by Amy Martin (c)
We are walking into darkness, ebbing toward winter, exhaling before we take a Solstice pause and begin breathing again into spring’s light. Shadows grow long, in nature and in our hearts. For the past several months, we have heard mostly the sound of summer running. It is now time to listen to the sounds of our souls, to hear the silence as well as the noise.
At sunset today begins Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. The next New Moon is Samhain, when the Celts set forth their year. It’s a calendar cycle fashioned after the growing plant. An oak sapling begins the moment the acorn falls from the tree in autumn. Winds and rains push the acorn deeper into the soil. Now covered in the dirt and dark, it gestates until the spring, unfurling and branching into the light to grow, produce and then decline. And so does the Celtic and Jewish year. At this time of season when we are walking into darkness, into that risky gestation and birth, the wise get ready, look for clarity and grace.
Rosh Hashana begins 10 days of atonement, an annual clearing of the karmic books, a time of conscience, to right wrongs and make amends, starting the year with a fresh slate. We extend kindnesses to the powerless and underprivileged, challenging the illusion of separation that they are different from us. We consider our food, those that give their lives so we may eat. Atonement. At-one-ment. An invitation arises in each of these days to spend time making real in your mind the highest good of the upcoming year, the kind of life you want to lead, kind of soul you want to be. Atonement time concludes in Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish days. This year Rosh Hashana coincides with the end of Ramadan, the holiest month in Muslim calendar when followers fast from sunrise to sunset and devote themselves to acts of charity.
When you woke up this morning, you woke up to a new day, a New Moon, a new life. New Moons signal the beginning of Ramadan and Rosh Hashana and the New Moon is exact today at 5:30 am. A New Moon is a promise, a beginning, a start. For three days she is invisible, unseen in sky, lost in the brilliant solar corona, the Sun and Moon conjunct in the sky. A New Moon is the archetype for submission to a larger force and initiation into our own power, just as the Moon undergoes trial by fire, subsuming herself to Sun, only to emerge renewed, a slender crescent in the western sunset sky.
This New Moon, falling in the sign of Virgo, shapes the emphasis of the next four weeks on harvesting our intentions. It is a time to build plans for new visions, of committing to the nurturing of yourself and the Earth. The mutable nature of Virgo asks what you are willing to release to build something greater. An astrologer friend advises: People are more willing to change and transform things at a deeper level – even if it was something they swore they’d never do!
Do you let the shadows pursue you? Do you let that which you don’t want to look at, that which you can’t identify, have dominion over you, determining your actions? But, you say, you do yoga every day, have had your charkas aligned, been blessed, sanctified, consecrated, purified, learned from the masters and even taught a few. And yet, there it is, your shadow side, waiting still. Denied, ignored or discredited it only grows, pursuing like the Furies, sending signals and lessons that we so deftly evade. Walk willingly into the darkness this season, journey until you find the center of yourself, the clarity and grace found only there. Embrace the shadow and the core that simply is, and await the return into the light.
September 8, 2010