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New Moon in Cancer: Soften with the Empress

Today's new moon comes with astrological fireworks. Not only is it a new moon, but we also have a solar eclipse (2nd of 3 eclipses in a row, remember?) and tomorrow marks the Summer Solstice, the longest or shortest day of the year, depending on your hemisphere. And of course, just to make things spicy, Mercury went into Retrograde just a few days ago.


The "bizarre element" for me is the twin images of the new moon and the solar eclipse.



The Moon, usually symbolic of the Yin or Feminine essence, is in her dark phase. It's a time to draw inward, to move into the unconscious realms. It's a time to explore the dreamscape, the primordial soup that feeds your conscious mind.


Opposite her in the sky, the Sun symbolizes the Yang, Masculine essence of the universe. The Sun calls us out into the world, makes us want to move our bodies, to take action, to make things happen! Yet, tomorrow night the sun will be eclipsed by the Moon and he too, will move inward toward the unconscious. It's not his natural state and he won't stay there long, but I do find it interesting that all of ourselves being called inward..


(I refer to the Masculine and Feminine here as universal energies, not gender. Everyone has both Yin and Yang energies within them and available to them, and we dance with them.)


So just when things are at their most fiery (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway), at the Summer Solstice, we are plunged into a time of total darkness. I think this new moon will actually be a bit calmer for those in the Southern Hemisphere, because you're already in winter's inner embrace. But it could be rough going for those welcoming summer.


I'm not afraid of the dark realms; in fact, in my 20+ years as a trauma therapist/healer, I've become something of a specialist in walking the Underworld. I believe there is great healing in the darkness, and we can all benefit from going inward on a regular basis.


But pull back to see the whole picture: both Masculine and Feminine plunging into the Underworld together, as the Moon positions in highly emotional Cancer (both Cancer and the Underworld are watery) and the Sun's fire is at its high point? The elements do seem to be at odds. Add a Retrograde Mercury to the mix -- portending communication difficulties, missed and misunderstood messages -- and it seems like a time to commit to your chill.



Our hearts are vulnerable during this period. Our hearts hurt (3 of Swords), and we may feel like all is lost (8 of Cups). But if we listen closely we can hear Spirit speak to us, and that is the voice to tune in to right now (Judgment). Be guided by the nurturing force inside of yourself: The Empress is our guide here. Be soft with yourself. Be compassionate with others. Rest. Chill. Lean in to self-care. Soften. Soften. Soften.


As I write that last word over and over again, I think of how the last several weeks have been and it seems so opposite to the fierce fight that has arisen in so many of us as the movement for racial justice has become an uprising and a revolution. Is there room for softening in the midst of a revolution? I'll be honest, I'm not sure. But I'm going to explore it. As a White woman doing the work of unlearning my inherited racism, I've certainly had to soften my heart in order to do the work. Rest when I need it. Soften into the discomfort that comes as I confront my unconscious bias. Maybe I can be more useful in the revolution if I soften and stay close to Spirit.

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Maggie Hollinbeck, M.A.

Tending the Soul

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