.  Tune into your inner space.  Does it feel tired, sluggish, or drained? Is it jumping with enthusiasm? Perhaps you’re somewhere in between, enjoying a stable and consistent level of vitality.

After noting your energy level, consider your recent energy flow. Still following the rhythm of your breath, see yourself in a one-woman boat, traveling on an imaginary river that allows you to return to the events of recent days.  Pick a specific point in time, like yesterday, or a month ago, whatever feels relevant. Imagine flying above yourself, so that you have a bird’s eye view of things.  From this vantage, observe how you’ve been moving through time.

What’s your body been doing? On the banks of your river, see the people and places where you have spent your energy.  There’s the house that you cleaned.  Your kids, who needed your help with their homework. There’s the gym, the garden, the living room couch where you may collapse at night. There’s the office, with the computer screen your eyes stare at for hours.  Notice where your physical energy went.

Where and how has your heart been traveling?  See this in the flowing currents of your river.  Is the water fast-moving, full of twists and turns?  Does it splash over rocks and spill onto the shore?  Or is it just trickling through a narrow groove in the dirt?  What has your emotional level been? Consider now the content of your heart’s attention. Has it been noticing nature’s dance of green vitality? Has it been obsessing about a disappointing relationship? Worried about how much you have to do? Excited about something new?

Still traveling in your boat, seeing yourself from above, now investigate where your mind has been going.  See how the water of your imaginary river can become filled with your recent thoughts. What do you see there?  Gossip?  Work thoughts?  Money worries?  Fantasies?   Does your river of thoughts also hold your prayers, dreams, and reflections?

As you’ve been observing your flow, studying where your energy has been going, you’ve likely noticed that some of your precious vitality has been spent wisely, and some of it has been wasted.  For example, you may be tired, but for a good, creative reason. Or, you may feel lots of energy bubbling inside, but it keeps being funneled into meeting other people’s demands. A healthy use of energy opens up new paths to adventure. Negative energy outlets lead us down a dead end road.

What’s a better vision?  Again take your bird’s eye view, and see yourself again in your one-woman boat, relaxing on the currents of your breath, only now, you are flowing into your future.  On the shore, in the distance ahead, see where you’d like to land 29 days from now.  What changes would you like to see by the Taurus New Moon?

Once you have clarified your destination, see yourself flowing toward it, with confidence and ease. If you want to write a book, see your boat flowing into this activity with love and enthusiasm. You may envision a garden blossoming, a job expanding, understanding deepen, or a relationship flourish. Notice how fresh is the water of your future river. It’s sparkling with vitality and joy. On the banks of your future river, nature is bursting with life force. Feel yourself a part of this energy.  See yourself making the choices that reflect a wiser use of your vitality. Let it take you towards the realization of your dreams.

Remember: you are the magician of your own life. Wherever you choose to put your precious energy, there magic–black or white, positive or negative–will surely happen. With the Aries New Moon, your life begins anew all over again.

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Standing Under the Full Moon

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For years this terma escaped me. For most of my life I’ve stood awkwardly under the Full Moon, trying to lasso it with my factory mind, from the neck up, vaguely wanting something from it, and feeling unsuccessful. Then sometime, as is true—when the time was right—after years of trying, I stumbled into it: a way of standing under the Moon that felt sensitive and satisfying. No mumbo jumbo necessary. That’s because thinking about it–even beautiful concepts like the Moon is earth’s oldest temple holding the potency of countless prayers since the dawn of time–doesn’t help. You have to sink your awareness lower than mind: this is what it means to get naked under the Moon.  It’s a relaxed and spacious state. Once you locate it, you can snap into it again, instantly. And just as easily, you can snap out. So that’s the value of this universal terma: The Moon becomes a bell whose ringing brings you into the field of the Mother, where body and soul can quietly drink. But don’t think about it. Just enjoy.

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Moonskills 101: Ordinary Termas

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Spider pulls magic out of her belly—sticky silk threads she’ll cast into the wind. When one latches onto something solid—a branch or a reed—her work begins. Securing her first thread at both ends, so that it becomes a bridge, she drops a slack line below that and anchors this with a centered vertical thread. Then she starts building her loom in the air—first the framing lines, next, the spokes going out from the center. Through these she may weave a spiral pattern, deftly varying sticky and non-sticking threads, so that she can catch her meals without herself getting caught.

Spiders were among our first magicians. Long ago they learned how to pluck abundance from the air using only their remarkable silk—its tensile strength equal to that of alloy steel. With a little thread and ingenious weaving, spiders tamed their world. They learned how to hook and trap food, wrap prey, protect eggs, hide entrances, and carry or store anything precious. Webs let spiders extend their senses beyond their bodies. When the web moves, it tells them things. From its vibration alone spiders can distinguish a fallen leaf from a doomed insect or a tasty treat from something poisonous. Webs may be orbed and spiraled or tangled like cobwebs. Some are designed as clever funnels, fans, and tubes. One spider makes a silk diving bell that lets her breathe underwater.

It’s no wonder that so many indigenous myths describe the world’s origin as the weaving of a spider. Our creation storytellers—the scientists—prefer to say that the universe was a gift from an invisible field that gave mass to identical particles in such a way that these diversified into the building blocks of life. In this ancients and moderns agree: something drew us out of the void into the cornucopia of our universe. Particle physicists call it the Higgs Field. Indigenous cultures honored this something as the Great Mother, painted on ancient walls and pottery shards across the earth as a great spider or an old woman spinning.

Likely at least once in your life you’ve been arrested by the sight of a spider building its web. Caught—you were silenced and for however briefly you let yourself remain—you entered a timeless world, humbled, and full of awe. This is how the body stands before something it acknowledges as sacred. Spiders at work are one of many natural triggers that can awaken in humans an altered state.

It’s a terma. I borrow this word from the Tibetan Buddhists, for whom it means “hidden treasure.” Termas are sacred teachings planted by spiritual masters (most famously Guru Padmasambhava and his consort Yeshe Tsogyal) for future discovery by adepts known as tertons. The treasure might be an object—like a vajra, bell, or phurpa—hiding in a temple or a tree. It could be a text that reveals itself in fragments. The adept may hear a sound or see a painted symbol suddenly appear and disappear on a rock. Whole paragraphs might write themselves in mysterious script across the sky. The outer treasure serves to release the inner one: the real teaching awakens in the mind-stream of the terton, where the guru planted it long ago.

Termas preserve a lineage during dark times when its lines of oral transmission may be ruptured—allowing the sacred texts to return at more auspicious moments. Hidden treasures can also keep growing a tradition’s wisdom. Great masters are visionaries who can prepare teachings for future times. In the 8th Century, Guru Padmasambhava foresaw that when Iron Birds fly in the sky and Iron Horses run on the roads on wheels, the Tibetan people would scatter like ants and Buddhism would come to the West. This is an accurate enough description of the last half of the 20th Century, with airplanes, trains, and cars, and after China’s 1959 invasion of Tibet, the Tibetan diaspora and the Dalai Lama’s rise in global popularity.

Termas are magical and risky business. Any fool can say a dakini whispered in her ear and now she’s blessed with teachings. It’s hard to sit in a Tibetan temple without noticing that vast invisible forces are stirring. Hanging above my own altar is a 21st Century post card of a sacred Padmasambhava statue—it was advertising some workshop or retreat. It hardly qualifies as a terma, yet whenever I look into the Guru’s arched eyes, I feel like some deep and playful conversation is taking place below my hearing. So that’s why there are rules. Whenever a genuine terma is concealed, a prophecy is made about exactly when, where, and who will find it. None tell of a Western woman standing in her kitchen.

Yet with natural termas it’s quite the opposite, as these are scattered throughout the landscape, available to anyone passing by. If we had the ability to spot all those hiding just within our immediate view—we’d find ourselves standing in a jeweled world. But our capacity to notice them flickers. We need to be in the right place in the right mind.

Termas aren’t signs. Omens and signs are messages. Like when my friend—who had hired a detective and was searching for her drug-addicted son for months without success—entered her small apartment one day and found a bird sitting on the windowsill. Signs get our attention by being slightly odd. My friend watched as the bird circled the room, then went for the fireplace, standing among the ashes; as it flew out from there, she heard herself thinking “Like a phoenix rising from the ashes.” It was then the mother in her knew that she’d find her son two states over, in Phoenix, Arizona, which some weeks later she did. As a sign, the bird had particular news for a particular person. Ordinary termas don’t work like that.

They’re teachings. Like their Buddhist counterparts, they’re sacred treasures designed to preserve wisdom through dark times. They have the power to unlock the universe in an instant, although (as with most Buddhist termas), the full teachings usually develop within a natural terton over time. I can’t say who plants these triggers, though it’s easy to imagine this is something a goddess or dakini might like doing. Perhaps one needs the luck of a forest witch or shaman in the ancestral lineage—some wise one who planted the languages of the wind, animals, roots, and trees in the family bloodstream. Or perhaps the world’s natural termas are the gift of a single teacher—an anonymous woman sitting in the shadow of Mount Kailash who enchanted the landscape because she foresaw a time like ours when humans would routinely bind their feet, fear exposure to the sun, and sit much of the day like statues, losing their conversation with nature, and treating their bodies ever more like the machines that rendered them idle.

Ordinary termas are perfect for a time like ours. They awaken in the body—not the mind. This is one way to know that you’ve genuinely found one: there is an absence of words. Your awareness sinks below the mind into the heart, where the body enters its own temple. It might be driven into a state of ecstasy, industry, awe, peace, or fear—whatever best suits the sudden or gradual revealing of its teaching. A natural trigger might be as singular as the spotted beetle crossing ahead of you sometime after noon next Tuesday—or universal, like rainbows, sunrises and sunsets, lightning bolts, and cloud displays. Universal termas often become cultural clichés—which is where these treasures hide when people live in their heads and no longer have the below-neck experience. Language holds onto them.

Poets are good natural tertons and Mary Oliver is one of my favorites. For the years I was dull to ordinary treasures, I read about hers. My body grew hungry for the great wonder she allowed herself to feel after dropping to her knees and observing the details of her local world. Her poem “Starfish” was more unsettling, but it brought perhaps a greater teaching. In this case, the terma was a tidepool—in water dense as blindness—a dark hole in the rocks where the starfish slid and gathered like sponges with active thumbs—their stubborn flesh lounging on my knuckles. The sensations scared her. But all summer she visited—crouched on the stone wall, while the sea poured its harsh song through the sluices—waiting for the gritty lightning of their touch. It never got easy. But (and here’s the teaching), the poet asks: What good does it do to lie all day in the sun loving what is easy? By lying on the rocks and reaching into the watery chasm of her fear, her body learned, little by little, how to calm itself down and fall more in love with its only world.

***

No other mammal’s body is as curious and adaptable as ours, having successfully made its home in every continent on earth. Its ability to love what it finds is certainly one of its secrets, discovered again and again, in our species’ long suckling at the sometimes generous, sometimes withered breast of Mother Africa. For millions of years this continent was our nursery—the home we shared with other upright-walkers until a critical 200,000 year period (about two million years ago), when the climate of the great African lake regions fluctuated wildly. Seven hundred years of lush fertility were followed by a thousand years of dust and drought; then the lakes would bloom again, and disappear. This stressed many of our cousins into extinction, but seemed to increase our ancestors’ capacities. Our brains grew bigger. Stone tools appeared. After correlating the DNA of hominin bone fragments with environmental fluctuations, many now believe that climate change is not just part of the human story—it’s what defines us. Our adaptations to it may explain why eventually homo sapiens alone survived after all the other bipeds disappeared.

Perhaps we just listened to the earth a little better. Geneticists tell us that small changes can make big differences. An aberrant eye sees new colors and a forest of new food sources appears, as was luckily what happened for the ancestor we share with gorillas and chimps. From the trees that made our fingers nimble, we followed nature into the grasslands, where we shed our hair for the advantages of cooling ourselves with sweat; our bones lengthened for long distance running, allowing us to outlast our exhausted prey in the noonday sun. Fertile valleys inspired our wanderlust, as we followed the gift of game along the riverbeds. When the grasslands withered, nature called us to the sea’s edge, the rocky coast where she played new songs, offered new proteins, versatile sea grasses, and teachings on the cycles of the tides and Moon. Others were called to Siberia—during the Ice Age—when it was hardly habitable. Yet our northernmost ancestors managed to make a lot from a little, mastering the judgments of snow, the biting cold, and forging a partnership with reindeer that allowed them to create a world out of its skin, bones, fat, and flesh.

As prehistoric spiders conjured their abundance from the air, so did homo sapiens pluck bounty from each changing gesture of the land. This magic is typically described as “human ingenuity”—but is this explanation enough? That we’ve always told our ancestral story in brain size and progressively more sophisticated tools may simply be because dirt preserves skulls and stones better than it does our songs. What goes on in the heart evaporates. When the geological record leaves us hanging, cultural anthropologists seek insights into the lives of early hunter-gatherers by studying the world’s few (and rapidly dwindling) indigenous tribes. Ethnobotanist and cultural explorer Wade Davis has lived among several. He notes their common tendency to view the world as something living, as a sacred being with whom our lives are intertwined, each seeming to dream the other into existence. It is possible that this was our species’ evolutionary edge—our sacred relationship with the Earth. For just as spider’s web speaks to her, so does the land tell us things.

Davis describes the chemically brilliant ayahuasca recipe of a rainforest shaman. It combines two unrelated psychotropic plants into a brew that delivers powerful hallucinogenic visions for healing and divination that are impossible to achieve from either plant alone. When Davis asked the shaman how, out of the thousands of rainforest flora, did they know to combine these two, “The plants told us,” the shaman replied. When Wade asked how they distinguish each of the 17 varieties of the ayahuasca vine (the differences are imperceptible to our eye), the man explained that on the night of the full moon, each sings in a different key.

Perhaps like me you’ve looked at a fruit or vegetable and occasionally wondered how the first human knew this was delicious and not poison. The usual answer is that we learned through trial and error: if somebody ate the kiwi and didn’t die, they told the group. But it’s not so hard to believe that more often nature revealed herself. Even in this digital age, my house plants still tell me when they’re thirsty. When I open the produce drawer of the fridge, one or more vegetables may announce with which ingredients it wants to collaborate for tonight’s dinner.

If it’s been a long time since your body has conversed with nature, walk along the coast for an hour. This is a potent universal terma. Lower the inner volume of your thoughts and raise the inner and outer volume of the sea. Drop into your heart—your physical heart, beating in your chest. Perhaps on the way to the coast it was tired. Maybe it’s held itself in for too long. But after some time walking along the shore, you notice that it’s awakening. Your breath deepens. Your lungs expand with the noisy salt air. If the shore is rocky, as the pulsing waves crash against it, your heart may feel excited, acrobatic, even a little scared. If the beach is a broad expanse of sand, your heart may sigh and gradually unwind, like an odalisque relaxing on pillows in the arms of her beloved.

You won’t get famous for locating ordinary treasures. No religious councils will be convened. The reward is the experience itself. Natural termas bring us into the foyer of the vast library of the body. Here lie the keys not only to our vitality and health, but to a rich storehouse of information and capacities, including secrets our ancestors knew, as well as the potential for new sorcery. In this, the geneticists are well ahead of today’s natural magicians. Looking forward, they’ve been mining the body’s blueprint to discover new cures for disease. Looking backward, they’ve recently discovered the truth of our origins. From DNA records, it turns out, we really are all one. Every human on earth came from the same small genetic family—a handful of homo sapien stragglers who stood between us and our species’ extinction. You and I share the same ancestral mother—“mitochondrial Eve”—a single woman from one to two hundred thousand years ago. Our father was younger—from just 60,000 years ago—another period of wild climate change.

Many suggest we’re on the brink again. Perhaps that’s why it’s such an auspicious hour for discovering natural termas. They put us on the fast track to awakening our body’s intelligence. Body wisdom can tell us the difference between good winds and bad, where the jaguar (or corporate jackal) is hiding, how to reach the highest and most delicious berries, and when to follow the call into unknown territory. Bodies also tell us simpler things—often forgotten in our age—like when to rest, what to eat, and how to love. Our bodies are an exquisite instrument. Termas help us to keep them in tune.

At the Moon Academy, ordinary termas are like the entry level “Charms” and “Potions” classes required in the freshman year at Hogwarts. They’re easier to learn than other things—but that doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. They’re foundational and could just be what saves us at the climax of our story. We can’t will termas to happen. We can only move through the world in such a way that we’re available when called—ready to lift our eyes or drop to our knees. Along with the absence of words, there’s one other sign that lets us know whether we’ve found the genuine thing. It’s that feeling we’ve been tracking in these first few Moon skills lessons. When you discover a real terma, you enter a state of unity. For that moment, even if you’re scared, you feel seen, held, and safe. You feel contained within the whole of a benevolent world.

You’ll find more on the Full Moon terma on my blog.

© 2015 Dana Gerhardt

At Mooncircles, we honor both the inner and outer Moons.
Each is a perfect way to explore the other.
To find out more about your inner and outer Moons, check out my Moon Workshop and/or my Moonprints report

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3 Minute Full Moon Ritual

Ritual: Aries Libra Full Moon

Drawing down the moon…

Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit. Stand and raise your armsabove your head. Let your palms face each other and curve slightly toward the moon. Feel as though you’re a sacred chalice, drawing the power of the Great Mother into every cell of your being—from your toes, to your womb, to your breasts, to your jaw, and your eyes. Feel the pleasure of this energy. It is vibrant with the power to give, to receive, to nurture life, and manifest what is possible.

Sending your blessings…

Draw your hands to your heart. Massage this area. Imagine that you have become a Full Moon goddess, capable of balancing the earth and harmonizing its opposing forces. In particular you are tuned to the energies of Aries and Libra, the complementary energies of “me” and “we.” Aries wonders, “Who am I?” Libra wonders, “Who are you—and how can we work together?” Aries is adventurous, individualistic, and trailblazing. Through Aries we feel our existence as an independent being, capable of taking action, without needing approval or support. Libra is harmonizing, beautifying, and partnership-oriented. Its primary purpose is sharing—ideas, experiences, space—with others. Aries and Libra are opposing signs, but together they make for a balanced world. Our Libran ability to relate to others is diminished without a secure sense of our own identity. Our Aries efforts are unsuccessful when we alienate others and are uncooperative. Full Moons bring an opportunity to balance and harmonize its opposing signs. Too much Aries and we’re combative, self-absorbed, impatient. Too much Libra and we’re indecisive, uncommitted, people-pleasing.

For the center of this ritual, imagine that the forces of Aries and Libra come to life in their archetypal form—as the Warrior and the Goddess. As you breathe in the weakness of each of these archetypes, you will breathe out the healing strength of the other.In this way, you will reconcile and balance these energies within yourself around the globe. Your sacred work has that power. Believe in it! Find a comfortable rhythm working with the images and your breath. Repeat the statements until you feel a transformation.

  • Breathing in…
    The warrior, angry, lonely and in fear.
  • Breathing out…
    The tender goddess, soothing the warrior
    with her healing touch.
  • Breathing in…
    The goddess, feeling ineffective, indecisive,
    and overwhelmed.
  • Breathing out…
    The warrior, who protects her and leads the way.
  • Breathing in…
    The warrior raising his club,
    the goddess calling him names.
  • Breathing out…
    The goddess, soft and smiling, as the warrior
    drops his club, and the two embrace.

Grounding the energy…

See the world bathed in the purifying light of your offering: the sleeping babies, the politicians arguing, the starving children, liars and thieves. See the world transforming with this light, growing peaceful and calm. When you are ready, bring your hands to your sides, palms facing the earth. Send your divine light deep into the earth. See this energy take shape as a round moon, gathering below you in the center of the earth. Feel yourself slowly coming back into your body. Rest in this peace until you are ready to return to your life. Blessed be.


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A Little Eclipse Foot Magic

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We need grounding during eclipses. So place your bare feet on the altar of this Pisces New Moon. Traditionally, this sign rules the feet. Some ancient wise one must have seen how the soles are a doorway to the soul as it circulates through your body. Your feet are vital centers for energy flow. When you energetically plug your toes into the earth, notice what happens: you will receive a bright updraft of earth’s prana or chi. Your steadiness and delight will grow. When you massage your feet, you vitalize all organs and energetic pathways in your body. When you do this before sleep, your dreams are clearer and more peaceful. When you take care of your feet, you nurture the whole of you.

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It’s the Equinox too!

New_Growth

Shortly after the Pisces New Moon, we reach the Equinox—that pivotal moment in the year when daylight equals the dark.  Stand anywhere on Earth on this day and you’ll see the Sun rise exactly East and set exactly West. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Equinox is a sign that our (strange) winter is finally over (in my town, it just hasn’t been winter enough, this year).  Even so, it’s Spring—time to break out and break through. Across my garden I see the signs. Hyacinths and daffodils are poking their heads above ground. Branches that have looked dead for months now sprout with new life. The birds are getting busier. While the Pisces New Moon “closes the circle” by inviting us to reflect on the past year, the Sun entering Aries encourages us to look forward into the future.

Aries energy is Ram energy: assertive, enthusiastic, initiatory, and optimistic.  This is just the energy we need to spring forward! First in the Zodiac, Aries guides the other signs on yet another round of adventures into unexplored territory. Aries, in fact, is the hero of the individuation journey as it unfolds through all 12 signs. Shaking off the strictures of the past, we follow jaunty Aries’ example, inspired to take up challenges and bring cherished dreams to fruition.  Wherever Aries falls in your natal chart is that place where you can turn for renewal and rebirth.

If Aries is in your 1st house, you may experience renewal through re-connecting with your unique sense of self. In the 2nd, you may want to initiate a new financial plan, or touch base with your core values. In the 3rd, Aries may feel re-energized through putting thoughts into writing or speech. In the 4th, Aries is reborn through spring cleaning, redecorating, or even moving. Aries receives inspiration in the 5th house through creative expression, or through rediscovery of one’s inner child. In the sixth house, Aries gets a fresh start by taking up a new health regimen, or reorganizing the office. In the 7th, relationships are the medium of rebirth, as Aries faces “the other,” while in the 8th house Aries mines new energy from the depths of the unconscious. In the 9th house, Aries is reinvigorated by a book of spiritual teachings, or a philosophical truth that puts life into perspective. In the 10th house, Aries leaps headfirst into tackling new career objectives. In the 11th house, it is through commitment to a social cause that promises renewal. And,  finally, in the 12th house, Aries is reborn through dissolution into universal consciousness, diving deep into the ocean of bliss, then emerging reborn.

The old myths teach us an important lesson about moving forward: don’t look back. In the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the underworld, for instance, Orpheus finally wins permission from Hades, lord of the dead, to rescue his new bride Eurydice from the arms of death. Yet if he should look back, he is told, Eurydice must return to the underworld for eternity. Tragically, Orpheus is unable to follow this advice, and, on the verge of emerging from the depths, he looks back and loses her forever. The lesson in this, I think, is that just when we have committed to moving forward in a new direction, we are tempted by doubt, looking backwards into the past with nostalgia and regret  – yet in the process undermining our faith in our newfound purpose.

To everything there is a season, as it says in the Bible.  Thus while there is a time to reflect upon and learn from the past, there comes another time when, prompted by the hand of fate at our backs, we must move forward with the evolving forces of life.  Now is the appointed time in the astrological year for embracing the future.

Join Enroll in my monthly Moon workshop, to get an even deeper connection to the Sun’s annual cycle!  Let the gifts of each sign energize your year.

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3 Minute New Moon Ritual

Ritual: Pisces New Moon

Ground your body, clear your mind…

Become aware of your body. Notice how gravity holds and connects you to earth. It’s as though your body is an ancient stone temple—solid, strong, secure. Sanctify this temple. Imagine a priestess is pouring sacred water and scattering rose petals, all the way down, from your head to your toes. Any anxiety or negativity washes away. Notice the thoughts and feelings leaving the temple—your judgments, your distracted mind, your worried heart. Be sure to honor them. Give each a smile and a piece of cake as it departs.

Draw a circle of protection, call in blessings…

Visualize a ring of fragrant flowers surrounding you, protecting you. Know that you are safe and relaxed. Breathe deeply. Feel the power of the Sun and Moon pouring into your circle. The energy of Pisces is gathering in your circle. Feel this natural expression of your unity with everything. Through Pisces, you connect to your higher mind via dreams. You connect with your culture through the imagery of the collective unconscious. You respond to life with imagination, poetry, music, and spiritual compassion. Through Pisces, you touch subtle energies and vast mysteries. This is a potent and sometimes overwhelming stuff. To meet it properly, you are encouraged to quiet your mind, calm your ego, and allow yourself to safely dissolve into higher realities. When you don’t prepare yourself adequately, you may experience the negative qualities of Pisces: addiction, deception, illusion, manipulation, victimization, and disillusion. But even these experiences can be a doorway to enlightenment. With addictions, for example, if you see yourself reaching for a drink, a cigarette, a credit card, you can name this for what it truly is: your desire to experience cosmic bliss. When you realize that this resides within, not in outer substances, that’s when you’ll touch the Pisces gift of enlightenment.

  • I use my fantasies to inspire
    constructive changes.
  • I feel the bliss of subtle energies
    in and around me.
  • My heart breaks open with divine compassion.
  • I can be sensitive and
    keep my boundaries strong.
  • When life gets confusing, I trust all
    is working towards the highest good.
  • My mind is clear. Daily meditation
    is my special treat.
  • Whenever I need angelic assistance, I ask.
  • I am a channel for spiritual healing as
    I travel through my daily life.

Allow seed intentions to form…

Your intentions for this cycle are gathering. You may already know what you wish to accomplish. Or you may not. Trust that all will unfold perfectly in time. Know that this brief ritual has aligned you with spirit. Now ask your heart if it has a closing message for you. This may come in words or as a picture, perhaps as a body sensation or sound. Give yourself time to receive this message. Digest it. Write it down. Then, in gratitude to yourself and spirit, return to normal awareness. Place a symbol of your Pisces New Moon message on your altar.


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