New Moon, Chinese Year of Rooster + Bird Balanced Yoga

Greg Diesel Walck Moon Venus Stars Dawn March 2014 Jan 2016

On Friday, January 27, the new moon begins the first full lunar month, or lunation, of 2017. Before the modern calendar was introduced, most cultures followed a lunisolar calendar and some still do, such as the traditional Chinese.

Chinese New Year generally falls on the second new moon following the winter solstice, as is the case in 2017.  This is a Year of the Rooster, which is the only bird among the twelve animals of the Chinese (or Western) zodiac.

Chinese New Year and Groundhog Day occur close to the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox. The cross-quarter day falls on Friday, February 3. Afterward, we’re closer to spring than winter.

For night sky watchers, the fun comes a few days before and after the dark moon. The waning crescent moon catches up with Mercury, Saturn, and Antares, the heart star of Scorpius, in the predawn skies on Monday-Wednesday, January 23-25.

Much easier to see and photograph, the waxing crescent moon catches up with Venus, the brilliant “evening star,” and Mars on Sunday-Tuesday, January 29-31. Over the coming weeks, watch Venus and Mars grow closer in the southwest sky at dusk. They’ll almost meet before Valentine’s Day, then quickly part.

Astrological Influences + Considerations

Several days ago, the sun entered Aquarius.  The sun is joined by the moon for the new moon with emphasis placed on the current zodiacal sign. The fixed air sign of Aquarius encourages inventiveness, vision, kinship and humanitarianism, yet also chilly individualism with unpredictable outcomes.

Aquarius is unorthodox and freethinking. But because it’s fixed and co-ruled by wayward Uranus and composed Saturn, Aquarians are predisposed to be self-confidently iconoclastic, defiant, even stubborn. We all have a friendly Aquarian rebel in our natures, whether it’s the sun or moon sign, ascendant, or elsewhere.

For the new moon, the sun and moon are conjunct in Aquarius, and the aspects are fairly open. We’ll feel the spirit described above to varying degrees. We’ll prefer to chart our own path and perhaps feel politically engaged over this month’s lunation.

Mars is on the heightened cusp of Pisces and Aries, which it enters soon after the moon phase. Mars rules Aries and is highly charged in its own sign. Expect an energy surge within a day or two. The conjunction of Mercury and Pluto in Capricorn intensifies mental focus, concentration on career, and a sharp tongue loosened by feisty Mars.

New moons are a time to take stock and consider what you want to accomplish over the coming weeks. But before moving ahead, look for a sign in the skies. At the end of January, the waxing crescent moon soon joins Venus and Mars after sunset. See them and feel inspired with the next step of your life’s journey.

Feeling + Moving with the Moon

Taking classes at a yoga studio is an Aquarian thing to do. The community likely prides itself on being a bit unconventional, feels casually friendly, and shares humanitarian interests. You laugh and support each other through challenges.

At all levels, yin to vinyasa, you’ll probably encounter a bird pose. Bird balances – such as Eagle, Crow, and perhaps Rooster, associated with this year’s Chinese New Year – embody what many enjoy and find vexing about yoga. Being rooted, secure on a foot, thighs (e.g., King Pigeon), hands, or head, while reaching skyward offers a mind-body puzzle on how to embrace yet safely defy gravity.

Remember that “yoga” means to yoke, and “hatha” means force, and “ha” or sun plus “tha” or moon. Through yoga, we seek momentary harmony with universal forces and the union of sun and moon within ourselves.

Below, I’m shown in Eagle, which combines balance with grounding and lifting, and a full body hug with intertwined limbs. See Zo Newell’s lovely post with instructions on Eagle, the mythical Garudasana.

Think of Eagle as a variation of Chair/Fierce pose, but with one leg crossed in front of the other. With the energy of a coiled spring, semi-squat, as if crouched to take flight.

Widen the scapula blades on the upper back. Firmly press the shoulders downward to stretch your wings. Your forearms and hands wrap in front of and parallel to your face with the upper arms held parallel to the Earth. Your hands point toward the sky in a variation of prayer hands, Anjali Mudra.

You have the steady, fierce gaze of an eagle. Poised, serene, and free, you’re airy and fixed like Aquarius. You’re balanced between Earth and the heavens. Breathe deeply and feel your spirit soar!

Wendy Sphinx in Eagle Pose

Wendy Sphinx in Eagle pose

On Wonderful Moon

For the next Wonderful Moon that posts in approximately two weeks, the full moon in Leo and penumbral lunar eclipse will be discussed. The first of two lunar eclipses in 2017, this minor eclipse astrologically anticipates the Great American Total Solar Eclipse that’s coming in August.

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:Moon, Venus and Stars at Dawn with Water Reflections” (March 27, 2014) is by noted lunar and landscape photographer Greg Diesel Walck, from his Facebook album, Celestial Skies and Events, and probably was shot in coastal NC.

Wendy Sphinx is shown in Eagle pose at home in central NC. The fabulous sun plaque, and the moon plaque shown in her bio picture, were made by her mother.

Related: Full Wolf Moon in Cancer + Lunar Yoga Tips

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.