December’s gifts – customs, ceremony, celebrations, consecrations – come to us wrapped up not in tissue paper and ribbons, but in cherished memories. This is the month of miracles; the oil that burns for eight days, the royal son born in a stable, the inexplicable return of the Light on the longest, darkest day of the year. Where there is love there are always miracles. And where there are miracles, there is great joy” -Sara Ban Breathnach (Simple Abundance)
There is something profoundly private and dignified about December; the bare trees, the silence of the snow as it falls on the frozen landscape, the pale moon rising in the blue-black sky. Even in the midst of holiday parties and preparations there is a part of us that longs to slow down, turn inward and honor the sacredness of this time. During winter nature is at rest; the real work is silent and unseen.
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. -Andrew Wyeth
Here in the far north, our little hamlet is covered with fresh snow; smoke rises from the chimneys and curls upward past the gently sloping rooftops and church steeples. In the village people hurry home laden down with packages, past busy shops and brightly lit taverns and restaurants. On the outskirts of the village, the sound of sleigh bells ring out into the night as the horses make their way over thickly packed snow. Down by the pond, under a luminous Full Moon, skaters glide gracefully across the ice.
In the courtyard of the Astrology Café the tall Spruce tree is adorned with colored lights that sparkle like the stars above. The wooden door to the café is decorated with a wreath of dried flowers, herbs and berries. Inside the fire roars and glasses are raised in toasts as candles flicker and friendships unfold. Welcome back dear friend; you have been missed.
If you are a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer. If you are a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!” – Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends)
Come inside, take off your coat, hat and mittens and make yourself comfortable. There are Celtic chants playing on the stereo, a fire blazing in the old stone fireplace and friends, both old and new. The café is decorated with red and white Poinsettias and vases filled with boughs of spruce, cedar and pine. The air is fragrant with the rich aroma of vanilla, butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and cloves. On the counter are trays piled high with warm Gingerbread with fresh whipped cream, Buche de Noel with buttercream frosting, Baked Carmel Pears, gluten-free Coconut Cream Pie or gluten-free Raspberry-fig Tart, and freshly baked Christmas Cookies: Toasted Almond Butter, Chocolate-Mint with milk chocolate middles, Linzer Hearts, Eggnog Biscotti, and Candy-Cane Macaroons. We also have hearty stews, thick soups and creamy quiches. To drink there’s hot buttered rum, creamy, rich eggnog, champagne, wine, or maybe a big mug of Earl Grey tea with rose petals, or spicy Chai flavored with cardamom. When you are ready, follow me up the winding staircase, through the library, down a long corridor, and up the small flight of steps to the tower where our dear friend, the crone, the wise woman is waiting for us.
Our friend greets us at her round wood table with her Runes, Medicine Cards, stones, and crystals spread out before her. The sacred statues, Kwan Yin, Mary and Buddha glow in the candle light; there is a faint scent of jasmine and rose in the air and behind her, through the big bay window, the luminous Full Moon rises. She smiles warmly and motions us to join her at the table. Please sit; the night is young and there is much to discuss. Our wise friend takes the deck of Medicine Cards, shuffles them and turns one over. It is Crow. Listen closely; perhaps Crow brings a message for you.
Crow is an omen of change. Crow lives in the void and has no sense of time. The Ancient Chiefs tell us that Crow sees simultaneously three fates – past, present and future. Crow merges light and darkness, seeing both inner and outer reality.
If Crow medicine appears you must pause and reflect on how you see the laws of Great Spirit in relation to the laws of humanity. Crow medicine signifies a firsthand knowledge of a higher order of right and wrong than indicated by the laws created in human culture. With Crow medicine, you speak in a powerful voice when addressing issues that for you seem out of harmony, out of balance, out of whack, or unjust.
As you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth. The prime path of true Crow people says to be mindful of your opinions and actions. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life’s mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. –Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson
The Cancer Full Moon – December 25, 2015
Called the Cold Moon, Long Night Moon, Snow Moon
This is a rare Full Moon that falls on Christmas day! The last time this happened was 1977 and the next won’t be until 2034! I’m not sure what this means but I like to think it is a positive sign, a good omen bringing more light and love to all of us on this sacred day and especially to all the folks who have immigrated and find themselves in new circumstances. May all be blessed, may all be welcomed.
The Full Moon illuminates what was planted at the New Moon; it is a time of harvesting, manifestation, creativity, and abundance. The Sun in serious Capricorn, the archetype of the father, represents authority, reality, and responsibility; it values action in the outer world. Moon ruled Cancer is the archetype of mother and healer; it honors intuition and the inner world. This Full Moon reminds us that the ability to manifest authentic power and security in the world is not separate from our inner life but includes it. In fact, our greatest creations and accomplishments originate from deep within. Are you focusing too much energy in the outer world of work and being busy or else taking refuge in your shell like the crab? Finding a balance between the external world and our personal one is the goal of the Cancer/Capricorn axis.
“Expect the unexpected” Uranus in fierce and fiery Aries, stations direct on the day of the Full Moon, adding a restless and edgy quality to this holiday season. Pay close attention at family gatherings; even if we don’t agree, we can still be kind to one another. Remember the Hawaiian prayer, Ho’oponopono (I’m sorry, please forgive me, I thank you and I love you.) Uranus tends to surprise us; there may be some unexpected healing and forgiveness with family members and friends.
Uranus is the planet of freedom, rebellion, sudden changes and big breakthroughs. It went retrograde on July 26. Something has been brewing since then and we’re feeling eager to take action in some area and move forward. But not so fast!
Don’t do anything you truly don’t want to do. Never confuse action with movement.
Mercury turns retrograde on January 5, 2016 (through January 26). Don’t look at it as negative. What it’s suggesting is not to go rushing into 2016 with a long list of resolutions, rules, diets and to-do lists, or allow the ego (or your pesky inner critics) to call the shots. Take your time; let your intuition lead the way; write down you deepest dreams, your fondest hopes for the future. Create a space for those dreams, nourish them, water them, and protect them. Use this next month (until Mercury turns direct) to release old plans, projects, and habits that are no longer relevant and prepare for what is truly important.
Neptune in compassionate Pisces makes a healing trine to the Moon in nurturing Cancer opening our hearts and giving us the ability to forgive ourselves and others. Mental Mercury in Capricorn makes a trine to generous Jupiter in Virgo, expanding our minds and creating a wider perspective. Venus in Scorpio makes a positive sextile to both Mercury and Jupiter, creating a mini grand trine. This aspect brings a quality of grace, good will, and a reminder that even with all the challenges in the world right now, there is still much to be grateful for.
The Twelve Days of Christmas
One of my favorite parts of Christmas begins the after on December 26 when the energy quiets down. In fact, in the old traditions, Christmas, December 25, “Birthday of the Invincible Sun” was the time for receiving spiritual gifts while Epiphany was the day for exchanging physical gifts – the day the Magi came bearing gifts for the Christ child. The Twelve Days of Christmas begins on December 26 and ends on the Epiphany – January 6th. Each of the twelve days that follows Christmas corresponds to a sign of the zodiac beginning with Aries on the December 26th followed by Taurus on the 27th, and so on, ending on the Epiphany on January 6th. The coming year can be foreseen by observing the conditions on each of these 12 days. Pay attention to dreams, omens and signs during these days for this is the year in embryo. The word “Epiphany” comes from the Greek, meaning to manifest. In old England it was said of Epiphany, “On the charms of this night will the harvest depend.” What do you want to bring into manifestation? There is no better time to pray for your own epiphany! These 12 days are a kind of preparation and an opportunity to set the tone for the coming year.
“In Old Britain celebrants kept the Yule fire burning through the twelve nights of the season. Wishes were made while touching the fire with sticks. The old year as released as cedar boughs burned.” New World Cycle of Celebrations
New Year’s Eve is the traditional wishing night when we let go of our old ways and the new ones are conceived.
New Year’s Day is the day Arthur first drew the sword from the stone to reveal the spirit of the new cycle. All over the world people perform rituals to bring about good fortune for the year ahead. In Scotland, people watch the threshold to see what the first visitor augers for the year. In many regions of the world people eat black-eyes peas for luck. The Dutch believe eating donuts is a lucky. Cabbage is said to create prosperity since the leaves resemble paper money. Create your own rituals and traditions for this day. Remember, what begins well, ends well.
January 1st is the Festival of Ceres, goddess of the harvest and mother of Persephone. The asteroid Ceres was discovered on January 1, 1901.
Holiday Season Self Care
At this time of the year we tend to overeat, overspend and over extend. At the same time we don’t get nearly enough rest or down time. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is the perfect time to do some necessary relaxing and healing. For me, this week is a “time-out-of-time;” an in-between period that’s connected to neither the current year nor the coming one and possesses its own kind of magic. I love taking the week off and doing lots of healing things like going to the Russian Baths, taking long walks, seeing friends, and some deeply quiet days to remember what I’m grateful for, to write, dream, and hibernate. One of the things I plan on doing this week is to begin ballet class; something I haven’t done in many, many years!
Be gentle with yourself this week. Carve out some time, if not a whole week, then a day or two. Take a yoga class, treat yourself to a massage or spa session, do a mini juice cleanse, clean your closets and get rid of clutter; great for starting the year and the perfect ritual for Mercury retrograde. Or do absolutely nothing! Give yourself a Bathrobe Day (or two or three); it’s free! Listen to great music, read your favorite poetry, take bubble baths and lots of naps. We are on the threshold of a wondrous new year, a fresh start; honor this time, honor yourself!
Just do your best to keep yourself in balance. One of the first things that causes Energy misalignment, is asking or demanding too much of yourself in terms of time and effort. In other words, you just cannot burn the candle at both ends, so that you are physically tired, and then expect yourself to have a cheerful attitude. So, the rule of thumb has to be: “I’m going to be very, very, very happy, and then do everything I have time to do after that.” –Abraham
Dear Friend, It is getting late here in the tower above the Astrology Café and our evening has come to a close. Outside the old owl has settled on the branch of the Alder tree. High above in the sky the Full Moon shines down bathing us with her radiance. I am deeply grateful for your presence at the Astrology Café and our time together. Enjoy this magical season. May 2016 bring you your heart’s desire. Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams. Love yourself, feel good, and be grateful. All is well, you are loved, Virginia
WINTER OF LISTENING
By David Whyte
No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.
All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
round every living thing.
What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
What we strive for
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
and then nourishes
What we hate
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.
Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.
All those years
listening to those
nothing to say.
All those years
has its own voice
All those years
you can belong
simply by listening.
And the slow
is born from
Silence and winter
has led me to that
So let this winter
for the new life
I must call my own.