Birdwatching in Brooklyn; An Act of Mindfulness

As I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts, birdwatching is a great way to spend time being present in nature. It’s a great way to be present, period. Bird calls are easily and most notably heard in parks, and we often hear common birds like sparrows, pigeons, starlings, robins, and mourning doves in our neighborhoods.

I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of chirping lately—it’s spring and we’ve spent a lot of time at home or in our neighborhoods. Lately, I’ve been trying to improve my ability to know a bird through its song. I enjoy bird cataloging and learning about why certain birds are found in specific places. You get to learn about which birds are a little bit of a bully, what some mating rituals are like, and where food sources are found.

Birds fly around, doing their own thing, living in their own worlds⁠—all while living among us.
I have been fascinated by that notion for the past few years.

Here are some common birds I’ve captured in Brooklyn:

From top left to top right: American robin, mockingbird, common grackle, cardinal

Did you know all of these are songbirds? I tend to notice the mockingbird and robin quite often. Birdwatching is really peaceful, and if you’re inquisitive, you can learn so much more about the birds you encounter every day.

All images captured by me in Brooklyn, NYC.

Some places you can visit for birdwatching in Brooklyn = Prospect Park, Green-wood Cemetery, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Jamaica Bay – Floyd Bennet Field.


Let’s explore the nature and higher consciousness thinking…
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Gemini Season Came to Ask – How Can We Make Sense of it All?

In my last newsletter, I mentioned that the May 22nd new moon was in Gemini, an air sign ruled by Mercury, which is the planet of communication. We’re currently in Gemini season, during a pandemic, and witnessing racial injustice, protests, and (questionable) riots across the country (and the world to a degree). It’s a lot.

My new moon guidance was to think through — How do we receive information and how do we share with others? Is there anything you think you need to re-evaluate? It seems we’ve received a whole lot of information as of late. I’ve been spending time going inwards, sorting through what I receive, and what to make of it.

“Unprecedented times” is what has been the narrative for these communications.

The atmosphere feels like the humming of the refrigerator that just won’t stop. All of these opinions and energies simmering up – a fight of low vibration against those who are trying to stay grounded.

Gemini Season Tarot Pull (2 cards) = Wheel of Fortune and 5 of Swords Reversed

Wheel of Fortune and the cycles we’ve seen leading up to our current state...

I pulled some tarot cards for this specific timeframe, wondering if there were any messages I could receive. I have a very beginner knowledge of tarot. But I pulled the Wheel of Fortune and 5 of swords reversed.

I just knewwww I’d pull a Wheel of Fortune. There’s something very cyclical feeling about all of this. The Wheel of Fortune is a Major Arcana card. This card holds heavier weight in regards to major life situations. In Tarot as a Way of Life, Karen Hammaker-Zondag says that in the Wheel of Fortune, “the repetition, with minor variations, of certain patterns, is the result of projections we have still not seen for what they are. […] It seems as if life is playing a game with us, and we are constantly the victim of what it pulls out of its bag of tricks.”

The Wheel of Fortune wants us to confront life in a step towards maturity, for taking responsibility. I think it’s interesting that this card was pulled, as it’s not the Justice card (which comes after the Wheel of Fortune). The Wheel keeps us in this space of externalization. Which is why I don’t believe this is the revolution people want it to be. This just doesn’t feel like “it” yet. I don’t know. It seems to be reiterating that we’re still on the same collective cycles. We need to move past this continuous struggle.

5 of Swords and our karmic challenges with being human…

I wasn’t surprised by the 5 of Swords reversed either. I also had a feeling a sword card would come out. Swords represent communication in tarot (and air signs); it’s about thinking and logic. As Hammaker-Zondag says, “they make distinctions on their own initiative, and in a negative sense, cause separation.” It’s also a yang card – representative of the masculine energy. The sword’s masculine energy moves with a forceful, sometimes tactless, and distinct energy.

In numerology and tarot, 5 represents a genuine connection to humanity and life. But it’s a paradoxical number which brings karmic challenges. Hammaker Zondag says, “the fives of the Minor Arcana each represent problems that have to do with a lack of eros, and with the trouble we find in being part of life.” Pretty spot-on for the times.

When we have the 5 of swords, we’re facing the ultimate challenge. We’re so disconnected from others, there isn’t a positive revolution. There’s a sense of restlessness that’s accompanied by our actions (seems to make sense given the pandemic’s lockdown has also lead us here), and most importantly, there’s a battle for power and the battles fought during this time come with high stakes. The 5 of swords reversed is one of those cards where it’s just super heavy and filled with a lot of karmic baggage, cyclic baggage – and conflict. Phew. Sounds about right.

The bottom of the deck energy was a two of wands. More yang – masculine energy. Wands is representative of fire. There’s no plan yet. There’s protesting, there’s unrest, but the people need to decide where they want to take this. What’s next? There’s a decision that needs to be made, a plan that needs to come together to advance the good of the people.

This will be a long, hard, fight.
Never forget that the revolution starts within. It will not be televised.

*All images captured by me in NYC*


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Mornings Spent in Quiet

In the mornings, I spend some time alone without any sound. The birds have been so active that I just listen to them for a bit as I get myself ready for the day.

I light a candle.

Or maybe incense.

Stretch.

Drink lime/lemon water, drink coffee.


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The Pandemic Reinforced the Importance of Food Sustainability

Once word got around about the effects of COVID-19, strengthening my immune system became my main concern. I continuously stocked up on fruits and veggies and took my supplements. Thankfully, my local grocery stores always had the items I needed to keep me healthy. Because of this experience, and the thought of being affected by a broken food supply chain, I truly see how important it is to have access to locally grown and sourced goods. I see how fragile our system is, how easy it is for someone to go without the essentials that nature provided to us on this earth.

Buying local always sounds good in theory and we know we should do it, but when you have to think about getting access to your food in times of crisis ⁠—local and organic seems like even more of a privilege. And it shouldn’t be! Have you thought about how great it would be to venture to your backyard or your neighbor’s yard to gather some of your produce?

What if we focused more on using the land that we had to grow food? And imagine if we did this as a collective! Thankfully, that’s the benefit of having access to farmer’s markets, but what if we had the farmer’s markets in addition to what us and our neighbors were growing in our immediate community? All we need are the seeds. Unfortunately, only a few large corporations own most of the world’s supply of seeds. I find that pretty suspicious and discouraging . Ideally, we’d have more heirloom seeds (seeds which have been passed down from generation to generation) so we can continue to grow a great array of foods!

Fun facts about growing your own food:

  • Easy access to fresh food
  • Lack of chemical pesticides! You determine how to fight pests and do damage control.
  • You save money (and potentially plastic) on grocery trips.
  • You’ll start to appreciate the seasonality of foods, as you’ll be gathering your produce at their ideal harvesting times.
  • It’s a great way to introduce variety into your diet. Maybe you and a friend can grow a range of food and share it with one another.
  • Also, it’s a great hobby that could help improve the way you think about food.

Some people find gardening to be a peaceful activity like meditation. You may find that working with the soil and tending to your plants is extremely therapeutic. And it seems like now is probably a good time to get started.

Images captured by me at The Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn


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“A Room Without Books Is Like…”

“A room without books is like a body without a soul”
-Cicero

I love having books around. Especially journals. I’m always writing.
The last book I finished was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. One of my favorite quotes from the book is:

“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

There are plenty of gems in that book that will probably have you thinking about your own purpose here in life. Maybe even reevaluate what you’re striving towards.

I’m currently reading Tarot As a Way of Life: A Jungian Approach to the Tarot by Karen Haymaker-Zondag. I’m really enjoying it as it explores ways of using the tarot for self-discovery through the integration of our conscious and subconscious.

There are certainly no limits when it comes to entertainment these days. Screens pervade our lifestyles – and because of that, I certainly value reading physical books and building my own personal library. I hope you still keep a few physical books around, at least the ones that may have had an impact on you.

Image captured by me at Strand Bookstore in Union Square NYC.


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Be Healthy and Feed the Energy of the Divine

“We want to feed the energy of divine perfection that empowers healing rather than feeding the power of illness. What we give energy to, we give life to. What we feed grows.”
– Sandra Ingerman, Speaking with Nature – Awakening to the Deep Wisdom of the Earth

There is a lot of great insight and wisdom to be found in the book, Speaking with Nature. I came across the quote above, which I highlighted and felt was actually perfect for the current times.

Eat well.
Sleep well.
Engage with friends and loved ones.
Please, go for a walk and breathe the fresh air.
Be healthy!

Captured by me in Prospect Park, Brooklyn


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Rollercoaster of Emotions

“How do you feel?” 

“I’m good, I feel fine. Just some adjusting to not going out to bars and restaurants, otherwise I’m dealing.” That’s my typical response.

Under the surface, I’m distracted. Some days I’m more focused than others. Some days, I’m able to focus on getting work done, doing more research about work, and feeling prepared for the next day. Other days, I exist.

But even through moments of stillness, of “existing,” I’ve learned to listen to my body even more.

Learned when it’s time to meditate. Time for yoga at home – time to stretch the body and get the blood pumping. This has been a combination of highs and lows, but introspective to say the least.

I hope you learned more about yourself.

Image captured by me in Coney Island, Brooklyn.


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There’s Beauty in Life and Death

Memento mori,
Memento vivere.

Remember you must die,
Remember you must live.

So often we find ourselves living through the mundane in life. We get lost in the annoyances.
We forget to be thankful, to be appreciative, to love, and to honor ourselves through our health. We put things off until tomorrow and follow the same patterns. We can be our own worst enemy sometimes.

We live and we die. What are we doing while “living?”

There’s beauty in death. Metaphorically, if one is to evolve in their lifetime, some parts of oneself would die. Maybe it’s certain ideologies or behaviors – but something has to transform to make way for the new. There’s a rebirth process. The hope is that you’ve transformed with wisdom, with knowledge to help you be more informed in the future.

What parts of ourselves will we allow to die to make room for upgrades? Death is only the beginning of the transformation; it is not the end. I think this is something to consider as we make our way through the pandemic.


Beauty in Life & Death

I recently uploaded a collection of shots I’ve taken at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. It’s such a beautiful cemetery and a great place to appreciate nature. I do a lot of birdwatching here and the mausoleums and statues can be quite breathtaking.

The cemetery does a great job with landscaping; spring and autumn are particularly great for photos. In this collection, I’m highlighting the beauty of life as it coexists with the concept of death through the juxtaposition of nature and the tombstones/mausoleum.

>> Click to see the collection <<


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I Miss the Moon

I miss the moon. I’m outside less and don’t see it as often.
I feel like something is missing in my life. Food for my soul.

The featured image was taken by me in Brooklyn, right before April 7th’s full moon in Libra.

And now, we’re in the waxing phase of the new moon that fell in Taurus on April 23rd. During this cycle (leading up to May 7th’s full moon in Scorpio), I’m putting my energies into getting more grounded. Taurus is an earth sign and likes things that are stable and predictable, while also enjoying luxuries and material wealth.

This new moon happens in a “4” month, which also indicates a time for setting foundations, giving yourself something solid to build upon. The new moon in Taurus connects to that concept – being that it’s happening during the spring, where we plant our seeds and tend to our soil.

“The energy of number 4 is all about conscientiousness and responsibility, which contrasts starkly with number 3, the previous root number, which was analogous with unbridled creativity. The number 4 is creative as well, but in a more conventional and organized way.”The Secret of the Tarot

How are you tending to your personal soil? How are you staying grounded?

We mustn’t lose touch with the little things that make us happy, that bring us sanity, that help us stay centered. Especially now; it’s imperative. Though I’ve seen the moon less, I started meditating more and practicing yoga at home.

*Update – after I drafted this post a few days ago, the position of the new moon has placed itself right outside of my window at night. I love it!*


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Let’s Grow: My Intro to 5 Common Herbs

Now that I’ve settled into a “new normal,” in a sense, I’ve been able to find a little bit more of a groove in my daily life. I’m back to being more productive and feeling inspired by nature’s beauty, lovely imagery, and staying healthy.

I was recently given an AeroGarden and I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I do. I know I could’ve been growing herbs in my apartment, but I was always concerned about the proper lighting. For the past 3 months, I’ve been growing Thai basil, sweet basil, mint, dill, and curly parsley (which finally just sprouted) in this hydroponic system and it’s been fun figuring out how and when I should use all of these herbs.

One of my life goals is to have my own home with a floral and vegetation garden in which I can grow some of my own produce year round. Did you know that at one point, there was a ban on growing your own vegetables in a front yard garden in Florida? Take a minute to think about why that might be … There’s power in growing your own food!

The Five Herbs I’m Growing:

5 common herbs

Thai basil: Sweet basil’s cousin. Though a bit stronger than sweet basil, it can be added to salads and eaten raw. It’s slightly spicy but with a hint of an anise- licorice taste.
Can be used in: pho, pad thai noodles, stir-fry, lemonade

Sweet basil: This is one many of us are familiar with. It’s got a distinct aroma, and certainly adds a distinct flavor to your Italian or Mediterranean food. It’s the basis of pesto sauce! In general, basil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that beneficial to our health. And it does provide some vitamin K.
Can be used in: salads, pizza, tomato sauce, pasta

Mint: Apparently, basil is a part of the mint family. But this mint I’m referencing is sweet mint. This is the mint you can use to help ease stomach issues, and it has antiviral and antibacterial properties that are helpful for fighting colds and a mild flue. It’s not just a garnish, folks!
Can be used in: teas, mojitos, greek yogurt, water, salad

Dill: A part of the parsley and celery family. Apparently, it’s a good food for swallowtail butterflies, if you’re growing in an indoor garden. Dill seeds can be used as spices – but fresh dill should be added at the last moment as it will lose its flavor the longer it’s cooked. Provides small amounts of vitamin A and C and may have anti-bacterial properties.
Can be used in: salmon seasoning, soup, sour cream dip, crunchy vegetables

Curly Parsley: Apparently, it’s a bit milder than the flat leaf parsley, but its stems can be quite powerful. It makes a nice garnish but actually has iron and vitamins A,C, and E. Not too shabby!
Can be used in: tabbouleh, gremolata, deviled eggs, herb omlette

And did you know that there are some items that you can buy in the store and regrow in water? Check out THIS POST to get started. Personally, I look forward to growing green onions (scallions)!


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I Still Haven’t Accepted the “New Normal,” Have You?

I’ve been off my game lately.

My routine has been shaken up, and it’s hard. Doing everything at home just isn’t the same. I miss my routines, my deviations from them, passing by the bakeries, stopping in Chipotle, and definitely going to the gym!!

Get Fresh Air — Disconnect from the Internet and Media for a Bit

Everyone is being told to stay inside, but sometimes staying inside feels like a cruel joke. You work from home as if things haven’t changed. But they have, they absolutely have. You either scroll incessantly online, reading about how everyone is urging you to stay inside or you binge watch some programs, maybe you cook. Or maybe you’ve caught some strain of the virus and feel fatigued and sleep through a lot of it.

But then… if you step outside, you might catch some folks going for a stroll or a run. You see people playing in their yards, life is still happening. And it’s in these moments that I’m thankful that I stepped out for some fresh air. You almost forget about the pandemic, about the mania in the news. I take these moments to disconnect from social media, because honestly – sometimes that’s just another insulating bubble that can also be mentally harmful.

People are dying, people are losing jobs, people may also be losing a bit of their sanity. I started crocheting again, and I’ve journaled more this week. And as I have gone within, I realized I need some sort of structure in my life. I realized that this is only the beginning.

Picture captured by me in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Social Distancing And Going Within

It’s interesting to see how this shift has affected attitudes, routines, the economy, and even our health. With all of this going on, despite all of the weaknesses it’s showing in our flawed system (politics, capitalism, healthcare), it’s important to, “find strength from within.

As cliche as it may sound, we have to also learn how to be still. How to calm our minds and not let the constant barrage of news and panic affect us negatively.

Get to Know Yourself – Some Food for Thought:

If you can, find a quiet spot. Get some alone time away from your family if you’re quarantining together. During the next few days and/or weeks, get comfortable with yourself. Write your thoughts down. How do you feel, really? Don’t be afraid to confront yourself.

It’s understandable to feel fear right now. You might be afraid of your job security, of how your finances are looking, fear about the health of your loved ones. Try to get to the root of these fears. I think a lot of us are realizing that “control” is an illusion. So how can we gain more power over our own lives?

What are your goals for the next 2 – 5 – 10 years? If you weren’t working your job, what would you be doing?

How do you feel about the current power structures in place? Do you still feel like it serves you, like this capitalist society benefits all of us?

These are just some questions to get going … and if you aren’t in that place to write yet, I hope you find the space to just sit and be. To just free your mind for a little bit and relax.

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion, it is easy in solitude to live after our own,
but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness
the independence of solitude.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo captured by me in Central Park, NY

Are We Seeing Saturn-Pluto Conjunction Effects During this Pandemic?

It seems like there’s so much I want to say but no idea where to start. We’re in uncertain times, but let’s consider that common sense, proper hygiene, social distancing, compassion, and inner peace can help us navigate through these difficulties.

I was thinking about planetary aspects. Since this coronavirus is a worldwide pandemic, I started to wonder if there were any clues in the sky as to what lies ahead. I was taken back to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction that happened this past January. I remember that it was going to shake things up, that it would affect the “status quo,” and that the year/number, 2020 is related to “vision.” Also, given 2020 is a “4” year, in which 4 represents foundation, stability, and patience … it seemed like 2020 was going to have a lot in store.

We’ve definitely been shown signs that 2020 wouldn’t be like any other year. We just didn’t know what that meant. And we still don’t know where this is going.

What Will the Saturn-Pluto Conjunction Show Us?

AstroTwins wrote this great article, The Saturn-Pluto Conjunction of January 2020 Could Change History, and in hindsight, find it brilliant. As they break down each planet’s role in this conjunction, we see just how intense this can get. Here are some easy to digest quotes from their article:

  • “As Saturn gives shape to Pluto’s totalizing demands, all the things we’ve been shoving down and burying will rise up like Godzilla and take tangible form.”
  • “Maybe it’s a “breakthrough insight” (like Galileo’s telescope that allowed the discovery of Saturn) or a clarion call for a new world order. Whatever the case, things are going to be different as this new decade dawns. The Saturn-Pluto duopoly will pervade all realms, causing everything from a massive mindset shift to a radical update to our operational systems and social structures.”
  • “The last time Saturn and Pluto’s paths crossed in Capricorn was in January 1518. Just three months prior, in October 1517, German monk Martin Luther released his doctrine 95 Theses, which exposed financial corruption that had been rampant in the Catholic Church. Subsequently, this sparked the massive Protestant Reformation of Christianity.”
  • But as 2020 dawns, any true responsibility to self and community is best served without dishing vengeful retribution. Healthier offerings are recommended.” <<< THIS!!

I’ll leave this here, and encourage you to read the article. I think what this is showing us thus far is how important independence is. That we will have to understand how to keep ourselves mentally and physically healthy during the uncertainty. But while we do this, move with compassion, move with consideration, and think about your impact on your neighbors.

Let’s be our best selves so we can become a stronger community.

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Image captured by me in Financial District, NYC.

Full Moon in Virgo 2020: Stop Holding Back

Heads up, folks! We’ve got a full moon in Virgo this Monday, March 9th, 2020 at 1:47 PM EST. It will actually be a super moon, which means the moon is closer to the earth and therefore, looks bigger. Virgo’s energy wants us to get serious about preparing for our present and future, heeding us to get out of our own way.

Virgo wants us to put forth our plans in motion from the Pisces New Moon. It’s time to get practical and resourceful while also paying attention to the smaller details. Have you been putting off addressing your finances? Are you avoiding pursuing things that truly make you happy? During this full moon cycle, spend some time asking yourself why you may be holding yourself back and what can be done about it.

Though Virgos like to handle much on their own, there comes a time when it’s okay to accept the universe’s help. Pay attention to the signs.

Don’t miss the big picture by overly focusing on the details.

P.S: This full moon occurs while Mercury’s Retrograde comes to an end.

Interested in a full moon ritual?

This can be something simple that you do just for self:

  • Smudge your home/room and crystals (sage or palo santo).
  • Instead of smudge, you can leave crystals out to charge under the moonlight.
  • Journal about what you’re ready to release or what you’re ready to call into your life.
  • Write about how far you’ve come in your journey since your new moon intentions. What progress are you making?
  • Write positive affirmations and read them aloud.
  • Meditate — you may want to try binaural beats.

Image captured by me, full moon in Brooklyn 2019.

You, Your Head, and the Environment

Do you ever just sit with yourself?
Come home without turning the tv on?
Commute without listening to your headphones?
Sometimes it’s nice to just be quiet; to not depend
on external sounds for comfort.
Can you be comfortable when it’s just you, your head,
and the environment? 

Image captured by me at Bush Terminal Piers Park, Sunset Park (Brooklyn)

Vibrate Higher in Nature

Did you know that the frequency of a city is lower than that of nature? It’s why people head out of town to their weekend home; there’s a pull to escape the city rush and be someplace more peaceful. It’s why we hike, swim in oceans or lakes, and enjoy nature parks. We gravitate towards these things without even realizing it.

Our souls are called to seek peace in the wilderness. Nature has a high frequency and can help increase our own vibrations. The ocean itself releases negative ions which can strengthen our immune systems, improve our mood, and even provide some relief from asthma and migraines.

Nature just is. It flows, it’s still; it sways with the wind. As humans, we like to pride ourselves on how much work we get done and how busy we are, but sometimes an escape into nature to reconnect with our ancient mother is necessary.

Image captured by me at Fishkill Creek, Beacon NY

 

How Do You Find Your Life Path?

I keep wondering if I’m going down the right path in life. Often, I feel like I’m wandering. Sometimes I feel like I’ve got an idea of what my purpose is, then I question it when faced with some other plausible path to take. (It’s 2:22 as I type this).

I know that my confusion is my own fault. That it’s because of my own thought patterns, lack of consistency, and subconscious programming.

Some questions I’ve been grappling with lately: 

  • How do I heal my subconscious patterns?
  • What does success truly look like to me?
  • What do I want my life to look like now and in the future?
  • Am I working towards my perceived ‘destiny’?

We’ve all got our ways of coping with our uncertainty, but here’s something I keep pondering on. Can we really leverage our life path number to live our “best lives?”

Do you know your life path number?

According to numerology, which has been around for thousands of years, we all have a life path number. Calculated from your birthdate, the life path number can indicate some of your natural talents and abilities, providing you with a sense of guidance for your life’s direction.  

My life path number is 3.  The number 3 involves creativity, communication, and change. Creativity comes easy to me, yet there’s a lot that I hold back. Battling my own self-censorship has been such an ongoing issue for me. But my goal is to stay consistent in bringing my creativity to the forefront. Procrastination is also a big problem of mine, so by understanding some of the negative aspects that come with this number, I hope to slowly evolve and be a better version of myself.

But it’s not enough to just *hope* it’s important to DO!

Do you know your life path number? Do you feel that it resonates with you? Share in the comments! You can use this site to get the calculation.

Image captured by me in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Mercury in Retrograde in Pisces

On February 16, 2020, Mercury went retrograde in the sign of Pisces. Everyone tends to freak out during Mercury in retrograde, but thanks to the influence of empathic Pisces, this should be a smoother retrograde.

Key Themes:
Go with the flow, slow down and reflect. It’s okay to be still and not as productive as usual. Don’t think of life as such a linear process. Sit with yourself for a bit and be more present. Be mindful and intentional. Go deep, go within. Forgive yourself from past traumas, work through heavy emotions.

Mercury the Planet and Greek Mythology

Let’s look at Mercury. Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system and is the closest to the sun. Mercury is the Roman god of merchants, travelers, and tricksters. In Greek mythology, Mercury represents Hermes, who is the quick-footed messenger of the gods (Mercury takes appx 88 days to complete its orbit around the sun, therefore is considered a fast-moving planet).

Like the Roman Mercury, Hermes ruled over wealth, shopkeeping, fertility, and trickery. Mercury also rules communication and our communication styles (check your natal chart to see what sign is in this planet to better understand your communication style).

When Mercury is in retrograde, you’re often told to be careful when signing contracts, traveling, communicating, etc. Think of the words mercantile, mercurial; these are derivatives from mercury and its influence. Since these are some of the aspects of life that this planet rules, it’s believed that things can get a little hairy around this time.

Mercury in Pisces, the Ethereal

Pisces. The “softies” of the zodiac. They’re the 12th sign, the last, before the zodiac starts all over again with the baby of the group, Aries. The sign of the two fish, Pisces is a watery intuitive sign ruled by Neptune – which also rules over illusions, creativity, and all that’s dreamy and ethereal. So when Mercury is in Pisces, it’s not in a strong placement. Mercury is “like a fish out of water” here, which makes this retrograde a little easier.

Pisces is about fantasy and imagination, Mercury is logical and analytical. It’s concerned with intellect, while Pisces is about connecting to the spiritual world.

What also helps ease this retrograde, which lasts through March 9th – is the influence of Venus. Venus is a beneficial planet, which brings together friends and family, rules over love and beauty, Mercury will be sitting in a degree in Pisces that’s ruled by Venus, which brings some positive influences. So this should help ease some of the tensions.

** Just be careful when Mercury moves into Aquarius, a logical sign, in early March, which may have us unsure about our emotions after such a watery time.**

Image captured by me in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

How to be Present in Nature: Part II (Observe the Trees)

Appreciate trees! They’re everywhere, especially in New York City. According to NYC Parks & Recreation, over 5 million trees are growing on public and private property. These trees help remove air pollution, capture stormwater, provide shade for homes, streets, and parks — and so much more.

Have you ever noticed how different a neighborhood with tree-lined streets feels in comparison to one without? You feel more exposed to the elements without trees; it’s just you, and the open space.

Studies “suggest that people who live in neighborhoods with a higher density of trees on their streets report significantly higher health perception and significantly less cardio-metabolic conditions.” (source)

Let’s connect back to these stoic life forces. Pay attention to the trees. Here are some things to think about while walking around or in a park:

  • Do the trees look healthy or are they starting to rot in some places?
  • Are there leaves, buds, pines? Maybe even berries on the trees?
  • If the tree is naked, what do the bare branches look like to you? Do you notice patterns?
  • If you’re surrounded by trees, look up. Do you notice the canopy?
  • Is light beaming through the various leaves and branches?
  • What shadows do the trees form?

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world”  — John Muir

 

Full Moon in Leo 2020: Be Creative, Live from Your Heart

The moon went full in the sign of Leo on February 8th 2020 at 11:33 PM PT. As a Leo sun (with a fire-heavy natal chart), I understand the energies that come with this moon and I’m excited by it. Now is a good time to get in touch with our playful nature, to lead with your heart and be creative. Let’s get out of our heads for a bit (current Aquarius energy). 

Though Leo is a masculine sign/energy, Leo rules the heart (and spine/upper back); there’s a nice duality of feminine and masculine. This is a time for us to also connect with that divine within us. To love, accept love, and take action to be creative (receiving = feminine, action = masculine). Since this full moon is happening in Leo’s polar opposite, Aquarius, we can reflect on how we’ve managed to integrate parts of our self (Leo) with the whole (Aquarius), and how we can not only think about ourselves, but the collective.

The effects of the full moon can still be felt after the moon is completely full, so take the time to let loose a little bit and live boldly. Maybe you want to dance, draw, or write. Whatever strikes your fancy, get into it! Get in touch with yourself and share your gifts with the world. 

Also, don’t forget to reflect. Think about where you’ve been in the past month, what are your goals, and how you plan to move forward with them.

Leo ruling planet = the sun (star)

Ruling house = 5th house: Sports, children, creativity, romance, arts, love affairs

Birthstone = ruby

Tarot card = The Sun, Strength

The Sun in the Rider-Waite traditional tarot deck.
Strength in the Rider-Waite traditional tarot deck.

 

Featured image captured by me at the New York Public Library.