Cosmic context: The Moon, like most celestial bodies, has an elliptical orbit. When it is closest to the Earth it is said to be at it's perigee. When it is farthest, it is at it's apogee. The gravitational pull of the Moon is powerful and we all know that she rules the ocean tides. The last perigee of the Moon was almost 18 years ago. There is no doubt in my mind that when the Moon is full and at its perigee, her gravitational pull increases. This is why it's called a Super Moon. And it happens on my 52nd birthday this year, March 19th, at 11:10 a.m. Pacific time. (Actually, my time of birth is 11:50 a.m. but close enough for Jazz.) Uranus, the planet of sudden and revolutionary change, moved from dreamy Pisces to fiery Aires on Friday March 11th, and we know the rest: a 9.0 earthquake causing a devastating tsunami causing a nuclear fright causing unthinkable tragedy. You say you want a revolution? Well, you know, we'd all like to see the plan. Spiritual Context: In Gaia's Temple last weekend I told the Vernal Equinox story of the brave Maiden Goddess Persephone who returns from the Underworld bringing with her the regenerative power of new growth in Spring. (When I tell the story, Persephone chooses to throw her crown of poppies- her crown of innocence- into the fires of Autumn to descend into the land of shadow with Hades when she recognizes him as her beloved. She and Hades adore one another. No abduction. No rape. No coersion. No bargains. Just love.) During her time in the Underworld she learns the mysteries of love with Hades. She learns the mysteries of death as Grandmother Hecate teaches her how to welcome and orient the souls of the newly dead. And she learns that these mysteries are one and the same. While she is gone, Demeter, the Great Grain Mother, is bereft without her daughter. She refuses to let anything grow, and Winter freezes the land. Six moons wax full and wane away until one day shortly thereafter, Persephone awakens with the impulse to return to the surface of the planet. Hecate is there to show her the portal back, and when she steps through she immediately feels the cold, moist slap of Earth on her skin. Or was it her skin? It felt stiffer than skin, like a shell of some kind, as if she was encased. She tries to move but the Earth all around her resists her every attempt. The impulse to return is strong and she tries again. This time she feels something shift and slowly, bit by bit, like a babe making it's way through the birth canal, Persephone works her way through the soil. Now she feels growth beneath her, and what was once her feet and legs are long roots that branch out. She realizes with a start that she is starving and she hungrily gobbles up nutrients from the soil. As she does, fragments of teachings from the Underworld flood through her-memories of experiences touch her soul, flavors of wisdom nourish her growth; a hint of comforting the newly dead, a touch of karmic completion, riding the crest of an ecstatic wave, the taste of pomegranates. Suddenly, she knew that her experiences in the Underworld were the rich nutrients feeding her new life, and with that knowing, she breaks through! Suddenly, Persephone is standing on the Earth, a Maiden again looking down at a tender green shoot that had just broken through its seed casing. She suspects she had been that very seed and knows one thing for certain. Death is not the end. As she looks up, Demeter is there to greet her and Mother and Daughter embrace in a fierce hug of reunion and renewal. Everywhere on the Earth, life blossoms once more. The end. Until the cycle continues. Because there is no end. Emotional Context: We are living in those predicted interesting times. There is even more revolutionary trouble in the middle east, and Earth changes are bringing tragedy just on the other side of the Pacific, and the release of nuclear radiation has us all panicked,and right here at home our unions are threatened, and we are still trying to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf, and our families are still dysfunctional, and our relationships are challenging and the economy is still shakey, and on and on and on. So we put armor around our hearts to make us feel safe because we believe our hearts are too fragile and we won’t be able to take it. But that armor does more than just protect the heart, it imprisons it. My sister likes to send me cartoons from the New Yorker magazine and my favorite is a picture of a King in an ermine robe and crown lying on the psychiatrists couch. The King has a rather stunned looked on his face, and his doctor is sitting beside him, holding his pad and pen. The caption reads, "Enemies, yes. But doesn’t your moat also keep out love?" It is the attempt to avoid or deny our feelings, block our compassion for the suffering of others and ourselves, that has brought us to this state of the world; apathy and disconnection and the demise of civility. When we swim our own moats to look into our hearts, we need to be able to find it behind its armor. A loving heart is strong! Love strengthens our hearts. And here’s a secret no one likes to believe: so does heartbreak! Heartbreak strengthens our hearts. Because it is natural for us to love. And even after heartbreak, we can’t help but love again. This return to love makes us resilient, which strengthens our hearts. It is our resilience that makes us strong, not our impenetrability. It makes sense that we want to protect our sensitive hearts. But the armor we put around our hearts can be likened to the seed casing in Spring. It has protected us through the cold of winter, but now, unless we break free of it there will be no new growth. And what will that mean for our future harvest? So. Let yourself weep for the suffering of Gaia. And our sisters and brothers in Japan. And the Congo. And Afghanistan. And Wisconsin. And the wildlife and water in the Gulf. And the homeless. Let our tears cleanse our sensitive hearts, over and over again if need be, and see how much stronger we actually feel. Let the Super Moon pull and tug our heartstrings, and Uranus revolutionize our ability to empathize. And when I blow out my birthday candles, I'll make a Super Moon wish for us all.