Friday, 9 August 2013

The Moon Diary 2014 is now available for pre order

It's that time of the year again!
the new Moon Diary is here and it's solar powered!
This is the 21st year of the Moon Diary. True to the ethos of this work, the Moon Diary is printed in Australia on 100% recycled post consumer waste paper. This year we have chosen to print using  Solar Power. We are so happy to be able to keep out environmental footprint very light.

comes with the diary
  • Moon phases
  • Astrological transits
  • Void - of - course Moon times
  • Sabbat dates
  • Week at a glance
  • Menstrual calendar
  • Completely handwritten
  • Illustrated throughout
  • Size 13 cm x 17 cm
  • Wire spiro bound
  • Written specifically for the Southern Hemisphere
  • Printed with vegetable inks.
  • Printed on recycled paper using 100% post consumer waste .
  • 12 blank pages in the back.
  • Comes with a book mark with the key to information

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Relax, Renew, Replenish !

As busy modern women with jobs, homes, and families who are striving towards creating the lives we desire, we spend a lot of time rushing from one activity to another. It’s often all too easy in this situation to forget that the energy we pour out to manage our  homes, families and careers, and even to accomplish goals we set for ourselves such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle or making time to follow our passions needs to be replenished from time to time.

Stress is the great precursor to other problems in today’s world. Juggling the many commitments we all seem to have- even those we love- can result in an insidious kind of constant pressure that women in particular are prone to. Studies show we find it difficult to draw boundaries and  that many of us are still  dealing with the ‘superwoman’ or ‘having it all’ mentality.

 In addition to the stresses of daily life, women also experience hormonal changes throughout their lunar cycle -and indeed throughout their lives- which are still not really addressed  or accepted by society in general. Many issues that arise at these times are habitually suppressed or ignored.

Unfortunately the result is that all too often these unacknowledged issues can bubble to the surface in negative and extreme ways at times of great stress, for example during pregnancy and/or it‘s related aspects such as fertility issues, after a birth, mothering small children, in times of illness and during menopause. They don’t just manifest as  emotional trauma either but can also cause physical problems.

 So  by making a regular time to consciously work on releasing stress and replenishing our reserves of soul energy and creative juices - the wellspring of what we have to give to the world- we are not being selfish, but responsible.

Stress actually changes the chemical make up of our bodies. In the same way, however, so does relaxation. Certain music and sound has the ability to change our brainwave patterns, for example, some Baroque and new age music (music of around 60 beats per minute) is considered to enhance alertness and well being, changing brainwaves from Beta to Alpha and music that drones or chants, such as Gregorian chants, or even repeating “Om” has been shown to change brainwaves to Theta level, which we normally experience when sleeping or mediating.  Affirmations and visualizations can also assist with this process.

 Here’s a guided visualization/ relaxation excersize created specifically for women that you may like to try. I would recommend that it be done at least once a week. It works very well if you record the words (speak slowly and leave spaces for yourself to do the visualisation.) Or find something else that works for you. You’re worth the effort!

“Soft Belly” exercise.
Whether or not we choose to give birth our wombs and bellies are where creativity has space, (whether for dreams, goals, ideas or physically growing a baby) to nurture and grow  beautiful expressions of our lives.

Lay down comfortably on your back. (If this isn’t possible due to pregnancy or injury for example, on your side is fine.)
 Close your eyes. Breathe deeply for a few moments. Take your attention from your head to your toes, tightening each part of your body as you breathe in, then relaxing it as you breathe out.
When you have relaxed  your toes, return your awareness to your belly. Place your hands, fingers spread, over your belly. Hold it tight for a moment, then allow it to soften. Feel it rise and fall with your breath, Now, as you breathe out, repeat ‘soft belly soft belly’.

Visualise yourself laying on warm sand, or soft green grass warmed by the sun above. You are comfortable and calm.

 Feel the warmth of the sun gather in your pelvic area, allow this warmth to  slowly travel down your legs to your toes and then to return up your back, over the top of your head and  back down to your belly, flowing over and through.

 Feel the lusciousness of your whole being and the delicious femaleness of having a soft and pliable, warm and comforting belly for feelings to develop, ideas to gestate, for food to be absorbed and digested, nourishing your body.

Allow this process  to occur for as long as you need. When you are ready, allow the warmth to remain in your belly. Take a few deep breaths, open your eyes and wiggle your fingers and toes. You should feel relaxed, replenished and renewed.

This "soft belly" meditation was adapted from one originally created by Lara Owen author of "Her Blood is Gold"

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Moon Watching- Tracking your cycles


Most of us learned at school that a woman’s body goes through hormonal changes over a twenty eight day period, culminating in menstrual flow of around 3-4 days if there is no fertilised egg in the uterus. However, there is actually much more to this subject than many of us realised.

Ovulation- usually takes place after the first fourteen or so days of the cycle. The days prior to this are known as the pre- ovulatory phase, during which time oestrogen builds up in our bodies.

As the egg is released from the fallopian tubes many women experience physical symptoms including pain and/or swelling in the pelvic area, headaches, breast tenderness, craving for certain foods, or even ‘spotting’ or breakthrough bleeding. After the egg is released, both oestrogen and progesterone are produced, allowing the uterus to develop a thickened wall lining, providing a place for a potential foetus or fertilised egg to lodge and gain nourishment.

Pre-Menstrual phase- If the egg that has been released is not fertilised, oestrogen levels fall and progesterone builds up, causing the uterine lining to break down, eventually leaving the body through the vagina as our menstrual flow. The symptoms of Pre Menstrual Syndrome are well known and are similar to those of ovulation, but the fact that they occur at more than one time per cycle can be confusing for many women.
Still sounds fairly simple- but in actual fact it’s much more complex. For one thing, twenty eight days is the ‘average’ length of the cycle, in the same way that 3-4 days is the ‘average’ length of menstruation- but that doesn’t make them ‘normal’.

When oestrogen is the dominant hormone studies have shown that women are more outgoing, creative and extroverted, and when progesterone is more prevalent that we are more introverted, intuitive and aggressive.

Each and every day of our cycle these hormones shift and change according to what phase we are in, what we think, feel, eat, how much sleep we get and how much exercise and work we do. Even the kind of light we live in and the time spent in it affect our hormonal balance!  And our hormonal balance affects not only our bodies, but our emotions and even our dreams.

Tracking your individual cycle puts you in touch with all of these changes as they apply to you, personally. Another study discussed links between the menstrual cycle and it’s affect on female athletes preparing for the Olympics. Hormonal changes can affect the elasticity of muscles, increasing or decreasing the possibility of injury. Knowing when such a possibility is likely to occur could make a real difference to the performance level and confidence of female athletes.

Learning to track the lunar cycle was once part of initiation into womanhood. Connected with spiritual expression as well as physical survival, traditions and ceremonies around this idea of tracking time have been credited by many anthropologists and archaeologists as the beginnings of mathematics and other sciences.

Women were able to discover patterns in their cycles, knowing through experience when they were likely to be feeling vulnerable, intuitive, creative, or needing solitude, and also when they were more likely to be fertile.

This inner knowledge allowed them to understand their physical condition, emotional needs, drives and desires, and to make choices accordingly.
One simple but effective way to begin tracking your own cycle is to grab a packet of different coloured markers. Assign each colour to how you feel (ie- brown for tiredness, orange for energetic, green for healthy) and make a mark to correspond on a daily calendar. Also, note the days of actual menstruation.

It won’t be long before you see patterns develop right before your eyes.

Reclaiming the ability to track our own cycles empowers us to become aware of what we are capable of and when. This understanding enhances our self esteem and ability
to make confident positive choices. From a physical point of view it can aid with knowledge about fertility. It can help with PMS and in the transitions of Menopause. It
can also allow us to discover a potential health problem long before anyone else and seek early treatment. So try a bit of Moon watching. It’s a win-win situation!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Your Feminine SOUL-Know Your Women’s Rites!

As we discussed in earlier posts, the idea of ritual is nothing to be scared of. It’s not some spooky, occult mumbo jumbo (unless you want it to be!) Nowadays it’s an acceptable psychological practice used by all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons, from those who want to create a sacred moment in their lives, to those who want to say goodbye, to those who want to improve their work or athletic performance.
The beauty of working with ritual whether it be through visualization, meditation or affirmation –or all three at once- is that you are the conductor of your own symphony. YOU can remove anything you don’t feel comfortable with, or include anything you find meaningful.
Here are a few ideas concerning ritual that you may like to consider before you begin, and following are some simple ritual suggestions for women that you can adapt or use as they are. Have fun with them, along with the other exercises in this book. If you want, create your own!
In my experience, the best way to begin your practice is with unencumbered or simple ritual, so that is what I will outline here. All ritual involves working with energy, whether you perceive it as your own, or the universal energy or a spiritual energy of some kind. I was taught that activating our own energy through ritual causes a resonance in the universal energy, like throwing a pebble into a pond causes ripples.

Firstly we centre energy, in the case of the ritual given here, by taking a few deep breaths with eyes closed, or while focussing on a candle, in order to create a clear space to throw our pebble. If you are doing a ritual with more than one person, it’s helpful to breathe in unison for a few moments.

Next we raise energy, by repeating affirmations, chanting, singing, dancing or other movement, visualizing and becoming emotional about what we require.
When the energy reaches it’s peak ( which is sometimes difficult to gauge when you first begin but will become easier the more familiar you become with this practice), it is directed toward your objective ie- you may imagine or visualize your raised energy in some form, for instance a ball, a cone or even a balloon, that you release and send out into the universe with your request ‘attached’. In effect, we have now ’thrown’ our pebble.

Finally, we ground the energy that is left over. This is a very important aspect of ritual. Not grounding your energy can result in dizziness, headaches, nightmares and all other manner of problems. My favorite technique for this is to imagine myself under a waterfall, that washes down my body and soaks into the earth under my feet.
This is the basic structure of my own and most other kinds of ritual that I know of. There are an infinite number of ways that performing a basic ritual can be personalized, by adding transition between ‘your time’ and the rest of the day. As you can see, it’s totally up to you!
When you finish your ritual, again it is customary to ‘open’ your sacred space, and give thanks to whatever energies you invoked at the beginning. This provides, if you like, a ‘full stop’ to your ceremony, marking the transition back into everyday life and seals your intention. But again, this can be as simple as washing your hands, or blowing out a candle.
A Daily Rite For Unconditional Love.
This simple ritual/affirmation can be performed each morning for nine days, and then whenever you
feel you need it.
You will need- A pink candle
Rose or lavender incense or oil in water for oil burner.
A mirror big enough to see your torso in.
The ritual;
Light the candle and the incense or oil burner.  Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to centre your energy. Then look into your own eyes in the mirror.
Say “ I welcome unconditional love and peace into my life. I welcome wisdom and understandingle is traditional- either by walking around the perimeter with incense or salt water and concentrating on purifying and consecrating the area within to your purpose  or by marking the boundary points with flags, staffs, rocks, crystals, or some other specific item of your choice, again affirming your intention. One example of a verse you might like to use or add your own preferences to is :
“In all the worlds, between the worlds, I purify this space. In all the worlds, between the worlds, I am safe and protected. I work for love and the highest good of all concerned.”

It is customary when performing ritual to acknowledge the directions, and the elements of earth fire air water and spirit, since these are the building blocks of which our reality is made, but if you don’t feel comfortable with this idea, simply acknowledging the four directions- north south east and west, plus the other two, up and down, is a good place to begin if you feel you’d like to give this a try.

Your Feminine MIND-A Process of Becoming.

Anais Nin- “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fe with the same people and have the same job, but you have had 365 days more experience and opportunity for personal growth, so you are indeed a different person. Rather than coming back around to exactly the same point, as if you were on a merry-go round, you have changed and developed, as if you were going up a spiral staircase. Even your body has changed. The oldest red blood cell in your circulatory system is only going to be about 120 days old, and every three days we have a new intestinal wall!
For a woman, cyclical hormonal and emotional changes occur within the body all the time. Over the course of our lives we change from children to young women, then experience the transition into the ‘mother’ years (even if you choose or are unable to have children- your body and hormones will still be in this cycle) and then we change again, experiencing the process of menopause-which incidentally has a beginning, a middle and an end of it’s own. Eventually, we become post-menopausal women.
Unfortunately, this particular change is not often honored in our society, making it difficult for many of us to really benefit from the rray, changes are occurring. How often have you heard someone say, “Oh it’s my birthday again and everything’s still exactly the same as it was last year.”
Well, just look closely at your life for a moment. Maybe you’re still living in the same place with the same people and have the same job, but you have had 365 days more experience and opportunity for personal growth, so you are indeed a different person. Rather than coming back around to exactly the same point, as if you were on a merry-go round, you have changed and developed, as if you were going up a spiral staircase. Even your body has changed. The oldest red blood cell in your circulatory system is only going to be about 120 days old, and every three days we have a new intestinal wall!
For a woman, cyclical hormonal and emotional changes occur within the body all the time. Over the course of our lives we change from children to young women, then experience the transition into the ‘mother’ years (even if you choose or are unable to have children- your body and hormones will still be in this cycle) and then we change again, experiencing the process of menopause-which incidentally has a beginning, a middle and an end of it’s own. Eventually, we become post-menopausal women.
Unfortunately, this particular change is not often honored in our society, making it difficult for many of us to really benefit from the lessons we can learn if we are allowed to explore and develop our personal power, but we’re starting to get there.
To make this process of life and change feel more natural and desirable, we need to begin accepting and honoring change. We need to realize thaasy, but life is a ‘work in progress’- and we can be the artist.

Perimenopause? Who, Me?

Although I’ve been planning to begin this blog proper since January 2012 the Universe /Goddess, call the Source power what you will, has had other ideas.
Issues around breast health and many other serendipitous occurrences have conspired to hold up actually starting. I’d finally been kind of waiting for a sign to say “This is it…. get going!”
So this month I experienced my first moon time in six months. If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is! Synchronistically I also started reading “The Wisdom Of Menopause” By Dr Christiane Northrup. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. For those of us going through the Climacteric, a.k.a Perimenopause (meaning that I haven’t yet gone a full twelve months without a period but I am experiencing many symptoms such as hot flushes, vagueness, breast changes, difficulty losing weight and emotional fluctuations) it is a touchstone which reassures that others are experiencing the same issues and still thriving and flourishing, in fact sometimes living the most positive, healthy, juicy and fulfilling part of their lives to date.
When I was writing Moon Rites originally ten years ago, obviously I had to rely on the wisdom of more experienced mentors like Susun Weed (Mistress of Herbal Lore and Women’s Wisdom par excellence- author of Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way) and the wonderful Elaine An (a VERY weird situation for me!) Instead, aseling as well, a technique I’m still learning and will talk about later. I’m not my normal self yet, by any stretch, but I’m coping pretty well to date.
To me, it seems like even though this transition is as big and important as becoming pregnant, our society does not acknowledge it as such- in fact, quite the opposite.
So even though it’s quite a challenge, I’m in a privileged position where I can hopefully put everything I discovered ten years ago together with what I’m experiencing and discovering now and act for others like you as the touchstone you need to navigate your own transitions. We all need a touchstone and we all need to know we are not alone!

Your Feminine BODY- Spice it up with GINGER...

Traditionally, the cooler months of the year offered people the opportunity for rest and reflection. After all their hard work of harvesting and preparing food for storage over the more barren months of winter, it was time to sit around the fire , enjoy what bounty had been gathered and tell stories before preparation for Spring planting and hunting began the whole cycle again. In the Southern Hemisphere winter approacheth and temperatures are dropping.
These days though, no matter what the temperature is outside we tend to stay busy. So all of us, but especially active women need to incorporate these times of rest, renewal and reflection into our lives more regularly.
Cyclic awareness is like a circulatory system, with an ebb and flow, a rhythm of it’s own. As it changes, we need to change with it. For example, we need to be aware of seasonal changes and how these affect our bodies and the delicate balance of our overall wellbeing. Competing in a triathlon in the dead of winter for instance is a totally different ballgame to doing it in the heat of summer! And even those of us who are simply trying to get through the day need to take steps to ensure that we support and nourish ourselves in the way our bodies minds and spirits need it according to our outer environment.
However these changes don’t have to be threatening or difficult. They can be as simple as following our own instinctive desire to eat salads in summer, and more warming, heartier foods in winter.
One food that’s particularly appropriate for this time of year - let me be honest, it’s a personal favorite of mine too!- and a great addition to a healthy lifestyle in all it’s many forms is GINGER.
I was thrilled when I discovered all the health giving properties of ginger, because I love it anyway and I’m now even more keen to make it an integral part of my diet.
Ginger has powerful anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties making it a perfect tonic for general well-being. It is reputed to lower bad cholesterol and support heart and circulatory system health. Traditionally used for travel sickness, morning sickness and any kind of nausea, it has recently been discovered that ginger contains a protein digesting enzyme called zingibain which is similar to that found in papaya.
However, according to some experts ginger contains about 180 times more of this enzyme than papaya and is significantly lower on the GI index so the” old wives remedy” which has advocated the use of ginger as a digestive aid has been well and truly proven.
Ginger is also useful when we have colds and coughs, to remove stuffiness and soothe and calm inflamed mucus membranes. Ginger essential oil, diluted appropriately in a carrier or base oil makes a warm, soothing and anti-inflammatory rub for stiffness and/or rheumatic discomfort, as well as menstrual aches and pains. If you have irregular periods or are late, drinking ginger tea is said to help. As a flower essence, ginger releases anger, irritation, frustration and subconscious trauma.
Ginger is a wonderful addition to fresh juice. My current personal favourite blend is apple, beet, ginger and lemon. Fresh ginger is excellent grated and added to fruitcakes, and if you ever see a pumpkin and ginger cake recipe, give it a try- you won’t regret it.
We all know of ginger’s affinity with Asian and Indian cooking such as stir-fries and curries, and it makes a wonderful cordial base when a chunk is mixed in a blender with a few lemons and honey to taste. Strain and bottle- then add this syrup to soda, cold or hot water, or add to other herbal tea infusions for an extra kick.
So there you have it. One spicy way to enrich your life, nourish your body, uplift and warm your spirit. But don’t stop there! Why not use a bit of your own personal reflection time to discover your individual preferences and whether or not they’re actually good for you too? I can’t think of a better reason to curl up by the heater with a good book…