By Heather Ensworth

A few days ago (on December 21st), we experienced the sacred time of winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere.  This is the time of the longest night and signals the gradual return of the light.  It reminds us of the dance of light and darkness on our Earth as we move through the cycle of the seasons.  
Our lunar cycle begins on December 26th with an annular solar eclipse, visible throughout much of Asia.  This is a partial solar eclipse in which the Moon does not fully cover the face of the Sun, so a ring of fire surrounds the darkness. It is another reminder of the dance of light and shadow.
The time of the New Moon is when the Moon emerges from her time of darkness and begins to grow in light. The New Moon and Sun are now part of the stellium of planets in the sign of Capricorn, includingMercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto.  Saturn and Pluto will be moving into their exact conjunction on January 12th. This signifies the completion of their work to break down old structures and systems that no longer serve us.  Their energies are focused on tearing down the paradigms and social structures here on Earth that are corrupt, destructive or out of balance.  As we humans have forgotten the natural rhythms of the Earth and sky and how to be in balance and harmony with the life around us, we have exploited and abused our Mother Earth and have caused harm to ourselves and all of life on this planet. It is time for us to wake up from our arrogance and our ignorance and come back into right relationship. It is time for the light to emerge from the time of darkness.
In the sky, the New Moon, Sun and all of these planets are positioned in the stars of Sagittarius with the Sun and Moon close to alignment with the Galactic Center. We are being called to come back into our remembrance of Source and of who we are — spiritual beings in physical embodiment on this planet in order to learn and grow. When we remember our true selves, we align with the light of the cosmos and of infinity within us. Mars is now in the stars of Libra, guiding our actions to be in balance and in harmony with all that is. 
The meaning of the degree of this New Moon is profound:
Tall dark cypress trees in a cemetery.
…Bearing the authority of life, of death, and of the two worlds brought into synthesis, you have the compelling stature of one who has seen life through before … Standing tall and erect and strong. Staying aligned with [Source]. Intensely involved with humanity and the sufferings and longings that saturate the world. Singularly and purposively assigned to bring into present time the truths from beyond this world that can sustain this world through her travail. Simply knowing from always the way it is and the way it must be, and breathing that truth as your fiber and backbone.

(from Inside Degrees by Elias Lonsdale)

In this time of darkness, we are called to be the ring of light.  If we remember who we truly are, stand tall and align ourselves with Source, with cosmic consciousness, then we will resonate with that light and love.  Rather than becoming polarized or paralyzed in fear, we hold the wholeness of life within and without.  We live on this planet in a realm of light and dark, truth and falsehood, love and hate, creation and destruction. Within ourselves, we hold the light of the stars and the cosmos and the darkness of night and of the shadow self holding what is unresolved and buried within the recesses of our minds and hearts. 
Take time at this New Moon to face the darkness of the world and of yourself with open eyes and without fear. Do not deny the shadow side of yourself or project it onto others. Do not try to elevate your light by casting others into darkness. Know that the dance of light and shadow is within all of us. 
Meditate on this annular solar eclipse and celebrate the ring of light surrounding the darkness covering the Sun. Remember your soul self, the light within you that never dies, and remember the light that surrounds the Earth, guiding her through her own healing and resurrection. Feel the dance of light and shadow within you. Know that you can choose to hold your wholeness and consciously make choices that allow you to be centered in your deepest self and in alignment with the energies of the cosmos and of Source.  When you do, you will feel the inner peace of being in the stillness in the eye of the storm and the joy of being in right balance and harmony with all of life.
As we move into the time of the Full Moon on January 10th, we have a penumbral lunar eclipse (visible throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia). This is not a total eclipse but is when the Earth’s shadow covers part of the Moon.  Again, we see the dance of light and darkness.  
The Full Moon is in the sign of Cancer, calling us to be compassionate with ourselves and others.  The new forms that we are meant to move into, individually and collectively, are no longer about exploiting or excluding others or harming the Earth but about being in connection and in community and holding ourselves and all of life in love and in right relationship.
In the sky, the Full Moon is in the stars of Gemini, the twins symbolizing the integration of light and dark, of immortality and mortality. We are light beings here on this planet of duality to learn the dance of light and shadow. In knowing the pain and sorrow of trauma and suffering, we gain in wisdom from the times of darkness. We learn to hold our shadow selves and our vulnerabilities and flaws with compassion and then can see others in their wholeness rather than fearing, devaluing or vilifying them.  We tend to resist and reject or project onto others what we are afraid to see in ourselves. 
At this time of the Full Moon, she is reflecting back to us our own darkness as the Earth’s shadow falls on the face of the Moon.  Allow yourself to see more fully where your life is out of balance.  Where are you acting or reacting out of what is buried in the darkness within you?  What needs to come to light of awareness in order to heal? What do you project onto others that you need to face in yourself?
Also take time to tune into your soul self. See the light within you that lies beneath your shadow. At your center, your soul self remembers all of your incarnations here and knows the cycles of the cosmos and of light and shadow, consciousness and unconsciousness, life and death on this planet.  Stand tall like the cypress tree reaching for the light of the Sun and grounding it deep in the darkness of the soil.  Stay centered in your soul self and in alignment with Source. Like the trees taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, breathe in the toxicity and darkness of our human destructiveness and breathe out the life-giving breath of light and love. Remember who you are.  Remember that our Earth has been through these cycles before. Remember that we, individually and together, can move out of disconnection and unconsciousness into the light of awareness and healing and hope. Then, this time of turmoil need not be a descent into darkness, but a time of waking up and consciously holding the darkness in the energy of the light.  Then, like this Full Moon, we can see and dance with the shadow and move more into the fullness and clarity of the light of who we are, aligning with the Sun and with the cosmic consciousness of our Source and the oneness of all that is.  Blessed be. 




— Sky Watch for this Month —

Mercury– has moved under the beams of the Sun and is invisible
Venus – is an evening star and is visible after sunset in the western sky
Mars– is visible in the morning in the eastern sky before sunrise
Jupiter– is invisible at the beginning of this lunar cycle and then begins to emerge from the Sun in the morning sky by the time of the Full Moon
Saturn – is visible low in the western sky after sunset and then disappears under the beams of the Sun by the time of the Full Moon