BIRTH OF A STAR: READING FOR THE 2016 LEO NEW MOON

In her reading for the Leo New Moon, Sandra Sitron channels a symbol for each of the aspects at play—and provides simple prompts for each sign to create a personal New Moon ritual at home.

We experience a Leo New Moon on August 2nd at 4.44pm EDT.

THE MOON AND ITS MESSAGE
“The birth of a star.”

Every New Moon offers us a chance to start fresh; and it is an invitation to use this energy to share our unique light with the world. This can happen most of all through sharing our creativity. Why is self expression so important to us humans? It is a communication of the soul. It is how we share a unique part of our spark, our flame, our light.

And so there is the giving. Our work at this time is to give and to shine bright like the sun. And yet, a communication is not complete if the transmission is not received. So there is also the receiving. Our work now is also to receive recognition for what we have shared. This recognition is important for the proud-to-bursting Leo heart. It completes the circle.

Leo New Moon energy asks us to shine. And it asks us to feel recognized. To hear someone say that we are special. To be worshipped, even if for a moment. And to worship, even if for a moment.

The coming two weeks are a time to give love. And to receive love. Do this however you do. And do it big, with a flourish. Be romantic. Fall in love with life. Play. Be like a child. If you don’t know how, watch them and remember. Connect with your heart and connect with the full pleasure-seeking beam of the Sun.

***

SATURN TRINE THE MOON IN LEO
“Haystacks in the field.”

This Leo New Moon is receiving supportive energy from the planet of structure—Saturn. This means any lessons will be easily learned now, if you apply yourself. So focus your intentions not just on being a whirlwind of unbridled joy, as this Leo New Moon might suggest…but on shining your light from a carefully constructed and beautifully rendered crucible of  creative energy.

Make a plan and set an intention to come out of this time having produced something to be proud of.

Build your haystack. Make a monument to your love. Funnel all of this super exuberance into a product of some kind. It could be a real product. Or a lesson learned. Either way, you can work with this energy by applying effort and achieving results.

***

NEPTUNE INCONJUNCT (QUINCUNX) THE MOON IN LEO
“A clown sitting on a bench and looking at the ground.”

This Leo New Moon, a point of darkness in which to plant our seeds of hope, is wrapped in Neptune’s fog. And this doesn’t exactly feel comfortable. In the symbol, the clown has paused his work and is looking down. The clown wears a mask, he creates a mystique, he is an idealization. These are all traits of Neptune. Neptune is an enchanter. But in this configuration with the New Moon, Neptune is stuck. He doesn’t know where or how to turn. He doesn’t know who or how to enchant next.

What does this mean for you? Take control of your idealizations. Use your imagination to create a life you actually want to live. Don’t let fantasies carry you away. Don’t be tricked by the tricksters. Raise your vibration through meditation and appreciation. Activate your imagination on you own terms, don’t let it take you over. If all else fails, take a nap.

***

JUPITER OPPOSITE CHIRON
“A cow chewing her cud.”

So many times we come back to the same realizations. We re-work an old thing in our minds, forgetting that we have covered this territory before. Well, during this Leo New Moon phase, you are ready to expand through an old wound. You are ready for some massive healing. There is always a little pain when antiseptic gets poured in a wound. But this time the pain will be quickly replaced by a breakthrough. Let this moment heal your ancestral line.

Let the light blaze in so big and so bright that there is no more space for unawareness. Everything becomes clear. This is your chance to allow the healing to penetrate all the way through to the core. Do it with love. Use this Leo New Moon to create a bonfire in your heart. The vibration of Leo love heals all. Share your tender heart.

***

NEW MOON INTENTIONS BY SIGN
To create a personal Leo New Moon ritual, use the below mantras and areas of self-enquiry to craft a simple statement of release. Then, join us in burning away these used-up stories—using a sacred candle, or any flame lit with the intention of release.

ARIES :: ARIES RISING 
“I am a powerful creator. I am full of love.” What is holding you back from realizing your grandest creative visions? What needs to be released for you to re-gain the confidence to create with love?

TAURUS :: TAURUS RISING 
“I nurture myself.” Where in your life are you putting the needs of others first, where you need to mother yourself? What needs to be release to re-dress this imbalance?

GEMINI :: GEMINI RISING 
“I learn and communicate joyfully.” Who am I having difficulty communicating my needs to? What needs to be released to allow me to express myself more freely in my relationships?

CANCER :: CANCER RISING 
“I feel secure.” Where have I fallen into unhealthy habits, and how it this eroding my confidence in myself to be of service? What needs to be released for me to re-center with my values?

LEO :: LEO RISING 
“I share my unique identity with the world.” How is my creativity being stunted? What needs to be released for me to re-gain the confidence to express myself with joy and conviction?

VIRGO :: VIRGO RISING
“I honor my intuition.” Where have I been holding back in my family life? What needs to be released for me to show up for my tribe with empathy and compassion?

LIBRA :: LIBRA RISING
“I am optimistic about the future. I am supported by my community.” How have I separated myself from my community? What needs to be released for me to re-connect to the future we are building together?

SCORPIO :: SCORPIO RISING
“I shine bright in my vocation. I am comfortable being seen.” Why have I been keeping my talents under wraps? What needs to be released for me to feel more comfortable in the spotlight again?

SAGITTARIUS :: SAGITTARIUS RISING
“I broaden my horizons. I am without limits.” Where have I put limits on my own potential? What needs to be released for me to expand into the role of both student and teacher?

CAPRICORN :: CAPRICORN RISING 
“I let go.” What am I holding onto from the past that it stopping me moving forward? What needs to be released for me to dive fully into unravelling my next great mystery?

AQUARIUS :: AQUARIUS RISING
“I feel supported in relationship. I trust myself.” Where could my relationships benefit from a radical new world view? What needs to be released for me to forge more progressive connections with others?

PISCES :: PISCES RISING
“Through improving myself, I improve the world.” Where have I been dimming my light and playing small? What needs to be released for me to bring my whole self to the table, and truly be of service in the world?

SELF-ENQUIRY BY SIGN FOR THE GEMINI NEW MOON

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.”
–Octavio Paz

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]

MOVE, SIT, WRITE: 10 REASONS TO WRITE AND MEDITATE EVERY DAY

As she prepares for her Move, Sit, Write tour of the US, Tatum Fjerstad explains how learning to write and meditate every day is about sparking a conversation with your higher self. Artwork: Brian Lynch

Call it an exercise in trading comfort for terrifying uncertainty (she does, in this brilliant blog post), but when something broke in Tatum Fjerstad in December last year, the only option was to pretty much quit what she’d been doing and start again. Which looks a lot like setting off across America to teach her twin (okay triplet) passions of yoga, meditation and writing – a.k.a. her Move, Sit, Write tour, which will take place in 15 studios in seven states, beginning March 3 in Portland, Oregon.

Up until this point, Tatum had been making her life / career decisions a lot like: If I do this, people will think it’s cool. If people think it’s cool, then I’m cool. If I’m cool, people will like me and then I don’t have to work so hard to like myself because everyone else will be doing it for me.” And if you too suspect, on any level, you might also be living this life: “Get out now,” she advises. “It will bring you to a very dark place where you will feel so very disconnected with your own wants and desires that you’ll start to have bleak feelings about how we’re all just atoms bumping into each other and everything is meaningless so what’s the point.” Our point, in general, precisely.

It’s been through her own move, sit, write practice that Tatum has learned to re-connect to and value her sense of self – and since it’s often our own wounds that lead us down the path to our dharma, who better to guide others to do the same. Here, she shares 10 reasons to write and meditate every day…

For more details of Tatum’s Move, Sit, Write tour check out her Go Fund Me page  or book tickets at Tatumfjerstad.com

1. Take An Inventory: When you create the space to listen to your patterns by meditating on and writing down whatever is bouncing around in your head, you (and only you) can decide what you want to keep and what you want to release. This doesn’t happen after one go at it. You have to do it every day.

2. Own Your Shit: When things are rough, this practice can help you get super clear on your hand in the matter. All of us are walking around with a LOT of baggage, no matter who you are, and we can’t unpack it by ignoring it.

3. Sleep Harder: I started meditating twice a day everyday and journaling once in the mornings almost a year ago. Since then, I have had some of the best naps, dreams, and deep sleeps. When you give yourself the time to slow down during the day, your body settles much easier when it’s time to do so.

4. Deeper Connections: When you become a better listener to yourself, you become a better listener to others. It’s a lot easier to put your phone down during a conversation and make eye contact with another person if you know how good that feels when you do it for yourself.

5. Forgive Freely: This soft quiet practice initiates the nurturing of your inner teacher, who happens to be pretty benevolent, empathetic and compassionate. You’ll start to be more lenient on yourself and that will trickle down to others because you’ll realize that we’re all doing the best we can with the tools we have.

6. Treat Yourself: So many of the people I teach think this sort of work is too indulgent or they say they don’t have time. If you have time to scroll through your Instagram feed in bed in the morning, or wash your hair every day, you have enough time to get up a little earlier and do yourself this favor.

7. Increase creativity: When you sit and watch your thoughts and freely write them down you are sitting at the seat of creativity. You can’t force that shit. It has to come on its own with space and sweetness. What better space than writing and meditation?

9. Inspire Others: The longer you do this, the more your friends will want in. They will see your softness emerge and they will ask for your secrets. Share them.

10. Get it Out: Omg, it feels so good to write a bunch of shit about someone who is pissing you off. It feels WAY better than telling them this stuff and then immediately regretting it. I’ve solved entire friendship dramas without speaking a word to them and having the conversation with myself until I was done with it. Sometimes that takes a few days, sometimes much longer.

11. Be Your Own Best Friend: You know that feeling when it’s whatever-night-of-the-week and you don’t have any plans and everyone is doing cool shit and you feel like a big loser full of FOMO? That goes away because you’ll start to really love those cuddly moments with yourself when it’s just you, a good book and some great music.

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.

SOUL CAMP: CONNECTING WITH MY REAL TRIBE

When Michelle Goldblum was asked to create a summer camp for grown-ups, it forced her to confront age-old feelings of sadness and un-belonging. But it was also the catalyst for the next stage in her personal growth. Images: Karolina Daria Flora

As an adult, I’ve always looked back on my summers spent at camp as some of the best times of my life. And when I met Ali, having found each other in the wellness world (I own a branding and marketing agency for thought leaders in this field and she’s a body confidence coach), and we realized we were both Camp Towanda kids, every time we got together it was like we were back, cheering on the way to the soccer field. The energy of those times lived on in our relationship, which was always very childlike and fun, and like nothing I’ve experienced with anybody else.

As it turns out, our camp director follows both of us on Facebook, and in October last year, he reached out to us to ask; “would you like to bring a mind, body, spirit retreat to Camp Towanda?” Of course, as soon as Ali and I got together, it was obvious that our soul mission (maybe it was even the reason we met?) was to accept, and in doing so bring back what we both remembered as “The Magic of Camp.”

But when we went back to Towanda, which is located in Wayne County, PA, for our first site visit, walking around the familiar grounds, the memories that now began flooding back for me were far from happy. How could it be? Instead of joy, I was overwhelmed with a long-forgotten sensation of feeling completely isolated, and I realized how alone I actually felt at camp as a kid and how I so longed to be accepted.

I remembered having to find things to do during free time, when everyone huddled together in their packs. I remembered going from group to group, trying to find where I belonged, with an intense feeling that something must be wrong with me. I felt a familiar sensation in my neck, my chest and my gut, the same overwhelming feeling of sadness I realized I experienced back then.

I even had a flashback to the camp counsellor giving me a bookmark, which said something like; “it’s not how many friends you have but the quality of friendship that’s important.” At the time, I was so offended. But she’d obviously seen the pain my ten-year-old self had thought I was hiding so well.

Camp is supposed to be where you learn how to have relationships. It’s where people get their first boyfriends, and have their first kisses. Going back to Towanda, I realized how much of that I missed out on. Was it because I was fat? As a child, I realized I felt like; “I am different because I’m bigger. That’s why I’m not going out on the raid, that is why I’m not part of the crew.”

Or maybe it was because didn’t have the Kate Spade bag that all the other girls had. But even when I got the bag and all the other “stuff” I thought I needed to fit in, I still experienced the same feelings of separateness. My way of coping? By my last year at Towanda, aged 15, I was Camper Captain. On the outside, I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. But inside, there was this feeling of; “oh wow – I slipped under the radar there.” And guess what? It turns out Ali, a couple of years younger than me, was experiencing the same thing.

This was all new to me. I was shocked that my memory could play such tricks on me, casting my experience of camp in such a rose-tinted glow. And it’s only more recently I’ve been able to join the dots – how hiding the feelings of inadequacy that camp instilled in me became part of my adult identity, manifesting in an eating disorder I kept secret for years, an addiction to Adderall when I found myself working in big pharma post-college, and a co-dependent relationship that left me needy, isolated and without too much of a social life.

The best part though, is that this realization has also been a catalyst and a turning point in the next stage in my personal growth.

Asking around, it seemed like Ali and I weren’t lone “camp loners,” either. People would tell us; “I had a horrible experience at camp, I never want to go back.” They shared painful memories of sitting alone at the dining hall and not being included in activities, and it was based on this feedback that we began to come up with the concept for Soul Camp.

Sitting in our dorm during that first site visit, we shared exactly what was going on for each other. That night we decided that our souls had signed an agreement, and that it was our job to process and heal all the pent up feelings that were rushing to the surface so that we’d be equipped to hold the space for other people to return to camp and confront their hurtful, shameful, hidden memories as well.

We set about putting together a roster of more than 30 of the most incredible speakers and healers from our pioneering wellness world – people like Nisha Moodley, Terri Cole, Meggan Watterson, Ed Harrold, Ashley Turner – to join us on our journey.

And I feel like we’ve created the ultimate alternative camp for all the people who felt weird, or different, and like they didn’t belong. And maybe that’s everybody, on some level. From the bonfire and “fear burning” ritual on the opening night, to yoga by the beautiful lake, empowering intenSati classes with one of my personal teachers, Patricia Moreno, and incredible, nourishing food prepared with love, we’ve designed Soul Camp to create new memories. Joyful memories. Memories of meeting like-minded, welcoming friends; of exploring new activities and learning new techniques; of coming together, connecting inward, and feeling a-part-of.

Of course it’s also fine to just find your spot at the waterfront and write in your journal all weekend, but the most important piece for me is that we’ll all be there together. Reliving our childhood experience, but in a way that feels completely supportive and safe. You feel “different”? So do I. And guess what – that makes us all the same.

Now that I remember camp properly, I know there were some beautiful moments too. I had one counsellor, Mindy Karp, who is my friend to this day, and when we were nine or 10 she’d put us to bed playing Joni Mitchell and leading us in a deep relaxation meditation. Not that we understood it as that then, she’d just tell us; “feel your toes, now relax your toes…” She was the inspiration for our own “bunk leaders,” who we’ve equipped with tools to facilitate community, openness and togetherness in each bunk. And thank God for people like her.

Soul Camp at Camp Towanda takes place September 4-7. For details of the full line-up and to purchase tickets visit Soulcamp2014.com. PLUS enter the code “NUMI” at checkout for a $100 discount!