Grandmother Moon, Sister Moon…

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…Daughter Moon, Moon of Myself,

Thank you for the blessings in my life…

This is the prayer I speak to the Moon.  Full Moons like the one coming this evening are a great time for this simple ritual, but so is any moon-time.  If the Moon isn’t visible, I’m happy to talk with a planet or star instead.  I’ve had great chats with very-visible Jupiter in recent months, and with a particular star in the Big Dipper.

I greet the Moon (or other celestial light) and then proceed to say “thank you.”  For life, breath, food, warmth, an incredible circle of friends, a happy car with a great heater, for students, for clients, for health and vitality, for the chance to stand outside – or dance – “beneath the diamond sky.”  (thanks, Bob Dylan)

This is my most often-repeated ceremony these days, super simple.  Maybe I pour a libation, maybe I share a food offering first. Then speak my Greeting and my Thanks, and eventually a respectful Hail and Farewell.  That’s it.

This practice started years back:  On impulse, I stepped outside and just began.  So much spell-work is focused around asking for more.  I could use more of some stuff, sure!  But what if I began by saying “thank you” for what I already have?  Two MAJOR things happened that night:

  • First, that “cat” I saw out of the corner of my eye as I invoked, who wandered into the yard and sat down nearby to watch and listen? It was actually a young fox.  She hung around for months, but that was the night we met.
  • Second, once I began clearly and out-loud saying “thank you” for what I had, more of that good stuff started flowing in, consistently.  Unless the ________ (Goddess, the gods, Higher Power) knows I appreciate what they’ve already delivered, why should they hurry to send more?  I began saying “thanks,” and the flow in my life altered perceptively, as of that night.

Many friends are writing Gratitude notes, in journals and on Facebook.  While I value reading what others share, for me these practices work best when done live, physically, under the dome of sky.  That’s when I’m most clearly living it, breathing it, speaking and hearing it, feeling it deeply through and through.

So, tonight,

Hello, Moon!…

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Fibonacci a la Broccoli Romanesco

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Yes, this is a real plant.  I had a bit of Broccoli Romanesco for dinner last night, just a garnish-sized portion alongside the entrée, but so surreal I (almost) hesitated to cut into it.  Happy to see a friend synchronistically post a Broccoli Romanesco picture today on Facebook.  Lots of plants have some geometric properties to them, but most are far more subtle about it, i.e. mint family plants and their square stalks, fruit trees and their five-petalled blossoms.

Broccoli Romanesco doesn’t mess around.  This is like the Escher artwork of vegetables.

Fibonacci spirals show up in seashells, pinecones and pineapples, the seed-head of a sunflower.  When you make a fist, your thumb, hand and fingers naturally reveal their relative Fibonacci proportions.  The ratio of male-to-female bees in a hive is Fibonacci-based. The Golden Mean and sacred geometry: Fibonacci-based.

Numerically, the Fibonacci numbers go like this:

  • 0 + 1 = 1
  • 1 + 1 = 2
  • 1 + 2 = 3
  • 2 + 3 = 5
  • 3 + 5 = 8
  • 5 + 8 = 13
  • 8 + 13 = 21
  • 13 + 21 = 34 . . .
  • Extended a bit further, the Fibonacci sequence is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 . . .
  • The (larger) numbers express a predictable and harmonious relationship between the numbers, which can also be written as 1 : 1.618. . .

In the simplest sense, this is everywhere.  I take notes on 3″ x 5″ cards, I have a 5′ x 8′ rug, and if I’m lucky, I eat Fibonacci-shaped broccoli.  In the Math for Mystics book, Fibonacci is Chapter 9.  Food isn’t the focus there, but this broccoli is inspirational – what would a Fibonacci feast, or a Golden Mean meal, look like?

The infamous Mercury Retrograde… February 23!?

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Believe it or not, even 20-30 years ago, you rarely heard the phrase “Mercury retrograde” outside of rarified astrological conversations. Now it’s part of a common meme about boggled communications, and little planet Mercury has become the preferred scapegoat for anything not coming through clearly, i.e. “This is so messed up! Mercury must be retrograde!” Generally spoken by people who have no knowledge of or interest in either astrology or astronomy.

Yes, planet Mercury does symbolically deal with communications. It also rules commerce, deals and mysterious workings between the worlds, and has plenty of trickster assets ALL the time, not just during its retrogrades, those periods of apparent backward motion.

Recommendation #1: Before you blame Mercury ever again for any communication glitches, find it in the sky. Isn’t it simply polite to make the acquaintance of the little planet we’re so fond of heaping blame on?

  • Mercury will be visible in the western, sunset sky for a few more days.  If you spot two bright objects W-SW, the higher is Mercury, the lower is Mars.
  • Mercury will reappear in the eastern, pre-dawn sky around mid- to late March.
  • Mercury is often faint, low to the horizon, and pale in the light of the rising or setting sun: in other words, hard to spot (aka clever and illusive).

Recommendation #2: Put that Mercury retrograde energy to good use.  Got a pile of old baggage that could use some insight and discussion? Retrogrades are great for dealing with stuff out of the past.  If communications with others seems chancy right now, maybe try some journaling or sketching for your eyes only.  Old baggage sucks. This is a way to set that stuff down and move on.

In 2013, Mercury will be retrograde from:

  • February 23–March 17
  • June 26–July 20
  • October 21–November 10

There are Mercury stories and more great Mercury-working ideas in A Magical Tour of the Night Sky.

Reworking an old sweater: a job for the Garde Tricot

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Reworking an old sweater: a job for the Garde Tricot

Praise the Goddesses of Fiber!  This is one of the smartest and most useful how-to knitting articles I’ve ever laid eyes on.  TECHknitter, you are terrific!

P.S. to those less fiber-savvy: Do you know that wool has “memory”?  It also takes dye far better and brighter than linen does.  And I heard a great story in the spinning workshop at PantheaCon of a woman requesting “cruelty-free fleece.”

That’s my dose of fiber for today…

A National Memorial for Survivors of Rape and Abuse?

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A National Memorial for Survivors of Rape and Abuse?  Wow.  A couple of ideas here immediately.

  • Many of the ancient sacred sites in the US were earthworks, colossal mounds of earth shaped as animal figures (i.e. Ohio’s Serpent Mound) and/or aligned to particular sky-actions (solstices, equinoxes, lunar extremes). Few remain, but they are profound, and often huge.
  • We have a modern “sacred site” that parallels much that we find in the ancient places: a sense of both privacy and community, connection with “something greater,” aesthetically evocative, aligned… That place is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (shown above in the original design submission).

What could a A National Memorial for Survivors of Rape and Abuse look like? More important, what could it FEEL like?  Safe for all, at all hours of day or night? Open to the moon?  So much food for thought here!

Inanna at 9 AM

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This was the weekend for PantheaCon, out in San Jose, CA.  A first-time attendee, I decided to dive in at the deep end, so submitted a workshop proposal, based on my Night Sky book, and – surprise to new-be me – it was accepted.

My workshop, “Re-enchanting the Night Sky: Planets, Stars and Spirit” was on 9 AM on the final day, and turned into sort of Dance of the Planets. Why act out the Chaldean order with apples and oranges when there are obliging and friendly pagans to take these celestial roles?

It felt like a lot of juicy info got covered, and those who came seemed engaged and attentive.  As lovely Ms. Literata Facebooked today:

Another great Pcon moment: Renna Shesso saying “I’ve said ‘vulva’ enough, now let’s move on to Mars.”

Glorious Inanna AKA Venus does have a way of waking people up.

Arcturus over Post Street

Image   Sept. 4, 2012: I was in San Francisco at the end of August to attend BATS – the Bay Area Tarot Symposium.  On one evening, I went across to Oakland for an author event at The Sacred Well.  A nice chance to sit and talk with folks about A Magical Tour of the Night Sky. As the guests and I discussed the stars and planets, the first-quarter Moon sailed across the sky. Visible!  Other visits to the Bay area have taught me not to count on seeing stars there.  The air is far more humid and likely to hold foggy sea breezes than this high and dry Colorado air that I’m accustomed to.  But the Moon obliged – Thanks, Moon!

A couples of nights later, BATS had finished for another year, and I was back near my lodging, supping at Honey Honey and reading while twilight changed to night-darkness.  Walking back up Post Street, craning around trying to spot the widening Moon between the buildings and along the cross-streets, I suddenly instead saw a bright light in front of me to the west.

Not a plane!  A star!  I looked carefully off to the star’s right, and sure, enough, faint but visible, I could make out the Big Dipper’s handle stars, it’s pan and the pointers and – big surprise – even Polaris.  None of these were bright except for the first one, gleaming in the west straight up Post Street: Arcturus.

It was like walking around in a city in which you’re a stranger and suddenly running into an old friend.  A beautiful addition to new friends, new experiences, new information, flavors, sights and sounds.

A sweet surprise, against all expectations: Familiar.