The physical sun scorches this summer, but our long dip in the watery energy of Cancer through the past two moonths may leave us feeling emotionally soaked. I’m feeling a little tired from treading this pandemic’s waters. How are you feeling … overheated or soggy … filled up or depleted ….?
If you are feeling the need for something different, the new moon arriving overnight Tuesday into Wednesday (exact on the 18th at 10:41pm ET), ushers in a new 28 day lunar cycle to activate our inner fire with …
Strength ~ Courage ~ Care
The new moon comes in the sign of Leo associated with the Tarot’s Strength card, which invites us to walk the path of compassionate action, alignment with our wild self, and gentle fierceness.
Strength cards offer us images of a human figure in relationship with a creature. Most commonly a lion, there are also versions with snakes and bears. In the Numinous Tarot, a person is enveloped in the arms of a bear—yes, that is quite a bear hug. Deck creator Cedar McCloud tells us that the bear is coming from the person’s own heart and represents the fears that grow bigger and wilder. But the person’s return embrace of the fear soothes both of them. The power in this image comes from acceptance and relationship with wild feelings like fear.
Our Strength path takes us through the passage of the 7 of Wands. In the iconic Rider Waite Smith deck, a lone figure stands on a hill with staff raised against 6 other staffs pushing toward them.The odds would seem to be against our young hero, but they look determined to face whatever comes their way. They have courage.
As you may know, the root of the word courage connects its meaning to the heart. The word entered English from the Old French corage meaning “heart, innermost feelings; temper”
The lunation is not all fire. To walk this path, we are invited to be like the Knight of Pentacles, perhaps the slowest but steadiest of all the Tarot figures.
Knights of Pentacles—known as Explorers of Earth in the Gaian Tarot—know that our hearts are sheltered in our bodies. That our bodies are the home of our magic; the vessel for water’s flow; the place where our passion grows; the structure for our strength. They know their individual bodies to be part of the greater body of the earth. Recognize that care for their bodies makes possible their quest and contributes to the greater care of the Whole.
Right now, I am engaging with a very Knight of Pentacles book, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem. My Grandmother’s Hands is a book to be worked through rather than just read. There are body-centered practices for all readers to work through as well as specific practices for African Americans, European Americans, and police officers.
Working from his expertise as a trauma therapist and consultant, Mr. Menakem’s aim is to help people tune into, move through, and be in a healing process with the hereditary and on-going trauma held in our bodies—which means, too, in our hearts. He shows the work of change as centered in our own bodies. He concludes by recognizing that this work will not happen overnight, but writes: “Once, there’s been widespread healing and growing, fingers of love and trust can begin to emerge to reach from one group to another—and then, slowly, start to entwine.”
So what practices are a match for the energy of the moonth, helping us to be both strong and caring, supporting us to let the stress of these times flow through us? Here are some prompts:
–> Work through the practices in My Grandmother’s Hands.
–> Move in pleasurable ways throughout your day and let your body guide your movement. I used to do a series of stretches in the morning and found myself going through the motions just to get the task done. But my body wasn’t enjoying this grind. Then I decided to stretch less, but gently, longly, and just go to the point where the stretch felt good. I often start the day at an east facing window with arms outstretched and heart tilted toward the sun. This helps me feel more in relationship to my body.
–>Tune into your body regularly through the day by pausing to feel your breath moving through you, doing a body scan, attending to places of stress in the body, releasing the tight areas. Maybe it is yoga or walking or meditation or swimming that help you to do this.
–> Find music that soothes you. In My Grandmother’s Hands, Mr. Menakem notes that the band Marconi Union created “Weightless” with sound therapists to relieve anxiety. Studied in the lab, it’s been shown to slow heart rates more than other music tested.
–> When you pull Tarot or oracle cards, let the stance of the figures in the images inspire how you move—maybe even dance—so you can get their wisdom into your body. If you are interested in this approach to Tarot, you must connect with Jennifer Lucero-Earle and experience her Arcana Dance. We worked together at Readers Studio and wrote a series of articles about Tarot and the body; the first article is here.
Ask your heart which one of these practices it needs now. What did your heart answer?
You may find cards you want to move to in the moonthly reading:
STRENGTH: What wisdom is coming from my wild heart?
COURAGE: How do I dare express this wild wisdom?
CARE: How do I care for myself while I do this?