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.

3 Minute New Moon Ritual

Ritual: Capricorn 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 Capricorn is gathering in your circle. It is organized, responsible, and productive. The sign of leadership, Capricorn is decisive. It takes initiative and boldly gets down to work. This is the best sign for accomplishing your goals. Capricorn is the archetypal King, grounded in earth’s power and fulfilling the destiny written in the sky. Continue absorbing its energy as you read Capricorn’s affirmations.

  • My decisions are sensible
    and for the greater good.
  • I am disciplined and highly competent.
  • I climb mountains, one step at a time.
  • I always use time wisely.
  • I am well-respected and successful.
  • I’m not getting older-I’m getting better
    and having more fun!
  • I am disciplined. I know how to bring order
    to any messy situation.
  • I am the King people love to follow.

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 Capricorn New Moon message on your altar.


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It’s a Solstice New Moon

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Last night I ate a heavier meal than usual. This morning I slept in. Later I won’t go to the gym as I usually do. It’s Solstice time. The Sun appears to be standing still as it slowly turns to go back along the horizon line (moving north or south, depending on your hemisphere). We should stand still too–or at least pause in our usual busyness. We are shifting into a new season and it’s the Capricorn New Moon, a perfect time to reflect on the end of 2014 and the beginning of a new year.

Many people tend to get sick during Solstice week, but we don’t need to pause that way. Rather, we can follow the body’s subtle or insistent promptings to slow, tune inward, and when ready, reach out to reconnect with the wheeling planet. Freshly centered within ourselves, we can enjoy the profound delights of sensing the air, listening to the wind through the trees, and watching for new flight patterns among the birds. Something in the body wants to do this; it’s ancient, powerful, and pleasurable. Some people like to sit in meditation on Solstice. Others perform ceremony and ritual. Some buy new journals, others select goals for the season, some light candles, others take walks in the park. It doesn’t particularly matter what you do on Solstice. It’s the spirit with which you do it that brings the magic.

The Solstice is a bright jewel on the year’s necklace. Wear it with joy this week.

Let the Moon guide you in 2015!   Join my monthly Moon workshop this month and discover your personal number for 2015 along with many other goodies.

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Call in Capricorn

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It’s another New Moon: when the magically minded make wishes. The seeds you plant 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 cranky Uncle Gerald, he’s got little motivation to put you in his will. New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the gods, they do respond!

Calling Capricorn

Think of a solitary mountain goat, deftly leaping from stone to stone, in the high altitudes, while below, lies the vast snowy theater of the world. This New Moon become the goat. And let your life be the breath-taking, intricate, and treacherous mountain. Your focus? Keeping your balance, of course!

According to the Austrian philosopher-clairvoyant Rudolf Steiner, balance is the psycho-physical sense we must develop in Capricorn. When we steady ourselves, we steady the world. If we slip and free fall, the world goes spinning. The alliance you forge with Capricorn now can strengthen your footing for the entire year. Capricorn is a climber, inspired by high goals. But nothing is gained without first achieving balance on the terrain immediately beneath your feet. Tune into the earth. Let your balance be a conversation between you and the benevolent forces whispering, “Step here next!’”

Capricorn may be the archetypal impetus behind New Year’s resolutions too—though it’s easy to hate this tradition. Too often our annual resolutions are driven by a quick slurp of Capricorn’s draught. Made hastily, emotionally, preposterously, they’re often the set-up for failure and disappointment. I’ve heard the most successful resolutions are not made on New Year’s Eve. Rather they evolve over time, developing from a commitment that’s strong on the inside and well-planned on the outside. That’s the formula for good Capricorn structures!

Years ago I had an astrology reading in which the astrologer forecast my personal month-by-month agenda.  “In January,” she said, “get organized and get down to business.”  Later I realized she’d done nothing more complicated than describe the essence of Capricorn. Simple as it was, her advice worked well—and this month I offer it to you. Perhaps a plan is already taking shape in your mind. After all, you’ve had to roll up your sleeves and get to work many times. And based on your Ascendant (how you begin activities) or the house where Capricorn falls in your chart (where you’re prone to direct effort), your plan may sound a lot like plans you’ve hatched before. Funny how that works. Unfortunately this misses the fun of each Capricorn New Moon, when each new line-up of planets suggests new and unexpected ways of playing the Capricorn game.  Surprise yourself by getting down to business creatively. Follow the cues on your mountain, like an agile goat, sensing where to leap next.

Capricorn rules bones too. Where would you be without your skeleton! Could you get out of bed or pick up a glass of water without it? Honor Capricorn structures this cycle. Thank the framework of the buildings you enter. Bow to the decision-makers who hold together the details of your world. Honor your parents. Leave gifts for your mentors and ancestors.

Capricorn’s Response

Waiting for the response is the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. One year, on a walk during the Capricorn cycle, a real goat came out of nowhere. Nipping at my dog, the lively goat followed us back to our house! Then, also from nowhere, a smiling white-haired woman appeared and said, “I know where this fellow belongs.” And she took him away, thank goodness. Pay special attention to encounters with old wise ones now—in the forest, at the grocery store, in your dreams. Notice the earth spirits. If you’re sensitive, you may hear a message in a rock. Most of all, be alert for that moment when Capricorn’s spirit enters you—like an alpine wind driving off the mountain—and you feel yourself freshly motivated to take charge of your life!

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, and the zodiac.

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Meeting the Moon Tonight

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The Moon temples and rites of initiation that once flourished across the ancient world have long since vanished. Even so, it’s still possible to cultivate a sincere spiritual practice based in the Moon’s mysteries—and you can begin tonight. Start by heightening your awareness of the natural world. Let nature be your temple. Sit amidst the companionable intimate presence of the forest. Or retreat to a quiet spot in your own backyard. Take note of the season and the weather—is it warm or cold; sunny or overcast; windy or calm? In what growth stage are the surrounding plants and trees—are they barren–or rich with leaves, blossoms, and fruit? As you relax into this great womb of living energies, notice how you too belong to this family, along with the flowers, rocks, insects, and birds.

How is the natural world responding to the Moon this night? Get quiet. Notice. Start with the mystical quality of  light that is permeating everything. You may even hear a chorus of voices, insects buzzing, cars on the road, a mother calling to her child.  A word may start murmuring inside you, an ancient “Hrim,” “Ohm” or “Haiyeeee.” Or perhaps it’s just a feeling, a certain mood you’re sensing in the landscape. Let nature’s response to the Moon penetrate you. When the time feels right, join in with this simple prayer:

I attune my outer life and inner soul
to the rhythm of the Moon, she who monthly empties and grows full.
Oh Great Goddess, who tills the garden of the Earth
Oh Wise Weaver of Time
Oh Star of Life
Oh Mother of the World
Bestow upon us the generosity of your life and light
Make us loving, juicy, calm, and bright.

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3 Minute Full Moon Ritual

Ritual: Gemini Sagittarius 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 forces of Sagittarius and Gemini, signs devoted to knowledge, truth, understanding, and communication. Out of balance, they bring righteousness, gossip, judgment, confusion, and lies. 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 and breathe 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…
    gossip and lies.
  • Breathing out…
    truth.
  • Breathing in…
    righteous judgement.
  • Breathing out…
    knowledge and understanding.
  • Breathing in…
    confusion and hatred.
  • Breathing out…
    insight and love.

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


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Calling in Sagittarius

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It’s another new moon: when the magically minded make wishes and astrologers attempt to divine this cycle’s intentions. 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. New Moons are potent times to forge alliances with the gods. 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 Sagittarius

The challenges of last month’s Scorpio cycle were meant to strengthen your capacities for patience, perseverance and resilience. Perhaps you were reminded of your strength. You do know how to put one foot in front of the other and survive. But Sagittarius plays an entirely different game. Even if your work this month is similar, you’re meant to take it to a higher plane. In this expansive, Jupiter-ruled cycle, seek out the people, places, and texts that open your mind and get you excited about the future again. What questions have you been pondering? Where have you felt stuck? Surrender to Sagittarius and the Centaur will reward you. Now is the time to shift perspective, expand your horizons, and let your life become adventurous again!

Yippee. More items to add to your to-do list. Don’t worry. Opening to the adventurous Sagittarian deva is fun—like racing a horse across green pastures, giddy with the joy of movement. Sagittarian energy is big, buoyant, generous, and prosperous. Its concerns are honesty and wisdom. To attract the Centaur, assemble the following transcendent ingredients: Time and space to roam, a hunger for truth, the certainty that life means something.

Next: Ascend. Beam up. Climb the highest hill or building in your town, scan the horizon, let your lungs fill with fresh air, relax in this wide space. Or imagine you’re floating on the wings of an eagle, looking down on your world. Look again at whatever experiences may be challenging you. From this perspective, your luck can improve. If you’re feeling particularly frisky, lay back with open arms and shout “Take me, Sagittarius!” If this makes you weep with joy, you got the connection!

Or visit a university library. Preferably a big one. Walk through the book stacks with a quiet mind at a leisurely pace. Stop whenever you feel like it. Take a random book from the shelf and read a paragraph. Keep moving. Read the thoughts of more thinkers whenever intuition directs. Then go outside and commune with the horizon. Enjoy an exotic foreign drink when you’re done.

Or recite your gratitudes. Being thankful alters the mind much like reading books or sitting in higher spaces. It’s a powerful form of prayer. Make it a practice to list your daily gratitudes for 21 days and your world will transform. It’s not what you’re grateful for that makes the magic–it’s just the juice of gratitude itself. Thank the anonymous hands who built your house, who planted the trees on your street, who sat in a factory and made your shoes, for everything and everyone who brought you where you are today.

And finally, if you’re not feeling buoyant enough yet, buy some helium-filled balloons. Take them for a walk in the park, not knowing when the moment will come when you’re inspired to let them go, just so you can watch them sail into the sky and disappear. Of course, you’re always free to innovate. In whatever way you choose, at the Sag New Moon, call in the spirit of this expansive and prosperous sign.

Sagittarius’s Response

Waiting for the response 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 Sagittarian visits. You might receive a surprise gift. Maybe an opportunity to travel. If you have an urgent question, you’ll likely receive a wise answer. Or a flash mob could suddenly sing the Hallelujah chorus in your local food court. A stranger may say your name with such a delightful foreign accent, it transports you to the other side of the world. The Sagittarius Centaur could arrive as a belly laugh, big and warm as Zeus. Or maybe it just hits you—that you’re in falling love with your life all over again. However the Centaur appears, let the meaning of the visit touch you deeply.

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, and the zodiac.

© 2010/2013  Dana Gerhardt
All rights reserved

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3 Minute New Moon Ritual

Ritual: Sagittarius 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 Sagittarius is gathering in your circle. It is expansive, optimistic, and visionary. It is spontaneous, honest, and carefree. Sagittarius has the strong thighs of a runner or a mountain climber, the dedicated mind of a scholar or a priest. And it has the heart of a voyager, always seeking, always dreaming, of new horizons, new solutions. Absorb its energy as you read the Sagittarius affirmations.

  • My opportunities are limitless.
  • I seek the higher meaning in any situation.
  • I am a student, philosopher and adventurer.
  • I love a new perspective.
  • Ever the optimist, I adjust when I need to.
  • I am open-minded with foreign people,
    places and concepts.
  • I seek the truth. I speak the truth.
  • My eyes always look to brighter futures.

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 Sagittarius New Moon message on your altar.


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Zero Degree New Moon

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If the New Moon were at 25 degrees Sagittarius instead of zero, this would mean that the Sun had been in Sagittarius for 25 days already.  The Sun shifts our collective spirit, and its transits help us to get revved up and ready for the  coming New Moon in that sign. When New Moons occur at zero degrees, as this one does, we don’t get this celestial head start. Instead, we receive a sudden splash of the new energy–and we’re not always as sure what to do with it!  Especially with Sagittarius, our spirits may lift, our desire for new adventures may build, we may feel the urge to board a plane to some exotic location… but where?  That’s the feeling of zero degrees. What to do?  Just enjoy the new spirit and follow wherever it leads. Wait a few days before setting New Moon goals.

Sagittarius is a mutable sign. Mutable New Moons signal that a change of season is on its way. The weather will usually be capricious and surprising. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, one day will feel like autumn, and then next day like winter, then it’s autumn again.  To be in tune with Nature, we need to likewise become more versatile and changeable.  It helps if you enliven your senses. Stay awake to the weather. Stay awake to your own shifting needs. This is the way to avoid change-of-season illnesses. With nimble feet, start dancing to life’s new tempo and tune.

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Are you touching the Moon?

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It’s fun to follow the day’s Moon sign and phase (which you can do here at Mooncircles via the “Today’s Moon” links). But it’s even better to tune into them with your own energetic sensitivity. The ability to do this develops over time. But you must practice! If you were stuck in a windowless room for a month (which of course I hope never happens to you), could you tell which phase of the Moon we’re in ? In laboratory tests, oysters and coral were able to track the Moon’s phases, even in artificial environments devoid of light. A good way to begin your own energetic explorations is by tuning into the two basic shifts in the Moon’s cycle: the New and Full Moon.

Start with the Taurus Full Moon. It just takes a few minutes. Sit in stillness and tune into the texture of the atmosphere–the energy–floating around you.  Describe what you feel, even if it’s so subtle you think you’re making it up. Record what you sense, so that in two weeks, you can do the same investigation at the Sagittarius New Moon and compare the difference. How does the energy shift with these two Moon events? Don’t worry about getting it right. Trust what you’re feeling. With this attitude, over time your sensitivity and discernment will surely increase.

My good friend intuitive and inspirational coach Denise Byron has observed that pre- and post-menopausal women need the Moon more than ever. I agree! As our bodies release their own cyclic timing, we become more receptive, even thirstier for the cycles of the Moon. As support in this process, I offer my monthly Moon Workshop, which for more than a decade has helped thousands to deepen their connection with Luna.

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It’s Green Fire time!

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Through Scorpio’s eyes, a sudden disaster is just an efficient way to start over.  That’s the message of its Phoenix— the mythical bird who, when cremated on a funeral pyre, rose from its ashes into new life, colored by shimmering rainbow feathers. It’s good to let go of things! Life improves.

The Green Fire ritual is a powerful way to signal to your subconscious that you’re ready, willing, and eager to release the past and move on, into a better version of your life. The woman who introduced me to this practice likes to do it four times a year, once each season. I was feeling particularly stuck the year I learned of it, so I bought salt, alcohol, a large cast iron pot, and dutifully performed the ritual on a dark Moon, for three months in a row. The results were oddly spectacular. Without much drama or fanfare, my inner world  began rapidly shifting. I was inspired to make new decisions that ultimately transformed my outer world. Changes I’d needed to make for what seemed like a lifetime, suddenly got easy.

Do the Green Fire practice whenever  you’re feeling stuck or burdened, but it’s especially powerful now, during the Scorpio season, when the Moon is waning (from Full Moon up to the next New Moon). The ritual is simple to do. First finagle some solitude and focus on what you’d like to release. This can be specific (“I’d like to release my anger at Jim”) or general (“I’d like to release whatever is holding me back.”). You can aim to let go of a lot or a little, whatever feels right for you. Just be sure to write down each thing you’re releasing. (I like to write each item on a small piece of paper; this makes for excellent kindling to throw into the fire.)  Then get a cast iron pot, line it with foil, add two cups of Epsom salts, and cover the salt with rubbing alcohol. When you’re ready, light it with a long match and stand back. One at a time, throw in the pieces of paper on which you’ve written what you’re letting go of.

Of course, do this safely!  I place my pot in the center of an outdoor fire pit, with lid and water at the ready.  If you like your rituals more theatrical, you can dress up, recite poetry, bang drums, or dance while the fire is burning. If you want additional power, call in the ancestors, protectors and archetypal powers before you begin and thank them when you’re done. I like my ritual simple: just the fire, the pieces of paper, and all the energy that’s being released.

It works.

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