I just returned from moving my youngest from Dayton, Ohio to Chicago where they are going to art school. We crushed the drive despite me being behind the wheel of the 15’ UHaul. We were blessed with great weather and two amazing moving crews - one to help load the truck and one to carry it all up the three flights of stairs to the new apartment. With big smiles on our faces, we looked around at how the afternoon light softly filtered through the trees outside their windows, at how their furniture fit just perfectly within the space and how their kitty cat sat contentedly upon the deep, wood windowsill. A new and incredibly exciting chapter was beginning, one that I knew would help them develop their artistic gifts and expand their opportunities to share those gifts with the world. My heart felt full, brimmed to the top with gratitude for this new chapter and for all that the future holds.
Now, back in Ohio, my heart feels like it has a hole in it. I sit, staring at the screen, unsure how to proceed. My youngest won’t be coming over for dinner tonight. They won’t be in the kitchen tomorrow to help me with whatever I need to post on social media (they are my digital queen!). They will be starting their new life in another state and, I think, they will be there for a long time. So, I sit here trying to hold both the sadness I feel around this move and the joy I feel for this new beginning. I have been here many times before just as, I am sure, you have been as well. Life is full of these moments where we experience simultaneous but opposing feelings - the soft and the hard, the sweet and the bitter. I know these moments can be overwhelming. I am feeling that sensation right now. But I also know that these painful instances give us a chance to practice discernment (which we had lots of opportunities to explore during Virgo season!) through the lens of non-judgment. They are invitations to be present to whatever arises so that we can evolve and grow. And I know that when we can engage in this incredibly simple yet extraordinarily challenging practice of being present with an open heart, we discover our inherent ability to see these moments as gifts instead of burdens. When we change our perspective to recognize our suffering but not be determined by it, we learn how to find balance within this imbalanced world. We find harmony and peace within the pain that accompanies this experience of being alive.
When we can hold in our hearts and in our minds the truth that all endings are also beginnings, we create a different relationship to the experience of loss. We can look to both Libra season and tarot to help guide us towards this truth. Through the essential nature of Libra with its Cardinal element of Air and through the cards themselves, we are offered a way to find some comfort within this difficult and very human predicament. With its traditional symbol of a set of scales, Libra is all about cultivating balance in our lives. With its element of Cardinal Air, Libra season invites us to consider how we can cultivate more balance around the ways we think, how we process those thoughts and ideas and how we ultimately communicate them. As I noted in the Gemini Season blog post, Air is expansive, powerful and primordial. Our thoughts are powerful too. They narrate the stories we tell ourselves and those stories, in turn, create the foundation for our reality. Our complex minds reflect our complex world. Without cultivating awareness of our thoughts, we can feel controlled or even imprisoned by them. Libra season reminds us that a balanced mind is the key to finding peace even while we might find ourselves in the center of a storm or simply in a moment of change that feels like a quiet grief.
Libra sits in the 7th House of relationships and interpersonal style. It lives and breathes through contemplation, assessment and cooperation. It holds within it the gift of self-reflection which leads to self-awareness without which we can’t even begin to think clearly let alone grow. Consider how Libra’s scales are an instrument that holds with equal value our thoughts and the truth of our heart. Imagine the process of evaluating those thoughts so that they align with the desire of our hearts to know ourselves as loving beings whose source is the profound essence of love itself. Too much trust in the stories within our minds tips the scales to a place of imbalance and despair. Too much focus on the painful aspects of our lives, keeps us trapped in pain. Balance and harmony can only be achieved when we allow ourselves to acknowledge our pain and our loss, but not be defined by it.
We can look to the tarot to assist us in finding this balance. With Justice (the 11th card in the Major Arcana) as Libra’s associated tarot card, we discover the power of agency, the power of discernment and the power of virtue to guide us through the challenges of life. In The Sacred Web, the mantra for the Justice card is “Integrity.” Integrity of mind - the state of being whole and undiminished - reflects the true nature of the heart. The storied relationship between mind and heart can be found in Air, the element that contains within it the essence of Libra and Justice. Air energy fills the space of the Heart Chakra and expands this energy throughout the body. When mind and heart are aligned, all things fall into place. The illusions of truth - those old stories that try to convince you that you are delineated by your suffering - fall away. You understand that what feels like a mental weight is actually an opportunity for transformation. You know deep in your bones that these challenges, - the difficult thoughts and losses we all endure - do not hold the truth of who you are. With this understanding, you can begin to know yourself more compassionately and more kindly. You become free. This is really all I need to remember. Such a simple practice and yet such a challenge. So, I choose to remember the smile on my child’s face. The soft light shining through the trees. And I breathe, inhaling and exhaling gratitude for all that I have experienced and for whatever comes next.
- Nadi Shodhana/Alternate Nostril Breath: This breathing technique cleanses and steadies as it brings balance to the mind, the heart and the subtle energy of the body. You can work with any Mantra to guide the inhale and the exhale.
- Take a comfortable seat with eyes shut. With your right hand lifted and palm facing your head, draw your peace fingers towards your palm. Gently close your right nostril with your right thumb.
- Inhale through your left nostril, then close it with your ring finger. Release your thumb and exhale slowly through the right nostril until you have released all your breath.
- Keep the right nostril open and inhale. Once the in-breath is complete, close the right nostril with the right thumb.
- Release your ring finger and exhale slowly through the left nostril.
This is one cycle. Repeat 3 to 5 times, then release the hand and go back to normal breathing. (NOTE: some yoga schools begin this sequence by first closing the left nostril and inhaling through the right. The order described is prescribed in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 2.7-10).
- Tarot Cards, Mantras & Their Elements:
- XI Justice: “Integrity”
- Air: The East - new beginnings, possibility, joy and hope
- VII The Chariot: (Libra rules the 7th House): “”Assessment”
- Water: The West - vision, dreams, intuition and sacred wisdom
- III Grace: (Libra’s ruling planet is Venus) “Gratitude”
- Earth: The North - the deepest form of wisdom - the compassionate heart
- Poem for Libra Season:
said the moon
and the new day came
the show must go on said the sun
life does not stop for anybody
it drags you by the legs
whether you want to move forward or not
that is the gift
life will force you to forget how you long for them
your skin will shed till there is not
a single part of you left they’ve touched
your eyes finally just your eyes
not the eyes which held them
you will make it to the end
of what is only the beginning
open the door to the rest of it