I've spent the last few weeks prepping a workshop for my friends at Sacred Space on the New Moon. I've spent weeks prepping a whole lot of different projects, looking sideways at old projects as suddenly they seem a little threadbare, just not quite right anymore. I've been feeling a little jostled, deeply unsettled. Old assumptions are being shook loose in uncomfortable ways and there's shit rattling around inside me. There is a lot of internal pressure. It isn't comfortable. Things, but mostly unimportant things, have been accelerating. Important things feel far away and neglected. I strongly recognized an old coping skill - the saying yes too quick, the over scheduling and overworking, the burying myself in under-compensated work because somehow work is where I find my self esteem. Rather than, say, really doing my own work or letting the closer to me relationships fuel my I'm-okay-and-I-am-worthy, fire. That coping skill seems to be infiltrating my days like an infestation. It's everywhere. I smack it in one place and then it starts laughing right behind my shoulder.
And then the great blizzard of middle April, a kind of grande finale to a pitiless winter that has basically sucked the marrow out of every one I know.
All the noise stopped. All the things were suddenly cancelled. My husband went out for an afternoon with his friends and they got stranded, safe but stranded, so the dog and I sat by the window and watched the snow drop, the wind blow, the street go empty. I stepped out into yard around midnight. The snow reached my knees. Where it had banked it reached midthigh. The snow and the sky reflected one another; it was bright as day. Bright as day but soft and wierd. Bluey. Like walking on the moon.
I was suddenly in a landscape that was solitary, with a stretch of days in a row that were hollow and bare.
I picked up my pen. I only managed to write one sentence. It's a good sentence. A hard wrought one. Some sentences take twenty years or so to get themselves on paper.
New Moons are generally mild, introspective, a time to welcome the new. But this one, this one has something like emergency to it. I melted the frost on the window with my palm. There is little in my kitchen but bread and apples. But all of this seems okay. It is alright. Spring is going to come, eventually. And when it does I will be ready for it. I've been making myself ready for it for so long. A few days of cloistered space and raging weather might be exactly what I most need to let the last inner rattling unhook itself from my lungs.
Rather than let all my prep work fall to nothing (which hey, would be okay. Generally that's what happens to prep work), I'm going to try to rephrase some of it here in a way you can use on your own. Take it and run.
Little prelude -
Aries: the spiritual warrior, the pioneer, the daredevil, the survivor
moon and sun power, combined. Add mercury finally pulling out of retrograde and going direct. As if that's not enough, Uranus, said to be a goddess of chaos making in the name of all things holy, mistress of truly not giving a fuck, Uranus is in conjunction with the new moon in Aries for the last time in the next 80 years. You basically have a pissed off tiger being set loose from a cage. Or, maybe, a blizzard descending on your aching for spring spirit. It's untamable, unequal distribution of forces, a mad shake down of what isn't stable enough to support truth and a siren cry for honesty as the only thing that will come out the other side. Go forth or go home.
the Influence of Aries is youthful boldness, the beginning stage of evolutionary growth. It is hot with life. It wants to rush headfirst into things regardless of difficulty, obstacles, or consequences. It tends to not quite understand, consequences. Until afterward. Headiness is arian, both in terms of stubbornness and intelligence. There is a fierce independent streak and this leads to innovation, bravery, and a general tendency toward self-taught wisdom.
Arian challenges: maintaining consistancy, impatience. If unchecked, impatience and self will boil over into anger and an aggressive tone to thoughts, words, and behaviors. Aries has a high emotional vulnerability, despite the bold. Mars, Aries' ruling planet and symbol of our strength, our courage to defend ourselves and our principals, the righteousness of rage and the energy that comes from truth, is debilitated by the moon. When Aries can turn innate brightness and intelligence, his courage and boldness to greater ends than the merely brash, higher purposes unfold. Learning the rewards of sacrifice and the power of discipline are key.
the lessons Aries teaches: creative intelligence and the soul's longing for self-awareness are being developed under Aries in the here. and. now. Exclamation point. The restless, wandering, alone in the hills tendency comes from not feeling emotionally at peace. Transforming that innate dis-ease through discipline, commitment, sacrifice, and compromise results in the development of self trust, authenticity, and right action. Aries is all about the difficulty and beauty of learning the truth of overcoming ego to fully express the soul.
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac. Youths know the deepest truths instinctively and passionately, without qualification. They know right and wrong, yes and no in a self referential, unfiltered way. They know it in a way olds tend to forget, given all of their baggage. Think of how children speak profundity. Think of how without bias they love. Think, too, of how impetuous and stubborn a toddler can be with his leap before looking desires. Think of how we all, regardless of who we are, sometimes tap into this nobility in the name of children. We'll do things for children - have the strength to do things - that we would not do for ourselves. There is no debate. There's no question. Three is unfathomable love. There is not a single moment's hesitation.
The challenge here is how to express the power, the rage, the love and the righteousness without giving over to the merely selfish. It's a question of finding your voice. But finding the true power of your voice is different than 'me! me! me!' all the time, isn't it?
Questions for reflection:
- What is something deeply firey, elementary true, primal and passionate for you?
- In what ways are you naive around this truth?
- How could commitment, discipline, and sacrifice bring the truth out of the infantile and into the fully realized? Get specific: commitment doesn't work well as abstraction. What are three practices you can apply on a daily or semi-regular basis, in a consistent way? What is something you can positively commit to in 15 minute time slots or once a week rituals?
- What has to be sacrificed? What does the idea of sacrifice feel like? How has reactivity around sacrifice or avoidance of sacrifice worked out, so far?
- Who could help? And why in god's name are you trying to do it on your own? Just like the idea of sacrifice, the idea of relationship tends to trigger things. What issues of self-esteem, control, of letting yourself be seen or not being center hit your gut most squarely?
- What is possible if you make a commitment and keep to it for six months? A year, or ten? Tell me that isn't revolutionary.
Use your scents -
aromatherapy works incredibly well on our emotional/mental layers because its a mainline to the limbic structures of your brain and nervous system. Aries is a sign of daring and adventure, but on more essential and primal layers it's a sign of survival. The recklessness and boldness comes from an emotional vulnerability and inner discomfort. The working through of this is a balancing of out-in-the-world action with inner reality: freedom.
Rosemary is ruled by the sun in Aries. It is pungent and purifying, but it's also a soother. It's good for when we've been pushed past or limits (or have pushed past our own limits. Ahem.)
Here are two combos you can use. Use these combos in a diffuser, or put them with a carrier oil or moisturizer.
In the world blend:
- 2 parts rosemary
- 1 part cedar stability, patience, integrity
- 1 park frankincense the consoler. Astringent, bitter, sweet. The bible says that Adam was given frankincense as a consolation for losing Eden. Debatable whether it worked, but the need for grief is part of Aries' teaching.
- maybe a hint of lime: cooling, fresh, bright.
In the heart blend:
- 1 part rosemary
- 2 drops juniper for wisdom
- 2 drops pine to help recognize that which endures in the heart from those we have loved
- 1 drop rose lends toward forgiveness of oneself and others.
Build an altar
If you already have an altar, refresh it in the next few days. Revisit and revise. New moons are always time for this, but Aries, being the first sign of the zodiac, invokes a particular urgency to revision. Things that you thought you wanted might not mean anything now.
What was sacred changes.
If you don't have an altar, make some kitchen magic. A little bowl tucked on the windowsill will do. Or hold space at the front of your yoga mat for something objectively special.
- again, Rosemary. Sage would also be a good one.
- symbols, objects, or images of lessons learned or bridges burned. Go ahead and invoke what hard lessons you've had and honor the people and dreams you've lost, but still carry. You still carry them. They still carry you.
- symbols, objects, or images of actions, adventures, experiences, leadership. What summits do you want to reach? This is the pioneering, cliff hugging, leap taking Ram we're talking about.
Take a long hot bath or shower in a ritual way. Ritually cleanse.
Fresh and shiny, spend some time with your altar, your journal, your art. Or have a heart to heart with a friend. Consider:
- turning point. Recent weeks and months have been conflicted and confusing and bumbling, but going through such things provokes if not outright radicalizes growth. We have better understanding, now. We have a greater awareness of our actions and their effects. We can see the need for forgiveness and mindfulness more clearly and call ourselves on our bullshit. And, we can see past the superficial or the bombardment out there in the world to what's underlying, necessary, essential. Don't go backward.
- Leadership, authenticity, taking the leap. Where are you typically a follower when you could be leading? Where do you need to break free from the crowd or old influences? How do you really find and trust your voice, your wisdom, your right to survival?
- advocacy. The truth is, it isn't about you. Look how there has been a steady push to go backwards: backwards on civil rights, racial justice, democratic ideals. The push for social change has been hinted at and repressed for hundreds of years without ever really coming to fruition. The repression is strong, now. But everywhere repressive, backwards forces press down, there is uprising and resistance. This is the time, seriously, to lay the seeds of deep evolutionary and social change. Those roots need to be stronger, go deeper, and spread to more places. Emergent strategy, to the full.
- write a list, some intentions or wishes, or a prayer.
- Then light a candle. Light the same candle, repeating your list or prayer, every day or night or week until the full moon (April 29). As the moon waxes, so does your attention. Lay those samskaras, deep. Do a thing once and it's interesting. Make it a ritual and it takes on a power of it's own. Some people say you shouldn't blow the candle out; you'll destroy the spark. Instead, snuff the candle.
Off the mat suggestions
- Challenge, push, adventure with your body. Play. Find things you've never done before. Use your movement practice to emphasize the pushing edges there, expands your boundaries elsewhere truth.
- Go on an adventure
- Take a chance. I'm not saying be high-risk. I'm saying you don't know if you don't try.