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.

Scorpio Call and Response

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Whether we view time as a marching calendar, as cyclical waves, or dotted with portals to other dimensions, in all systems, the New Moon is a special doorway. The wishes you make now may indeed be super-powered, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect special favors. If you rarely visit your Aunt Bernice, she’s got little motivation to fund cat’s surgery. You have to visit the invisible world. Bow and make a sincere offering. The invisible powers will renew their interest in you. When you call to the gods, they do respond.

Calling Scorpio

Scorpio draws us into the mystery of the underworld. Here Isis and Ishtar descend. Persephone savors her pomegranates. Ceridwen stirs her cauldron. The snake goddesses respect Scorpio’s powers of transformation and its gifts of wisdom. They understand that underworld empowerments usually come with a price. Initiates must be willing to enter the unknown no matter how fast their hearts are beating. They must be willing to lose what they thought they couldn’t give up. They must develop the kind of patience that travels with passion and strength.

Of course your New Moon offering needn’t be so dramatic. A simple ritual would be to play in the dark. You might learn it’s not so bad in there. It can be creative, mysterious, wondrous not to know what you think you know. When your eyes can’t see, what will your other senses uncover? One night soon enter a favorite room in your house, turn off all the lights, and stand in the center. Sense the room. Isn’t it amazing what you can know and feel without seeing? Now go to your least favorite room and do the same thing. A little different, right? Stay with it until any fear or resistance dissolves, and you start discovering.

The dark can take you to a place deep within yourself if you let it. But there are other doorways. We in the Northern Hemisphere can follow the example of trees, the infallible and natural gurus of the time. Why do trees turn crimson and gold in the fall? The short answer is, no one is entirely sure. Yet what scientists have discovered so far is instructive: An autumn leaf is busy with purposeful activity. The trees are dismantling the chlorophyll in their leaves, drawing its nutrients back into their centers, storing its energy for new growth in spring. Some believe fall’s brightly colored leaves are simply left-over pigments, a tree’s version of graying hair. Others believe the reds and yellows serve a protective purpose, as a natural sunscreen, or a warning to insect predators. Either way, the trees are looking ahead. And so, perhaps, should we.

By releasing something, we will draw new energy into our core. Have your Scorpio ceremony beside a trash can: throw away something you’ve been hanging onto. Pay slow attention to the process. Is there regret? A tightness? Sorrow? Or simply relief? Let the event teach you something about yourself.

Or just sit with a tree that is transforming. Be with the intelligence of this tree. As you stand as still as the tree, sense how busy it is. Connect and listen. As the cycle unfolds, maintain your relationship. When the bright leaves of your tree go brown and fall to the ground, observe how your own transformation is progressing.

Or simply light a candle and say thanks to Scorpio for all the gifts it has brought you through death, loss, and rebirth. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it sincerely, and in the spirit of Scorpio

Scorpio’s Response

This is the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. But in the next few days or even weeks, keep your eye out for Scorpio visits. You may in a dream get a gift of power, an important message, or a sign. Scorpio’s surrogates may appear in your outer world. A pack of young Goths, dressed in black and chains, might cross your path. Or a raven will land outside your window and begin cawing. You’ll see an unusual poster with a snake or a smiling skull. You’ll feel an electric charge as a deeper part of you recognizes who sent them. Link this appearance to whatever you were thinking about at that moment. There will be a message. And it will be a gift.

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 Twelve Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac. 

© Dana Gerhardt

 

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Simple Samhein Ritual

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The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest during Samhein, and it’s an appropriate time to contact ancestors, release what’s unnecessary, and prepare for the birth at Yule. Samhein is a “Sabbat,” one of the special days of power on the wheel of the year. Perform the ritual on October 31 (traditional Samhein) or November 8 (the astrological Samhein), or anytime in between that feels appropriate to you.

You will need: an altar; three candles, one a beautiful shade of blue, one black, one white; a lighter to ignite the candles; and a a piece of chocolate.*
Place the chocolate on a small plate on the altar, then the candles, from left to right: blue, black, and white. Have a lighter nearby. When you’ re ready to begin, ring a bell or clap your hands. Step forward and recite the following:

I now enter a time that is not a time and a place that is not a place, at an hour that is not an hour, but a sacred portal between the worlds.

Light the blue candle. For as long or as briefly as you desire, offer your heartfelt respect, love and gratitude to your ancestors. Bow when you’re complete.

Light the black candle. For as long or as briefly as you desire, ask your protectors to help you release all that interferes with your passion and joy. Bow when you’re complete.

Light the white candle to signal your willingness and desire to receive a message from your ancestors, protectors, or guides. If you have a specific question, ask it. You may receive the answer now or sometime in the next 24 hours. Bow when you’re complete.

With all three candles lit, thank all the spirits and powers who have been in attendance. Take the chocolate into your mouth. Eat it slowly, with tremendous pleasure. (And don’t judge your level of pleasure; just surrender to whatever amount is available.) When you’re complete, ring a bell or clap your hands, and take one step back.

Recite the following:

I now leave the time that is not a time and the place that is not a place, at this hour that is not an hour, but a perfect moment in my perfect world.

Blow out the candles or let them burn—your choice! Of course always take care with unattended burning candles.

* You can also use a garden trowel instead of or in addition to the chocolate. At the conclusion of the ritual, take the trowel out to your garden to dig and/or weed in the moist dirt, thinking of how this act has the magical power to clear away inner obstacles. Feel gratitude for the earth and how it recycles death into nutrients for plants, people and worms.

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3 Minute New Moon Ritual

Ritual: Scorpio 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 Scorpio is gathering in your circle. It is focused, probing and intense. Scorpio treads into territory that makes other signs squirm—like death, sexuality, and money. Scorpio’s ruler is Pluto, god of the underworld, lord of all the riches below ground, the jewels, the minerals, the oil. When we look underneath the surface of life, particularly into our own psychological depths, we likewise find great wealth. Scorpio asks us to confront our fears and hidden complexes. Making changes in this dark and shadowy territory increases our power in the outer world. Avoid this work and Scorpio loses its center, becoming vengeful, judgmental, and controlling—trying to grab its power illicitly, by stealing it from outer sources. Better to fearlessly confront the inner obstacles. Do this to release your passion, unlock your treasure chest of jewels. Remember that any Scorpio death is always followed by a blazing rebirth. Feel the unflinching strength of this sign as you read Scorpio’s affirmations.

  • I am focused.
  • Death is beautiful. I am fearless
    in the face of change.
  • I am a vibrant snake shedding old skin.
  • My sexuality is passionate and divine.
  • I am strongest when I’m vulnerable.
  • I weed out, clean out, throw out,
    everything I’ve outgrown.
  • Jealousy means I haven’t dreamed
    big enough for myself.
  • When I surrender, greater powers
    always come to my aid.

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 Scorpio New Moon message on your altar.


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Tune into the lunar eclipse

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It’s a lunar eclipse! What should you do with it? You could bang pots and drums as the ancients did to let the Moon know you’re eager for her return. You could park yourself in some beautiful spot and watch it—as it will be widely visible, from the Americas, across the oceans, through Asia and Australia. You could perform a ritual during the eclipse hours. Or you could make a point to avoid performing a ritual, as there are two schools of thought here. Some believe eclipses supercharge your ceremony. Others feel the energy is wonky and shouldn’t be trusted with important workings. I say, investigate! Lunar eclipses occur at least twice a year, every year. So the first thing to do is start paying attention to them whenever you get the opportunity. This year, the lunar eclipse begins with the Full Moon on Wednesday October 8 at 6:51 am EDT (adjust for your timezone) and lasts for about five hours. This is the eclipse window. Pay attention to what happens during this window. How do you feel? What’s the energy like around you? Are you inspired to do anything?  In other words, tune in and let the eclipse tell you what to do with it.

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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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Libra New Moon: Call and Response

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It’s another new moon: when wishes can be super-charged with sparkling fresh energy. Yet if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect buckets of fairy dust. New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. But you must be willing to meet the invisible world. Bow and open yourself to their touch. Make an offering. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the gods, they do respond!

Calling Libra

“Humans always sing about what they most need,” said Libra one sunny afternoon. “The Hopi sing for rain. The Inuit sing for a successful hunt. And judging by your culture’s most popular songs, what you most need—or lack—is love.” I asked if she agreed and she replied in typical Libra fashion: “Yes and no,” she said.

People expect Libra to be all lace and romance; after all, she’s the sign of beauty and relationships. But to understand her properly, you should know about her goddess mother—Dike—who was in charge of the Dice of Fate and the Scales of Justice. It was her job to keep the constantly changing world in balance. She lived on Earth throughout the Golden and Silver Ages, before mankind knew how to sail, drive, or fly. Back then forests and grasslands grew the cures for all disease. But as humans multiplied, so did their quarreling and greed. Life tipped out of balance. Peace gave way to war. Lovers hurt each other. Fathers turned against their sons.

Dike begged people to settle their differences with understanding. “Talk it out. Be fair. Realize how alike you are…” Few listened. And so it’s said that Libra’s mother just gave up. She abandoned the Scales and ran away. “Too soft, too sensitive, a people-pleaser,” some said. “She’s fickle and indifferent,” others accused.

Yet to look at Libra now—with her clear eyes and startling beauty—it’s obvious she comes from sturdier stock. Libra can take a mottled crowd and waltz them into harmony, a fete that only someone unafraid of Chaos could actually do. Libra is sensitive but not delicate. She chose the balance beam as her symbol, not an unprotected heart. As an emissary of justice, Libra weighs what appears and works with it—skillfully. If she brings Sorrow and Anger to the party, by midnight she’ll have them dancing with Hope and Joy. Charm and Grace are her best friends, but don’t mistake her easy chatter. Her words may seem sweet and superficial; but meanwhile, she’s learning everything about you.

Once I was bold enough to ask, “What really happened to your mother? Is she a quitter?” “Oh no,” Libra replied. “When people stopped listening to her words, she demonstrated her message: she dissolved into the center of the scales! It was a profound meditation for those who could see it… and very brave.”

It does take courage to dissolve one’s position and enter the center, where all points of view converge. But that was Dike’s message. And it’s the surest way to call in Libra at this New Moon. Life is forever veering out of balance. So put yourself on tactical alert. Take note whenever you find yourself at war—with your loved ones, your body, the traffic, your kitchen toaster, the politicians, or the world. Slow down. Find the still point in the center of your heart. Relax. Don’t defend yourself; imagine how you look from your opponent’s eyes. Can you give the very thing that you want to receive? Do this often and you’ll no longer be starving—or singing—for love, like a desperate farmer chanting for rain. You will be Love itself.

Libra’s Response

Discovering how the archetype responds is always the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. Libra is infinitely creative. With great elegance, she’ll draw the precise experience you need to find your balance—again and again. Often she uses other people—the very ones who push your buttons and shatter your inner equilibrium. Is there anyone better with whom to practice the art of peace? Notice all the strong and subtle ways you’re called to stop and shift direction this cycle. If your life has been filled with work and disappointment, you may feel the urge to eat gourmet cupcakes and put fresh flowers in the kitchen or a lavender diffuser by your bed. You may want to lock the door, draw the curtains, and play music that pierces your heart, so that you dance around the dining room table until you finally know that the world—and you—are beautiful, inside and out.

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 monthly Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, and the zodiac.

© 2012/2014 Dana Gerhardt
All rights reserved

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We’re rebooting the site!

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Equinox is a fabulous time for initiating changes–and that’s what we’re doing at Mooncircles. We’re adding new features and giving the site a new look.  We wanted to launch after the New Moon as it gives the updated site a stronger chart, so if you’re still seeing the old site, check back with us in a couple of days. If you’re on the new site, you may find pages that aren’t working. Please let us know with an email to info@mooncircles.com or use the “contact” link on the navigation bar and send the email to me. We’ve been testing for the past week, but given we’re in the shadow of Mercury’s retrograde, we know we haven’t caught everything!

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3 Minute New Moon Ritual

Ritual: Libra 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 Libra is gathering in your circle. It is radiant, graceful, peaceful and balanced. Libra is a fragrant rose-petaled goddess who weaves harmony and beautifies space. She makes us comfortable around those who are different from us, who hold opposite opinions, who push our buttons because they mirror the rejected parts of ourselves. She knows how to be fair, how to see all sides of a situation without losing herself. She is an artist, conjuring just the thing to make any space an altar to Beauty. Libra likes to please us. But don’t be confused. She is not into people-pleasing, self-sacrifice, or indecision. Those strategies come from people trying to act like the goddess without being the goddess. Feel inwardly for the honest presence of this goddess as you read Libra’s affirmations.

  • I know the right words for every occasion.
  • When I am myself, I am in harmony with others.
  • I attract the right people to support me,
    just as I support them.
  • My partner mirrors the best in me.
  • When there’s discord, I am calm and fair.
  • I receive pleasure as graciously as I give it.
  • I know how to make any room,
    any garden, beautiful.
  • Around me, everyone cooperates
    in a healthy, happy way.

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 Libra New Moon message on your altar.


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3 Minute Full Moon Ritual

Ritual: Virgo Pisces 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 arms above 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. Feel that you have become the goddess, capable of balancing the earth and harmonizing its opposing forces. In particular you are tuned to the energies of Virgo and Pisces, signs devoted to magic, service and healing, although they approach their spiritual work from opposite directions. Virgo is that aspect of the goddess who knows the right herb or the proper incantation to fix any problem; she is observant, discerning and analytical. Pisces is your blissful goddess nature. Compassionate, intuitive, and holistic, she sees into the heart of the world. Out of balance, Virgo is constipated, judgmental and perfectionistic. Pisces is helpless and disorganized; she escapes into an unhealthy world of addictions. When these shadow expressions run amok, we feel like our world is imperfect and falling apart. We feel like victims without any protectors. We feel like the diseases of the world will win. Imagine this negativity circles the globe like a dark smoke. Know that if you breathe in this smoke you have the power to transform it in your heart—breathing it out as the pure white light of the goddess. Read the affirmations and visualize the world’s darkness dissolving with your breath. Find a comfortable rhythm and repeat the statements until your light has transformed the world.

  • Breathing in…
    fear of wild forces beyond our control.
  • Breathing out…
    the power to endure with strength and grace.
  • Breathing in…
    the world’s sickness, its worries and blame.
  • Breathing out…
    a world that is radiant, healthy and harmonious.
  • Breathing in…
    whole cities torn asunder by disaster and war.
  • Breathing out…
    the power of the angels to set everything right.

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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Detoxifying on Water Moons

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There is nothing more nourishing than a Full Moon in a water sign—as is the case this month, with the Full Moon in Pisces. It’s great for gardening, deep cleansing (the skin or kitchen floors), dying hair or fabric (the color soaks in more deeply), and healing (the cells of the body absorb healing potions more readily).

But if you’re tired and feeling a bit off balance, a water Full Moon can sometimes increase your emotional or energetic confusion. Bodies can bloat with water retention. Retained water or energy can make us feel stuffed and lethargic. If you find yourself in this condition, the best remedy may be more water—in this case, the gift of water mixed with Epsom salts.  A natural anti-inflammatory, Epsom salts have a seemingly magical ability to draw toxins, cellular waste, and excess water out of the body. This can actually reduce your thighs, arms and waist!

Earlier this year, Dr. Oz demonstrated this with a willing audience member. Her measurements were taken before and after the bath. She lost inches! The bath water should be just below body temperature—between 97 and 98 degrees. Use two cups of the salt. Ten minutes in the bath is all you need. A perfect amount of time to close your eyes and contemplate the inner Full Moon.

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