Inner Musings: Being Heard

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last padding=”9% 0 0 0″]This Taurus Season, the season of connecting to voice, mental health muse, Lauren Eimers-Wangrud, brings us some beautiful and wise tips on how to truly hear and be heard.
Artwork by Kaitlin Walsh

“Communication is not saying something; communication is being heard.”
– Frances Hesselbein, Former CEO of the Girl Scouts of America, writer, b.1915

Taurus season is a favorite for many reasons: the true arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, a slowing down to savor the good things in life, and the time to dig into conversations with others. Conversing can be one of life’s greatest pleasures, but it can also be one of its thorniest activities. If you are really wanting to be heard the next time you find yourself deep in conversation, there are a few tried and true ways of making sure you’re not just talking, but communicating.[/two_third_last]

[two_third padding=”0% 0 0 0″]If there is one thing you can remember from this little piece, it’s that listening, really hearing what the other party is saying, will make what you are saying listened to, as well. In our fast-paced culture, we often just wait for the other person to finish what they are saying to jump right in with what we have to say. In essence, we are just using the time we aren’t talking to prepare for when we will be talking again. It’s pretty difficult to hear what someone else is saying when you are mapping out a blueprint of your next phrase or sentence. It has become such a rarity to really be listened to that an entire profession, mental health therapy, has boomed in response. People and health insurance companies are willing to pay to have a person sit and listen to them in 50-minute increments. As a therapist, I can tell you some of the best medicine is just to be heard and acknowledged, since it’s lacking in everyday life.

Now, you’re going to remember to listen (or at least try to) in your next conversation, right? That last paragraph is a great example of how to get the essence of what you want to communicate, the “meat” of your argument, to be heard: by literally telling folks to listen to what you are about to say! Tell your audience or conversation partner you are going to say something important, say it, and then remind them about it once more before the conversation is over. However, don’t overuse this little tool, since it should be used just once or twice in a conversation or presentation.

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last padding=”3% 0 0 0″]Another way to truly communicate with others is what’s called “mirroring.” The great news is is that your brain handles this for you effortlessly. When you are giving full attention to what the other party is saying, you will subconsciously start to mirror that person in tone, body language, and inflections. Your brain has “mirror neurons” that are activated when mirroring and allows for a greater connection and understanding to be established with the other individual whose mirror neurons are kicking in, too. Your brain has this system in place to help create empathy, which we all know is what truly connecting can foster.

Knowing that tuning in and listening can help you make a deeper connection to others should give you the confidence to slow down and invest in the words you are exchanging. Take this Taurus season to communicate completely so that you can be heard. [/two_third_last]

Feel It All: Burn It Down

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last]New, change, unfamiliar. These are things the season of Aries brings up. Katie Chirgotis of Eothen, our Muse of feeling and nature, shares some incandescent insights and images for this time of beginnings.

There are vibrant, essential places on our planet that require fire for vitality. The flats of the prairie, undulating grasslands of the savanna, and stands of chaparral and coniferous forests cannot thrive, or make room for renewal, without the heat and rapture of fire to sweep through. But what is initially left behind the flames’ retreat is most often a desolate reality. Fire catalyzes change that is so swift that often there is little comfort found in a blackened, smoldering moonscape – a strangeness that sparks fear, loneliness and grief.

Change. Harder for some, welcomed by others, inevitable to all. Coming into the start of our Zodiacal calendar, which truly feels like the New Year (truly – who can set intentions to hit the gym, or go on a juice cleanse, when we’re swaddled in sweaters and presented with anemic Romaine leaves in January?!), Aries fire is the match struck to New Beginnings. We can all feel the shift, and respond to it in turn by our actions and communication. Inboxes and text threads ping non-stop. Plans are made and projects launch. Heartbeats quicken, and hands turn over warming soil.

Realizations arrive with nuclear impact. Sledge-hammer decisions are made to chart a new course. Relationships come to an end, and we may be left in a barren moonscape where comfort was once found.[/two_third_last]


[two_third]Both/and is the pyre of Aries, and its flames burn through old patterns and holdings to make room for something new. Further enlightened, stronger, present, in-tune. But different – and that’s where we trip up. To arrive at a place so strange and initially barren with grace is certainly not a concept I’m familiar with, and it’s one with which I feel many of us struggle. We may brace our heels and deny, or fight for whatever hold we have to keep things the same. But to struggle and resist change is to suffer. The pain, the burn! We associate with the sudden arrival to a place with which we are unfamiliar, and perhaps alone and afraid, is made greater when we do not allow ourselves to be swept along with the rush of spark and cinder.

To make room for more richness and vitality in our lives, both within ourselves and with one and another, must happen. Whether it’s something of our own choosing may not be our experience, but there is comfort in knowing that experience is a shared one, a necessary part of being here on this planet. And how lucky to be able to open our palms to the heat of change, warming us to something more.

Aries fire is both beautiful and terrible. Let us be thankful for both, and for the opportunity to begin again. [/two_third][one_third_last][/one_third_last]

Feel It All: Waking Dream

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last padding=”0% 0 0 0″]Dream, escape, diffuse, compose. Florist, Katie Chirgotis of Eothen, poetically guides us through the deeply feeling seas of Pisces Season with her empath connection to the natural world after hosting a dreamy floral design workshop, deeply embedded in the mysticism of Mexico and it’s historical artist, Frida Kahlo. Photography by Katie Chirgotis

My recent travel to Mexico gave life to my notion of a Waking Dream. Drawn in by the inner and outer worlds of Frida Kahlo (a major influence), mysterious ruins of Mesoamerica, mysticism of sacred plant medicine, the karmic span of Teotihuacan weavers, saturated cascades of bougainvillea – all a tapestry of warmth and vibrancy. It’s all true. So, too, is fear of Montezuma’s revenge, stilted language barriers, and the lack of kale in my life for half the month. Dreaminess and inspiration countered by confusion and disillusion. Piscean to a fault. The line between the two called to be dissolved, the colors of daily reality to bleed and swirl to a hue where I could be both myself and Other. To re-connect to a core pulse so often dampened by email pings and to-do lists.

Since the Roman Calendar new year, many of us have been hyper-active in the practice of
Awareness. Vigilant of shifting sands beneath our feet, so difficult to find balance and move quickly, so we looked towards one another. During Aquarius, we connected to each other and formed community and new identities of Relationship – all just on the cusp of creation! Yet there’s expressed frustration and confusion of wanting to do so much, to act strongly, yet strangely feel mired in a viscous energy drag.

[two_third padding=”4% 0 0 0″]And so sweeps in the school of Pisces, dissolving that sand beneath our feet into water. A colloidal liquid, filled with particles of this life and the last and the next, in which we may be suspended. Ourselves and Other. Land and Sea. Earth and Cosmos. Caught in a gentle whirlpool, cyclically turning like fish swimming head to tail. YES there’s fear, to be unsure what’s below and above you is almost too vast to bear. But with these softened lines of our experience, this allows for creativity to come coursing through. A chance to be new.

Within the microcosm of a floral design workshop I guided in Mexico City, I witness this state of being first hand. I watched student’s hands move untethered. Using gestures somewhere between shaping clay and fanning air, art flowed from fingertips like water, like music. To be lost in The Process is like a trance, time doesn’t matter, hunger unimportant. All that exists is creating existence. Once a piece was complete, the eyes refocused and one comes back into the body. Like waking from a dream. There are few experiences as validating as guiding others to the realization of their inherent magic. A shared healing that loops like infinity, two fish swirling in the stars. It can be felt in parenting, deep friendships, love – it’s lifting one another up so they can See. [/two_third][one_third_last][/one_third_last]


[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last padding=”8% 0 0 0″]Soon, this colloidal mix of sand, spirit and cosmic water will settle to form the earth beneath our feet. The increasing warmth from the sun will warm it, causing the soil to swell and the waters to evaporate back to the skies. We will collectively refocus our eyes and return fully to our bodies to plant, work, grow. Exciting stuff.

But, for a little while longer, let your hands move by forces unseen. Become a channel, with boundaries between you and the next person, this life and another, be liquid. Let us open our eyes under the water to See the vastness that surrounds us and, rather than fear it and struggle for air, allow it to hold us. Pass through us. Become Us.[/two_third_last]

Illuminated Gathering: Virgo, Spinner’s Full Moon

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last padding=”0% 0 0 0″]A Virgo full moon masterfully weaves itself into our lives this Sunday, making it the perfect day to plan a moon gathering for this weekend. Seasonal Astrologist, Allie Couch, brings us some fated insight and ideas to get your gathering spun with perfection.


As we swim our way through the dreamy, mystical, and artistic seas of Pisces Season, a grounding full moon will come along in the not-so-emotional sign of Virgo. In opposition to this solar season’s vitality; a vitality that influences all of us to use symbolism and composition to attach meaning to the full spectrum and complexity of life, we blossom with a new found ability to actualize practical purposes in the outer world.

Virgo is a sign of fate and as we stepped into the Virgo new moon initiations, in early September, we started a six month journey to analyze, refine, and hone a skill or skills that we saw as being ‘useful’ or ‘purposeful’. There is a purity to this sign of the Virgin which conflicts with the messiness of human relations. Because of this, a pendulum swing happens as we refine and develop this ‘pure’ and ‘useful’ purpose, one that may have taken us between moments of needing the help of others to develop to one of utilizing what was learned to purify our own lives. At the full moon, this skill is actualized in some way that pushes it, and us, out into the world. An ability to refine, organize, and analyze has gifted us with a beautiful capability and now we recognize that it’s this capability that can bring a recognized purpose and usefulness to our lives. We see that this is a service we can offer and one that is needed by humanity.

[one_sixth][/one_sixth][two_third]We now start a six month journey to offer our useful purpose to our close peers, communities, and then to the world at large, all the while, spinning a web of connection that maintains purity from needing to engage in the messiness of emotional interaction or subjectivity. Rather, this web is spun to bring support and connection to an objective fate or specific need, purifying health and process. This is where Virgo gets it’s connection to the principle of serving. [/two_third][one_sixth_last][/one_sixth_last]

[two_third padding=”0% 0 0 0″]THE GATHERING

We love us a full moon gathering at CosmoMuse as the high tide that full moons bring creates an opening to put our needs in the spotlight. This complete illumination is urging us to step into the outer world with what’s developed and celebrate the things coming into actualization—or mourn for things that didn’t make the cut and are now needing to phase out of our lives. With a close group of loved ones, either side that you are spilling over with (actualizing or releasing), is given communal support and nurturing.

At this Virgo full moon, take the time to ask your gatherers what it is that they’ve been honing and training in, or taming, in their lives. At 22 degrees of Virgo, the Sabian Symbol speaks to a readied faith in yourself after taming and mastering a wild aspect of ego: An ego refinement.

Here are some great questions to allow each person to address in the moon circle:

What part of yourself do you feel is ready and more polished to give to the world?

Do you feel a rising purpose or fate in your life?

Is there a skill, service, or aspect of your ego that is feeling a need to phase out of your life right now, no longer serving the fate, or usefulness of your life direction?[/two_third][one_third_last][/one_third_last]

[one_sixth][/one_sixth][two_third]With all that is illuminated after these questions, use some critical thinking skills to see if there might be some way to help each person feel more comfortable with spinning their web of use and purpose in the outer world. Do any of the skills or purposes of those at the gathering relate or can some of these things be practiced on others there to help boost confidence in this coming-out time? How does each moon gatherer see the use of each other’s new fateful callings? Maybe allow a bit of response and reaction to each person, adding to the never ending need of Virgo energy to refine, analyze, and purify. [/two_third][one_sixth_last][/one_sixth_last]

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last]SEASONAL ACTIVITIES

Some kind of seasonal art or activity is always a lovely, grounding, and communal enhancing thing to start your moon gathering off with, followed by a shared meal, and then the moon circle. To learn how to organize the flow of a full moon gathering and our version of what you need, you can find this info in our 2017 Seasonal Astrology Guide (download the PDF version here or purchase the print version here).

With this being a very practical and earth oriented full moon, we think it’s the perfect gathering to actually learn a skill and bring in a professional or one of your crew who’s good at this skill to give a simple and short 101 class: knitting, macrame, crochet. With Virgo being tied to the sympathetic nervous system, making epsom salt bath soaks is another great thing that might encourage everyone to go home and take a relaxing soak, taking a bit of pressure off of the perfection that Virgo is tied to. Have each person bring an herb, dried flowers, or essential oil that’s seasonal so people can make their own soak mixtures that speak to them. Chamomile and lavender are especially great relaxers. As this is the Native American Magpie Full Moon, having soil and little containers for planting seedlings, could also be fun. Have each person bring spring seeds so there’s a nice variety and make cartons of seed starters for herbs, veggies and flowers. Here’s a great tutorial.

Capricorn Archetypes: Jord & Simone de Beauvior

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last]Creative force, Ann Whittaker, joins us with more archetype musings as she shares her inspiration around the Capricorn vibed role models that we can all tap into (male of female). Get ready to tour some Norse Mythology and historical feminist role models as we dive deeper into our yearly purpose of Feminine Rising.


The Norse Earth Mother & Simone de Beauvoir


The Norse Earth Mother, Jord, is a mother of many children–too many to count. She is not a monogamous goddess–she is solely focused on her own fertility and health. Jord is the embodiment of primitive earth, inhabits the wilderness, worshipped on mountaintops, and everything she touches immediately sprouts or bears fruit. She is the Earth Mother archetype–connected to fertile soil.

Jord is highly focused and disciplined in order to give life continuously to the entire earth. She feels a responsibility first and foremost to her role as mother. She will not be distracted by anything else. She is the earth, and nothing else. Wild and free and fertile–responsible only to herself.[/two_third_last]


“I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I have only myself”

If you’ve been feeling the feminine rising, and signing up for women’s marches all over the country, you can thank Simone as she is a powerful feminist mama in our history. Imagine living in France in the early 20th century and attending universities to study mathematics and philosophy, and graduating where most women weren’t even allowed to attend. Truly, Simone climbed impossible mountains as she wrote book after book after book analyzing women’s oppression in a patriarchal culture. She spoke out not only about gender issues, but she addressed sexual orientation as well. Simone was determined to tear down stereotypes of all kinds. Her contribution to feminist movements is monumental. Follow her to the mountaintop.


[one_sixth][/one_sixth][two_third]“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.”

“…but all day long I would be training myself to think, to understand, to criticize, to know myself; I was seeking for the absolute truth: this preoccupation did not exactly encourage polite conversation.” [/two_third][one_sixth_last][/one_sixth_last]

Cancer Full Moon: Feminine Power Rising

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last]Understanding This Year’s Cancer Full Moon

What timing for a Cancer full moon! Or, not really. It is what the cosmos are asking us to feed. The feminine sign of The Crab, the mother and the protector, is rising in popularity, and not just because it’s the full moon of the matriarchy (the reckoning time of year for what we as women are manifesting into gestation), but also because of the political ‘fuck you’ that we got this fall as our first viable woman candidate for the US Presidency lost to the most arrogant, slippery, stereotypical, and patriarch-type of male that we could have possibly elected. It seems to have been a last-straw and a wake-up call that we actually haven’t been gaining the ground that we thought we had in our feminist movements.

Together we unite as we’ve received the message loud and clear. Here we come world, right on the shoulders of a very powerful lunar cycle. It’s rare that as a collective we get an astoundingly unified nod from the cosmos to what we should all be a manifesting–so join the CosmoMuse community and accept the responsibility as a woman or man to gestate and birth the rise of the matriarchy as we release and realize the patriarchy system that’s been on top for far too long is exhausted and clearly needs their mothers as they rest and get nurtured for a long while. Because, really, if Trump is the best they can deliver, they clearly need some love and time to regenerate to get them healthy and back on their feet. [/two_third_last]

[full_width]This full moon comes very close to the Women’s March on D.C. (and others around the country. We’ll be at Chelsea Handler’s one in Park City during The Sundance Film Festival), and we love that it falls during the influence of this lunar cycle and think this is a great activity to corral your female circle and gather in solidarity—whether at a march or as a gathering somewhere special.[/full_width]

[full_width]The Aspects (players) of this Full Moon: A Grand Cross

There are some difficult aspects connected to this full moon with a grand cross, or crossroads effect. This is already evident in the fighting spirit that is arising for women. We need to focus on one issue at a time with this aspect: In the opposition to the Sun and Pluto, issues of power and vitality need us to step back for perspective. These are powerful things and some structure and putting ourselves in front of the public with authority and a plan will win us our Cancerian/women’s needs. Jupiter squaring off from diplomatic Libra will require some creative action around an offer of equality for this expansive planet to allow our freedom to grow. Uranus in Aries is excited to break the chains of old constructs and power balances but will want to rush in, head first, acting on bold ideas and possibly getting a bit overly aggressive or even violent. Ask your inner warrior to allow nurturing and a bit of protection in so this doesn’t get out of hand and burn down all the work that’s been laid, due to feelings of rage. The full moon will allow this progressive and assertive spirit to do its thing but wants subtlety. She will ultimately protect herself from any destructive outbreaks so watch tempers and overly negative anarchist actions.[/full_width]

[two_third]The Goddesses’ Asteroids

As we take on the challenge of allowing ourselves and the matriarchy to fight for and rise in command, let our goddess asteroids enter your psyche: connect with them and identify with them. These powerful ladies are admittedly new to us at CosmoMuse, but they’ve been tossing pebbles at our window for a little while now, saying, “hey, we’re her for you. Pay attention to us and let us help you.” We’ve taken notice and the little we’ve absorbed has brought empowerment to our feminine qualities to new heights. So we’re grabbing handfuls of our own pebbles to toss your way and let you know, the goddesses are coming, pay attention. Not without a fight, however, but we think the pendulum is starting to swing the other way in the matriarchy/patriarch holding of power. As the goddesses rise, so does the matriarch, cyclical living, a shift in power structures, and organic feminine intelligence—thank the heavens!

You might notice that all of our typical planets or ruling bodies discussed in astrology are fashioned after male gods–with the exceptions of Venus and the moon. We’ve been missing a lot without paying homage to the goddesses in our charts. Here’s our favorite four (there are lots more) and some basics of the mythology they are connected to. Find the one that you connect with and channel her as you step into your feminine power: [/two_third][one_third_last][/one_third_last]

[full_width]Ceres The mother of earth and sister to Zeus (or Jupiter). This goddess brings abundance around food, cooking, and nurturing as she holds the cornucopia. There is a giving a receiving energy and flow that she creates. Because her most loved thing, her daughter Persephone, was taken by her brother Pluto, and given to Hades, she is connected to abundance followed by loss. But compromise reigns as a deal is worked out to each get Persephone for six months of the year. When out of balance (or when the Patriarchy is allowed to interfere), feelings of loss, fear of abundance, eating disorders, and over-attachment rise. When her power is owned, nurturing brings abundance and flow. I for one think our world is due her healthy powers. Beyonce, Queen Bee, has a strong Ceres in her chart.

Pallas (Athena – also CosmoMuse’s most felt goddess) Zeus’ (Jupiter’s) daughter, was born out of his forehead, already fully armored. She is female intelligence and a weaver of patterns and cycles with an organic wisdom. She is the strategic commander in chief, usually able to bring peaceful resolutions to quarrels, but not afraid to battle in war in equally strategic ways if things digress (as Medusa learned). Her domain is the city as she brings connection to all through her weaving abilities. Artistic and a survivor, Pallas expects you to own your power. She is connected to the father and can show how you connect with males. When out of balance or over-powered by the gods, she is surrounded by conflict, legal battles, and injustice. Yup, again, another goddess that we think is due to reclaim her power.


[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last padding=”0% 0 0 0″]Juno (Hera) The wife of Zeus (Jupiter) and Queen goddess. Juno takes Venus up a notch. Where Venus brings about attraction and the decision to indulge in the feeling of partnering, Juno rules the commitment and actual marriage. True love and soul mates are her domain. She has a queenly and diplomatic presence, ruling over the lands, flowers and the female genitalia. Women’s rights fall here so we all need to wake up to her power or surround ourselves with those who seem to be empowered by her. When out of balance or taken advantage of by the gods, she has to deal with infidelities, powerlessness, betrayal, inequality, and possibly spousal abuse. Again, time to take her power back. WAKE UP JUNO!!! Angelina Jolie has a strong Juno in her chart.

Vesta Zeus’ (Jupiter’s) oldest sibling. With a virginal, pure, and perfectionist quality, she is the keeper of the hearth who’s attributed to focus, dedication and domestic tranquility. She is the ruler of gatherings, sisterhood, rituals, keeping the fire stocked, security (or lock and key/investments), and chastity. She has some Virgo traits in her ability to break things down and utilize purified components. When out of balance, she brings insecurity, promiscuity, segregation, secret societies, family troubles, fear of sex, invalidation of self, and denial. Essentially, the pretty little secrets in corporations and powerful institutions that keep popping up, that shatter our feelings safety as a human family, need the Vestas out there to take their power back!

Some Goddess inspiration was pulled from our favorite new go-to podcast, Bridging Realities. Listen to more about Juno here or Ceres here.[/two_third_last]

[full_width]Gathering, Manifesting & This Full Moon’s Craft

Grab your CosmoMuse Guide, revisit the feature about full moon gatherings as well as find more on the Cancer Full Moon in the Capricorn Season section of the guide (where we also give ideas for the theme of this gathering), and start planning your own.

On the 12th, at the full moon, gather your circle of females to stoke each other’s fires, listen to each other, nurture each other, and learn what each of your women gatherers would do if a matriarch power were to take the helm. Help each other tap into the goddess powers arising inside and honor the qualities of each.

In this listening and nurturing process, I believe the gestation of powerful female needs will take place in women everywhere and we will then go into the marches on the 21st with a stronger collective voice and a personal gestating purpose to fight for, nurture, and protect.

As promised, with each full moon, we’ll be giving some ideas of a craft or activity to pair with the regular rituals of this gathering. We think in this is the perfect one to pick a comfortable and welcoming home to cook in, and make a meal all together. Commune, collaborate, chat, and cook together before your rituals. What better way to expand the themes of nurturing and growing roots as female protectors?

CosmoMuse’s Cancer Full Moon Gestation

Behind the scenes, we love that the timing of this lunar event is lining up exactly with when we are researching, synthesizing, and ultimately picking a yearly theme for our 2018 guide. Clearly this newly gestating theme is going to lead to lots of goddesses, nurturing themes, and feminine rising qualities. [/full_width]

Feel It All: Where Are Your Bones?

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last padding=”5% 0 0 0″]Katie Chirgotis of Eothen joins us with her uber sensitive connection to the feeling realm and her poignant ability to identify our nurturing needs for the seasonal energies, through nature’s notes. Durning this exposed season of Capricorn, when mother earth gives us a peek at her own structuring methods (through bare branches and frosted windows), Katie points out how to take note and start connecting to our own framing. Words & Images by Katie

Have you ever stood in a room filled with chattering, shimmering people? All flashing eyes and teeth, emanated heat and magnetic poles pulse throughout the space? In that crash of sensory waves have you thought to yourself, “where am I?”

I’m not talking about where Google Maps pins you as the app runs in the background, or, on the opposite spectrum, your spiritual path to Enlightenment. I’m talking about your tangible, physical self–in this moment; in this crowd. On what do you stand? Where are your bones?[/two_third_last]


[two_third padding=”3% 0 0 0″]So get in there. Close your eyes. Turn-on the x-ray vision. Witness your gorgeous skull balancing on the delicate vertebrae of neck, the fanning of collar and shoulders that square themselves above the fusion of ribs, a backwards wrap to the column of spine, diving into the bowl of hips, spinning on top of long trees of legs, pooling towards the roots of feet. This is your structure, this is how you stand. This is what carries your whirl of heady experience through the world. In some variation or another–it’s a similarity that we share. It houses a Self, and whether we’re in that crowded room or standing on some solitary stone on the Earth, we are all rattling here together.

We see the skeleton of many things this time of the year. The bare lines of trees and exposed raw ground, or the connective joinery that made up the past 365 days of who we were. In this seasonal sparseness, many begin building a structure for what’s to come. We may set intentions, saying them out loud to make them real, and to hold ourselves accountable. This is one of the few times where we collectively get humble about the notion of starting again. That perhaps this year we can be more present for ourselves and each other. We reconnect with our bones, the basal framing of who we are, to flesh out the hope for something more. [/two_third][one_third_last][/one_third_last]

Feel It All: How Are You Transitioning?

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last]New Contributor Katie Chirgotis brings an in-tune perspective to our community, a nature lover who works magic with flowers in the bay area through her company, Eothen. We wholeheartedly welcome and share her passionate voice and imagery as an empath, Millennial, artist and muse.

I often ask people how they are doing–not an exceptional way to start a conversation by any stretch. It’s something I genuinely want to know, no doubt. But the answer to the question also lays down the baseline for what I’m tuning into–whether I’m meeting someone for the first time or connecting with a friend from decades before. There’s plenty of lines to read between with the cheery response of, “Fine!”

Interestingly enough, what I have found, as we have all turned slowly into these longer nights and south-slanting light, is my lead-in question has changed. More and more I ask, “how are you transitioning?” It sounds a little strange coming out of my mouth, but there it is. What I have found even more interesting is that the response is often a level gaze, a thoughtful pause, and an articulation of change.

Leading into Sagittarius where big, blousy Jupiter takes us all up in large, fiery swaths of re-examination and questioning, and we have all experienced a different understanding of how we may think, feel, and move in comparison to those who stand beside us. But our experience of change, transitioning, and shifting are common denominators.[/two_third_last]

[one_half padding=”5% 0 0 0″]For many of us, particularly if you are a Millennial as I am, we have long been in cruise mode. The generations before fought wars, felt deeply about causes, shifted culture and, generally, believed in something. Because of that amount of work, or if you want to get woo-woo with me, transmitted energy, decisions were made and patterns set with no sustained volume of curiosity about it on our part. We were told the story, and we believed it to be true.

Now there’s a new frequency. From what I’m picking up, we are collectively waking up. Paying attention, stretching our muscles to ask why. And thank goodness! Doesn’t it feel so damn good to act? To see those patterns of your life, and decide that it doesn’t dictate who you are today, or the next? Perhaps now, there are things we must fight for rather than living within a lie.

So. How are you transitioning?[/one_half][one_half_last][/one_half_last]

Balancing Libra: How to Cultivate More Beauty

[two_third][/two_third][one_third_last]Finding Beauty through Balance, Equality, & Elegance by Ann Whittaker

This is me–my sun sign is Libra. You would think this would be a breeze to explore and write about, right? I thought so, too. And, boy, was I dead wrong. Why? But, really, why?

Maybe because the first thing you read about your own damn sun sign is that it’s the sign that rules relationships, marriage, and weddings–turns out I went through a divorce over a year ago. How’s that Libra working out for me now? Marriage? Not so much. Relationships? My familial relationships with my mom and siblings are enviable. My women friends are my secret coven who take great care of my heart. I buy it. I know it. Libras lean heavily on relationships.

[full_width]Perhaps that’s why my divorce was so devastating. The balance shifted. But I eventually found the balance again in all the other remarkable people in my life–because give and take is the rhythm I seek and cultivate. And, truly, I still love going to weddings. I admit it, I’m your typical Libra: Hopeless Romantic in Chief. Thank you, Venus.

With that out of the way, we can talk about the other things I love about being a Libra, and how all of us can cultivate our Libra side.


“When our eyes are graced with wonder, the world reveals its wonders to us. There are people who see only dullness in the world and that is because their eyes have already been dulled. So much depends on how we look at things. The quality of our looking determines what we come to see.”
-John O’Donohue

Beauty is my word of all words. I live by it; I crave it; I seek it. This is no artificial or empty beauty–it’s a beauty that comes deep from the roots. Beauty is the perfect balance of bitter, sweet, and savory in a meal; beauty is the sound of aspen trees quaking in the wind; beauty is one line perfectly intersecting another creating a harmonizing composition; beauty is a simple voice singing a simple tune.

Beauty, let it be noted, is not unblemished perfection–that would tip the scales out of balance! Beauty is wholeness–all of it. I often tell my dear friends, “I love you. Every bit.” And I mean it. They are beautiful to me, every bit.

Cultivate Beauty:
1. Send three friends an unsolicited text that says, “I love you. Every bit.”
2. What have you seen today in nature that was so beautiful it resonated to your very core? List five things.
3. Write down the last time something moved you to tears or to laughter it was so beautiful.



[full_width]Equality & Diplomacy

I was that university student who went to every protest, signed every petition, and lectured my family weekly about how we can’t support unfair labor practices in any way, shape, or form. It broke my heart as I inhaled books and articles about the violence women and children experience on this planet–ecofeminism was a no-brainer for me. Equal opportunity was and is my mantra. If someone isn’t playing by the rules, or they’ve created unfair rules, you better get ready for a storm because I won’t stand for it, and I’ve got karma on my side.

As I’ve aged, thankfully, my diplomatic side has also grown to balance out the scales. I love a good debate about issues surrounding justice and equality. Both sides are fascinating to me, but, of course, equality wins in my heart and mind every time. Keep in mind, equality and justice come at a price, and your Libra side loves a good fight for a good cause.

Cultivate Equality & Diplomacy:

1. Identify an issue where you see an injustice concerning something you care about deeply. How can you participate to encourage more equality in your circles of influence?
2. Figure out a way to approach the topic diplomatically next time you have a discussion. Have fun trying to see it from both sides. Put yourself in the other side’s shoes–at least for a moment.[/full_width]


I cannot describe how refreshing elegance is for a Libra: an almost bare room with just one blooming flower in its center; an unadorned piece of music; an honest line of poetry. No clutter, no distractions, no overstimulation–just the true essence of a thing or a person.

The best word I’ve come across to define what elegance means to me is the Japanese word “shibui” – an honest, minimal, quiet, unassuming, and unadorned feeling. No wonder I am drawn to poetry. Of course I prefer minimalist classical music or a straightforward bossa nova. Then there’s autumn–season where the leaves begin to fall and everything becomes bare again. And, and, thank the trend gods for making all-white décor a thing again.

Experience Elegance:

1. Listen to Arvo Pärt’s Silentium.
2. Listen to W.S. Merwin, poet, read his “Rain Light” or read it here.
3. Go for a walk in the woods. Take nothing with you. No music, no books, no one. Enjoy just walking–one thing. Notice how elegant walking truly is.

Organize the Harvest for a Season of Simplicity

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“Living simply makes loving simple.”
-Bell Hooks

Summer has been good to you—really good. There were outings, road trips, mountaintops, moonlight lake swims, farmers’ markets, ocean breezes, and probably a picnic or two. You took advantage of the extra sunlight, and said yes to it all. And now you’re feeling it—a bit overwhelmed and craving simplicity, yes? Hello, Virgo—a season of purification, organization, service and harvest.

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You inhaled summer. Happily. Now it’s time to sift through what will continue to nourish you (keep those essential nutrients) and what has become excess (share it and give it away). Digestion is Virgo’s principle characteristic reminding us that there are consequences to the experiences, places and relationships we consume. Turns out not everything or everyone sits well within our hearts and souls—what seemed like a good idea then might start to result in heartburn if we can’t digest it properly. Pay attention. What isn’t sitting right with you any more?

Make a list. Trust your gut. Make two columns, one labeled “nourishing” and the other labeled “to give away.” Keep the experiences and people that you know deep down inside will continue to bring you strength, well-being, and won’t keep you up at night. The things that feel like you’re forcing them down your throat, say a brief “thank you” and give them up—someone else will find use of use for those things. It can be hard to let go of a good thing, but it might be better for someone else and it creates space for you.

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Of course the first word that comes to mind when organization comes up is clutter—it’s opposite. Organization can be painful because we know how tedious digging through the clutter can be. It’s possible that we fear organizing because there’s a perfection subtly connected to the thought of cleaning something out. We tell ourselves, “I can’t clean out my closet until I have an entire weekend to work on it and the money to buy those shelves I’ll need,” or “I’ll deep clean the garage when…”.

Avoid perfectionism. Once you’ve identified the nourishing elements of your life that you want to keep, don’t mull over them and wait for the perfect circumstances to continue to nurture them. Make your list, prioritize it quickly and succinctly, and simply move forward into all that space you’ve just created. As you spend less time on indulging in everything you thought you needed in your life, you’ll have clarity of heart and mind to offer your gifts to yourself and to others.




The first rule of the harvest: never harvest alone. The excess you are freeing yourself from should not simply be thrown into the trash—there’s a very good chance that the excess and abundance can be shared and provide opportunities for service. Virgo’s harvest season is about both partaking in and sharing the feast with those you love and cherish.

Give and Gather. Is there something you’re giving up that can find life with another? Who can benefit from all that you’ve planted? What can you give away to create space to plant new seeds? A meal shared is better digested—so, too, a life shared is more complete.

Organize a gathering where all the guests can give, receive and let go into a season of simplicity—a direct result of Virgo’s purifying characteristics.

“’Tis the gift to be simple; ‘tis the gift to be free.”
-Shaker Folk Song

Words and Images: Ann Whittaker @annwhittaker9
Bri Cook @brianajeanphoto