Get out and play
I know you just started reading, but I suggest you stop reading for a moment, and quickly make a list of all the things that suck you in: routines, couches, assumptions, your phone, snacks, work, emotional patterns like worry, or other mental whirligigs. Don't think too much about it. Just write. Now take that list, fold it into a paper airplane, and launch it off a bridge or a rooftop or out of a window a few stories up. Or maybe you'd rather fold it into a paper boat, and send it off on a rogue wave. Or maybe you'd rather paint over it - perhaps a nice picture of a one-eyed furry fish getting ready for a hot date. (If you make and send me a drawing of that, I'll give you $25 off a consultation).
Whatever you do, don't treat your list like it's something sacred. Don't burn it in a ritual, or bury it under a magical herb surrounded by crystals in your garden. Take yourself, your sense of humor, your curiosity, and your list outside, and play with it. Go be silly. Go have fun.
The Chronology of the Month:
7/22/16 - Sun enters Leo: Time to play, fall in love, express yourself, and win some applause.
7/29/16 - Uranus stations retrograde: Shake things up to gain fresh in-sight.
8/2/16 - New Leo Moon: Align yourself with what brings you joy.
8/2/16 - Mars re-enters Sagittarius: Act on your re-ignited beliefs.
8/10/16 - Mercury enters its retrograde "shadow": Take note of the assumptions that get in the way of your perception; back up your devices & tune up your bike/car.
8/13 - 8/14 - Venus squares Saturn and opposes Neptune: Seek to harmonize the rifts between your dreams and reality through small, simple steps, direct actions, healing yourself, and helping others.
8/13/16 - Saturn stations direct in Sagittarius: Actualize what you most believe in through a solid plan, and steady, practical effort.
8/18/16 - Full Aquarius Moon: One of the most social moons of the year - spend this moon with a community that appreciates you and what you have to offer.
8/21/16 - Mars exits its retrograde shadow: Now you can really get moving!
8/22/16 - Sun enters Virgo: Time to read next month's post.
Sun in Leo: 7/22/16 - 8/22/16
When the Sun transits through the sign of Leo, it's time to awaken some part of us that is an eternally sparkly child - expressive, buoyant, and generous towards ourselves and others. This is different than the wounded child archetype. That's for another time. This year, it's particularly important that we tap into this cheerful and playful archetype because this will nourish and bolster us for next month's powerful energy blast and overhaul. Get out and play now. It's summer. There are flowers blooming, fruits ripening, sunshine galore, love to be felt, friends available to play with, and time enough to explore it all. Next month, there won't be time for these things. Drink them into your bones now. That marrow will see you all the way through the winter.
The Sun is in its strength in Leo, so you can embrace this energy by drinking solar infusions of herbs (a.k.a. sun tea).
Calendula is a quintessentially solar herb, capable of healing deeply held emotional wounds that get projected into relationships and other life circumstances. Healing old wounds can help break their accompanying projection patterns, so you can better see people for who they truly are, and move on to new experiences.
Or you may just want some peppermint and fennel to awaken a playful spirit.
Uranus Retrogrades: 7/29/16 - 12/29/16
The retrogrades of outer planets are, for the most part, a subtle shift from an outer focus to an inner focus. The days surrounding an outer planet's change in direction are the most significant, and can be felt more directly than the rest of the retrograde period. In the case of Uranus, we are looking for insight. This is another reason to get out and play. Play and getting outside of normal routines and comfort zones stimulate fresh ideas. Uranus likes to shake up our assumptions, so we can get into an A-HA state of mind. Because we're dealing with a retrograde, however, the A-HA is for you to work with within yourself. Once Uranus stations direct at the end of the year, those inner shifts will stimulate outer world shifts.
Uranus stations retrograde just two weeks before Saturn stations direct (see below for more on Saturn). Because these are big, slow planets, they are both basically at a standstill for about a month. These two ringed planets represent nearly opposite themes of limitation and liberation, reality and ideal. You may feel these themes like grit in the machine of your life this month. For now, endure it. With a little time and lubrication (awareness = lubrication), it'll flush out.
What kinds of change do you want to see in the world and in your life?
How can you create those changes in a micro-way, within yourself?
If you want world peace, how can you yourself be more peaceful, in ways that inspire peace in others?
If you want world leaders to have more integrity, how can you act with more integrity, in ways that inspire integrity in others?
We can apply this line of questioning to all kinds of problems, from racial inequity to greed. Uranus is a planet that teaches us about humanity as a species. Uranus has transited through Aries since March of 2011, and won't fully leave Aries until March of 2019. Uranus stimulates change, and in Aries, it wants action now, or better yet, yesterday.
The thing that can be easy to forget with a species-oriented rather than self-oriented outer planet is that any species is made up of individuals. The clearest, cleanest, and most lasting way we can create change in the world is by changing ourselves. This changes how we interact with others and alters the decisions we make, which can have immense ramifications, although perhaps with less glory than changing a law or staging a massive protest or writing a great book. Uranus, more than any other planet, teaches us that the individual is the gateway to the species. When it's retrograde, that's when we can best change the world through taking an honest look at ourselves and making some internal adjustments.
New Leo Moon: 8/2/16 at 1:45 PM PDT
Leo is an outgoing sign, but a new moon is an internal time. To best harness the opportunities of this moon, go within to discover exactly how you want to express and share yourself in the world. Make a wish on the new moon to put yourself in the way of joy, to find yourself in the midst of joy, to feel a rich warmth filling you, bubbling out from your core, and spreading hope and inspiration out into the world.
What people, activities, places, objects, and experiences spark joy in your heart?
What is the spine - the central backbone - of your life?
Does that spine feel true to you?
If so, how can you move through the world with more awareness of the spine that holds you up?
If not, what would feel like a truer, more supportive spine for you?
Leo rules the heart, so you may enjoy a heart-nourishing solar infusion of hawthorn berries, rose hips and petals. Hawthorn berries and rose hips are associated with Mars, an active planet on this day, further supporting the use of these herbs.
Closing up the 2016 Mars retrograde: 8/2 - 8/22
Three hours before the new moon on 8/2, Mars re-enters Sagittarius to close up its retrograde cycle through 8/21/16. Review what was going on for you when Mars was last in this section of Sagittarius, first going forwards and then moving backwards from March 5th through May 27th, 2016. Sagittarius is concerned with the big picture, with belief and faith. Mars is our active desire nature - the part of us that pursues what we want. While Mars was retrograde (4/17 - 6/29/16), it was time to turn that pursuit inwards, and discover what we believe in and are so deeply passionate about that we will do anything to attain. Now that Mars is back in Sagittarius, consider this:
What do you believe in? What do you have faith in?
Are your actions in alignment with your beliefs?
Do you need to gain or further develop any skills that support the furthering of your beliefs?
How can you put what you're naturally good at in service to your beliefs?
One last thing - Sagittarius loves to be outside. Mars likes exercise. Go play outside. Go hike in the woods and mountains. Let the stars and planets shine on you from the open sky, even when they're obscured by the light of the sun. Let the sun warm your skin. Get outside.
Saturn stations Direct: 8/13/16 (Retrograde since 3/25/16)
The planet most famous for slowing things down is moving extra slowly throughout all of August, and coming to a dead standstill on the 13th as it changes from backwards to forwards motion. Anything that's felt hung up since March should start moving forward by September, with the help of Saturn getting back up to speed in a forwards motion, and Mars exiting its retrograde shadow. These potent manifestors of our solar system both retrograded in Sagittarius, so your freedom of movement and the expression of your beliefs may have felt hung up. That gave you an opportunity to adjust those beliefs, and adjust how you express and live out those beliefs. Sagittarius loves to roam in nature, so take a hike, and consider these questions:
Again - What and whom do you really believe in?
Do you believe in yourself, and in what you are doing and creating in the world?
How can you give an expression of your truest and best beliefs to society?
What kinds of structures, boundaries of time and intent, and plans do you need to build such a thing?
Full Aquarius Moon: 8/18/16
Leo is one of the signs that really knows how to take experiences in deeply. That's why it's able to give so much out. This is why artists need to take in the art of others, and why chefs need to go out to eat at other restaurants, and why healers need the work of other healers, and why everyone needs the art and food and healing of such artisans and beyond. We need each other.
Aquarius teaches us the importance of community. We need to give of ourselves (Leo) to each other (Aquarius). We need a community to give to - a community that gets us.
Who are your people?
Who appreciates who you are and what you do?
Whom do you appreciate, and/or wish to emulate?
Which individuals and communities spark and share your joy?
Cook up some Lion's Mane mushroom at this full moon, or ingest it as an extract. All mushrooms help to connect us to community, and the nerve and brain function support of this particular mushroom will be helpful as we head into eclipse season, which is classically hard on the nerves and a time of big lessons.
Closing up a year of Jupiter in Virgo: 8/11/15 - 9/9/16
We are coming to the tail end of a year of benevolent, expansive Jupiter in conscientious and helpful Virgo. Take a moment to look back on this year, from the second week of August 2015 through the first week of September 2016. Did you overextend yourself, and help others too much to the point of neglecting yourself? Did you take a strong stance in favor of your health through adjustments in diet, exercise, meditation and self care? Did you commit to learning more about the things that inspire you, and broadening your skill set?
Whatever you did with Jupiter in Virgo, it's time to wrap it up, snag any last lessons you can from this influence that won't be back around for another eleven years, and get ready for our leap into Libra next month. In the meantime, these inquiries may be helpful:
What is a small, simple daily practice that connects you to your truth, and that you can maintain even when life gets chaotic and demanding?
(Examples: 3 yoga poses upon waking; 10 deep, belly breaths before bed; 5 minutes of visualizing your favorite color; a walk around the block after dinner; 10-20 minutes of writing while you drink your coffee or tea in the morning; etc)
What is one small change you can make that will greatly improve your self care over time - some daily or weekly practice, or one small dietary change?
Is there a way you can create a personal practice with your worldly skills that nourishes you?
When you zoom out from the details of your life to catch the big picture, is everything copacetic?
Take better care of yourself and stay connected to what matters to you, but do it in a way you can sustain over time. That's the takeaway from this year. Most of us can't sustain two hours of meditation every day unless we live in a monastery. And who, reading this blog, lives in a monastery? But also, we fall apart if we constantly give and go and do without regularly nourishing ourselves in small, simple, healthful ways that benefit our bodies, minds, and spirits.
Virgo likes to clean things out and make things orderly, and since Jupiter rules the liver, now is a good opportunity to spruce that mighty organ up. I recommend agrimony, an herb of Jupiter, as an herbal infusion or tincture. It reduces inflammation, tonifies and cleans the liver, kidneys, intestines and blood, purges negativity and heaviness, and renews one's faith in life.
Get outside and play this month. Next month, we roll up our sleeves and get to work. It's a free for all in the heavens with a solar eclipse in Virgo, a lunar eclipse in Pisces, Jupiter entering Libra, the third and last exact square between Saturn and Neptune, and another Mercury retrograde period (8/30 - 9/22).