Moon Lesson • Purity and Freedom
The name of this full moon, Pink Moon, was drawn from the presence of herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring across much of North America. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.
It might seem harsh but, Spring, to me, represents the culmination of a season of struggle. Mother Earth and all her creatures struggle and press toward the warming light while fighting off the press of winter. Spring is the remarkable reminder of how under great pressure the rough stone becomes the gem. It’s a reminder of exactly how newborns of every organism and every species work to unfurl, sprout, break through, stretch, reach, and open to the next best step in their journey. And we, in our human experience, are no exception.
To honor the Pink Moon and the hallmark of Spring, we will examine the practice of Sauca. Sauca is the first niyama, or personal observance, within the Eight Limbed Path of Yoga and it means purity and cleanliness. Today, in our modern lives, as in ancient times, sauca touches on both our inner and outer landscapes. Outer cleanliness refers simply to keeping ourselves clean. Inner cleanliness includes the healthy, free functioning of our organs as well as the clarity of our mind. Practicing asanas, pranayama, and meditation go a long way to supporting inner sauca. But, as modern yogis, we also have an additional layer to contend with – industrialization. Chemical toxicity and ambient noise pollution, though barely detectable, have a significant impact on your body, your mind, and your spirit. To employ a truly effective practice of Sauca today — unlike generations before us — it’s important to be aware of what you’re feeding your body and mind.
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Let’s look more closely at practices that support outer sauca. Bathing is a fairly basic and universal practice and one might think, “welp, I’ve got that covered”. And you do, to a degree. In Yoga, we have a sister science called Ayurveda which employs practices designed specifically for deeper cleaning or purification. We call these techniques Shatkriyas (or Shatkarmas) or sometimes simply kriyas. An example of a yogic kriya, or cleansing technique, is the use of a neti pot to clear and balance the nasal passage. Another example of a yogic kriya is tongue scraping. We’ll get more into these types of practices as we move through spring and our journey through Earth medicine.
So let’s turn to inner sauca. When practicing sauca, aim to make sure your choices serve a simple purpose — to feed, nourish, and repair your body and mind for proper function. Consider your choice of fast food or slow food. Consider your choice of products: the lotions, creams, pastes, makeup, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, etc that you might use to nourish your skin. And finally acknowledge the steady hum of ambient noise in your life (the refrigerator, the heating system, the hum of electricity rush through your home, etc) and make it a purposeful choice to find pure quiet as often as possible. It might seem daunting, but this amount of choice is your superpower in disguise. And under the light of this Full Pink Moon, you’ll learn to how to better use it.
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Consider the spirit of the Cardinal. Cardinal is not a migratory bird, so she is around to offer guidance all year long. But she has stepped forward to take the lead during this full moon because of her message ‘to stop and take notice’. It’s nearly impossible to ignore the vibrant red of a cardinal and she is even more noticeable when the trees are still stark and the buds still preparing to open. Spirit Cardinal asks you to become very clear in your intentions and bold with your actions to accomplish your goals. At the same time, Cardinal warns you to be careful with your thoughts and be certain your thoughts reflect what you truly wish to manifest.
Cardinal’s final message is one of prioritization. What are you prioritizing? Why? Are you even on your list of priorities? Is there a new project you’ve been contemplating? When do you intend to dedicate some of your attention to it? How about now?
Spring with all of the struggle, the transformation, and promise of blossoming is a time for new beginnings. What do you think might happen if you chose to prioritize your needs first for the entire season? What might happen if you stop telling yourself ‘not yet’ and starting telling yourself ‘yes, now’? What might happen if you get out of your own way and bust back into the forefront of your life with passion and color? Spirit Cardinal offers of the gift of careful, yet playful, consideration of our choices and, most importantly, how those choices impact who we are, how we wish to be, and how we show up...not just for others, but for ourselves.
Now consider the Maiden/Virgin archetype. The rise of the full Pink Moon is a time to consider and humbly honor the Maiden/Virgin archetype within yourself. Before we get to far, let me clear some things up. The Maiden/Virgin archetype has suffered decades of abuse and misappropriation. In many circles the Maiden/Virgin reflects the aspect of our being that is “in need of rescuing”. Squash that. We’re going to put the power back into our Maiden/Virgin.
The Maiden/Virgin embodies purity and independence, strength and an uncorrupted nature. Sexual status has little to do with this archetype, in fact, the archaic meaning of the word Virgin refers to an independent, autonomous woman, a woman not required to answer to anybody. Imagine the fresh, rising energy of an emerging young woman, full of enthusiasm and authenticity. Someone with an intelligent, practical attitude who can plan, organize and confidently foresee what’s coming, stunningly confident in her skin. This woman rises in you like the tide and each spring she begs to step into the light. You may not feel her every time, and heck, you may have a stack of blocks and clutter preventing her from emerging, but she does reside within you!
Maiden/Virgin archetype and Spirit Cardinal invite you to clear the rubbish out and step into your bold, vibrant, power to influence change, internally and externally. Like the Cardinal, the Maiden/Virgin archetype is all about magnetism — standing firmly inside your own power, and creating changes in the structure and environment around you, in order to attract all that you need and desire to you. Here are a few ways to bring her into being:
Make plans. Think practically and logically.
Be assertive. Ask for what you want. (Some might say that our Maiden/Virgin is probably the most masculine of our feminine archetypes.)
Accelerate your growth at this time, don’t hold yourself back. Read, watch, listen to and surround yourself with inspirational, motivational books, and people.
Take the time to uncover and cultivate your own unique gifts and quirks at this stage in your life. Your strength lies in your individuality. Invest in yourself.
Celebrate the successes of others. If you see and know other women who are making positive changes in their lives, support and celebrate them. This is a two-fer; it helps to nurture and strengthen their inner Virgin/Maiden as well as your own.
Work on strengthening your solar plexus chakra. The third chakra governs our sense of personal power and self-esteem. When functioning in a strong, balanced way it enables us to feel confident, ambitious and courageous enough to take risks and generate action. We feel able to face rejection and function in a crisis.
Remember to leave some time to unwind. The high energy, dynamic, creative attitude of this archetype can sometimes result in depletion, so whilst it is a resilient phase, stay centered enough to know when enough’s enough.
Moon Time Exploration
Freedom – Pure Personal Power
It’s no secret that we need fuel to mobilize. We need a spark to ignite a fire. So what do you use for fuel — to feed, nourish, and repair your mind, body, and spirit? Our Journey through Thirteen Moons now opens to the world of Earth based medicine. We’ll explore the Earth’s natural resources and how we might utilize them to balance and purify as we burst into Spring.
This month, don’t just step outside the box...burst out! Struggle, wrestle, fail, reassess, re-organize, plan, and execute. If we never struggle, we’d never learn how resilient, how resourceful, how creative, and how powerful we truly are. This month, our Journey Practice is about preparing your canvas for the work of art that is your life. We’ll begin with looking at diet and our relationship with food. In order to “have” power, you must have proper fuel.
Read through the entire exercise before beginning. Materials needed: your journal and a pen
5 min Journey Practice
A Little of This and a Little of That
More often than not, when I call my mother to ask for a recipe, her response tends to include “a little of this and a little of that”. LOL. But as much as this memory tickles me, it’s really difficult to pinpoint “a little of this and a little of that”. Your journey this month is about keeping tabs on a little of this and a little of that to make it more concrete.
Keep your journal close and use it to keep track of everything that crosses your lips. The Pink Moon will help to shed light on what you consume as fuel. To truly illuminate your choices, you have to be honest with yourself. Include gum (this counts because it activates digestion without the benefit of actually sending any food down), water, that one piece of caramel, that handful of popcorn and that piece of chicken you took from your partner’s plate. Ideally, each entry would include: Date - All Foods - Your energy level
Charting your energy level will provide you with the biggest bang for your efforts on this journey. Over the course of a moon cycle, you might notice a trend in when, why and how your energy shifts according to your fuel. At the end of this journey ask yourself: What overall grade would you give your fuel? Premium? Regular? Super? What was happening in your life on the days that weren’t as nourishing as they could be? What was going well on the days that you were better able to nourish?
For those of you who enjoy Facebook, share your daily reflections in our private Facebook group this month.
This pose is also known as Standing Figure Four or One legged Chair pose. It's purpose is to build heat within while strengthening your foundation.
Your pranayama this month is designed to move "heat" throughout your entire body. Heat is a support for cleansing and purifying.
This mudra is used to connect you to your solar plexus region — the seat of your personal power. It's also beneficial for balancing your digestive system.