“ You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves…”
~ from “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver
“If you would be loved, love and be loveable.”
~ Ben Franklin
“…Would you be, could you be, could be love…”
~ Bob Marley
The Moon in Motion
August is an incredible month of LOVE. And this August is especially intense and powerful due to the Black moon (second new moon in a month) in the sign of Leo, either on July 31st (in the US) or August 1st (in the UK). This powerful second new moon in July, following the full solar eclipse (in South America) July 2nd and the full moon eclipse on July 16, is a beautiful moment to take responsibility for and set conscious intentions around living from the heart. Let me explain.
New moons are opportunities to set intentions for the month, as the moon slowly waxes full you can imagine, see and feel your intentions coming to fruition along with it. Eclipses are amplified new moons, as when the moon is passing in front of the sun, blocking it’s light from our sight it is also being supercharged by the suns light and energy. And in this way our intentions become supercharged as well.
Leo in the Tarot
The sign of Leo, which began on July 22, is represented by the Lion, a symbol of courage (coeur is heart in French), and ruled by the Sun, that great source of light & heat that unconditionally shines upon us giving freely of itself.
And still after all this time, the sun has never said to the earth, ‘You owe me.”
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky.
~ Jalal Ad-Din Rumi
And while the Strength card in the tarot deck that works with me (Sun and Moon Tarot) has a wolf under a full moon carrying a woman rather than the traditional lion being held by a woman in the sun, the message of love is still there. Wolves are pack animals and mate for life; they work together as a family unit and are strongly bonded.
The instincts represented by both animals are about the honoring of the instinctual nature of the body and listening to the wisdom of the body. In our world we often get so caught up in thinking & judging that we don’t listen to our body, this perfect vehicle for our soul/spirit that is the product of billions of years of evolution. To make truly wise and good decisions, we must take counsel not only with our minds and our hearts but also with our bodies.
“This is a card about understanding our wild natures, accepting them and getting those passions to work in a positive direction… [this] creates perseverance, personal honor and courage.”
In my Waldorf teacher training I learned that according to Anthroposophy, the spiritual scientific philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the human being is actually in the process of incarnating, bringing to birth an entirely new definition of love.
I love that idea. As I’ve been exploring these aspects of tarot and astrology and Hebrew, it seems that everything is looking at different aspects of love. As if the center point of this life is love itself, and around it is a sphere of perspective, made of so many aspects and definitions and experiences.
The Center of Life is the Heart
Lammed, the Hebrew letter related to the Strength card, is shaped like a shepherd’s staff and looks like a hook. It is in the very middle of the Hebrew Aleph Bet, you could say it is at the heart of the alphabet.
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת
It is also the only letter that reaches above the rest of the others, reaching upwards with the transcending power of the heart. (GnosticTeachings.org)There appears to be general agreement on the symbolism of this letter: the heart and the capacity for receiving, learning and teaching love.
This love unites everything. And it is definitely what I am here to learn, to receive and to teach. Especially self-love and connection with, respect and love for the body, as represented by the shepherd’s staff.
Learning to Love Yourself
As an Aquarius I have always had a great love for humanity and the world and my bleeding heart has been worn on my sleeve for most of my life. What I didn’t have was a love for myself. As a teenager and young adult I suffered from body dysmorphia (although that name wasn’t really known back then).
When I looked in the mirror I saw myself as hugely morbidly obese, and I hated what I saw. In actuality I was a beautiful young woman, tall and well proportioned, just not the beach bunny definition of beauty that was revered in the beach town I grew up in or the one I went to college in. I was the worst of the critics; and how I saw myself wrapped itself around me and I didn’t let anyone else see my beauty or even hear their perspectives otherwise.
Because I was so filled with criticism, self-judgment, self-hatred and had essentially abandoned myself, I was always looking outside of myself to find validation for my being and yet would not believe anything anyone said that did not align with my own worst inner critic, regardless of the parts of me that desperately wanted to be beautiful, lovable, worthy of love. I did not know myself in my own heart, I was in too much pain to see anything else.
I remember, at age 10, feeling devastated after receiving the phone call that my father wouldn’t be meeting my sister & me at the train station that weekend because he had moved halfway across the country and didn’t know when he’d see us again.
I went to my room and looked in the mirror and saw ugliness; I told my image it was all my fault; that if I was a better girl, a prettier, smarter girl, he would still be here, and it was the first time I spoke hatefully to my mirror image. It is so fascinating to me what we tell ourselves as children in order for our lives to make “sense”.
From that point on whenever I looked in the mirror I spewed hatred and criticism at myself; so much so that it became a habit and I didn’t even need to do it consciously anymore, it just became a part of me. I realize that the body dysmorphia was likely created by that emotional trauma and reaction. It took me decades to come into a loving relationship with my body and to begin to allow love in.
What Healing Looked Like For Me
I started my healing process with learning Reiki when I was 23 and going to massage school when I was 24; releasing holding patterns in my body and allowing myself to just weep and weep and release what I had been holding in my body.
After that I learned co-counseling and attended intuitive training and as I began to consciously catch myself saying horrible awful hateful things to myself in the mirror I made an effort to shift and look for the good, for things I liked about my body and myself. I began to change the way I spoke to myself and referred to myself in all aspects of my life and to see things I truly appreciate about myself.
“We find that we are able to tame our inner wild animals:
fear, paralysis, self-destructiveness, doubt, stress, and feeling small…When we make friends with our difficult feelings, really feel them and listen to them…”
This has been a long and arduous process and seemingly the intended work of the first half of this lifetime. A few years ago, when a friend remarked to me about how I seemed almost vain to her, and how I was always talking about how I loved myself and how she basically assumed I must love myself so very much…
I took offense. I realized she could not see how hard I had and was working to change those old thoughts and I actually got angry at her. And after I calmed down I realized how far I have come for someone else to not even realize how wounded I had been!
And now, at 49, having recovered fully from cracking myself open to one of the truest & deepest loves I ever had for a person who was not ready for my love, I have begun to honestly, earnestly give that deep & true love to myself and seem to finally be a grown up, in love, with myself.
A major part of that is the capacity to watch with wonder how my life is unfolding rather than try to plan and figure it all out. I have become able to allow and embrace love and life and to let it transform me by loving & trusting what is unfolding–I have discovered the strength of vulnerability.
Vulnerability Brings Strength and Love
“Vulnerability means having a passionate love affair with life’s unknown plans.”
This strength, drawn from vulnerability and trust, is actually becoming visible. I am witnessing and acknowledging long stretches of grace wherein my feelings of love for myself and automatically looking for that same love and goodness in others is actually eliciting incredibly positive experiences.
Most recently I had a lovely air travel trip within what could have been considered a stressful and frustrating situation. Our plane was able to leave during a break in a storm, after several other planes had been landed the night before, and then the airline actually held a plane on the other side for 10 minutes so I and some others could make our connecting flight, which still landed 10 minutes early! And you just might not believe how pleasant and lovely my experience with the judge and bailiffs and court staff at jury duty was just 2 days after I returned from that business trip!
I found myself able to effortlessly travel through these experiences with a sense of wonder and gratitude and love for myself and everyone else I came into contact with, even the co-worker who wouldn’t look me in the eye after she saved the seat on the bus for another coworker while I stood for the shuttle ride to the airport.
I just sent her love and hoped she wouldn’t be too hard on herself for that. I have never felt more powerful in any aspect of my life as I did in that moment. And it was the power to effect and create a more loving world around me simply by living, loving, acting, seeing and be-ing in the world with my heart open and strong.
I was met with so much love and kindness. For the first time in my life I actually viscerally, physically understand how we can literally effect the world around us by how we see it and what we intend to be in it. This is akin to always getting a parking spot to the power of 10!
“Authentic power is built step by step, choice by choice. It cannot be meditated or prayed into being. It must be earned.”
~ Gary Zukov
As I walked through these events, I was rooted in my heart, be-ing the love I wanted to see in the world, greeting people and seeing their good and their good literally reached out to meet me. And when it didn’t, I didn’t turn that on myself and get defensive and angry at them, I just blessed them because I knew they were having struggles in their lives and were doing the very best they can.
I didn’t expect anything; I just followed along in wonder & trust as it all unfolded and found the love and the joy in everything that did. Looking back now, it seems as if magic was happening, but I really think its just love, connecting with the heart, living in & from my Lammed.
Reclaim Your Self
My father was a Leo, born August 2nd and as this time of year comes around my mind and heart always remember him. And this year I am so incredibly grateful for the realization that the wound of abandonment we shared in my childhood has actually been realized as the gift of great love to my adulthood and the work I came here to do in this lifetime as a spiritual being having a human experience.
So let’s use the incredible love offered to us this month and the transformative possibilities of the energies of the black moon as it catapults us into August, to intend even more love for our lives. Let’s love ourselves so much we find we don’t even need to forgive others instead we can actually thank them for helping us to love ourselves more.
Let’s be the kings and queens of our hearts and our lives, making sure to treat ourselves as we would treat others and treat others as we would have them treat us; with love.
“…the best-loved kings and queens (and leaders of any kind) are those who love their subjects and always make sure they feel the love through kind acts, gracious leadership, and generosity of spirit…”