Feeling Gravity: Taurean New Moon, May Day + Cat on the Mat

Greg Diesel Walck, Story Told after Midnight, May 18, 2013

The second lunation of spring begins with the new moon in Taurus on Wednesday, April 26. The sun entered Taurus last Wednesday. The midpoint of spring arrives on Friday, May 5. That point on the wheel of the year is Beltane, although it’s generally celebrated on the first as May Day.

Arriving on a Moon-day or Monday this year, May Day marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and summer solstice. May Day lies opposite of Halloween. May Day is similarly celebrated with bonfires, feasts or treats, and home decorations. But instead of falling leaves, pumpkins, and costumes, the day is marked with fresh greenery, flowers, and the maypole.

Nature spirits, such as woodland fairies, are said to be active. Walpurgis Night, or “witches night,” on Sunday, April 30, also has close ties to Halloween and Samhain. In some Germanic folklore traditions, pranks are played. In contemporary culture, perhaps the mid-spring period is most associated with the end of the academic year. May Day is the gateway to graduations, Mother’s Day, and garden weddings.

With warmer nights, get out and gaze up at the heavens. This weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, the waning crescent moon travels near Venus. Look for the two brightest night-sky objects low on the eastern horizon about an hour before sunrise. Next week, after the new moon, see the waxing crescent moon with Mars, the Pleiades, and Aldebaran in Taurus on Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28. Scan the western sky soon after darkness falls. Binoculars will help.

Astrological Influences + Considerations

Like the three other cross-quarter days (roughly timed with Groundhog’s Day, the dog days of summer, and Halloween), May Day comes at the midpoint of a fixed sign. In the spring, it’s Taurus, which is resoundingly fixed, determined, and grounded. Taurus, the sign of the bull, is the most rooted of the three earth signs (including Virgo and Capricorn). It’s fitting that Earth Day, April 22, occurs while the sun is in Taurus.

Taurus favors simplicity and domesticity. Taurus prefers to have things nice, in keeping with its ruler, Venus, the planet of beauty, grace, and harmony. Comfy, cozy sensuality suits Taurus just fine. But please, don’t show ecological disrespect. Mother Earth wants to feel her bare toes playfully dig into rich soil and fill her lungs with delicious fresh air. Don’t pollute, commercialize, or exploit the environment.

If you think you might be able to persuade a Taurean, you better make other plans or sit down for a long wait. The sign is plenty “bull headed” and bound with gravity. Taurus is naturally serious or may seem that way because of steadiness. Strongly Taurean people speak plainly, avoid drama, and don’t see life as complicated. The influence of Venus shows in a love of laughter and a warm, generous heart.

We’ll have an opportunity to feel our stubborn, sensible, friendly inner bulls with the second spring lunation that commences with the new moon. Though there are a few contradictory influences, the Taurean new moon will be strongly felt. Plus four planets are still moving retrograde (see the last Wonderful Moon). The pace has slowed. Smell the roses, savor nutritious, unfussy food, and appreciate the passage of time.

Through the first half of the lunation, however, resisting haste will be difficult because of the close conjunction of Mercury and Uranus in Aries. Their high energy pairing lasts until around the time of the full moon on May 10. Keep your eye on May’s waxing moon. That will be a sign from the heavens on when to step it up.

If you have brilliant insights, great. But hold off on acting on them at least until after Mercury stations direct on Wednesday, May 3. Appreciate the downward tug of gravity. This is especially applicable if you tend to be “in your head” cerebral, ethereal, empathetic, or spiritual. Be sensible. Stay rooted.  Be soothed by the calming, stabilizing, earthbound Taurean new moon.

Feeling + Moving with the Moon . . .

with Stella, the Cat on the Mat

Stella, the Cat on the Mat, Wonderful Moon, Wise + Well

The photos above were taken over the past two years at home.  They’re formatted with the Zen and the Art of Stickers app, by Khara Hanlon, which was adapted for photoediting. More photos are linked below. Others are posted on Facebook, where you can follow lioness yogini Stella, who plans to expand her social media kingdom.

This seems to be a good time to share Stella’s story. The first anniversary of her Facebook page arrives in a few weeks. And the new moon will be in comfy, cozy, cuddly Taurus with shooting stars at night. Stella’s name means star, which the silvery girl knows she is. A natural show-off Leo, she turns six in August.

Stella joined the family as a kitten, about six weeks after her great-great-great granny Fiona, a beloved ruddy Abyssinian, passed.  Stella showed early promise as a baby yogini. Her flexibility impressed when she was nearly a year old. A few years later, as her home practice developed (with Missy), she felt confident enough to add her signature to my yoga mats.  She loves to climb over me and practice purring pranayama in my face, preferably with a fierce drishti stare.

For her fifth birthday, she received her own Feline Yogi mat. After a quick break-in period, Stella fell in love with her mat. She stretches out in the sun and plays with the attached toy. I sometimes move her mat to be near when I practice at home. She helps me get ready for special yoga classes, such as for Diwali in 2015. She posed with her mat for Christmas in 2016.

Stella and her twin sister came from an “oops litter.” Their naughty red Abyssinian mom had the hots for their studly dad, a silver tabby Exotic, or short-haired Persian. Stella inherited Fiona and her mom’s Aby ticking and dad’s coloring. Their (unintentional) breeder calls them “Zabys” – Exotic Abys.

Stella lives with sweet Missy, who had been BFFs with granny Fiona.  As shown in the yin yang photo above,  they sometimes enjoy each other’s company.  Missy is a senior ruddy Somali, or long-haired Aby, who sometimes borrows Stella’s mat, particularly if it can encourage loving scritches.

They share their home with a macho but friendly indoor-outdoor rescue cat named Felix. Felix is a tuxedo who I rehomed from Missy’s breeder, where he had been dropped off as an abandoned kitten. Stella and Felix are great buddies (yup, they sure are). Felix sometimes assists me with yoga in the garden.

Star kitty Stella has a cheerful, affectionate disposition. Though smart and independent, she’s definitely bonded with her Sphinx yoga mama. If you practice yoga with your cats, we would love to hear from you. Yoga with cats has become a popular trend. In some progressive communities, cafes and studios offer classes that benefit shelters and help rescue cats find loving homes. Meowaste!

On Wonderful Moon

For a longer, more detailed version of this post, see this week’s Moonday. For the next Wonderful Moon that posts in approximately two weeks, the full moon in Scorpio, the “flower moon,” will be discussed.

Wonderful Moon is published bimonthly before the new and full moons. The focus is on viewing and experiencing the moon with lore, advice, and yoga-oriented body awareness that meshes with the phase, season, and astrological influences.

Photography:The Story Told after Midnight” (May 18, 2013) is by noted lunar and landscape photographer Greg Diesel Walck, from his Facebook album Storybook Series. Taken at nearly this time four years ago, the photo is of a waning crescent moon with trees, stars, and a shooting star in an “artistic edit.” This weekend’s predawn crescent moon phase will be accompanied by the annual Lyrid meteor shower and bright Venus as the “morning star.”

Sphinx Yoga
Written by Sphinx Yoga
A longtime yogi and night sky gazer, Wendy Sphinx has published Moonday and Sphinx Yoga for two years. She lives in NC and finishes 200-hour yoga teacher training this spring. Although she’s been exposed to many flavors of yoga, her current practice is Dharma-focused, which is where she began her journey many years and moons ago. She earned a doctorate in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill, master’s and graduate women’s studies certificate at Duke, and undergraduate degree in writing and literature from NYU, with a summer session in science at Oxford University in the UK. A communications professor for 20 years, she has worked professionally in journalism, marketing and public relations since the 1980s. Her grandmother was an astrologer, and she grew up reading horoscopes and looking at the moon, planets, and stars through a backyard telescope. The Sphinx’s bimonthly column, Wonderful Moon, draws on this background to share lore, advice, and timely yoga tips for the new and full moon phases. Information on observing the moon is combined with astrological insights, consideration of nature and seasonal change, and the cycles of our lives. Beautiful lunar photography is provided by award-winning photographer and author Greg Diesel Walck.