Posts tagged new moon

A Skillful Reflection on Lightning

Although substantiated by a logical scientific process, there’s something inexplicable few can deny about the effects of lightning. In fact, many cultures have viewed it in conjunction with a deity, including the Greek god Zeus, the Mayas’ God K, and Norse mythology’s beloved and fabled Thor. Verses in the holy books of Judaism and Islam credit lightning with a mysterious and commanding “supernatural importance,” and in the traditional religion of the African Bantu tribes, lightning is a sign of the fury of the gods, representing a time of rage and indignation.

But in the midst of the fear and mystery around this natural phenomenon, perhaps the most can be learned from the French and Italian’s expression for “Love at first sight,” which is Coup de foudre and Colpo di fulmine, respectively, which literally translated means “lightning strike.”

This parallel is a telling one, depicting the positive aspects that can be taken away from something so potentially frightening and ferocious. Allow yourself to envision the first time that primitive cultures saw fire. Without the conventional wisdom to explain it, it was magic, worthy of the respect and humility of an outright miracle. Conversely, lightning was like fire shooting from the sky; a divine force that brought its spectators as much excitement as concern. And although they couldn’t quite explain what was causing it, they knew it was helping to shape the landscape of the earth they were so attached to. They developed a profound appreciation for the process, and their own theories on what was triggering it. Perhaps some sort of divine being needed appeasement; perhaps it sought to regenerate the forests to keep them healthy; perhaps something was in dire need of being restored…regardless, they were able to parlay any fear in their minds into recognition in their hearts, welcoming the inevitable shift and its sacred messenger.

This time of year, when lightening is most visible, think of it not as a warning, but as a reminder of how yielding to the vigor and unpredictability of one of nature’s strongest forces can set possibilities ablaze.

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The New Moon in January

Looking at the cultural names for the new moon in January, it is hard not to notice a common theme of dormancy or stillness in terms such as “Cold Moon,” “Quiet Moon” and “Winter Moon.”  In adherence with the neo pagan tradition that refers to the new moon in January as “Ice Moon,” it is interesting to think about this feeling of inactivity or suspension as it relates to the properties of water when it becomes ice.  In essence, when water freezes to its solid state, it takes on a different form and function.  Its molecules slow down as a result of the loss of heat-energy.  In this state, one of the most striking features we associate with water, its ability to flow, is limited.  Indeed, water, when it becomes ice, looks, feels and functions entirely different than it does in its pre-frozen condition. But, to the point, it is still water; once the weather warms again, it will return to its liquid, flowing state.

For good reasons, human beings can only tolerate so much of the cold. Of course, we need to stay warm to survive. However, most people I know complain bitterly about it. Still, I think we  can learn a lot from our observation of water and more graciously accept how the cold affects our flow without resisting so much. Again, I think this reflects a general tendency to seek the light and resist the dark; despite the fact that both are required in equal measure for our survival.   Perhaps there is wisdom in honoring the season by slowing down, moving less and conserving energy?

Interestingly, just as there was a lunar eclipse on last month’s full moon, on this new moon day a solar eclipse is expected to occur.  As we think about the qualities of ice, this cosmic event brings the fire element into our minds as well.  While people often try to view life through a black-or-white lens- we are either hot or cold, healthy or sick, happy or sad – this juxtaposition of such seemingly opposite elements as fire and ice reminds us that this either-or mentality does not fit with the laws of nature. Understanding and accepting this balance is essential to Skillful Living. And just like water when it becomes ice, humans don’t become less human when they respond to nature’s forces and slow down at times. Quite the opposite–when we follow this rhythm, we actually put ourselves in the best position to experience the full spectrum of life. Indeed, our health, i.e. our “wholeness,” is dependent on it.

So, as the New Year begins, let me toast to your health,

Michael

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The Long Night Moon

In Neo Pagan tradition, the new moon in December is the “Long Night Moon,” an appropriate name as the days get shorter and it becomes darker earlier in the afternoon.  It also signals the time to consider the value of darkness and its place in nature. Though many of us complain about the shorter days upon us, the onset of winter offers us an opportunity to rest, something we must do if we are to be as healthy as we want.

It makes sense that at this time of year, we take time to settle in for the night, enjoying the peace and quiet, seeking stillness amidst the chaos around us. Clearly, with so few hours of daylight, it doesn’t make sense to plan outdoor activities and start new projects.  Therefore, it is wisest and  completely natural to “come inside” and focus on resting.

 

Despite the fact that we live in a culture where we have to be constantly producing and moving forward or else people call us lazy, we must pay attention to this season and what it requires  During this “long night,” we should try to let go of the misconception that resting is a waste of time.  Rather, we should come inside, settle in and be still, understanding and having the faith that our growth requires it.

Mitakuye oyasin,

Michael

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