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”

Practice Gratitude

Aspens In Fall

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair.”

~Khalil Gibran

There is an earthy Celtic tradition that is simple, healing and fun. It involves speaking or singing your love and appreciation directly to the trees and flowers, birds and animals that you encounter in Nature.

For example, you might go out into your backyard and whisper to the pine trees. Tell them just how lovely their green branches are today. Or you might smile at the lavender bush and praise its scent. You could stop as you walk your dog, and thank the sky for the amazing cloud shapes that are floating over your head. And if you are feeling especially exuberant today, you could even sing your gratitude to the trees and flowers and sky.  Or offer a little poem to the flowers about their beauty and how it affects you.

This ancient Celtic practice provides a simple way to honor your relationship with Nature. Our human lives are interwoven with the natural world in a multitude of ways. But we often forget just how important Nature is to our lives.  This gratitude practice can help each of us to remember.

 

Pathless Pleasure

Woods and Stream

 

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore, 
There is society where none intrudes, 
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar: 
I love not Man the less, but Nature more…” 

~Lord Byron 

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.

☾ ☽

Natural Wisdom

Flatirons and Sky
Be like the forces of nature:
when it blows, there is only wind;
when it rains, there is only rain;
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through. 
~Lao Tzu

∞