Studying the Stars

Last night’s full moon was in Aries. The constellation is an actual place in the sky, so “full moon in Aries” just means that’s where the moon is located in the sky for the next week or so. Full moons are significant scientifically because the moon’s gravitational force is greatest at this time, affecting the ocean tides more than any other time.

The fact that the moon rules the ocean tides amazes me. How can that be? How can the moon pull the ocean waves around? The moon has its own gravity is the short answer. The long answer is like higher math, incomprehensible but also beautiful, at least to me. For a long time, I used science facts about the moon to defend my reading of the stars.

These days, I don’t try to convince anybody that astrology has merit. It’s the same with reading the tarot. I interpret tarot and astrology because divination is in my blood. My great-grandmother read the cards and tea leaves. During the Great Depression, her readings kept her large family fed. That impresses me. Having been a single mom, I know how hard it is to raise a family on a woman’s wage.

The taboo against astrology began with the advent of the One God. Astrology was a pagan tool from ancient times, which is why believers in the One God were schooled not to look to the heavens, not to look to the stars, for answers about the meaning of life, for predictions about what happens next, for a clue about which path to follow. Not looking to the stars seems ironic, because the One God is in heaven, right?

I use tarot and astrology to spark ideas. They’re starting points for me, and they’re about possibilities more than predictions. The more esoteric meanings of a full moon in Aries engages passion, energy and courage. It’s a time to take action, break chains that would hold us back, and savor the freedom and confidence that ensues.

This moon may see a sudden and drastic change in your life. Or maybe not. What I like to do is be ready. Just in case. So far, I’ve not had any sudden or drastic change in my situation, but I will keep you posted if it happens. 🙂

In general, full moons, and the two weeks after, are times of change. When events reach the fullness of their manifestation. Maybe what this full moon means for me is having the courage to lay some of my private inner practices out here on the page.

Strawberry Moon

Full moons are always about the fullness of life, when something or everything has reached a peak. This full moon is special because it is happening at Solstice, the longest day of the year. Native Americans called this particular moon the Strawberry Moon because it signaled that the fruit had ripened to its fullest flavor.

My life has been pretty full-to-bursting in the last few weeks. Feels like I’ve been on roller skates half the time. Let’s see, bought a house, finished edits on my Christmas novel, designed and ordered promotional material for my series, wrote out the lecture for my workshop coming mid-July, joined Sisters in Crime, signed up for a workshop in police procedure in Wisconsin, revised WIP chapter for critique, started summer walking program…I am replete with this summer moon energy.

Now, it’s time to relax. Now it’s time to release. To let go. To spend some time quietly gathering strength for the work to come. To refill the well. To make strawberry crumble and serve it with vanilla ice cream. Because as much as I want and need to replenish my inner self, I also need to replenish those pantry and fridge shelves with healthy food. Grocery shopping waits for no woman.

I realize I slipped “bought a house” in there … the deal is not yet complete. It’s an awesome step of a lifetime, I’ll say that. Al and I are happy and amazed, and you’ll be hearing a lot about this decision in the weeks and months to come, as the impact is going to change my life in considerable ways. But not for awhile.

Other changes are coming sooner. Smaller but significant ones, like the turn my writing life is taking toward the darker parts of the human heart. I have written six novels loosely classified as “women’s fiction.” I wanted to write about the light. About love. About home and family. It’s what I knew, it’s what I struggled to make real for the first half of my actual (as opposed to fictional) life.

I’ve had a bit of resistance to this turn in my fiction writing toward the darker aspects of the human heart, but only a little. I know I need to follow where my creativity wants to take me. I’m gathering my courage, and my research, for this new direction, this new work-in-progress. Yet another something that is too new, too unfinished, to talk much about. Just to say that when I took one of my characters out of Blue Lake and put her in Detroit I really had no idea what I was in for. But it’s fine.

Character and setting are so aligned in my mind that I soon realized I would not be able to write this book without being honest about Detroit and that means I need to talk about race. Also guns, drugs, and corruption, but race, that’s a scary thing. The thing I resisted writing about the most. Racism is so far from love.

And yet, I am going there. I’m taking my writing, and in fact my life, to places that will require courage. Also knowledge, which is why I’m doing the police academy seminar, but mostly the new things in my life, the things just coming now, will require courage. I have never thought of myself as a particularly courageous person, in fact quite the opposite. I like feeling safe. But to grow into fullness, in writing and in life, I must gather my courage. Also strawberries.

 

Serious Moonlight

If we let it, the full moon tonight will work in perfect harmony with things we want to come true in 2015. I’m not one to make resolutions in the new year. I resolve to make changes, take actions and move forward with my life’s purpose every single morning.

But 2014 was an unusual year for me, so with this first 2015 new moon I thought it couldn’t hurt to ritualize my daily habit of trying to do my best. First, do you know what you want to accomplish with your life? Try to clarify that if you can. I want to love and be loved. That’s really it, although this love business manifests in a few different ways for me: writing, relationships, health.

Writing

My goals for writing have always been simple: to write the best books I can and to keep a daily writing routine. I feel that writing is a sacred gift that steers me through life, so I am humbled and grateful when anyone else reads and appreciates my words. I’d do it even if I was certain I was the only person in the world who’d ever see a word I wrote. Me and Emily Dickinson:) But even Em, with her carefully stitched manuscripts tucked into a box under her bed, sent some of her work out into the world.

This year’s first new moon calls for us to take action on our life goals, and in that spirit I have stretched a bit further this year, resolving, like Emily, to take my work out into the world by setting up readings, book signings and some other things truly out of my comfort zone. Too often with resolutions, we don’t do the footwork so much as make a wish. This new moon demands we put in real effort, something beyond saying the words. So what else can you do to forward your goals? Maybe something you’ve been hesitant to try? Now is the time to go for it, because success is in the stars.

Relationships

I have a new grandchild coming. I was blessed with little Owen last year, and now his cousin is set to come into this world in 2015, and that kind of love, well, you need to experience it to understand it. I certainly had no idea of the bigness that would be my love for Owen. It’s pure and it’s powerful. I’d like all my relationships to be that way, so effortlessly full of kindness and compassion.

So, for the action portion of this intention, I will use a mindful meditation that focuses on lovingkindness. I have meditated daily for many years, and only occasionally have I added this extra piece to the practice. You begin by summoning up a mental image of a particular person. There is a sequence some teachers recommend: such as a friend, an acquaintance, an enemy, a loved one, a stranger. If you need self-love, as I do, include yourself. In fact, start there. I kind of just let this part flow as far as the mental pictures, and there are words too. These can be any variation on one Spirit Rock mantra: “May I feel protected and safe/may I feel contented and pleased/may my physical body support me with strength/may my life unfold smoothly, with ease.”

And of course, through it all, breathe, notice thoughts, let them go.

Health

Self-love. Self-care. I have not done much of it in this life. Writing has taken care of the inner me. For most of my life, I kind of just let the outer Cindy fend for herself. She’s getting on in years. In 2015, I will be 60 years old. I want to be kind to my physical body this year by giving it what it needs and reversing or slowing down the habits that help me stay in false security. I’m talking about soothing substances…food, drink, chemicals…I put into my body and the frequency and enthusiasm with which I choose unhealthy stuff.

Actions here include keeping a food journal, working on a book about health and diet with my friend Lisa, and getting rid of the pounds accumulated since Thanksgiving by working Lisa’s plan and counting calories. I’m also focused on physical movement, yoga every day, and walking more, because we writers are not known to be a particularly active bunch.

So that’s my third intention and the actions I will take as this new moon comes into fullness tonight. To love myself, body and soul, and to treat this slightly tattered package with the care it deserves.

What about you? What will you do for your one vast and beautiful life in 2015? Whatever it is, do it now, with sacred intention, and you will see serious moonlight results.

Hunters’ Moon

Photo on 10-5-14 at 10.55 AMA total eclipse of a full moon is a big deal, and we’ve got one coming this week. Native Americans called this moon “Hunters Moon” because it was time to go out, aim arrows, and bring home the meat that would see the tribe through winter.

We still have our hunters, and they are out during this lunar eclipse. Just about everyone will feel a shot through the heart on October 8, with shocking news, the big feature of a total eclipse full moon, taking each of us by surprise.

This news could be business-related, romantic, or even concerning your health. What eclipses do is reveal information about a situation that you were not fully aware of … and now that you know the full story, it changes everything. There is no turning back, so you have to deal. Eclipse news is always final, but you have a choice about how to handle it and the new information will help you make the best decision for you.

One caveat: we are also in a period of Mercury Retrograde, and because Mercury rules communication, it would be easy for you to misinterpret the information you receive. Pay close attention, ruminate, take notes, think back to that last eclipse April 15. Whatever came up then is likely to be resolved now, one way or the other, forever.

This is why I’m lying low in October. I’m going to take the blast from the eclipse (because the news will be jarring, whatever it is) and think about it, reflect upon it, write about it. And I’m going to wait to act until I’m sure I have all the facts straight.

I don’t know what to expect. This news can be in any number of spheres: personal, work, or health. Things have been stirred up for me for awhile, and I can think of something in each of these areas that needs resolution, so anything can happen. I’m excited about it, though, because even if the news that comes from this hunters’ moon seems sad at first, the stars promise that it is beneficial in the long run.

Total lunar eclipses, which always mean the end of one thing and the beginning of another, are not to be feared. They are here to help us understand a situation close to our hearts more clearly, and in positive ways.

And who knows? If your heart is a lonely hunter, cupid may draw back his bow and let his arrow fly. If work has been stagnant, a shake up may initially worry you, but in the end it will be so good for your career. As for health, take care of any little thing immediately and all will be repaired before it gets big.

Happy huntingJ