A Very Tender Space - June 23rd, 2017 New Moon in Cancer
June 23rd’s new moon in Cancer arrives just after the solstice. The solstice times are full of deep magic and attunement to the nature of polarity. In the Northern hemisphere we’re now experiencing the summer solstice, marked by the three longest days of the year. This time of increased light bathes our bodies in the possibility and expansiveness of relationship. The transition from Gemini into Cancer which is marked by the summer solstice is a transition of curiosity into caring. It presents the instinct contained in all of us to bond with, and nurture others, and to make ourselves available for their wellbeing.
In the Southern hemisphere it is the opposite time of the year. The three longest nights will mark the transition into the depth of winter and carry hearts and minds towards the tenacity, ambition and commitment required to make it through. This time of increased darkness surrounds our bodies with containment and helps us to understand the internal fortitude required to complete the journey from darkness back into light.
At the time of the summer and winter solstices we inhabit the polarity of Cancer and Capricorn, two signs which represent the zodiacal parent figures. It will do us all a world of good to separate our assumptions of parental roles from gender roles. Each of us is capable of mothering and fathering. Each of us will grow through our experiences nurturing others, caring for their futures and striving to feed them from our own capacities. Each of us will benefit from forward thinking and planning, and from defining the structure and containment needed for balanced growth, otherwise known as rules.
All of us, on some level, are also working through deep core issues surrounding family of origin and parental relationship. No matter how wonderful the family biography might be, there is always the need to break away, self-define and heal. The planet Mars is also in Cancer, close to the new moon, with both the sun and moon moving towards conjunctions to Mars in the next week and a half. Mars is opposite to Juno and Pluto in Capricorn.
This configuration offers insight into the nature of our instincts towards defensiveness, jealousy, insecurity and rage. With Mars, Juno and Pluto also square to Jupiter in Libra some of us might face tests or challenges to work with skills and/or new understandings we have developed in the last year about relationships. We are learning to new strategies for relating and developing our capacity to accommodate and empathize with discomfort and difference. The new moon presents an opportunity to expand upon these lessons and put them to use.
To learn more about the astrology of this new moon listen to my podcast here.
To practice mindfulness and to more deeply understand some of the ethical principles surrounding the themes of this new moon listen to this recent dharma talk I gave on the essence of non-stealing.
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It’s easy to fantasize about big changes. It’s another thing to experience them. It’s easy to imagine what you want in a theoretical future. It’s another thing to realize the future is now, and what you thought was possible is what’s actually happening. It’s easy to dream about what could be if only… And another thing to find that you’ve been dreaming in waking life, slowly crafting reality around your vision.
The moment you find yourself in is one of ripening. So much that you’ve been working for and struggling with has started to resolve. The ways these last few years have forced you to change and readjust are now integrating with the ways you used to be, and you find that parts of yourself you thought might be gone forever are returning, slightly different than before, but now accessible from a different perspective and more cohesive whole.
The work that has yet to be completed is something to do with trust. Trusting your own choices, trusting your beliefs and ideas, trusting your creative ability, trusting your capacity to work through inner turbulence and maybe even profound destabilization, and trusting that you will find your way to the other side intact and inspired.
Home is here for you. It is all around you all the time. It won’t go away when you make choices to follow your work, ideas or restlessness. Home is your connections to those who keep you anchored – so stay connected, but also stay fierce and keep letting your evolution expand. Home is the place, or places, where you can be totally you, without pretense, without performance. Consider how to make more of those spaces no matter where you are, or who you’re with.
Remember that relationships always have a give and take. Ask to receive the support you need to feel held and safe while also pursuing your aims. Both are actually possible at once and from the same person or people. In turn you can offer the same.This is a profound shift of paradigm that requires you to trust that love doesn’t equate to staying the same forever. Consider how you want to let that in and give that out. Your new moon affirmation is, “My heart is wise. I trust myself and trust my choices. Even if I don’t know the outcome, I am safe.”
Learning, as a process, requires willingness to not know. This is something like the willingness to fail, although ideas about failure and success are usually tied to an idea of outcome. Though learning goals and structures provide important context and motivation, the actual verb of learning happens in the spaces between. It happens as a present moment experience of letting your brain relax enough to take in new ideas, and letting your ego relax enough to try on new ways of being without needing to commit forever.
In general, adults learn the best when they feel safe enough to take risks. Too much comfort and familiarity doesn’t require so much active participation or need to change. Too much change that happens too fast puts you in survival mode and limits how much you can absorb and integrate. The ideal conditions for learning are slightly challenging and just a bit risky – enough to make you need to work for it, but not so much that your failure means anything more than personal disappointment.
Take this time to appreciate your struggles to materialize. The efforts you make to articulate yourself might not yet be totally satisfying, but challenge is the point right now. The ways you formulate your ideas are growing, so let them be pulled apart and expanded by your current experiences. Trust that in the fissures is where growth happens and progress is made.
Meanwhile, the ways you’ve been learning to balance your daily life are still a priority. Taking care of yourself is necessary if you want to continue to grow. Getting enough sleep and caring for your body are required to keep your brain sharp. Attending to your tasks and efficiently organizing yourself will keep you grounded and level-headed, which is definitely something you need if you’re also pushing into more opportunity.
Your new moon affirmation is, “Big ideas are realized through small and consistent efforts.”
One of the most effective and destructive tactics of capitalism is to turn complex, sensitive humans into trained consumers. This method works first through convincing us that the world is not made of what we need, but is manufactured and only available for purchase. Secondly, it works by instilling fears of scarcity in our minds and convincing us that we need to fight with one another for access to what we need (which we also need to buy.)
We’re taught that being able to buy equals happiness and satisfaction with life. We’re taught that success is defined by how many we’ve gotten the best of rather than how many we’ve been endeared to. We’re taught to view each other as opportunities for gain rather than as opportunities for love.
Right now you have access to some kind of power that can shift this illness. You are able to nurture a new and different kind of relationship to wealth and value – one that defines success as caring for others and being cared for in return. One that understands that all the wealth in the world is nothing if the world itself isn’t valued. A culture shift will start with individuals, and right now you are one of the individuals who can add some serious momentum to it.
This begins first by (re)claiming your own intrinsic value completely. You must eradicate any beliefs that your worth is something that can be given to you by another person, bestowed on you by any objects you own, or validated by your bank account. This means that you commit to ceasing all transactions which leave you feeling disempowered or used. This means that you put yourself on equal ground with everyone, regardless of who they are or what you think they have.
Your tactic is creativity. Especially in relationships. Rather than seeing comparisons or competition, see the ways that individuals bring out different elements in each other. See how personalities grow and thrive in response to friendship. See how relationships evolve and form just like works of art. Then treat everyone as an artist and everyone as a friend.
The more you can embrace playfulness, wholehearted love and courageous expressions of creativity, the more you will find that you have everything you need and plenty to share. Your new moon affirmation is, “When I listen to my heart I have everything I need.”
Every year at this time you celebrate your birthday, and in this celebration is the beginning of a new self concept. You’re one year older, one year wiser. You’re not the same person you were a year ago, you’ve changed and the world has changed with you. This year in particular you’ve been changing your ideas about home, stability, comfort and balance. Specifically in regards to partnerships (of all kinds) and your agreements to be in them.
Since 2009 Pluto has been moving through your opposite sign, Capricorn. This transit is one that has, and will continue to, force transformation upon all of your relationships. It does this by making you face the darker parts of yourself that most likely you would like to hide from. It does this by digging up old, unresolved issues and bringing them to light. It does this by triggering all your fears, your control trips and obsessions, your clinging and attachment, and your emptiness.
Somewhere near the halfway point of the transit, which we reached this year, things start to shift towards understanding and resolution. Whatever it is you’ve had to face is no longer a shadowy mystery. At this point you can probably articulate it enough to start to work with it consciously. The major challenges of these past eight years are now ready to be reviewed, synthesized and integrated. The next part of this transit will ask you to act on some of the deeper realizations you’ve had, and will test your resolve to grow into the person you know you need to become.
As you begin this new year and set intentions for yourself in it, I hope you will place even larger importance on your self-care. I hope you will fully commit to accepting, loving, forgiving and prioritizing yourself in the ways you know you need to. I hope you will have the courage you need in order to move on from what is draining your energy. I hope you will follow the path of your honest desires. Your new moon affirmation is, “I celebrate and advocate for my own wellbeing.”
This is a new moon to go offline for minute. Let yourself rest. You’ve been working hard for a long time and you’re probably tired. It’s not done and you know it, but in order to continue it’s important to give yourself some space for reflection – for dreaming, for letting go, for checking out. Remember that sleep is when integration happens. When your brain is at rest your body has the chance to absorb, metabolize and heal.
Don’t worry about holding all of the things together all of the time. Delegate what and where you can. Help others grow by communicating your needs as clearly as possible, and trusting their process when it differs from yours. You do not need to control your environment. Or anyone else. Only your mind, only your thoughts.
Controlling your mind and thoughts isn’t about locking down or suppressing. On the contrary, it’s more like opening up and creating more space. Sometimes your mind can be like a vice, grabbing on to whatever it is and refusing to let go. Now is the time to retrain. Take deep breaths. Focus on relaxing your body and releasing your anxiety. If certain thoughts are obsessive then work with putting them aside. There is nothing to be gained by following the same loop continuously.
If you feel stuck it’s because you’re focusing too much on the idea of the thing. You’re wanting the product not the process. You’re on the outside looking in, objectifying yourself and your efforts, imagining what other people would want, what it should be. More powerful is what is interesting to you. What are the conversations you want to have? Have them. How do you want to relate? Try it. How do you want to feel? Feel it. Become unstuck by removing the limitations you’ve imposed by living outside of yourself.
It’s important that you care for the parts of yourself that are the most dreamy and unformed. It’s important that you assert your right to rest in safe and healing spaces. It’s important that you strengthen your intuition by giving yourself enough space to hear it. Your new moon affirmation is, “I have all the time in the world.”
Most people fear their own pleasure. A lot. We’ve been taught that it’s dangerous, self-centered and irresponsible. And sometimes it is… But just as true is that when we are separated from pleasure we become dangerous, self-centered, irresponsible and quite destructive. True pleasure (as opposed to consumptive hedonism) is a gift. When something feels good in an honest way you know it – because it feeds your soul, nourishes your body and inspires your generosity.
The culture we live in mistrusts pleasure because true pleasure has nothing to do with buying power, moralistic binaries or military defense. On the contrary, if humans were more connected to true pleasure we would probably share more and buy less. If we were more connected to our own pleasure it’s likely that we would have a much broader range to appreciate difference, and celebrate the unique ways others connect to their pleasure. We’d understand that others’ happiness is our happiness. And we would want that for ourselves.
As a hardworking Virgo, your own capacity for pleasure is something that you have a conflicted relationship with. You understand its necessity at a fundamental level, but often, rather than easily allowing it into your life, you convince yourself that it’s something you have to suffer and strive for. Luckily, this has been changing, and you’re arriving in a better balance with yourself. More connected to your desires, more relaxed with the ways you have systematically overworked in order to avoid them.
The ways that you imagine the future could be, and the ways you want to support those who will be in it, depend upon your ability to know pleasure from pain. There is a difference between the pain of necessary evolution and the pain of self-sacrifice. There is a difference between making choices that respond to your most potent and creative desires, and making choices because you’re afraid of what would happen if... Your new moon affirmation is, “I believe in a future where pleasure is something to feel good about.”
The concept of dharma, or one’s right work in the world, is tied to the concept of karma, which you can think of as what you’ve come into the world with. Just as your genetics predispose your body to take its shape, karma is a word that describes the otherwise undefinable collection of past experiences and habitual behaviors that you inherit from your family, culture and possibly your past lives, and which shapes your beliefs patterns, instincts and expectations.
Karma, just like genetic predisposition, doesn’t determine what you will ultimately be or do in a finite way, but they do both define certain elements of what you will have to work with, or work through, in order to get there. We must work to resolve “negative karma” like fear-based patterning and the kinds of self-centeredness which lead to poor decisions and create harm. We must work to increase “positive karma” by developing awareness of our own motivations and impact so that we can act ethically in the world and not cause further suffering. We are all working. All the time.
Your astrology for the nearly the past decade has been bringing you a fair amount of karmic content to work through – specifically, karma that has to do with family and lineage patterning. By family and lineage I mean the expanded version. Not just your immediate family of origin and primary caretakers, but their families, and their family’s families. How you are working to understand and resolve this content is the question of this new moon.
Your dharma, path, or purpose has to include your karma. It has to be your own unique gesture towards resolution that creates personal development and evolution. The channels you find in your life to express your questions, make space for your healing, relax dysfunctional patterning and help others in turn are the ways that you will be able to transform and grow the lineage you come from.
The current moon cycle is ripe for working with your karma. This is a time to put what you’ve been given to use. Burn through negative associations to the past by fearlessly facing and transforming them into positive commitment to the future, make a break from your fear by offering yourself to something bigger, decide to support only healing and love in the world by forgiving all that has hurt you. Your new moon affirmation is, “My work in the world is to remember its goodness.”
Training your mind requires discipline and consistency. It also requires compassion and forgiveness. The balance between a hard line and gentleness is something to navigate moment by moment, day by day. Training your mind also requires attention to subtlety. It’s not just about watching your thoughts, it’s about watching the instincts, body states and emotional cues that precede your thoughts. It’s about getting to know yourself beyond what you think you know. It’s about letting yourself admit to the parts you’d rather deny.
Understanding your own instincts and motivations is one of the most powerful tools you can have. So many of us, so much of the time, have no idea why we do the things we do. We move through our lives in a trance, embodying the patterns of our ancestors and culture, rarely taking the time to develop our actual agency. Someone who understands their own instincts and motivations is someone who can resist marketing, deviate from cultural confines and pursue their own growth beyond the dictates of obligation, fear and shame.
The last year has brought a steadily growing self awareness and readiness to respond to yourself in a more authentic way. You have been working diligently to transform your brain space and social patterns away from past rigidity and towards a more fluid understanding of your own empowerment. This new moon presents you with a pivotal moment of self growth. A key for you will be in the emotional responses you choose to engage. The more you can adopt an attitude of care and warmth towards the shadowy instincts that are still emerging, the better chance you have of resolving their dysfunction and ameliorating their distress.
Your new moon affirmation is, “True wisdom is love.”
The last two weeks have brought significant movement into some key areas of your life. Specifically, the ways in which you’ve been seeking to describe and express yourself have become at least a bit more unstuck. And it seems that your direction and personal philosophy are starting to feel more aligned and vibrant.
There is still the need however, to continue reaching into yourself for answers. The line of self-questioning and examining that you’re doing is productive, as challenging as it may seem. The rigor of your process is an important part of maturing. So trust that any doubt arising actually has a job to do. Let it turn your attention towards which parts of yourself can be strengthened and refined through the challenge. Enjoy the process of releasing what’s superfluous and unnecessary.
Now is the time to invite a new notion of intimacy into your heart. Regardless of your relational status there is a new phase that is ready to begin. This phase begs for an empowered and honest examination of your values. It asks you to truly consider your self worth and the many ways that you give through love, sex and other deep forms of sharing.
It’s important now that you balance your forward thinking with current reality. If relationships can grow and you have the vision then nurture them through affirmation, diplomacy and grace. See what works well and attend to it. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to force any deep process towards a future that isn’t yet ready. Be mindful of how or if you impose your ideals. Remember that we often think we know what is best, but our comprehension of the true nature of something is hugely limited, and life often has a way of delivering exactly what we need through unexpected channels.
Your new moon affirmation is, “I value my tenderness and vulnerability. My honesty and commitment to equality leads me to love.”
You might think that your identity, relationships and work are all separate areas of your life. Certainly at times they are. Right now however you’ll be better served as thinking of them all together – intermixed and interpermeating. Each one defining, refining and creating the others.
You want something new in relationships, this much is certain. You might not know exactly what it is, but it feels tender, personal and safe. You are ready to come home and stay there. You are ready to be nurtured deeply. You are ready to let your soft heart be exposed. You are ready to hold and protect what is there. This is good. Trust that.
Trust that especially when you aren’t certain who you are – when your shadows and demons arise and you feel wretched and awful. Trust that rage and aggression can be listened to in a different way. Perhaps what needs to come forward is less spiteful and more righteous, less invested in controlling others and more committed to staying strong in your own center. Trust that the tenderness you crave is something you can give. Trust that the tenderness you give is something that is craved and appreciated.
Let your work with work be a guide for your work with yourself in relationships. As you continue to listen to your own limits and honor your time and energy constraints you are learning to do the same with your partners. As you become more empowered to pursue what feels interesting and expansive to you, you make space to receive those who support your interests and expansion. Now is a time to step up and step into a greater vision of who you can be in this world. That means letting go of drama, power struggles and insecurities which have previously held you back. Your new moon affirmation is, “I promise to care for, and love myself with all my capacity. I no longer accept relationships that care for, or love me less than this. I trust in my ability to wisely manifest my expectations.”
Your meditation for this new moon cycle (June 23 - July 8) is to attend to all your jobs, tasks, immediate environments, chores, pets, co-workers and your body like the world’s best mom. This basically means that you treat your life, and all the details of your daily life, as things that are worth caring for with tenderness, patience and intentional direction.
Make a list of all the things that you know you need to do for yourself. This can be chores and to-do’s but should also include items of personal happiness and wellbeing like yoga, creative time, regular healthy meals and enough sleep. For these next weeks check in with your list every day and see if you can be systematic in your process. Do the jobs you need to, and take care of yourself. Do it as if the world and all life depended on it. Do it in a way that also allows some space for reflection and reception. See how as you attend to your tasks the world around you is improved. Notice how your internal feelings respond to your diligence.
It doesn’t matter who or how your mom is or was. Mother energy is everywhere. It’s the instinct to support surviving and thriving. It’s the feeling of fondness. It’s the ability to see the good in something even when it’s painful. It’s the sincere desire to give what you have for something or someone else’s benefit. It’s also the knowing that your own health and mental/emotional balance are imperative to the good of those and that which you tend to.
It doesn’t matter what your sex, gender or identity is, was or will be. Mother energy is in you. It is the capacity for caring. It’s receptivity to life and the knowing of oneself as a fertile being who gives birth to creative expression in the world. Mothers and mother energy have been objectified and put in boxes for a long time. Radicalize it in yourself. Let her in and let her out. Feel her strong and full of light, radiating through your body and into the world. Let yourself be held, and feel that as you hold all that you do, you are an extension of her. Your new moon affirmation is, “I am one with the mother and she is always with me.”
Creativity is a strange beast. It isn’t meant to be pleasant all the time. It has to push your buttons and stretch your edges in order to bring out what’s unexpected and new. When a creative process becomes a formula it loses its vibrancy. Creation is synonymous with failing, and with death. If you’re trying to create in a safe bubble you can be sure that what you make won’t inspire. Taking a risk to step into the unknown is where the magic is.
Romance and parenting are as much creative acts as any kinds of art. The inspiration that is drawn out of you towards another human – that allows you to shape each other – is the alchemy of life itself and everything here on Earth. The magnetism, desire, fear and surrender that any important relationship provokes are the things that force you to look outside of your small world and consider what else could be possible.
For the last two + years you’ve been facing some intensity that has probably felt like a series of massive tests. The outer/public world has been demanding something of you that probably has helped you become stronger and more mature, but maybe also has felt confusing and insane sometimes. Especially because your identity is shifting so much, and becoming more sensitive, more connected and more creative. So it can be a total puzzle to exist in a world that values sensitivity, connection and creativity so little.
Right now though you have an opportunity to invite your creative side to take up some more space. You have more capacity than usual to listen to your creative instincts and to feel the ways in which you can be cared for by letting them move through you fully and into worldly manifestations.
If you continue to feel tested, which you probably will at least for a little while longer, then keep I encourage you to think about the ways your vulnerability in striving for creative expression can actually be a form of leadership. Experiment with letting people in on your process and offering your questions, desires and fantasies as an entry point for conversation rather than thinking you need to have a formulaic or formalized presentation. Your new moon affirmation is, “My identity is a negotiation between magic and reality.”