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New Moon, 2 August 2019

New Moon Image

We are entering what is often referred to as the “Dog Days” of the summer. The image this brings to mind for me comes from years of living with my mother as she raised her rescue dogs, and then became intrigued with breeding brown poodles (an genetically unstable color which came about through selective breeding). Her dogs, while not larges, turned into throw rugs all over the house when the sun hit its zenith, and the humidity was high. They preferred the kitchen and bathroom floors for coolness, and their position was emphasizing as much contact with the ceramic tiles as possible. Often they would scatter themselves around the water dish, as if it was entirely too much trouble to walk more than a step or two to quench their thirst. As a kid, I thought nothing of falling to the floor next to them and enjoying the comfort available in our old, unconditioned house. 

But of course, the term comes from the Greek and Roman days and indicated the rising of Sirius, the “Dog Star” in the skies which these ancient cultures associated with heat, drought, severe storms, and bad luck in general. But for the Egyptians, the rising of Sirius which they named Sopdet, for their goddess who guaranteed their land’s fertility through the annual flooding of the Nile River. So it is perspective, and cultural experiences that color these kind of regular cycles.

For most of us August and late summer in general is vacation time. Most of Europe literally leaves en masse. Even in the overly work-oriented culture here in the states, it is acceptable to takes time off, leave the work place, and get out into nature. And that is what I find myself doing more of, whether it is heading out for the backyard with my breakfast and journal, or playing with the dogs when I arrive home after work, or lingering at dinner, or a coffee and dessert on the patio of a local restaurant. I pretend to be a better (and more committed) gardener than I am, finally planting the sad little marigold plants I bought weeks ago, and I throw my windows open (yup, still no air conditioning) to every possible breeze, even joining my own dogs on the floor in front of the fans. 

It is time to chase our interests that we seem to have no time for during the rest of the year, to be dreamy, and read widely, letting the expansiveness of the season lead us into new ideas, connections, and interests. Some of us read light entertainment, taking a break from more serious pursuits, but some of us find this is a perfect time to take large gulps of subjects and worlds we have always been tickled by, but not previously explored. The rules are melting, and we make choices without having to justify ourselves to anyone. 

So, quick, follow a passion, detour into territory you haven’t ever tried before, adventure in any way you can, physically, emotionally, intellectually. But don’t take yourself too seriously, do it for the pleasure, do it for fun, do it because you can, and right now, no one is looking, or cares. School’s out, and we are all on holiday, at least for a little while longer.

Nell Morningstar

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New Moon 2 July 2019

Journey into Mystery

My first tarot deck was from my mother. Always a shrewd bargain hunter, she had bought both the Marseilles deck and a hardbound book by Eden Gray on heavy discount. I was thrilled when I unwrapped the gift, and I proceeded to do “readings” for anyone who would sit still. I would shuffle, and carefully layout the cards in a Celtic cross (after choosing a significator card based on the archaic  descriptions in the back of the book) and read out loud the meaning for each card. I was twelve years old. My friends were tolerant, my mother was appalled. “I didn’t mean for you to take them seriously!” she told me.

Seven years later, after finding teachers, and much more study, I began to read occasionally for money. My mother, a practical Capricorn at heart, nodded admiringly when I explained how her gift had begun to make money. And at the end of her days, helping me do inventory in the metaphysical bookstore I co-owned, she had a grudging respect for my unusual interests and hobbies.

It takes courage for many of us to pick up the tarot deck, or astrology book. Our culture squirms at exploration of mysteries beyond the traditional Judeo-Christian path, and even treading that path should be restrained, pragmatic, and preferably done in private. Artists, dreamers, and metaphysical adventurers are often lumped together with other societal fringe groups, and ignored until it is too inconvenient to continue.

The past two decades have brought technological changes the afford an opportunity for greater community for many on the fringes. Better access to information, the ability for small, niche interest groups to form and communicate across the world, and many more book distribution channels have allowed so many communities to flourish. 

We are lucky to be living when so many once secret and hidden ideas and traditions are coming out into the open. But a Mystery – even revealed in a surface manner – is still a mystery. And the awe that I, as a young girl, felt as I unraveled the deeper meaning of the tarot deck is still unique and individual to me, at that time, in that experience. Little did I know that I was embarking on a lifelong journey that has me and the direction of my life ever since.

There is still Mystery for all of us to engage with in both the cyber world, and especially in this physical world. All we have to do is open ourselves up to it, and be willing to transform in the face of the unknown, and the unexplainable. Blessings on you own journey with Mystery, however you find your way into it, and wherever it takes you.

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New Moon in Taurus
May 2019

Spring is teasing me with the promise of infinite possibility and I can feel my senses waking up again after a long and very exhausting winter. The pale green froth of new leaves on the trees overhead, the clear blue of open skies, the blush of tulip buds, the brilliant gold of forsythia, and the secret of violet petals hiding under heart shaped leaves thrill me after months of a monochromatic landscape.

I was talking to a friend a few days ago and mentioned that I realize I am feeling disconnected from the natural world. It is time for me to get out more, to take walks, dig in the garden, and find a tree to sit near and start up a conversation. I am ready to move out of the heady, thinking space I’ve been inhabiting, and get back into my physical body, at least part of the time (I do love the world of ideas!). Spring is beckoning me into play, taking chances, attempting new and unfamiliar things, and remembering the delight of focusing on process over product in my creative work. I am packing up the sketchbooks and art supplies, the notebooks and pens and heading out to the park. Maybe I will see you out inhaling the lilacs, or indulging your bare toes in some newly green grass.