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New Moon in Virgo – How To Be a Priestess

new-moon-in-virgo

{Each month, nature in her wisdom and beauty offers us an opportunity, a clean slate, a shining outward and visible sign of the grace we are always given to move beyond our own shadow and start again. In the night sky, the dark Moon begins to clear the Earth’s shadow and reveals a tiny sliver of the freshest silver. The New Moon.}

Usually for our Moon Circle posts, I like to do a bit of research on the upcoming Moon and her aspects, and then offer you a bit about the energies, what to expect, how you can benefit, what life areas you might want to set your New Moon intentions in, etc.

Something about this Moon feels so special and pristine, I wanted to just respond to it intuitively, and leave my intellectual explorations of the energies for later. My Seventh Key to an Artful Life is Harmonize with natural cycles. And it’s wonderful to do this by studying astrology and learning from others’ interpretations of the energies. But the core meaning of this Key is about finding and trusting your own personal, unique, intimate, and direct relationship with the greater natural rhythms and cycles in which we are nested.

The simplest way to celebrate the New or Full Moon is by honouring the day with your awareness. Go outside and look at the Moon. Watch her rise or set with the sunset. Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day, honour your feelings, and set aside some time for simple reflection. Light a candle and speak to your Wise Self in your journal. Feel your way through and discover what this Moon’s message is for you. Then it becomes even more useful and revealing to look at others’ interpretations – but treat your own responses as sovereign, and as most right and true for you. Because they always are.

In this way we become priestesses to ourselves.

snake-priestess My New Moon day was gentle and spacious. In the early morning I walked on the beach with a long-time friend. Our dogs ran alongside. The beach was deserted and the ocean was pristine. She picked up a perfect moon shell (they always come to her) and I found a perfect pink heart stone (they always come to me.) We both talked about our longing to return to dance, and about how our experience of dance as prayer sometimes makes it difficult to take just any dance class, even when we really want to move and flow in company with others. We talked about being fifty, what our bodies are doing, how we are coming into our power. We talked about things we’ve left behind, and about how much better we love ourselves than we did ten years ago, and twenty. We made plans to work and dance and teach together soon. (That’s us, above, in the black leotards with spirals, being snakes in a snake priestess dance years ago. I want to dance earth dances and priestess dances again, in new ways.)

For me this Moon is a Priestess Moon. You are your own greatest source of wisdom. You are your own most direct connection to Spirit. Ultimately, you are your own greatest authority, you can be your own oracle, conduct your own rituals, you can perform your own mysteries and ecstasies.

My New Moon wish for you today is that you stand tall in your sovereign power and move out into your life from your deepest wisdom.

Love,

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

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Full Moon in Aquarius – Resolving Tensions

aquarius-full-moon

It’s Full Moon again! Full Moons bring fruition and revelation. What seeds did you sow at the last New Moon? How have they taken root? Now is the time to look at those New Moon intentions and decide what to do next. Time to consider what needs to be released. Time to slow down a little and consider the places in your life that are full, ripe, and abundant – celebrate the fullness and practice gratitude. At the same time, consider the things that have reached their peak or natural ripeness, and need to be transformed or released or diminished. Want less of something in your life? Say so now, and watch it dwindle as the moon wanes.

One way or another, I think we all will feel the tensions of this big Aquarian Super Moon. (A Super Moon is a Full Moon that looks extra big and bright, because it is actually closer to the Earth than it is at other times of the year. We have several Super Moons this year!) There’s a lot of tension in the aspects of this moon, which you may be feeling as plain old stress, or anxiety, or as physical restlessness, an urge to change, an urge to roam, an urge to create, a desire to let go. How is this feeling manifesting in your life?

Anxiety is unpleasant, but tension is creative. The key to this Moon is to use the tension creatively. Use the tension to support single-minded focus on something you want to create. Use it to move your body and grow physically stronger. Use it to break an old pattern or habit that needs to go, use it to change limiting structures.

Over lunch yesterday with girlfriends, we had a wonderfully rich conversation about dreams. A friend and I had both shared a disturbing dream the night before. We had both dreamed of a predatory man trying to force his way into our home. I think this is a common dream for women. We talked about possible meanings and uses of this dream – was it a reflection of past trauma, a call to integrate our shadow qualities, a natural response to trying to be our feminine selves in a hostile, patriarchal environment, or something else?

What resonated for me was the idea of the tension and fear that is created internally when we push away and demonize parts of ourselves – our “shadow” qualities. In my dream, one of the strongest sensations was the intense physical push-pull on the door that was happening between me and the shadow figure. Right there is the symbolic embodiment of the tension of this Moon. I think of the Buddhist story of the sage Milarepa, who spent years in a cave, meditating, but all the while struggling with his demons. He lived in a state of constant tension, trying to keep the demons out of his meditation cave. And one day he gave up. And one by one, he invited the demons into his cave for tea. And one by one the demons dispersed. (And ultimately there was one who never went away, and yes, life is like that.) So I try to work with this idea a lot, of inviting my demons in for tea. Serving them a nice cup and asking them how they are. Looking at their hair and outfits and trying to get to know them better.

But this is hard. Even as a thought experiment, it’s pretty terrifying for me to imagine inviting this figure from my dream in for tea. This brings up all kinds of fears. But this is the kind of deep self-care that this Moon is calling us to. Is it possible that you can deal with the tension that is depleting you by simply releasing your end of the push-pull battle? Just let go. What happens to the dynamic when you do this? Can you do it as a thought experiment?

I’m so interested to hear how these energies are showing up in your life. Join the Moon Circle by leaving a note in the the comments.

Full Moon Blessings and Love,

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

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creating personal ritual through intuitive guidance

crystal-grid

As children, we don’t make distinctions between intuition and intellect, or imagination and fact. We experience the world with an unbounded heart-mind, holding simultaneous realities with ease. My own childhood was so, perhaps more than others. I spent most of my time alone in nature or immersed in books and art, we had no television, and almost all of my friends were either animals, or what we call “imaginary.”

It seemed perfectly natural and normal to me that I should be able to talk to forest spirits and ocean nymphs, that I should be able to read the flight of birds, see meaning in the stars, and read the messages written in treasures found in the woods and on the beach. Such objects could later be used to make magic, reveal secrets, and open doorways to unusual realms.

For me this is the essence of formal ritual. {I distinguish between formal and everyday ritual. Everyday ritual is about bringing the sacred home, attending to mundane tasks with a mindfulness and joy that infuses them with beauty. Formal ritual is about taking time to honour the spirit outside of mundane life, through prayer or special acts.}

So creating personal ritual was not something I learned as an adult, from a book, or from a human teacher. I learned it from the sky, ocean, and forest, and from my own open mind. There is ecstasy and grace immediately and vividly available to those who can read the text of nature. This gift isn’t only available to artists, children, and mystics. You needn’t travel to foreign places or drink dangerous potions to access this grace. You need only open your senses to the world. Personal ritual creates a container for you to begin to do this.

amethyst-crystal-grid

To read nature, it helps to be in harmony with her movements. This is intuitive, and needn’t be complex. Just look around you, and think symbolically. What is the purpose of your ritual? What season, time of day, weather, and setting are an energetic match for that purpose? We each have our own personal language of symbols, and it is important to trust your own feelings here. Are you doing a ritual of abundance? For one woman, a summer night lit by the full moon may evoke the richest feelings of abundance. For another, it might be the ocean at dawn with the new moon just rising.

Creating rituals in harmony with the phases of the moon is traditional, tried and true. How you use the moon energies is ultimately your own intuitive choice. Traditionally, the new moon is the time to initiate, plant, begin. The full moon brings celebration, harvest and completion, and the waning and dark moons are times for ending, shedding, clearing and cleaning. {If you want to learn more, you can download my free watercolour guide, In Tune With the Moon here.}

creating-personal-ritual-abalone-shell-seeds

A few nights ago I created a New Moon ritual for myself. I wanted to harness the beautiful expansive energies of the Leo New Moon and the entry of Jupiter into Leo {warmth! initiation! expansion!} When I create ritual, as when I make art, I surrender control as much as I can, and allow the dreamy, intuitive aspect of myself to take over. In other areas of life, I’m an extreme planner, list-maker, and instruction-follower. But not with art, ritual, or cooking! These things are all great pleasures for me because of the opportunity to surrender and be led by my magical self.

The truth is, it’s always the wild card that gets me. I love to make personal ritual because I learn so much from each experience. In every ritual, there are moments of surprise and revelation, the perfect pieces I could not possibly have planned, the gems of wisdom I carry out of ritual space and back into my daily life. I’ll tell you about how that worked for me last New Moon.

 My intention was simple – to open to positive expansion in my work and life. I had a few specific personal desires that fit this intention too. Following the advice of my wise astrologer, I scheduled my ritual for a few nights after the New Moon, in the evening. In the days leading up to it, I just relaxed about my intention and let my creative mind play with the shape of the ritual.  I had just acquired some new stones, and I knew I wanted to play with the idea of a crystal grid, so on the day after the New Moon I took the crystals, carefully wrapped in a silk scarf, to the beach, cleansed them in the sun, and held them in the rushing flow of the incoming tide. A young friend was with me at the beach, and she showed me a special spot she called “the waterfall,” where the incoming tide ran fast and clear over the lip of a rock, creating a little musical waterfall that caught exquisite glimmers of sunlight in its flow. Here we washed the stones. Magic was happening already.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The night of my little ritual, I had dinner with two beautiful women friends in a seaside restaurant. We ate wild salmon and listened to each other’s juicy creative plans and rascally jokes, each other’s frustrating challenges and vulnerable hopes. I came away from that dinner with some questions I had been holding for my ritual already answered, and some splendid advice and ideas for implementing the kind of creative expansion I was dreaming into being with my ritual. So, more unexpected magic.

At home the house was quiet and serene, the long Northern twilight was falling on my woods and meadow, the cool night air was beginning to blow through my curtains. I was still feeling the golden glow of my special dinner. I eased into ritual space by gathering a few simple materials; my new stones, an abalone shell, a candle, some incense, some beautiful paper and a pen, a book of poems, a lily. I assembled the stones intuitively into the compass grid you see above, thinking about my intention all the while. Next it was time to bring in the elements of earth, air, fire and water – I needed something just right for air, so important for my intention of expansion. I decided to go for a walk in my meadow, to see what lesson nature would offer me about this element.

grass

I walked out into the deep Northern twilight. The horizon all around was washed with a violet glow, the sky straight above opened to deep cobalt with a few stars emerging. My two acres of meadow are overgrown and scruffy this year – I broke the rider mower venturing recklessly into tall wet grass in the Spring, so for the first time in years, the tall grasses have been allowed to grow in wild profusion. As I walked through the tall grass, collecting little burrs and seed pods as I went, I looked around for what the world might have to tell me. I was seeking my symbol of air. Maybe a feather! Feathers are magical. I’m always hearing about people finding magical feathers. I looked around for a feather. Little airborne seed pods floated through the air around my face. I kept looking for my feather. Sigh! Where was my magical symbol of airborne abundance and expansion? I looked around in frustration, then brushed more of the clingy, floaty little grass heads and seeds from my black shirt. There sure were a lot of these little airborne seeds.

I know, I know. But we are all a little slow sometimes, aren’t we? Nature is quiet, persistent, forgiving. She continues to shower us with abundance and magic even in our petulance and ignorance. Of course it didn’t take me too long to really see the fluffy seed pods. I brought a few dried flower heads inside and held them in an abalone shell, then scattered them as part of my ritual. There was candle-lighting, writing, poetry reading, and quiet meditation, all of which was beautiful; but the true centre of my ritual was the moment I moved from not-seeing to seeing the seed pods. That was my magic and my lesson. And that is the kind of serendipitous, playful and spontaneous experience that I encourage you to open space for in your own rituals.

quartz-crystal-creating-personal-ritual

The important thing to remember is that nothing can go “wrong” in ritual space {and all of life is ritual space.} If the candle gutters, the glass breaks, the wind blows the seeds off the altar, or the water spills, listen to the message and be thankful. If you feel frustratated or disappointed because something isn’t “right,” stop and listen. Open up. This is the actual juice, the ripeness and perfection of your action. The moment when you think “Oh crap, that wasn’t supposed to happen!” is the moment you should be paying the keenest attention.

Embrace your personal rituals with a spirit of play and experimentation. Put the books aside and read the text of Nature. Open to surprise.

Have you ever had a surprising or revelatory experience in ritual space, or in communion with nature? I’d love it if you shared in the comments.

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

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the artful table – mexican food illustrations

ceviche

I’m working  on such a fun project right now – it’s a collaboration with my friend Sam, who runs Hacienda Mosaico, the beautiful artist’s retreat in Puerto Vallarta where I’m holding my second Artful Living in Mexico Retreat this November. When I was there in March, Sam mentioned that she’d love to produce a Hacienda Mosaico cookbook, to highlight some of the amazing meals her private chef creates for the guests. And I mentioned that I’d been playing with food illustration recently, and really loving it. So a collaborative project was born! I spent a week in March hanging out at the Hacienda, eating, taking food photos and gathering inspiration at the local markets and restaurants. Finally this month I started pulling together some of that inspiration and creating some illustrations. The book, with my illustrations and photos, plus delish recipes, will be available in the fall through Hacienda Mosaico! ensalada-de-nopales-final-square

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

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new moon in leo – expansive joy, authentic expression

leo-new-moon {Each month, nature in her wisdom and beauty offers us an opportunity, a clean slate, a shining outward and visible sign of the grace we are always given to move beyond our own shadow and start again. In the night sky, the dark Moon begins to clear the Earth’s shadow and reveals a tiny sliver of the freshest silver. The New Moon.}

Ready, set, go! With both the New Moon and Jupiter entering Leo, you can expect a time of high energy, enthusiasm, expansion, initiation, and powerful self-expression. You’ll finally get some traction and start moving – expect new projects to move along quickly in coming days.

What a great moon for intention setting and rituals to support your dream! Authenticity is the key word here, and this New Moon day is the perfect time to make a commitment to authentic self-expression. Are there places in your life where you have been less than fully yourself? Where have you been holding yourself back? Where have you been untrue to yourself? Where has your expression lacked authenticity?

Today is the day to begin to come into your own again (or maybe for the first time.) Re-commit to authentic self-expression. With the courage of the lion, fearlessly show the world who you really are. It’s time.

Authenticity energizes your life and your work, your intimacy and your creativity. Yes, it can feel vulnerable, but it can also feel very powerful. When your true self is aligned with the self you show the world, there is all kinds of power behind your actions, and it becomes easier to feel joy, to connect with others, and to create the conditions in your life that you truly desire.

So take some time today to do your own unique and authentic new moon ritual. Invoke the power of authenticity and celebrate your original self. Sew the seeds of your next big thing. Express your joy.

New Moon Blessings and Love,

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in November 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

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