Rise like the Winter Solstice

Late November's blazing colored foliage is breath taking. It's peak color lasts for only days and if you're lucky you'll catch a tree with streaks of sunlight highlighting it.

When I see a North Eastern autumn tree in fiery sunset colors there's a part of me that sees a real fire. A sense of cleansing comes over me, letting go of last year's bloom and making room for the New Year's growth to come.

By the time you're reading this post the fire in the trees has evolved into dead dry brown leaves which crackle underfoot as we're guided most of the day by the great white pearl in the sky, the moon. She eases our senses to rest as she dances across the ballroom of the ink blue night sky.

In less then a month's time the sun will be reborn on December 22st, the Winter Solstice. Although we won't notice it for months, each day's light will be growing in length.

As we presently experience the dark, dead and dormant period of Mother Earth's flow here in the Northern Hemisphere our instinct guides us to spend more time indoors holding a cup of hot tea while escaping the air's growing chill. As a result of warm weather's sun lit activities on hold for a bit it is less of a struggle for us to slow down, look inside and reflect on the past year.

Can you revisit in your thoughts events from this past year that were good, bad as well as neutral? What I've experienced is, if I just close my eyes and reflect on the past year usually the highs and lows stand out with exclamation points in my memory while the neutral events are left behind. Therefore my suggestion in doing this late fall cleansing ritual is adding some material research you can touch and see with your own eyes.

I'm a natural journal keeper and picture taker therefore it is easy for me to open up my personal notes and remember my past year's events as I read through my diary and scan through my photos.

Let's say you don't take notes on yourself or take pictures but you do have a pretty full inbox of old emails, documents stored, bank statements and a few photos saved that were sent to you. My suggestion is to carve out the time in your schedule and prioritize reviewing your past year.

Look at everything. Include the good, bad and neutral events. Doing this not only makes you aware of your past year's experiences but this process also allows you to breath in and feel what you may have bypassed feeling when whatever you experienced was first presented to you. Time and space from any event will give you a fresh perspective on what happened last March, July and September.

Sit with your memories inhale them in, feel them and exhale them out while visualizing them as leaves shedding from a late autumn tree.

We are left with branches, our energy system, expanding outward and upward while silhouetting the spacious sky above.

See the sky's vastness being absorbed by your consciousness as a result of practicing this exercise. Our new found space now has the room to attract infinite possibilities for the year ahead.

A clean slate

In addition to what I call my "Dark Day's" ritual where I review my journals, photos and receipts I also include paying respect to my ancestors. The month of November starts with an echo of what my Irish ancestors call Samhain and modern folk call Halloween. A day which celebrates the thinness of the veil between the two worlds of material and spirit. During the first days of November I was raised to celebrate All Saint's Day, November 1st and All Soul's Day, November 2nd. This Catholic and proper childhood memory of remembering the dead at this time plus November 21st which celebrates what would be my Father's birthday if he was still in his body along with me having thick Scorpio traits of loving the whole death rebirth concept, I can't help but to light a few candles at this time and call out to my Dad along with a few other mentoring spirits to assist me as I move through tying up this past year's loose ends along with believing in myself enough to move into who I want to become in the next year.

As birds fly towards warmth and light my senses follow them in search of hearing my guidance.

During this season's period of darkness and feeling a void, I encourage you not to fill up all your time by staying busy, not feeling and shopping away. Rather make the time to light candles, slow down your mind and ask for guidance. One day in class I suggested to privately call on a guiding spirit you personally adore and ask them to send you a sign of hope for the New Year. No joke, an elderly and chatty man whom by the way is a riot said "Clark Gable!" Not expecting to hear from anyone I opened my eyes along with a few others and giggled. You see we all have crushes along our path, people we admire who carry an energy we could use a dose of. Call on them. You will be surprised and love how they will illuminate you as the days go by.

Feel both feet ground into the earth.

Being a Halloween baby I have a fondness for this season. I love the layered sunset colored cozy clothes we get to wear, an occasional whiff of chimney smoke in the brisk air as well as late autumn's constellations that show their brilliance in the night sky.

After Halloween in my neck of the woods, New York City, you can see the constellation Phoenix rising along the horizon. This star is best viewed spreading its wings on a clear Black/New Moon night.

The Phoenix is a mythical bird who Father sky cleverly shines above us as Mother Nature sits in death and darkness awaiting the Sun's rebirth in late December's Winter Solstice.

The Phoenix is said to rise from its own ashes every 500 years. It is self created and completes the cycle of death and rebirth through fire. Legends from various cultures like Greek, Mesopotamian and Egyptian describe the Phoenix as a gigantic bird, who feeds only on air and has feathers that shine like a rainbow. My guess is the Phoenix's rainbow colored plumage represents our chakra system which is said by ancient yogis to travel with our soul and nadi system as we regenerate into our new body during each lifetime we experience.

*Nadi system- refers to the thousands of energy channels that run through our body. Imagine a leafless tree. The trunk is a central channel which holds our chakra system and the branches represent all the other energy channels/nadis that run through our body. Eastern medicinal practitioners like acupuncturists as well as yogis work with these channels.

Over sized scarf vintage, from Ecuador

The Phoenix is not the only mythical winged star that shines in the night sky at this time. A more obvious to view late fall constellation, even in the city, is Pegasus. The winged horse.

Pegasus has a starring role in several Greek myths. He is associated with most of the conquering heroes. A myth that stands out for me regarding Pegasus is when Perseus, son of Zeus, rode Pegasus when he rescued Andromeda from a sacrificial rock. She was chained as an offering to Poseidon's sea monster so that her death could atone for her Mother, Cassiopeia's pride. Cassiopeia, a mortal, challenged the God Poseidon by stating that her daughter Andromeda was far more beautiful than any of his daughters.

I first heard this Pegasus myth in college and I'm sure it stayed sharp within my consciousness because like Andromeda I've been challenged throughout my life by my Mother's pride. As a result of her small town Ecuadorian upbringing where she learned that if a wall is off white and your man says it is white you agree with him. Because of this subservient to men mind pattern I too like the generations before her believed you obey your man plus you never leave him. How can you blame my mother and other women like me for believing this? This is what we've been trained to believe at a very young age regardless of where we were raised. It starts with reading fairy tales like Cinderella, circling the F for female when you apply for a job, loan and so on... Even if my mom was a power house female activist like Gloria Steinem it wouldn't have helped me that much because media, schools and social groups I've experienced brain wash young women into being fragmented and dependent. After many boyfriends and broken relationships I've learned my lesson that dependent relationships don't work. This includes in business as well as with friends. My suggestion if it means anything to you is to pick up your shattered heart along with the rest of your chakra/energy system, tape it up a bit with plenty of daily self inner work and just maybe when you're feeling a moment of wholeness you just might score a honorable partner.

Now that I'm in a relationship with a loving husband, extended family, honorable employers and reliable friends it still takes daily practice and plenty of scotch tape to keep any partnership together.

Perseus and Andromeda, by Peter Paul Reuben's 1621, notice Pegasus and the cherubs

If you're in the country during late fall and away from bright city lights look deeply into the star Pegasus. Surrounding it will be more stars in the sky you can see from this myth. As you gaze into the stars you will see Cassiopeia and Andromeda. Imagine this ancient tale and rewrite it as you like it as well as any other tale that comes to mind. Be sure to share these old tales with your loved ones in a modern and non separatist way.

When you catch yourself dismantling old chains and you're in the need of some swift movement call on Pegasus. He as well as the Phoenix is a bringer of inspiration and change. This is exactly the energy we need as we sit in the dark days of the year and allow our imagination to soar high as we vibe out who we wish to become in the New Year.

I call this look my before and after yoga sari. This look is a perfectly chic and unique quick cover up. Go through your over sized scarfs and grab a belt. I suggest using wide elastic belts with this styling. 

As we pay respect to the wheel of the year cycling through its period of death and darkness it is important to pay attention to the emotions that arise as we face the void before the sun is reborn. Some maybe experiencing hopelessness or sadness while others may notice themselves moving into anger, judgement, jealousy, greed and ego. All of these emotions are by products of fear of the future.

Try using this moving posture meditation shown if you are having a difficult time releasing old non serving memories or facing another emotional situation that requires loving guidance from above.

As you ground into chair pose feel the soft earth beneath your feet accepting you. Your mind wanders into hopelessness as you can't see what's to come on the horizon.

Take one hand and press down into your thigh feeling grounded while your opposite arm, heart and gaze reaches beyond the clouds as you inhale.

Exhale as you move your hips back while the crown of your head and extended arm moves forward and somewhat level to your hips.

Staying low to the ground feels comforting.

Heat builds and it is impossible to stay in this fire any longer. Vapor rises above your sternum looking for air, space, light and your connection to source.

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As you ground your hand deeper into your thigh you inhale air, space and light into your upper body. This quality of vastness your feeling gives you room to twist where you again feel a balance between the sky and ground in your being.

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Although you appear beautiful and balanced feelings of standing on uneven ground begin to well up.

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You feel a crisp breeze with a strong presence riding it. Although you feel intruded upon there's a quality of hope and grace that rides this wind.

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To your surprise you realize this wind is coming from the wings of large feathered being hovering above you.

You spread your wings welcoming it towards you.

This creature's wings move like magic wands sending orbs of light for you to absorb.

You are in bliss as you brighten your inner light.

Yet a tear falls from your eyes as you realize this winged creature feels the fear you carry in your being. The creature is inspired to continue sending you greater waves of compassion through the air.

There's a part of you that feels undeserving of such kindness. Your ego turns humble.

The winged creature senses your lack of self love and sends you up soaring beyond earth's sight.

You release more tears. Layers of anger, jealousy, attachments, blame and fear burn away as space, love and light run through you.

In a flash you are touching the ground again.

The magnificent winged creature is now only a vision left in your memory. However you now feel a super charged halo protecting you.

You are confident in your steps ahead.

You understand this brighter light you sense is leading you into the New Year.

You too can fly on earth like the winged creature.

You are powerful!

Let's RISE like the sun into the New Year.

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