Art of The Moon

“Bamboo shadows sweep the stairs,
But no dust is stirred.
Moonlight penetrates the depths of the pool,
But no trace is left in the water.”

–Nyogen Senzaki

Moon is the breathing sigh, the gush of blood, the heaving breast, the excitement and romance of being alive, the drowning and discovering you can swim! Moon is the dark watery depth, sand in mouth on ocean floor; instinctively knowing which way is up. Moon feels in the dark. Moon is at her best in the dark, Lady of the Night; she shows with a muted glow what may be too harsh in the glaring light of day. She shows in a different way:::the same Light of the Sun, only shining softer, so what would be defended against, shaded with blinders, shielded or deflected may come to be absorbed and digested through Moon’s gentle beams, thus understood and grasped. Moon is mind, mingled with emotion and intuition nudging toward or away from purpose. Moon is how we think about everything experienced; all we’ve become aware of, while under an umbrella giving respite from direct sunlight.

One of my favorite lunar tales from India is about Soma, the Moon God. He was married to King Daksha’s 27 daughters, each living within a small portion of the twelve astrological constellations in their own lunar mansions. Soma was sworn to divide his time equally between each of his brides, but he fell in love with Rohini and favored her with all his attention and care above the others. Her twenty-six sisters complained to their father about his neglect and King Daksha cursed him, condemning him to wither and die. Soma petitioned his benefactor, Lord Shiva, who granted him a favor as one of his faithful devotees::instead of withering and dying, he would crest, grow, culminate, fade, and go over the course of twenty eight days, thus we have Soma, the Moon God, waxing and waning as a result of his inconstancy, partiality, and emotional attachment where he was promised to be neutral and detached. He may no longer be bound to Daksha’s 27 daughters, yet he must pass through each of their mansions on his orbit where he lingers a day or two longer in some than others!

Moon phases are a circle to dance with, turning and returning, round and round. By integrating creativity with moon phases we align with lunar rhythms; applying them to deepening relationship with our selves, with our experiences, perceptions, and desires, with the cycles of nature that we are part of. With each new moon we are called:: to renew ourselves, to bring something new of ourselves to our community of friends and family to contribute in participation.

The Art of The Moon is a creativity practice adapted from one shared with me and I invite you to enjoy it as well; either on your own or gather with a group of women and young girls and celebrate together twice a month, inhaling and exhaling with the new and full moons. The timing of it, like the moon, can fluctuate by four days here and three days there to breathe with your rhythms. At the heart of the practice is tuning toward wisdom within and drawing it up, expressing it as art and word combined.

On the new moon, listen for what you desire deeply, to initiate, learn about, discover, or venture toward. On one side of the moon card draw the crescent moon at the edge, then color or paint or collage an image to represent the path you’re venturing forth on. On the other side, write the date, the sign the moon is in if you know it, the phase it’s in, along with a poem, a petition, which can be to your allies, angels, deities or other helpers, or an invocation for assistance, inspiration, or illumination with your endeavors.

On the full moon, attend to what’s transpired, what’s been fulfilled, what you are ready to drop into the tide to carry away, where it may ripple out in release and be liberated. On one side of the moon card draw or paint an image, a symbol, a shape, or collage a representation of your intention. On the other side of the moon, write the date, the sign the moon is in if you know it, the phase it’s in, along with a song, a poem, a petition, which can be to your allies, angels, deities or other helpers, or an invocation for your endeavor in surrender, shedding, or letting go to ebb away into the ocean.

Supplies needed: enough paints and brushes, pencils, crayons, markers, glitter, fabric, glue, and circular papers for celebrants to share. Watercolor paper is suitable for this activity, cut into at least 6” diameter rounds (trace a circle with a pot lid or embroidery hoop for an easy guide). Candles, music, and refreshments may enhance the experience.

When gathering to create Moon cards, you may feel moved to name your moon. You may also choose to work with the constellation or sign of the zodiac that the moon is in at the time, as each of those present resources to tap into that may enhance and support your intention. The following is a short touchstone about the phase or season of the moon you congregate on:

New moon like Spring: a time of beginnings, planting seeds, setting intention.
Waxing moon like Summer: a time of composing, creating, growing, learning.
Full moon like Autumn: a time of completeness, wholeness, and fulfillment.
Waning moon like Winter: a time of release, shedding old patterns, making space for the new.

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