Beat Holiday Blues with Feng Shui
- Erica Sofrina
One of my favorite fall rituals is to fill my trunk with an abundance of the multicolored, unusually shaped pumpkins and gourds that richly grace the Half Moon Bay, N. California coast side where I reside. I especially love the lime- green and tangerine ones with exotic curly handles. I throw in handfuls of dry, crackly autumn-colored corn and drive happily home where I arrange them artfully around a haystack on my front porch.
Inside I arrange a bountiful ‘horn of plenty’ with the smaller multicolored gourds and mini-pumpkins along with the acorns, dry corn and colorful autumn leaves I have collected.
This is my celebration into fall. I don’t really feel it has arrived until I greedily scoop up nature and feature it prominently in my home.
The Chinese art of Feng Shui emphasizes the importance of bringing nature into our living space, which is called the Five Elements Theory. This is the part of Feng Shui that I have found the most powerful when working with my clients, and the part that I most enjoy teaching to my students. I think it must be because this teaching is so intuitive and simple, yet transformational.
As human beings we are connected to 100,000 generations of ancestors who lived in the natural world. It is embedded into our DNA to feel a deep sense of balance and well being in nature. Studies have shown that people become depressed, lethargic and unproductive when deprived of it. We don’t need science to prove the joyousness we feel sinking our feet into white sands while watching a magnificent sunset. We experience it healing our soul and nurturing our spirit.
One powerful way to remedy winter blues is to work with balancing the elements that begin to diminish during the fall and winter seasons. In working with the Feng Shui five elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood, we work with the controlling and the nurturing cycles. When we have too much of an element we control it by bringing in the element that is stronger. An example would be the element of earth which we would enhance in order to control the element of water. When we have too little of an element we can nurture it with the element that feeds it, such as the element of wood which will strengthen and feed the element of fire.
By bringing into our homes more of the elements of fire (red), wood (green) and earth (gold) during the colder months, we overcome the abundance of the water element and bring them back into balance. Because we are deeply affected by our physical surroundings, our physical bodies come back into balance as well. As a result depression and lethargy often naturally lifts.
It was no surprise to me to discover that our ancestors had been decorating in this same fashion for centuries. As creatures of comfort we will always try to bring our environment into alignment. In so doing they were naturally balancing these seasonal imbalances.
My favorite winter ritual is to fill my trunk with large branches from the unclaimed fir trees and berry bushes around my home. I give them their seasonal ‘haircut’ and into my trunk they go. That evening, I put on my favorite holiday music and immerse myself in the creative process of adorning my home with these bountiful earthy treasures.
Always preferring to save a Christmas tree, I create my own ‘greener’ recycled version and adorn a tall vase with pine boughs with twinkly white lights, shiny gold balls, strings of red cranberries and my collection of small unique ornaments. I cover the mantle with pungent greens, red poinsettias, strands of magical white lights and shimmering silver and gold ribbons. A cherished Angel holds the place of honor at the center Every tabletop gets a unique variation on this theme creating a sense of interest and visual surprise everywhere the eye rests.
I encourage you to play, create, feel and experience the objects, textures, smells and magic of nature. Bring it into your homes in abundance during this time and especially emphasize the more earthy, woody and fiery aspects. It will replenish your soul and create a deep sense of joy and well being within you, making the fall and winter a magical cozy and happy time to be in your home.
Your comments are always welcome. Tell me how you bring nature into your home during the holidays.
Yum — today is ‘National Chocolate Covered Anything Day,’ an energy that’s really easy to swallow. Chocolate actually comes from a plant appropriately named theobroma, which translates to ‘food of the gods.’ These trees are thought to be native to South America and were brought to Mexico by the Mayan civilization. Consequently, both the Aztecs and the Toltecs extensively cultivated cocoa trees. In fact, those ancient Aztecs enjoyed a drink that is believed to be the forerunner of today’s chocolate milk treat. This beverage was also drunk only by men of the upper classes. Women were forbidden to drink this special concoction because of its purported aphrodisiac effects. So the next time you decide to engage an embrace, be sure to serve some sort of chocolate drink with your strawberries and watch the sparks fly as this food bears some sizzling fruit!
By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com
Today is a lucky day for you, in which you’re likely to experience progress in your career and/or finances. You feel a sense of closeness with relatives and friends, and an overall healing of the heart. Few things could be better.
About the Number 6
62: Attention to Detail
General Meaning: Ambitious undertakings are not in order now, but attention to small matters brings progress. Such is the case of a person whose resources are meager, but who, through modesty and perseverance, rises to accomplish great things.
The key to success when small potential influences the larger scene is to avoid pretentious ambitions and grandiose goals. The power of the small is served by slow and steady advancement, and succeeds through an honest awareness of its own limitations, without reservation.
Modesty stemming from recognizing your limitations is a fine quality, but it can be seen as weakness if it is not accompanied by conscientiousness. It is important to understand the demands of your situation, and not to expect success in big things right now. The wise person recognizes the nature of the time. So, know your own role, carefully attend to details and act with humility, and you can achieve your goal even with few resources.
|Stone Runes are most commonly used for questions about the natural world and things beyond human control. Othila is the homeland. Land was the purest form of immovable wealth in Norse civilization, distinct from the movable wealth represented by Fehu. This rune speaks of stability and safety stemming from inheritance, both material and genetic. With respect to the question asked, consider the background of the people and families involved…|
This Tarot Deck: Cagliostro
While the hourglass was an identifying feature on the earliest Hermit cards, more modern ones have shifted the metaphor, showing more or less light released from his lantern. In either case, the Hermit card reminds us of the value of time away from the hubbub of civic life, to relax the ego in communion with Nature
Your Horoscope Vacation
- Cait Johnson
The ideal vacation for a fiery, active Aries will probably look very different than the getaway for a tradition-loving Taurus or a super-organized Virgo, for instance. The wisdom from our sun sign can show us how to get the maximum in soul-nurturance from our summer break.
Find out what your horoscope can tell you about your ideal vacation here:
Aries, March 21-April 19: You will probably prefer a break that includes a lot of physical activity: surfing, kayaking, hiking, or vigorous sightseeing. If the rest of your family prefers loafing on the beach, find ways to stay on an even keel by doing yoga or tai chi in the sand.
Taurus, April 20-May 21: Taurus people generally prefer going to places that are familiar and traditional. This year, you might want to hoist yourself out of your rut and go someplace new. Wherever you go, you will find the deepest nurturance in the fertile green energy of nature.
Gemini, May 22-June 20: Geminis sometimes find it hard to feel grounded and to quiet their quickly-moving minds. You might consider taking a meditation retreat to help yourself be deeply present and still. If your family wants to do a theme park instead, just make sure you take time to go someplace quiet and simply sit.
Cancer, June 21-July 22: It can be difficult to get sensitive home-loving Cancers to go anywhere, but the seaside is a natural choice if you do decide to leave the safety and comfort of home. Allow the sound of the surf to bring you ease.
Leo, July 23- Aug 22: Most Leos love vacations that offer plenty of opportunity for your vitality to shine, so anything from karaoke singing to drama workshops to simply being the tour guide for your family may all appeal. You are a natural activities-director and entertainer, so enjoy!
Virgo, Aug 23-Sept 22: It is all too easy for Virgos to get caught up in the details of planning the vacation and forget to relax and be in the moment. But time spent gardening (or visiting famous gardens) or simply indulging in wonderful organic meals will help to soothe you.
Libra, Sept 23-Oct 22: Harmony-loving Libras may find they are more focused on pleasing everyone else when it comes to taking a vacation than in pleasing themselves. Be sure to feed your sensitive spirit with plenty of beauty, both natural and human: art museums and natural vistas both will offer soul-food.
Scorpio, Oct 23-Nov 21: Because Scorpios are so drawn to the depths, your ideal vacation may involve a spiritual workshop of some kind, or learning an esoteric practice, or doing deep couples work with your partner. If not, then snorkeling or scuba-diving might offer a literal way for you to explore those depths of which you are so fond.
Sagittarius, Nov 22-Dec 21: Sparkly Sagittarians usually need plenty of activity and social interaction to feed their souls. Your ideal vacation might involve a group tour of some interesting spot or a glimpse of another culture.
Capricorn, Dec 22-Jan 19: Work-oriented Capricorns usually need to be pried away from their desks and routines with a crowbar, but if you do decide you deserve a break, time spent in the mountains or some other expansive view will help you to unwind.
Aquarius, Jan 20-Feb 18: Your fertile imagination will take pleasure in coming up with meaningful activities to share with your closest loved ones. Anything that offers spiritual inspiration will be likely to engage and nurture you.
Pisces, Feb 19-March 20: Because of your dedication to service, your ideal vacation may involve some kind of environmental or social outreach: helping to clean up a park or building a house for the needy may appeal to your altruistic nature. If your family just wants to have fun, you can channel your need to help in smaller but no less important ways.
It’s difficult to exercise caution today because optimistic Jupiter tempts us to take unnecessary risks when it forms an uneasy sesquisquare with energetic Mars. Nevertheless, we’re a bit skittish as Mars in critical Virgo motivates us to refine our plans rather than pursuing our goals. Meanwhile, the Moon’s visit to Virgo encourages us to limit our options. We may think that we’re playing it smart, but inaction only increases our frustration.
If you have been thinking about purchasing something special for yourself, you might impulsively decide to buy it today. However, your standards are rigid now, so it’s necessary to convince yourself that your current acquisition is not frivolous. It’s better to spend your money on tools for work than on something you don’t really need. Ultimately, it’s wiser to conserve your resources, so don’t be afraid to buck the tide and say no.
Although you want to put your life back in order, you probably can’t regain control over everything today. Your pragmatic common sense tells you to be cautious, but friends are encouraging you to make commitments without worrying about fulfilling them until later on. You might be able to improve your production pace by squeezing out a little more effort every day; however the possible negative impact on your life isn’t worth the tradeoff. Once you choose your priorities, establish clear boundaries so that everyone knows exactly what to expect.
You may believe that staying in motion keeps you relatively safe, as if instant karma can’t hit you while you’re moving. Even if you are enthused about living in such a dynamic time, you can grow tired of having to always be on the run. You might notice today that you’re longing for more relaxing times. Fortunately, you have the power to make the choice to wean yourself from high-adrenaline situations so you are able to live a longer and happier life. Be proactive and start now.
You might be tempted to jump into a project at work today if you have already created a detailed plan to ensure your success. You can manage your resources well, even if your friends pull you in several directions. It’s extremely difficult to pass by an opportunity that looks too good to ignore. However, following your instincts could lead to trouble if you wander too far off track. Avoid the disappointment that comes from overindulging your fantasies by buckling down and following your agenda, instead.
You may be able to visualize the finished results on a big project today, yet any attempts to take a shortcut could be met with swift retribution. It’s a smart strategy to move past the flush of excitement about a new career direction so you can get down to serious business now. Don’t dilly-dally; it’s time to build a solid foundation in order to reach your impressive goals.
You’re rejuvenated by the Moon’s return to practical Virgo and can now create a strategy for living defensively. Although green lights seem to appear at every intersection today, you are wise to tap the brakes and look each way before continuing on. Don’t be distracted by good news; even if your future is looking fantastic, stop to check your map before blindly driving forward.
Your extravagant behavior today may be an overreaction to hide your fears about what’s ahead. Fortunately, you could realize the extraordinary effect that your thoughts have on the future, leading you to choose fun and games over doom and gloom. Nevertheless, your attention is also required on matters of deeper concern, so don’t go off and bury your head in the sand. Balance optimism with realism for optimum results.
You may think that you would be better off training for the marathon of your life that you believe is just ahead. But you might also conclude that it’s a good idea to enjoy yourself while you can, for you don’t really know what’s around the next corner. While considering these opposite perspectives, remember that your point of view continues to change, too, so every decision needs to stand on its own merits.
Your optimistic outlook is encouraged by eager Mars’ aspect to your key planet Jupiter. Although you want more facts today, you might not have time to properly integrate them into your plan. However, you also want to establish new priorities to reduce the stress of having too much data. Instead of reaching out even further, limit your field of possibilities and take steps to utilize what you already know.
You may believe that you’re regaining your stability now, just as a wave of big ideas washes in to sweep you off your feet. Ironically, you’re optimistic about your future, even if the current circumstances feel unsettling. Be careful about what you believe, for you could be influenced by those who seek blind support for the party line. Instead of following the herd, think for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Although your future is looking better all the time, it’s wise to tread carefully since you could be building your strategy on incomplete data. Receiving praise from a powerful person is wonderful, but others may have their own reasons for giving you positive feedback now. Maintain a healthy attitude about your work, but don’t allow your strong desire for success to cast a rosy glow over reality. A practical approach will serve you much better than running from the truth.
Your friend or co-worker may be overly critical of your actions today, but you might disregard other people’s negative comments because you think they’re being unrealistic or judgmental. Instead of learning from constructive feedback, you’re tempted to discredit anyone who doesn’t support your efforts. Keep in mind that your apparent adversaries could be much more helpful than you realize, so listen to the advice you receive and use it to make your position even stronger.
by Jeff Jawer
Work in Progress
December 16 – 18
Love and pleasure are available for those willing to work extra hard this weekend. The practical Virgo Moon favors productivity and pragmatism, leaving romantic fantasies behind and seeking more grounded ways to connect. Collaborating on a project is one way to have fun while taking care of business. Helping a friend or contributing time and energy to a cause in which you believe can be excellent alternative methods for meeting someone special.
Happily, there is a sweet trend on Saturday night when the earthy Virgo Moon aligns favorably with lovely Venus. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or do anything elaborate to tap into the simple pleasures available all around you.
The Moon’s move into the partnership sign Libra on Sunday morning turns the wheel in another direction. Normally, this shift should invite delight and harmonious partnerships but, alas, this may not be the case now. The Moon’s challenging square with manipulative Pluto could undermine trust and bring up old fears from the past. However, this relatively quick moving transit is trumped by a more challenging one: Venus’ square with severe Saturn. You might feel temporarily isolated and unloved, yet the point is not to suffer in silence but to face facts and stoically work harder to earn the affection you want.