February has the theme of heart medicine written all over it. It is National Heart Awareness Month, with special attention being given to educating women on warning signs unique to our gender. As the Celtic goddess Brighid lit the fire of inspiration and regeneration on Imbolc to honor the stirring of an approaching Spring, the golden gates of the Chinese New Year got blasted open with a 15 day celebration to honor the Year of the Water Dragon. We will have a glorious Full Moon in Leo on February 7, 2012; the same day that Saturn goes retrograde in Libra. And of course we have Valentine’s Day on February 14th, which can either offer a playful moment for sharing our love or a means to sink into self judgment or drift into longing about relationships. It might even take us back to our schooldays when we had a shoebox filled with valentines containing mixed messages and confusing feelings about the word “love”.
Saturn, the planet that takes a magnifying glass to the structure and patterning of our lives, rotates through each zodiac sign for 2 and 1/2 years. Having taken up residence in Libra for the last two years, it has been helping us understand and improve the Libra qualities of our lives: balance, justice, fairness, beauty and yes, one-on-one relationships. As Saturn is ending its relentless tour of duty on October 5; the retrograde process offers the final inspection for these areas so we can take responsibility for meaningful change in how we show up and interact in the world of relationships.
This full moon in Leo offers us a bright communal flame to re-light our own inner fire. Leo rules the heart and features integrity, leadership and creativity. This energy encourages us to put our “heart” into whatever we do, inviting us to examine the health and wholeness of our heart functioning. We often refer to the heart as a driving force motivating our actions, thoughts and feelings, yet this vital engine is fueled by beliefs; just like any other dimension of our human experience. Each of us interprets the sensations we associate with the heart. It may serve as a place of peace and wellspring of love or it may reinforce the shadow behaviors that contribute to leaking precious energy or wasting our time on people, places and things that are not serving our higher selves.
Wisdom teachings of all traditions tell us that it is the spiritual heart that offers the internal compass for guidance towards what is best for us. The soul and heart are interchangeable terms that refer to the essential core within us that holds understanding of our true needs for personal growth and manifestation of our potential. The animating energy for this spiritual heart is love and the generator is passion. It is good to keep in mind that the energetic heart is a complex vessel that has many facets and dimensions within that need to be cleansed, energized and connected so that the soul can hold court in this golden chamber of divine love and light. Just like the box of valentines from our childhood, the heart can store the mixed messages of delight and hurtful memories of our life experiences. This fear and false protection can turn into resistance, constriction and numbness in the heart center. These energetic blocks can be just as dangerous as the physical ones for our health and well being.
This full moon phase holds the remedy we need to take back ownership of our heart. By aligning with the energy of optimism fueled by a divine fire, we can re-ignite our passion without the drama of old perceptions and attachments. Puran and Susanna Bair, founders of Heart Rhythm Meditation offer clear and deep methods for healing the heart in their book, Energize Your Heart: “When your heart is energized, the world becomes a much more beautiful place. Do not be concerned about protecting your open heart. What comes out of your heart has more impact upon you than what comes toward your heart.” Building a bridge from the will to the heart requires courage, faith and forgiveness.
Just like the activists who have found strength in their outrage over the imbalance of power that shuts out full access to resources, we need to break through the resistance and occupy our hearts!
Here is a simple visualization/meditation that utilizes the energies of the full moon combined with the Saturn and Mars retrograde to reclaim ownership of the heart center:
In a quiet setting allow breaths to deepen and lengthen. Balancing inhales and exhalations, allow the breath to drop down into the center of your chest. Imagine the sphere of the full moon encasing the heart center so that the depth, range and wholeness of the heart center can be rejuvenated with this nourishing sense of fullness. Continue breathing with a shift of focus to the crown of the head, connecting with the energy of the sun, which is connected with the heart and Leo. Allow the strength, vitality, power and warmth of the sun’s rays to flow into each in breath, washing the walls and interior sections of the heart. Allow any trapped memories and associated fears; emotions and mindsets to be burned off like the morning fog and cleared with each exhale. Finally, remembering that the sun is a star, let the bright positive magic of your North Star reanimate the passion, love and buoyancy of your healthy heart, returning to its natural rhythm, beating a strong and stable heartbeat. Finally, anchor your intentions into the sacred chamber within the heart center so your soul is back in charge of the epicenter of your life, emanating courage and optimism.
As Leo also focuses on creativity and the needs of the inner child, you may want to make a Valentine’s Day box decorated with images that symbolize what makes your heart happy and joyful. Fill it with little notes of prayers, dreams and wishes for yourself, family, community and our beloved planet so we can make 2012 the year of the Happy Heart~