Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moonwalks and New Moongram Merge

How to Keep Up with the New Moon

Dear Radical Readers,

As previously announced at the bottom of the Moonwalk: Gemini post, the monthly Moonwalk will now be absorbed into my monthly New Moongram newsletter. It’s available free, by subscription only. If you haven’t already signed up, you can do so quickly and easily on the top of the sidebar.

We’ve taken a dozen lunar strolls across all the Moon signs since last summer, starting with Cancer in July 2010 and ending with Gemini in June 2011. The Moonwalks are among the most popular posts on The Radical Virgo, but also some of the most time consuming to write. The redesigned New Moongram will include the chart of the New Moon, some concise comments about the chart and month to come, and refer back to previous posts on the general characteristics of the current Moon sign. It will retain all its other juicy New Moon features—information on the New Moon’s Sabian symbol and a mini-meditation for each New Moon sign. Note the opportunity to see a sample by the sign-up button, if you want to look before you leap. The sample you’ll see is “pre-merger.” Imagine it with the New Moon chart, some interpretation, and all the other updates, including what’s happening behind the scenes at The Radical Virgo.

Try it—and if for any reason you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe in a click.

The Moonwalk/Moongram merger is one of a number of changes to come, at least in the short-term, to allow more time for completing my research and writing my book on Chiron during the second half of this year. As the badge low on the sidebar says, I’m a passionate blogger … but there’s only so much time and energy. My book is long overdue, and there will be times where blogging will have to focus on quality rather than quantity in order to bring you longer, more meaty material in book format.

I haven’t quite figured out what “blogging less” will look like. Every time I’ve tried it in the past; I just seem to blog more! Since I can’t seem to stop doing it (blogging is like eating potato chips), I think there may be shorter pieces in the months to come … but, as always, I’ll let the Moon lead me. Join me in a sense of surprise and wonder about how it will all work out.

Happy Summer Solstice--The Growing Season!

As always, I welcome your input, feedback, and above all, your continued support. I love the community we have created on The Radical Virgo, and I hope you’ll continue to walk on the Moon with me in a slightly different way.

Have a wonderful summer,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spring Forest Qigong: Combining with the Universe

© 2011 by Elizabeth Wescott, Guest Blogger
All Rights Reserved

A Note from Joyce: This article is a follow-up to the last post, Chiron and Chi. Although it’s not about astrology, per se, it expands on the practical application of creating a practice that brings integration of body, mind, and spirit. I hope it gives you further inspiration about how the emotional or health challenges in our charts can be met in our bodies by the movement of energy—chi or qi.

January 20, 2010: I was living in a home that had recently been painted and carpeted. I’d moved back to Northern California from the desert just a month before, and there I sat in a cold common room, watching the Presidential Inauguration. It was supposed to be a very special day, and yet the cumulative effect of change in climate, environmental toxins and sitting in a cold room with someone who was probably in a contagious state with a flu virus knocked me for a loop. Having been challenged with health issues for a long time, I’m used to using alternative approaches on my own to deal with acute illnesses. So, before I decided I had to have help from a professional in the alternative health field, I’d let it get so bad; I had spent an entire night making a conscious effort to breathe through the coughing attacks. It’s good to know the word “Uncle” and when to use it!

A couple of weeks later, my sister finally got her chance to introduce me to Spring Forest Qigong (she’d been champing at the bit for the years I was living in New Mexico). I was out of bed, but still struggling a good deal. We did 20 minutes of the practice. I felt so much better. If I hadn’t known how powerful these energy practices can be, I would have been amazed. As it was, I accepted it as fact – a delightful fact.

The next morning, I felt like I’d been hit by a train. Because I’m familiar with energy healing, I knew what had happened--energy blocks had started clearing and, in my case, it was creating a ”healing crisis”.This doesn’t always happen, but it can. The thing to do is recognize this is good news. It means your body responds really well to the practice. Then it’s time to take it seriously and practice daily. Each day I did it, I felt better than the day before.

One of the things that became apparent as I integrated SFQ into my daily life: I had encountered a foundational support for my body and mind that would allow me to do the kind of energy healing work I’d felt called to for over 30 years. (With Pluto smack on the Midheaven, my Moon in Virgo in the tenth house and Chiron in Aquarius trine my Gemini Sun, it had been an uncomfortable wait, finding my healing expression).

Spring Forest Qigong is not only a form of exercise; it’s a wisdom teaching, very grounded in compassion, in our connection with the whole Universe and our innate ability to transform energy. Einstein introduced the Western world to the idea that everything is energy. Energy cannot be created, nor destroyed, but it can be transformed.
There are many things that help us transform the energy of our bodies, our minds, our lives and our world. SFQ is one of them.

Saturn is closely conjunct the Ascendant in my natal chart, opposite Venus in the sixth house. Health issues showed up as a teacher when I was 15, though I’m still working on integrating that friendly perspective on it. There was a time when health issues seemed to define me. SFQ has made my body more receptive to acupuncture treatments and energy healing work. It’s helped me to deal with side effects of medications I still need. Since beginning the practice, I have become far more aware of synchronicity in life, making it much easier to trust that things will unfold, and that it’s OK to let go of worry. The practice has increased my awareness of not just living in the Universe, but being an integral part of it. It has truly helped me to give love to my body and to send love to the things that create discomfort in it. Lighting a candle in a dark room brings light. As we say at the beginning of a practice or healing session:

 “I am in the Universe, the Universe is in my body, the Universe and I are combined together.”

Spring Forest Qigong is my most powerful tool in developing the awareness, concentration and discipline to choose what I wish to transform and then go about doing that. I know, I made it sound really easy. It’s just simple, not always easy.

Having learned to do a very powerful form of energy healing work in my mid-twenties, I had put that up on a shelf, because I didn’t have the support of something like SFQ that cleared blocks bringing me into alignment with my wholeness. After just a couple of months of doing SFQ, I delved into Level Two for helping others heal. It is so similar to what I’d learned before; it felt like I’d received my wings! Clearly, my study had to continue and my use of this work had to expand. Thus a dream was born: Go to Minnesota and complete the training for Teacher Certification for Level One to teach others to use SFQ for personal well-being.

A brilliant idea, and yet, quite underfunded. I set my sights on going the following summer. That gave me over a year to study, practice and earn money. The first two parts happened very easily, just a part of daily life. Making the money I needed to finance this endeavor was a different matter. I did begin doing healings for others, and I did some administrative work for a friend. The bottom line was I didn’t have the clientele to make a living and I didn’t have the energy to make enough money to do more than make ends meet. Yet, in January of 2010, I came across information about a window of opportunity for manifesting. There were numerous tools offered. I chose to work with one, giving thanks on a daily basis for the receipt of things I needed and wanted in my life.

They’re called precision affirmations. The idea is to express thanks as if the desires have already been fulfilled and to feel the joy and gratitude.

My SFQ goals weren’t the only things I was working on. As I did this process, I saw results in numerous areas. It was a blast. Yet, my finances didn’t change. The training was in June. By March, I tried to talk myself into facing reality and accepting that I wouldn’t be going. Come April, I abandoned that effort and sent out a message by letter, email and Facebook to a couple of dozen people telling them what I wanted to do, how powerful SFQ was for me and why it seemed I wasn’t able to come up with the money myself. Then I waited, uncomfortably.

As money began to come in I still worried. (I don’t have this transforming energy thing down completely). Others were sure I was going to receive the money I asked for and go to the Spring Forest Qigong Center. Their faith was my rock, and I leaned on it. One friend offered to help me find the best deal for my flight. One person sent me a third of what I needed. Others sent smaller portions.

Money trickled in, from $200 to $10. It all added up. My trips to the post office included walking home in tears as I opened letters from people I didn’t really expect to respond and was touched by their generosity. Some people gave twice. There were people who couldn’t send anything but their good wishes. Now, that touched me deeply. It’s not easy to say, “I can’t help with your request, but I am so excited that you are doing this and I am 100% behind you.” We have a tendency to think if we’re not there to give on the physical level, we have nothing to give. These expressions were one of the most powerful aspects of the experience.

Over that time, I wanted very much to share my good fortune. One way I did this was to tell each teller where I deposited the checks how I had come by this money--through the kindness and generosity of others at a time when peoples’ budgets were (and still are) very tight.

I wanted others to receive the hope I was receiving in this experience.

Occasionally, a teller would become quite animated and we would share uplifting stories about the kindness of others as the transactions were completed.

I was able to find someone to room with in Minnesota, to share the costs of lodging. We talked on the phone about a month before the training. It was clear we were an incredible fit from the first conversation. We roomed together, seamlessly for four nights. Both of us have health issues amongst our teachers. In a very gentle way, we watched out for one another. Celebrated each other’s joys and softened the difficulties. Emily and I are friends for life. Just recently, I met one of Emily’s dearest friends--it was like being with Emily. Such a delight and gift since Emily and I don’t live in the same state.

Going to the training, I was coming off a month of dealing with an acute illness. An 8 am to 4 pm schedule was not easy for me under the best of circumstances back then (though 11 months later, I’ve improved so much, I wouldn’t be really concerned now about spending four days in training). But then, I was apprehensive. It wasn’t exactly easy, in addition to the time in training, there was the time I needed to put into my practice of Qigong. I also had to give my body the support it needed through acupressure and other forms of bodywork, too, an absurd number of supplements to organize and have with me at all the appropriate times, and to get food that would fit my very restrictive diet (which is also less restrictive now). Yet, in the end, it worked very well.

A couple of months later, someone who was guiding me in a healing exercise asked me to tell her about the happiest time of my life. It was those four days, being in the presence of others grounded in this practice. Being in the presence of the teachers and our Master Teacher, being in the presence of such incredible goodwill. Those of us who went through the training echoed stories of synchronicity in our lives at a level we’d never known before. I’d thought it was just me who was having that experience.

One of the best days began with feeling as though I was falling in love with person after person, with things, with events, with everything. In the early part of the day, I watched my mind throwing up judgments about the experience. Fortunately, I chose just to observe it. Later on, it had just disappeared and I was in a state of love, a simple, joyful state of love and appreciation.

Another “best” was a healing I received. Of the many symptoms I’ve had, there has been one that has been most difficult to deal with. It has impacted my mind states so much and undermined my trust in myself. I have dealt with it more and less effectively for decades. When I went to Minnesota, my intention was that it would be healed. It is now only a shadow that comes up for an hour or two on rare occasions. It used to be with me for six months out of the year.

Since I began practicing Spring Forest Qigong, it has been a daily practice. My body has required this for balance and to feel that I am moving forward with symptoms and my life. In the year that I’ve been teaching the practice to others, I have been so gratified to learn that some experience benefit from doing just a weekly session in one of my practice groups. There are two things I encourage people to do: Start where you are, and do Qigong every day. Sometimes starting where you are means doing it once a week. How glad I am that there are many who benefit from doing just this much.

Nothing fits for everyone, with the exception of breathing. Some might argue eating does as well, but I know of a few highly evolved people who choose not to eat and lived very active lives, so I’ll stay with breathing being the one thing that fits for all of us humans. Though there is little that fits for everyone, each of us has those things that will support us in living the lives we were meant to live as nothing else does. Spring Forest Qigong is something that can do that for people. This is why I teach it, offer healings and coaching.

If you live in the Sacramento Area, perhaps I’ll see you sometime at Heart to Hearth in Folsom for a Group Healing or a Practice Group! My blog is Stepping Stones to Health. It will keep you up-to-date on practice groups and specials, and if you’re in need of reading the words of a wordy Gemini woman, you’ll find that there too.

I wish you the joy of Blooming Where You Stand!


Elizabeth Wescott is a Reiki Master and Energy Healer. She offers healing work to assist others in experiencing their own healing energy in actively bringing healing in their lives. She coahces Spring Forest Qigong Level 1 and leads SFQ Level 1 Practice Groups. Encouraging others to trust that there are forward steps that can be taken to move into health and wholeness is a joy beyond words, for a Gemini woman of many words. Contact her at 916-969-7993 or  elizabethwescott@att.net.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chiron and Chi

© 2011 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Chiron begins with the letters “chi,” the same ones that are pronounced “chee” in Oriental medicine. Chi is the vital life force regulated by acupuncture and healing practices like t’ai chi and qi gong, also written without a space, qigong. (Qi is the other spelling for chi, pronounced the same way.) The practice of feng shui is based on these same principles—the free movement of energy that helps human beings function well in their living spaces.

Since 1986, acupuncture has been a major part of my personal health care and in the past year, I have taken up both t’ai chi and qigong. I find Spring Forest Qigong to be a particularly powerful healing practice for me. I now believe I that my health was “off” since autumn of last year, in part, so I could discover the relationship between Chiron and chi!

Stuck Energy

Chiron of mythology became a “wounded healer” because he was stuck. This is both literal and figurative! He was stuck with a poisoned arrow—an accident—and because he was immortal, he could not die. He was stuck in a body with no hope of escape.

Whether our pain is physical or emotional, it is being stuck that causes most, if not all our grief. That stuck factor is parallel to the blocked energy flow that the Oriental healing arts aim to correct. It’s ironic in the case of acupuncture that being stuck with something—a fine needle—can actually correct stuck energy.

One can have too much chi or too little chi flowing along the meridians of the physical body. In qigong, all the exercises aim to balance yin and yang and that energetic circuitry. After a session, I feel physically and emotionally rewired in the best possible way. I buzz with vitality.

If this analogy is true, the key (Chiron’s glyph) to healing our Chironic wounds is to change the energy flow around them. This task can have both a mental and a physical component.

Going with the Flow

Changing the energy flow around pain or wounding, as the Oriental healings arts do, reminds me a profound idea I heard about Chiron by astrologer Stan Riddle many years ago and have repeated on The Radical Virgo many times:

Pluto transforms; Chiron transmutes. Transmute means to experience the same thing but to look at it differently.

That energetic transmutation is the alchemy in ancient texts, the idea of creating gold. The gold is a change of attitude that shifts a manifestation from the inside out.

To make this attitudinal shift means letting go of resistance. A vicious cycle develops when it comes to pain. The fear of further hurt causes us to tighten and resist energy flow in the present. Our body/mind replicates the same reaction pattern. The reaction pattern becomes fixed. Then we find ourselves stuck in pain, whether or not we have actually experienced any new trauma. Whatever pain we have is made worse-- or it can’t transmute itself--because we have jammed our circuitry in a knee-jerk reaction. These patterns can tend to be as hard and thick as cement.

Healing Practices for the Chiron Signs

Any of the practices mentioned below can be an effective path to healing and releasing energy blockages, regardless of an individual’s astrological make-up. The following pairings are my “hits” on what would work will for the Chiron signs, combining intuition with .astro-logic. Not all of them come from the Oriental traditions, but they all move energy and are very Chi (chee) – ronic.

Chiron in Aries - The martial arts. These practices help vent aggression and replay for release the Chiron-in-Aries wound, often caused by violent or hostile behavior. The martial arts have both a fighting and an energy-balancing component to them—t’ai chi, for example. Acupuncture would also be helpful as a sharp object that brings healing, counterbalancing the literal and figurative wounds a Chiron in Aries often experiences from being “wounded by the sword” in some way through violence, war, or emotional sharpness.

Chiron in Taurus – Acupressure and bodywork aimed at releasing energy from the musculature. Aromatherapy appeals to healing through sensuous pleasure. A little dark chocolate therapy now and then couldn’t hurt, either, especially given the antioxidants and other benefits.

Chiron in Gemini – Talk therapy, especially the type that involves dialogue with different parts of you, such as the Gestalt technique. Since this Chiron sign often is wounded by family communication patterns in early life, it allows those patterns to come up again naturally for therapeutic intervention. Singing is also healing for this Chiron sign. A good vocal coach could release all kinds of blockages, not just to the notes coming out, but vicarious blockages of long- suppressed speech. A spoken voice vocal coach or speech therapist, in case of literal speech handicaps, would work, as well. Think of the movie, The King’s Speech. [1] This Chiron sign needs to heal self-expression.

Chiron in Cancer – Water massage techniques, such as Watsu, swimming, and long soaks in a tub with aromatherapy are naturals for this Chiron sign. Increased self-nurture is an important practice to counterbalance pouring all of him- or herself into family and other intimates.

Chiron in Leo – Nothing moves energy better for this Chiron sign than channeled drama, such as Psychodrama or Astrodrama. Raucous play of a physical nature can also do the trick. Who says adults can’t play on the playground? Take a kid if you feel silly.

Chiron in Virgo - Qigong. Virgos heal with their hands, and qigong uses flowing movements of the hands to move and balance energy. T’ai chi, a closely related practice, is also helpful. It’s important for the mental sign of Virgo to get physical a little bit, every day, to avoid stagnation of chi.

Chiron in Libra – Practices that focus on you as an individual, as this Chiron sign is prone to enmeshment with others to the point of Self loss. Solo dancing, especially in front of mirrors, is an energy shifter while literally focused on self-image. Yoga is excellent for Chiron in Libra, as it focuses on balance of body, mind, and spirit—and the individual’s relationship to All That Is. Food for thought: This is the rarest of Chiron signs, as Chiron transits in Libra only 1.25 years out of every 50. If the world needs each of us to be our unique selves and to contribute our special gifts, we need Chiron in Libra to find him- or herself as much as he or she does. It's the perfect Chi/Libra solution, taking care of others and yourself at the same time.

Chiron in Scorpio – Like Chiron in Leo, this sign benefits from channeled drama, such as Psychodrama or Astrodrama. Chiron in Scorpio finds release in ritual. When energy is stuck or pain lingers, create a ceremony with an object that stands for the hurt or stagnation. Literally, toss it in the air, boot it, or burn it in the fireplace to transform it. Seal it with positive affirmations, such as, My energy flows freely. I am free. OK, Chi/Scorps. No dark side stuff with voodoo dolls on other people. Remember, the law of karma is everywhere, and the person you stick back, even in ritual, is likely to mean more pain for little gain. (Since this is my own Chiron sign, I know the temptations!)

Chiron in Sagittarius – Travel therapy is just as important to Chiron as the Sun in this sign. When you need healing and a long journey just isn’t possible, jump in your car and head for the nearest college campus. Visit the cafeteria, commons, or library. Bring a good book or look one up. See if you can jump into some conversations with students. Just hanging out in the higher educational vibes and walking the campus of in institution of higher learning will move your energy and put you in an environment that’s naturally healing for you. If you’re really stuck, book a quick getaway, even if it’s only for a few days.

Chiron in Capricorn – Like its opposite sign, Cancer, Chiron in Cap needs to nurture him- or herself, especially because of workaholic tendencies. The best thing this Chi/sign can do is to take mini-vacations from the office. That means coming home early, or if you work at home, closing the home office door. Create a daily end-of-business time and stick to it. Since the sign of Capricorn rules bones, chiropractic or bodywork focused on realigning the skeletal structure can be helpful. Examples: Rolfing or Svaroopa yoga and its complementary embodiment work. (My Cap Moon and senior body swears by the latter two.)

Chiron in Aquarius – This Chiron sign does well with bodywork that’s “electric” in nature, such as electronic acupuncture. If it’s unusual, too, this Chi/sign is likely to resonate! Try out something that’s offbeat, but do your homework to be sure it won’t harm. Bowen therapy may be a pain reliever and energy reorganizer that this Chi/sign likes a lot, because there is minimal invasion by another and you are left to let your energy body realign itself after some barely hands-on techniques. Another that comes to mind is network chiropractic or network spinal analysis. (If its “network,” it must be Aquarian!) It is also a minimal hands-on technique that simply stimulates the energy body to readjust itself in relation to your physical being.

Chiron in Pisces – Dance therapy and improvisational music like jazz are natural healers for this Chi/sign. Since this sign loves movement, it may be one of the lesser likely to get stuck often. It’s another sign that would appreciate water therapies, too, when it does. (See Cancer.)

Instant Alchemy

In the short-term, the best thing to do with stuck energy is to “do something different”. That’s why I celebrate Do Something Different Day every month. Create a habit of mixing things up, whether it’s taking a different route home, eating a different kind of cereal, or just getting up in the middle of whatever you’re doing and walking around. This awakens your whole being to the idea that energy shifts are exciting and helpful. Instead, we tend to dig deep ruts with our routines and habits. We often operate like the stuck needle on an old 78-RPM record. Here we are, back to needles again!

Needle (verb) - Informal. To prod or goad (someone) to a specified action: "We needled her into going with us." ~ Dictionary.com

Perhaps language itself offers a hint for the cure. If we “needle” ourselves in the sense of nudging ourselves to be more comfortable with change, we won’t just foster healing. We’ll deal well with the current time where change is the air we breathe.


Next: Guest blogger Elizabeth Wescott, a teacher and practitioner of Spring Forest Qigong, tells more about this form of energy movement and her healing journey.


[1] King George VI of the United Kingdom, whose story is told in the movie The King’s Speech, actually had Chiron in Libra. (December 12, 1895.) His severe stuttering and struggles with language are suggested in his chart by Sun/Mercury in Sag opposite Pluto and Neptune in Gemini.

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Photo Credits: Yin-Yang © Divinior Dreamstime.com; Acupuncture needles © Jochenschneider