Friday, December 7, 2018

The Shape of Things to Come/ Body Astrology: Capricorn

The solar New Year always takes place in Capricorn season. This is “Father Time’s” domain. It’s usually a time to celebrate traditions and families as well as review the past, and plan for the future.

Capricorn is all about time. It places great stake in lineage, origin, and precedent to dictate the way we succeed in the future. It likes to canonize and feel its gravity. It understands better than anything else that time is the key ingredient in fruition, maturation, and mastery. There’s simply no getting around it. Time is the architecture we hang our reality on. Ideas, feelings, and inspirations can be instantaneous but without time and effort nothing of concrete form can materialize.

Capricorn also represents our foundations. What are we building our more sophisticated structures on? Without a solid foundation our loftiest aspirations can result in unsustainable projects, relationships, and endeavors at best, or, at worst, work to our detriment. It’s the reality of needing to crawl before you can walk. It is not a step that can be skipped, and in the world of Capricorn there are demerits for cutting corners. The world of Capricorn is where all rewards and losses are earned. For a free ride go see Jupiter.

Saturn rules the sign of Capricorn and is often referred to as the “astrologers best friend.” When we follow Saturn’s cycle around the chart we can reliably see the manifestation of events and turning points that are unmistakable.

Saturn is really feelin’ itself right now and will for the next two years. It entered its home sign in Capricorn this time last year and will remain there until December 2020. The south node of the moon (an astrological point of over development and complacency) moved into Capricorn last month, and will move through it and host eclipses there until May 2020. Settle in to witness concrete examples of how well we’ve dealt with issues of social structures and organization, geographic and political boundaries, national securities, and sustainable agricultural and economic practices.

On a shorter cycle and more personal timeline, how was 2018 for you? What were the milestones or hardships? What passed muster and what fizzled?  Capricorn either delivers the goods or gives you a good butt kicking. It’s not always fun but it is always on your side. It’s always showing the way to make dreams reality…if you’re willing to put in the time.

Join Margherita Tisato and I as we explore our strength, test our endurance, and put thoughts and feeling into action at Body Astrology workshop. Wednesday, December 19th at 7PM at Juniper. Please register early. We are no longer taking walk-ins.

Here are some ways to tap into this season’s abundant Capricorn energy.

EMBODIED Capricorn

Body parts: Saturn's job is to crystalize and harden. Skeletal system, bones, teeth, skin. Traditionally, the knees.

Key words: 

The Climb: The social climb, the ladder of success, to ascend, to rise to the top. Stratum. Rank. Ambition, goals, status. Achievement, mastery. Grades, levels, social STRUCTURES, hierarchies. The work it takes to achieve, accomplish, ascend.

The Boundary:  limitation, rules, earth-bound-3-D reality, consensus reality, constrict, conserve, definition, shape, form, contour, contrast, STRUCTURE, regulation, materiality, the six senses, the sensual, tests, barriers, responsibilities, obligations, commitments, containers.

The Foundation: the basics, the scaffolding, the architecture, the building blocks, the supports. The rudimentary. Tangible securities. STRUCTURE, format, the past, origins.

Father Time:  traditional, long-lasting, patience, time-tested, time-honored, reliability, routine, persistence, endurance, the ultimate STRUCTURE of time, the metronome, maturity, the past.

Polarity: Yin. Restricted, constricted, limited, conservative action. Restraint and reserve.

Modality/Element: Cardinal Earth. This is the start of winter and winter solstice. It is careful cautious initiation of all that is practical, material, and foundational.

Ruled by: Saturn. The symbol is the mountain goat or sea goat.

Embodied explorations:

Align and strengthen your bony architecture:
Activities such as Alexander Technique, dance, Pilates, Body Mind Centering, and Klein Technique help you understand the alignment of bones and joints to support conscious and considered movement habits.

Weight-bearing activity has been proven to strengthen bones and muscles and improve bone density. Develop and fortify your plank position. Pump some iron!

Vitamin D from sunshine, nuts and leafy greens have been proven to strengthen bones and teeth.

Climb a mountain or even some stairs! ASCEND through hard work and effort! Bike uphill.

Take care of your knees. Take some time to understand how they work and strengthen the muscles that support them. Show them some TLC.

Go slow. Move incrementally. Slowly build in intensity. We learn more about our bodies and build strength when we slow down.

Master the basics of an art form, practice or activity.

Give physical shape and form to an idea, feeling or intuition. Manifest!

Structure your time in a way that helps support your ambitions. How can you structure your morning, week, season, or year to give tangible form to your aspirations?

What is your relationship to time? Do you honor its passage? Do you squander? Do you adhere to a strict schedule? Are time, tempo, cycles and rhythms part of your consciousness?  How are your time management skills? 

Commit to a routine, project or schedule for a limited amount of time. How long can you keep this up? Test yourself. Build endurance. Measure your growth.

Check your mental, physical and emotional foundations.  Are your relationships, projects, finances, health routines built on supports that are sturdy, sustainable, and well constructed?  If not, take the time to fortify the structures and foundations that hold you up.

Take the time to cleanse, feed, and condition your skin. It’s our largest organ and the barrier/interface between what’s inside and what’s outside. Like all boundaries, skin works best when its flexible and can breathe. Boundaries are different than walls.

Saturn rewards all efforts made and all time taken to build something solid that has integrity. No short cuts.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

To Wax UNabashed about a distant TRUTH!!!! /Body Astrology: Sagittarius


I tried to cram everything Sagittarius in that there title. I think I got it. This is what Sagittarius does, it tries to get everything in there. Go ahead, ask them a question. They may or may not give you an answer but they’ll give you a lot of something with bonus features.

Join Margherita Tisato and I at Juniper on November 14th at 7PM as we prep for the all-encompassing action in Sagittarius! By mid- month Sagittarius will be host to the Sun, Jupiter (Sadge’s home planet), and retrograde Mercury. Talk about a shift in energy! Look forward to very, ahem, spirited family get-togethers!

Sadge season promises indulgence and cutting loose for sure, but the fun and games can get turn into some over-blown scenes of self-righteous zeal if we’re not careful (which it will be incredibly hard to be). Jupiter expands everything it touches and is blind to boundaries. On its own, holiday time can be socially sensitive, but mixed with the current socio-political climate things could get very inflated.

Mercury’s retrograde on the 16th makes communication sloppy and charged with bias. A worldview is not a fact. A belief is not knowledge. Sagittarius is Mercury’s least favorite place to be, never mind the drunken backspin. Mercury (the planet of objective reason and clear cognition) gets distracted by the roaming nature of Jupiter, its enthusiasm and ideologies.

Perhaps we can lean on some of Sadge's virtues like mercy, lenience, and faith in higher goodness to soften and forgive some cringe worthy moments. Maybe we can band together in the name of optimism and inspiration as we begin to set our aims for 2019.

EMBODIED Sagittarius

Body parts: Hips and thighs. All that ambulates. Especially up and out and covering a large distance. A lot of astrologers include the liver because of the indulgence aspect of Sagittarius.

Key words: 

The “Ex” Factor: Explore, expand, exaggerate, extra, expound, exotic, experience, exuberance, extrapolate, extravagance, excitement, exploitation, exult, export, excess, exclamation points!!!!!

Covering Ground: travel, traverse, adventure, trek, spread, dissipate, scatter, scattershot, disseminate, disperse, publish, updraft, aim and trajectory.

Good Time Charlie: hope, faith, belief, luck, laughter, fun, buoyant, boisterous, party, indulgence, loud, optimism, careless, tactless, freedom, wild, brazen, naked, abundance, sports, games, jokes, run-on sentences, and stories that go nowhere. TMI!

The Higher Mind: learn, teach, study, religion, philosophy, law, the quest, the inspiration, dogma, the abstract mind, academia, xenophilia, international business & culture, the journey, the truth. Belief.

Polarity: Yang. Sagittarius sprawls. It takes up space. It grows outward and floats upward. It’s extraverted.

Modality/Element: Mutable fire. The course of a wildfire can change with the wind, the fuel that’s available, and the landscape. It’ll go wherever. It’s wild and will spread its warmth, destruction, glory, knowledge…anything it picks up along the way. It literally knows no bounds. It destabilizes the fall season so we can move into winter.

Ruled by Jupiter: Jupiter rules both Sagittarius and Pisces. It’s the largest planet in the solar system. Sadge's symbol is the centaur or archer, or centaur as archer with an eye on the prize that’s off into the future or off in the distance. It’s Sadge’s nature to traverse that distance in search of….

The mythology of the centaur comes into play as well. The half-beast-half-human represents the journey from the “low” bestial expression of Sadge,  (drunken, carousing, sloppy, wasteful, squandering of time, resources and gifts, revelry and raucous behavior, indiscriminate, and debauched) to the “high” human expression of Sadge (education, law &order, religion, moralistic virtue, and all other abstract notions of human(e) existence, and the higher mind).

Embodied explorations:

Propulsion and all locomotor movement. Jump for joy. Travel through space.

Moving through and taking up space (external size and space)

Finding space in the body and in the mind (internal size and space)

Strengthening, stretching and stabilizing the hips and thighs so we can cover a lot of territory, have a long journey


Supersize it! (a gesture, an idea, a feeling, a thought) make it a big deal.

Stabilize it! (Can you tell when you go too far, over indulge, lose your sense of direction?)

What are you learning on your journey? Are you too invested in your destination? Have you forgotten where you’re going?

Walk, run, gallop, prance. Use your legs.

Climb that mountain, run that race, see what you’re made of. Internal and external adventures and explorations!

What uplifts, inspires, creates buoyancy? Think trampolines, hot air balloons, getting out in wide-open spaces. Skydiving anyone?

Go beyond a limit or threshold. Go into uncharted territory. Make a discovery.

Target practice: Archery, darts, shooting hoops. Practice your aim so you know when you’re traveling toward your vision or if you’re scattering energy. Follow a trajectory.

Expose yourself to the language, art, food, music, traditions of another culture.

Expand your mind. Study the many embodiments of truth from around the world and throughout time.


Sagittarius poem #2

Brick-red lispstick
stained leaves. These aren't trees
they're overgrown flowers. I've written four thousand
poems walking
along Glen Street. Gleaming copper pennies
in the sun, chocolate coins wrapped in gold
foil shimmering their sweet fake money and falling
to the ground like a


bank. I wanna harvest these treasures, stomp ‘em
with a smash-crackle-crunch.
This is everything! To wonder
what's what. What's real? What's too fucking fuchsia
to be true?
To be challenged by a fathomless beauty
that gives

birth to all possibilities by crushing rust-hued
assumptions like,

This is how things are.
This is who I am.
This is what I know.

The senseless fluorescents and kaleidoscopes on Glen Street make me scream.

And the trees scream back in neon:


Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Delicious Ick / Body Astrology: Scorpio

Autumn 2018 belongs to Venus. Yes. The whole damn thing. Not only is Libra season always ruled by Venus, this year the planet of love, art, beauty and relationship goes retrograde in Scorpio and Libra October 5-November 16. October also hosts two lunations ruled by this back-spinning planet: a new moon in Libra on October 8 and a full moon in Taurus (also ruled by Venus) on October 24. When Venus goes direct it will take the rest of the season to clear its shadow (go over the territory it covered while retrograde). So, settle in for 2 more months of the Retrograde Venus Show.

This all means Venus is the star of Scorpio season as well. We’ll be reviewing all the material in the “discard pile” when it comes to partnerships, creative projects, and our finances. Yep, Venus rules our values, which include our material possessions and assets. Scorpio represents that “discard pile”; all the issues we consider dead and buried, undesirable, or even poisonous. It’s all the stuff we put in our psychological, physical, emotional and literal sewers.

We all have sewer. That’s where the waste goes, whether it’s actual waste or useful stuff that feels too gross and scary to deal with. But that stuff never goes away. It just moves to our cesspool. We need to acknowledge what’s in there and include it as a necessary part of our lives. We don’t need to live there, but to avoid it is to invite stagnation and toxicity. This is why we need Scorpio. Scorpio sees in the dark, talks to the dead, and isn’t afraid to dumpster dive. Scorpio intrinsically understands that death feeds life and our most powerful medicine resides in our most lethal poison.

When Venus visits the underworld we visit our darker sides and redefine, if only temporarily, what sweetness means. Venus wants us to understand the value of a little pain in our pleasure, and that being elbow deep in shit today is the promise of rose petals and perfume tomorrow…if we work with it. It’s time for Venus to visit all the places that are off limits and retrieve what it needs to evolve. It’s time to get in there.

Join MargheritaTisato and I on Wednesday October 24th at 7PM at Juniper as we call in all that is regenerative, transforming and true into our bodies. It should be an especially deep dive this evening due to the full moon! Enjoy all the fall festivities and here is a guide for all your Scorpio season meditations. XOC


Body parts: reproductive system, sexual organs, bowels, bladder, excretory system and rectum

Key words:  It’s all about sex, death, taxes. But seriously: depth, transformation, birth and rebirth, renewal, merging, intensity, power, secrecy, taboo, mystery, loyalty, betrayal, extremes, vengeance, toxins, medicine, healing, intuition, absolutes, truth, compost, magnetism, resources, obsession, psychology, persistence, piercing, occult, desire, passion, control, debt, recycling, purge, digging

Polarity: Yin. Scorpio magnetizes resources to itself from sources outside itself. It pulls in.

Modality/Element: Fixed Water. The deepening of fall. Emotional security, solidifying resources, finalizing experiences, laying to rest dead matter, allowing the spiritual, intuitive, psychic to emerge. Finding the nutrients in what’s decomposed.

Ruled by Mars and Pluto: Mars rules both Aries and Scorpio. We can think of Scorpio as the feminine manifestation of Martial principals. In place of war, division, individuality, frank action, physical surgery, and animal sex we have strategy, power, merging, subterfuge, psychological surgery, sex as emotional bonding. Pluto is the modern ruler of Scorpio lending the archetypal energies of transformation, alchemy, and the “underworld.” The symbols are the scorpion, the eagle, the serpent and the phoenix.

Embodied explorations:

Somatic or breath meditation on the pelvic floor or sphincter.
Noticing the breath when its engaged or released. Strengthening and relaxing pelvic floor and sphincter.

Examining the places in breath, movement or thought where one thing transforms into another, i.e. the inhale turns into the exhale, a beginning turns into an end turns into a beginning…

Corpse pose. Commit to letting go. Surrender.

Feeling the intensity of “loading” muscles and letting them go. Imposing the will onto the body, then receiving.

Sending attention and breath to the intimate body parts (the sex parts and bathroom parts).

The study or practice of tantra and butoh.

Exploring taboo movement. Are there movements that our society or our families have told us are off limits?

Talk, physical, or somatic therapy.

Emotionally safe and intimate sex.

Learning movement sequences from others and making your personal contribution to create something new.

Creating new movement out of discarded movement.

Review financial investments. Pay off debts.

Great time for a space or body cleanse. Exfoliate!

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Art of Partnership/ Body Astrology: Libra

Photo by Helen Levitte
Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac and it’s the place in the chart where we come into contact with others. Up until Libra we’re pretty self-involved: learning about ourselves and amazed by what we can do. By the time we reach Libra we’ve developed a curiosity and craving for what is “not me.”

By exploring what we consider to be “not me,” we actually find out a whole hell of a lot about ourselves…to our delight or dismay. It’s these apparent differences that are Libra’s siren song. Immediately, Libra gets to work harmonizing the discord, smoothing out the rough edges, and greasing the wheels with beauty, intelligence, and diplomacy.

Sounds lovely doesn't it? When Libra doesn’t get the balance right, this ability can turn into the kind of denial that actually allows differences to grow. So sensitive is the Libran instrument to conflict, it can disrupt the very balance it so longs for with little white lies, superficial ornamentation, and sacrificing the selfhood it developed in those first 6 signs.

When Libra has a clear sense of self they can negotiate with the best of them in the name of authentic fairness. Libra is tougher than it thinks. Conflict can be seen as the best opportunity to work their symbiotic magic, and through the art of partnership show people how to be at peace with each other.

Being at peace with each other doesn’t necessarily mean liking each other.  The things we will go through to be liked, or “liked”!!!  The contortions we will put ourselves in for opinions we don’t even respect, or in an effort to not "rock the boat"! I’m not condemning anyone for this because we ALL do it…yes even you. When we experience social rejection it registers in the same pain centers of our brains that register physical pain. Humans are wired to get along…but that still doesn’t mean liking each other. But, when we’re not liked it tips off our nervous system to the possibility that we are not getting along.  This causes fear on a primal level. Hence the power of social media: a Libra dream and nightmare.

This Libra season go for the real deal. Let’s practice appreciating and even valuing difference. Let’s work our Libra out by having the hard conversations we need to with more respect and test our ability to leave our egos at the door but not our personal convictions. Let’s develop an inner peace and personal balance that’s so right with itself, no amount of external conflict can disturb it.

Join Margherita Tisato and I on September 19th at 7PM at Juniper for a centering and balancing practice that primes us to partner up.

Embodied Libra Cheat Sheet:

Body parts: Kidneys, skin, lower back, buttocks, outer hips, endocrine system (therefore homeostasis and equilibrium).

Key words: Balance, diplomacy, grace, sociability, justice, fairness, beauty, elegance, refined sensibilities, mirroring, partnership, relationship, conversation, aesthetics, union, coalesce, harmonize, blend, homogenize, cooperation, symmetry, complimentary

Polarity: Yang. Libra reaches outward toward “other.” Whether that’s other people, the other side, it’s almost aggressive in its attempts to be in relationship with, make beautiful, make smooth.

Modality/Element: Cardinal Air. The initiation of fall. The initiation of thought, ideations, logic, abstraction, a breath of fresh air, a cool breeze

Ruled by Venus: Where Taurus is Venusian in terms of natural pleasures, sensuality, earthly delights, ground under our feet, money in the bank, and the things we can touch, Venusian Libra is the abstract idea of beauty, grace, and equality. It wants to give you or your house a makeover, find a more pleasing way to say it, make sure everyone got their fair share, and rise above vulgar “corporealites.” It wants to elevate (yang), where Taurus wants to sink in (yin).

Ballet vs. Martha Graham

Embodied explorations:

Physical and mental Balances
Breathing that balances
Identifying what we think of as pleasing
Synchronizing or mirroring the movement of others
Partnering with others in tasks or choreography
Social dancing
Dance or theater improvisation games
The practice of oppositional energy
Lower back and hip stabilization/mobilization
Kidney tapping or other qigong type practice to balance energy

Create an outfit, house décor, poem, painting, piece of music, social event or movement that expresses your idea beauty.

Come to an agreement with someone, collaborate, negotiate, or draw up a contract that creates fairness and equality where there currently isn't as much as you like. Be considerate of others needs and your own.

When Libra yields or submits for the sake of outer balance the sacrifice is usually inner balance. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Beyond Self-Care (Self-Devotion) /Body Astrology: Virgo

If ever there were a back-to-school sign Virgo is it! Industry, preparation, and study…a nerd’s dream- come- true!

Tireless service and work for their friends, family, community, pets, plants, and the planet; this is how we usually think of the Virgo archetype. Represented by the symbol of The Virgin, it conjures images of purity, chastity, and humility. While Virgo does characterize these virtues, getting too invested in these images of docility does Virgo a deep dis-service.

When Virgo is working well (and work it must) I look to archetypes like the hermit, the savant, the sensei. It’s Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf. It’s Yoda. It’s the artisan or scholar who has forsaken banalities and withdrawn from convention to save themselves for their special purpose. They’re not necessarily keeping themselves pure for God, spouse, lover or master. They’re keeping themselves pure to wed what is divine within the self.

This is self-care that goes above and beyond a nap, facial, and social media detox (though there ain’t nothing wrong with any of that). This is devotion to the union of self with our inherent gifts. It’s putting in the work that might go to being compliant with social expectations, easing discomfort, or getting approval from others and honing your skills instead. Treating your gifts like they matter.

I think  Virgo is the ultimate example of self-sufficiency. When Virgo is on-point it’s so attuned to its own needs and how to be of service to self, that it becomes an expert in its service to others and has vast reserves of energy to get shit done. When Virgo skips the self-service step and goes straight to fixing everyone else, we end up with imbalance: burnout, martyrdom, and depletion. And worst of all, dependency on the dependence of others for their sense of purpose (aka codependency).

We are all here to help each other. But there are healthy (Virgo keyword) ways to support, inspire, and give without compromising our own personal health or diminishing our relationship with ourselves. This is the ultimate personal hygiene and practice of clean energy. Virgo smiles upon on this type of thing.

Margherita Tisato and I are bringing the back-to-school vibes to Juniper again on Wednesday, August 22nd at 7PM.  Join us as we dedicate ourselves to ourselves for the sake of serving others. Giving our absolute best. We’re going to clean out the cupboards and polish ourselves up (metaphorically speaking of course).

Here’s your Body Astrology cheat sheet for Virgo Season:

Body Parts:  digestive system, intestines, spleen, nervous system, enteric nervous system (second brain).

Keywords: skill, technique, humble service, routines, health, care of plants and animals, system optimization and efficiency, nerd alert, devotion, perfection, details and organization, criticism and editing. IT’S HYGIENE, and maintenance…mental, physical, emotional, financial, relationship. Are you keeping it clean and paying attention to what’s going in and what you’re editing out? It’s learning your scales as opposed to composing a symphony  (which is at the other end of the spectrum in Pisces).

Virgo is about the process and HOW you do something. And the “how” usually has something to do with the following:

The highest standard
The purest form
The most efficient

When we look at the body parts it rules, it’s all about assimilation. The digestive process absorbs what’s nutritious and gets rid of junk and toxins. The spleen is a filter. But one of the most interesting things about Virgo is that it’s ruled by Mercury, so there’s still a strong element of information and communication involved, but in an earthy (practical, material, sensual) way. Unlike Mercurial Gemini, which I think of as the communication of facts, words, and logic, Mercurial Virgo is the communication of body knowledge. It’s visceral. It’s the essential knowing of what’s good for us, whether or not we have the words to express it.

Modality: Mutable. Virgo is a flexible and adaptable sign. Where Gemini multitasks mentally and perceptively, Virgo multitasks by analyzing multiple situations for the purpose of concrete outcomes and productivity.

Element: Earth. Virgo wants results for its massive efforts. Virgo wants to see a finished product that is free from flaws.

Symbol: The Virgin. Someone who is pure, devoted, and assigned a very specific purpose. The virgin archetype is very different than how we use the word in our nomenclature. Virgo is not naive or prudish. The virgin is independent and unto themselves. Untainted by anything toxic that might interfere with its mission.

Polarity: yin. I think of Virgo as the Mercury principle introverted. Sort of like Mercury retrograde.

Embodied Explorations:

Focusing the mind. Meditation. Mental hygiene. Watching the thoughts we allow ourselves to get involved in. Discerning what is useful and what is not.

Yoga for the express purpose of directing the mind and down-regulating the nervous system.

Efficient movement. Think Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais or another form that focuses on efficiency in effort and mechanics. Pilates!

Clean, specific, detailed movement and linking it to a purpose i.e. ergonomics and functional fitness.

Organ massage. Detoxifying breath. Ayurvedic techniques.

How do we maintain our bodies, minds and lifestyles so they function well for a long time? 

See you soon! XC

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Tyranny of Definition/ Body Astrology: Leo

image by astroccult

I struggle to find
an entry point into this chaos, so why not stand
in the middle of it— locate its beating heart
and find the spine that this apparent mess hangs on?


I guess the only way to enter Leo season is to enter dramatically. And WOW! Does this Leo season make an entrance!? Here’s what accompanies the sun moving into Leo on July 22nd:

July 26th Mercury stations retrograde in Leo
July 27th Mars Rx opposes the sun in Leo
July 27th Total lunar eclipse. Full moon in Aquarius.

No sudden moves please. This Leo season has edge. It cuts. It has the potential to be clean and conscious or a dumpster fire that leaves everyone confused and pointing fingers (we got big retrogrades too). Whichever way this season shakes out, it’s begging us to revolutionize our attitudes about leadership and how we IDENTIFY ourselves AND the people we consider “other.” It’s asking us clarify who we are as individuals and understand that those nameless, faceless, masses of people that we lump into categories are made up of unique individuals as well. Human beings.

It’s easy to dismiss those who seem different from the things we IDENTIFY with. Adopted and projected values and definitions are easy to understand, manipulate, and give us a sense of control. They “insure” a sense of personal safety—that we might not be challenged to grapple with the messier nature of our own personal make up: all the ways we don’t make sense, all the ways we don’t fit in, all parts of our selves we find repugnant or shameful or just plain confusing. So much easier to disown. Until they show up in someone or something else.

This season gives us front row seat to SHADOW. Our own personal shadow and the shadows we cast in our relationships, friendships, and group associations. It is a time that is ripe for violent conflict or a productive reckoning with all that we consider “not me” “not us.” We are going to be challenged to understand and own all of it. This is the very foundation of true leadership. The ability to see our whole selves unflinchingly, creates identity based on something real. A person who has owned their whole self has the ability to love and respect a wide variety of people and has the potential to lead them. It’s leadership based on an expression of self that’s authentic and recognizes that a wide variety of people are acceptable and worthy. When we embrace who we are authentically the flimsy labels, and superficial constructs fall by the wayside and we are free from the tyranny of definition.

And so begins Leo season. Join Margherita Tisato and I on Wednesday, July 25th at 7PM at Juniper Yoga & Healing Arts so we can approach how some of these ideas resonate in the body. We’ll spend most of our time exploring the archetype of Leo. There will be lots of energy to work with! Here’s a peek at my Leo notes to Marghe. You can use it as a jumping off point to shape your movement practice so it harmonizes with the season. Enjoy!

Leo Body Astrology Primer:

Leo is super yoga friendly. Here are some obvious practices:

Leo is ruled by the sun, so sun salutations! Get out there and bask!

Leo rules the heart and spine (love and courage). Open your heart to send and receive love. Strengthen your “backbone.” In French “couer” means “heart,” and is the origin of the word “courage.” Leo knows that to love and to allow yourself to be loved is not for the faint of heart.

It rules the ego. Meditation: Do you rely upon others for your sense of pride and confidence? Do your pride and confidence radiate from a place of self-knowledge and acceptance?

The symbol is the lion: lion’s breath.

It’s a fixed fire sign: breath of fire.

It’s the sign of royalty and regalness: king dancer pose, queen’s pose (restorative), and goddess pose.

Leo represents life’s rich pageant. Drama. Ceremony. Theatricality. Romance. Share and show off! (As long as your joy TRULY comes from sharing and your happiness is not based on impressing others.)

Leo rules children, play, and all the “creations” (including procreation and recreation): Child’s pose, games, playful sex.

It’s everything we do to feel alive and vital. Laughter.

More About Leo:

MODALITY: Fixed. Sustained energy.

ELEMENT: Fire. Contained and nurtured energy. It’s the warm glow of the campfire (in contrast to the spark of Aries or the wildfire of Sagittarius).

Polarity: Yang. The EXPRESSION of love and pride in self.

More Embodied Explorations:

Heart openers, chest expanders

Spine and back strengtheners

Taking up space without infringing on the space of others. Tricky*

Showing your SELF to others. (“Look at what I can do!” 5-year-old energy).

What does it feel like in your body to take a risk? Where in your body, or
what physical practices make you feel confident enough to take risks?

What does it feel like in your body to turn any situation into a game?

Where does shame live in the bodymind? How do we find compassion for these places so that we may express more of ourselves? Shame is injured Leo energy. Shame dims the light. The sun’s purpose is to shine. How do we nurture our fire so it continues to glow?

What is there to love about myself? My life? Every person I meet?

Happy Leo Season! XC

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Home Body / Body Astrology: Cancer

Esopus Creek in the summer.

In the previous workshop that I facilitated with Margherita, I joked that each session that we design feels like Mission Impossible: Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

As I was writing the “breakdown” for Cancer I felt positively stumped. I knew all of the fascinating components of Cancer that needed addressing, but when it came to recommending embodied practice, I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t seem too personal…too much like therapy or acting class. How do you teach this deeply emotional and watery energy in a public group setting? We want people to feel, but we don’t want to create an uncomfortable sob-fest. How do you teach the most private and sensitive sign in a way that people can still manage?

Margherita had the wonderful idea of introducing the work of Noguchi Taiso, butoh artist. In this practice we experience the idea of “the water body;” a body whose strength lies in its tenderness.

Body Astrology Workshop Primer: Cancer

Even though we’re just coming out of Gemini season, it’s actually Cancer that I find very dualistic…but in a more binary way:

A hard container…for fluids.
A tough exterior…that contains a gushy inside.
An initiating force…that’s always changing.
It has to close itself off…because it’s so receptive.

The Obvious:
Its symbol is the crab; it’s so home-loving that it carries its home wherever it goes. It rules motherhood; bodies that create life and feed life. It is nourishment and nutrients. It’s the past, our families of origin, and psychic history. It’s our mushy-gushy feeling bodies (sentimentality, emotion, organs, vital fluids and viscera) and what protects them (exoskeleton, defense mechanisms and tactics, institutions, and traditions).

Cardinal. Protective Action. Cancer is the second cardinal sign of the zodiac. It ushers in the summer and solstice, the longest day of the year. So here again we have an initiating action. With Cancer that instinctive action is to protect and defend in the name of emotional security. For all of its home loving, homebody, nurturing mamma vibes, Cancer is serious business. You do not want to mess with its sense of family, home turf/territory, or devotion. Think: fierce mama bear. Think: homeland security.

Water. Primal emotion. This is the first water sign we’re working with. This is the feeling nature of the body, which is different than the sensation –nature of the body.  Emotions are tricky because they move and shift constantly (unlike earth), they speak a language and communicate to the body independent of thought forms and verbal structures (unlike air),  and they don’t necessarily animate the body (unlike fire).

Yin. In Cancer the yin energy is emotional introspection and sympathy. The Cancerian feeling nature draws the emotional tone of the people, places and things around it, to itself to find sympathetic feelings within it. Out of balance, this sympathetic nature can turn into over identification with the things, people or environment it surrounds itself with. Instead of direct expression of feelings, the yin nature has a tendency to project.

Body Parts:
Stomach, breasts, bodily fluids, female reproductive organs, and subconscious mind.

***Cancer is ruled by the moon; the uber feminine/lunar principle. The moon rules the subconscious, memory, and habits and travels quickly producing lots of change. It rules bodily fluids and the tides. A typical menstrual cycle mirrors the lunar cycles.

Embodied explorations: 

Vinyasa sequences inspired by the moon phases…practiced to the rhythm of the tides.

Breathing into a released belly. Relax into the emotions that bubble up.

Releasing muscular tension specifically to release “over defended” emotional centers in the body. 

Pelvic floor work.

Anything that speaks to creating a safe container for our most sensitive emotional contents, but allows for the liquid nature of emotions to move. (LIKE OUR UPCOMING BODY ASTROLOGY WORKSHOP).

Anything that creates a home inside the body or a home base of movement.

Anything that addresses the movement of lymph and blood.

Get creative! Happy summer!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Gemini Season. The Intentional Bend.

Gemini is the surfer of the zodiac. It waits for a wave to roll in and rides it. Surfing this wave successfully demands absolute elasticity and exclusive residency in the present moment. The act of surfing is responsive, which is different from passive.

It requires deep listening and sensitivity to nuance. The mutable signs, (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) when they work best are about the intentional bend and well-supported flexibility. This is very different from allowing forces, circumstances, and whims to have their way with you. When we talk about Gemini, we’re talking about the mental plane, so we’re talking about mental (and manual) agility that’s conscious.

When one of your virtues is mobility it can be tempting to move, allow, or switch just because you can. All that movement without any support or direction can look like chaos and weakness of structure or purpose. This doesn’t have to be the case if we use agility, permeability, and dexterity on purpose. The surfer responds to subtle change in the moment without giving up on their task and taking full responsibility for how they pay attention. I recently wrote about these qualities for Bomb Magazine as they relate to architecture.

Using the body as metaphor, let’s take a body that has very open joints and connective tissue and a predilection for lots of movement for movement’s sake. Without deep listening and consciousness, this body could habitually be thrown off course or knocked down. This body could develop ruts in movement that compromise this gift of openness. Without developed sensitivity this body won’t make informed decisions about when, where, and how much to bend. If we can feel this concept with our body we can understand it with our minds. Which again is the domain of Gemini. So, the question here is how do we harness our bodymind adaptability in ways that will support our highest good?

More about Gemini on the blog here.

Come to workshop on May 23rd and see what movement Margherita has cooked up for us! Here are your embodied exploration suggestions for Gemini Season! We will work with these in class as well.

·      Partner work (exchanges of weight, energy, social dancing, sparring) Gemini is about communicating, responding to, and exchanging information.

·      Transitions (HOW do we get from here to there?)

·      Breath Work (alternate nostril breathing would be a good one) Gemini rules the nervous system, hands and lungs. This type of breath work helps the right and left hemispheres of the brain work together. It stills the mind and stabilizes the nervous system.

·      Body openers (hip, chest, shoulder, spine) Gradual stretches and openings of the body with deep listening and attention. How far is too far? Is it your intention to allow that much movement or have you mentally checked out?

·      Coordination exercises: Pat your head and rub your tummy. Juggle. (You can think of better ones)

·      Agility exercises (choreography sequences, parkour, tennis, no video games please)

·      Anything involving communication or writing (move in a different language, write about your body, teach or learn a new move).

Until next time,