Vanishing

I was blessed with a beautiful glimpse of the vanishing moon – the waning crescent – this morning. The last, or maybe penultimate, sliver before she enters her dark phase. Sadly I have no photo due to our brilliant little camera being away at the camera hospital, having accidentally met with my arm and then the kitchen floor. Can I blame pregnancy for such clumsiness? Let’s go with yes.

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A Great-Grandmother Moon from a less clumsy time in my life. This morning’s moon was leaning back a little more, and the sky a little darker with Venus shining brightly quite nearby.

I correlate the dark phase of the lunar cycle with the Winter Solstice in the solar cycle, so today we’re around similar times in both. I hold the word vanishing in my mind and think about its correlation to my own life right now: the vanishing days before the Solstice and Christmas is upon us (why am I not more organised for these events by this point in December?! And why do I leave it so late every year?!), the vanishing weeks before my baby is due to be born, my seemingly vanishing energy in the evenings. The vanishing sense of anxiety about it all as I realise that, really, almost everything that’s truly important has been done; by the time baby comes, we’ll be ready to welcome them.

Back outside, the colour is fast vanishing from our garden as the last of the nasturtiums have died and the green leaves are pretty few. The piles of crisp, vibrant leaves on the ground are vanishing into brown soggy mud and mush. The light starts vanishing not long after 3pm. “Come inside,” it all whispers sleepily, “find a blanket. Rest and dream”.

Moon phase yoga

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Something I’m trying to work on at the moment is my yoga practice – specifically, to actually have a daily yoga practice. I know I feel good when I do. Good in so many ways. The stability of rhythm and routine grounds – and the relaxing nature of the hatha yoga practice balances – what Ayurveda describes as my vata tendencies. Plus there’s the myriad well-known physical benefits of regular yoga and, if considering that I’m sure it makes me a better person to be around, social benefits too!

Something else that I’m loving is for yoga to be part of my connection and celebration of solar and lunar cycles – particularly the moon’s phases. For example, there’s a special little sequence that I’ve practised for a while now at each full moon, first learned at a womb yoga class. I like to practise the half-moon pose and new moon pose at those respective days too.

This morning, with the luxurious peace of having my in-laws’ rural house to myself, I was finding my mind focussing a lot on the moon’s current phase. I call the waning crescent the “vanishing moon”; she is old, at the end of her life, winding down, resting and reflecting. Images kept coming into my mind of a wise but tired hag, of late Autumn as the solar calendar equivalent; the end of the harvest when the plants and crops that are left start to rot back into the earth. I felt drawn to poses that seemed to focus on the ground. Gazing at it in cat/dog, having so much of my body in contact with it in cobra, likewise extended child’s pose and seated forward bends. And then the side-reclining leg lift (anantasana) because it reminded me a little of this image:

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(image via http://www.pinterest.com/source/lightworkers.org/ with thanks).

A strong invitation that came to me as I walked my thirtieth birthday labyrinth a few weeks ago was to connect more deeply with Earth goddess figures. Today I felt that relationship deepen through the poses I was drawn to and the images and messages I received whilst in them. As we enter the dark moon in the next few days – the phase that represents, barrenness, insight, transformation and rebirth to me – I’m intrigued to see if my yoga practice and nature-based spirituality continue to draw from each other in this way. Now that I’m giving them a bit more time to have the opportunity to. 

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vanishing moon: coming inside

resized 31st AugustThe moon is in its last quarter which, for me, symbolises a time to reflect, rest, meditate and learn. Gone is the busy energy of the new then waxing moon and the heady energy when she is full. Just passed is the time of the month where, as she starts to wane, I assess what within and around me needs letting go of and cleansing. Gone are two half moon days where I try to pause a little, be still and rebalance. Still to come is the few days of the dark moon’s transformative energy; that space like the empty moment between your in breath and your out breath.

The vanishing moon – her crescent sometimes visible in the morning sky – feels to me a good time for inner work, for drawing in and cosying up, for settling down and reflecting with honesty and gratitude for what has been achieved, gained, lost and come to pass during this moon. And for what has simply happened – so many of us easily feel as though life is passing us by and I find this a good way to just take stock and catch up. Like you sometimes get a little recap at the beginning of each episode of a TV series: “Previously on Mo’s Life….”

IMG_1531I’ve been sensing the vibe of drawing in and settling down quite a lot this week. People with kids at school – or who work in schools – prepare to resume their normal routine, my meal ideas are switching back to soups and dals as the evenings are noticeably cooler, my thoughts are less of the garden and more of craft projects and our spiritual life, I’m finding us inside the house that little bit more… Which brings some reassessment of our living space and how we use it. One reassessment is of our sacred shelf. Up on top of our bookcase that we use as a kitchen dresser, it just wasn’t very easy to see or access.  I’ll devote a separate post to sacred displays, altars and nature tables though.

It can feel a bit of a vulnerable place, this low ebb of the moon’s cycle. The imagery of decay, retreat and death can feel sad and difficult. This vanishing moon – the Grandmother moon – falls at the first anniversary of my Gran’s death. Although I never felt very close to her, she was very wise  (in quite a hidden way) and very humble and kind. This is a good time to draw down some Grandmother energy, the energy of wisdom, experience and learning to let go. To connect with Grandmother aspects of yourself; where you are experienced, for example.

Aging and death part of life and part of nature – even if they are topics we often try to hide or ignore and that don’t fit with the “bigger, better, more” mantra of capitalism. With the fading summer can come regret about the goals not met, the seeds not germinated and the projects not complete or perfect.  I offer these feelings to the healing, wise, wonderful earth as part of the harvest of my learning – and look forward to their rebirth.  ♥

Do have a look at my Crescent Moon Pinterest Board!

Vanishing moon: stopping life from running away

Sometimes visible as a thinning crescent in the morning sky, the vanishing moon has, for me, the wise elderly grandmother energy. Stronger in mind than body, she has the rich bounty of life experience, skills, knowledge and self-assurance if she has lead a fulfilling life. That’s the question I ask at around this time of every lunar month; has the month been a fulfilling one? Did I achieve my goals and meet my targets? If not, was it because they were unrealistic? Or because I procrastinated? If the latter, was that perhaps because I was afraid or lacking confidence?

I ask myself: “what has changed in the last month? What defines this month for me?” It could be the month that my son started walking, or a month where my mum came to stay. Maybe it is the month where I first recognised how much more confidant I now feel using my sewing machine, or a month where I often felt a little low.

As well as connecting me with the lunar tides and energies, this helps me kinda keep track of my life. My husband and I both feel that we would hate years to pass us by with us barely noticing them, or having not really reflected and evaluated along the way. Evaluate if the things we are doing and working towards are still true to what we want, need and value. To take a look at what potential opportunities or dreams are in front of us and if now is the right time to pursue them. To just acknowledge how we’re finding living day to day life right now.

Of course, you don’t need to plug into what the moon’s doing to reflect and assess in this way. We just use it as a framework so that we do it regularly and so that, in my belief, the moon’s energy is complementary to the energy of what we’re doing (and therefore aids it).

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I’ll share something else that I like to do: during each lunar month, I place on our sacred shelf (which serves a similar purpose to an altar or nature table) a reminder of anything significant that happened. For example, a “find” from a particularly lovely walk, a scrap of wool/fabric from something I’ve made, an epiphany of a though written down. At the vanishing moon, we look over these. Some objects will prompt laughter, others regret, others relief; a myriad of feelings may be amongst these little things, but all will prompt thanks.

Happy vanishing moon ♥

The beautiful card is by Jan Fowler. See www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk and www.slipperyjacks.com.