The Thing Is
The thing is..
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hand,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you again.
~ Ellen Bass
Renewal, awakenings and beginnings arrive with the Vernal equinox on March 19th at 21:00 PDT. The length of light and darkness is almost equal on this day, which marks a turning point. For the northern hemisphere, days will be getting lighter (longer) as we move into spring and summer. This is the beginning of more light, more life. Shakti is stirring, inviting in more creativity in the coming days and months. This sense of opening moves us towards completion as the eclipse portal closes.
Fertility and creativity are enlivened with this full Moon, as it coincides with the Vedic Holi festival, also known as "the festival of colors". Holika Dahan (the night before Holi when the fires are lit) is on the 22nd this year, followed by the Holi on the 23rd. This celebration in the Vedic calendar which roughly coincides with the vernal equinox and the arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, sparks creative potential, increased love, beauty and creativity. It takes place with the Phalguni Purnima as the Phalguni stars are ripe with sensuality, love, beauty and abundant resources.
No matter the hemisphere you are in, both spring and fall are considered "sandhi" times of year- or in between seasons. These are sacred times, when the veil is thin, sensitivity is heightened. In Ayurveda, we attend to necessary physical rituals that help the body cleanse and purify. Holi comes at this sacred junction and is a time to "plant seeds" so to speak. It is a celebration of fertility, abundance and the awakening of Shakti within Nature. It is the marking of the gap, which is ripe with potential and possibility.
The full enlivening of Ma is celebrated during Vasant Navaratri- the nine days of Mother Divine, beginning on the 7th of April this year. Consider Holi the "kick off" celebration in many ways- a time to plant your desires and create your fruits for the coming year. Let this Full Moon enliven a sense of spring and possibility. Use this week's Creative Engagement activity (below) for your cultivation process.
The full Moon is March 23rd at 05:00 PDT while Moon is in Virgo and Uttaraphalguni. This full Moon coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse, closing the two week eclipse portal that has been invoking challenging shadow work for many. The eclipse begins at 02:39 PDT, with the maximum eclipse being at 04:47 PDT, and ending at 06:54 PDT.
This eclipse will be visible through much of Asia, Australia, North America, Much of South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica. Traditionally, it is not advised to look at an eclipse directly, or to be outside during the eclipse. Stay indoors, meditate, eat lightly or fast, set intentions and say prayers. Use this time as the sacred, inward time that it is. Being outside during the eclipse leaves you vulnerable to absorbing extra "shadow" which is not ideal. Since eclipses represent and intensify the inner shadow, taking precautionary measures to avoid gathering more shadow, is important. This full Moon marks the closing of the eclipse portal (the two week period between solar and lunar eclipses). It is now a better time to begin new projects, make decisions or start anything important.
Full Moon in Uttaraphalguni supports increased creativity and nourishment in the cycle to come, but not without necessary change and transformation. The full Moon chart indicates nourishment through wisdom, the support of the ancestors and spirit for this process. Deepen your connection to your lineage and find ways to invite them into your life. Perhaps it's time to create an ancestor altar? Feed them good meals? Notice their constant messages? Pay attention to how they show up in your life.
You must dig deeply, sifting through the rubble of your past, the shadow and illusion, in order to clarify your connection to Source, spirit and your ancestral team of support. There is a strong release process happening right now, intensified by the eclipse portal coming to a close. Your ability to release and create space for the new, the fertile, the life force, will determine how much living you do in the coming months.
Right now, darkness and death, are dancing furiously with the light and creating your awakening. This tangled relationship calls for integration, harmonizing and more balance. The illusion of your separateness, your inner pain (and any addiction to this pain), is a result of not allowing your light and dark forces to co-create more consciously. This waning cycle calls for greater balance between your opposing forces.
Previously, in the waxing cycle, you began to identify your separate parts. Binaries and polarities came to the surface for you to look at with more clarity. This caused discomfort, pain, struggle and most importantly, conflict. In fact, this is a necessary part of the change and transformation process. Now it's time to use what you've identified, as a resource for creating more integration within. As you continue to identify the challenges and what is not working, I encourage you to contemplate "what do I need moving forward in order for more comfort, support and nourishment?" What is the underlying need with this challenge or conflict? How can you ease the critic and forgive yourself for past choices and decisions as you move forward?
As doors continue to close- both consciously and unconsciously- notice your response. Are you moving towards greater nourishment? Allowing in more wholeness? Or resisting the closure, the release and the necessary endings? Potential for increased growth and abundance arriving in this waning cycle, is solely determined by your ability to release. Gather the support you need for this process- on all four levels of your being- physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The more help and support you in invite in, the deeper the nourishment you can absorb. Heal the separateness, the illusion of disconnection. Gather resources for deepening your inner connection. Let creativity be your ultimate resource for awakening. Awaken your imaginal as this can spark possibility. Allow desire to move you into action.
In the waning cycle to come, Saturn will go retrograde until August, increasing stability and structure as well as grief and sadness. Mercury will move to Aries, starting a new cycle for the mind. Venus will enter its exaltation sign, increasing the flow of love and resources. The new Moon will arrive in Pisces with the beginning of Navaratri. Make space within your being for more connection to the Divine Mothers.
My Creative Rituals are intended to support your transformation and healing process in the cycle to come. Each ritual is in alignment with the cosmic tides- in order to help you adjust, shift and move more fluidly in balance with Nature's rhythms. Recycle this ritual more than once for added benefits.
Similar to exalted planets in that they are "full" and can't be "added to", a Full Moon (or Purnima) means that it is full to capacity, there's no more room for it to expand and grow; it is complete. In this way, we can interpret the Full Moon as a "New Moon" in that it marks the beginning of a new cycle of emptying itself and refilling itself (mirroring our internal process).
Beginning a lunar month at the Purnima is called Suklanta and differs from starting the count from the New Moon (Amavasya) which is the point when the Moon is empty and is waiting to be filled by the Sun.
Purnima is in the middle of the Lakshmi phase of the Moon cycle whereas Amavasya is the moment during the cycle where Kali and Durga meet. Clearly, the energy is quite different; mirrored in our internal experience as well.
These different methods of starting the lunar calendar remind me of the saying "is your glass half empty or half full?!" When do we start our "New Moon" calendar and begin our new lunar month? When we are full and satisfied or when we are empty and needing to be nourished? It is with this question in mind that I came up with this week's Creative Engagement Activity.
Read more about the importance of the Moon.
Often for a New Moon or a Full Moon, I like to work with the image of a mandala. Mandalas help us to create and express fullness, to fill empty space, to work with what is. Mandalas are a container, filled, with our visions, creativity and desire- much like a metaphor for life.
1) With this idea of "creating within a container" as well as half the image of full/empty, I invite you to draw two large circle shapes on a piece of paper. Cover up one of the circles with a sheet of paper while you create within the other.
2) The theme for this first circle is "being filled". Fill in the first circle with what you desire for the cycle to come. What do you want to be filled with?
3) When you feel complete with the first circle, look at both circles on your paper.
One is "full" and one is "empty". What thoughts come to you? What feelings?
Then answer these statements under your first circle:
I am, I want, I need
4) Then begin working on the second circle. The theme for this circle is "being emptied".
What are you releasing and letting go of as you move into the cycle to come?
5) When you feel complete, write a few notes down about what you notice as you look at the entire piece.
What thoughts come to you? What feelings?
Then answer these statements under your first circle:
I am, I want, I need
6) Finally, harvest your thoughts on this process. Circle ten words that leap out at you from the writing you've done. Form these words into a three to five line poem. (Adding extra words is ok).
Share your poem below!
* Extra credit for dancing (embodying) your images and poem at some point this week.