The 3 of Swords asks us to take a New Moon approach to our thought process, and to let communication feel collaborative and inclusive, says Melinda Lee Holm …
Let the dazzling city sprawl before your ruby slippered feet! Gemini energy invites us to crack ourselves wide open to every possible pathway as we stand on the threshold and just let it all curiously unfold. The zodiac’s winged teenage wonder offers us every shade and flavor of the rainbow for the sampling. So slip into your high-tops and hit the streets as you listen and look and learn without prejudice. Say yes to “both and” and trust that it ALL can actually be true. Free your mind, and the rest will most definitely follow …
The keyword: Possibility
The song lyrics: “Depending on you see a thing/The ship is free, or is it sinking?/Depending on how you see it/You cage your mind, or you free it/Depending on how you see the times/The world divides or it closely binds”-—Deee-Lite, “Good Beat”
Check out our Gemini season playlist, complete with synth pop, backyard jams, and curious crooners.
The color palette: mood ring swirls and iridescent shifts: prisms, bumblebee topaz, glitter flecks, soap bubbles, and diaphanous blue butterfly wings.
The style: street smart androgyny meets Rainbow Brite’s prom. Multicolored high-tops, metallic blazers, sparkly backpacks, delirious prints, razored haircuts, angelic ruffles, plastic bangles, and snap bracelets.
The scents and flavors: cheekily youthful and deliciously varied. Tapas and mezze platters, kitchen sink ice cream sundaes, candy grab bags, street cart eats, bodega treats, and lunch box snacks.
The healing: locally grown and mentally acute. DIY crafting, puzzles, game nights, stepping out in a new neighborhood and of course, gab fests with friends.
Sensuous Invitation of the Month: Classic YA Novels
Ruled by Mercury, Gemini season invites us to play with shifting perceptions and keep our perspectives fresh, sharp, and deliciously innocent. Our Mercury sign reveals both how we communicate and process information, but also our overall “worldview”—the window we look out of and how it affects the landscape below.
Below, your sign-by-sign guide to getting scholastically dreamy while tucked into a teenage hideout where it all seemed possible …
**New to your birth chart? Discover your Mercury sign here!
Mercury in Aries
Gemini season invites you to delight in your penchant for mental combat and quick conclusions, while staying open to collisions with the world that shake up your viewpoint. YA Novel: The Song of the Lioness Quartet. Clashing identities, fierce femininity, and the classic quest.
Mercury in Taurus
Gemini season invites you to infuse some of your slow and steady practical thinking with diverse approaches. YA Novel: The Babysitter’s Club. Pragmatic problem solving and financial know-how meet slumber party fun and group consciousness.
Mercury in Gemini
Gemini season invites you to notice when all the mental chatter and informational intake distracts you from your gut perceptions and individualistic perspective. YA Novel: Sweet Valley Twins. Hallway gossip, cheerleading squads, and finding distinction within partnership.
Mercury in Cancer
Gemini season invites you to return to past memories from a fresh angle and explore which of your core beliefs still serve you. YA Novel: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Religious heritage, family roots, and the challenges of leaving the nest.
Mercury in Leo
Gemini season invites you to rediscover a sense of playful expansion in your daily dealings with the world, and to loosen your ego and open yourself to “foreign” languages. YA Novel: Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Golden ticket specialness meets the scrumptiously strange lands of vivid imagination and lickable wallpaper.
Mercury in Virgo
Gemini season invites you to honor your desire to hone your skills and become an expert, while releasing your grip on always needing to get it “right.” YA Novel: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Forbidden field trips, experiential learning, and museum mystery.
Mercury in Libra
Gemini season invites you to use your capacity to understand both sides to mediate between perspectives and challenge everyone’s thinking. YA Novel: To Kill a Mockingbird. Ethics, stepping into each other’s shoes, and the search for courtroom justice.
Mercury in Scorpio
Gemini season invites you to discover the deep joy in penetrating beyond the veil and investigating the mystery, no matter the stakes. YA Novel: The Hunger Games. Primal perceptions, mental endurance, and survivalist viewpoints.
Mercury in Sagittarius
Gemini season invites you to try on different versions of the truth curiously without having to commit. YA Novel: Weetzie Bat. Punk-rock LA, political progressivism, wishful thinking, and unexpected conclusions.
Mercury in Capricorn
Gemini season invites you to let your old-soul thinking and “real” world perceptions. YA Novel: The Catcher in the Rye. Coming-of-age realizations, necessary lessons, and the courage to rediscover what really matters.
Mercury in Aquarius
Gemini season invites you to revel in out-there perceptions and challenge group consciousness to summon your true tribe. YA Novel: The Outsiders. After-school rebellion, outlaw risk taking, and the search for true belonging.
Mercury in Pisces
Gemini season invites you to let magical thinking pave the way to concrete action. YA Novel: Alice in Wonderland. Strange trips down the rabbit hole, mental expansion, and the ability to mindfully mix fantasy and rationality.
In a world of hookup culture, where’s the soul connection? Gabriela Herstik lays down her high-vibe dating deal-breakers…
Material girl, mystical world. It ain’t always easy. Take dating, where finding a partner you click with, who also shares the same values as you, can be a minefield. In a world of hookup culture, where’s the soul-connection? And you shouldn’t have to explain what the position of the moon has to do with your pressing and urgent need to sage wash your iPhone. Right?
And then there’s food. Apparently November is World Vegan Month (we were clueless too), which led some company to publish research showing 1 in 3 would NOT date a vegan. Like, even if he happened to be Liam Hemsworth! It goes without saying that having BBQ for every meal is a swipe-out in our Numiverse. Here are 5 more high-vibe dating deal-breakers…
1. Not being a feminist
Honestly ya’ll, it’s 2016. How is it that Hillary Clinton was up for president against someone with literally zero experience in any sort of government, and who is openly a racist bigot, and yet a vote for her still wasn’t a no-brainer. Intersectional feminism is vital for deconstructing patriarchal structures that affect women all over the world—from the wage gap, to war-mongers who use crimes against women as ammo, to the violence experienced by queer and trans women in the United States. So if you’re not down for feminism, I’m not down for you. Awaken or leave me be.
2. Not respecting my spiritual beliefs
You don’t have to understand why I do what I do. You don’t have to read the tarot, come to yoga or even have to believe in a higher power. But you know what you DO have to do? RESPECT MY BELIEFS. Because there’s nothing more low-vibe than judging someone for what they believe. And obviously this goes both ways, and can be an amazing way to grow together! Amelia Quint of The Midheaven sums up her high-vibe relationship perfectly: “When Zach and I met, I still kept some Christian philosophies and he was atheist. Now we’re both cosmic space children. Don’t write someone off because of their beliefs. Follow your heart and soul.” AMEN SISTER.
3. Being closed-minded
I know that the occult is not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s totally fine. I feel the same way about sports. But the sexiest thing you can wear is an open mind! This goes for any sort of relationship: them not being willing to learn or listen is a major red flag. A conscious relationship means being open to the full experience each other brings, after all. You have to be willing to taste some of the salty and sour to truly enjoy the sweet, and being open to all experiences makes life way more delicious.
As someone who has been gaslighted and manipulated by past partners for sharing my feelings and emotions, I am NOT down with non-communication. If I can try and communicate with my higher power, you can try and communicate with me! When you’re in a space of deep self-exploration, being able to talk to your partner about what you’re learning, how you’re changing, and what’s no longer working is vital. We are all mirrors for one another, after all, and as you deal with your own shit you’ll more than likely see it reflected in your partner as well. If you can’t talk to them about it—even fight about it—then the relationship has nowhere to expand.
5. Disrespecting Mother Earth
As we witness the water bearers and Native people of Standing Rock struggle against the government for basic human rights, we’re reminded of ALL our responsibilities to Gaia—our Earth. Which makes being disrespectful of our planet—whether it’s littering or having zero regard for your carbon footprint—is a total deal-breaker. Like, IF YOU CAN’T RESPECT YOUR MOTHER HOW CAN YOU RESPECT ME?? We all walk this Earth together, and it’s on us to protect her for the sake of generations to come. You don’t have to be a total hippie to get this, but if you’re not FOR the Earth, you’re against her—and that’s just not okay.
A week that’s been all about finding and using my voice, as we get ready to #tuneinpeaceout...
:: MONDAY ::
OMFG finally did the Mayers Briggs personality test. OMFG mind totally blown. (And not just cos my personality “type”—Advocate—also includes MLK, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Theresa, lol. #TuneInPeaceOut)
:: TUESDAY ::
A Skype session with amazing Gail Schock, who’s work I’d been aware of, but had not connected with until we met in Croatia earlier this summer. Gail teaches Voice Freedom, and I need way more words than I have today to describe the serendipity of us finally getting to work together now, this week, with all that’s been stirred up for me during this particular Eclipse-season-Mercury-retrograde-999-portal.
Let’s just say, some karmic shiz been going down—much of it connected to all the ways I have not felt or allowed myself to be truly heard. Following some intuitive coaching, Gail took me into a Quantum Meditation, which she said would work to heal the memories keeping me stuck, quite literally, in my throat chakra, at a cellular level. And since we’re planning a couple more sessions, I’ll leave it there for now. To be continued…Read more about Gail and her work at: Gailschock.love
:: WEDNESDAY ::
And another angel floats into my life in the form of Carey Davidson, founder of Manhattan’s Tournesol Wellness. Again, there’s too much to write about this meeting of hearts, minds, and souls in this post, suffice to say (for now) that it seems this week for me is ALL about being heard, using our voice, and, yes, advocacy. Which makes a lot of sense since Friday’s Full Moon Lunar Eclipse is in my Pisces-ruled (healing/compassion) third house (communication). Having run several wellness-focussed non-profits, Carey has tasked herself with the not exactly humble pursuit of taking on the entire US healthcare system, to make alternative healing practices available to all. What can I say? I’m SO IN. Read more about Carey and her mission at: Tournesolwellness.com
:: THURSDAY ::
Published this amazing piece on how to heal your throat chakra by Emma Whitehair. Obviously.
:: FRIDAY ::
And would you just look at the line-up of events that’s coming together for next week’s #TuneInPeaceOut initiative for World Peace Day! You guys ROCK. And there’s still plenty of time to plan something—which could be as simple as a pot-luck dinner and gathering with friends to discuss ways to bring more peace to your family, community or workplace today. If you DO feel called to plan something larger then send details to [email protected] and we will share as many events as possible!
NYC—Peace in The City with The Numinous + Urban Yogis NYC
ALBANY, NY—Tune In Peace Out with Shauntay SoulFlower Brandon
RHINEBECK, NY (the Omega Institute)—A Meditation For Peace with Sah D’Simone
NEW HAMPSHIRE—White Mountains Peace-Up with Jessica Fish of Shaktivism
ASHVILLE, NC—Kundalini Class for Peace with Ra Ma Kaur
SEATTLE—Tune In Peace Out with The Hoodwitch + Holy F*ck
LONDON—A Guided Meditation to Radiate Love and Peace, with Chloe Isadora
WALES—A Ritual to Create Sacred Space with The Wisdom Gathering
PARIS—Peace Out Paris with Alison Beckner and Melanie Moser
GLOBAL—Facebook Livestream from Sedona with Guru Jagat
DOWNLOAD—#TuneInPeaceOut meditation from Wolf Sister
LISTEN—A Prayer For Peace from Elyssa Jakim
You can also sign up for a LIVE webinar + guided meditation for peace with Ruby Warrington and Alexandra Roxo of The Numinous, Bri Luna of The Hoodwitch, and Dori Varga of TRIBE de MAMA on 9/21. The broadcast will be at 12 noon PST / 3pm EST / 8pm GMT—and if the time doesn’t work for you, ALL those who register will receive a recording of the session. Click here to sign up!
The Moon represents the inner subconscious world that we usually only share with those we love and trust. It can show us our needs and how we care for others—and as such, our Moon sign (where the Moon falls in our birth chart) shows the style in which we express this softer side.
Work out your Moon sign, when you do you chart for free here.
The inner world of the Cancer Moon sign is a gentle, vulnerable and emotional landscape. The Moon rules the sign of Cancer so she feels quite at home in this sign making it easy to fully express her archetypal nature. When we think of the crab itself (the symbol for Cancer), we see the hard protective shell on the outside but know there is nothing but softness on the inside. A small being that carries its sanctuary on its back so it can feel at home wherever it goes.
These themes symbolize the Cancer Moon sign. You can put on a brave face, but deep down you feel EVERYTHING. You usually cry easily and really experience the emotions of any particular situation or environment you happen to be in. This Moon is very in tune with its intuition, thoughts and feelings—so much so you sometimes forget that not everything is always about you. Being sensitive is great, until it isn’t and you become resentful and hide away in your shell. There is a fine balance to be found with the Cancer Moon sign.
Taking care of others usually makes you quite happy, but when it goes unappreciated or the care isn’t returned you can get quite hurt. And so Cancer Moons are often working on expressing their needs. Working on being vocal about this is really important, as you can get so lost in taking care of others that you end up with the short end of the stick.
Fear of getting hurt is very real for you for you, mainly since being hurt in love, for example, you may feel it more deeply than others. Honestly, unless you live under a rock, you will be familiar with this pain and what it can do to you. So this is a genuine fear, but not one that should stop you from receiving love.
Often times the Cancer Moon sign is associated with the mother, and rightfully so—since both Cancer and the Moon represent this energy. But not every Cancer Moon sign wants to be a parent. The mother archetype is actually about nurturing and caring for others, offering tender love and support, and this can be applied to anything in life. Your career, your pets, your friends, your home or your hobbies. You can channel this inner need to love into anything and it will be fulfilling, just as long as you let others love you back so there is a sense of balance in your life.
Below are some suggestion to connect more to your sweet Cancer Moon sign, and make the most of its intuitive expression…
:: ACTIVE LISTENING ::
The Cancer Moon sign has a tendency to feel first when engaging with others. This can go badly if you what you intuitively pick up about someone is incorrect, which can shape the relationship in the wrong direction. You can get your feelings hurt because you feel you know what they “really meant.” But assumption is really dangerous, since it can lead to un-founded resentment which can turn into distance.
This can be easily avoided if you work on listening to what they are actually saying, rather than simply feeling into their energy. If assumption-based feelings occur take the time to ask questions to gain further insight. Use your nurturing nature to engage in a more open conversation. This way you aren’t incorrectly just reading (or rather feeling) between the lines.
:: SANCTUARY ::
All Cancer Moon signs need a place to retreat. They need a space to feel safe and secure where they can let all of their emotions out without judgement. This doesn’t need to be an entire home or apartment either. It could be one room, or even a space within a room. Maybe a meditation pillow with a small altar if this practice speaks to you.
It could also be a certain location, such as your favorite park or beach. For some it could be a place from your childhood. The Cancer Moon sign can be very nostalgic so places that awaken happy memories really warm your heart.
:: NURTURE ::
Find something to nurture in your life that isn’t another person. The need to express care is innate, but you can get burned out if this means attracting energy vampires. Needy people love the sweet lunar crab, for you will always try to help solve the problems they should be dealing with on their own. And so learn to be selective.
Finding a hobby that will reward your nurturing with feelings of worth and accomplishment is such a good idea. Think gardening, or cooking, working with animals, or becoming a beekeeper. What do you want to be good at that requires time, nurturance and patience? Find something that makes your heart feel good and you will bring some emotional balance back into your life.
:: INTUITIVE PROTECTION ::
Being that you are such an intuitive, maybe even psychically gifted person, you need to work on protecting your energy. Otherwise it’s likely people will energetically take from you until you are totally drained. This can make you feel vulnerable in an unhealthy way.
Begin by taking time each morning to visualize yourself being cleansed by white healing light. Just a simple shower before (or even during!) your regular shower. Then imagine a bubble of light surrounding you, which people can only enter into when invited by you. It can be any color that you love.
These are your mental and energetic guards for the day ahead. You could also burn some sage in your space before your start your day or make a healing spray with essential oils to mist yourself with. Anything that creates an energetic boundary between you and the world will help.
Also, be present to when you feel depleted. What was going on? Who were you around? Sometimes the best defense is creating literal space between you and the people or situations that take advantage of you.
Above all, may you find comfort in your innate ability to be vulnerable—and use it to show others the strength in letting down our guard in a world that needs it more than ever before.
The Moon represents what we need in life to feel safe, secure, and how we need to be nurtured, and understanding your Moon’s requirements can help you connect deeper to your more private self. When you have a bad day or are just feeling “off” you want to tap into your Moon. She is the cosmic mother and learning more about the sign where she sits in your birth chart, can reveal so much about your internal landscape.
Work out your Moon sign, when you do you chart for free here.
The Gemini Moon sign is forever curious. She wants to learn about anything and everything. This Moon loves to engage and communicate, since Gemini is a mutable air sign that needs mental stimulation and variety. When things become stagnant the restless demons set in—and so keeping things moving in life is key.
Depending on the rest of your chart, these behaviors/tendencies may express in a need to always have light and breezy conversations. You enjoy gathering data, processing it and then moving on to the next interesting person, subject or experience. This flitting about keeps things upbeat and interesting yet can have a downside.
The Gemini Moon sign is learning to also go deep. It’s about finding some balance between superficial experiences and really getting to know yourself and others on a more intimate level. Because of this Moon’s voracious appetite for new information, you can come across fickle or insincere if this expression is out of balance.
This analytical moon usually symbolizes a gifted speaker, writer or teacher. Since you are always gathering information you put it to good use by sharing it with others, and this exchange of thoughts, ideas and insights can be quite soothing for you. The give and take is the thrill that propels you forward to find more.
This is a delightful quality that makes you fun to chat with, as well as being able to turn a negative emotional situation into a happier one. The Gemini Moon sign is clever and witty, so having an innate emotional tie to these abilities can bring true fulfillment through expression.
Just make sure to keep the input and output in check or you will never be able to get to your deeper self. There can be an avoidance of darker undercurrents if you don’t allow yourself time to really feel your feelings, which may mean missing out on the beauty of vulnerability.
Below are some suggestions to bring some balance back to your energetic moon as well as ways to emphasize it. These are meant to empower and bolster your emotional wellbeing to be at your best!
:: FOCUS ::
Zero in on a project that you have to stay committed to—anything that will require you to stick to it long enough to actually become proficient at it. Since Gemini is placed in the linguistic camp you could learn a new language. Mercury being Gemini’s ruler is associated with dexterity so you could learn to play an instrument. The other benefit of this for you emotionally, is that once you’ve mastered this new interest you then get to share it, creates a beautiful cyclical effect for your heart, and your Gemini Moon sign.
:: BREATHWORK ::
Learning to control your responses in more hectic situations could be very healing—and one way is with the simple art of breathing. Try practicing the 2:1 ratio breath, in which increasing the length of your exhalation helps to relax your parasympathetic nervous system. Start by breathing through the nose in your natural way without counting. Then after a few rounds begin to breath in for a count of two, and exhaling for four. Work your way up to deeper breaths from there, and try doing 10 rounds the next time you begin feeling the frazzled.
:: MINDFULNESS ::
In the simplest terms, this simply means being aware and in the present moment without judgement—actually quite hard, since the Gemini Moon sign is often stuck between wondering what the future holds and dwelling on the past. Finding a meditation practice that works for you is key, and if sitting still is just too much for you try doing a walking meditation, which will burn up any restlessness through mindful movement. You could also try Qi Gong—which covers practices from the gentle Tai Chi to the more fierce option, Kung Fu. Potentially a healing double whammy, helping you to focus and be more in the moment while still satisfying the need to learn and grow.
A reading for the Gemini New Moon – PLUS the essential questions for each sign to journal with, to make the most of the cosmic energy…By Hannah Ariel
“Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two.”
Gemini is easily misunderstood. We use words like “tricky” and “flighty” and “fickle” to explain this sign’s ability to weave in and out of worlds of ideas, concepts, and even illusions. But replace these words with ARTFUL, playful, adjustable, and you get a picture of the kind of magical thinking, the sheer ingenuous creativity that is Gemini.
With the moon in Gemini, we are naturally oriented to move between intellectual realities—and yet for all our mental processing, the conscious expression of this astrological placement would be to arrive at something that resembles a decision; a perspective; a point of reference.
This year’s Gemini New Moon (June 5th at 15 degrees) is an opportunity to get CLEAR about what to do next, particularly in regard to our personal CREATIVITY. Our relationship to our creativity and our relationships to the people who either bring the juiciness out or just suck the fun out of it will also be highlighted.
Prior to the Moon and the Sun joining forces, Venus will have been moving alongside the Sun in Gemini all week to clarify a connection between what we think we want, what kinds of interaction our personality craves, and if we are living this truth.
Venus in Gemini isn’t as sentimental as it is logical. Information is valued. Ideas are valued. The sensible application of the two is valued. At this time, it will seem like simple logic to do away with what no longer tickles your fancy. Seriously. If you’re not being stimulated, excited, and delighted, then it’s a time to think about why, and which part of your personality is being ignored.
This Gemini New Moon is also precipitated by a GRAND MUTABLE CROSS. What the heck is that? Why does it matter? What will it mean?! Well, to get technical about it, this cross is a squaring of energy—a confrontation so to speak—of four planets in all four mutable signs: Sun/Venus/Moon in Gemini in opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius meets Jupiter in Virgo in opposition to Neptune in Pisces. PHEW!
This configuration is not meant to confuse but to bring you closer to what is, what isn’t and what will continue to be true for you. A Grand Cross asks us to deal with conflicting realities head on to create one NEW one. Unsettling? Sure. Scary? No. Just be prepared to make BIG decisions this summer…decisions that will carry you into a whole new creative cycle.
In beginning this self-enquiry, included below are some questions to aid you in a journaling ritual this Gemini New Moon. Engage. Keep it real with yourself. And keep in mind, with Neptune about to go retrograde June 13, your answers may not appear logical to anyone but you—so simply follow your OWN intuition.
This your opportunity to clear the decks, to create as much clarity as possible, and make room for some brilliant breakthroughs.
*These are suggestions for your SUN SIGN. However, if you know which house in your chart the New Moon will take place in, take this into consideration too.
**As much as Gemini rules writing and self-reflective journaling it also rules conversation. Cerebral discussions, heart-to-hearts, and astrological and/or tarot consultations of all kinds are favored right now. The key is to make this energy work FOR you, so don’t get dragged around by the universe. Get in the middle of it. Think about it. DO something about it.
:: ARIES ::
Where am I channeling my mental energy? Where am I getting lost in mindless chatter? How can I speak more of my truth? What mental myths need to be dismantled? How can I see the bigger picture, and why it is so important for me to trust my intuition right now?
:: TAURUS ::
How am I spending my time? How can I re-organize my priorities to align with my values? To what extent am I aware of my financial reality, and do I recognize where I need to depend more on my own resourcefulness?
:: GEMINI ::
Am I always tapping into ways of doing my own unique thing? Where am I shutting down in fear of being heard or seen? Who am I placing too much value in? With Sun/Moon/Venus in Gemini, it’s time to learn and love all of YOU.
:: CANCER ::
What needs to be retrieved from my imagination? Where is my lack of faith? When did I stop believing in the impossible? Where am I living in a state of mistrust?
:: LEO ::
Who truly inspires me? How can I be an inspiration to my friends? Where can I take the lead more, and when do I find myself blindly following along with others?
:: VIRGO ::
Who am I finally and fully expanding into becoming? Do I see the beauty in the big changes and encounters that life has gifted me with? What am I taking for granted? Is it time to release my grip on something or someone?
:: LIBRA ::
Where are the holes in my own belief system? How can I patch them up? What new lessons does my life want me to incorporate? Where do I stand on forgiveness?
:: SCORPIO ::
When was the last time I let myself fall in love? Do I continue to value what the experience of love honestly offers me? When was the last time I gave myself permission to feel grounded and whole?
:: SAGITTARIUS ::
Am I living up to my word? What have I become responsible for? Where can I lighten up my load? With Saturn in Sagittarius you may be taking on more than you need to. Consider: what structures serve me and which can I release?
:: CAPRICORN ::
In what ways do I consider myself to be spiritual? Do I know how to take a time-out and spend time alone with myself? How does it feel to be in my body these days? Am I truly thriving and enjoying my day-to-day?
:: AQUARIUS ::
What can I use to express myself creatively? How can I update my personal toolbox? Do I trust myself enough to truly honor and express my unique gifts? Who invigorates the deepest parts of me? Where am I being drained?
:: PISCES ::
How can I feel more securely connected to my roots? Am I allowing myself to fully let go of memories and people who haunt me? What takes up space in my heart—and what can I let go? How am I sacrificing myself to please others?
To book a reading with Hannah Ariel contact: [email protected]
With the Sun conjunct Mercury retrograde in Gemini, the stage is set to review the conversations you have with yourself and the world this month. Ash Baker shares a simple yoga sequence for Gemini to aid the process…Images: Hanne Gaby Odiele by Serge Leblon for Mixte Paris (S/S 2012)
GEMINI: May 21 to June 21
Anatomy: Hands, arms, shoulders. lungs & nervous system
3rd sign of the Zodiac
Interesting times ahead as the sun enters Gemini while Mercury is also retrograde (May 18th – June 11th) in the sign he rules, Gemini! That’s a high quota of twin energy, and communication will be a key theme for the next month.
And all of this Mercurial energy vibing in the air, this relates both to the dialogue we keep with others as well as ourselves. So use the retrograde to your advantage. RE-view, RE-establish, and RE-connect with areas of yourself and your life that could benefit from a slowed-down perspective.
This retrograde period is the Universe’s way of forcing us (granted in very frustrating retrograde ways sometimes!) to take a pause and ponder all that’s occurring around us, and everything that brought us to this point in our journey.
Below are some yoga tools to connect with your breath, strengthen your body and create the space to spend time within. Give yourself the gift of perspective through grace. And remember, we’re all in this together!
:: Sun Salute ::
Come to stand at the front of your mat. Feel your feet grounding downward by pressing your big toe mound, little toe mound and heel firmly against the floor. Scoop your tailbone slightly, giving the abdominals a slight inward moving squeeze. Draw your shoulders back, allowing your collarbones to widen. Lengthen your neck by raising the crown of your head up towards the sky. Arms are softly at your sides with slightly open palms. Now you are in Tadasana or Standing Mountain Pose.
Take a deep inhale inflating the entire belly while simultaneously reaching the arms out and up, bringing the palms to kiss. Exhale and begin to fold forward with your arms following out to your sides like wings. Remember to create a hinge at your hips when you fold and keep a slight bend in your knees. Keep your back nice and flat until you reach your edge in the stretch. Then you can gently round the spine as you surrender to the fold. Inhaling, come up halfway, placing the fingertips on the floor or the palms to the shins. Exhale, and fold down again.
As you inhale again, place your hands on the floor and step or jump back into Plank Pose. Keep the tailbone tucked, engage your abdominal muscles. Exhaling, either bring the knees to the floor or keep legs lifted while slowly lowering down through Chaturanga push up position. Come all the way to the floor.
Inhaling, with hands next to your shoulders, press up into Cobra or Upward Facing Dog. Exhaling, bend the knees and press back and up into Downward Facing Dog. Root down through all ten fingers especially the thumbs. Press your hips up towards the sky and ground your feet into the floor – energetically at least if the heels don’t reach.
Stay for three rounds of full belly breath. On the fourth inhale, raise onto your tiptoes and on the exhale bend your knees and either step or jump your feet to meet your hands at the front of your mat. Inhale and come into the flat back position, hands on your chins or touching the floor. Exhale and fold over your legs. Inhale and stand up straight, bringing your hands to kiss above your head as you do, and then to rest in front of your heart in prayer position. Repeat the whole sequence three times.
:: Supine Pigeon ::
Come to lie on your back. Bend the knees so both feet are flat on the floor. Take the right foot/ankle and place it just above the left knee and focus on opening the right knee and hip. Now gently draw the left knee towards your chest and interlace your fingers either around the front of the left shin or behind the left thigh. While you press the right foot/ankle into the left leg, keep drawing the left knee towards your chest creating resistance. Keep the shoulders and neck on the floor. Jaw should be soft. Relax and allow the right hip to open up. Hold for up to 1 minute. Switch sides.
:: Viparita Karani with block/bolster ::
Come down on your back and bend your knees. Lift your hips up and place a block or bolster under your sacrum for support. Let your arms rest out to your sides with palms facing up or down. Gently begin to extend both legs straight up towards the ceiling. You can have a micro-bend in the knees but keep the legs slightly firm. Let your face and belly soften. Stay here for up to 1 minute.
Monthly Mantra: I go within to begin.
In the age of the Divine Feminine…what about our men? On the eve of the publication of his new book on the subject, Ruby Warrington talks to David Harshada Wagner about his vision for empowered masculinity. Images: Rainbow Gathering by Benoit Paille via Behance.net
“It’s like a guidebook for men to be more happy and free, but in a way that’s still masculine. And part of it is by owning their role as a male.”
When did you decide to make men and spirituality a focus?
I’ve been totally steeped in the Eastern spirituality thing for decades, but the men’s work was always in the background. Then I got into my 40’s, went through a divorce, got into another relationship, and all of a sudden I’m having a son. And it all just came home.
How does spiritual work look different for dudes?
It’s about practicality. For most men there really needs to be some kind of pay off, where the rubber meets the road. Most men wouldn’t be caught dead in a meditation class or a retreat, unless they knew it was going to help them with their work, their relationships with their loved-ones. They just won’t even do it.
Don’t men sometimes just feel out of place? There’s so much talk about ‘divine feminine’ this, and ‘Goddess energy’ that. I kind of feel like men must be thinking, ‘okay, so are my urges and drives redundant now?’
I don’t think it’s so much that men have that whole thought, like, ‘where do I fit into this?’ I think they just think ‘this is not for me. I’m going to sit home and drink beer and watch the game while my wife goes to the yoga retreat. Because that’s just not something that would be of interest to me at all.’
So part of it is about honoring the masculine energies as sacred too. On the Eastern spirituality scene the energy is predominantly feminine. And even anti-masculine, in the sense that it’s all mostly about peace, compassion, and softness. The average person, when they hear that I’m doing a spiritual book for men, they’re like, ‘Oh, good. You’re going to teach them to open their hearts.’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to teach them to open their hearts, but the book is really about growing a backbone and balls.’
Ha! So should women be encouraging men to go on the yoga retreat with them?
I don’t think most men will necessarily get what they need from bending over in a room full of women. Of the 8% of men that will go, there’s an even a smaller percent of heterosexual men. It’s kind of like we have to go into our feminine to be able to be in that. Or at least fake it. And that’s when you get the yoga teacher who ends up in some sex scandal – because they feel like they can’t just say, ‘Hey, I think you’re really sexy, and you’re my student, but why don’t we go get a drink?’ Instead they feel they have to be like, ‘Yeah, I think you should come for a private session because I need to open your hips’ or something. You know? The heterosexual desire is made illegitimate.
So what are some spiritual exercises that you do with guys?
In my book there’s a big chapter on the ‘father wound,’ and it’s a real central thing for most men. He was my teacher on what it means to be a man, so did I learn from him? I also like to connect men to a sense of vision, because men without a vision are really lost. They need to have a mission. They need to know what they’re moving toward and be able to say, ‘Yes, I’m still moving toward it, I’m getting closer, or I’m going the wrong direction.’ So I try to help men find that. The other thing is to just get them used to being in a conversation with each other.
Without any beer. Because that’s often what it takes, right?
Exactly. And in my experience, men tend to communicate a lot better shoulder-to-shoulder than face-to-face. I had one veteran that I worked with a lot, and often times I would go sit at the bar with him, with the bartender there washing the glasses or whatever, and we’d do a session. My office, with the chairs facing each other, felt awkward – maybe too intimate.
Who are your typical clients for this kind of work?
What I get a lot is the partners of my female students, and partners of women who are already involved with spirituality. They either see my stuff as a safe way for their man to get involved in it, or sometimes they want me to fix their man. At my Kripalu weekend last year, half the men were there because their wives had given them a father’s day gift, in hopes that somehow they would get fixed.
And…what happens if the wife is part of what needs fixing?
This is actually quite typical. A man comes because his wife tells him he’s too angry, and society has told him that he has an anger issue. So he comes, thinking I’m going to teach him to breathe and not be angry. But instead I break down anger from the point of view of the Bhagavad Gita, which says anger is there when a desire is thwarted. So then I say, ‘Okay, man, you’re angry, and that’s beautiful. What are you wanting that you’re not getting? Like at a deep level.’ And I unleash them to go after what they want in their life. And sometimes that means they go home and they divorce their wives.
I know you have a theory about the difference between a boy, a guy, and a man. What’s that about?
The distinction I’m trying to make is that a man is someone who’s done some work on himself, and I think there’s definitely a sense of honor and sacrifice and strength. A man is ready to protect his world and serve his world, whereas a guy is just mostly about himself. A ‘dude’ is usually like a hipster, even more self-absorbed. Males in our society get into this really immature self-absorption thing.
How does that ‘man’ifest (ha)?
It looks like; ‘he’s not living his truths.’ He’s either living what his father wanted him to do, or he’s trying to live the opposite of that. He doesn’t really want to sit in this job and work in this job; he wants to be an entrepreneur, but he’s too scared. Or he doesn’t want to be in this marriage because he doesn’t get anything out of it, but he just doesn’t feel like he’s empowered to leave.
And so he makes excuses; ‘But I’ve got to bring home the bacon.’ Or, ‘it doesn’t matter. I’ll just watch some porn, beat off, just try to entertain myself a little bit.’ What I’m interested in is training men to be on fire with passion and vision, so they are bringing those values to their family and bringing that masculine energy to the house so that their woman can be in her feminine energy and not feel like she has to be the brains of the operation all the time.
You can be totally gluten free and only think nice thoughts, but if you’re a terrible lover or you don’t know how to make money, or you don’t know how to take care of your kids, all of that is for naught in my point of view.
What do you wish you could tell the average man in the street about spirituality, and how to tap into his spiritual power in a masculine way?
That they don’t have to do it alone. A lot of men just don’t have other quality men in their life in a quality way, and so they put all their emotional care in the hands of their women. And oftentimes they’re really isolated from other men. One of the first questions I ask any man who’s suffering, is; ‘Do you have good men in your life?’ And the answer is almost always no. Men need a network of other men that they can really talk to about their fears, but also about their strengths.
Backbone: The Modern Man’s Ultimate Guide to Purpose, Passion and Power by David Harshada Wagner will be out May 5 2015. David’s next retreat at Kripalu, Wild, Deep, Masculine and Free: A Weekend for Men, will take place May 29-31 2015.