Last Quarter Moon in Libra – EXPIRE

The last quarter point this month is in Libra (Jan 17th, 12:58 GMT). Libra is ruled by Venus, who is rising higher and brighter as the month goes on. Is it too cheesy (and/ or star-warsy) to suggest A New Hope!

underwater photography of woman

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Life is different than it has been. There are teething problems. But there is also so much possibility and potential.

Usually the waning moon calls for release, but with there being so much (forced) release energy unfolding through this whole month (and year, sorry) this shift may feel like a welcome out-breath, and a glimpse of the wonderful possibilities and potential ahead.

Breathe

Inhale

take in your surroundings.

Inside,

mix them with your hopes, your dreams

your practical wisdom.

Pause.

Enjoy.

But don’t forget to breathe out.

It is only with expiration (and oftentimes perspiration),

that dreams are made real.

Jessica M Starr

Divination/ Journaling Prompts

*I breathe in …
*I breath out…

Ritual/ EveryDayMagic/ Spellwork Suggestions

*breathwork (of course). Tylluan Penry has a great book on this.
*Elemental magic with air
*singing/ chanting/ making music

 

Full Moon Eclipse in Cancer -THRESHOLD

This full moon eclipse in Cancer (Jan 9th, 19:10 GMT) is one of the last activations of the Cancer/ Capricorn axis eclipses we have seen over the eighteen months, and which will continue until July this year. (It is also part of a much bigger, 200 year, shift in the elemental energies from Earth to Air).

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The full Cancer moon is blocked by the sun. Creating a threshold. And with so much of the sky portending big change, all of us, woke or sleepwalking, will be affected. Die or be killed. It is chrysalis time.

“The heart carries heavy loads when it is being trained to carry weighty blessings.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo

Divination/ Journaling Prompts

*Which area(s) of my life are changing now?
*How can I ease the pain of transition?
*What threshold am I stepping through?

Ritual/ EveryDayMagic/ Spellwork Suggestions

*perhaps not an ideal time for a celebratory ritual, but certainly a good time for a circle with kindred spirits. Maybe a gentle release meditation. Sharing of food. Sharing of fears. Sharing of hope.

 

First Quarter Moon in Aries – BURN

This first quarter moon in Aries (Jan 3rd, 4:45 GMT) is squaring off against the big pile up of planets in Capricorn AND the North Node in Cancer. Issues of roots and foundations rub up against concerns for home and security. Big change is coming. And it is coming fast. Going with, rather than against, the flow of inevitability feels easier, but do not compromise on your truth.

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Things will be burning now, physically and metaphorically. Only the truly important things can be saved. What is worth risking your life to save? What can you (at last) release to the flames? What is truly important?

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Divination/ Journaling Prompts

*What is home for you?
*What needs to burn?
*What can be saved? (three things?)

Ritual/ EveryDayMagic/ Spellwork Suggestions

*Choose the element you work with best. If fire feels good to you then you can magnify that power and USE it, with candle magic, any kind of burning rituals.
*BUT, if there is just too much fire energy for you now and you feel unbalanced, go deep into water instead. Take a ritual bath. Submerge yourself, physically and metaphorically.

 

The Art and Science of Timing for Goal Setting and Planning

I have been thinking a lot about planning and goal setting lately. You’re probably thinking, yeah, you and everyone else, as it is THAT time of the year. My inbox has exploded with year-end best-of lists and helpful workbooks for planning the year ahead (hell, I even have my own new year planning and goals post and template –  Setting Goals (Dreams with Deadlines) if you’re wanting that).

Because it is a truth universally acknowledged, that if you don’t set plans and goals then you are doomed to failure.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

― Benjamin Franklin

But, I am just emerging from a depth year, which has made me question, well, pretty much everything. And this annual ritual of goal setting and planning is no exception. I have realised that once I set goals, and dutifully write them in my planner, I no longer want to do them. They feel heavy and arduous, more to-dos for the list. And judging from the response to my Depth Year Reflections video, a lot of you feel the same.

Perhaps for creative people, or at least some creative people, this goal-setting/ planning received wisdom just does not work?

I loved what the Aussie author Jen Storer said about it in her recent blog post about being pulled both ways, being Navy and/ or Pirate, Plotter and/ or Pantser. It is EXACTLY like that! I want the structure, the framework, the safe container, of goals. But I do not want the binding, trudging, boredom of have-to-dos sucking the life out of my shimmering dreams.

After all, it is not the goal setting and planning that helps us achieve the things we want. It is, you know, actually doing the work. So, if the goal setting process is making that less likely, then that could be a pretty strong case against doing it. Or, at least, an invitation to be open to other options.

Reflecting on it more I realised there are parallels with (you guessed it) stereotypical “masculine” and “feminine” ways of approaching things. The prevailing goal-setting wisdom is a “masculine”/ blade approach, clearly appealing to our logic and practical selves. Our “feminine”/ chalice side does not get much of a look in, beyond maybe a tarot spread to help inform our plans. It reminds me of how I felt as a new mother, almost a decade ago now, feeling totally overwhelmed because I knew I needed to create to feel alive, but not being able to see a way to do that. I was stuck in the (“masculine”) thinking of needing an entire afternoon, and a tidy space, before I could start. Luckily I found Lucy H Pearce‘s book, The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood and her woman/mother-friendly approach showed me how I could take those itsy-bitsy pockets of time which I did have, that could so easily be frittered away, and make magic.

And that brings us onto timing…

As witches and magical thinkers we know that timing is important.

The sky above our head and the earth beneath our feet changes with the seasons, and those changes also happen within us. There are good times to do things, and there are not-so-good times (when it is better to do different things).

nature photography of river near trees

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All this end-of-year planning frenzy suggests that the Gregorian calendar year ending and new one beginning, must be THE BEST TIME to set new goals and plans for what we hope and dream into being next year. Between solstice and January 1st (or between Christmas and New Year for some) must be the right time to do it. But why?

In the Northern Hemisphere it makes sense on one level. It is winter, a time when the energy draws inward. A time to dry out our seeds before choosing which to sow in the coming spring. And many people feel like drawing inwards, raking over the coals of the year, and getting warm and cosy with ideas of the new.

Does the same hold true in the southern hemisphere? Where calendar year end means mid-summer planning? If you’re in the southern hemisphere please let me know your thoughts.

On a practical level year-end also works, as there are holidays in many countries at this time, which gives us a pause in our usual activity, creating a space for the kind of reflection that makes for good planning. An opportunity that is unavailable at other times.

But, what I have noticed from making my moon posts and a couple of years of Museletters, is that there are MANY points in the year that can hold this “new year” energy. And these offer other “ideal” times for goal setting and planning: 0 degrees Aries/ northern hemisphere vernal equinox is one, our solar return/ birthday is another, the cross quarters, damn, every new moon.

And this has led me to the realisation that there is not just one ideal time. Even the same date/ time each year will feel and be subtly different according to the differences in weather (internal and external) at that time. After all, the natural world does not adhere to our man-made calendars, and, with our climate changing, the “usual dates” when seasons change and birds migrate etc. fluctuate even more than in recent memory.

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I find that exciting! Rather than setting my goals once and then getting my head down and getting on with them, regardless of other factors coming into play, and ignoring my own resistance, it opens the possibility of a more flexible approach.

And what would this more natural-world-attuned, space-weather-specific, plotterpantser/ chaliceblade balanced approach look like?

Honestly, I don’t know. Sorry. But I do have some ideas that I am going to try…

I am going in with a “might-do” list, instead of a “to-do” list

This is an idea I have stolen from Alexis J Cunningfolk at Worts and Cunning Apothecary.  Instead of fixed goals I am going to spill out a bunch of exciting possibilities for things I might do, and then leave them there (in my journal) so I can pick and choose from them, or not, as the year progresses.

I have my Word of the Year

My word of the year practice has served me well over the past several years. It has never felt the same way to me as goals do. It is open, has parts I do not know yet, it leads me to places I would not have expected.  So I am sticking with it for 2020.

I am taking a space-weather-specific approach

Our current skies are dominated by a stellium in Capricorn. Saturn is (still) in his home sign and this has made me wonder if a more Saturn in Capricorn approach to goal-setting may be appropriate this year. And I think that would look like planning not for the shiny new you you want to be in 2020, but a way out of existing pain points (usually the opposite of how the goal-gurus tell us to plan).

For me this looks like:

I am ashamed that I…
  • Don’t speak the language of my ancestors
  • Don’t know the names of all the constellations above my head
  • Don’t know the names and characters of all the plants I see on my patch of land
  • Don’t know the composition of the rock beneath my feet
  • Don’t know the history of my place
  • Don’t know the stories and songs of my place
In a nutshell, I want to be fluent in the language of my land, not just the spoken language, but the kind you need to communicate with the trees, rocks and stars.
I will also be drawing from people I respect for input on the likely themes of 2020. I enjoy Austin Coppock’s Year Ahead Predictions, and I have purchased my lunar return chart from Elsa.

I will have regular check-ins

I kind of do this already, but this year I will more consciously be using my moonthly check-ins to take stock and see how things are going, course correct if necessary, and add in anything new to the mix that I fancy.
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Obviously, I don’t know how this will pan out, that is part of the fun.
And if you would rather do things in a more structured/ predictable results way, then that is totally cool – you do you, as the kids say.

I just thought I would share in the hope it may be useful.

Happy (gregorian calendar) New Year!

Scorpio New Moon – Beneath the Surface

We have reached the Scorpio New Moon (28th, 03:38 GMT). With the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury together in Scorpio we have a LOT of change happening, but it is likely that most of this change is happening on a subconscious level. The way that we communicate with ourselves about who we really are, how we really feel, what we really want is changing.

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We can work at bringing these changes up from the depths of our (collective) unconscious, but – like everything else this month – it’s going to take some work.

“I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn’t,
So I jumped in and sank.”
― Langston Hughes

Divination/ Journal Prompts

*What do I want right now?

*What do I feel right now?

*Who am I right now?

*What lies beneath the surface?

Ritual/ Everydaymagic/ Spellwork Suggestions

*Divination x 100

*Immersion in water, cold/ warm, indoor/ outdoor – it’s your choice. What do you need?

*Drumming/ chanting – visit the underworld

 

Third Quarter Moon in Cancer – Shed Your Skin

Just before we head into Scorpio season we reach the third quarter moon in Cancer (21st 13:39 BST). The theme of work and unearthing all those things which hold us back when it comes to going after what we want continues with this moon. You may well have received insight via dreams and signs, but if you haven’t then there is still time.

shallow focus photography of brown snake in green jar

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This phase is also about shedding. What is it that you no longer need. Is your skin too tight? Perhaps it is time to shed it, in order to grow.

“Identity was a liquid state, ever interchangeable, and adaptable to its surroundings… It was better to not have favourites – a snake didn’t mourn when it had to shed its skin.”
― Leonardo Donofrio

Divination/ Journal Prompts

*What am I carrying with me into the next lunar cycle?

*What can I safely leave behind?

*How will I grow?

Ritual/ Everydaymagic/ Spellwork Suggestions

*Continue with the dream encouragement/ enhancement (mugwort tea works well)

*Turn your shower into a cleansing/ shedding ritual

 

Full Moon in Aries – Initiation

I feel like this month’s full moon (13th, 22:07 BST)is a story of two sets of competing plot lines. On the one hand we have the Aries/ Libra axis activated, bringing our attention to where we want to move forward, and how we can best do that. And then there is the Cancer/ Capricorn axis also activated. All 4 cardinal signs. the urge to initiate is strong. But initiate what?

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The answer(s) might come from dreams, or from journeying/ pathworking. This time from the full moon to the new moon in Scorpio is potent for dreamtime. Make sure you’re taking the opportunity by getting enough sleep.

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Divination/ Journal Prompts

*What is being forged in my fire?

*What is rising from my depths?

*What inspiration is blowing towards me on the wind?

*What is growing in my fertile soil?

Ritual/ Everydaymagic/ Spellwork Suggestions

*Dream encouragement/ enhancement (mugwort tea works well)

*Free writing on the journal prompts

*Pathworking a random tarot or oracle card

 

First Quarter Moon in Capricorn – Work/ Work Balance

The First Quarter Moon lands in Capricorn, conjunct native Saturn (5th 5:46pm BST). I find First Quarter moons always have an aspect of challenge to them, but this one will feel that way more than most. With the moon also forming a sextile to dreamy Neptune in Pisces and trine Uranus in Taurus, there is a strong urge to do something different, to break free of the everyday, same old, same old. And that’s great, but the new thing, if it’s worth your effort, will also need work. The grass is not necessarily greener. You need to feed your current lawn too.

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It’s all about finding your work/ work balance. That may be between your day job and your side hustle, or parenting and employment, or self-employment and home maintenance. You get the idea. There’s work, and there’s work. And there’s no right answer. Try and have some fun with it.

“I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”
― Jerome K. Jerome

Divination/ Journal Prompts

*What is my work?

*What is my Great Work?

*What is calling me right now?

*How can I best move forward?

Ritual/ Everydaymagic/ Spellwork Suggestions

*Dream up a list of things you’d love to be Your Work

*Make time for a relaxing ritual bath

*Volunteer for a cause that is important to you

 

A Simple but Effective Blue Moon Ritual

In January 2018 we have a blue moon in the sign of Leo AND a total lunar eclipse. Have you heard? You probably have. It’s all over the Internet. But what does this mean? Here is a practical guide for real people making real magic.

What is the significance of a blue moon?  

A blue moon is when we have two full moons in one month, which is fairly rare.  All full moons are special, it is a time when energies are heightened and our sensitivity to our surroundings is at its peak. At a full moon our bodies absorb everything we put in or on them more fully than at any other time so we need to take care that those things are good for us. On a blue moon this normal monthly heightening is magnified further. Even those who don’t usually feel anything around full moons tend to get a bit weird, perhaps headaches or bursts of energy. Those who are tuned in (you) can use their awareness by creating a simple ritual to supercharge the energy of this time and to clear out some old shadowy crap that has been hanging around for way too long. Sound good?

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Photo by Tyler van der Hoeven via Unsplash

What is the significance of a lunar eclipse?

A lunar eclipse happens when the sun, moon and Earth are aligned with each other, with the Earth in the middle. So it is the shadow of the Earth (or umbra if we’re getting fancy) that is blocking the sun’s light from reaching the moon. In ancient times eclipses were seen as somewhat dangerous and scary and the general recommendation was not to start anything new, or to make plans while the moon was eclipsed (unlike at dark/ new moon time, which is excellent for dreaming up new things).

What is the significance of Moon in Leo?

Moon in Leo, the sign of the sun, calls us to shake loose a bit, have some fun. Though, with the eclipse thrown into the mix, things may feel a tad more serious. Rather than looking for a good time in the external world, it’s a time to look for what is good within. Finding what shines brightly inside us, and also what is in darkness. Confronting darkness (yes, that means shadow work, sorry, not sorry) and letting go of things that are no longer needed, and are holding us back.

What does this all mean in practical real-life terms?

So, the nuts and bolts. What to do to make use of this info.

Firstly, this is a great time for journaling of all kinds. Delve into your heart and find what is lurking in the shadows there. Now is the time to bring it to light (only for your eyes, you don’t have to tell anyone else unless you want to) and heal it.

I am planning on going through my old journals at this time and physically removing pages which hold hurts and collage them into new art. I find this recycling of my heart into art is so powerful. For some people guided visualisations are really useful, to find what we are still wounded by. If you’re into astrology look at where Chiron is in your natal chart, that will give you a clue to the wound that keeps on giving.

Whichever method works for you, find your own way to uncover what is lurking in the shadows and drag it, kicking and screaming (possibly literally), into the light.

Blue Moon Ritual

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Blue Moon Cleansing Ritual

Here is a super simple ritual, which is also amazingly powerful at all full moons, but pure magic now.

Preparation

You may want to physically cleanse yourself beforehand, however you prefer to do that. A simple bath or shower works fine. A special bath or shower makes it more special.

Gather the things you need: candle (white is best, a tea light in a jar works well, especially if you’re outside as it doesn’t blow out); paper; pen (fountain with dragon’s blood ink or biro/ pencil); black thread (regular cotton is fine); matches/ lighter, any of the optional extras you are using (see optional extras below).

Choose where you will do this, indoor or outdoor. I prefer to do this outside but it works well indoors too. Just make sure you’ve got a nearby window that you can open as it will get smoky, and perhaps put something down to catch any debris. Outside, you will need to be able to see well enough to write on some paper (without it blowing away) and without freaking out your housemates or neighbours.

Centring/ Creating your space

Once you have everything you need and you are happy in your chosen place spend a few moments tuning in to your breath. Let go of anything that may be bothering you so that you can focus on your ritual. It can be helpful to say “I am Jessica, I am present” (obviously inserting your own name instead of Jessica, or that would be weird).

Light your candle. Take a moment to look into the flame as it flickers.

If you work with spirits or deities then now would be the time to invite them in. If you don’t then don’t. Similarly with the elements/ directions.

Working Part

Take your paper and free write onto it anything that is troubling you. Pour out your heart. You don’t need to worry about spelling, grammar, legibility even. Just put it down. The paper can hold it all. If you need more sheets use more.

Roll up the paper you have written on like a very tight scroll. If you are using herbs pop them in the centre of your scroll before you roll it. Use the black thread to wind it around and keep it tight.

Get under the light of the moon (or darkness, if the eclipse is visible in your area). Easy if you’re outside, but poking a face, or arm out of your window also works.

Take three more deep breaths and consciously feel each time you are breathing out that you are letting go of these things which no longer serve you.

Set the paper alight. Watch it burn (it can sometimes take a little while to get going so take a few matches or a lighter). I like to gently blow to keep the smoke going. If you blow into the lit end the smoke pushes out through the other too which always pleases me for some odd reason. Try it.

While it burns you may like to visualise something which helps with releasing, like darkness flowing out of you and back into the earth, or millions of little insects flying away. You may like to say some words, wither pre-prepared or ad lib. Move, dance, sing, play music, drum, chant. Whatever feels good.

If your bundle stops burning just light it again. Try to burn it until it is all gone. (Any bits and pieces that are left can be put outside on bare soil, or gifted to a house plant).

Closing

If you invited any spirits/ deities/ ancestors then say goodbye to them now.

You may want to add some closing words of your own here. Or just a simple thank you to the moon, sun and Earth is perfect.

Ideally let your candle burn all the way down while you settle into what has been done. If that’s not practical snuff the candle. Clear any debris.

Optional extras

You can add an extra sensory dimension to this ritual by adding some dry herbs into the rolled paper. Bay leaves work really well. Sage or mugwort would also be good choices.

You could sing or play music

Move or dance

Say some special words, either pre-prepared or ad lib

Wear special clothes and jewellery

Journal about your experience. It can be helpful to keep this going on a daily basis until, at least, the next new moon.

Or you can just do the basics: write (to discover) and burn (to clear).

That doesn’t sound too hard does it? Reading about it won’t have the same affect though (I know, it’s a shame right?). Doing it is where the magic is. And it works, powerfully, even if you think it’s a bit silly, things start moving in new exciting ways. Try it.  Let me know how it goes.