NUMINOUS TAROTSCOPE JULY 5 2018: QUEEN OF CUPS

The Queen of Cups returns to the Numiverse for the first time since the New Year, and invites us to dive deep into our emotional landscapes before birthing our beauty in the world, says Melinda Lee Holm …

HOW TO BE A TIDE: A MESSAGE FOR CANCER SEASON

In the thick of Cancer season’s deepest feels, spoken word artist and Moon Club founding member Lisa Luxx’s exclusive new poem, “How To Be A Tide,” reminds us that our most tempestuous emotions are our beautiful birthright …

How To Be A Tide is a poem about the movement and motion of being woman. It’s a dialogue about finding our most supreme beauty in that familiar expansion and contraction. About how much can be gained from seeing ourselves as individual waves in the ocean of sisterhood.

One great purpose of poetry is to turn familiar aches into unfamiliar blessings; to subvert moaning into marvelling. The instability of a hormonal body could drive a person mad if they’re pressurising themselves to maintain a static constant. So for me, as an incredibly tempestuous person, I traversed this tidal metaphor as a bid for freedom.

I’ve been philosophically exploring the nature of beauty for the past year or so – what it is, what it does and why that might be – writing out my revelations and dreams. This piece is about taking ownership of one’s own beauty. When you no longer have the resources to flow outwards, that means your beauty – enriched now – is coming back home to you. – Lisa Luxx 

How To Be A Tide will be published in Luxx’s upcoming collection Breastmilk Martini, which is out later this year with New River Press.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: USING ARIES SEASON TO EXPRESS ANGER

The placement of Aries ruling planet Mars in our birth chart, can show how to express our anger in a healthy and progressive way …

Photo: Caitlin Mitchell

So here we are in Aries season, my birthday month. But I’ve never felt like a bone fide Aries. Bossy, sometimes. Sure I like to get my own way. But I’m not super confident. Far from confrontational. And definitely not aggressive.

When a life coach once asked about my big message for the world (the one I would shout from the top of a mountain if I had a megaphone that could be heard from Australia to the Arctic circle), I replied: Please, will everybody just stop fighting!

This was late 2016, my plea inspired by a summer of terrorist attacks and an backdrop of political warmongering. I guess I’m just a massive pacifist, I told her. Whereas Aries, ruled by passion planet Mars, is the warrior of the Zodiac. A hot-headed temper tantrum waiting to happen. The one leading the protest, shouting the slogans, and fighting for justice.

Rather, as I wrote in this piece, I see myself as a spiritual activist. On a mission to shift consciousness one open-hearted sharing circle at a time. Partly because, as Martin Luther King famously put it, I believe that “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

But also, because I am terrified of conflict. To the point that for a long time I thought I didn’t feel any anger at all. FOR REAL. From my parents’ “amicable” divorce, to my grandmother’s silent acceptance of her husband’s affairs, somewhere along the line I internalized that anger is bad. Causes more trouble than it’s worth.

This is not uncommon, among women in particular. But it’s something I’ve been beating myself up about lately. Aren’t activist activists what the world needs? People getting right up in the face of injustice. Shouting and screaming and demanding change. It’s fine for me, comfortable in my straight, white, British privilege, to sit back and preach about healing the world with hugs.

But the truth is, we each have our own flavor of fight in us—as denoted by the position of Mars in our birth chart. And my Mars (ruler of my Aries Sun, and therefore flavoring my soul essence) is in Cancer, the softest, most sensitive sign. Meaning my anger often leaks out of me as tears. Since tears are a sign of weakness, crying is “ugly,” and makes other people extremely uncomfortable, it’s not surprising I learned to suppress this part of myself.

Understanding my Mars placement has helped me to accept that part of my activism is to enable an emotional and vulnerable expression of anger—particularly teaching that it’s okay to cry. As I often do now, freely and openly, whenever I speak publicly about anything that angers or otherwise moves me. After all, the purpose of anger is to inspire action for change.

A recent example of the power of our tears? The tear-streaked speech by 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez following the Parkland shooting in Florida. Her angry tears, anything but a sign of weakness, have helped motivate thousands to join the March For Our Lives in Washington this weekend (under a Waxing Quarter Moon in Cancer, no less).

Mars shows how we can express our anger—also how we can channel our passion, our actions, and our drive—in ways that feel healthy to us. All the time I wasn’t comfortable feeling my anger, I channeled my pent-up tears into my addictions. To alcohol, shopping, work, social media. The energy of anger has to go somewhere.

Don’t know your Mars sign? You can do your chart for free HERE.

We can also see how Mars expresses itself in our most powerful activists. Martin Luther King had his Mars in Gemini—the sign that rules communication and words. Nelson Mandela, Mars in Libra—sign of the diplomat. As for Rosa Parks? Mars in Capricorn. The patient, stoic, unflinching anger that can move mountains—also the sign Mars is currently visiting through May 16.

Regardless of your date of birth, your Mars sign shows where your inner Aries lives. Because no matter how our anger is expressed, that there is a warrior in each and every one of us.

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March For Our Lives takes place in Washington DC on March 24, with over 800 local events happening worldwide. On April 4, Black Lives Matter, The Peace Accelerators and a host of others, will march through Harlem, NY in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jnr. Join them HERE.

On behalf of all those who support The Numinous and allow us to do our work, we will also be donating 10% of sales all from our Total Guide To Your Mars Sign course to gun safety movement Everytown.

5 WAYS TO FACE YOUR FEARS LIKE THE BUDDHA

Want to cross the threshold into immeasurable growth? Learn how to face your fears like the Buddha, says Angel expert and inspirational speaker, Kyle Gray

Photo: Chris Ensey

Let’s begin with a story …

One day the Buddha was meditating deeply in a hillside cave with one of his devotees keeping watch outside.

Suddenly, the devotee glimpsed a demon called Mara coming up the hill. Panicked, he began trying to figure out how to keep Mara away from the Buddha, dreaming up excuses about him being out for lunch or away shopping.

Lost in thought, he felt something breathing down on him and looked up to find Mara in all his demonic glory—tongue out, blue-skinned, frightening. “I’m here to see the Buddha,” Mara said. The guard didn’t know what to say when he was interrupted by a voice inside the cave. “Let him come in,” said the Buddha.

Mara entered the cave and stood before the Buddha. “I see you, Mara,” said the Buddha.

He looked at Mara right in the eye. He acknowledged him. He conversed with him. He accepted him. He allowed him to be there and found comfort in his presence. 

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This story is a huge metaphor for Fear. You are the cave. Mara is your fear. The guard is your ego. And Buddha is the voice of your soul.

We seldom want to deal directly with our fears. But to live a life of integrity and purpose we must shed light on our own darkness, and be willing to feel exactly what we feel. Our emotions are our messengers and Fear is one of our ultimate assignments.

Here are 5 ways to face your fears like the Buddha and begin to uncover your true purpose in the process …

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1// Fear reveals what we truly value 
Our emotions are constantly communicating to us who we are and helping us discern what is important to us.

Fear often arises when we really care about something. It’s a reminder that we want to do a good job, or make a good choice, or even be a good person. Whenever Fear rises up for me, it’s because I really want to deliver my best self to the world. Whenever it arrives it’s simply my higher self, asking me “are you sure you want to be this powerful?” And the answer is simple:  “Yes, I do!”

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2// Fear is our assignment
Ultimately Fear is an assignment, and you can choose to deal directly or run. If you choose the former, you are standing on the cusp of your greatness.

When we agree to face our fears head on, we create space for the miraculous, and remove the blocks that have held us back from living a completely heart-centred life. Your Fear is giving you an opportunity to rise. It’s what I call ‘the spiritual emotional colonic’—giving you the chance to leave your shit in the past, once and for all.

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3// Fear is just another form of Love
On the surface, it may appear that these two emotions are opposites—and we often get told this. That Love is the moment we remember we are one with the Universe—when we feel completely held supported and guided. And that Fear, conversely, is the moment we feel stuck, alone, and even lost.

But in reality, Fear and Love are both the energy of the Universe expressing itself in different forms. The energy that feels heavy, intense, and restrictive—what we might call Fear—is the same energy that can be transformed directly into the feeling of connectedness, support, and abundance. Use Fear to tap into Love by shifting your perceptions and realizing their interconnectedness. Which is that the presence of Fear shows us the path to Love.

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4// Fear is an opportunity for dialogue
When the Buddha (representing our soul voice) communicates directly with Mara (the incarnation of Fear), he is able to penetrate through the Fear and see it for what it is.

When your Fear threatens to take over, you might stop and have a loving but firm conversation with it. Try the following:

Hello Fear. Thank you for being here and for reminding me how much I care about this situation. I see you, I hear you, I feel you, Mara. But today, I am choosing to believe the higher truth that I am one with the Universe. Because of this, I can let you go and surrender this whole situation. I know I am being led to where I need to be.

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5// Fear is your birthright
When your Fear appears, you are being given the invitation to be strong, powerful, and real. Claim this for yourself—it’s your birthright.

All our emotions are messengers. Your fears are assignments. And all of this is ultimately because you have chosen (consciously or unconsciously) to be the most powerful possible version of you.

Know that when the voice of Fear gets louder it’s because you are on the verge of a miracle, and that the only way to experience that miracle is to sit with the Fear, communicate with it, make friends with you. You wouldn’t be experiencing this assignment if the Universe didn’t think you were ready.

Take the opportunity to rise up. In the words of Joan of Arc, “You were born for this!”

Kyle Gray is an Angel expert and an inspirational speaker. He’s also a Lululemon yoga and meditation ambassador, and international bestselling author of 6 books including Raise Your Vibration, Angel Prayers, and the brand-new Light Warrior. 

CANCER SEASON 2017: SUMMER NOSTALGIA FOR YOUR MOON SIGN

Cancer Season 2017 invites you to dive into your deepest, sweetest desires, and dance into your own becoming, says Bess MatassaMain image: Ilse Moore

Dim all the lights, strip it down to bare skin, and get ready to become your heart’s own private dancer … Cancer Season 2017 marks the zodiac’s violet-colored midnight hour. The moment when our secret emotional treasures are revealed, and we learn to protect the soft, crab meat that lives inside our shells.

It’s a Little Mermaid energy of precious pining for the incarnation of our most tightly held fantasies, and the risky beginnings of living these vivid dreams on the land up above.

So slip on your water wings and prepare to wash all the way back home onto your own shores. You belong to the night. You belong to all your past lives and all the ones you’ve loved. But above all, you’ve got to belong to the longings that live inside of you. Surf’s up.

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The keyword: Belonging.

The song lyrics: I never can forget those nights/I wonder if it was a dream/Those days are gone forever/I should just let ’em go/But I can tell you my love for you will still be strong/After the boys of summer have gone”—Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”

Check out Mojave Rising’s Cancer season playlist, complete with nostalgic nuggets, classic crooners, and sensitive night movers and shakers.

SS17 catwalk looks

The color palette: Molluscular and crepuscular—midnight blues and shimmering violets, the opalescent insides of shells, and the darkness just before the dawn.

The style: Boudoir chic meets Ancient Greece. Underwear as outerwear, lace jackets, gold bangles, head dresses, dressing gowns, bedroom eyes, and fancy slippers.

Seashell clutch by Chanel

The scents and flavors: Salt-kissed Mediterranean classics and tucked-in, pocket-shaped provisions—dumplings and samosas, mollusks, briny feta, milk & honey, succulent dark kalamata olives, black grapes, and the coastal black currant & cyclamen scent of Oribe hair products.

The healing: Homegrown, nostalgic, and nocturnal—pouring over high school yearbooks, revisiting old playlists, DIY salt bathes and clay face masks, storybook romances, and skinny dipping.

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Sensuous Invitation of the Month: Summer Nostalgia For Your Moon Sign

Cher and Winona channel Cancer season in 90s classic Mermaids

Ruled by the Moon, Cancer season invites us to return to the private bedrooms of our souls at the witching hour; our Moon signs represents who we really are when no one else seems to be watching, and how we seamlessly slip into our own skin with comfort and ease.

Below, your sign-by-sign guide to plunging into those long summer nights and returning to your innocent lunacy …

*New to your birthchart? Discover your Moon sign here!

Moon in Aries
Cancer season invites you to find comfort in igniting creative explosions. Summer Nostalgia: Blockbusters. Load up on the buttery popcorn and quicken your fiery pulse with the biggest, most badass action flicks the season has to offer.

Moon in Taurus
Cancer season invites you to relish in the sweet sensations of your beautiful body. Summer Nostalgia: Sun Goddess Beauty. Go full-on St. Tropez with all the classic seasonal palettes and procedures- spray tans, bronzers, salty locks, coral polish, and highlights.

Moon in Gemini
Cancer season invites you to celebrate giving voice to every flavor of your feelings. Summer Nostalgia: Beach Reads. Stock up on juicy paperbacks and back issues of Cosmo to share with friends on the blanket.

Moon in Cancer
Cancer season invites you to plunge straight into your tenderness, and wear it like an empowered badge of honor. Summer Nostalgia: Skinny-dipping. Whether it’s in dangerously exposed afternoon light with friends or lovers, or a midnight solo plunge, embrace what your momma gave you.

Moon in Leo
Cancer season invites you to sink your teeth into the deliciousness of simplicity and practice radically innocent presentism. Summer Nostalgia: Amusement Park Revelry. Ride your way all the way back to the sheer, thrilling joy of living with classic coasters, costumed characters, carnival fortune telling.

Moon in Virgo
Cancer season invites you to discover divinity in all the details and soothe your nervous system with embodied acts of kindness. Summer Nostalgia: Ice Cream Truck Chasing. Delight in dazzling flavor choices and the sweetness of treating your body to a hard-earned reward.

Moon in Libra
Cancer season invites you to fully embrace your romantic ideals and the prettified pleasures of aesthetic beauty. Summer Nostalgia: Classic Sunset. Embrace the pure, straightforward glory of nature’s color palette, no matter how “cheesy.” While you’re at it, throw in a pina colada and getting caught in the rain.

Moon in Scorpio
Cancer season invites you to find soul security by fully acknowledging the power of your emotional intensity. Summer Nostalgia: Backyard Bonfire & BBQ. Turn up the flames and revel in primal, smoked flavors, tiki torches, and limbo poles.

Moon in Sagittarius
Cancer season invites you to let your expansively wild visions become your mobile sense of home. Summer Nostalgia: Roadtripping. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway, or an all-out cross country voyage, lose the maps, and let it all unfold beyond the dashboard of your nomadic dreams.

Moon in Capricorn
Cancer season invites you to love up on your deep need for quality, standards, and the richness of emotional maturity. Summer Nostalgia: Yacht Cruise. Go luxe and live the good life with classic nautical wear, caviar, and self-sufficient ship steering.

Moon in Aquarius
Cancer season invites you to find your own eccentric sense of family and revel in the looniness that drives your spirit. Summer Nostalgia: Adult Camp. Collide with new besties and celebrate renegade utopian communities with everything from paintball to craft making and sing-a-longs.

Moon in Pisces
Cancer season invites you to dive into the fantasy life and find sustenance with boundaryless dreams of worlds unseen. Summer Nostalgia: Pool Party. Get your mermaid chic on and let the no-holds-barred dream time flow with slip n’ slides, giant animal rafts, and magical multi-colored blender beverages.

Want more juicy cosmic insights and sensory explorations? Arrange an astrology reading or private event with Bess Matassa here or follow her on Instagram

LIKE A LULLABY: READING FOR THE CANCER FULL MOON 2017

The Cancer Full Moon opens a portal of transformation, if we can process our feelings, get inspired, and stay present in the now, says Sandra Sitron.

Sign up for Moon Club and get access to our virtual Full Moon ritual 1/14

Wolf Moon :: January 12 2017 :: 6.36am EST :: 22 degrees Cancer

This Moon is like a lullaby. She sings, “Find the softest part of your psyche. Open there just a little bit more. Somewhere there is a vulnerable part of you that is ready for a change. It’s time to heal. Shed a protective layer. Turn a wall into a ladder.”

You are in a moment of incredible growth. The Cancer Full Moon is offering you an opening. It’s transformational. The Cancer Full Moon is opposite the Sun in Capricorn. Capricorn is ambition and Cancer is nurturance. The Moon is the ruler of Cancer and she is nice and comfy in her sign right now. Yet this energy can feel so loud. Emotions come to their full blossom or their full boil. And the Cancer Full Moon chart is packed with heightened astrological energy. Let’s delve in…

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The Moon and It’s Message
Pine trees in the moonlight.

Trees standing straight and tall, like you. The trees house an internal drama. There is a veil of peace and serenity, yet within each tree is a Universe. Cells multiply. Moss grows and birds sing. Sap flows and insects die. For the tree, time is different. Maybe it’s more like a series of rings and less like a straight line. Your message is to root yourself down and hold yourself up. Remind yourself that nothing is as it seems. The Cancer Full Moon wants you to remember that everything is more complex and more simple than you think. Capricorn Sun is Father and Cancer Moon is Mother. Hold yourself like a baby and let yourself truly experience the mysteries of the world. On this first Full Moon of the year, you are an infant. Let yourself be in awe of the enigma.

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Moon Inconjunct Saturn.
Scaffolding.

The Moon is in her own sign and inconjunct Capricorn’s ruler, Saturn. Your feelings may get hurt. The squishy, vulnerable parts of you may feel like they are spotted by everyone. You can’t hide. Your old stuff is ready to be drawn out and healed. But the process may be downright frustrating. Find a structure for your emotions. Here’s one:

Step 1: Forgive yourself. If your emotions are causing behaviors you aren’t too proud of, accept it.
Step 2. Define your feelings. What is this feeling called?
Step 3: Identify the pattern. When was the first time you felt this way (high school or before)? If you can’t answer that, try this one. Name three character traits of the person(s) involved. Who else in your formative years also had these traits? A parent? Yourself?
Step 4: Go back and hug the child/teenager part of yourself that needs the hug. You are an adult now. You can nurture that inner child and tell them it’s going to be okay. Sit the little imaginary version of you on your lap and rock them.
Step 5: Process. This could mean different things… journaling, apologizing, writing an affirmation about how you would like to feel, or talking about it.

This 5-step process can be used whenever high emotions feel frustrating. Keep at it. It brings together the nurturing nature of the Moon and the structural energy of Saturn and the Capricorn Sun.

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The Grand Cross Pattern
Stuck in a doorway.

The Grand Cross pattern is made up of Sun and Pluto opposite the Cancer Full Moon and squaring the opposition of Jupiter Uranus. Two oppositions. 4 squares. It looks like a giant square in the sky with a cross in the center. It’s a cardinal grand cross. The cardinal energy is initiative. Cardinal means “hinge,” which describes walking through a doorway into a new beginning. A new door opens. But the grand cross itself can feel like stuck energy. It’s like you being pulled in four different directions. Whatever portal you need to walk through on your healing journey, this is you standing in the doorway.

You’ve got your arms and legs outstretched and clutching to the door-jam. It may feel scary. It may feel like there is something on the other side that you shouldn’t see. Something will either push you through or you will retreat. Who’s to say which is better for you at this moment? The important thing for now is that you honor your experience in this moment. Your arms and legs are the grand cross. There is a sense of being pulled in many directions. How do you stand in the middle of this storm? How do you hold your center? How do you breathe through it? You need an anchor. It needs to be spiritual. It needs to be inspiring.

Which brings us to our next clue…

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Venus Conjunct Neptune
A magic wand.

Venus is exactly conjunct Neptune. These two are buddying up and creating a Thor’s Hammer aspect pattern with the Moon and Jupiter. Don’t underestimate the powerful energy that you are emitting at this very moment. You’re sending out vibrational beams that are attracting more of the same to you right now. Find a way to funnel your energy. Make yourself into a magic wand.

Enchanting, lovely Venus and Neptune together can help you to transcend. If the balance is out of whack for you right now, you may find yourself locking into the lower vibes of Neptune—drugs, alcohol, bewilderment. Keep yourself inspired. The verb “to inspire” means both to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence, and to draw in air.

Do both. Focus on your breathing. And then find something that inspires you by engaging your sense of purpose. Use this inspiration to funnel your thoughts and emotions. This is how you activate the power of the magic wand that the Cancer Full Moon chart is presenting you with. How to connect with your higher-self. Probably you do this through meditation. Maybe you listen to inspiring music. Maybe you create something. You will have to get out of your typical thinking-cycle for a handful of moments. Keep leading yourself away from the swirling thoughts. You will keep returning, but you can keep leading yourself away. Focus on the moment. Like when you’re making your coffee in the morning. Or washing your hands. There is so much magic in the moment. The “now” will help you move through the doorway to the next stage of your healing journey.

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Summary: This is a powerfully energetic time. Allow your feelings. Get ready to change and heal. If you feel stuck, pulled in four different directions, vulnerable, or confused—that’s okay. You will move through the doorway by processing your feelings, inspiring yourself and staying present in the now.

The below suggestions are for self-inquiry by sign to help you work more deeply with the energies of the Cancer Full Moon. For a more accurate reading, check where 22 degrees Cancer falls in your birth chart, and also read for that house…

Aries or 4th house.
In what area of your life do you wish for more security? How old is the part of you that wants security? Can you give more empathy to that part of you?

Taurus or 3rd house.
What would you like to be able to believe in? What is stopping you?

Gemini or 2nd house.
What are you building in your life? What is your most valuable asset when it comes to this task?

Cancer or 1st house.
What would you like to say “Yes” to? What would you like to say “No” to? What is blocking you from asserting your desires?

Leo or 12th house.
Ask yourself, “what feeling am I not allowing myself to acknowledge?” What comes up?

Virgo or 11th house.
What are your hopes for the future? Who in your community will support you?

Libra or 10th house.
What are the structure or systems in your life that you are ready to simplify?

Scorpio or 9th house.
Can you make a commitment to explore a new place or philosophical idea this week?

Sagittarius or 8th house.
Where in your life can you let go of control? What does the idea of spiritual surrender mean to you?

Capricorn or 7th house.
Who do you think you could be more open with? How might that change the relationship?

Aquarius or 6th house.
Is something stopping you from feeling grounded? If so, what?

Pisces or 5th house.
What can you do to bring more playfulness and lightness into your life?

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: THE SCIENCE BEHIND MOON MAGIC

More evidence of real Moon magic, the argument for “oracle abuse,” and why there is no 13th zodiac sign…

 

:: MONDAY ::
Fittingly for Moon day (yes, Monday is named after the moon—which, in my opinion, is why/because Mondays are often so moody…nothing to do with the post-weekend blues) I found myself reading an article on new scientific research that showed how the phases of the Moon are linked to major earthquakes and tsunamis. This after Japanese scientists analyzed more than 10,000 earthquakes, and found they were more likely to occur during Full or New Moons.

It’s all linked to the tides, which are controlled by the Moon, since even the teeniest extra water pressure on the earth’s tectonic plates can be enough to trigger a major quake-causing shift. Which I read as yet another example of the scientific and the mystical coming (back) into alignment! Think about it. In astrology, the Moon is said to govern our emotions—which, in turn, are represented by the element of water. And if fluctuations in the ocean’s tides (as dictated by the Moon) are behind tectonic shifts in the natural world—then it is swings in our emotional states that often lead to the big evolutionary shifts in our lives.

Which is why I’m soooooo into Moon sign astrology. For me, our Moon sign is the one to pay attention to when it comes to connecting to our most deeply-rooted (like core-of-the-earth deep) human needs. Plus, if we want to surf the waves—opposed to being dragged down and under by emotions that can feel like a tsunami sometimes—here’s yet more (scientific!) evidence that it pays to pay attention to the phases of the Moon.

:: TUESDAY ::
Book launch for Gabrielle Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back, where Gabby shared how while writing it she had actually been feeling utterly disconnected from spirit. Her answer—spoken like a true #spiritjunkie—was to go deeper into her spiritual practice. Which got me thinking, since earlier today I also heard the term “oracle abuse” for the first time—meaning an over-reliance on messages from “the other side,” versus trusting our own voice and intuition.

It’s a subject Numi contributor Victoria Cox covered brilliantly in this article, and for me, there’s a fine line between tapping IN, and using spiritual tools to “escape” from what’s going on in the here and now of our human existence. And…you can read more from Gabby on the subject of tuning in vs. numbing out in an interview I’m running with her this Sunday—which also happens to be her 11-year sober anniversary…

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Since the whole world is freaking out about NASA and the 13th zodiac sign, I commissioned this excellent piece which explains the whole sitch perfectly. PLUS will make you lol HARD over just how accurate regular ol’ astrology really is!

:: THURSDAY ::
First ever vitamin drip at the Ash Center in Manhattan—an upscale functional wellness clinic that is emerging with a new-found optimism following the tragic passing of founder Dr. Richard Ash. What struck me as I sat with the IV feeding me a mega-dose of vitamins B and C, new MD-in-Chief Anthony Lyon’s little dog Champagne on my lap and sipping from a cup of green tea, was the family vibe of the place. It’s a huge testament to how loved Dr. Ash was that his former colleagues have banded together to continue in his name. And honestly, the atmosphere up here is a panacea in itself. As for the drip? I walked out SO. BUZZED. Favorite new healthy treat.

:: FRIDAY ::
Prepping for a ROAD TRIP!!! The Pisces (husband Simon) has wound up with a whole month off in between jobs, and so we’re heading South to tick a few Numinous must-see travel boxes. Here’s where we’re headed—please comment below with any sights, studios, esoteric stores, and mystics we should try to visit! And follow along on IG for adventures from on the road…

AUSTIN
MARFA
ROSWELL (for the aliens, lol)
SANTA FE
SEDONA
GRAND CANYON
JOSHUA TREE
LA
BIG SUR
SAN FRAN

EMPOWERED ACTION IN THE FACE OF TRAUMA

Recent world events have stirred up many emotions. Louise Androlia shares her wisdom on how to use our feelings as a catalyst for empowered action…. Images: Katya Volpato

Recent world events have left many of us feeling traumatized, whether or not we’ve been directly affected by acts of mass violence. These are turbulent times, and having been working on my own path to trauma recovery recently, I feel called to share some thoughts on how to work on being present in reality—but at the same time not becoming immobilized by fear.

At the root of it all, whether facing our own crisis or confronted with mass crisis, the difficult art to master is that it is safe to feel our feelings and continue to connect, especially when we feel as though it would be wiser to shut down.

The strong emotions being stirred up among switched on communities now are actually a valuable call to action. Here are some ways we can use them—while avoiding losing our connection to our highest selves, or getting swept up in the hype.

THE EMOTION: Overwhelmed
THE GUIDANCE: You can’t save the whole world at once
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Focus your attention

Pick something you currently feel very passionate or perhaps frightened about, and then learn and feel your way through it. Endless browsing through social media feeds may make you feel more frustrated because you also end up reading the comments, which can lead to yet more overwhelm. Instead, choose to focus on your chosen subject and learn all you can. Yes this will be hard if you are used to endless scrolling—because as well as learning, you are re-training your mind to be present.

THE EMOTION: Fear
THE GUIDANCE: Catastrophizing only fuels the fears
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Get involved in local politics and community

Looking on Facebook lately, all I’ve seen is people screaming into the Internet abyss about the apocalypse and giving fuel to their own fear and sadness in the process. This helps no one, including you. So look at how you can actually get involved within your community, and if you don’t see anything obvious, start something. It is so easy to just say ‘Fuck the world’. But this is not the time to give up. It’s time to shout louder, IRL, and to remember your voice and your vote DOES count.

THE EMOTION: Anger
THE GUIDANCE: Do not fight fire with fire
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Feel your anger; then channel it into positive action

The elements can always teach us something—for example, anger is a fire element emotion, while compassion and feelings are water element emotions. And you don’t put out a forest fire by setting another part of the forest on fire! Action, and so activism, is a positive channel for anger, and if what’s needed now is more of the water element, become an activist for love, compassion, equality, empathy, and connection.

THE EMOTION: Grief
THE GUIDANCE: It is safe to feel your feelings
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Explore and nurture your shadow side

Man of us are experiencing a huge collective sense of grief, coming in all forms, and for anybody not used to this emotion, this level of pain can seem very frightening to the mind, body and spirit. This is not a time to numb the pain, but instead an opportunity to dive deeper in your own self-inquiry practice. Checking out of reality serves no one, including you. Allow yourself to acknowledge and feel all the fears that have arisen recently and know that it is okay to do so. It can sometimes feel like our own personal crises are not ‘bad’ enough to warrant being the focus of our compassion—but ignoring your own pain will leave you unable to serve. By learning to compassionately address what is currently coming up for you, then you are actually helping to heal the collective and creating connection between yourself, your peers and those strangers you are really feeling for.

THE EMOTION: Helplessness
THE GUIDANCE: Re-connect to yourself
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Take a media break

First of all, avoid watching or reading the mainstream news on a loop. Studies show that when we keep recycling the news over and over we are re-traumatizing constantly. And the more scared we feel, the more helpless we can feel. To be able to start being of service it is essential that we learn to reconnect to our selves, as once back in the present moment we feel more stable to help others. I’ve also lost count of how many people I hear saying they wish they could use social media less, as this can have a similar way of hooking us into judgment and fear, and distancing us from our own truths. The great news is…you can!

Some easy ways to start:

  • Leave your phone at home and go for a walk in your neighborhood.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode at night.
  • Create a ‘no social media after ***pm’ rule.
  • Log out of all your social media channels on your computer and phone. This means that when you go to use them you become aware that you have to login. This allows using them to become intentional.
  • Move your social icons on your phone to a folder and put it on the last page of scrolling. Again this means you CHOOSE when to look rather than it just being there.
  • Do not read the comments. I repeat DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS.

These small actions may feel massively uncomfortable, and if so, good. If you feel anxious without your phone, good. The present moment will continue to feel painful until you learn to be IN it. And look how much time you now have! What would you like to do with it? I suggest reconnecting to PLAY. Connecting with your inner child is another way to ease anxiety and help you reconnect to your natural energy of love and connection. When you refresh your true north, you are more likely to be able to shift your helplessness into self-love.

THE EMOTION: Frustration
THE GUIDANCE: Express yourself in the way that works for you
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Show don’t tell

It can be really hard to express yourself in a way that you feel helps, especially when you’re angry and upset. It’s good to remember that we rarely get our point across when we try and force it upon someone and so preaching doesn’t usually feel good. You will always feel better when you can express yourself articulately and if you find it difficult to feel confidence with expressing yourself with words, remember also that you can always just BE the change. We always positively affect those around us with our behavior. So think: what small steps can you take in your day-to-day life that will provide example of the kind of world you’d like to live in?

*** 

A Final Word on Black Lives Matter. Vs All Lives Matter.

This is an argument that’s been raging, and below are a few of my favorite simple ways to explain the situation to someone who is having trouble understanding. It is part of human nature to make everything about ourselves (regardless of the topic) since in times of trauma our survival instinct kicks in. But it’s important to learn to recognize that not EVERYTHING is about us. The more that we can see ourselves connected to everyone else, the more empathy we can ignite.

  • “When we say ‘Save the Rainforests’, it doesn’t mean that all other forests suck.”
  • “Choosing to go to a rally for Breast Cancer does not mean that Liver Cancer is less important.”
  • “Saving an animal that’s about to go extinct does not mean that other animals aren’t important, it just means that right now, this one needs our help.”
  • “Yes, of course all lives are important, but currently it doesn’t feel like black lives are as important as other lives—and until the world is equal, meaning ALL people receive the same level of kindness and judicial treatment, then we need to speak up.”
  • “Choosing to support black lives does not mean your life is any less significant.”

You get the idea.

JOURNALING BY SIGN FOR THE CANCER NEW MOON

Deep, sweet healing is available under the July 4 Cancer New Moon—on a personal and a collective level, says Ruby Warrington. PLUS a New Moon journaling exercise by sign…

 

 

Buckle up, bust out the tissues, and get ready to feel some serious feelings under the cashmere blanket cover of the July 4 Cancer New Moon. But rather than a hair-raising roller-coaster of emotion, forming part of a tender, loving trine to Neptune in Pisces and a newly direct Mars in Scorpio, this feels more like a loving embrace of the most sensitive, idealistic aspects of our beings—both individually, and as a collective.

And MAN does the world need this all-enveloping, watery hug right now—which is not here to drown us, or invite us to get swept away on on a tide of sentimentality. Rather, here comes a clarion call to see past the drama, the blame, and the collective pain so many have been experiencing, and simply feel all that is ready to be healed.

The Moon is at its most potent in its home sign of Cancer, the nurturing care-taker of the Zodiac, where it is being charged by the life-force energy of the Sun. Joined here by PR planet Mercury, and Venus, planet of peace, love and beauty, not only is this stellium sending us a beam of pure hope; voicing our vulnerability and caring so much we cry won’t look weak during this Moon cycle—it will reveal us at our most beautiful.

Cosmos willing, we’ll see the same from our world leaders too—since the Cancer New Moon, along with her stellar backing singers, is opposite a retrograde Pluto in Capricorn, shining a light on just how ugly things get when it becomes all about the power plays, at the expense of truly empathetic, authentic leadership. A taste of which we’ve been getting already.

And so the bigger opportunity now is for us all to use whatever influence we wield—in our own lives, within our family constellations, and with whatever voice we put out in the world—to transmute anger and defensiveness to pure, unadulterated compassion. To an mother’s unconditional love. And from this place, to harness the fiery power of Mars direct in Scorpio to assist the downtrodden in rising, Phoenix-like, from the ashes.

Oh, and you know that expression about drinking your cares away…? Not even the most kamikaze-strength cocktails will be able to mask the outpouring of emotion (that which we care about) that must accompany this healing process. If anything, we can all expect to be crying into the guacamole way before Monday’s Cancer New Moon rises.

And so instead, we invite you to turn your back on the BBQs and the inevitable, albeit beautiful, public crying this July 4. To carve out a day for some Cancerian self-care, to retreat into your shell, and to engage in the below journaling exercise—which is designed to help each sign plumb the depths of what personal healing is available beneath the benevolent beam of this Cancer New Moon, and during the next two weeks of this Moon cycle.

If you find yourself stuck drop back into your gut—using the keyword as an anchor for your musings. And above all remember to feel it all, to keep feeling, and then to feel some more.

ARIES :: ARIES RISING
My deepest family or ancestral wound is… The personal power I have access to when I move beyond this is… So, what healing modality is my intuition guiding me towards this Moon cycle? What shift could this create in my career, and in my being a role model for others? Keyword: Mother

TAURUS :: TAURUS RISING
What am I most reluctant to voice right now? To whom? How might my connections and close relationships move forward this Moon cycle if I could just find the courage*? What wider impact could these honest conversations between me and my collective have on the world? Key word: Vision
*NB you can

GEMINI :: CANCER RISING
What do I value the most about myself? My greatest talent is… How can I bring more of this to my day-to-day during this Moon cycle? Of what service could this ultimately be to others? What new levels of depth would this bring to the legacy I am imprinting on the world? Keyword: Abundance

CANCER :: CANCER RISING
The creative project I am ready to invest in this Moon cycle is… What is the love note I need to receive from myself this week to get started? Why is it difficult to write? How does this shift when I see myself through the eyes of my dream lover? When I express my creative gives, how does this shift my relationships with others? Key word: Vitality

LEO :: LEO RISING
Where and with whom in my tribal system do I need to exercise more compassion this Moon cycle? This will also be healing for me because… What are the limiting beliefs I hold about my my personal power? Seeing beyond these, how am freed to be proactive in doing my dharma? Keyword: Integrity

VIRGO :: VIRGO RISING
My role in the group currently is… To what extent does this allow me to flourish as a creative being? And what part of myself is being stifled? The conversation needed this Moon cycle for me to express my true gifts begins with… In what ways might my relationships, in love and business, flourish as a result? Keyword: Innovation.

LIBRA :: LIBRA RISING
My greatest ambition for 2016 is… How can I expand on this vision to also be of service in the world? What limiting belief am I holding about my capacity for attracting financial abundance? Who in my family tree am I most inspired by career-wise? This moon cycle I will connect to their energy by… Keyword: Reputation.

SCORPIO :: SCORPIO RISING
Five new ways I can find creative inspiration this moon cycle are… My dream travel location would be… What does my highest self find so fascinating about this place, and its culture? What emotional need does this speak to in me? Speaking from this place, my message for the world is… Keyword: New horizons.

SAGITTARIUS :: SAGITTARIUS RISING
The great mystery I am being called to investigate this Moon cycle is… Five ways shining a light on this area will improve my family relationships are… What in my own life could be healed as a result? This will make me feel more confident in my ability to experience abundance because… Keyword: Obsession.

CAPRICORN :: CAPRICORN RISING
In my close relationships I am always the one who… How can I experiment with being more authentically myself this Moon cycle? Three things I would like people to know about the real me are… In what positive ways might this shift the way I am perceived by the people in my life? Keyword: Respect.

AQUARIUS :: AQUARIUS RISING
I have been neglecting my overall wellbeing lately by… How has this impacted on my ability to truly value myself? What ambitions have I achieved in the past as a result of instilling healthy habits and routines? What new way can I find to connect to my higher self this Moon cycle? Keyword: Efficiency.

PISCES :: PISCES RISING
When I am in my creative flow I feel… But the limiting beliefs I hold about my creative self are… What actions can I take this Moon cycle to challenge myself creatively? In an ideal world, in what ways would this transform the way others see me? Keyword: Play.

RELEASE AND RENEW: A DARK MOON RITUAL

Transform the unhealed and unloved aspects of yourself this Dark Moon, says Shaheen Miro

Before the birth of each New Moon, the sky grows rich and velvety—it is the night of the Dark Moon. We enter the infinite darkness of the Crone Goddess. She is the keeper of the mysteries, the underworld, the expansive void that tingles our psychic receptors.

The Dark Moon is the gatekeeper between the waking world, and the rich, fertile land of inner transformation. She holds the key to the soul’s mysteries. Penetrating the surface of superficial life, the Dark Moon awakens our zest for life, our sensual nature, and our most inspired magic.

When we tread into the Land of Darkness, we delve deeper into our own soul. Riding on the dark wings of the Owl we sweep further into the enigma of our Shadow… to where our unloved, unhealed, and unacknowledged parts silently wait. But answering the call of the shadow awakens our tenacity and power. We show up bigger and brighter in the world, as we learn to express our most mystical self.

So lay down your hurts at the altar of the Dark Moon. Spin your woes into strands of gold. For healing only comes when you go into the places that hurt.

:: A Dark Moon Ritual for Purging Pain and Restoring Vitality ::

You Will Need:

Your Statement of Release. This can be a written statement, or an intention you carry in your head.

A black candle.

A black scarf.

Some Dragon’s Blood, or other rich, earthy incense.

Walnut flower essence. (Black walnut is a powerful tree for severing ties with the past, as well as with things that hurt you, especially unhealthy relationships—walnut Flower Essence has a similar releasing power)

The Ritual:

Set aside the night of the Dark Moon (the night before the New Moon) to perform your ritual. This ritual will result in a bath, and if you can perform the entire ceremony in your bathroom that’s perfect. If not, find a space where you will be uninterrupted and then carry on into the bathroom.

Darken the ritual space (or simply turn off all lights). Lighting the black candle, make a declaration of intent. Such as:

“I enter the Dark Moon Kingdom with reverence and respect. With perfect love and trust. With bravery and complete surrender. I visit the garden of lost soul fragments, seeking bones discarded by choice or force throughout my life. I honor these parts, I sing to them, I quicken them back into life. Enfold me in the arms of rebirth and regeneration. So Shall it be.”

Holding the candle, walk in a widdershins (counterclockwise) circle to stir banishing and releasing magic. Begin where you like, but the West is the power spot for soul work and metamorphosis. Walking the circle summon protective energies. Let the Dark Moon energy settle around you, creating a zone for inner work. Include your bathtub in the circle if you can.

Seat yourself in the circle’s center. Begin breathing deeply, in and out. Slip into a light, relaxing trance.

Now light the incense, letting the snake of smoke waft through the circle filling the atmosphere with sacred protective energies. As you continue to breath, go deeper into your center. Repeat the above invocation.

Now allow yourself to gently crack open, traveling down the path to your pain and heartache. Feel how your body has become dense with the garbage you have accumulated, staying mindful of the intention you came to release. When you are filled to the top with heavy, sticky feelings, begin to release them into the dark void.

Repeat the Statement of Release as they slip out—reading something you have written or simply speaking from your heart. Become vulnerable to the receptive energy of the Dark Moon. Give her your pain and trauma. You are ready to purge, move forward and heal.

Be here as long as you like. Let your body respond as it needs. Shake, cry, curl into a ball, slip into silence. Whatever spirit moves you to do is perfect. The Dark Moon will move you through this experience of release.

The Black Walnut Bath: 

Fill your bath tub with warm water. If your bath is in another room, gather your accouterments, and see your circle move with you into the bathroom. You can recast the circle if you like.

If you don’t have a full tub, fill a bowl big enough to submerge both your feet.

Pour a few drops of Walnut Flower Essence into the water. Visualize or feel the water being infused with the dark, generative powers of the Moon. See it become an inky black sky. The great void of transmogrification, where there is nothing to fear.

Now wrap your eyes with the black scarf to disrupt your sense of sight. Then slip into the bath. Relax into the embrace of the dark. You are in the alchemical waters of healing. The vessel of rebirth, the womb of the Dark Moon.

Do you feel any resistance? Is there still lingering pain in your body and spirit? Is your heart heavy? Are your wounds still bleeding?

Allow the remaining feelings to fill you up until there is a sense of surrender. Now release them into water. Speak your Statement of Release again to the Goddess, asking the Dark Moon to take it all away…to return it to the void. Speak out loud, and speak from your heart.

Fully release and float in these healing waters as long as you need. When you are ready, let the water drain. Unveil your eyes. Thank the Goddess for her counsel. Release the circle clockwise. Then blow the candle out, or allow it to burn down.

The Healing Aftermath:

Major blocks of energy and pain have been purged. You have asked for the guidance and protection of the Dark Moon. Her energy and influence will curl through your spirit and move through your life in synchronistic ways. Honor her process, and yourself by being compassionate. Rest, eat something rejuvenating. Sleep as long as you like.

You may feel spacey for a few days as your soul parts knit back together. You have undergone a type of psychic surgery. Go as deep into this process as you like. You have just scratched the surface. Meet the Dark Moon each month with a new pain to lay to rest. Healing is always an expansive, ongoing process.

Seeking spiritual guidance or doing divination with a favorite intuitive, friend or oracle is also welcomed during this process. They may help you see how the pieces are coming together. How life is heading in a new direction. And never forget to ask for the guidance and protection of your Spirit Circle: Your Guides, Angels, and Ancestors.

HOW ALANIS MORISSETTE TAUGHT ME TO FEEL MY FEELINGS

The wisdom and wise words of Alanis Morissette taught me to finally feel my feelings…says Red Magazine’s Pip McCormac

“And are you thinking of me when you fuck her?” – You Oughta Know

That’s not when Alanis taught me to feel my feelings. That line, spat out from the depths of her era-defining 1990s album Jagged Little Pill was, for me, only a glimpse of empowerment. I’d bark the lyric like a helpless dog chained tightly to a tree: hollowly, with no real intent. It felt good to howl, but meant nothing. Aged 15, living in suburban Britain, quietly hating myself for being gay, I had no bite. I was meek, and this line was fun to sing, an eye on the door in case grown-ups overheard. But it had nothing to do with how I really felt.

In fact, as Alanis was emboldening a whole generation, I was learning to squash my feelings. Far better, I learned, to train myself not to be self-aware, not to study my shame at being gay. Far fewer outbursts, less look-at-me-meltdowns, if I just carried on, smiled through each day, forgot what I actually felt. Listened to Jagged Little Pill and pretended Alanis’s feelings were mine, instead.

“Thank you India, thank you terror, thank you disillusionment.” – Thank You

The next album was also not when Alanis taught me to feel my feelings. I rotated that record a lot, on my cassette Walkman, on coaches out of Bangkok, on Red Bull hangovers, on pillows made from my arm against bus windows.

Conversations about life, as a concept, took importance over what was actually my life. One step removed, I removed myself. “I’m an existentialist,” I’d declare, because of course that’s what all 19-year-olds were in 1999. I took a star-shaped stud out of my ear and left it on Sartre’s grave, sure that, if this were a movie, I’d meet my true love in the cemetery.

I played my life like a movie. I was just a role, my personality a plot point, changeable in line with the needs of each scene. Each relationship. If a boy called for me to be the ditzy ingénue, I could do it. The matriarchal carer? Done in one take. The sufferer in silence? My specialty.

My boyfriends didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know who I was.


“Lean in to your own personal growth. This will unlock your creativity, courage and self.” – Conversations with Alanis

Finally, two months ago, THIS was how Alanis taught me to feel my feelings. Self-learning my way through her podcast Conversations with Alanis, through her weekly Guardian newspaper advice columns, the 1990s rage in her voice has been replaced by a light, encouraging rasp.

Alanis, you see, likes to workshop her feelings. “Restore yourself to sanity,” she said in one episode. “The good friend in you that you can be to others? Be it to yourself.”

Sat in my self-care socks (alpaca wool, looking after my feet, my body, my mind), cat snoozing on my lap, my journey of self-discovery had begun. I’d had a breakup, but for once not a breakdown, was starting to wonder what I was really all about. Alanis gave me the confidence to find out.

For she doesn’t talk in inverted commas. There is no embarrassment at admitting she began an eight-week Imago course to help her be the person who could find a husband (it worked). No hint of the irony she was once so fond of when she speaks of “diving into self-knowledge,” or says “I thought I could just write songs [about my pain] but I found that having self-knowledge through deep intimacy and commitment was where I could find a deep healing.”

Self-knowledge, she made me realize, is key, and unlocking my feelings would not open a trap door.

When the anger at the break up finally dissipated, healthily, and was replaced by the sadness it had been masking, I knew what was happening, and why. Because I have the courage to be aware of my feelings, as they happen. To notice them, and understand them. To notice and understand myself.

Since learning to feel my feelings, I’ve been a better friend, to others and myself. More honest, less concealed. I’ve spoken up at work, begun two new passion projects, finally aware of what makes me feel lit-up. I’ve not got off with any boys because it’s the end of the date and it seems like the right thing to do, even if I don’t really fancy them. Because I know how I feel already, I don’t need a miserable kiss to tell me.

And I’m happy. I know when I’m happy. I acknowledge it, and it shines through and I feel it.

I feel empowered. And the reason I know I do? Because Alanis.

:: SOME FAVORITE ALANIS WISDOM ::
People who are in co-dependent relationships believe themselves unworthy of love and so put up with a lot, and compromise too much. Those in securely dependent relationships believe they are worthy of love and believe those around them believe they are worthy of love. YES!!!!

Mindsight –
How the mind can influence relationships, with others and with our own selves. Makes keeping the mind healthy a priority.

Autonomous healing is not the only way – 
The old adage that if you don’t love yourself, how can anyone else love you isn’t always true. The best healing can happen in relationships (romantic or otherwise) where you strengthen each other and learn and grow together. Makes sense.

On conflict resolution within a relationship – 
Talk it out. Both say your piece until you feel like you’ve been heard, and then, instead of compromise, talk it out more until you get to a place where you both win. Enlightened.

SIT WITH IT: A NEW WAY TO WORK WITH DEPRESSION

Depression can be a signal of deep discontent from your soul. As tough as it is, try diving into those feelings through meditation and self-reflection to clear your psyche, says Erin Telford

 

“Winter is a great time for depression,” I joked at a Breathwork group last month. I was met with some very nervous giggles. As with most things, it’s only funny because it’s uncomfortably true.

All humor aside, I got really depressed last winter.

It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling. The first time I remember feeling depressed was when I was about 14 years old. It felt like being trapped in a glass, banging on the walls with no one listening, fatigue and a vague sense of loss and hazy unmet needs.

When I started to sink down and enter that deep gray landscape, I just felt tired and defeated. You again? After all this work?

I was involved in a group-coaching program at the time. I was honest with everyone about the despair I was feeling. They came full force with the positivity. You got this! You just need a spa day! Self-care! Find your gratitude!

“Seriously?” I thought. I was surprised by how fiercely irritated I was with their advice. And it hit me. I did not want to be cheerled out of this. I wanted to go down into the dungeon of my psyche and find some f*cking answers.

My response to feeling depressed in the past was to wait until it was over. Back pedal out of the icky feelings. Utilize the usual anesthetics. Self-medication. Self-isolation. Online shopping. Staying busy. Hitting the crack pipe rabbit hole of social media.

This time needed to be different. I’m not a confused teenage girl anymore. I’ve been waking up for a long time and I have an arsenal of tools in my bag, perfect for this emotional renovation. So I made a commitment to going down and in – and not coming back out until I found what I was looking for.

So what did that look like in real life? I turned my phone off. I sat in my favorite spot in my apartment, this little nook with a bunch of plants, great light, and a big window, and I checked in. I sat with myself. I did some writing. I asked many times and in as many ways as I could, “what is underneath all of this pain?”

I was really gentle with myself. This line of inquiry did not involve self-criticism, curse words, belittling myself or my process or any feeling of needing to hurry up and get back to “normal” life. I did not take time off but I did give myself all of the time that I had and needed.

What I found was a deep well of sweetness for myself.

The supposed truth that had taken me down to these depths was uncovered as just another clever way that I had fooled myself into believing that I was separate, that I was unloved, that I was unsupported. I discovered that I had the power inside to be able to break a life long pattern by looking at my wounds with tender curiosity rather than frustration or disdain.

***

Depression is often framed as something that just happens to us like getting a cold or a bummer draw of a genetic card. While environment, brain chemistry, and family lineage can be part of long-standing major depression; many of us experience it simply as a response to what’s going on in our lives.

We sell ourselves short by saying, “I’m just depressed.” As if it has nothing to do with the emotional pain that we’ve endured, the unattended wounds, the countless hours spent confused and alone or in groups of people who fail to see or help our hurt. The real life existential crisis that is: “I was told this would make me happy and I’m not. That must mean something is wrong with me. “

Very few of us have been taught any kind of practical way to channel and work with emotional pain. Most likely the instruction we covertly receive is to tuck away the unlovable, messy parts of ourselves. Shove them way, way, way into the back of the closet so we never have to look at the shame or hurt or confusion we feel. Or, let anyone else see it!

There is a single seed of discontent within you that is begging to be acknowledged.

It could be linked to:

Wrong job
Wrong friends
Wrong city
Wrong relationship
Wrong environment
Wrong…paradigm

Only you know, and facing it down is what I call Constructive Depression. It will require your participation. It will require fierce internal responsibility. And it is your job and your job alone, since no-one else can connect to your deepest parts but you.

The longer you’ve been feeling this way, the more wildly uncomfortable you may be with the truth that is banging on the door of your heart, begging for bread and water. How honest are you willing to be with yourself when your wellbeing is on the line?

So how to you do this?

You can think of Constructive Depression as a soul expedition. So what do you need for an internal journey? Nutritious snacks, great music, paints, journals, talismans, crystals, instruments, quiet, something to burn away the energy. Gather all of your supportive resources.

This is not an intellectual exercise. This is a reckoning. You with you.

This is a slow immersive dip into your soul. A psychic cleansing. Mental decongestion. Moving toward rather than away. Your resistance to this idea is equal to your commitment that all of this is due to the outside rather than inside forces. You ARE up to the task.

We experience the full range of human emotions for a reason. We feel sad because something is breaking our heart. We feel angry because something isn’t right and it needs to change. We feel fear because we are threatened or being asked to expand.

Depression is an opportunity for internal exploration. You are not depressed because you are a bad person or you skipped too many days of yoga or gratitude journaling.

You are depressed because something is not working for you. There is a yearning. An emotional chasm. Something that is crying out to be witnessed and seen like it’s never been seen before. Our wounds are rarely greeted with the exact kind of care and response that we are craving. When we accumulate a lifetime of hurts that have gone unnoticed or unattended to by others, the responsibility falls back to us to determine what we need.

So meet yourself with all of the tenderness, all of the sweetness, the hugs, the love, and the acceptance that you hold within you. Go inside, find your golden nugget of truth, and only come back out when you are ready – holding your treasure high.

*Mental health can be very tenuous. If you feel like this is something you can safely undertake, please do. If it feels like too much, please seek professional support for this internal exploration.

FREEDOM FOR ALL: WORK WITH YOUR AQUARIUS MOON SIGN

Understand your Aquarius moon sign and maximize your self-care practice to be the best YOU, says Ash Bonelli. Artwork: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

Let’s dive deep into the unique and progressive energies of a soul born with an Aquarian moon sign. Our Moon is our HEART. Our emotional and physical support system. Our mama. Our deepest, hidden feelings, that only the ones we really trust get the privilege of knowing. We feed our Moon sign so we can go out and be our best selves, our Sun sign. And once you know how to care for your Moon, you can show others how to do the same.

Self-care is one of our allies to a better world. The Moon is also the source of our intuition, and the zodiac sign it falls in signifies the way we instinctively know things. So understanding your Moon sign can really bolster your relationship to your subconscious feelings in a healthy way.

Work out your moon sign, when you do you chart for free here.

So, what if you have an Aquarius Moon sign? This is the independent thinkers’ Moon. Aquarius is an air sign, that uses its intellect to go about its daily tasks. This is also a fixed sign so once you set your mind on something it may prove difficult to persuade you otherwise. You may also have a tendency to think with your emotions versus feel them. This can actually be used as a superpower though, since this level of detachment can give you the upper hand at in life’s more emotional situations. You most likely don’t wallow in your emotions, and this allows you enough freedom and space to distance yourself and apply some of your unique logic to the given situation.

You probably require a lot of freedom in relationships in general, and need a home environment that lets you come and go as you please. Other people’s expectations could feel like a tremendous amount of pressure – as if your true self is being stifled.  But you gladly offer this same freedom in return. Any sort of “boxing in” creates discord and dampens your ability to by authentically you. You need to be accepted for your original and possibly eccentric ideas, philosophies and ways of being. You may even rebel within your relationships just to prove the point that you won’t conform to their ideas about you.

This is also the humanitarian sign. You care deeply about the collective and will rally for a cause you stand behind. It can make an Aquarius Moon sign sing to really support a charity/foundation, or even a circle of friends that has a progressive impact on society. I could see you as the friend people turn to for solid advice. You have the Moon sign of the wise owl that flies so high you see everyone’s perspective with clear vision. You can be an emotional bolster for humanity without diluting yourself in an ocean of feelings.

Below are some wellness suggestions to express, soothe and connect to and from your Aquarius Moon sign. Your heart runs free and needs a whole cosmos of space to breathe. When you find yourself feeling caged in or overwhelmed, come back to some of these tools.

:: Have a writing practice ::
Aquarius Moon signs express their emotions through the use of their intellect. They use words versus demonstrative acts. Start journaling your thoughts, ideas, wishes and dreams. Try your hand at writing poetry. Use your non-dominant hand, just to get a new perspective. Write out the stories you hold dear. Write down what you are grateful for each day. Make a cookbook or keep a dream diary. Whatever is close to your inner sanctuary, take the time to write it out. Come back to it and reflect on your own spiritual/emotional growth.

:: Join a breathwork circle ::
That’s right, air element Moon sign! Your heart has lungs of its own. Connecting to your life force will give you that much needed feeling of freedom, while at the same time allowing you to connect with yourself on a potent level. Plus you get to meet new people and find that sense of community you so thoroughly enjoy. You have a natural spiritual intuition that can grow and expand with grace via pranayama.

:: Find your cause ::
Get into charity work or assist with a non-profit so you can utilize your greatest emotional strength, your compassion for humanity. You can express this humanitarian pulse in the best way possible by supporting a cause that pulls at your heartstrings. Any type of goodwill is up for grabs and the work will add to your quality of life while making this world a little better than it was before. It’s a win-win for the Aquarius Moon sign.

:: Guided meditation ::
Your heart is always in your head – and you need a break from that constant stream. This type of meditation would be good because it covers both bases for you. The spoken words help your mind follow a path. The path, however, leads to the detachment of thoughts. Giving your mind the space to be empty will in turn give your heart a deep rest.

:: Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) ::
Balance out both hemispheres of your mind to balance your heart.

Bring your first and middle finger down and in towards your palm. You will use your thumb and ring finger for this practice. The pinky can just hang out and rest where it’s at. Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril. Now breathe in from the left nostril and then press the left nostril gently with the ring finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. You have now completed one round of Nadi Shodhana pranayama. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils. 10 rounds please.

Keep space, move with grace & continue your healing work. From those places, your moon will feel content.

FEEL YOURSELF: READING FOR THE FULL MOON IN CANCER

The Full Moon in Cancer is inviting us to feel our way home…as we simultaneously step into brave new world, says Hannah Ariel.

“Like great works, deep feelings always mean more than they are conscious of saying. Great feelings take with them their own Universe, splendid or abject, they light up with their passion an exclusive world.” – Albert Camus

If you feel like you’re having an existential crisis – hang on a minute. If you feel like you’re feeling too much to put into words, that’s okay, be still inside and keep quiet for a while. If you feel like you are bursting at the seams to say something – maybe it’s time to say it!

And if you feel like you are opening up to feelings you’ve never felt before – say hello to a Full Moon in Cancer that began as a New Moon in Sagittarius. (And if you feel nothing, make sure you aren’t somewhere hiding in a corner, in total denial of what’s happening in your life right now!)

Astrologically, December has been a month of shifting our long-standing perceptions as a result of more expansive experiences in our lives; experiences that have re-defined our purpose here on Earth; experiences that shook us right off the branch we were clinging to for dear life; experiences that have left us here, now, with an opportunity to become more emotionally rooted in what is TRUE for us personally.

Just think for a moment – the constellation of Cancer is ruled by the Moon, which rules over how we experience our greatest, biggest FEELINGS, our deepest subconscious habituations. It is where we find our sense of belonging, our ability to be receptive, and our ability to establish a connection with our sensitivity.

Essentially the Moon is HOME, and in its full creative potential in Cancer – so even if it feels like you can’t recognize the territory this Sagittarius New Moon carved out for you, call on this energy now. It is time to let go of whatever is keeping you from feeling at home within your own life.

For a Full Moon in Cancer is pure maternal energy. This Full Moon is here to nurture our future development, by feeding us just what we need. Like the tide, she guides us with a subtle body of heavenly energy, helping us know how to act, when to re-act, and when to go with the flow with life.

Allow this to be a sweet and deep and personal experience, that may begin with a welling up of sentiments. Sentiments, perhaps, that you need to let go of. This may involve tears. It may involve laughter. It may involve silence. Whatever this Full Moon in Cancer brings forth in you as she rises to her full expression, feel the protective flow of energy the Universe is offering, and just a few days after Winter Solstice.

The Solstice is the exact moment where the Northern Hemisphere is tilted farthest from the Sun. It is the longest night of the year, and without awareness, it can potentially be a time where we feel as if we’ve lost our “truth north,” or guiding light. As the Earth turns now, we’re being pulled to a place where only karmic memory can remind us of our next move.

The Full Moon in Cancer IS karma. Its light is a reflection of the Sun in Capricorn, on its way to its annual death/rebirth date with Pluto in the same sign. We are being asked to let go of the old and birth something new. It is within this alchemy that destiny will do its best work. Feel this. Find whatever it is that brings a strong sense of being peacefully in the right place, at the right time, within yourself, ready to nurture your future.

No matter what kind of Sagittarian adventure you’ve been on the past two weeks, it’s time to come home to yourself and your inner journey, and experience true emotional re-calibration. Sure, we’ve had our eyes opened to fresh new visions. But how can we move into these realities without connecting to the reality of our… FEELINGS?

How can you be upfront with yourself when asked the question: “How does what I am currently experiencing make me feel?” Does the answer to this question serve your future? And how can you answer without grasping for the same old familial patterns you’re accustomed to leaning on for emotional stability?

It could be all too easy for this Full Moon in Cancer to trigger old habits, old instincts, and old patterns that used to make us feel safe and “at home,” especially at a time of year steeped in family traditions.

Perhaps Christmas always sees you revisit certain family members, and the accompanying emotional patterns – but whatever tradition you find yourself carrying on, know that astrologically it’s a brilliant time to experience yourself ANEW.

Tap into the energy of the Winter Solstice for this, and know that you are supported as you go further into exploring a new spiritual identity, shining like a beacon in the dark. Know that this is about feeling your way into a new reality. The Sun has just passed through the “galactic center” of the Universe – literally – a time in space that offers the opportunity to go way further into your cosmic self. So allow yourself to be re-wired. What if the Universe promised you that on this day, this year, you have the power to create a new tradition? A new space to experience yourself. Then what would you feel?

On December 25th, 2015, how about cozying up to a new enlightened idea of what makes you feel alive. The light you have longed to kindle all year is ready to be ignited now, ESPECIALLY as Uranus, retrograde since July 26, goes direct in Aries. When Uranus is retrograde we may doubt sudden new potentials as they present themselves. When Uranus goes direct, we are booted out of the status quo in order to re-boot something important about ourselves.

So acknowledge where you’re experiencing twists and turns in your destiny, FEEL how it makes you feel, upgrade to the new reality, and acclimate. Although you may feel like you’ve been supercharged with something otherworldly, unrecognizable, unacceptable, and out of bounds, this Full Moon in Cancer is not meant to shock so much as it is here to bring you to where you belong.

SURPRISE; this is how you now feel “at home.” SURPRISE; this is where you’re supposed to be in your life. Whatever you uncover, maybe you’re most surprised to find you’ve had it in you all along – what you need to move forward, and this ability to feel your way into the future. So be receptive to what has suddenly become true for you, and feel its existence with your whole heart.

For a personal reading with Hannah Ariel contact [email protected]

UNDER THE ARMOUR: WHY MEN FIND IT HARD TO FEEL

Why men find it hard to feel is a case of nature and nurture. But when the new empowered masculine is invited to express himself, relationships become a catalyst for healing, says Darren Austin Hall. Images: HANs via Behance.net

“The rule of patriarchy demands that men armor themselves, not only to impose force upon the world, but to resist the Feminine externally, and deny or conceal its presence internally, in themselves. On the path of the hero…the genuine hero is a man who develops his power against patriarchy, rather than in support of it. He overcomes armor in the cause of amore.” – John Lamb Lash

I once had an insightful conversation with a female friend about her romantic struggles with men who perpetually shut down emotionally, a common dynamic in many relationships. I’ve also seen this complaint broached in neo-feminist articles online, often reading something along the lines of: “If you haven’t got your emotional shit together you don’t deserve me,” OR “I’m a queen and if you can’t handle intense communication then hit the road.

Firstly, I want to affirm that the kind of Kali fury women feel when their male intimate won’t communicate with them and/or shirks emotional connection altogether is totally valid – and can, when appropriately utilized, actually compel a lazy King out of his benumbed emotional doldrums into attractive action.

But what many women don’t understand is WHY men shut down, and how they can support us with compassion when we do.

I’ve been interested in developing the “healthy masculine” ever since a life-changing trip to India, where I met a beautiful soul brother who introduced me to several inspiring texts on the subject. The insights of the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover series by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, and the raw, brutal truths of Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly, shone a light on the struggles facing men in the modern world. Things I had always vaguely felt, but never knew how to express – due in part to my own emotional dullness.

And as I delved into these studies deeper, I began to feel a tremendous sense of compassion for my brothers and myself.

Foremost, men are conditioned to shut down emotionally by society itself. Men are taught that to express emotions is “unsafe,” because it makes our masculinity appear weak and soft. For so long, we’ve been taught that to be masculine is to be “hard.” And if you’ve ever given a modern man a massage, you’ll know this hardness is tangible, our emotional armoring manifesting as layers upon layers of muscular tension.

Here’s a massive truth that I want us all to pause for a moment and reflect upon: that hardness in the body is actually layers of ice-cold frozen tears.

My own inner-work has been about reimagining my masculinity in a patriarchal world which conditions an immature and dysfunctional masculine identity that doesn’t know how to feel. Along the way, I have been shocked at how reading about the pain of male warriors going to war for corrupt political aims provokes massive grief in me.

And also how reflecting on this subject awoke the realization in me that every time I got my heart broken, I did my best to bury the wounds so deep that only through psychic scuba-diving in my meditation practice years later would I be able to excavate and process them.

It soon became clear that I’d been carrying around a hospice of old wounds, waiting to be healed and transmuted into wisdom – since every feeling I liberated held its own insights and revelations. One reason I’ve come to believe women, as I’ll explain, often seem wiser than men.

Women are at advantage in the emotions department for a couple of reasons. One, women are encouraged to be emotional. As a result, while many women still struggle with how to process emotions skilfully and use them as tools for alchemical transformation, they are usually more comfortable than men in this realm.

Secondly, diverse ancient traditions purport that women are at an advantage to men spiritually. I didn’t really understand the rationale behind this until I studied Chinese Medicine, and realized some important facts about our physical differences.

In Chinese Medicine, a person’s shen, or spirit, expresses itself as our sense of conscious awareness. It is said that this spiritual force is housed in the Heart and travels in the blood. And when women have their menstrual cycle and bleed they are actually cleansing this shen; their spirit!

Furthermore, I was taught by Native American elders that the sweat lodge was actually created to help men cleanse in a similar way, to help them keep spiritual pace with women! Totally mind-blowing.

Could this be why men are more vulnerable to being murky of spirit and emotional awareness than women? If women’s blood, or spirit, runs more clear, it comes as no surprise to me that women are able to feel more clearly and thus exhibit more emotional wisdom than men – for as I’ve learned, feelings are the catalyst for spiritual revelation.

Moreover, menstrual cycles mean women are energetically connected to cycles of the Moon, which in turn is energetically linked to our unconscious. This is why the cycles of the moon can inspire utter wildness of feeling in women! The moon is literally prodding their unconscious to come to the surface to be integrated into the light of consciousness.

A final stunning detail on this note: I was told by another wise teacher that women traditionally would intention their menses to cleanse not only themselves but the spiritual nature of the world at large, using their moontime to help bring the unconscious of the collective into the light of consciousness to be integrated. It’s no wonder women can feel so heavily burdened during their moontimes: they are cleansing so much more than themselves!

In saying all this, I’m not trying to excuse men who refuse or don’t know how to acknowledge their emotions. I know first hand from my own relationships how difficult for women this can be. My intention is simply to create a space for compassionate understanding of our differences, helping us pave the way for better relations in the future.

Ultimately, when it’s understood that women are by nature (and nurture) better feelers than men, this can be integrated into not only romantic but all relations between men and women, as well as utilized as a dynamic tool for healing.

In the past, I used to fear the way women seemed to know my pain even if I didn’t express it. Now I understand that female intuition is a great power that needs to be honored – but that we also need to honor how scary it can be for a man that she can usually tell when something is up no matter how hard he tries to hide it, for fear of appearing weak.

In the ancient romantic culture of the Troubadours, there’s an old adage: amore over armor. Men are constantly armoring themselves to fit an outmoded idea of masculinity, and while some protection is useful to buffer us against the trials of the world, most men are carrying way too much (which actually goes for women too, as we’ve all been conditioned by the patriarchy).

So the next time a man, either your partner or a friend, exhibits this kind of emotional armoring, instead of falling into frustration and even anger, choose compassion. Allow space. Ask tender, loving questions. Use touch and the beautiful arts of seductive love to tease out the truths from his tense body in a safe space that welcomes vulnerability.

Women’s gifts of sensuality and feminine beauty can entice the masculine to drop its defenses and open its overly guarded heart. In the ancient romantic traditions, this was seen as one of the great powers of women: to disarm men and invite their innermost essence to be expressed. Imagine if the women of the world used this power against all the war-mongering tyrants, to draw out the wounds that are at the root of so much violence!

When a man starts to feel openly, sharing his tender truths with women, then intimacy can blossom exponentially. Women will see, perhaps for the first time, the beautiful innocence that men hide in our hearts, and have been too afraid to show to a world they felt would demean them for it.

Further, perhaps we’ll realize that there’s a profound context in all romantic relationships for cultivating the balance between the masculine and feminine; for these two cosmic polarities to dance finally and ultimately in unison, fusing in the beauty of the divine.

Darren Austin Hall is a sacred musician, sound healer and spiritual teacher. His empowering music entails diverse, salving instrumentation, across crystal singing bowls, Indian tanpura, mystical guitar and shamanic singing. His new album, The Tantra of Truth, is a collection of ecstatic songs inspiring the evolution of consciousness and deep transformation, and he is one of the headlining musicians for The Yoga Conference in Toronto. He is also trained in Chinese Medicine and shamanic healing and is a gifted teacher and facilitator of a wide array of workshops on new paradigms of spirituality and healing. His writing appears on the blog The Druid, and is published online on sites such as Elephant Journal. Darren also co-facilitates a men’s group in Toronto devoted to raising the consciousness of the masculine and is a devotee of the wisdom of nature. Darrenaustinhall.com