A Happy New Year

130As we approach this brand new year, filled with possibilities and hope, may our intentions be rooted in love for ourselves and others.  Set reasonable, attainable goals.  Surround yourself with a community who supports and encourages you on this path.  Create meaningful rituals for a healthier lifestyle.  And remember that every ending offers a new beginning, so if you fall of the routine you have set for yourself, simply begin again, being present in the moment, just as it is.  This moment, too, is filled with possibilities and hope.  May your intentions be rooted in love for yourself and others.  This passage was copied with gratitude from the Asheville Community Yoga  January Newsletter: Freedom through Service.

The Gift of Awareness

gift-card
      During the holidays, do try to take a few minutes each day to close your eyes, adjust your posture, take a deep breath, and look within.
      Five or six deep breaths is one minute.  One minute spent listening and looking within will increase awareness.  Awareness is different than thought.  When thoughts arise, say “thank you, not thinking now” and go back to the quiet wonder of looking and listening within.
      Awareness clears the mind, connects us to Source, eases pain and increases clarity.  Thoughts are tools that allow us to tackle great projects, but awareness is the wisdom to know what is yours to do.

Solar Eclipse 2017

In some ancient cultures, it was considered poor manners to look at the coupling of the sun and the moon during an eclipse.  Was this an ancient wisdom for protecting the eyes of the innocent and curious?  Or was it a preservation of patriarchal/matriarchal supremacy?  Or was it something else?

annular-celipse-1839-052012-500-customA rare and powerful occurrence can indeed be blinding. Traditions, superstitions, preconceptions might mask the truth, or they might serve as a protective filter, enhancing life for our safe participation.

Observe.  Things are not always as they seem.  Be aware of the veil that has been cast.  Beware of hiding behind it; beware of casting it off too quickly.

The sun is always shining and the moon is always full.

 

Power of the Vernal Equinox

Spring is the season of new beginnings!  The Equinox marks the time when day and night are of equal length.  The balance is about to tip to the yang after the winter season of yin.  In the spring, we can tap into the natural energy of re-birth and emergence, perhaps a particularly strong energy in this Chinese Year of the Rooster.

According to Wikipedia, the celestial location of the vernal equinox is the First Point of Aries.  “It is one of the two points on the celestial sphere at which the celestial equator meets the ecliptic plane, the other being the First Point of Libra, located exactly 180° from it.”

The University of Southern Maine Planetarium site states “The Sun used to be “in” the constellation Aries on the first day of Spring, otherwise known as the vernal equinox.   We should explain that as Earth revolves around the Sun, the latter will appear to travel through thirteen constellations comprising the “zodiac.”  Greek astronomer Hipparchus of Nicea (190-120 BCE) introduced the term “First Point of Aries” (or “Cusp of Aries.”) when he observed that the Sun was within the constellation Aries during the vernal equinox.     However, the Sun’s apparent vernal equinox position has continuously shifted along the ecliptic by about 1 degree every 73 years due to precessional wobbling.   The wobbling, caused primarily by interactions with the Sun and Moon, causes our planet’s pole to describe a 47 degree circle through the sky every 26,000 years.   Consequently, the thirteen zodiac constellations will all “host” the vernal equinox point during this 26,000 year cycle.        According to astronomer Jean Meeus, the vernal equinox point crossed the Aries-Pisces border in 68 BCE.  Ironically, this shift occurred less than a century after Hipparchus’ death. The vernal equinox point has been moving westward through Pisces ever since.  In AD 2597, the vernal equinox will move into Aquarius the Water Bearer.  Or, to be more specific, it will cross into the rectilinear region that the International Astronomical Union has designated as the Aquarius “region.” Perhaps even then, astronomers will continue to refer to the vernal equinox as the “First Point of Aries.”

first point of aries

illustration copied from https://usm.maine.edu/planet 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar of the Yellow Emporer, we are purple-roosterentering the year 4752 – the Year of the Purple Fire Phoenix (or Rooster.)  The Rooster is known for announcing the start of each new day.  The Phoenix is legendary for its ability to be born anew from the ashes of its own self-destruction.  Harnessing these celestial energies makes it a great year to achieve big resolutions, or revisions to the reality we are creating anew each day.

Self-revision is one of the gifts of practicing Taijiquan – or Tai Chi as we call it.   The various postures allow us to safely discover the body’s potential for going up and down, side to side,  forward and back. The slow, exquisite movements encourage us to explore  the nature of constant of change as we move from Yin to Yang: from empty to full, from giving to receiving, from knowing to not-knowing.  Making friends with not-knowing allows us to consider all possibilities.  In Tai Chi, we learn to observe, adjust, and adapt  without stress.  We learn how to utilize the energy of change rather than fighting it. Resolutions become considered revisions.

The great paradoxes of Tai Chi include the idea that by going very slow, we develop great speed; that by being very soft, we accumulate superior strength.  By understanding transition, we may experience transcendence.  Be alert as a Rooster, tireless as a Phoenix in this coming year.  I am wishing you well!

The Season of Winter

 

solstice-equinox-tai-chi

In our hemisphere, the season of winter is the darkest, most yin, most mysterious time of year.  But in the Tao, and in its marvelous symbol, the Tai Chi, the zenith of yin is pierced by a pin-prick of yang.  So into this season of short days and long nights a light is born.

According to Taoist principles, winter is the season when seeds rest and acquire the energy that will fuel their future growth.  Winter is a time for deep meditation and dreaming, and in the Christian tradition, for gathering with loved ones, giving and celebrating the birth of the light of the world.