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.

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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3 Minute Full Moon Ritual

Ritual: Taurus Scorpio 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 Taurus and Scorpio. Taurus is earthy, sensual, and attractive, drawing in what it needs to feel comfortable and secure. It is slow-moving, like the earth, also lush and abundant. Scorpio is mysterious, hidden, and attractive in a potent, magnetic way. It holds its power deeply inward, like a jewel in an underground cavern. Both are “fixed” signs, strong, persevering, and capable of great commitment and depth of character. Both are deeply rooted in sexual experience. Pleasure-loving Taurus loves to touch and be touched, to be stimulated by scents and tastes. Scorpio is intensely passionate and capable of a thrilling intimacy once it trusts. Both are also the primary money signs—keen to manage the vast resources of wealth in the world.

When we are in balance at the Full Moon, we vibrate with the energy of both signs. This is a passionate time! But if we are out of balance, we may tip into more negative expressions of one or both signs. Taurus can be stubborn and indolent, dictatorial, or resistant to change. Scorpio can be overcome with emotional turmoil, vengeful, jealous, and secretive—or power-mad and controlling. Even if you are feeling balanced, surely there are those in the world this season who are stuck in the negative energies. Imagine that with your goddess vision, you have the ability to see this negativity circling 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…
    Lonely rooms, isolated hearts, cold despots.
  • Breathing out…
    Love’s comforting and passionate touch.
  • Breathing in…
    Poverty; the fear there’s just not enough.
  • Breathing out…
    An abundant flow of wealth, satisfying every need.
  • Breathing in…
    The habit of unhappiness, being stuck in the past.
  • Breathing out…
    Magical transformations, just for the asking!

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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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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