by Heather Ensworth 

These are stormy times.  We are buffeted by daily news reports of crises, scandals, storms and earthquakes.  How do we stay centered in the midst of this turbulence?  
This lunar cycle guides us in how to do this.  On December 18th (1:30am), our New Moon is a micro-Moon, meaning the Moon is at its farthest point from the Earth in its orbit.  The Sun, Moon, Saturn, Venus and Mercury are all clustered in the sky near the Galactic Center.  Strong energies are emanating now (and since 2012) from this center of our galaxy.  We see these energies causing planetary changes throughout our solar system. We are experiencing these energies here on Earth in some of our Earth changes and in the transformation process that we are in collectively.  These energies from the Galactic Center are changing our DNA, increasing our consciousness and guiding us and our planet into new ways of being.  
One of the largest constellations in the sky rises above this Galactic Center.  This is Ophiuchus, the healer.  These stars represent the Healer who integrates the energies of the Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine and who helps us to be in balance and in wholeness.  The Sun and Moon and these other planets are all near the Galactic Center, the dark rift in the Milky Way from our Earth perspective, and are held under the care of the stars of Ophiuchus.  
This New Moon time is an important time to meditate and to align yourself with this energy of the Galactic Center.  Your soul self knows that this is the Source of all that is in our galaxy.  
As we look to the sky to see this Center above us, it is also within us.  We carry that energy of Source, of the birthplace of all that is, within our hearts and souls.  
Take time during these initial days of the lunar cycle to meditate and attune to that inner stillness.
Look to the Milky Way and honor that dark rift that is our Galactic Center and turn within to feel that center within you.  As you align with that center, you can find solace, calm and a sense of peace even in the midst of the storms around you.  
With Saturn close to the Sun and New Moon and by the Galactic Center, we are guided to stay grounded in these times.  Take time to connect with the Earth.  Strengthen your root chakra.  Honor your body and take time for self-care.  
With Mercury and Venus also by this New Moon and Galactic Center, be mindful of your thoughts, beliefs and values.  Are you getting caught up in fear or in perseverating on negative thoughts or self-sabatoging beliefs?  Are your values in alignment with your center, with your soul self, or are they getting caught up in the hypnotic influence of the cultural illusions of consumerism and competition and ego?  
A few days after this New Moon, we experience the Winter Solstice on December 21st.  This is the time of the longest night when we honor the threshold point for the return of the light.  Take time to reflect and go inward during this time.  This time of darkness reminds us to meditate, to reflect and to be still.  In this quiet moments, we can move inward and find that center within that mirrors the Source, and we can step back from the cacaphony of the world and hear the still, small voice of our inner guidance and of Spirit.  
The energy of the Divine is not outside us but is within us if we listen and attune to that still point in our hearts.  
It is quite a synchronicity that our Full Moon comes on January 1st as we honor the beginning of a new solar year.  This is a super Moon, meaning that the Moon is now at its closest to the Earth and appears larger and brighter than usual.  Take time to watch the Moon rise and honor its energy and light.  

This is a powerful Full Moon.  The Moon is now in the stars of Geminiopposite the Sun, Pluto, Venus, and Saturn which are now in the stars of


Sagittarius, the Seeker and Archer who keeps his gaze on the Galactic Center.  

The Sun and Full Moon are a part of a very unusual configuration in the sky known as a “kite.”  This is when the planets combine in a Grand Trine with another focal planet connecting to this Grand Trine through two sextiles.  
This kite configuration includes the Full Moon at the apex in a Grand Trine with Neptune and Mars.  The Sun and Pluto are opposite the Full Moon and in sextiles with Neptune and Mars and Jupiter.  This configuration carries the powerful energy of destiny and is holding us and guiding our transformation in these intense times.  
Full Moon – January 1, 2018


It is also an amazing synchronicity that the Sun, Full Moon and Neptune are all at 11 degrees of the signs that they are in.  11 is the number of the Ascended Masters and of enlightenment, and this number signifies intuition, guidance and faith.  In the Tarot deck, this number is associated with the either the Justice card or Strength card.  The Justice card signifies living in balance and in right relationship.  It is symbolized by the scales.  And Jupiter and Mars are now next to each other at the fulcrum of the scales of Libra.  These planets are guiding us to live in faith and to act with compassion and be guided by our intuition and inner guidance.  
The Strength card symbolizes finding the way to honor our shadow and our vulnerability and to be centered in our higher selves.  We learn to “tame the beast within” and live from a higher level of consciousness.  As we move through these stormy times, we are meant to find that inner centeredness and not get pulled into turbulence or become a part of the reactivity and polarization that surround us.  As we stay centered, we can feel an inner sense of inner peace and joy despite the raging storms around us.  
With the Sun and New Moon in a strong configuration with Pluto, this is a reminder of how we are in a profound time of transformation.  As we open to these energies from the Galacitic Center, from Source, we are transmuting.  We are becoming beings of light. 
This is a time to release the heavy energies that you carry. Honor the feelings and pain of the past and then release that heaviness and those stories about yourself and open to the light and love and healing of the cosmos.  This is a beautiful time to do a fire ceremony.  Release what burdens you to the fire.  Open to the profound light and energy of this Full Moon.  Honor the energies of the Sun and Moon and of the Galactic Center and pull that light into your chakras.  Ask for healing and help in staying in alignment with Source and with the center within you.  Know that you are being held by the profound healing and transformative energies of the cosmos.  
Do not fear.  Open to faith.  
Be like the Archer and Seeker, keeping your eyes on the center and on Source.  As you do that, you will feel yourself healing and transforming — not from your own efforts but from the energies that are holding you and carrying you into these new ways of being.  Surrender to those currents and hold yourself and others in compassion.  
painting by Susan Seddon Boulet

As we end this Age of Pisces and move into the new ways of being of the Age of Aquarius, remember that the energy of Aquarius is about justice, openness to diversity, living in wholeness and relating to others and to the Earth with respect and honor.  

As we come to a closure with the Age of Pisces, remember the guidance of the wise ones who ushered in this Age.  Christ said that “the kingdom of God is within you,” (Luke 17:21).   The words of Buddha remind us that “Peace comes from within.  Do not look for it without.”  And it is noted that the prophet Muhammed said:  “The most excellent jihad is that for the conquest of oneself.”  And the root meaning of “jihad” is not “holy war” but “striving” — it is about seeking to be connected to the Source of all that is.  And here is wisdom of the Goddess traditions pre-dating this patriarchal epoch:  This is the charge of the Goddess (as written by Doreen Virtue):  For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. Therefore, let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.”
May we remember that all roads lead to the Source.  All rivers lead back to the Sea.  All of our questing and searching bring us back to the center within where we find our connection with the Spirit and Source of all that is.  
May we remember that as we honor this powerful new lunar cycle and honor the time of the winter solstice and the new solar year.  
Blessed be.  

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— Sky Watch for this Month —

Mercury – rises before the Sun but is not visible in the sky; Mercury is now retrograde but will go direct on December 23rd
Venus – is not visible as she circles behind the Sun.  She will return as an evening star at the beginning of March 2018.
Mars – is visible in the eastern morning sky before sunrise.
Jupiter – is visible in the eastern sky just before sunrise and is close to Mars during this lunar cycle. 
Saturn – is invisible as it is close to the Sun during this lunar cycle.