The Healing Power of February
Why I love February: January is the first month and makes a bold statement with champagne, fireworks, and fresh starts. March, no matter how cold the temperature gets or how biting the wind, contains the promise of spring and renewal. Buried in the depths of winter, February is a private month; its gifts are many but they are subtle and understated; it does not give itself easily. February requires faith; faith that indeed spring will come and that the crocuses will break through the frozen ground; faith that we will make it through these long nights and pale grey days. It invites us to cultivate patience and to do so we must slow down, turn inward, go deep, and as John O’Donohue says “befriend our silence.” It is in the stillness and solitude of this quiet month that we have an opportunity to discover ourselves. This is the time for dreaming and for knowing our dreams. This is the time of illumination. -We Moon 2013
The theme for February is purification, renewal, and rebirth: The month itself is named for Februa, an ancient festival of purification. This is the time of the year when the glaciers begin to melt, rivers swell, and the rains wash away the earth’s debris. We can begin our own cleansing process, clearing away both the physical and emotional clutter to prepare ourselves for the new life that even now is beginning to stir.
It is no wonder that the Celts dedicated this month to Brigid the ancient Celtic goddess of water, and fire, the holy well and the sacred flame. She presided over smithcraft, poetry, pets, and healing. Imbolc, on February 2, is the ancient festival that celebrates the midpoint between winter solstice and the spring Equinox. The Christian Church turned the pagan goddess Brigid into St. Brigid and Imbolc became Candlemas, the Feast of Purification of the Virgin in which candles are lit at midnight to honor the Virgin Mary. Light white candles during February to invoke the spirit of Brigid and invite her to bless and enhance your creative projects.
Chinese New Year -2013 is the Year of the Water Serpent
Legend has it that in ancient times Buddha asked all the animals to join him on Chinese New Year.
Twelve came and Buddha named a year for each animal.
The Year of the Serpent began on February 9, 2013. Chinese New Year always commences on the second New Moon after the Winter Solstice. Chinese New Year is a time for psychic and emotional rebirth. During the waxing moon, (the two weeks leading up to the Full Moon) families and friends reunite and celebrate; all debts are paid, old grudges are forgiven and ancestors are honored. “Lucky money” is given to children in crisp new red envelopes. Incense is burned and offerings are made to Heaven and Earth; doors are flung open to welcome the New Year; lions, dragons, and unicorns dance in the street. Chinese New Year ends on the Full Moon 15 days later. The 15th day is called the Festival of Lanterns; this year it falls on February 25. Lanterns painted with birds, flowers, and signs of the zodiac are hung in the temples and carried in a parade under the light of the Full Moon.
What can we expect? The Serpent is the universal symbol of healing and rebirth. Serpent year is a time of introspection, learning, and deep wisdom and it is said that 2013 will be less intense than 2012. It was a general belief in the ancient world that snakes don’t die of old age like other animals, but periodically shed their skin and emerge renewed or reborn into another life. What do you want to shed this year?
Those born in the Year of the Serpent (1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 2001, and 2013) are passionate, fiercely determined and ambitious. To achieve their goals they plan and prepare and like the coiled snake wait for the perfect time to strike. Serpents are also extremely creative, enigmatic, alluring and attractive in a mysterious way. If you are a Serpent then 2013 is your year to shine.
The Aquarius New Moon – February 9-10
A new moon is a new beginning; a time to plant a seed, create an intention, or set off on a quest. The Sun and Moon are in unconventional Aquarius, the sign of the rebel, the outsider, and the genius. Each new moon contains a lesson; an invitation to manifest and embody the qualities of that sign. Aquarians are known for their ability to confront the status quo and say “no” to power; break through old forms (political, creative, technical) and create something new and original. Who or what has authority over you, where in your life do you fresh information or thinking? The water bearer challenges us to be authentic, to be true to ourselves and our ideals and at the same time serve the community. Sun and Moon make a tight square (a stressful aspect) to the nodes of the moon. The south node represents our karmic past; the north node is our evolutionary future. In the spirit of the Serpent, this New Moon encourages us to release some past issue or attachment and have the courage to step into the unknown which is really what we’ve been preparing for all along. And the time came when the risk to remain in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. –Anais Nin
Generous Jupiter went direct (moved forward) on January 30. Jupiter has a reputation for being lucky and it does open doors and brings new opportunities but it isn’t just dumb luck and Lotto. Jupiter is about faith, wisdom, and belief. How much faith do you have in yourself to move out of your comfort zone and go for something you really want?
Mercury Retrograde in Pisces –February 23- March 17
When mental Mercury turns retrograde our minds can feel fuzzy and out of sync. The fact that it is in dreamy Pisces makes it even more so. As we all know, Mercury retrograde periods are not auspicious for launching new projects or making major purchases but they have their uses. Mercury retrograde in inspirational Pisces is a wonderful time to reconnect with those creative projects we’ve put on the back burner or return to our meditation, yoga, or healing practice. Pisces is associated with forgiveness so a positive way to use this period is to reach out to friends and family who are estranged. The ancient Hawaiian prayer, “Ho’oponopono” means, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I thank you, and I love you.” What a beautiful time to practice random acts of kindness. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.-Charlie Chaplin
Saturn in Scorpio Turns Retrograde – February 18
Go to the places that scare you. – Pema Chodron
Tough love Saturn doesn’t have a great reputation; the “Dr. Phil” of planets is like our AA sponsor or coach who forces us to grow up and get real. And yet Saturn is so much more; although he doesn’t possess the largess of Jupiter or the charms of Venus, this sober planet is extremely important. Through hard work and responsibility he helps us develop self-discipline, self-respect, and good boundaries; there’s not much we can do without those qualities. Mysterious Scorpio represents those things that scare us; sex (or rather intimacy), death, taxes, and taboos. Saturn’s journey in Scorpio (through December 2014) invites us to look deeply and seriously at all those areas. This retrograde period beginning February 18 (until July 8) is an opportunity to face those fears, addictions, and attachments that keep us stuck and playing small.
The length of Saturn’s retrograde can actually work to our advantage for it gives us sufficient time to not only do the necessary work but to integrate new habits and behavior. Retrogrades work on an inner level and Saturn’s backward motion asks us to look within to find the authority and discipline we seek. During February Mars in Pisces makes a helpful trine. Plus Pluto (in Saturn’s sign) makes a positive aspect to Saturn (in Pluto’s sign) all year. These two powerful planets working as a team can support our transformation. As astrologer Steven Forrest has said, “Saturn doesn’t ask us to give up our dream, only to make it real.” Often that involves periods of deep inner work. That’s the real gift of this Saturn retrograde.
The Virgo Full Moon – February 25
Full Moons are big, bright, dramatic, and emotional; they bring to light whatever has been growing and building since the New Moon; it is a time of harvesting. The Sun is in watery Pisces, the sign of dreams; the Moon is in earthy Virgo, the sign of details. Pisces rules the invisible world of the imagination and inspiration. Virgo is associated with the physical world; the rational and the real. We need both energies to live fully and richly in the world. Not only is the Sun in Pisces, but Neptune, Chiron, Mars, Mercury are also there. Plus Venus enters Pisces just a few hours after the New Moon. This much compassionate Pisces energy can soften the hard edges of the personal ego and open our hearts. There couldn’t be a better time to forgive, absolve, release, liberate, and make peace with ourselves and others. Once again, “Ho’oponopono”- Say it for yourself, for the people you care about and for those you have difficulty with; say it for the strangers on the street or in the subway, and for this earth and all its creatures. Pisces rules our oceans and large bodies of waters; they, too, are in need of our prayers and love. “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I thank you and I love you.”
Dearest Friends, I recently saw an ad in the paper (I believe it was for Lord & Taylor) that said “Renew Year.” I love that! Use the healing power of this gentle month, Pisces’ inspirational energy, and these retrogrades to go back and Renew your vows; to yourself, perhaps to a partner or close friend, to a cause you feel deeply about, to the dream you had for 2013 and to the vision for your life. I love these re words: Renew, Revive, Restore, Recall, Restart, Revamp, Refresh, Regenerate, Rekindle, and as they say in the Lion King – “Remember who you are.”
Outside it is a milky world, snow driving past the windows incessantly in horizontal waves. Drifts pile up under the high wind. But I am truly in Heaven. There are charming “February” daffodils out in a pale green pot on my desk, tulips on the mantel, a subtle apricot color veined in yellow with dark purple hearts. I have lighted a fire in her because the wind creeps in and I feel a chill. I have Beethoven sonatas (Pastoral and Les Adieux) on the record player. And now to work! – May Sarton (Journal of a Solitude)
Save These Dates!
March 23 & 24: Facial Soundscapes: Harmonic Renewal with Mary Elizabeth Wakefield at the New York Open Center. Mary Elizabeth is a NYC based, internationally recognized healing practitioner with 30 years’ experience. This program is a certification series based on Chinese medicine and planetary correspondences, using calibrated tuning forks instead of needles to unblock and balance the flow of qi. She is also does facial acupuncture and is extremely gifted; I did a whole series with her and it was amazing.
April 6 at 8 pm: An Evening Concert at the Open Center: Mary Elizabeth is also a talented singer and dramatic interpreter. She, the brilliant singer MichelAngelo, and guest artist, iconic singer Marni Nixon, will perform joyous, inspiring sacred chants and original songs as well as excerpts from musical theatre.
For more information: Call the New York Open Center (212) 219-2527 or go to their website at: www.opencenter.org.
Love yourself, feel good, and be grateful. All is well, Virginia