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MoonCircles has been publishing New and Full essays, meditations, and rituals twice each month since 2000. We hope you will enjoy this piece from our archives!

The Sun entered Sagittarius on November 22


About a month before Christmas, the Sun enters the fire sign of Sagittarius, signaling the start of the holiday season. The lively crackle of conversation; the warm humor and expansive goodwill; the generous giving of gifts: these are among the qualities of Sagittarius. Yet like the sparkly wrapping that conceals a precious gift, the real treasure at the heart of this outgoing sign is its devotion to truth.  Ruled by Jupiter, the ever-roving ruler of Olympus, those born under the sign of Sagittarius are, as the poet Yeats wrote, “pilgrim souls”—lifelong seekers in pursuit of the priceless pearl of eternal wisdom. Thus it is that time of year to follow in the footsteps of the wise men and embark upon your own pilgrimage, guided by the star of truth that shines the way forward.

The mystical traditions of the world teach that life is a journey—a passage to a mysterious destination. The ancient Sufis pictured the journey of life as a caravan of seekers content to live lightly on the earth, storing up instead the treasures of the soul. “God’s creation is vast—why do you sit all day in a tiny prison?” wrote Rumi, “Go beyond your little world and find the grandeur of God’s world.” From the practical CEO to the responsible parent, within each of us, there is also a happy wanderer, a pilgrim soul in search of truth.

The month when the Sun is in Sag, it’s wise to connect with your inner pilgrim. When you do this with your imagination, your psyche receives it as real. Picture yourself shedding your everyday clothes and, along with them, the outer persona that you rely upon to interact with the world. Stripped of all pretense and guise, imagine next that you don a pilgrim’s robe—plain, sturdy, and hooded to symbolize your freedom from the strictures of individual identity.  Released from the cares and responsibilities of your daily life, a feeling of unbounded possibility descends; you feel gripped by a state of readiness. Departure on the trip of a lifetime is imminent.

Then, imagine that a call comes.  It could be the sound of a bell ringing in gentle overtones, the tinkle of camel bells signaling the arrival of a caravan of Sufi dervishes, the echo of a summons to join a band of wandering monks and nuns. Next, imagine following this sound and joining up with a band of like-minded pilgrims. Together, you are setting forth on a journey with no end and a path with no destination.

Taking up your staff, and girding up your robe, place your foot on the trackless road that opens wide before you. As you do this, a feeling of expansive freedom suddenly envelops you. Everywhere you look—to your right and to your left, behind you and before you—stretches an open horizon. As free as air, a happy wanderer, you traverse the cities and towns, mountains and meadows, of the wide, wide world, encountering fellow seekers and drinking in wisdom from earth’s sacred places.

After spending some time on this visionary quest, imagine that suddenly, you find yourself arriving at the place from which you first began. Taking off your robe and folding it as a keepsake talisman, you step back into your old identity and resume once again the challenges of the everyday circumstances you left behind. As the imagery of your spiritual pilgrimage fades, however, something lasting remains – an expansive, unfettered state-of-consciousness. Those situations that once seemed to restrict you, now appear altered when viewed through the new, broader perspective you bring to them. For though you may assume once again your former roles and responsibilities, there now dances within your heart the laughing soul of a pilgrim, for whom life is an endless, delightful journey toward God. The only proof that this is so, is the smile that lingers on your face.

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Libra New Moon Meditation


This New Moon the Sun and Moon are joined in the air sign of Libra. Thus this lunar cycle is a time to initiate one’s soul into Libran concerns; namely, beauty and loving each other with ever greater grace and skill. Though it might at first seem like beauty and relationship are separate qualities, anyone who has studied Librans in action has seen how naturally these “diplomats of the zodiac” are able to skillfully balance their needs with those of “the other.” It is this rare ability to create harmony out of the jangled notes of a fractious world that is a source of true and lasting beauty—and a sure sign of “Libra magic” at work.  One of the best ways to unite both qualities in your heart, is to tune into Aphrodite, the ruling goddess of Libra.

Aphrodite, the Spirit of Beauty

In a mythic twist of fate, the goddess of beauty was born of both tragedy and poetry, emerging, the story goes, from the seafoam of Uranus’ severed genitals. Swept ashore at dawn’s rosy light on the island of Cyprus, Aphrodite, as she was called, was greeted by the three dancing Graces – Brilliance, Flower-Bringer, and Heart’s Joy – who adorned her in jewels, placed her in a golden chariot drawn by white doves and took her to Mt. Olympus. So dazzling was her beauty, that Zeus immediately married her to the crippled craftsman Hephaestus in order to prevent jealous competition for her hand among the gods. It was Hephaestus, the goldsmith, who wove the fabled golden “girdle of Aphrodite,” the source of her bewitching magic to stir love and desire in all who beheld her. Among Aphrodite’s symbols are the white dove and the pearl, both images of her pure spirit and the precious, hidden treasure of feminine beauty.

Where can Aphrodite be found today? However crude or commercial, the love-goddess’s skill at artifice is on full display in Hollywood: at award ceremonies, audiences around the world thrill to the ritual procession of enchantingly bejewelled celebrities as they promenade down the red carpet. Hollywood hypnotizes because it provides that frisson of frivolous charm so utterly lacking in our utilitarian culture. But beauty, of course, is far more than physical perfection or ornate decoration. It is a spiritual organ of perception—not just how we look, but what we perceive in others and the world around us. It is the dimple in a child’s winning smile; a spring garden scented with lilacs; the honey from a bee; a painting, poem, or piece of music whose exquisite perfection stirs the heart. Awakening to the beauty around us, we become beauty ourselves. As the myths instruct, we ignore Aphrodite at our peril, for without beauty our souls become hard and dry, closed to the radiant miracle of creation.

One way to cultivate the spirit of beauty is to reimagine the birth of Aphrodite within your heart. Begin your meditation by creating an atmosphere of beauty that will attract her presence. You may, for instance, begin your New Moon meditation by adorning your altar with some flowers, as well as photos of loved ones; you may also want to play a piece of music that, to your ears, is serenely peaceful. Allow the music to pierce the shell of your heart, then let that rhythmic feeling fill the center within you, as the waves within the ocean. Next, imagine that this ocean of feeling has given rise to an emotion of sublime beauty: this is Aphrodite, emerging from the depths of your heart. She is the essence of beauty, the perfume of loveliness, the embodiment of grace and joy. She is all lithesome light and laughter. Bathe in her being, as she herself ritually bathes in the ocean once each year to restore her sense of wholeness. Feel wholly beautiful, inside and out.

After immersing yourself in the being of Aphrodite, open your eyes and survey the environment around you. Practice seeing the world through her eyes, rather than your own narrow vision. As you do, life appears transfigured, lit from within: the flowers on your altar radiate color; the photos of your loved ones reveal an inner dimension of soulful depth that you had never experienced before; the window opening to the sky outside is a vision of glory. THIS is the precious pearl that is the gift of Aphrodite – the vision of beauty animating all creation.

As your meditation comes to a close, make an offering of thanks appropriate to the goddess of beauty – a dance, a smile, or a graceful gesture. To continually renew the spirit of beauty in your life throughout the month, choose an article of loveliness – a scarf, a scent, a flower, or a treasured object  – to use as a talisman to re-invoke the goddess in your heart. Or, you may want to initiate a daily “beauty ritual” in honor of Aphrodite, such as taking a scented bubble bath, tending an exquisite flower, or complimenting a new person each day on something nice you have noticed about about them.

You can deepen your experience of Aphrodite by connecting more deeply with the Venus in your natal horoscope. What sign is she in? Which house? The answers will help to validate what you already know you need to be really happy. But it’s nice to hear the heavens agree.  For more, check out Dana’s Your Venus Unleashed report.

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Meditate with the Virgin


It is important for women to have the experience of living a “virgin” existence: a maiden alone, complete in herself, belonging to no man. –Tsultrim Allione

Virgo’s Virgin Goddess is an archetype of the Divine Feminine found in myths and religions since the beginning of time. She is the Egyptian Isis, “She Who Gave Birth to the Universe.”  She is the Roman Diana, “Lunar Virgin,” goddess of the sacred grove and Mother of Animals. She is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, the Divine child.

Virgo in Latin means “unmarried,” and, as Esther Harding has written,* the title of Virgin Goddess did not imply physical virginity, but the quality of being “one-in-herself.” Thus the Virgin Goddess is not the feminine counterpart of a male god, or even his partner. Instead she is the Mother of the World who stands alone as a divinity in her own right. This is symbolically reflected in the temple priestesses who eschewed marriage in order to perform the sacred rites and rituals of the Virgin Goddess they served.

MEDITATION: To attune to the Virgin Goddess, you may want to choose an image from history that is particularly meaningful to you. She may be the loving-hearted Virgin of Guadalupe, whose hands stream forth the light of compassion. She may be Isis nursing Horus on her lap, crowned with the crescent moon, or Diana in her torch-lit grove caring for her lively forest creatures. You may receive an image of her from your own imagination: your Virgin Goddess may be veiled with stars and mystery, or, like in a dream I once had, appear as a young, laughing, long-haired goddess who was the joyful embodiment of unconditional love.

When you have a clear image of the Virgin Goddess, imagine her seated within the temple of your heart. Like a holy rain, her qualities pour out from her, filling your being with grace, loveliness, simplicity, and, most of all, love. Experience her as the vital source of life itself, for though virginal in her integrity and completeness, she is the Mother of all creation and the original source of every being. She is the mother that you never had, or that your mother or her mother before her never had, as well. She is the one who heals you of your imperfections through the generosity of her forgiveness, and who contains you in the wide embrace of her acceptance. Her gift to you is healing love; the kind of happy, healthy affection that makes whole all that had been hidden in shame and woundedness.

After you have spent some time in communion with the Virgin Goddess, imagine that, out of love, you have dedicated yourself to her as a priestess or priest. In your devotion to the qualities that she represents, you may wish to create a ritual that celebrates her being throughout the month of September. Like all rituals, this rite will serve to remind you of that which is truly meaningful in life, marking a boundary between the sacred and the profane. Your ritual may be a silent moment each day at a certain time; words of prayer outside in nature; or an act of loving kindness for a creature in need. When you have finished designing your ritual, close your meditation with loving gratitude for your reconnection to the Virgin Goddess who is ever-present within and without.

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Leo New Moon Sun Meditation


“This is the miracle–
Every tree becomes beautiful
When touched by sunlight;
Every soul becomes God
When touched by the Sun of Tabriz” —  Rumi 1

This month’s New Moon takes place in gold-hearted Leo. Astrologers typically describe Leo as extroverted, playful, and creative. Yet perhaps because Leo is placed in the 12th house of my own natal chart, I find meaning in its deeper side, experiencing it as a kind of inner “pilot light.”  In this sense Leo can manifest as the spiritual light-force that powers our faith for, as Rumi writes, “He is the Sun in whose track every heart must follow.” 1

Mystics across the centuries, for instance, have spoken of the Sun as a doorway to the realms of spirit.  The Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat speaks of the Sun as a great Archangelic Being.  Ancient Sufis spoke of the “Midnight Sun” as a way to describe the soul’s encounter with the Divine. “Sun of the mystery,” “Sun of the heart, “Sun of the spirit”—these are among the invocations used by the 13th-century Sufi Najm Kobra in his teachings on light.

How can we rekindle the light of our soul hidden within us? How can we experience the Divine Light that is our original nature? To begin with, it helps to concentrate on the light we see reflected in nature.  Find a place to meditate outside, or position yourself near a window.  Soak in the sunlight that shimmers through the air and lovingly caresses the trees and plants. Feel yourself warmed by the Sun’s rays; allow your body to be filled with its vital, life-giving magnetism.  Close your eyes and, as you inhale and exhale, breathe in sunlight until your whole body is vibrant with light. Feel your aura radiate. Let your consciousness expand into space; be awed by the fiery plumes of light exploding from the Sun’s corona.  Spin with the planets as they encircle it’s mother star.

Next, imagine that your whole psyche is being bathed in a shower of light.  Allow every dark corner of yourself to be lit up; experience the Sun’s kindness as it generously melts away your fear, shame and guilt. The Sun is the ultimate lover: all your hard, unforgiving edges melt away in its broad, beneficent, light-giving Being.  Slowly, as you feel more and more filled with light, you may feel as if you have returned to a place that feels familiar.  For as it is taught in many wisdom traditions, your true self is a ray of light descended from the Sun of Suns, the Divine source. During the course of your journey on earth, however, the core of light within you became veiled, eclipsed by the darkness of forgetfulness and ignorance. Now, experience the joy and love that comes from reconnecting with your genuine heritage as a being of light.

Finally, close your meditation by experiencing the light coalesce into a solar disc within the inner chamber of your heart.  Recall, for instance, images of saints and prophets whose hearts were aflame with love of God, light streaming from this divine center through their fingertips, illuminating their faces, shooting out the top of their head in aureoles of luminescence.  It is the power of their faith that burns so brightly; it is knowledge of their true origins that generates their soft glow.  So remember, when life is hard, and the embers of faith burn low, that your heart, too, is a Sun, a “light upon light”   whose home is in the stars.


Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved, by Jonathan Star
2 The Man of Light In Iranian Sufism, by Henri Corbin

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Floating in the Ocean of the Moon


Old as the Moon is the ocean, earth’s watery womb and source of life. They’re a loving pair, these two, as the Moon measures out the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides. They’re our teachers too. To move instinctively with the rise and fall—the emptiness and fullness—of life’s cycles is the basis of Feminine wisdom. Recognition of this natural rhythm is the key to life.  Of course, the ocean’s tides are not observed in her depths—but at the coastal edge where land meets sea. Our own moods often rise and fall at the edge between our body’s experience and our psyche’s. Where these two meet we can observe the inner tides, also called forth by the pull of the Moon.

Seascape Meditation

To experience the rhythms of the sea as they are shaped by the Moon, imagine that you are lying on a remote, sandy beach. It is dawn, and a silvery Moon is descending into the horizon. The hushed roar of the ocean permeates the air, filling your ears with the sound of creation. The air is pungent with the smell of seaweed and saltwater. It is the gentle hour of the ebb tide, and as it seeps in beneath your body, you feel cradled in the loving arms of the ocean. Lifted up off the sand, your body rises and falls with the waves. Your breath becomes synchronized with the waves; you inhale and exhale in tune to the motion of the sea.

As the ebb tide recedes further and further from the periphery of land, you, too, are drawn away with it. Carried away from the coastline, you find that you have floated far into the trackless vastness of the ocean. Here, in contrast to the waves crashing on the beach, all is calm, still, and endlessly peaceful. For awhile, you float peacefully on the silver mirror of the sea. Imagine next that you are pulled down into the watery depths, where you become immersed in the ocean of life – the Mother of the Earthly world. Creatures teem about you in this aquamarine universe; fish of all shapes and sizes, plants and underwater mountain ranges. After your underwater sojourn, the ocean returns you to its surface, where the waves, pulled by an immense force, begin the long journey of returning you to land.

Now you find yourself riding the high tide towards the horizon. Above you, dusk has fallen, and the Moon has risen above the horizon. On the fullness of the high tide, you are carried on the foamy, moonlit waves toward the beach. Thrown up on the sand like a shell or a piece of driftwood, you feel shaped smooth by the Moon and ocean: made whole by the rhythms of the sea, and made wise by the knowledge that beneath the chaos and flux of everyday life, lies a deep, invisible intelligence.

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Earth and Water Make Clay: Capricorn Full Moon Ritual


On this Full Moon, the Moon is in the earth sign of Capricorn, opposite the Sun in the water sign Cancer.  Their gift to us lies in the interplay of the elements: earth mixed with water makes clay.  As told in ancient creation myths, the stirring together of elements resulted in the earth and all its creatures.  In the same way, by mixing these two elements together in a sacred way, we can work magic to invoke the spirit of creativity and art into our lives.  Just as, down through the centuries, the skilled potters, builders, and sculptors worked with the soft dough of clay to produce beautiful bowls and urns, adobe homes, and great works of sculpture.


Before beginning your Full Moon ritual, prepare a small container of water, a small container of earth, and an empty bowl.  Bring them to a quiet place where you can protect yourself from distractions or interruptions.  Ideal would be a spot outdoors in nature, a secluded garden beneath a tree, a tranquil patio, somewhere that allows you a good view of the eastern horizon, where the Moon will rise just after sundown.  You may wish to light candles and incense, or recite a prayer or sacred phrase from your particular tradition to calm your spirit.  Watching the breath – inhaling in, exhaling out – further deepens the energy.


The Full Moon is a time of heightened sensitivity for all above-ground beings.  Gradually open yourself to the vibrations around you.  Pay particular attention to the natural environment. (Even if you’re inside, you can still call to mind the trees, streams, breezes, plants and flowers of the elemental kingdom.)  Breathing calmly, with awareness, watch for (or imagine) the Moon’s rise.  As she lifts above the horizon, experience the sky lit with Moon beams, pouring down like blessings on Earth where you sit.  Sense the moonlight entering you with each in-breath.  With each out-breath, feel her silvery blue light coursing through your body.   As you bask in the Moon’s presence, feel your body bathed, inside and outside, with the soft rays of healing moonlight.  Experience everything around you lit up in a lovely incandescence.


Now think of the work you have been given to accomplish in life:  whether it is your work as a parent, a businessperson, a writer, a therapist, or a musician.  Next, place some of the dirt in the moonlit palm of your left hand, while honoring the earth element of Capricorn.  Think of hills, fields, and meadows; and their evolution through human culture as roads, abodes, and towns.  Now sprinkle a few drops of water into your right hand, honoring the water element in Cancer.  Think of the oceans, rivers, and streams; and their manifestation in human culture as the flow of emotion, the blessings of nurture and compassion.  Mix the two together and hold your hands up to the moonlight.  Ask that the creative spirit of this Sun/Moon cycle be breathed into your craft, bringing form and substance out of your


Cupping your two palms together in a gesture of prayer, bow in thanks to the Moon.  Bow again in expression of gratitude for your own participation.  Finally, bow in blessing to your loved ones, and to the world around you.  Pour the remaining dirt in the bowl.  Holding your hands over the bowl, rinse your hands with the remaining water, also pouring it into the bowl.Bring this bowl to your altar or to a special place in your home or office, where its presence will have a calming effect, and remind you of the creative spirit at work within you.  Sometime before the next New Moon, when it feels right to do so, return your sacred clay to the earth.

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Gemini Meditation: Your Wisdom Voice


Our spirit guide for Gemini’s New Moon journey is Mercury. This trickster god of small talk, idle speculation, and airy fantasies has another, deeper side. Known to the Greeks as Hermes, and to the Egyptians as Thoth, he is the god of wisdom, the inventor of writing and commerce, also the primary guide for travelers, including the dead who journey to the underworld. In the Tarot, he is pictured as the Magician. Mercury is the divine designer of alchemy, symbolized by his staff, the cadeucus, which transforms everything it touches into gold.

Mercury is also the son of the Moon, indicated by the crescent Moon atop his astrological glyph. His sacred task is taking us to the depths, so that we might return with a life-giving message of truth and wisdom. Soul talk, not small talk, is his real passion and that’s where he’ll lead you this month, should you care to follow.

To tune into the voice of wisdom at this Gemini New Moon, begin by filtering out the static that fills the air waves of our digital age. Imagine that you have returned to a time when the only sounds are those of nature-the wind blowing, water splashing, crickets chirping, and the deep solitude of a forest glen. Creating such a space is like stepping into a sunlit clearing in the midst of the overgrown forest of your life.

Hidden within this sacred chamber of nature, you find that your ability to hear grows keener. As you listen, scattered bird calls begin to sound like a musical arrangement. Rustling tree branches seem to be whispering words in your ear. The wind sighing sends signals that penetrate to your deepest layers. All of nature is like a holy being seeking to impart meaning. The universe, it seems, is trying to communicate with you.

Then, imagine that you hear a voice speaking directly to your soul. Like the voice who spoke to Job through the whirlwind, or the Greek oracle who, possessed by the spirit of Apollo, uttered parables of wisdom, the voice that speaks is the intelligence of the universe seeking to give you a message. You are the question; the voice is the answer. Whether in words, or an implicit sense of wordless knowing, this voice articulates truths to a question you have long pondered. Suddenly, you understand; understanding, your mind becomes transformed-clear as a light dawning, a sun rising.

As you sit within this chamber, continue to savor the wisdom imparted to you by the universe. Immerse yourself in the echoed reverberations emanating from the voice that has spoken. Like a precious keepsake, you vow to keep its imprint within your heart—a holy text to contemplate when life makes no sense or you are lost at a crossroads. Then, you will know to grow still and listen to the voice of wisdom that speaks both within and without to the listening ears of your soul.

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The Jinn Moon


If the veil that divides the visible world from the realms of the invisible could be parted this Full Moon, what sight might greet us? Perhaps a bevy of swirling astral spirits known as “Jinns” said by Sufi mystics to govern the mental realm. Like the genie in the magic lantern in the Arabian tale, Jinns put strange thoughts and magical wishes into our heads. That sudden thought, that puckish idea, that brilliant insight–all the work of the lively Jinns.

During this Sagittarius Full Moon the Jinns are out in full force–having extra fun, no doubt, given that Mercury is retrograde. If a Jinn has caught you, you may be brimming with ideas – lots of them, colliding and banging around in your head like so many crazy atoms, each one pulling you in a different direction. You may feel tired as your nervous system is overloaded from all the tantalizing possibilities, potentials, and enterprises the muse-like Jinns may be dangling before your entranced soul. Swept up by the exhilarating whirl like a teen at her first dance, you may feel ungrounded and disconnected from the slower rhythms of your physical body.

Containing your own creative fullness without spilling over into giddy chaos is a delicate art.  Each month, the Moon gives us a lesson in this very thing. She gradually builds from a slender crescent, then, at her peak, she empties out, beginning the creative cycle all over again. For artists, writers, spirit warriors, and entrepreneurs, the Moon in its full phase is nature’s example of equanimity and poise. A feminine holding of powerful energy. A living image of grace under pressure. A symbol of harmony and balance. The pregnant, peaceful Great Mother in the pause before birth.

How to handle the highly stimulating energy of this Full Moon? How to bear the inner chaos of rich creativity? For one thing, the ordinary activities of daily life–making the bed, folding the laundry, caring for children–can help to anchor the potent forces at play in the atmosphere. Working in the garden, walking in nature, or simply talking to a common-sense friend can help to keep your soul from being blown about by the winds of spirit.

The breath–the bridge between body and spirit–can also help. Here’s a practice that anchors into the breath using the three phases of the Moon as guides.  On your inhale, see in your mind’s eye the fresh crescent of the New Moon. See it grow with your inhaling count of four. Draw into your breath body all the excitement and energy generated by your creative projects desiring to come into form.

Then, as your imagined Moon reaches its fullness, contain your breath for seven counts, tuning into the pervasive stillness underneath the Full Moon . Practice holding the energy of peaceful equilibrium. Just as the Moon holds the light of the Sun, you are containing the Jinn-fueled energy of your solar spirit.

Exhale, allowing this Full Moon to wane, shedding its light, four counts. As you do this, let go of all your work, detaching yourself from any desired outcome, and consecrate your endeavors to the will of the gods and goddesses. Continue breathing this way until you feel transformed.

As the breath begins to work its magic, notice that both your mind and physical body are coming to a state of calm balance.  Like a tuning fork with perfect pitch, the rhythmic breathing crystallizes your being into a whole and elegant pattern of meaning.

This Full Moon, don’t allow your creative energy to dissipate into confusion and disorientation. Instead, learn to move in harmonious rhythm with the mischievous Jinns who are romancing your soul. Like a Sufi dervish, or the fully lit Moon who circles the earth, whirl round and round in cosmic harmony with these lively mental energies, becoming a still point at the center of the dancing universe.

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Taurus Meditation: A Ceremonial Ritual of Sacrifice


No zodiac sign is more grounded than Taurus. Yet its obvious “earthiness” obscures its more esoteric dimension. In the pre-Christian world, religious ceremonies often revolved around rituals of sacrifice. Bulls–the animal linked with Taurus–were commonly used in these ancient rites.  Consecrated to the Moon Goddess, the bull’s blood was sprinkled on stone altars and used in rituals of baptism and purification.

Few modern-day seekers would find meaning in the literal sacrifice of a living animal. But  its archetypal symbolism yields rich insights. Ceremonial sacrifice teaches that there is wisdom in giving something up in order to make room for the creative spirit of the new. It teaches that we cannot do or be all things at once.  This esoteric principle is fundamental to being “grounded”—the essence of Taurus. Paring down and stripping away limits us-but at the same time gives structure and shape to our free-form spirits.

Thus this Taurus new moon is a cosmically ordained time to create a ceremonial ritual of sacrifice. To begin your ritual, assess your life and determine what part of your inner character or outer life simply “needs to go.” Unlike banishing something unwanted, the ritual of sacrifice involves relinquishing something that is meaningful or important to us. You may find, for instance, that giving up your extroverted social life is necessary in order to bring forth some creative project. Or, it may be that you need to forswear your love of seclusion in order to allow a relationship to blossom. You may truly appreciate spending money on books, but need to sacrifice that in favor of an acupuncture treatment.  Making a sacrifice is a form of emotional ecology. By practicing principles of conservation in how we live our lives, we cultivate a healthier inner ecosystem.

After you have determined that part of your life that needs sacrificing, choose a spirit animal that symbolizes your choice. Our inner, human nature, the ancients realized, reflects the living realm of outer nature. A bird, for example, might stand for that part of you that loves getting together with friends. A  bull might signify the side of you that is assertive to the point of dominating the more sensitive, empathic side of yourself or others. A dove may embody the peace-loving part of you that prevents confrontation.  A cow may signify the part of you that is overly nurturing to the detriment of your professional life. A fox might symbolize your wily street smarts that has obscured the more innocent part of your soul.

Next, imagine that you are facing your spirit animal. Pay tribute to the creature before you, honoring its positive gifts. Then explain your reasons why it must leave and give voice to the new dimension it is being sacrificed for. After you have blessed your spirit animal, imagine that you have released it into freedom, whether through opening a gate, letting it fly into the air, or seeing it rejoin its wild peers. This may not be forever, but for a portion of time, until you are ready to welcome that part of your nature back into your life.

At first, you may feel grief at letting go of a cherished part of yourself. You may also feel touched by the love of the animal that has sacrificed itself for your sake. Gradually, however, you begin to feel the spacious opening that has been created through making this spirit sacrifice. There is room now within your soul for the birth of the new and the uprising of an  unexpected and unexplored part of yourself.  Finally, give thanks to the moon, give thanks to the realm of nature and all living creatures, and last, acknowledge the sacred principle of sacrifice and its usefulness in our everyday lives.

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 Dana’s 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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Aquarius Meditation: The Lightning Bolt


The Aquarius New Moon is a cosmically ordered moment to shake loose the restrictions that limit us from fulfilling our potentials.  It is a time to set the world on fire, symbolically speaking — to take risks, rather than remain safe. Look to your individual astrological chart to the house with Uranus in it, or that is ruled by the sign of Aquarius, to see where the trickster god might be hurtling lightning bolts and overturning entrenched convictions. With Uranus, it is out with the old — and in with the new.

Channeling the lightning bolt of transformational energy.

In order to channel Uranus’ lightning-like energy in a way that creatively reconfigures, rather than negatively destroys, imagine yourself in a place where you have felt most stuck. Maybe you are limited by lack of financial resources; perhaps you are blocked in love. It might be that you are restricted by a job you have outgrown. Or, your creativity might be stifled by doubt, or your relationship with a loved one might be at a dead end. Whatever it is, picture that situation as a darkened room that you can’t see your way out of.

Now, imagine that this room is suddenly illuminated by a flash of lightning-crackling with energy, sizzling the airwaves with heat, this bolt from the skies lights up every corner and crevice. Suddenly, the narrow perspectives that have limited you are revealed.  Another crack of lightning, and doors, windows, and archways appear. Through the openings they provide you glimpse large rooms filled with beautiful and unusual furniture and art. Outside the open windows, endless vistas roll toward distant horizons.

Catapulted into a visionary landscape teeming with colors, shapes, and structures, your mind feels electrified with insight and clarity; you are flooded with creative ideas. Your whole body tingles with light; your very cells are luminous with awareness. What had been dark, now melts in the glow of understanding. New patterns and possibilities that you had never considered before emerge into the light of your newly expanded consciousness. Brilliant solutions to your problems arise.

As you sit in this state of awakened intelligence, savor the miracle of creation. Receive into your soul the magnetic life force permeating the universe. And wake up to your true, limitless nature as a divine creature of the infinite cosmos.

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