Not sure how everyone's feeling on the West coast, but on the Eastern seaboard, the vibe is sluggish. Even those of us plugged into what we imagine is "the hustle" are hustling up against a deep urge to rest. It might be the seasonal shift, a rapid plunge into colder and colder weather (last week, NYC dropped from the high 50s to high 30s overnight!); witches of the East, I call you into the circle and invite you to stock up on your woolens. Or, it might be the loss of light in the Northern Hemisphere, how darkness calls a girl to lie down in it. Speaking of lying down in darkness, the Sun under the stars of Scorpio alongside Mercury loves darkness and its many iterations, from the kind of darkness one can experience with their senses to the kind that is felt deep down in the depths of who we are. Digging into that kind of darkness is not easy work—it taxes our psyches and our hearts. Always on time, the full moon in Taurus on November 12 rises to the occasion, matching the mood wrapped in handwoven blankets and shamelessly ordering takeout.
A full moon is always an invocation toward balance—the task of allowing opposite impulses to work on you at the same time without giving one of those impulses priority. Every year, the Sun spends most of November in Scorpio, alighting the falling leaves and cool hardening earth. And, every year, the moon is full in Taurus, beckoning us to marvel at the ochre of these falling leaves and the crisp scent of late autumn. To grieve the loss of daylight hours too long is to miss the power of the hours that remain—the sun somehow brighter, almost white, and sharp along its edges. Scorpio is associated with death and spiritual transformation while Taurus represented our possessions and sensual capacities on this Earth. What happens when these influences meet? A bear preparing his black cave for winter, where he will restore himself in secret, a ritual that is made up mostly of sleep but not entirely. And, isn't all restorative ritual a kind of transformation to the body? A chance for our cells to do their work and change, one by one, until we are renewed.
What can we learn from bears and their instinctual practices? The National Park Service reminds us that after an October chock-full of salmon, our fat bears are beginning to spend more and more time in their dens, slowing down their breath and heart rates. Meanwhile, on the human front, we are called to fill our bellies with nourishment that fortifies our bodies so that we might withstand unfriendly climate conditions. To eat what is not only warm and fatty but also nutrient and vitamin-rich. This, dear reader, is not about monitoring your calories but about self-nurturance. Inside you, exists a being that wants to be fed and cared for with intention. It's said that meals made with love can be tasted in each spoonful. When you make meals for yourself that are begrudging and have no power to sustain you, what kind of love do you offer your body? When you engage in relationship patterns that feel unsustainable, what kind of kind of love are you feeding your spirit?
As our bears begin their descent into torpor, we are called to practice engaging our own heart rates. For some, there are opportunities to practice releasing old mechanisms (codependent over-giving and self-denial). And, for others, there is the pleasure of reclaiming our oldest loves, ourselves. The polarity between holding on and letting go, between self-possession and self-destruction, exists on a wheel that is always in relation both in the sky and in our bodies. These wheels exist in our material selves and in our cells: While physical activity can result in the positive release of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins—things our sunshine-starved psyches desperately crave—interpersonal conflict releases neurotransmitters that snare us into heart-pounding cycles of emotional dysregulation. So, as November turns a windy corner, it's worth noting that while your body might be craving a slow-cooked rich and hearty soup, your heart craves its own comforts—quiet, stillness, and trust. Under this full moon in Taurus, hold your emotional and physical needs with equal attentiveness, reader. The winter that awaits us is long and bares its mean wisdom down on all living things.