Moon Lesson • Short, Sweet, and Simple
As native tribes are attuned to the Earth and its creations, whether plant or animal, it’s not too surprising why the full moon in June was blessed with its name. There is a relatively short season for harvesting strawberries and it comes each year during the month of June. The name for this moon was universal to every Algonquin tribe. Welcome the Full Strawberry Moon and all it’s short and sweet notes.
The Strawberry Moon marks the completion of spring and the arrival of summer in full. Somehow that final twist of spring makes everything feel brand new. It’s as though spring’s transition and the rise of this month’s full moon plants us firmly in this moment and Great Mother Earth says, “okay, my work here is done. Spread out and enjoy it!”. So we wake to longer days and linger joyfully through warmer nights. But before Spring vacates for good, it leaves one last love note to remind us to enjoy each moment as it comes...because in a breath that moment is changed forever.
The strawberry vine winds its way through itself, blossoms for a short period (about 4-6 weeks) and matures with strawberries for harvest for an even shorter time (about 3 weeks). Talk about short and sweet. So what can we learn from the strawberry vine and its fruit during this Full Strawberry Moon?
We learn how to untangle and re-weave our own stories.
Before we do, let’s take a look at this month’s yoga philosophy practice. Ishvara pranidhana. In Yoga Sutra 1.23 (as part of our niyamas from the Eight Limbed Path). Patanjali details a sure-fire way to reach the state of Yoga. It is called ishvara pranidhana. Ishvara is a Sanskrit word that can be translated to mean supreme, or personal, God. Pranidhana means to dedicate, devote, or surrender. Ishvara pranidhana is also translated as "offering the fruits of one's actions to the Divine." This niyama invites you to let your small self fall away and give yourself entirely over to your Divine — to surrender to love. And although that might sound scary, you have everything you need to should you decide to accept this invitation.
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Within you lies your very own personal Sh-ero, your Heroine archetype. Your inner Heroine is more subtle than your Warrior whose aim is protection and conquest or your Huntress whose focus is to follow the clues and gain the most advantageous position for future growth. Your Heroine is your personal champion, your quarterback, and your cheerleader all in one. She saves the day. She uses her intellect, her talents, and her creative instincts to create situations that result in positive outcome. Your Heroine is the light that blots out your inner critic. She marks each moment of success and links it directly to another. Much like our animal guide this month.
But before we get to our animal guide, I'd like to tell you about one of my personal external Sh-eros. Her name is Ernestine Shepard and her birthday just happens to be this month, I swear I didn't know that when I wrote this. The Universe just lays it out that way sometimes.
Ernestine was a model in Baltimore for years, but at age 56 she and her sister Mildred Blackwell went to try on swimsuits and found their bodies were not as they would have liked; they started taking aerobics classes. Eventually, her sister began competing in bodybuilding shows under the name Velvet, and Ernestine followed under the name Ernie. However, in 1992, Mildred died following a brain aneurysm.
Shepherd carries on her bodybuilding career in part to remember her sister. But since the age of 56, she has won two bodybuilding titles, as well as run nine marathons. She also leads exercise classes for seniors at the Union Memorial United Methodist Church in Baltimore, and works as a personal trainer. In 2016, Ernestine published a book, Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined To Be Fit. I swear, she has mastered taking the moment that is gifted and molding it to her desired outcome.
Ernestine is my Sh-ero because she recognized that each morning we wake, life begins again. Also, she recognized that the story you tell yourself today is more powerful than any past shortcoming, misstep or even failure. She saw something that didn't serve her and chose to create something else in it's place. The story you tell yourself today about what's possible, by when, and how, builds your potential futures.
So when you wonder if you really could re-work the patterns in your own story. The answer is Yes!
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Consider the spirit of the Spider. In their short lifespan, spiders weave intricate and deliberate webs, each one unique and with purpose. In spirit, Spider is our great storyteller. She is the creator of all that is worth capturing. Her web will only hold that which nourishes and everything else flows through.
Spirit Spider is strength and gentleness combined. She awakens creative sensibilities and reminds you that the past is always interwoven with the future — use it to bolster you up rather than anchor you down. Spider’s body is shaped like the number 8, the symbol of infinite possibilities of creation. Her 8 legs have been said to represent the 4 winds of change and the four directions of the medicine wheel. Spider’s message is that you are an infinite being who will continue to weave patterns of life and living throughout time. Continue to weave your story.
For our Goddess Inspiration this month, I am introducing Spider Woman. In many native American tribes, Spider Woman, or Spider Grandmother as she's often referred, is thought of as "she who creates from a central source". According to lore, Spider Woman helped weave the world into harmony and balance with her good clear thoughts (threads). She is also often referenced as the creator of dreamcatchers.
A dreamcatcher is a hoop, traditionally wooden, that has been woven with fibers in a sacred pattern, touching on the four sacred directions as well as any points along the hoop that speak directly to the creator or end user, to help capture their good dreams while allowing the bad ones to simply drift through.
In Year Two (Year of the Healer), the focus is on honing and gathering your tools for healing, so we will actually make our own sacred dreamcatchers together. Your journey right now is about cultivating awareness and gaining perspective on how you are being and how you choose to be in your day-to-day. But I believe we all have room for more than one dreamcatcher ;-)
This month, focus on your dreams, both waking and sleeping. What are they telling you? Are they escaping you? Maybe a little dreamcatcher can help bring things into focus. So, if you're interested, I’ve included a sweet video on how to make your own dreamcatcher at the bottom of our lesson. It’s truly a fantastic summer time practice of weaving your truth and it can be done while relaxing on the beach, watching your kids' sporting events, during family reunions, on airplanes, etc.
The point is to 'real-ize' (as in...make real) your dreams from different angles. And if crafting isn't in your wheelhouse right now, journal about your dreams.
Moon Time Exploration
Renewal – Primal Feminine Energy
To go a bit deeper this month, I’d like you to step back and look at the stories you’ve been telling yourself and those around you. What fruit do they bare? Are they serving to lift you up or does the weight of them hold you down? Do they inspire action? Or do they deflate your self-esteem?
Here’s an example of one of my own stories:
"I have to work really hard to make money. My parents always worked hard to make ends meet. It’s just the way it is. Stuff is always “hard”, but it will also always work out. The struggle will always be there. There’s no way around that. I need to be extremely cautious with my choices, because I can’t afford to make mistakes."
My new story around money is "I always have enough and there is a comfortable balance of what comes in and what goes out. I understand the current and it’s good. Because I make money easily, I freely give back to my community and I feel free to try new things and even make a few mistakes."
Even though I’ve been living this new story for quite some time, it took me a lifetime to relinquish the old story. Here’s how it went down during my transition from one tale to the next. I had joined a mastermind group for business women and it was time to set goals. But before setting our goals we needed to acknowledge our roadblocks. I had no problem identifying my blocks, I just wasn’t certain how to get them out of my way. So I sat down and I wrote out my beliefs about money. Then I wrote out a new story (at the time it was the story I wished to live into). I posted these two stories up in my office. And committed to reading my new story each time I was in my office. And gradually things started to shift. My story around money was really changing.
But every once in a while doubt would creep in and I’d start to back off of my goal. I hadn’t relinquished the old tale and it kept rising back up. It’s almost embarrassing to admit that I couldn’t recognize the hold this old story had...I mean, I had stuck it on my wall!! It was time to surrender it to love. I took both stories off the wall and read them. Then I tossed the old one in the trash and burned it to ash. And at the bottom of my new story I wrote, “This is my story. This is my creation. This is my truth. I own it. With love, Erica”
Your story might center around your relationship with a parent, a spouse or a friend. Your story might center around identity…”I’m a mother of four kids and I struggle every day.” Your story might center around mindful food choices and your overall picture of health…”I can’t stop eating x, y, z even though it makes me feel terrible. And I’m weak.” Your story might center around illness, survival, addiction, or self image.
My point is that we all have a story or two or three that aren’t necessarily serving a high vibrational purpose any longer, but we haven’t surrendered it. In yoga, when we say “let it go”...what we really mean is Ishvara pranidhana — Surrender to Love.
Read through the entire exercise before beginning. Materials needed: your journal and a pen
5 min Journey Practice
Surrender to Love
Keep it short and sweet. This is a no judgement zone. Consider your stories. The good, the bad, the ugly.
Sit in meditation and let them all come forward. See them for the intricate tapestry they truly are. Some threads might be worn and frayed. Some are fresh and tight. Some are tried and true. And others completely unraveled.
Sit with your stories and select at least one. Follow that thread back to it's beginning and surrender it to love.
Write your story down as you perceive it today. Then re-write it as you would like it to be. Sign your story with:
This is my story. This is my creation. This is my truth. I own it. With love, [insert your name].
If you choose to weave a dreamcatcher, please do share it in our private Facebook group this month.
Surya Namaskar (variation). Let's invite in the light of day, the warming sun, and all that is summer with this standing version of a classic sun salute.
Your pranayama this month is designed to help cool your body down when things heat up — weather wise or from your own internal flame of frustration or anger.
This mudra is used to cool you down as well. It is said to beneficial for soothing burning sensations of the skin, soothing discomfort from inflammation, and quieting your fiery mind.