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This is not a time to act for many reasons, but one being the risk of making decisions under duress. Or of reacting from instinctual wounds that are triggered. Give yourself time to spiral into your sheltered place. Your sense of self-authority grows, by being emotionally self-contained, and having patience with all that’s unresolved. Molly Hall
So breath and relax. With the Sun and Moon in Cancer, the areas of your life that will become most activated will be your emotions and issues around home, family, childhood memories, safety, and security. Be aware that intuitive Cancer makes everything more sensitive, so try not to take things so personally and practice loving-kindness & compassion. The dark Cancer Moon invites us to rest in the loving arms of our archetypal mother, the Sacred Feminine…so that we might be reminded of what is important and where our security truly lies. It’s a time of dreaming and connecting to the rhythms and cycles of a deeper experience than our daily grind. Though many of us are tempted to seek love and unity in our relationships, it’s a good time to let “mommy dearest” off the hook and become a loving mother to yourself – embracing both your light and shadow with compassion.
- Stop being crabby – release the “drama” – with yourself and with others.
- Create honest boundaries, while letting go of old patterns of defensiveness.
- Change your bed sheets, shower and wear fresh PJs – go to sleep with a smile.
- Ask, what is your body in the Mood for? Honor it by saying yes and scheduling it.
- Play Music – sing, drum, shake, dance… emphasis on play.
- Write your New Moon Wishes for Cancer
TIP + Full Tank – Mercury is Retrograde in fiery Leo (July 14th – August 8th) encouraging us to reconnect to what has heart & meaning for us, while also illuminating what is either no longer juicy or we simply don’t have the time/energy for. Something I often ask my clients during a session is – what/who GIVES you energy, leaving you feeling filled-up after the experience? Or for some – what if you gave yourself permission to let go of the things that are not currently leaving you energized? That’s a toughie. Why? Because it takes courage. You might still love and appreciate the thing/person/activity, but you can not DO them right now. Trust that this information. Give it, and yourself, a rest. Trusting the river’s flow might just be what the doctor ordered.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama (Sun in Cancer) Painting by Mary Swanson
Or how about this for a New Mantra?
Let it flow let yourself go
Slow and low that is the tempo
- Beastie Boys
From the soft spot,
By guest blogger Laura Tabet
As I wrote in my last post we are in the midst of an epic Trickster workshop. And this week things really amp up as Mars joins the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square creating what’s called a T-Square. A T-Square occurs when two planets (Mars and Uranus) are in opposition aspect (180 degress) to each other and both making a square aspect of (90 degrees) to a third planet (Pluto).
Whenever planets are in aspect of each other we are challenged to bring their energies within our psyche into a co-creative dance.
So when the God of War, Will and Action (Mars) busts in to contribute to the ongoing dance between Uranus (The Trickster God of Revolution, Liberation and The Unexpected) and Pluto (The Underworld God of Deep Transformation, Death and Rebirth) it can get a little spicy!
These three planets ask us to open to a very particular task:
In the midst of a highly activating and volatile state can you recognize where old paradigms (beliefs, identity structures, etc) are restricting your innate freedom and LET GO so something new can be born?
Particular to Mars (action and will power) we are asked to release the fighting will of our small selves (ego) and open to the creative power of the Deep Soul (spiritual warrior).
So not surprisingly, in my personal meditations, and work with clients, the theme that continues to emerge for me is one of Radical Surrender.
In my ongoing inquiry around what radical surrender really is, I’ve made a few distinctions. So here’s what radical surrender is and isn’t:
- Creative action, not reactivity
- Engaged response, not passive collapse
- Saying yes to your collaboration with the Mystery, not fighting the ‘what is’ of reality
- Let go of surface ego desire (what you think you want) and discover the directive imperative of the Deep Soul (what wants to happen through you)
- Transmute discouraging disappointment with strong faith in Mystery’s Plan
And that’s not so easy, is it? Many people in the face of extreme emotional states, powerlessness, uncontrollable outer limits, and core memories/traumas surfacing go more in this directions: Passivity, paralysis, frozen-ness, holding on, gripping tight, blaming, complaining, etc.
I have been meditating since I was 19 when I took my first Vipassana meditation class at UC Berkeley. I was heavy into Buddhism in my early 20’s, reading every Pema Chodron book I could find and being truly transformed by The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. During that time I learned to cultivate a witness mind and bring loving-kindness to my inner experience. Later in life I met Mary Swanson, and went through her Intuitive Development training, and further cultivated the ability to compassionately observe my energy and collaborate with the deep Imaginal Soul.
I mention this training because I find in these times that I am leaning VERY HEAVILY on my meditation practice. In past years I have been able to rest into a baseline of well-being allowing my practice to be centered in a general practice of mindful living. But I find that I am back to sitting meditation again and for LONG periods of time. These times seem to demand more practice than ever. Cultivating our objective, observing, discerning, loving awareness that CAN BE WITH OUR EXPERIENCE is essential to letting the reactivity in the nervous system, and rigid identification, just BE and move on. It allows you to notice it, but not grab on to it as WHO YOU ARE. It allows identity to be fluid – a necessity to radical surrender and co-creation with life.
So I leave you with two dharma teachings from my current favorite teacher Tara Brach a wonderful guide on the path towards surrendering identity and cultivating the endless well being that can BE WITH the rigid beliefs, feelings, and identifications that may be surfacing for you.
My Trickster monkey theme continues with this clip where she talks about how we all have to play the ball from wherever the monkey throws it. Great Trickster concept: Tara Brach 1
And this clip talks about the “If Only” mind that can really rule our lives and put our creative process on hold: Tara Brach 2
Blessings on the ongoing workshop – we are all in it together!!
All I can say is, Fuk Yeah!
Open up a can of Fresh Eyes and enjoy….
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
- Maya Angelou, of course
By guest blogger Allison Fragakis
Since I could talk, I’ve openly spoken of my love for my feet. I love the way all my toes go down in descending order (no erratic second toe for me). I love the pudgy look of my wide foot. And, I adore my freaky pinky toe. For years, I would paint my toenails in all one color—usually “Big Apple Red” or “Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie.” After a while, I realized that though the nail polish names were exciting, my toes were not.
But, then I discovered canvas toe! Despite what you might be thinking, try to erase “camel toe” and/or “fungus toe” from your mind. Canvas toe is something entirely different. It’s the grand opportunity to use your toenails as little blank canvases to express your unique self.
After years of monochromatic pink and red, my toenails started begging for something more. They wanted to be noticed. They wanted to be the centerpiece of my lower half. They wanted to make people laugh.
I first started out with rainbow toes. Then glitter rainbow. Then polka dotty. Then stars and stripes. Then back to rainbow, but this time in neon. Sometimes I experiment with permanent marker—making smiley faces or writing 5 letter words. The ladies at the nail salon groan and sigh when I walk in the door. But, I tip them a little extra. It’s worth it, because my feet make people happy. My little toenail canvases shout to the world: “Hey, I’m wacky! I like to break small rules! Come join me!”
Allison Fragakis’s next writing circle series starts Wednesday, September 12th, 11- 1pm in Larkspur, CA. Contact Allison to sign up. www.writingallison.com
On Tuesday, July 3rd* we celebrate the Full Buck Moon or Thunder Moon. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur – beautiful, soft and protective. Can you let yourself be beautiful, soft AND protected with healthy boundaries? (say yes!)
Today the Earth sits between the Full Moon in Capricorn and the Sun in Cancer.
The Cancer-Capricorn opposition blends two signs that draw in what they need, and fiercely resist what they don’t want. Both can appear to brood and go deep within, only to end up surrounding themselves with emotional and material structures that are built to last. Molly Hall
Built to last, now that is a concept worth exploring in these uncertain times. As you know, the Moon rules Cancer and is the place of emotions, the pulse of the heart, the tides and represents the archetypal mother. The planet associated with Capricorn is Saturn – the place of authority, boundaries, structure, and describes your relationship with archetypal father. It makes for a very interesting dance between our desire to be taken care of and our drive to make something happen. Instead of torturing yourself with repetitive thought patterns around “________” leading you into fear and depression, externalize it – dance, play, run, sing and drum with it. Do anything but think about it. Use the creative tension available to release energy into the parts of your life that are begging for your non-thinking attention. Movement begets movement. Healthy energy is moving energy.
- Give yourself some tough love by letting go of what is not giving you energy
- Enjoy a little Cranial Sacral therapy, re-pulsing the body to re-connect with your own rhythm OR acupuncture… oh so relaxing
- Send a note to a teacher that has made a difference for you
- Align your life’s priorities with what you truly value in the present tense
Time for our MID-YEAR CHECKIN
TIP + Is this My Mountain? – As your sturdy Capricorn mountain goat Maria sings “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” take a moment to access the nurturing intelligence of Cancer to ask yourself, does this FEEL like my mountain? OR is this somebody else’s mountain? You may want to reconsider if you really do need to climb EVERY mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow until you find your dream. What if you could take a time out and check in with how this current path is feeling? Does this path light you up, turn you on, make you excited about life? If the answer is no, it’s time to make a COURSE CORRECTION. Before you charge off, take advantage of the view, reassess where you are and where you want to be…and make the choices that feels good to you (even if they are hard for others.) One step at a time. Trust that you can follow the Sound of your OWN Music.
As for me, I’m definitely climbing a mountain right now, and as much as I would like to think I am at/near the top… I am not. I haven’t hit the tree line yet, but I feel it coming. What I know for sure is that the old ways/habits/patterns of being are quickly being shown the door, if you know what I mean… and, like a pregnant lady, I have an insane impulse to clean in preparation for what’s next (not a baby!) But this is not just my regular clean up & sparkle action. This cleaning is all about POWER WASHING the shit out of my physical environment, tech environment, my closets, my relationships and my business. This is the year of the water dragon after all… flexibility and patience regarding the unfolding of NEW FORM are the skills being sharpened, as I continue to trust/doubt/trust the direction I am being called. It’s not easy. Intellectually I know I will eventually exit the woods and see where I am, but emotions are a different story. They need more support. SO, I continue my practice of “reading the signs” while I clean, run, go outside, make art/altars/rituals/prayers, hang with my peeps, receive healings from incredibly talented folks and enjoy the most amazing Intuitive Consulting sessions/clients ever. Honestly, it’s a huge blessing to do this work with others. People are ignited all over the place. We are all in this together… so let’s get clear on what’s what and start to utilize this energy to rock it! I’m receiving an intuitive consulting session this week, what are YOU willing to receive?
*Moon Tip partially reprinted from 2011
By guest blogger Emily K. Grieves
I found six gray hairs on my head this morning. Actually I didn’t find them. My husband’s cousin did. We were standing on the street after dropping off our son at school when his cousin pulled up on his bike to chat a bit. He was looking at me in such a way that I thought I must be positively gleaming in the sunlight, not having showered, no make-up, without having styled my hair as usual, old funky glasses on instead of contact lenses – I was plain Jane after a late night and an allergy morning, dragging myself out of bed, dragging the kid out of bed and off to school. So the cousin nudges my husband, and says “Hey check out Emily’s hair.” My husband then looks, fascinated as if my tight schoolmarm bun (ubiquitous hairdo for the un-showered) had sprouted antennae, or as if a butterfly had landed on my head. Then they both start laughing, in a “neener-neener-neener” kind of way. Now granted, my husband is completely salt and pepper going fast to the side of salt at age 31, so he probably felt pretty righteous about it. But as I began to frantically pat at my hair, I could only think, what? Do I have a bat on my head? A spider? A cockroach? Or god forbid, a scorpion, this at the forefront of my mind because I’d found 2 scorpions in my house in the past 2 days, and for all I knew, a third had hooked itself into my bun. Then they leered at me again, and said you have gray hair! Six of them to be exact! I was like, no way! I’m only 41, almost 42, but the hair stylist told me just 4 months ago that it would be years before I’d have gray hair with my kind of hair and all… yeah, well, how did 6 gray hairs grow in a space of 4 months? What happened to 8 years?
I raced home, not alarmed, but incredulous, to look in the mirror. It took me a second to find the right angle of the light in my bathroom to reproduce the effect of the revealing sunlight, but sure enough, there were 6 gray hairs popping out of my hairline to the right of my part. My hair is what was always termed “dirty dishwater blond” so the gray kind of blends in, but it has that coarse texture that is so typical of the grays. This actually gives me hope that as my hair goes gray, I will finally have a bit of volume to my baby-fine, thin, flat hair. Now I want you to understand that I do not find gray hair alarming or distressing in any way. I stared at it in the mirror totally intrigued. I had a flash of how I would look with passing time with my hair changing a little bit more with each year until completely gray in some far away time of my life. I would wiser. I would look more grounded. I would look more responsible, more credible, more respectable. I would look more artistic, more creative. I would look like a wild wise woman, slowly making my way to cronedom and elderhood. I would match crazy colored glasses to my gray hair, big dangly earrings, and vivid wacky clothes just to make people look at me and notice my gray hair, my hard-earned new “wise” status. I would be one those “groovy” older women. Of course I mostly wear big dangly earrings already, but that’s beside the point. I think of women I know who have gray hair and while most women seem to react to the growth of it as something to be summarily covered up and hidden and dyed into oblivion, the women who surrender to their fabulous gray hair are some of the most beautiful women I know, and they fit exactly the picture of how I imagine myself with a full head of gray hair. They are women I admire, respect, look up to, believe to be wise, more grounded and mature in their creativity, their spirituality, their relationships, and their work.
Upon discovering my gray hairs, I went out to my garden for a bit and spent a while plucking seeds off my dried up cilantro – coriander, those aromatic little baubles that I can either plant to make more cilantro or grind up into cooking spices. Then I wandered over to my little bean plants I have been experimenting with and discovered a few dried pods on them, out which, wonder of wonders, came about 20 perfectly formed little black beans, way too few to cook, but plenty to admire, germinated and replant. As I rubbed coriander off the stocks and popped beans out of pods, I thought about how I would count each of my gray hairs over time, until there were too many to count, like an abundant harvest, a good crop, a sign of richness, of sustenance, of a full vibrant life. I will never dye my gray hair.
Image: Detail, “La Familia,” Acrylic on canvas, 2010, Emily K. Grieves
Happy Summer Solstice! Today is the longest day of the year and brings the shortest night. In magic, summer is associated with the direction of the South, the element of fire, energy, spirit, creativity, inspiration, action, the Sun, fiery colors, creatures of the South, heat, the phoenix and Solar Lion. We honor the Goddess as Mother and lay hands on the Earth in gratitude and as a reminder of where we come from. Today we beat the drum, soak in the Sun and celebrate the power of fire – the Sun, the Earth’s core, and the Fire that burns within each one of us. Tonight, we light the bonfire!
Summer Solstice Seasonal Altar: Last year, my husband, daughter Addie and I made Suns to string together a Solar Banner for our Summer Altar on the mantle. The idea was/is to keep it simple and let the whole family play. This year we hung the solar banner over the dining room altar and we (Addie and I) brainstormed about what felt like summer… what was hot, exciting, inspirational? What things/activities felt like summer? Hot peppers was our main theme, so we strung vintage pepper seed envelopes over the mantle, hung a painting that reminded us of the Sun (by Jessica Martin), Sun Flowers from our backstreet garden, sand from Maui’s Big Beach and Little Beach, as well as some from New Zealand (we are magic-festing a beach vacation)… you get the picture. Here are some More Ideas about celebrating the Summer Solstice and honoring Summer.
by Mary Oliver
Have you ever seen
in your life
than the way the sun,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too
By guest blogger Laura Tabet
I had an amazing time at Oakland’s monthly Art Murmur. It has become quite the event drawing throngs of supporters out to see the exploding local art scene. It’s feel grateful that my surrounding culture so deeply appreciates and serves the arts! And it was a super fun Gemini Sun start to the gathering and cavorting energy of the Summer!
On my walk home as I cruised down the last street of art galleries I was riveted by one last painting. This painting depicted a handful of monkeys surfing on tsunami-sized waves as a volcano erupted in the background.
The image immediately reminded me of a talk I heard back in February by Liu Ming on the Year of the Dragon. He described our current Dragon Year as a year of limitless possibility. Yet, contrary to my first impression, he explained that limitless isn’t always good. Limitless energy comes in the form of tsunami’s – it can be overwhelming and if we don’t work with it well it can be quite overwhelming.
However he explained that one of the archetypes that thrives in a tsunami-type year was the Monkey! Monkeys are clever, they see big waves as a chance to surf and play. They know how to ride it out! They can climb to the top of a tree, jump on the back of a floating piece of cargo and surf, they know just when to slip out before things get uncomfortable and they know how to read the signs.
And geez, it has been overwhelming lately. Right?
The changes, losses, limitations, insights, evolutionary directives, the intrusion of the dream world, the uncertainty, the raw emotions, the tight bodies, the dissolving of form, the despairing news – it has been SUPER overwhelming.
Monkey is a Trickster, and most of the HUGE astrological events of the moment are going down in Gemini ruled by Mercury, the quick-moving Messenger God – a Trickster. We are in a Trickster workshop, opening to the fast-paced, quick-as-lightening adjustments in thoughts and conditions.
The Solar Eclipse on May 20th was in the sign of Gemini, the Lunar Eclipse on June 4th was in Sagittarius (opposite Gemini), and the Sun, Mercury and Venus (and soon to be expansive Jupiter on June 11th) are ALL playing in the realm of Gemini.
Eclipse energy already has a quickening quality and to experience it all through lightening-speed Gemini has been quite the accelerated ride! Gemini is also thought of as the twins – a back and forth, push and pull, cross-pollinating kind of dialogue. It can make you feel a little crazy! But it is really there to help you see from this angle and then from that angle whatever life is illuminating for you.
Mercury, The Trickster, knows how to dance with change, how to cross borders, make things happen, what joke to tell to break the mood and what face to show to make important connections. Mercury is also the only God that can easily travel from the Underworld and back up to the surface of consciousness.
Gemini also rules your nervous system, the communication highways within your own body. So this is a powerful time to do energy work, Cranio Sacral therapy, yoga, take baths, deep breaths, lay on the earth, and any other way you might support your nervous system. Our electrical bodies are being re-arranged and we can help them through this time of adaptation through body-awareness and tender care.
Imagine Mercury is inside your nervous system/energy body moving like intelligent lightening through your electrical highway clearing out any roadblocks (old beliefs, memories, self-criticism, etc) that impede your creative process. This might be kicking up some mighty energy from your Unconscious, but He is lubricating your nervous system, showing you how fast we can adapt if we are nimble, allowing and light-footed.
That’s not to say we are all super adept at embodying and trusting Trickster energy, not all of us are wired to make such lightening-quick movements but I think it is, nonetheless, the requirement of the times we are living in.
In fact, one of the ways this nervous system process seems to be manifesting is through increased reactivity! Our electrical/emotional bodies are reaching their limits and volcanoes are exploding! (See my previous post on Reactivity).
Primarily, I am observing in others, and experiencing in myself, a lot of rage and anxiety.
It seems we’ve all HAD ENOUGH (of something)!
I know for myself I have had enough of putting Others needs first!
I’ve also had enough of the guarded energy I place over my heart in an unsophisticated attempt to protect myself from the very dynamic that I am creating!
I have been feeling a lifetime’s worth of rage connected to my unmet needs for self, autonomy and protected time and a lot of separation and isolation due to my protective guard. During the Venus retrograde (reviewing relationships) I’ve noticed a great desire to project and blame everyone around me for this loss of self and isolation.
But the true power lives in claiming and taking accountability for the beliefs and habits of relating that I bring to the dynamic. At the core of it all is a fear of being myself, of getting my ass in gear and going head first towards my own fears and evolutionary tasks. I’m afraid to ride my own waves! While there are real parts of my history/survival mechanisms that created this Other-first mentality it has become more comfortable to hide in the Other then to be my Self.
I’ve had enough of all of this! I’m calling on the fun-loving, ready for the party, adaptable, fearless inner Monkey-Trickster.
I’m getting on the surfboard. How about you?
What have you had enough of?
What is your reactivity telling you?
Can you let the quick-lightening of Mercury clear away obstacles?
Can you call on the Trickster within you and ride your own wave of fear?
What nice thing can you do for your nervous system today?
PS: Though this post is primarily about Gemini and the Trickster, underlying our Gemini journey has been the all-important Venus retrograde and on Tuesday June 5th we had the rare event of Venus passing over the Sun. (So cool!) If there is one thing I keep hearing from Venus, it’s this: with all this urging, fast-paced, reactive and overwhelming momentum towards change there is only one way to get there…. the evolutionary directive of the moment is to Love. Feel love, open to love, bath in love, be guided by love and offer love to your fellow travelers. Trickster encourages us to PLAY in the midst of all this change and Venus encourages us to LOVE.
COME PLAY WITH LAURA
If you want to treat yourself to an afternoon of ritual, community and playing on a mountain, Laura is offering a Summer Solstice Ritual Event on Saturday June 23rd on Ring Mountain in Marin County. There are only a few more spots left. Come join the fun! Email Laura for more information at email@example.com.
Image: Monkey vs Shark by Teja Astawa
By guest blogger Allison Fragakis
What I heard from a horse: Listen with your WHOLE body!
I’m afraid of horses. So, it’s odd that I would design a writing workshop centered around interacting with an equine herd. But, my love for animals outweighed the fear that a horse might trample me. I led the workshop last weekend, and let me tell you, it was worth the few spikes of adrenalin. Those horse beauties taught me a whole lot about listening, and ultimately, about opening to creativity.
We were a group of nine women, holstered with quirky pens and a medley of journals. We set out into the uncut, hilly pastures of Equistar Farm to visit with the free-roaming horses. Our mission: to connect with the horses and explore how they “listen.” Then we wrote, we shared, we wrote some more…
by Al-listen Fragakis
Have you ever stepped into a green salad bowl meadow?
It’s the place where a minute feels like a day
A day seems like a season
Horses know all about it
Stroll in and they’ll tell you
But don’t ask directly
but not with your ears
Listen with your whole body
Let the twitches and itches reveal the door
Lean into the earth’s heartbeat
Feel it with your feet,
not your eardrums
Find a drowsy-looking horse
You think he’s not paying attention
You think he’s staring at blades of grass
He doesn’t listen like you and me
Let the heat of his curious muzzle sniff your soul
If he trusts you, he’ll show you the way
It’s the place where a minute feels like a day
A day seems like a season
Horses listen with their whole bodies! The beautiful thing about whole body listening is that it halts the mind chatter and gently pulls you into the present.
Time S T R E T C H E S before you like a big green meadow. For me, this is the magical space where creativity comes galloping out of my heart and into my pen or paintbrush.
It’s an unusual prescription, but if you’re looking to let more of your creative juju flow, I suggest that you go hang out with a horse. Heck, while you’re at it, why not spend quality time with a cow, an ant or a butterfly?
Allison Fragakis’s next Writing Circle series starts Wednesday September 12th, 11 am-1 pm in Larkspur, CA. Stay tuned for the future Writing with Horses Retreat at Equistar Farm this Fall and Spring 2013. Visit www.writingallison.com