Moon Lesson • Digging for the 'Real' Dirt
March brings with it the last full Moon of winter. And that opens the door for longer days and warmer nights, this alone is a wonderful gift for many. The change in season is the perfect time to consider how you react to change in your life. What signals do you look for and how do you prepare?
Speaking of signals, several northern American tribes knew this moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. However, this moon is most frequently referred to as the Worm Moon because as the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. A bit more reliable than a groundhog noticing it's shadow, eh? LOL! To the settlers, this moon was also referred to as the Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees or the Lenten Moon marking the beginning of Lent. But we'll stick with the unassuming Worm Moon.
A worm may seem the unlikeliest of animal spirits to guide us, but that’s what makes Worm so powerful. The word ‘worm’ derives from Old Norse ‘orm’ and Anglo-Saxon ‘wyrm’, meaning "serpent" or "dragon". The synonymous usage of worm and dragon in English lessened over centuries until we arrived at today’s distinction between the two. Thus, the imagery that likely springs to mind when you read ‘worm’ is that of an earthworm.
Whether you image a worm or dragon, to honor this moon, I invite you to consider the concept of “doing the dirty work” — what does that mean to you? Where is the dirt in your life right now? Your food choices? A stack of dusty papers? An unsettling relationship? The to-do lists and obligations swirling in your mind? This month, the dirty work is about digging in deep, confronting fear of change, loss, and/or decay, assessing your available resources with truth and returning to the surface renewed.
With that in mind, our Journey takes us in for a closer look at the practice of Aparigraha within our Eight Limbed Path. Aparigraha refers to the practice of not hoarding. It guides you to take only what is needed to feed, nourish, repair and sustain. Aparigraha invites you to place a bit of faith in your Creator of Choice to support you in the renewal of your resources.
* * *
Consider the spirit of the Worm. Worm is the spiritual groundskeeper. In real life, worms both nourish the earth and take nourishment from the earth. As a guide, Worm reminds us that through direct contact with the soil and earth around you, you will find nourishment, and in turn nourish. Worm never takes more than it needs and aims to continually use or recycle everything it consumes.
Also, an earthworm is hermaphroditic which means that they have both female and male reproduction organs. So, as an animal guide, Worm asks you to consider which areas in your own life can use the undivided attention of both your masculine and feminine energy (think fertilizer). How are you replenishing the environments you keep (whether in your home, at work, in your community, or on behalf of Mother Earth herself)? Have you let any areas become stale or seldom used? Consider your inner landscape...are you being productive and life affirming in your thoughts and actions? Are you turning over your soil and planting new experiences, enriching yourself with new information, cultivating new interests, and surrounding yourself with beauty? What can you let go of? What can be replaced with something more nourishing and supportive of who you are today?
Now consider the Healer archetype. To 'heal' means to make whole, to alleviate, and to repair. Conventionally, we think of the Healer archetype in relation to how we work with others. We think of care givers: doctors, nurses, therapists, mindful teachers, energy workers, shamans, medicine people, priests/pastors and others who work on behalf of a greater good for another's well being. No doubt about it, the beautiful souls in these roles are Healers. But, let's be clear, they don't heal you — you heal you.
In my own journey, as I struggled with what to eat, what not to eat, vision-altering migraines, and mild depression over my situation, I had a garden of Healers around me. They provided direction, guidance, and a world of tools to support healing. But I had to do the dirty work. Intellectually, I understood real healing comes from within. Acceptance of this truth took quite a while longer. Eventually, sick and tired of being sick and tired, I tapped into my inner Healer and began to heal her first. This meant striping back to the basics, clearing everything out and looking at myself with fresh eyes. I retrained myself to trust my intuition, rely on my gut feeling, and to listen to my body and, most importantly, to respond accordingly.
With your Healer archetype, you make yourself whole. You alleviate your stress and discomfort. You repair your heart, your body, and your spirit. How powerful is that?! Whether you consider yourself a Healer by nature, by profession or not at all, you were designed to heal. Your Healer archetype and Spirit Worm have that in common.
When your Healer archetype and Spirit Worm come together, they open a gate way to explore Aparigraha and clear the clutter — not just from the spaces you inhabit, but from the inner realm within your mind as well. In the Yoga Sutras, there is a thread (Sutra 1.2) that reads Yogas citta vrtti nirodah which refers to attaining mastery of the modifications/fluctuations/chatter of the mind. This thread, or verse, is considered the heart of Yoga...it's the reason we practice. So this Moon, break through the surface stuff (the chatter in your mind) and get to the real dirt (balancing your whole self). One way to break through the surface is by using meditation to reclaim some space. To prepare for these experiences dive into the Moon Time Exploration below.
Moon Time Exploration
When Spirit Worm and your Healer converge, the theme of miraculous regeneration is unlocked. The energy of worm is one that heals when all others have given up on healing. It repairs when few other energies are capable of doing so. If you are challenged with a particular situation that's clouding, diminishing or monopolizing your energy take a step back from it. Create an environment for nourishment. It helps to first let go of old habits, notions, and expectations that you may have been holding on to. Take the Healer's perspective and look to balance your whole situation rather than just this one condition. An active practice of non-hoarding (or at least letting go of excess) can be explored through meditation. This month on our Journey through Thirteen Moons, we will explore classic yoga meditation as well as shamanic journeying which is a rather active meditation technique to dig down deep, release what's no longer necessary, accept nourishment, and return to the surface renewed.
Read through the entire exercise before sitting down to do it. Materials needed: your journal and a pen
5 min Journey Practice
Let's bring Aparigraha off the page and into your life. These are some practical steps you can take to practice Apraigraha. After, I've included an active meditation practice to begin to dig a little deeper.
1) Look at the room you are sitting in right now. Really look around. Is there any clutter you are willing to remove and recycle? If so, remove and recycle it.
2) Take a look at your email inbox. Are you receiving emails that you absolutely never read and never plan to read. If so, unsubscribe from at least 3 lists each day. There is something cathartic about releasing those ties to your inbox. And quite frankly, it's often easier than actually clearing the clutter that's already in there. For some 'delete' just feels too permanent. So this preempetive measure is a manageable compromise.
3) Take an inventory of your handbags and backpacks. Are you carrying only the essentials? Or are you carrying extra unnecessary weight? Lighten your load.
Part II - Active Meditation
Meditation doesn't always come easy to everyone and some days even the most dedicated yogis just can't "get there". Often we have more than one area that seems to need our healing attention. We'd like to address them all, but this just puts your brain is overload mode making meditation even further from reach. To clear a pathway, you can use a very clear question to frame your practice. This narrowing creates a straight line for you to cut through the clutter, access your inner realm, and connect to your higher consciousness. The only challenge that remains now is to craft the "right" question.
This month, set a timer for a seven minute meditation each day. Take note of your answers in your journal each day. Frame each meditation with a very pointed question. I'll start you off with two. You are welcome to stick to these two questions or even just one all month. I've used one of these questions for almost two years. But, truly if another question comes to mind that really resonates for you, use it. The practice is to use a single question and sit with it for seven minutes. Here's how it might look...
Take a seat. Take three steady even breaths to center and arrive. As soon as you've completed your three breaths, ask yourself: How should I direct my energy today? Sit and listen for the first bits of information to rise up to answer the question, don't dismiss anything. This is an exersize to rebuild confidence in your choices and how you direct your resources. A well crafted simple question demands simplicity and clears the way for you to focus on one thing at a time.
Another great question, if you're in the mood for spring cleaning or are having difficulty deciding on whether to have and hold or to release and recycle. Try this: Is it essential?
So where's the dirt we spent so much time talking about? The answers are your dirt. How you chose to act on these answers is the work necessary for healing. ;-)
If any additional directed questions surface for you this month, please share them with the group in our private Facebook forum.