Preparing for the Classroom of 2017

Mar 2nd, 2017 Posted in General, Moon Goddess Journeys, The Tribal Beat, Thirteen Moons | No Comments »

Thirteen Moons

Dearest Tribe:

As 2016 takes its last breaths, we can honestly say that this year has left its mark on everyone. Every year has a unique energy and vibration to it and turns out 2016 translates into a universal nine which equates completion. While the page on the calendar may feel very predictable, on 1/1/2017 we will be entering a year of the universal one so the classroom we walk into will hold assignments aligned with new beginnings.

The last quarter of this year was so challenging and tense, and for many reactivating past trauma, it’s difficult to remember all that occurred throughout the entire year. To assimilate the deeper meaning of the experiences, it can be useful to review this walk around the Sun in its fullness. The timing of this Mercury retrograde cycle helps us with this assignment, as does its companion, the tiny but mighty planet of Pluto which is traveling along side Mercury to make sure all of the unspoken or hidden undigested aspects of this year be brought to the surface so nothing is taken with us into 2017 without our consent. As we learn over and over again, we cannot control what occurs in much of life but we can take control over how we react and dance with it.

Like many of you, I woke up on 11/9/16 afraid to put my feet on the floor only to find out that the ground had moved – it felt like a natural disaster had happened and the world would never be the same. What helps me the most and I suspect some of you, was knowing that my family, my sisterhood, those I looked to reflect my reality and share my primal confusion, was right where I left them – next to me. Together we have processed the shock, the fear and the outrage. As I look to the Sun and Moon as gatekeepers of each day, they never disappoint – with each Sun comes a mini new beginning and with this simple Earth honoring wisdom, I take heart and find hope. If any part of me was asleep, I am awake now.

This New Moon on 12/29/16 offers a perfect moment to release that which your true self needs to separate from – empty out the pockets and the drawers within the psyche and the heart – so we can step into this completely new nine year cycle open to the curiosity of possibility rather than a continuation of a new version of the same lessons. Engage in any rituals that offer self reflection minus judgment or doubt and collaborate with the energies of true source love and wisdom to help you detach, release, dissolve and forgive anything that obstructs the vision of this new emerging life-scape. Allow yourself to invite one intention to reveal itself for the New Year so you can be open to what you discover as a co-creator rather than put too many demands to have it all figured out. This year our vision boards might be more powerful if they held one phrase – show up and trust your knowing. Once we get realigned and vibe with our soul GPS, we will guide ourselves in the direction that will be in greatest alignment with our higher truth.

When trying to sort out some navigational tools for this very uncertain time the political climate has placed us in, I remembered a story told that passes around the circle fires as it always offers a powerful message:

Long ago, a village in need of rain invited a powerful medicine woman to invoke the thunder and lightning spirits and make it rain. When she arrived she asked for a hut to sit in. Days went by and nothing happened, it remained dry as a bone and then suddenly she emerged. As she came out of the hut, the sky turned dark and the rain came down with intensity. The village chief was thrilled and asked the woman what she did. She simply replied, “nothing, the village was so out of balance that I became out of balance and so I had to meditate. As I got into balance, the village came back into balance and the rain came.”

(Photo courtesy of Sarah Drew.)

What ever created the imbalances of our world, and there are many over many years, we are now all out of balance. The only way we can be of service to this collective moment is not to continue to stay in shock and confusion but rather to restore balance within. Just like the medicine woman, it is through that individual recovery of harmony and rhythm, we can approach life with authentic loving strength and begin to be influencers and change makers within our communities dedicated to that which enhances a renewal of hope and enrichment of life.

As this new energy is upon us, the programming at Everyday Medicine Woman will be reflecting this inspired call to action via new seminars and completion of that which has grown to its fullest form. Our beloved Thirteen Moons will be starting its Thirteenth Year so while 2017 offers a new cycle it holds the span of another one that is coming to completion in its current form. We consider you a vital part of our community just by opening our emails and treasure your unique expression of self-evolution as a powerful reminder that in sharing our journey with one another we are all stronger together.

Deepest heartfelt wishes for love, abundance and joy as we walk on this bridge to 2017 together,


Written by: Susan Lipshutz, LCSW, Founder

Feeling inspired to share your own Thirteen Moons story, art, poetry, etc.? Click here for our guidelines.

For more information about Thirteen Moons, our monthly seminar series honoring the spiritual life cycle of a woman, please visit our website

2013: The Year of Learning to See in the Dark

Dec 20th, 2013 Posted in General, The Tribal Beat, Thirteen Moons | No Comments »

winding_roadWhen I sat down to write this last newsletter of the year, I had to face that I had only written two others this entire year. I had written the others psychically but those didn’t make it this far to reach the actual paper. I had a year of losing and finding myself; threading in and out of my practical left brain while being pulled into the cosmic void of mystery. Some of this was a means of coping, some a result of my progressed astrology chart and a good deal of it was the result of the bigger impact of being launched out of the cosmic cannon of 2012.

Moving into the Golden Era or Fifth Sun was not all rainbows and gardens but more of a perpetual state similar to the anti-climactic feel after achieving a long awaited and very important event, like graduating school or getting married. No matter how unsettling the energies of 2012 were, those of us spirit seekers were in it together. Even the skeptics and doomsday folks, everyone was curious and in conversation about what might happen as we approached and arrived at the end of the Mayan Calendar on 12/21/2012. There were gatherings, meditations, celebrations and conferences throughout the year and on that auspicious day. Most of us would agree that last year offered much intense change, including shifts and initiations in subtle and monumental ways.

Yet what was less talked about was the next phase, which I believe was the far more difficult one: 2013. The year of the water snake took us for a ride into the hidden facets of our human side. Like a teacher that believed in us so fiercely that they were going to push us to the limit, 2013 revealed what blind spots we hold as a world and as individuals that block lasting change. By forcing us to face our individual shadows, wounds, fears and truths, we were required to re-dedicate ourselves to our greater spiritual understandings and clean up the internal conflict that was mirrored by or reflected back from the fractured world state of affairs. The motivational phrase, “be the change you wish to see in the world,” pushed us to change what is wounded in the world in ourselves – our relationships, our work, our health – all aspects of our lives were under the microscope for intuitive diagnosis and psychic surgery.

The planetary alchemists all converged to support this deep cleansing of our internal and inherited toxins by putting us on a big Pluto, Saturn, Scorpio detox and it did the trick. Then Uranus sent Aries-influenced lightening bolts and we all began to feel the combination of change waves from the inner and outer layers. By mid 2013, almost everyone I knew had serious or sudden shifts, losses, disruptions or changes happening. The year of Saturn in Scorpio was putting on the black light 3-D glasses and moving through all our favorite hiding places. This was necessary to support of our constant prayers that we be filled with love in our hearts, peace in our minds and have bodies emanating light.

While thinking about a theme for this end-of-year summary, the phrase that really came to me was Sera Beak’s saying: “#truth bomb”. The most liberating, compassionate action I could engage in during this year and what I really worked on with my clients was having the courage to speak and own our truthful experiences in a non-judgmental way. I feel this why Brené Brown has such a universal appeal. She has the courage to be authentic and dare bravely. She sets all of us free to make mistakes, heal, release and connect so we can find and be the truth of who we really are. As the year progressed, I saw so many heavy-hearted folks who felt lost and alone or terrified that the intuitive feelings surfacing from their core would mean the life they had could be at risk. This was the year of the rise of the feminine divine, the staff of power shifting from masculine to feminine, yet we all felt somewhat powerless.

The turning point of this year came for me when I cleared my schedule and went to a conference on sacred feminine leadership in October that as hosted by mega-goddess Chantal Pierrat and her kick butt team at Emerging Women Live. I was shaken to my core and jolted back to life by the likes of Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Nancy Levin, Tami Simon, Christine Kane, Sera Beak and our contemporary Kali Ma: Eve Ensler. They all shared their deep truths about marriage, bodies and careers that had crumbled and had to be taken down by the cosmic shaman Pluto so that the authentic emergence of the real soul of the goddess and calling could happen. I knew at that moment that everything I had gone through was necessary, even the profoundly painful stripping down of my heart walls, in order for me to realize a lineage blind spot that had caused my soul GPS to malfunction, causing me to drive in circles.

The biggest reason I couldn’t find a writing voice this year was my own truth bomb: I was living through an 18-month period of having my 18-year marriage end in a way that was unimaginable to me. I was oscillating between states of frozen fear and frantic movement but was simultaneously offered the most beautiful moments of complete grace, profound demonstrations of kindness, love, tenderness and miracles by family, friends, my village of healers and new angels in my life. I often found myself breathless from the beauty. I now feel more vulnerable and accessible and am approaching a new understanding of fearlessness.

When I think about this year, I recall this Rumi quote:

“It is your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you,

But no one can walk it for you.”

My world cracked open about 19 months ago when Venus went retrograde in Gemini. I faced hosting our lakefront Venus transit celebration while in shock as my own personal Venus transit was just under way. Now, I write this as a Full Moon in Gemini shines her light on me and I prepare to close this era of my life with Venus once again retrograding on the Solstice in my sun sign Capricorn. It’s with a sense of excitement that I begin a new era, holding my hand on the karmic wheel of fortune once again.

I realize that my description of this year may sound grim and dark but every journey, rightly seen, has its beauty and purpose. I’ve had many book ideas float in and out of my consciousness for two decades but it just came to me that it is this journey of my Venus return that I need to share. So I think that 2014, the year of the green wood horse, will be delivering more correspondence from me.

This winter solstice (December 21st, 2013), the day Venus goes retrograde, I invite you to take pen to paper and ask yourself to reflect on the year:   

~What was your truth bomb?

~Have you discovered a blind spot that was leaking your power, happiness or ability to manifest what you deeply wish for yourself?

~How did this revelation/truth bomb activate the real healing and life changes you couldn’t get to on your own?

~Do you have the courage to love yourself enough to take ownership of your own journey without knowing the outcome?

We have one more month of the water snake, so let’s shed the last layer of any self sabotage and bring our entire energy to the passionate cause of living the truth of who we are and loving it!

“There are no guarantees. From the viewpoint of fear none are enough. From the viewpoint of love none are necessary.”

– Emmanuel with Pat Rodegast

May we walk through the doorway of 2014 with a renewed sense of optimism, ease and wonder about what liberation from personal suffering can bring.

12-21-12 Keeping Our Date with Destiny

Dec 22nd, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, The Tribal Beat | No Comments »

Ready or not – here we go! The winter solstice of 2012 is upon us. The awareness of this date has permeated the global culture as a day imbued with the unknown. Like anything we can’t fully understand until we experience it, the degree to which we are comfortable with aspects of the unknown can impact the way we relate or react to an approaching event of potential significance. Many of us who are students of universal wisdom traditions are aware that time is not measured by a clock or a calendar per se and that our perception of time can become altered and expanded when we sneak past the limitation of our minds and move into the realm of the spirit.

The notion that our life is really another version of a dream state has been a fundamental aspect of indigenous teaching and practices all over the world. The symbolic language of shapes, patterns and colors that can be found woven, painted and etched in rocks, clothing, art and objects hold the ancient stories of origin, legacy and  prophecy that invite us into an engagement with the unseen realms. We know how to do this as children but as we move through life, unless someone encourages us to believe in our natural expansive senses and relationship to the subtle realms, this aspect of ourselves often becomes buried or denied. Unfortunately, these abilities are part of our soul and spirit so as we get disconnected from the most vital and beautiful part of our essence, we can also become numb to the ways of living from the awakened heart.

So often people feel that they don’t know how to find their true calling, higher path or a remedy to heal an aspect of their life, but it is a journey we must all take – an initiation to discover who we really are – to crack the soul’s code.

Sometimes we must go on this mysterious journey of remembrance and transformation as a family, a culture and at times as a world. There are many prophecies that speak to a time when we will be faced with challenges that require us to rebuild the lost connection and respect for every living entity on our beloved planet – to live in harmony with one another so that we can move beyond the repetition of ego-based lessons of conflict, jealousy and misuse of power/domination. Most of these prophecies come from wisdom traditions that are based and shared in the unwritten oral form that are carried from one generation to another. Often these teachings are also archived into the sacred sites built upon the land original peoples called home. All of the ancient wisdom traditions followed similar basic beliefs that wove humanity into a much bigger conceptual system of the cosmos and the natural realms. This inclusive understanding can be seen in many traditions that speak to the trees, plants and animals as all our relations and can be reflected in the phrase “as above, so below”. This is why just about every ancient city or sacred site has an astronomy tower and intricate placement of windows, portals and carvings that align with the Sun, moon and cosmic events such as solstices and equinox cycles. There are buildings and temples built in the form of pyramids, which are part of sacred geometry systems that understand how these formations magnetize energy.

Time was marked and measured by natural cycles of planets, moon and sun, planting, harvesting, the four seasons and gestational periods. The lessons of timing were taught by studying patterns within these cycles. Astrologers and  Mayan scholars have been able to correlate times of crisis and innovation with planetary cycles and numerical patterns that are tracked by the significance of each day’s celestial and nature-based meaning. While many traditions pointed to this general timeframe when the world would reach a crisis or tipping point, the only one that gave us an actual date was the Mayan teachings. Different traditions are associated with mastery of many kinds. The Mayans are acknowledged to be sacred keepers of time. Their calendar is really made up of 17 different aspects of counting time that correlate with many cycles that require a lifetime of study to grasp. This tools have traditionally only been shared with those who have the “soul code” of the gifts to comprehend and translate such knowledge into vital information to serve humanity.

Over the past 50 year, more and more people have been “waking up” to the information that has been buried or ground down in our efforts to build a more efficient and productive world. But like a recipe that doesn’t taste quite right, we forgot to include elements that stabilize, honor and preserve what makes life precious and sustainable. As more awareness of the actual date of December 21, 2012 has become known by circles of scientists, researchers, futurists, mystics, astrologers, artists, luminaries and indigenious elders, they have begun to speak out about the significance of this time of great awakening, potential and responsibility.

As this date is the end of a 26,000 year era, this has “been on thebooks” for a while. It is thought that many of us designed our divine mapping so that we could be here on the planet to be part of this massive collaborative effort to birth a new way of living – heaven on Earth. As each one of us has a spirit and earthly aspect, the spiritual part of our self may be open and excited about this call to massive evolution but the human side is known to resist and fear change. Sometimes we can only find the willingness to surrender into the unknown when the situation we are in is no longer tolerable. We can even continue to engage in destructive behavior well after we know better because of our mental programing or human qualities of stubbornness, arrogance or pride. Even those of us who may have the soul’s code of higher consciousness or divine knowledge may still be dragging our feet as we remember how to walk the beauty way. As revered living saint Ammachi teaches, “if someone is really sleeping it is very easy to wake them up but if a person is pretending to be asleep there is nothing we can do – they must chose to wake up from within.”

Events are continuing to manifest thoughout the world like labor pains, serving as contractions to remind us that we have a date with destiny. Each time an event has occured throughout the world, it has cracked open our hearts with grief, outrage, wonder and awe at how fragile yet strong we can be as individuals and as a collective. Simultaneously, just about everyone I know has gone through some truly major life challenge this year. Interestingly, the difficulty, challenge or shift only occured in the area of their life that needed to be transformed. It’s as if we are being assisted to clear out the deadened areas to make room for new potential within the self. This is how we can truly grow these essential seeds of our evolution from the inside out.

We are being asked to grow up and become adults, co-creators of our world as one tribe. The Quechuan concept ayni – to live in right relationship with one another – becomes more relevant as the consequences of trying to “go it alone” will only result in more loss, pain and suffering for all of us. The Hopi speak of the fifth world we are moving into as a time of “The One Heart”. Just today on the news cycles the term “tipping point” is being used over and over to describe the culture of violence and infestation of assault weapons, the fiscal cliff we are dangling on, the reality of climate change that can be seen in the devastating storm systems, droughts and diminishing access to clean water and untampered soil. Really, what we are afraid of happening, has already happened; it’s just going to take a bit of time for us to figure out how to mobilize and act on what we know.

We learned in the last era how to become liberated and free by marching to our own drummer. Now, the drumbeat we need to align with is that of the Great Mother – her universal heart rhythms that sing a love song we remember deep in our being.

“The greater the emergency, the faster the emergence. The situation itself is empowering.” – Barbara Marx Hubbard

Activating and living from our soul’s code requires complete surrender, engagement, dedication and faith. As our essential nature can never be taken from us, we have the ancestry, the understanding and the vision to step into mystery together. As my beloved Grandmother Flordemayo so beautifully states,” we have the knowledge, we have the power and we have the protection.”

May we all find a sacred and sweet way to experience this renewed consciousness of global unity and a synchronization in support of illumination, transformation, healing and a true sense of interconnectedness with our universal tribe of humanity. Each of us has an important role to play in this beautiful massive shape shift as we are invited to manifest a deeper level of our divine potential.

I am so grateful to have such beautiful compadres to call my sisters and brothers. I look forward to sharing our adventures as we celebrate our collective birthday of 12-22-2012!

The Gifts of Vulnerability

Jul 10th, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, The Tribal Beat | No Comments »

No one has been exempt from the massive changes going on throughout our individual and collective lives. 2012 has been quite a classroom for change. Yet over the past several weeks, as the great Swami Beyondananda aka Steve Bhaerman so wisely puts it; “the shift has hit the fan”. 

For most who have been personally impacted, these shifts have felt like part of a floor was collapsing from under foot. These were not the parts that were strong and stable but the areas that were in need of repair or holding too much of the weight for the entire space. For the last several months, I’ve been getting call after call about abrupt losses in all life quadrants and while the energy of the change felt like a natural disaster, the place that got hit was the most in need of a radical and complete overhaul. All of these lessons were inviting (you can never force anyone to “get it”) those in the place of vulnerability to widen their spiritual heart space and allow new experiences and expressions of compassion and empathy. People who were sitting at a friend’s hospital bedside found themselves in the same bed one week later, some who are very capable athletes had temporary but significant injuries requiring them learn how to face feelings rather than turn them into physical fuel, people lost jobs they hated but couldn’t quit due to fear or ego issues. The examples continue with a consistent theme of switching the polarity of power and control from one side to the other in our selves, our work, our relationships and our world so we can be wrestled free from clinging to the old ways or outgrown patterns that no longer serve.

One source of these radical life change weather patterns can be seen when studying current astrology. These are the elders of the cosmic skies – Saturn, Venus, Pluto and Uranus – that are finally stepping in to give us a hand with the tasks we can’t seem to do on our own. Similar to when a parent is trying to let a child find their way to gain balance with a difficult task, at some point they might step in and give them a push or even an impatient nudge. This full moon in Capricorn on July 3rd shined it’s flashlight of responsibility, structure and authority to show us where and how to fix our problems or be the architects of our own rehab project: ourselves. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the architect of the zodiac. Saturn has just turned direct after a very intense retrograde cycle in Libra. Libra is ruled by Venus, who just went through its retrograde dance over the sun to deliver her message about living in our authentic hearts from a place of love, tolerance, balance and sharing. If it wasn’t enough that these two personal planets that direct us in a more individual arena are showing up, the more globally focused planet Pluto is also present. Pluto is the great cosmic magician and healer who has been working us to the bone of our self structure. Pluto has been in Capricorn for year three of it’s thirteen year tour of duty. Uranus is now squaring Pluto to make sure whatever we rebuild is done in a new and more evolved way in keeping with the dawning of a new era that is approaching. In addition, on the recent full moon day (July 3rd), Mars moved into Libra to help us find the inner warrior energy that we must summon to get the courage to not only face but even improve the most vulnerable part of our lives.

Mercury is going retrograde in Leo from July 14 – August 8th; usually a cause for caution or concern but I believe that this cycle is going to be a real ally to those seeking a more authentic and heart-centered way of life. Leo rules the heart with the force and power of the cosmic sun, restoring and inspiring us to live in the most authentic, creative ways possible. As Mercury moves back into the last several weeks of this intensely challenging time, we find the gems we lost in the chaos of the moment and even retrieve the ability to enjoy the journey – we can be carried by the river that got created out of the dark storm just days before. As the sun is still in the sign of Cancer, we are likely contributing to the waters beneath us with intense emotional feelings that are finally bursting with the full moon, yet this release can open the human centers of mind, heart and will to break old patterns necessary for real dynamic evolution on all levels.

This all sounds great but how do we stay in our hearts while admitting to the truth of what we see without the distortions or illusions and forge ahead to move the debris of the breakdown that is necessary for the freedom of the breakthrough?

I turn to one of my personal heroes, Brene Brown, for some home spun wisdom:

“Authenticity is a daily practice. Choosing authenticity means: cultivating the COURAGE to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable: exercising the COMPASSION that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit; nurturing the CONNECTION and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of  what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.

Authenticity demands WHOLEHEARTED living and loving -even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it.

Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite GRACE, JOY and GRATITUDE into our lives.”

-Brene Brown, Ph.D (text via JustBeEnough)

Own Your Power

Apr 8th, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, The Tribal Beat | No Comments »

Photo: Moyen Brenn

Imagine the journey of a new spring flower growing up out of the dark Earth container, a chick pecking out it’s shell, a butterfly scratching out of the cocoon – when the alarm clock of growth rings within any living being, a primal force pushes potential into form. Each spring we have countless examples of this spontaneous change from dormancy into rapid manifestation all around us. Our experience of this feels very magical no matter how many seasonal changes we have gone through on our walk along the medicine wheel of life. Yet, spring is the most magical of all as so much manifests literally before our eyes.

I often hear fellow Chicagoans wishing that we had a longer spring season. Well, this year Mother Earth heard us! After the warmest March on record, we are now surrounded by an early burst of spring calling us to savor her majestic beauty. This “super” spring comes just in time for a strong April filled with energy to support the primal forces that are pushing us to surrender to the yearning for evolution and express who we are at a core level.

The first week of April is full of change. On April 4th, Mercury goes into direct station from a lesson-filled retrograde cycle. Similar to when construction is completed, the structure is repaired but the clean up can be intense. The next day on April 5th, Venus goes into Mercury (more on this in the May newsletter) to usher in a glorious Full Moon in Libra on the sacred day of Good Friday and the first night of Passover. This Full Moon brings the intentions we planted on the potent New Moon in March to life. This Full Moon is cast with the light of the sign Libra that asks us to seek balance, justice and beauty in all areas of relationship. On top of that, Saturn is retrograding in Libra so more construction for interpersonal improvement is illuminated with this cycle. Mercury, the messenger, is now returning order to our communication as well as revealing information from deeper levels of understanding. However, Mars is not quite finished weaving our actions with higher intentions and greater awareness of personal accountability. This has caused us to keep the lid on a lot of energy and desire to take action. I invite us to look at this moment of restraint as an opportunity to learn about intention, focus, alignment and essentially learning to manage our power.

Power is a provocative area of inquiry. Many of us feel that the world has become embedded with the misuse of power at an institutional level, fueled by the fear of change and loss of our collective soul.
The current imbalance around the sacred preservation of all living beings points to the urgent need to return decision-making to the wise hands of those who understand the preciousness of life, the sacred feminine or the return of the Great Mother.

Most of us, men and women alike, have no clear idea what it means to feel safe to cultivate masculine energy within. For some, our yang energies have been unconsciously fused to an artificial archetype of the aggressive or suppressed masculine to compete daily in a system that doesn’t align with our true values and heart song. Just as we all need to do our work in healing our relationship with the feminine; the same is true for making peace with the wounds we all carry from a driving dominant force that has literally or symbolically threatened our very existence.

The synchronicity of Mercury going direct on the anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, coupled with the wisdom of this Full Moon shining on the ancient ritual of Passover and teachings of Christ, reminds us that the true source of power lies with one’s ability to stand up to oppression in the name of valor and truth, while still keeping a compassionate heart-space open. As Malcolm X so beautifully stated, “stand in your passion. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.

It is essential that we deconstruct our myths, assumptions and inherited confusion so that we can claim our capacity for true self-determination. Without personal or environmental life force, there would be no growth, movement or achievement. In the same way we long to return to more natural ways of living while responsibly incorporating recent advancements, the universe is challenging us to take ownership of our personal power in an authentic and conscious way. Striving for balance requires that we know ourselves without judging or blaming ourselves. One of the reasons many cultures have rites of passage is so that children know who they are before entering into a society that needs them to contribute their gifts.

Stripping away to find our core invites us to reengage with the adventure of life. Dedicate April to the goddess Artemis who is the protector of the forests and runs with the wolves. Reanimate the essence of the Peter Pan or Tiger Lilly of childhood and make a walk in the park become an exploration into the magical forest. Stalk mastery by taking up a new skill that holds levels of development.

Have the audacity to try something new, be in the power of the moment and be willing to “act a fool”. When the vital life force energies have reignited your fire within, think about what is worth serving and dedicate the newly blessed warrior within to the noble act of surrender. Happy Earth Month!

April Astrology Aspects

The April sun shines in the cardinal fire sign of Aries, overseeing retrograde cycles of Mars and Mercury and by mid-month rolling into the fixed earth sign Taurus  with a retrograde cycle starting in Pluto. This position takes over for Mars with higher aspirations for more transformational upgrades in support of authentic soulful living. I truly believe that these initiations and challenges of the first half of 2012 are the most intense we may experience in preparation for the completion of this mystical evolutionary time. Think of yourself as the bow, the arrow and the archer – flexible, stabilizing, focused, intentional, and trusting of the intuitive intelligence and divine timing in the adventure of life.

April 4 Mercury goes direct after retrograding back into Pisces.
April 5 Venus moves into informative, conversational Gemini for four months, preparing for her solo act in May.
April 6 Full Moon in the romantic, justice-seeking, fair-play sign of Libra, highlighting the status of our relationships. Good Friday (and Easter Sunday) and the first night of Passover invite us to align with re-telling of ancient stories of courage, profound faith, radical love and following a path of liberation – all of which still offer wisdom in our contemporary lives.

April 10 Pluto goes retrograde in Capricorn until June to go over and tweak the changes we have already instituted to improve our lives.

April 13 Mars goes direct in Virgo on what some believe is a fated day. 13 is a very sacred number to the mystical feminine energies as it resonates with the completion of the yearly lunar cycle of 13 moons.

April 19 Sun moves into the earth-loving and sustainability-oriented Taurus.

April 21 New Moon in Taurus- perfect day to plant something that holds your dreams for manifestation.

April 22 Earth Day! Be kind to the Earth- take each step as a prayer for healing and a way to send love to our Mother.

2012 Spring Equinox: Growing Golden Seeds for a New Humanity

Mar 8th, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, General, The Tribal Beat | No Comments »

Photo via Catinatree

There is a saying, “we are what we perpetually do”. This spring offers us a chance to commit to what we say we want for ourselves by giving us rich and fertile ground to plant our intentions for this special transformational year. On March 8, 2012, there is a full moon in Virgo that will illuminate what we need to bring into balance in the domain of daily habits; especially as it pertains to work and health. Virgo is one of those signs that cares about the details and making the dream into reality. No matter what we think or wish for our lives, if we don’t make it real through mindful action; it has limited value. One of my first teachers in Andean spiritual traditions, Alberto Villoldo, used to refer to this teaching from the earth-honoring tradition. He would say that you had to be able to manifest what you believed in; or “grow corn” from your ideal concepts, otherwise, you were not truly practicing what you preached.

This call to align philosophy with regular embodied practice is one of the reasons why activities such as meditation, yoga, gardening, cooking, cleaning and caring for others all ritualize life into a series of actions. Some habits support our growth and well-being and some support our suffering and dysfunction. Once again, it is what we think or the attitudes we hold about life that inform HOW we show up to these tasks. If we believe we can’t change, then we usually don’t change, unless something pushes us out of our mental box of limitations so we can take a risk.

In years past, our world has supported the stance of ‘status quo’ as the preferred vibrational tone with the black sheep or rebels of the culture (formerly thought of as most of us reading this piece:-) stepping on the path less taken. With the galactic wrecking ball moving through just about all of our cultural cornerstones; the shake up has been brutal but we can see through the illusions and limitations of the old rule-books. The instant karma of those clinging to old models of power and control over others as a means to maintain personal gain can be seen every day. Most of us are recreating or inventing some part of our lives as the result of these changes. This gives us a chance to focus the need to establish new patterns with our core values.

So how do we clarify our truths and summon the courage to act on them? This 2012 Spring Equinox energy is sure to assist us in using our energies in a meaningful way. Right after a full moon in Virgo on March 8th, Mercury (the messenger) goes retrograde in the youthful sign of Aries from March 12th until April 4th. As most of us know, when Mercury goes retrograde it is a time to remember, reflect and renew rather than start new projects, sign contracts or generally hurry through anything. In addition to this regular 119 day cycle, Mars is also retrograde with this Full Moon in Virgo. Aries is a very catalytic energy that bolts us into the beginning of the astrological new year around midnight on March 19th. This is the day of equality; the Spring Equinox is a traditional time to plant the seeds for the year’s crops. With the new moon just a couple of days later on March 22nd, the energy for power planting is even stronger. It can be helpful to note that Mars rules Aries, so this phase is more concerned with understanding and using our energy in a way that supports our daily life rather then barreling through it. This could create some frustration and irritability as primal energies are diverted into a more ordered process.

Another way to illustrate how special this cosmic energy might support our future is to reflect on how many of us are thinking about what is in our food and water and how we can help preserve and restore the purity of soil, seeds and streams. Each of us embodies the interconnected web of life; we cannot become healthier without caring for what sustains us at the most basic level. This invites us to take more ownership over what inhabits our inner and outer self. This also extends past our physical body into our emotional, mental and psychic aspects as well. During these retrograde cycles, it is a perfect time to embrace the changes our lives and the world is requesting of us. Focus on channeling the fiery and potent spring fever into steps that make a staircase to our higher self and a better world.

Take some time over the next few weeks to think about what you really value and hold precious and the areas you would like to see improve in your life. Then reflect on what you sense contributes and opposes enhancing and cultivating growth. Imagine you hold three golden seeds in your hand – seeds that hold the origin and potential for the most beautiful, abundant and fulfilling growth cycle. One seed is for you, one for your family or closer community and one for humanity/planetary family. You will be planting these luminous seeds in your three centers: divine will, higher heart and wisdom mind. See how being the soil for these seeds impact how you care for your self and interact with others, remembering they are carrying not only their golden seeds but your future is being influenced by their actions as well. Once we are out of these reorganizing cycles, the new imprint of our intentions will be assimilated into our 2012 action plan for taking responsibility of our own backyards as well as being co-creative stewards of our collective gardens just in time for Earth Day!

Upcoming Astrology Aspects

We are moving into a super cell spring season that can be tapped into to break old habits that do not serve and to energize innovative growth and expansion of projects that have seemed stalled. Until the upcoming retrograde cycles are complete in mid-April (except Saturn’s cycle which goes direct on June 25th), it’s best not to launch big new projects.

March 8, 2012: Full Moon in Virgo
International Women’s Day -Thank a woman you admire for sharing her gifts with the world; support organizational efforts that protect and enhance the rights of women for fair and equal opportunities and demanding safe environments for girls and women to live and work. Please visit our web site to view some of the organizations we love that serve girls and women throughout the world.

March 12, 2012: Mercury goes retrograde in Aries until April 4, 2012, hitting its mid-cycle at the new moon on March 22, 2012.

March 13/14, 2012
: Venus in Taurus joins up with Pluto in Capricorn and Mars in Virgo to create a strong and vibrant grand earth trine that astrologer Simone Butler describes as “a magical alignment is a rare opportunity to realize and stabilize our dreams- especially financial” and recommends we invoke Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of abundance to bless our prayers and visions.

March 19/20, 2012: The Sun moves into Aries to launch the 2012 Spring Equinox – The new year day of the zodiac, first day of spring when light and dark equalize, making it a beautiful day to ritualize intentions to bring our lives into balance.

March 22, 2012: New moon in Aries offers the most potent time to set intentions for the next six months. Because Mercury is retrograde in Aries, this auspicious new moon opens up a slightly bigger window of several days to work on visioning our dreams into form as well as rededicating ourselves to the practical (Virgo in Mars) steps necessary to take us to these inspired dreams.


Occupy Your Heart

Feb 7th, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, General, The Tribal Beat | 1 Comment »

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”.

Occupy Your Heart

Photo: Pixie_Bebe

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~

Holiday Greetings, Sacred Tribe

Dec 19th, 2011 Posted in The Tribal Beat | No Comments »

The holiday season is richly textured with multiple opportunities to put our spiritual practice into action. We often hear, “it is better to give than to receive,”  which encourages us to focus on the joys of sharing with others in our lives. There is also a hidden message in this saying that points to the shadow aspects of our desire to be on the receiving end of the exchange. Aligning with the magical wonder of winter stories that tell of miracles, generosity and faith allows us to remember those we love and expand that kindness from our small circles to the entire planetary family. As all in life seeks balance; learning to accept the gifts with an open heart is essential for the cycle to be complete.

If we look to the key spiritual teachings of detachment from expectation, choosing not to take things personally, and having clear intentions, the season can flow with more joy, humor and ease. Remaining true to one’s self can be challenging, yet what part of life doesn’t ask that of us?

The area I tend to struggle with the most has to do with feeling that whatever I give is not enough. I grew up in a family where the prevailing attitude was “if a little is enough; more is better”. I also have a tendency to think I should be able to do everything on my own (and in reality can’t do much of anything without the support of others) so at times I can feel overwhelmed with gratitude shadowed by guilt and shame that can translate into fretting over “giving” enough. This can be exasperated by feeling the depth of pain and suffering that exists in the world and feeling like nothing I give could ever really make a difference because the need is so great.

In truth, we have no idea the impact we have on others in our lives, from the birds we feed in the park to smiles we meet strangers with on our daily path or the moment we take to really listen to someone. I had a truly humbling experience years ago regarding impacting someone’s life in a way I had never expected. I had recorded two meditation tapes (yes tapes) and was at a wholistic conference with many more popular and well-known authors. We were asked to sit at a table to sign books and answer questions. Feeling very silly and small next to these experts with lines of people waiting to talk to them, I was getting ready to leave when a woman came up to me and told me that she listened to my tapes until they broke. She said they got her through her chemotherapy treatments and was so grateful I had made them. I was overwhelmed with authentic recognition as it so clearly came from her heart to mine. More importantly, that was the real reason I had recorded the meditations to begin with so we came full circle.

Another powerful indigenous saying, “as above so below” reminds us to look at our world as a reflection of spirit. From that reference point, nature can teach us so much about trusting that the mystery of reaching the perfect balance of giving and receiving is possible. I learned this particular lesson from nursing my children. They ate until they were satisfied rather than when the measured amount in the bottle was empty. It was amazing how quickly I surrendered into the ease of this exchange and felt protective of the wisdom that these little souls understood. Each of us holds this sacred understanding if we really take the time to be a witness to our own experience rather than reacting to behavior or preconceived programing.

I encourage us all to shift the phrase to “giving is receiving”. If we give from our mindful hearts as a means of expressing our true gratitude and love, than it is sure to wash back over our consciousness as well. In spite of all the doubts and uncertainty; I still delight in the ritual of gifting.