Musing with the Moon

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I bought a lunar calendar this year. It takes a bit of getting used to because it divides the year up into 13 moons instead of 12 months.  After years of looking at the year as the month of January followed by  February followed by March… it seems weird to track the year by moon cycles.  After all, I have been trained since Kindergarten to track what month it is!  But keeping track of which moon cycle we are in this year has opened my eyes to nature’s rhythms and cycles in a deeper way.  And it’s shown me yet another way of looking at my world that is filled with wisdom and truth.  And I have discovered that I can use and learn from both ways of looking at the world; I can follow the cycles of the moon and stars  AND I can honor 4th of July and celebrate Christmas on December 25th again this year. I do NOT have to choose and lock into only one way of looking at my world. Truth and wisdom can be found in many forms.

Tracking moon cycles has deepened my awareness of my own cycles.  I am female, which means my emotions ebb and flow and cycle like the moon. It is the way nature wired women to operate. Don’t believe me?  Well if you’re female, find a lunar calendar and start taking note of how your mood ebbs and flows during any given lunar cycle.  And if you’re male, track your wife or girlfriend’s moods.  Try it and you’ll see how lunar women truly are.  It is not just our menses that are tied to Mother Moon. And how cool is it to be intimately tied to Mother Moon.  I find it somehow comforting.

Every year on planet Earth contains 13 lunar cycles. That’s actually not just Native American folklore – it’s astronomy.  The length of our year is determined by how long it takes the Earth to go all the way around the Sun.  And Mother Moon cycles around the Earth 13 times in the time it takes the Earth to cycle around Father Sun, whether we believe in and honor pagan rituals or not.

For those of you who haven’t ever paid attention to the moon before, a new moon is the time every month when the moon is dark and cannot be seen in our night sky. A new moon lasts 2-3 nights and then a tiny sliver of the waxing (growing) moon shows herself again in the night sky. In many earth based traditions, each new moon marks the beginning of a cycle. Many ancient cultures who were more intimately tied to the natural cycles on Earth, believed that new moon energy marks the perfect time for renewal and / or beginning new projects.

Several years ago, I discovered a wonderful book that shares Native American wisdom and legends about each moon cycle on our Earth; it’s called  The 13 Original Clan Mothers  by Jamie Sams.  One Clan Mother or Grandmother is said to watch over us in each lunar cycle. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the idea of Grandmothers guiding and watching over me (some would label me a female chauvinist). And I also adore the magical names that Sams uses to describe the energy of what each Grandmother focuses on.

1st Moon:   Talks with Relations
2nd Moon:  Wisdom Keeper
3rd Moon:  Weighs the Truth
4th Moon:  Looks for Woman
5th Moon:  Listening Woman
6th Moon:  Storyteller
7th Moon:  Loves All Things
8th Moon:  She Who Heals
9th Moon:  Setting Sun Woman
10th Moon:  Weaves the Web
11th Moon:  Walks Tall Woman
12th Moon:  Gives Praise
13th Moon:  Becomes Her Vision

Truth can take many forms. Every spiritual tradition contains gems and nuggets of truth and wisdom that are available to help me in this crazy, confusing cycle of days known as a lifetime.  If I decide that one teacher or one school of thought is the only source of truth for me, then I lock up and limit my world and my possibilities.

Finding and holding onto truth can be as elusive as trying to catch a fish as it flashes in the sun at the surface of a lake for just a brief instant. Wrapping words around the truth to explain it is a very tricky business;  no words ever completely catch the essence of a truth because truth is an energy, a sensation of lightness and expansion. My truth creates space and opens up a new view of the world to me.  Words never quite do justice to the energy that is truth.

When I search for truth, I can choose to put blinders on and follow only one teacher as though he or she holds all the keys that will unlock me and lead me to wisdom.  Many people prefer that way – it simplifies their search for truth and wisdom. But I can  refuse to wear blinders. I can choose to search out those flashes of truth from every teacher, every tradition, every corner of the Universe that catches my awareness and speaks to me. The second way takes more patience and goes against the norm, but I find it to be infinitely more rewarding.

☾  ☽

Originally published by Nancy Lankston in 2012
under the title “Moon Musings”

New Moon Forgiveness

Phases of the Moon

Look up tonight. The sky will be dark and the stars should be especially bright. This is new moon time.

Our ancestors who lived closer to the earth and in synchrony with the moon and sun cycles, liked to hold healing rituals during this potent new moon time. It is the perfect to time to release and let go of what no longer serves you.

Forgive and Let Go

“We are all like the bright moon, we still have our darker side.”
~Khalil Gibran

The dark phase of the moon is the perfect time to let go of inner darkness and make space for more light and love. Many times we hang onto dark events in our past because we cannot forgive another person. Or we cannot forgive ourselves. When it comes to forgiveness, ritual can be a great help to us. Ritual can help us amplify our intentions. Ritual can put a little extra power into our prayers.

When most people think of rituals, they picture an elaborate high Mass at church, or long drawn out funeral. But ritual does not need to be elaborate to be meaningful. Listed below is a simple ritual to help you forgive and let go.

10 Minute Forgiveness Ritual

  • Create a list of 3-6 things you want to forgive and release.
  • Light a candle.
  • Offer up a short prayer; ask Spirit to help you forgive and let go.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • As you breathe, offer yourself love despite some mistake that haunts you.
  • Then offer that same love to others who hurt you as well.
  • If tears come, allow yourself to cry and release.
  • Burn your list.
  • Dance to release even more; put on a favorite song and move. Dance and shake!
  • Think of one intention you want to hold for the months ahead.
  • State your intention aloud.
  • As you blow out the candle, thank Spirit for helping you forgive and move on.

In this potent new moon time, let’s choose to consciously let go of past troubles and mistakes. Let’s “lighten up” so we can move joyfully out into the world, radiating our beautiful inner light.

☾ ☽

Fertile Spring Beltane

Beltane-1999

Spring and fertility go together. To honor the fertility of the spring growing season, many of our ancestors held huge celebrations in early May. The festival of Beltane was used to acknowledge and honor the beginning of Earth’s fertile growing season.

In May, the days lengthen in the northern hemisphere and we slide quietly into the light half of the year. The light half of each year is filled with sun and warmth, new growth and abundance. Then in 6 months, around November 1, we will dive into the dark half of the year, marked by the festival of Samhain and short, dark days, fallow ground and long cold nights.  And so the cycle of the seasons progresses, year after year after year.

My Celtic ancestors were avid observers of the seasonal shifts, both on Mama Earth and in Papa Sky above. So it doesn’t surprise me that my Welsh and Scottish ancestors held large outdoor festivals in honor of Beltane (also known as May Day). The tradition of teen aged boys and girls dancing around the May pole is believed to have started with the Celts.  The dance was a way to have fun AND symbolize the intertwining and merging of the male and female energies that ultimately create new life on the land and in the waters all around us.

Beltane is the perfect time to get outside and commune with Mother Nature by hiking, dreaming in a hammock, picnicking, or just sitting with a tree listening to the wind rustle a thousand tiny new leaves. Every moment spent connecting with Nature is guaranteed to nourish your heart and Soul.

Beltane is the perfect time to connect with Mama Earth in a deep intimate way. 

If you can, spend a few hours outside around Beltane. Turn off your computer and go walk barefoot in the grass. Breathe in the scents of spring. Pause and notice the abundance of new life sprouting up all around you; green shoots of grass, tiny new tree leaves and a plethora of flowers all show us how fertile and abundant Mama Earth is at this time of year. Meditate on the beauty and bounty of Mama Earth.  Give thanks for every gift that this beautiful planet joyfully shares with us. Give thanks and revel in spring.

Happy Beltane!

The Promise of Spring – Imbolc

Spring Crocus

Last night it rained. In the morning, there was a scent in the air that took a moment or two for me to place… Then suddenly I remembered; it is the smell of soil waking up, coming alive after its long sleep.  It is the smell of spring.

Go outside and sniff the air in early February. Grab a handful of soil and hold it up to your nose. Do you smell it? Or just stop and listen. Perhaps you can hear the gentle whispers? Mama Earth is beginning to stir.

All winter, Earth has quietly held the seeds of spring in her soil body; she has coddled them and kept them safe, waiting for the time to sprout. And now spring is almost here and the seeds are stirring, preparing to crack open and grow new life.

The chickadees know spring is on its way; they whistle to each other from every treetop in my neighborhood. My dog knows; she sniffs at the soil with new interest. And the sheep know; they birth their lambs in February, knowing spring will soon arrive.

My Celtic ancestors celebrated Imbolc at the time of lamb birthing. It was their way of honoring the end of winter and the promise of life returning to the land. The early Catholics changed the name of Imbolc to Candlemas. And modern man morphed Imbolc into Groundhog Day. By any name, this time is about honoring the promise of spring.

It has been snowing and snowing here, even more than usual for northern Colorado. And I had begun to worry that winter might decide to never end. But then, on a cold, wet day in February, I suddenly hear the whispers of Mama Earth, and I get a whiff of her soil coming alive. And it feels like I just received a message from a long lost lover. The spring I crave is on its way back to me.

Seeding Winter Solstice

Mount Sanitas in Winter

On Winter Solstice, we officially enter into Seed Time in the northern hemisphere.

Winter is the time in Mama Earth’s cycle when she becomes still and appears to be lifeless. But beneath the surface, our earthy mother is very much alive; she is quietly gestating  seeds for the new year, loving and holding them safe in the dark. This time of holding in the dark ensures that when spring arrives, the new seeds will be ready to sprout and grow.

What is yearning to come into your life now?

How does the Universe want each of us to sprout and grow in the coming year?

Let’s get still and listen in the darkness…

☾ ☽

“Creativity – like human life itself – begins in darkness.”
~Julia Cameron