January is prime time for incubating, and Kellen and I are doing plenty of it. One tiny seed that’s been busy germinating* is our new-at-the-lunar-new-year Moonstruck Membership. There are a lot of reasons we are so excited to expand our lunar letter offerings. I’m going to sum it up succinctly (in approx 750 words).
When I (Ellice) first moved to New York in 2005, I met a gifted massage therapist who taught me my first-ever new moon ritual. I thought she was a wild, witchy, amazing human, and I started performing the ritual she shared kind of intently and kind of ironically: every month that I remembered, I took a check, made it out to myself for the amount of abundance, and signed it from the universe. I probably did this, off and on, for about two years. For much of that period, those are the only checks I wrote that didn’t bounce. I remember one of the last times I did this, I thought, “This is ridiculous. I’m not getting anything out of this.”
And I wasn’t. I wasn’t ready to examine what abundance looked like for me, and I wasn’t sure how to claim goodness for myself.
Fast-forward seven years, four jobs, a stint in grad school, and one divorce. (#abundance…) A gifted musician, teacher, and healer invited me to a moon circle. I went mostly because I respected the teacher and was honored to receive her invitation. While I didn’t make a practice of attending that circle, I do credit it with guiding me to create my own moon rituals. It was the first (conscious) step for me in connecting with wisdom outside myself, with mystery, and with faith.
Each month at the new moon (intending, dreaming, listening, planting) and the full moon (reaping, reveling, sharing, and, whenever possible, dancing), I have a date with myself. Usually, I invite Kellen, but sometimes one or both of us want to have our own private date, so then we do that. There is a rough framework that involves candles, rocks, good smells, libations, writing, voicing, movement, and music. It is very flexible: the only rule is to go after what feels right at that time. (At the new moon in Capricorn last week, for example, I lay on the floor in the dark, cried, and noticed what feelings came with the crying. I wrote nothing, said nothing aloud, drank nothing special, and saw no light.)
In our work, Kellen and I balance listening with poking (in Kellen’s case, literally). We love the people who come to our clinic, and we want all good things for them. Our overarching hope for every single person at North Node– and in the world- is that they feel confident about the choices they make. I love to recommend lunar rituals because whatever confidence I feel in my own choices directly correlates to the amount of time and space I create to pay attention. The more I ask, “What do I want?” and the more I listen and work to honor the answers, the more confident I feel. Even/especially when the answer is, “another glass of wine,” or, “To throw things against a wall until EVERYTHING breaks,” I acknowledge the truth and the wisdom in what my soul tells me. I trust myself to know what I want/need, and I trust myself to forgive myself when I don’t know, after all.
On February 5, the first new moon of this year of the wild boar, our Moonstruck Members will receive their first lunar letter accompanied by a recorded meditation. They will also receive suggestions for creating new and full moon rituals, and they will receive a special analog gift in the mail. (Like post office delivery-styles.) (Yes.) If you haven’t already, put your name on our list so that you can enjoy being Moonstruck.
In the meantime, this week, consider making some space to ritualize your time with yourself.
When/where do I feel most secure alone?
What makes a moment feel special or sacred to me?
How much time feels luxurious when I’m doing “nothing”?
What signs or clues do I get that I’m not in this life alone?
With lunar love and self-love and other love,
Ellice and Kellen
*Yes, I know: seeds germinate, and eggs incubate. But you get it, right?
I hadn’t yet read Marianne Williamson and had never contemplated what she says: the second you vocalize your prayer, the universe begins to answer it.
(How many of you knew that my hobby as a child was to write letters? Like, that’s what I would say in those first-day-of-school surveys: hobbies: reading books, writing letters.)
Every year on this commemoration of the life, the work, and the love of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I read from A Testament of Hope. In this generous gift my brother gave me a number of years ago, I always find evidence of the great love Dr. King worked to cultivate for this world, and I am always strengthened and inspired.
Last night, when I pulled the book off my shelf, I had in my heart the sadness of this countdown to the end of Barack Obama’s presidency. We have lived the last Sunday with Obama in office, and now we embark on this last Monday. Not surprisingly, the first reading I chose spoke directly to my sadness and my fear. As has always been the case, Dr. King’s wisdom proves relevant to my particular worries or confusion, and his guidance fortifies my will to work toward the life I want for myself and for my world.
One of my biggest fears, since before this last election, is what we are recently calling the normalization of Trump’s ideals. In 2016, we were subjected to such overwhelming violence, bigotry, promises of my-way-or-the-highway-inspired authoritarianism, misogyny, xenophobia, misanthropy, lying and opacity, refusal to engage or communicate, mocking and punishing those who disagree, and so on. And so forth.
Since November, even those whose values align with mine, even leaders I respect, have (or have seemed to?) dialed back the fury in favor of a message of compassion and faith:
“Let’s give him a chance,” and, “It’s not reasonable to expect the worst,” and, “His success is our success,” have become refrains from White House offices to Brooklyn classrooms to Milwaukee kitchens.
I have felt more and more alienated in my own community. I have felt more and more unsure of my own anger, fear, and disgust. Am I exceptionally intolerant? Are my resistance and my bitterness evidence of my own closed-heartedness? Ought I try to find forgiveness in the interest of moving forward?
Leave it to Dr. King to provide me clarity. In an address to the YMCA and YWCA at UC Berkeley in 1957, Dr. King spoke about “the need to be ‘maladjusted.’” He said,
Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word. It is the word “maladjusted.” Now we all should seek to live a well-adjusted life…[b]ut there are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things…
Today, Dr. King gave me new words and a new framework to understand my discomfort and my disgust as we prepare for a new administration. To speak of normalizing sounds somewhat benign, especially when the thing already is normal for many people. To speak, instead, of maladjustment, acknowledges the discomfort, the isolation, the confusion we might feel when we refuse to fall in line. When we normalize, we adjust to a new normal. When we don’t adjust, we find ourselves in discord with social norms.
The final words of his address are a prayer. I have repeated it a number of times in the past twelve hours, and it helps me to feel my own maladjustment as a blessing.
God grant that we will be so maladjusted that we will be able to go out and change our world and our civilization. And then we will be able to move from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man to the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.