We begin a new month, a new phase of the pagan wheel of the year, and a new lunar cycle all within a 48 hour period at the beginning of this May 2011. May 1st, also celebrated as the pagan holiday Beltane, falls just a day before the New Moon in Taurus. Since today was the nicest weather day for several weeks now here in Portland, I found myself wanting to get out there and stick my hands in the dirt and do some meditation-as-gardening along the way.
My own natal Moon in Taurus felt completely at home and at peace, playing in the mud. But it was not just about playing. I found that I was able to use my gardening today to invoke the themes at play in all three cycles – Beltane, New Moon, and new month. With conscious awareness, I used each step of the process as symbolic of the inner work. This is the everyday magic that can happen when we are aware of our center within the cycles at play (lunar, astrological, and seasonal) in any given moment. We can turn a simple activity like gardening into a ritual by infusing it with purpose and intent.
Step 1: Uprooting
First, I had to uproot some old dried up shrubs that had been making my front garden look ugly for a while. That was the hardest part to do, both physically AND metaphorically. This was so difficult that I actually had to ask for help, reminding myself that we all need help sometimes.
Step 2: Clearing Out
Once my partner Brad had removed the biggest chunks, it was time to clear the flower bed of the root system which had taken over. As I did this, I thought about all the things I would like to clear out as the Balsamic Moon wanes toward the New Moon tomorrow. The Balsamic Moon of May 2 is in Aries, along with several other planets still in that sign right now. Even after the Moon moves into Taurus at 11 PM PST on May 2, there will still be 5 planets in Aries (see chart for the New Moon). Something I have been working on clearing out lately is suppressed anger and resentments. The old emotional gunk I carry with me is like these roots and dead plants in my garden. They are not only unattractive, but prevent me from planting something new. I visualized clearing the way for the new as I yanked out and removed the debris.
Step 3: Laying the Foundation
The next step was to lay a fertile foundation for the new plants. I made sure I had plenty of good potting soil, and that each plant would have the space it needed to grow. I focused on what that might mean in my life today. How can I create a fertile environment for planting my intentions? How do I need to make space so that the projects and goals have time and room to grow and expand?
Step 4: Planting
Finally, I planted. I decided to start small for today – just a few very cheerfully colored geraniums. No need to do it all in one day. My perfectionist self would like to be able to have a perfect-looking garden at one day’s end, but I coached myself into accepting that this will have to be a work in progress. I can add something new to the garden every now and then, but I don’t need to make the changes all at once.
This made me realize that in the past, my perfectionism has ultimately sabotaged my best efforts to create real change in my life; I’ve had an all-or-nothing attitude. So today, I focused on just getting those few little plants in the ground, and keeping them healthy for a while. This is also the attitude that will help me stay the course in my own life, guiding my creative projects and even my astrological practice.
I expect this wonderful metaphor will continue to teach me as I watch my garden grow. I’ll visualize myself watering, nourishing, and bringing light to those wishes I am seeding on this bountiful Taurus New Moon. Now that I'm finished planting I plan to spend some time just relaxing and enjoying the garden.
Beltane is a time to celebrate the full flower of spring. I hope you too will take some time to honor what is coming to full flower in your own life.