Tag Archives: life cycles

Down to Earth before We Fly: New Moon in Capricorn 1/11/13

Capricorn by Josephine Wall

It seems so fitting that just as we are about to leave the strong-willed, determined sign of Capricorn, the year’s first new moon is in Capricorn — perhaps a cosmic expression of the Goat’s perseverance and staying power. Tomorrow night the moon will be new and will reside in Capricorn, and according to the Jewish Lunar zodiac, we will already be entering Aquarius’ month — though in Western Astrology, the time of Aquarius won’t begin until January 21. (These are the two systems I have studied, but I am curious to know about any others with regards to these dates. Please comment if you know of any other systems’ dates for Capricorn/Aquarius). Whichever approach one takes, most agree that after Capricorn follows Aquarius and both are ruled by Saturn. Some sages teach that Capricorn and Aquarius are akin to the eyes, attributing a special connection and almost unity between these two signs. Indeed, being both ruled by the powerful planet Saturn, there is a clear thread that runs through the two.

My feeling is that we have to take a last serious, very methodical approach to heart in order to ground ourselves before we enter Aquarius. I think of Capricorn and Aquarius as twins separated at birth; Capricorn, an Earth sign, being raised in a down-to-earth family that values an unbending commitment to hard work, while Aquarius, a sign of Air, was brought up in a family much less physically oriented, more theoretical and universally-minded.  Both have the same blood running through them; the Saturnian imprint that bestows an unshakable core, which allows both these signs to achieve great heights and make powerful impressions in the world.

In general, the New Moon is always a time for new beginnings, like a blank page, and the sign in which the moon resides gives a direction and a teaching about the coming energies and thus teaches us how to be prepared for them. This particular New Moon is a time of locking down and making practical, dedicated, and real-life commitments and evaluations. Capricorn urges us to access that part of us that needs and thrives on working hard towards our goals. Aquarius is a time for fruition and creatively acting out on those goals, but without a solid plan we can get lost in all that air energy. I think the cosmos are doing us a little favor with the new moon in Capricorn, sort of a last chance to buckle down and make some meaningful goals or even resolutions before they flutter away in the wind. In life, we must balance the forces of free-flowing creativity and methodical, practical approaches to living- both are essential to reach our highest selves.

Reflections for the New Moon:

~Where would you realistically like to see yourself by the end of this new year?
~What practical, realistic steps will you need to take to achieve those goals?
~Are you as responsible as you would like to be with your money, your relationships, friendships, wellness?
~Do you tend to try to escape or run away from the more practical aspects of life too often?
~Is your approach in life more pro-active or passive?
~Do you have tangible, realistic plans for your future that provide you with security?

…if these questions are making you anxious or uncomfortable, you might be an Air sign or Fire sign like me – or just human! Don’t be overwhelmed, you can pick and choose one or two – you get the picture! The important thing is to not neglect the value of time, the power in planning and being proactive about your goals and dreams. And don’t fret, here are some ideas to help even the most nonchalant, non-Saturnian of us to bring ourselves down to earth:

creative journal by marcia beckett

~Make yourself a Saturn-Twin Journal. It should include both the very down-to-earth, practical approach of Capricorn as well as the creative, expressive, and free-flowing nature of Aquarius. I met a woman in college who had a beautiful moleskin journal with blank pages that she herself divided up into weekly calendars. In each “day” she wrote her goals, dreams, inspirations, and also very practical information. What struck me was that she invested so much energy and made the journal so alive with color, writings, drawings; it was the best of both worlds – artistic and also very useful and helpful for organizing her life. I have done this and it always helps to have that book with you at all times – a place to be expressive and to keep track of things, both equally important.

~Look back at 2012 as objectively as you can by speaking with a close friend about each other’s experiences, actions, decisions, and where it all led to. We sometimes tend to forget things (me especially), but the beauty of friendship is that we see one another from the outside but with loving hearts. My friends (and my journals) are usually the ones who remind me gently of the truths that I would rather forget or run away from, and in my life their guidance has been invaluable. You can make a new moon ritual to support and uplift each other while talking out some of the good, bad, and wonderful parts of your year – thereby making space for new and wiser decisions in your future.

~Choose one part of your life that you feel you have neglected or been passive about and make a change – massive or tiny. Whether it is managing your finances, talking to your boss, addressing a health concern, or even facing your own feelings or emotions towards something, this New Moon is a good time to be proactive and take things head on. The best advice I ever got was from my Uncle who told me to always be proactive in life. It’s so simple, but so profound when actually put into practice. So often we just get carried away with the tide and we lose ourselves amidst the many demands of life. We say yes when we mean no, we give when we feel we have nothing left to offer, and we do things without our heart being in it. But choosing to be more proactive about the choices, decisions, and actions we take is vital for our well-being, self-respect, and peace. It also has a snowball effect. If there is something you believe in or want to do, take that first step towards achieving it. You will be amazed at how the universe conspires to help you once you open that door.

~Read a biography about a person you feel a strong connection to/respect for. Autobiographies are amazing teachers because they remind us that each life is a complex story with many ups, downs, and all arounds. No person got to the top of Mt. Everest without first having to struggle and fall. No person achieved their greatest dreams without endless interesting, unexpected, crazy, magical, and unique experiences. I find so much inspiration and guidance in autobiographies and I think this is a great time to start to read one, partnering with the spirit of that person as you embark on your own adventure. Check out Nelly Odessa’s awesome collection of success stories for practical advice from people who made their dreams their reality.

Herbal Ritual for the New Moon

Shepherd’s Purse has heart shaped seed pods, giving it the folk name of Mother Heart.

Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is a Saturnian herb that has both grounding, rooting energy as well as a magical, deep, and other-worldly quality to it. This herb helps us to develop our inner will and to develop healthy, practical boundaries to stay true to our true will. Burn dried Shepherd’s Purse with a favorite magical herb such as Mugwort (for dreams, intuition, lunar connection) or White Sage (for cleansing, purifying, banishing negative energies and inviting good energy in) over charcoal and try to listen as your inner-most will and desires arise to the surface.

Try a nourishing Comfrey infusion (Symphytum officinale) taught by Susun Weed and take comfort in this Saturnian herb’s ability to mend and heal broken bones and maybe also broken hearts, helping to strengthen the skeletal system and giving a strong foundation upon which to build the future.

Meditate on the Mountain Goat Totem – the way it unhesitatingly climbs the most jagged cliffs and raises its kids to be unafraid of the mountain’s edge. Balance, patience, keeping their eye on their ultimate destination. How can you adapt these teachings in your life?

Looking ahead…..Aquarius is just around the bend, it’s a new moon, a new year, a new energy…may all your plans, goals, and investments be fruitful and expressed beautifully, creatively, with heart and soul in the coming year. May this month and year be a blessed one – one of physical and spiritual abundance and success. xox gem

For exact rising time of the new moon in your hometown, click here.

Interested in Astrology & Herbs? Check out my quarterly journal called the Starry Eyed Herbalist – Winter Issue is out now!

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Love Your Neighbor: At-Risk and To-Watch Native Herbs of Long Island, NY

As I began researching the native flora of Long Island, NY, I was fascinated by the diversity, magnitude, and beauty of the many medicinal and healing plants that I found. I was also stunned at how many of the native plants I came across are also on United Plant Savers‘ lists for at-risk or to-watch native plants. The goal in compiling these lists is to raise awareness of the fragility of our native flora and to be able to assist these irreplaceable plants to regrow and repopulate in their natural environment. We can do that by cultivating these plants ourselves and also not purchasing any products which use these plants from the wild, which would further strain the plants’ ability to survive for future generations. Let’s honor and educate ourselves about these amazing plants who are native to our home, what I like to think of as our dear old neighbors, who deserve our respect and our help in their time of need. Here is a list of Native Herbs and Plants of Long Island, NY that are on United Plant Savers’ At Risk or To-Watch lists:

Black Cohosh – an at-risk LI plant. source: everlastingseeds.com

At-Risk Native Plants of Long Island, NY:

Bloodroot –  Sanguinaria canadensis
Black Cohosh – Actaea racemosa (Cimicifuga)
Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum thalictroides
Slippery Elm – Ulmus rubra
Sundew – Drosera spp.
–Drosera rotundifolia var. rotundifolia
–Drosera intermedia
Trillium, Beth Root – Trillium spp.
–Trillium cernuum
–Trillium erectum
Virginina Snakeroot – Aristolochia serpentaria
Wild Yam – Dioscorea villosa, D. spp.

To-Watch Native Plants in Long Island, NY:

Butterfly Milkweed – Asclepias tuberosa
Gentian -Gentiana spp.
Closed Gentian – Gentiana clausa
–Narrow-leaved Gentian – Gentiana linearis
–Soapwort Gentian – Gentiana saponaria
Lobelia – Lobelia spp.

Wild Blue Indigo – a To-Watch LI Plant. Source: Schaumburg Garden Club

–Great Blue Lobelia – Lobelia siphilitica
–Indian Tobacco – Lobelia inflata
Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum pendatum
Mayapple – Podophyllum peltatum
Partridgeberry – Mitchella repens
Wild Indigo – Baptisia tinctoria

Sources:

Plant Native: Regional Plant List for Long Island, NY
New York Flora Atlas
Wild Flower Center
United Plant Savers

Further Reading & Resources

Long Island Botanical Society
Top 10 Reasons to Use Native Plants in Your Garden
NY Flora Association Blog
NY Natural Heritage Program’s Plant Guides
NY Botanical Garden on Home Gardening

Soon I will be posting a list of Native Flora that are fortunately not at-risk, as well as information about the medicinal and traditional folkloric uses of many of the native flora of Long Island, in hopes that this information will inspire Long Island’s people to turn to the native flora for guidance, healing, and partnership in the old ways, for a better future for all.

Your input is appreciated and encouraged, do you know of any other native plants to add to these lists? Have any photographs of these plants growing near your home on Long Island? Please share!

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the whole universe conspires to guide you on your path

syn·chro·nic·i·ty
The simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection, coined by Carl Jung.

me holding the borrowed rare book in the bright winter sunlight today

me holding the borrowed rare book in the bright winter sunlight today

I recently started working as a substitute teacher at a local school and one day I was at the computer looking at Susun Weed‘s website, reading about nettle infusions, when the secretary nearby said something about her sister who is an herbalist living in NY’s East Village. My ears perked up and I eagerly asked, “you have an herbalist sister?!” She saw how excited I was and told me about her sister who had studied upstate back in the 60’s with a well-known herbalist, whose name she just couldn’t recall. I had a hunch and guessed, “do you mean Susun Weed??” Her eyes lit up and she confirmed, “oh yes, her!” I was so blown away because I was literally on Susun’s site at that very moment, reading about nettle infusions. So the woman continued, “yes, my sister is an herbalist and she always teaches me about herbs. She’s even written a book about herbs. She told me to drink nettle infusion every day!” By this point I just couldn’t believe my ears. Of all the hundreds of articles on Susun’s website, I was just reading about nettles! We both became very aware of the synchronicity in this moment and felt the excitement grow. As our connection to the plants unraveled, we realized what a bond we share through them. The cherry on top was when I found out that the book her sister wrote was Herbal Rituals: Recipes for Everyday Living. This was no ordinary herb book, but rather a book that has been on my wish list for over 5 years now! It is out of print so I never got myself a copy, but here I am, sitting in my bed, sipping tea and reading the herbal book I dreamed of for so many years.

This is just one of many plant synchronicities that I’ve experienced on my journey, and I know so many of you have these things going on all the time as well. I’d love to hear about your experiences! Feel free to email me or even post on my Facebook wall, I’d love to get a discussion going where we can all share these magic happenings and reap inspiration and guidance from them! I have a strong feeling that many of us also go through common plant synchronicities as well, so it would be interesting to look at those trends as a community!

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Cosmic Ritual: Full Moon in Gemini + Lunar Eclipse Tonight

my gemini full moon ritual with sage smudge, a gemini herbal amulet, my journal, and a gemini herbal tincture

As the moon passes through the constellation of Gemini with the sun in Sagittarius, and a partial lunar eclipse, a unique cosmic doorway is opened to us for healing, reflecting, and bringing big cosmic energy into our lives, be it with herbal medicine, gem/stone healing, meditation, or any other pathway you choose. On Wednesday November 28 at 9:46AM Eastern Time there will be a full moon and lunar eclipse. this full moon is called the beaver or frost moon.

Being a Gemini myself, perhaps my affinity with this full moon is strongest of the year. Each full moon is full of powerful energy that effects us on a deep, emotional, and powerful level, as the moon rules emotions, moods, and security. The full moon illuminates certain patterns and tendencies and helps us improve and reevaluate our current ways of living. I think of the full moons as times of intense reflection and also gratitude-giving. Rather than a time for beginning new projects like the New Moon, the full moon is more of a time of fruition and culmination. Some say it is an ideal time for ritual, magic, and imbuing creations with the big energy that is present during the full moon. But you don’t have to be a green witch to do a full moon ritual…

Speech, Communication, Connection.
In the gemini full moon, we are given a chance to reflect and work on communication and social interactions. Ruled by mercury, gemini is strongly associated with the power of speech. The infamous magical incantation “abra cadabra” actually originates in Biblical Hebrew, from the words “abareh,” meaning “I create” and “k’dibre” meaning “as I speak.” Whenever we speak, we are creating realities that have real effects on the world. This full moon is a good time to refine speech and communication and use it for positive creation. Writing in a journal and/or sharing feelings, dreams, and other inner emotions can be healing and help release negative energies during this time. Journaling is a powerful healing tool that can help bring subconscious needs, desires, or feelings to the surface. What makes this moon more special is the lunar eclipse, a time of great connection and oneness with the Earth, with our natures, and with other people. It seems a very good time to actively and wholeheartedly improve and appreciate connections and relationships, with earth, nature, ourselves, and others mainly through speech and communication.

image via our disenchanted souls

Rituals for relaxation and nervous system healing
In medical astrology, Gemini rules the nervous system, arms and hands, and the lungs. Deep breathing and aromatherapy, such as lavender oil are helpful to relax and center. The process of breathing itself is a metaphor for healing, taking in what’s good and letting go of what is unnecessary or harmful. Other ways to clear negative energy are with Sage smudging, ringing bells, and drinking warm herbal teas with lavender, skullcap, vervain, or any relaxing herbs you enjoy. Herbs that are associated with the sign of gemini include: mullein, peppermint, vervain, skullcap, lavender, oats, and parsley. You can make an herbal amulet or talisman with these or other herbs that carry the energy of gemini or its ruling planet, mercury. Another way to work with herbal energetics is by burning herbs for the purposes of cleansing or releasing energies.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Anaïs Nin
Gemini is an air sign that is known for change, adaptability, and adventurousness. Now’s the time to tap into this energy and make space for the new. Ridding your mind/heart/life of judgement, negative thoughts, harmful patterns, hurtful people, worries, doubts, anger, grudges, and fears/insecurities is the first step and we are blessed with a wide open door for those changes tonight. It might seem overwhelming or even scary, but that apprehension is a sign of change and growth. After that, a sense of clarity is sure to come. You can then welcome new, positive people, thoughts, and ways of living in with joy and excitement, in true gemini fashion.

For more herbal astrology and full moon teachings, check out my upcoming newsletter The Starry Eyed Herbalist. The First Issue will be printed and mailed in December 2012. Visit me on Facebook. Sign up for my free newsletter. xoxo Gem

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