We’re two weeks into 2019 and I’m sure you’ve seen them popping up everywhere, from the blogosphere to your social media feeds; it’s a new year and everyone is reinventing themselves, so to speak. Though January 1st isn’t reserved for making personal changes, I’ve always found the temporal and physical shift into a new year brings the best intentions into action. Whether it’s physical fitness or mental dexterity, working your way through a list of books or forgoing your smart phone to be more present in the moment – this is the time to be the change you’ve been seeing; but let’s be honest – making those changes stick like glue, is a whole horse of a different color. The unfortunate reality of many resolutions and desired mercurial changes, are that they fall by the wayside if we don’t commit ourselves correctly; whether that’s lack of planning, laziness, apathy which all lead to a loss of vision and ultimately – incomplete intentions.
With the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo falling on the first full moon of the year next Monday – this weekend posits to be an excellent time to shake old behavior patterns while putting paper to pen, prepping then putting mind, body and spirit on an actionable trajectory. It might trigger some middle school flashbacks, but vision boards are fantastic ways of making your dreams a tangible reality by transitioning them from your mental space and creating a physical representation of them.
Putting your dreams, resolutions and desires into a roadmap helps on multiple levels, no matter how haphazard it might seem initially. First, the simple act of creating your board boosts your brain function, firmly implanting the intentions in both your short-term and long-term memory. Next up, putting your board in a place you see it every day places these memories from desire into habit through repetition. Last, but certainly not least, you attract the energy you expel – meaning that through repetition, small steps and dedication, you’ll find the things which you actively seek. Think of these as mental passion pushups that you can do every day and night.
Reading through The Net & The Butterfly last year, I had the epiphany that creating short term goals meant I could fight smaller battles for little moments of win, instead of the larger war. Goals don’t have to start grandiose, even the greatest Pyramids started from a single brick. All resolutions big or small are built on the blocks of self discipline and setting personal boundaries; discipline forms habit and habit transforms into action. I highly recommend keeping a journal, daily for those who can commit to it, but biweekly at best; and I’ve found that aligning with the Full and New Moons is a wonderful way to have a personal check in, whether you’re into astrology or not. For those that dabble with Tarot or Runes, it’s a keen time for a spread – one stone or card for a daily tarot, and more extensive pulls at a weekly or biweekly level. If you want to keep a journal but don’t want the daily commitment, the Instant Happy Journal is a great way to stay focused.
When laying the groundwork for big picture goals, I’m a huge proponent of the Passion Planner. I know there are lots of wonderful resources popping up here and there, but for me this one truly has it all. Passion Planner helps align the head for an annual overview, and can become a written visionboard in a way. On the flip side, there’s ample space for monthly reflections and weekly goal setting – key building blocks to your overall success and a great method for incubating ideas and putting action plans behind them.
Whether they’re for the new year, or just a new you – how do you stick to your resolutions? Drop a line in the comments below!
With Thanksgiving right around the corner and the impending Winter rush of familial holiday functions, the bombardment of imposed holiday cheer is here and ready to rear it’s seasonal head. Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up splitting my holidays between two homes, or it could be that I wasn’t raised under any form of religious guise – but the holidays themselves essentially passed me over; the only thing I ever gathered from them was they were a great time to be with loved ones, reminisce about the year that was and postulate on what’s to come while not slipping into a glorious food coma with sports on (which, let’s admit, is still pretty damn fun).
In the decade since I left college, I moved the opposite direction from home – and spent half of that time living by myself re-establishing my baseline, and questioning much of the world around me, including the day to day moves we make and overarching traditions most of us have blindly followed for part, if not most of our lives. Though my parents were raised Methodist and Jewish, they chose to raise me as as a scientist – to not accept the world at face value, and approach each situation with a childlike sense of wonder and an adult sense of amusement; where the world and nature were my church and the elders were my leaders. Now that I’ve moved up to a new state with my husband, we’re looking to make traditions of our own – which got me thinking.
Though our schooling would have us believe a very different story, Thanksgiving was a construct of the pagans and the very first one was not at Plymouth Rock. With Thanksgiving falling on a Full Moon for the first time in almost 71 years – I thought it was the perfect time to explore the actual societal roots of the holiday.
Unlike Easter and Christmas which are steeped in slightly more obvious Christian roots, stories and traditions with true roots in Pagan Holiday, Thanksgiving itself is one of the few secular holidays celebrated around the United States and it has an interesting, sorted Colonial history as well as a – you guessed it – Pagan based backstory.
In 1621, the Pilgrims completed their voyage to the new shore – and after a tumultuous time at sea, and losing a menagerie of ship members, they gathered what they could in the cold month of November with the locals and had a winter’s feast; and so started Thanksgiving.
Kinda. That’s what we learn in school at least, and it’s basically completely wrong, starting with the erroneous fact claiming it was the “first” Thanksgiving. Secondly, the Pilgrims were not the first to land in the new world – but this isn’t that history lesson.
Fast forward to our first President George Washington and the formulation of America – there was a suggestion among the constituents that as a new country, it would behoove them to create a nationally binding yet seemingly secular holiday. So, in October of 1789, Washington issued a formal proclamation that designated November 26th as a national day of thanks. And now, 225 years later – we have Turkey, Pumpkin Pie, and Football to celebrate with us. So where did Thanksgiving actually stem from…?
Believe it or not, but having a “Day of Thanks” transmutes almost all cultural walls, and essentially time itself; you can find an ode to it in essentially every ancient culture. The Egyptians celebrated Min while the Chinese held holiday for Chung Ch’ui; the Israelites celebrated Sukkot, the Babylonians worshiped Marduk and the Persians had Mirthas; the Romans had Cerelia while the Greeks honored Demeter and Celtic Pagans took to Mabon. Each of these civilizations had a day designated as a Fall Harvest Feast where they would tend to the end of their crop season, and enjoy the bounty in communal celebration.
After the Romans invaded Nazareth, the cradle of Judaism, in the 3rd Century, their civilization and culture began to seep into Israelite texts and traditions – including Roman Fall Festival Cerelia, which worshiped Goddess of the Harvest Ceres. As the global power of the time, this transmuted the Pagan celebration across any and every culture they touched…which was a lot.
A few hundred years later, Roman rulership had reached England and Cerelia evolved into the Harvest Home Festival under the Church of England. Between the 600’s and 1600’s, the tradition transformed over and over, for both secular and religious groups – but over time, and catalyzed by the separation of the Church of England from Roman rule, many groups within the church splintered off and chose to try for a new life in America; the rest is history – but apparently very poorly written and researched.
And since we’re here – traditional Thanksgiving fare and lore also have cultural roots that you might not expect. That Cornucopia, known as the horn of plenty, full of festively fall items? In Ancient Greece – Amathea the goat broke off his horn, presenting it to Zeus to earn his favor – in return, Amathea’s image became transfixed in the sky as Capricorn. Not to mention, that other things like corn, the Harvest Queen and poppies are all odes to the Roman Goddess Ceres, which the holiday Cerelia celebrates.
This year, instead of giving into a tradition that has been incorrectly hardwired into our brains, try one of these one-offs for size – or even better, use this as an excuse to make your own festivites.
Not only are the holidays a perfect time to reconnect and rekindle your relationships with those you hold dear – but they’re an equally excellent time to forge a bond over an amazing meal and delicious libations. For Friendsgiving, bring the whole squad with you – new neighborhood transplants that aren’t going back to their old stomping grounds, friends, coworkers and even their friends and coworkers. Friendsgiving isn’t relegated to any particular part of the holiday season, but I definitely recommend that it’s on a Friday or Saturday so you can enjoy your food coma into a lovely, lounging Sunday where you can marinate in the memories of your family you chose for yourself just a little while longer.
Raise your paws if you’re one of those people who has a timer on their phone for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Good, no one – and if you’re rocking with me, I honestly didn’t think so. I always found it a bit untoward that one day we’re wrapped up in giving thanks, and then the next day we’re wrapped up in spending our money – it’s pretty anachronistic to me. Anyways! A few years back, REI started their #OptOutside campaign – shutting down their storefronts, giving their employees the day off and encouraging them to enjoy the outdoors; I love the effect that it’s had on the world at large. Instead of giving into the urge to purchase, get off your cute little butts and get outside; not only is exercise one of the highest rated New Years resolutions, or most common Friday after Thanksgiving traditions – but it feels pretty damn good.
Altruism is by and large one of the best gifts you can give, because it really does keep giving. If you don’t feel like having your own celebrations this year, or are looking for a way to make an impact in your community – find a local shelter to volunteer with, help in their soup kitchen for the holidays, donate your time to a senior center and spend the holidays with those who could use the support, or find an animal shelter to give our furry friends something to smile about.
25 Days of Gratitude
Like I mentioned in the beginning, being thankful and gracious aren’t only applicable to the holidays, though they do allow a wonderful time for pause and reflection, as I’ve found a good memory is kindling to the fire of the heart – especially on a chilly winter’s night. As a kid, I loved those little you games you got on Thanksgiving that counted down the days to Christmas with candy.
This year, ditch that Advent Calendar, which may as well be called the Countdown to Capitalism as an incredibly Protestant Christian ideal that has been transmuted into the public arena without much thought, make your own ‘Gratitude Calendar’. Grab a notepad or old scratch paper, a few favorite pens and a jar – something you can decorate and want to look at. Each day, instead of taking something out – write down one thing that you’re grateful for, date it, and toss it in. When Christmas arrives, spill the jar out and read through each note one by one, you might even be surprised at how many presents you already have in your life.
I have to admit that being in a new state for the Holiday, and married, I’m incredibly excited to start some new celebrations with my husband and my family. With Thanksgiving falling on the Gemini Full Moon, I’m eager for the hearty conversation and lively company for the day.
Whatever you celebrate and whoever you celebrate it with, make it memorable – always.
What new traditions are you excited to start this year?
Let me know in the comments below – I can’t wait to read how you’re spending the season.
Raised as far away from organized religion as possible, my personal view on life and the world around us is that we’re inhabiting a universe built on vibrations emanating from a master source, strung together across infinite planes of existence. So, to a large degree, it’s no wonder that I believe that the exact placement of the planets and stars around our sun are indicative of unique personality traits based on the day of our birth.
Born on a Full Moon during Mercury Retrograde, my lifetime long obsession with horoscopes, astrology, numerology, tarot, rune stones, and the like makes infinitely more sense. As a child, my parents unwittingly fanned my medium-esuqe flames. They let letting me run rampant in used bookstores and gifted me ‘The Secret Language of Birthdays‘ when I was still in Middle School. Fast forward to High School and I was handed down my first tarot deck -a beautiful Ryder-Waite deck from the 70’s. All of these events grotesquely shaped my view on the spiritual and physical worlds and I’m eternally grateful that I’ve discovered a bevy of resources for my metaphysical mind to wrap itself around.
Though I’ve considered myself Sagittarius through and through, the older I get – the more I realize that sun signs are only one piece of your complex, personal puzzle. To get the entire picture, you’ll want to delve into the entirety of your natal chart. Plain and simple, your natal – or astrological – chart gives you keys to unlock and understand key personality traits.
To get a look at your natal chart you’ll need your birth place and birth time – an approximation will do, but exact is always the best. Astrolabe is currently my favorite online resources for natal charts, and even better – the basic chart is free. For the cosmically curious and astrologically enthused, I suggest snagging a copy of Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Astrology – it’s the perfect introductory reader, and you’ll learn tips and tricks, including how to compute a natal chart by hand.
Beyond your sun sign, you’ll discover your moon sign – an emotional, and feminine energy that plays into your shadow self and subconscious behaviors. If you were born on a Full Moon like me, it’s a pretty easy formula: our moon signs directly oppose our sun sign – my sun is in Sagittarius, and my moon is in Gemini. In parallel with the moon sign, the moon phase when you were born equally indicative of deeply ingrained personality traits; if you don’t know the moon sign for the day you were born, you can calculate it here.
The more I delve into my own natal chart, the more I answer unasked questions about my personality and inherant behavior. Do you notice anything divine about the way your stars align?
As the year winds down, the palpable, universal energy feels like it’s picked up ten-fold. October’s New Moon fell on All Hallows Eve Eve, November’s New Moon comes tomorrow on the 29th as we’re clearing the air of Thanksgiving and it’s wonderful cast of visitors, while December’s New Moon falls right after Christmas on the 29th. Maybe – probably – it’s just me, but this year has felt different – it’s had a synchronistic air to it the entire time. That said, with the New Moon hanging over our head this evening – today marks the perfect time to get weave your witchy ways.
Coming from a pastime riddled with Tarot, rune stones, numerology and energy healing – it shouldn’t be that hard to understand that I live, eat, breathe and love in moon cycles. Though the moon cycles through it’s phases every 28.5 days, I find it incredibly beneficial to have a few reference guides just in case I don’t remember off the top of my head. For phone apps, I highly suggest Moon Phase in the Apple Store or if you’re online – you can always venture to Moon Giant for the latest and greatest in lunar happenings. Last, but certainly not least, let your thirst for knowledge lead you to the fountain of your minds youth: resource books. Load up on your literature and you’ll never have a dull day ahead of you; if you’re looking for a jumping off point, I would start with Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book (snag your 2017 copy meow). New Moons pose the perfect time to marinate on the last cycle, and set your intentions for the new one while Full Moons are excellent occasions to act on those intentions and make potential energy kinetic. As such, rituals surrounding the New Moon can be useful for grounding yourself and cleansing your spiritual space.
Whenever the holidays rear their rasta colored head, an old quote always comes to mind: Everyone loves guests; some when they come, others when they leave. Because let’s not get it twisted – this year’s Thanksgiving festivities were fantastic! Danny and I both had family come into town for the holiday, my parents stayed with us for four nights and Danny – bless his heart – made pretty much all of our Thanksgiving feast. Now that the parental units are out of the house, we’ve finally realized just how tiring the holidays are when you’re actually adulting (also known as making a plan and following through with it). Now that our house is full of post-holiday herbs, it’s the perfect time to get my home cleanse on.
Twine – level up and get fancy with mutlicolored twine
Fresh Herbs and Dried Flowers: ThinkSage, Rosemary, Lavender, Rosebuds
It’s a pretty simple formula once you have all your supplies in place!
Take a helping handful of your herbs – feel free to mix and match, but make sure you’re heavier on the sage.
Grab the herbs by the base of the leaves and begin to wrap the twine from the base, up to the very top – it’s okay for the bundle to be a bit loose, because we’re going to wrap the twine back down one more time.
After you’ve wrapped your smudge stick, find a nice place to let it air dry and let it hang upside down if possible. In about three weeks, your sacred smudge stick full of your beautiful intentions will be ready – and just in time for the December New Moon, and the next influx of holiday visitors.
What are your favorite Holiday crafts? Let me know in the comments below!
I wasn’t raised religious, nor have I ever considered myself the religious type but as far as my families go that’s a relatively recent development. My mom’s Grandmother was a devout Christian Scientist who didn’t believe in the use of Western Medicine; she was Type II Diabetic and had her legs amputated without any anesthetic. On my dad’s side, my Jewish Grandmother’s family fled to the United States from Lithuania in fear of religious and socio-political persecution. My mom was raised Lutheran and my father had the first Bar Mitzvah in Corvallis, Oregon. But after college, they both shifted to the belief system that they were ‘scientists‘ and that I wasn’t going to be raised in a church, or a temple, until it was my choice.
Growing up, my bedtime stories came from books of African and Native American folk tales; to boot, I was always encouraged to question everything. The older I got, and more I understood the world – the more I was mesmerized by the magic of the everyday. Between the repeating geometric patterns found deep seeded within Mother Nature – like with crystals, foliage, seeds and animal spots, the use of irrational numbers such as Pi and Phi in everyday life, Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity paired with the plausibility of hidden (‘God’) variables – it was easy to slip into seduction with spirituality.
In middle school, my first Tarot book and deck was handed down to me. By the end of high school, I’d been given three decks and now am the proud owner of five. In high school, and thanks to the help of my best friend, I dabbled in and around Wicca and was champion of my fair share of events that cemented those feelings down to my core. Through various seances and meditations, I was granted brief yet unprecedented access across and into the next dimension of life and my perception of ‘reality‘ hasn’t been the same since. Thanks to gifts from friends, some treasure hunting and assorted road trips to Zion – my crystal and gem collection has grown considerably, as well. And now that I’ve moved in with Danny and our Catripod-mate Gio, we have two of the most beautiful shrines I’ve ever seen in the apartment. It’s easy to lose myself in each single piece, let alone their big pictures; and every time I do, I walk away feeling so intrinsically blessed for the life I’ve worked for.
Tonight being a Full Moon, and a Total Lunar Eclipse at it’s a wonderful time to reminisce about the last twenty eight days, and the intentions you set during the new moon; it’s also an excellent night to get out your crystals and let the moonlight wash over them. Starting early this morning at 2:15 AM PST, the eclipse will commence and we’ll be treated to an unprecedented second Blood Moon of the year. While April’s Blood Moon brought somewhat tumultuous changes into our lives and unruffled truths that we might not have wanted to confront – tonight’s will bring resolution and resolve. And remember, the effects have both been around for several days prior and will linger for a few days after. Give yourself a few moments of reflection and meditation on who you’ve become over the last six months, and then focus your thoughts on your active evolution towards that goal; it’s a beautiful thing.
As for the light show we’ll be receiving from above – the reason the moon manifests into a reddish hue is due to the Earth’s positioning. Because the Earth rests precisely between the Sun and Moon, the only light that reaches the Moon has been bent around us by the atmosphere. By scattering the blue light, the Earth’s atmosphere emits a red hue that causes the moon to appear red. If you happen to be seated on the opposite side of the planet, don’t fret – there’s a live stream just for you.