MOON CYCLE MUSINGS: March 6 – April 4, 2019

Moon Cycle Musings Spread

This lunar month is all about setting a firm foundation for forthcoming creative endeavors. With Mercury in retrograde throughout most of this moon cycle, the energy may feel sluggish, and we may feel impatient for resolution or answers we have been seeking. Now is the perfect time to look inward to see where we may need to change our perspective. In a world that values instant gratification, can we make the brave choice to accept the unknown? Can we focus on rooting instead of rushing?

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Last cycle we were presented with a blank canvas on which we could create endless possibilities. Our choice to simply appreciate a moment of creative potential instead of acting on impulse follows us into this current cycle. Waiting to get going on projects we feel passionate about can be very challenging, however energy of meditative peace continues to come in for us just as it did last month. If we are feeling a tug of war between being/doing and patience/impatience, we can trust that balance will be achieved if we allow ourselves to view this time as one of repose versus stagnation.

Shifting our mindset from the “pedal to the metal” approach promoted in Western society to one of careful and mindful planning can be huge for us this month. A more thoughtful attitude combined with this slower, calming energy has the potential to be a whole new beginning for us and how we view abundance, specifically the abundance of time. A good visualization for this month is to picture ourselves floating down a lazy river while “Time is on My Side” by The Rolling Stones plays on a loop.

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As we take a break from the heavy lifting this month, we can lessen any doubts or guilt we may feel by remembering that fruit often needs to lie undisturbed for a bit before it will ripen. Instead of devouring the fruit before it’s even ready to eat, we can change our approach and instead peruse various recipes and select the highest quality ingredients to make something truly exquisite when the time is right. The lesson for us this moon cycle is to detach from the urgency for instant gratification and instead savor the sweet decadence found in allowing our creative process to unfold organically and in its own time.

Blessings!

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MOON CYCLE MUSINGS: February 4 – March 6, 2019

This moon cycle is all about nurturing our creative fire. Many of us may feel the quickening of energy that accompanies the seasonal transition from winter to spring. We have new dreams and ideas that just beg to burst forth and be made manifest. The energy right now, however, is asking us to hold those precious intentions close for a bit longer, caring for them and molding them within our own heart space.

A peaceful energy of acceptance follows us into this cycle, resulting from the letting go that we did last cycle. Although we may feel some growing pains that often accompany the work of releasing, we are feeling the rightness of our decisions more and more every day. At the very least, our decisive action has alleviated the burden of indecision.

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Brand new energy of meditative peace supports us in our task of cherishing our intentions this cycle. As we dream of new beginnings, we are urged to harness our impulse and need for instant gratification. Trust this cycle’s protective vibes. When we are truly inspired from a soul place of love and compassion, we don’t have to worry about missing our window for manifestation or others beating us to the punch.

When we are truly inspired from a soul place of love and compassion, we don't have to worry about missing our window for manifestation or others beating us to the punch.

This cycle we may feel pulled by opposite forces – our will to take action and Spirit’s urging for mindful enjoyment of our new-found inspiration. To best work with the energy, we must let go of our need to know how everything is going to play out, and instead focus on staying grounded to counter feelings of impatience. Remember, Spirit is conspiring for us and our highest good, not against. We will be shown many signs that we are on the right track, if we only take the time to notice them.

Michelangelo said, “An artist does his most difficult work when he steps back from the blank canvas and thinks about what he is going to create.” This moon cycle, let’s simply behold the beauty of the blank canvas and fully experience the magic of the pregnant pause before picking up the brush of our creative genius. That is our lesson this cycle.

Blessings!

IMBOLC ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG TODDLERS

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Teaching children to observe the subtleties of seasonal changes from a young age helps to instill practices like grounding and mindfulness. Within the framework of the Celtic calendar, each quarter and cross quarter day of the astronomical year provides an opportunity to pause and observe. In this way, little ones learn to walk with the Earth instead of on it.

As we approach the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox, the lengthening of daylight becomes easily observable. If one looks more carefully, bits of green and hints of buds can be seen amidst the ice and snow. Mother Earth is beginning to stir and soon will awaken from dormancy. We are at the fertile fringe that the ancient Celts celebrated as Imbolc (IM-mulk).

Here are some ideas for celebrating this magical time of year with young toddlers. Remember that time spent engaging with your child is the most important thing. Little ones aren’t concerned with how things look or procedures. Take the activity suggestions lightly and focus on the fun!

 

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Imbolc is traditionally celebrated on February 1st and marks the first day of spring in the Celtic Calendar. The following activity partners learning about the changing of the seasons with creativity and pretend play.

Materials:
*crayons or markers
*2 large pieces of craft paper or other pliable white paper
*ribbon, yarn or string
*basket

Suggestions:
1. Use the first piece of craft paper to make a winter blanket by cutting a blanket shape roughly the size of the basket. Save the scrap paper.
2. Discuss the things we saw during wintertime (snowflakes, icicles, etc.) while decorating the blanket with them.
3. Cut a strip of paper about 2″ wide and 8″ long from the blanket paper scraps. (This will eventually be the spring baby’s arms.)
4. Crumple another bit of the scrap paper into a small ball to form a head for the spring baby. Place the ball in the middle of the second piece of craft paper.
5. Pull the edges of the craft paper up around the ball, covering it. Grasp the paper just above the ball and turn it over. Now you should begin to see a dolly. Secure the neck with a piece of ribbon (see pic).
6. Cut a notch on each side of the dolly for the arms. Twist the scrap paper strip cut earlier and thread through the notches. Now the dolly has arms (see pics).
7. Tie a piece of ribbon around the dolly’s waist.
8. Discuss the things we will see during springtime (flowers, baby animals, etc.) while decorating the dolly with them.
9. Before bedtime, place the Spring Dolly in the basket and tuck her in with the Winter Blanket. The next morning, take off the blanket and wake the dolly up. Now it’s spring!

 

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A possible origin of Imbolc is the old Irish “oilmec” or ewe’s milk. As the lambing season drew near, the sheep began producing milk. This provided much needed nourishment at the end of the long winter and was made into special treats.

Materials:
*construction paper
*white paint
*bubble wrap
*masking tape
*clothespin
*scissors
*glue
*googly eyes

Suggestions:
1. Cut a small square of bubble wrap and affix a piece of tape to the back of it to make a tab. Clip the clothespin to the tab to make a paint stamper (see pic).
2. Help your little one dip the stamper into some paint and press onto the paper to make bubble marks. This will texture the paper to look like sheep’s wool.
3. After the paint dries, cut a body, head, legs and tail from the paper.
4. Use glue to put the pieces together and add googly eyes.

 

LOOK FOR SIGNS OF SPRING

Materials:
*camera

Suggestion:
Go outside and look for signs of spring like melting snow, new growth or buds on trees and shrubs, bulbs beginning to sprout, etc. You might take some pictures that could be viewed later on to synthesize and process the experience.

 

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Most likely an ancient symbol, the Bridgid’s cross is often made and displayed at Imbolc. Although young children will not be able to construct the crosses, consider allowing them to play with and manipulate the straws in their own way to provide sensory stimulation and promote fine motor development.

Materials:
*straws
*rubber bands
*scissors
*glitter glue or paint

Suggestions:
1. Premake some Bridgid’s crosses using the straws and rubber bands. Here is a helpful tutorial that I used:
http://scoil-bhride.com/how-to-make-a-st-brigids-cross/
2. Allow your child to experience the glitter glue or paint as they put it on the crosses.

 

SIMPLE IMBOLC SONG

To the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”:
Winter is over and spring is here.
Spring is here! Spring is here!
Winter is over and spring is here.
It’s Imbolc time!

 

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The return of spring is a time to get festive. Children love nothing better than noise and merry making. Special hats…bonus!

Materials:
*coffee filters
*markers
*pipe cleaners
*scissors
*instruments
*streamers or scarves

Suggestions:
1. Color coffee filters with markers and cut several pipe cleaners in half.
2. Fold each decorated coffee filter in half, make a small cut from the curved edge toward the center and twist a pipe cleaner piece around the middle to make a flower (see pics).
3. Connect the flowers daisy chain style to form crowns (see pics).
4. Open the front and back doors of the house to welcome spring inside.
5. March, dance and sing through the house – the sillier the better. Wear your spring crowns, play instruments, wave streamers or scarves, etc.

 

SPRING CLEANING

Materials:
*child safe cleaning supplies

Suggestion:
Assist your little one with using grownup cleaning tools or provide child-sized ones. “Sweep” or “Dust” away winter and welcome spring.

 

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A food often associated with Imbolc is butter.  This is a simple, no fuss way to make just a little bit and avoid waste.  You can use both the butter and resulting buttermilk in the Cheesy Oat Pancakes recipe below for a lovely Imbolc breakfast.

Ingredients:
*4 oz mason jar
*marble
*small container of whipping cream
*bread (or another treat to enjoy the butter on)

1. Fill the jar up about halfway with the cream and drop the marble inside.
2. Put the lid on tightly and shake. In about 5-7 minutes you will not hear the marble moving around anymore, and you will have whipped cream. We took a few moments to peek (and taste)!
3. Shake about another 7-10 minutes. You will begin to be able to hear the marble once again and will see a glob of solid butter in liquid. This liquid is buttermilk, and you can reserve it to use in a recipe of your choice.
4. Scoop the solid butter out of the jar. We got about 2 tbsp. Enjoy on a piece of bread or another treat.

NOTE:  If you aren’t planning to eat the butter right away, you will want to rinse it with cold water to get the rest of the buttermilk off of it. Otherwise it will sour more quickly.

 

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This recipe combines many traditional ingredients associated with Imbolc such as oats, cheese and blackberries.  It is also a great way to use the butter and buttermilk from the activity above.

Ingredients:
*1/4 c rolled oats
*1/2 c water
*1 c flour
*1/2 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp baking powder
*1 c ricotta or other soft cheese
*1 egg
*1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*1 tbsp butter
*blackberry jam or jam of choice

1. Put oats and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat immediately and drain out any excess liquid.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine cheese, egg, vanilla and oatmeal.  You can also add the buttermilk leftover from the butter making activity above.
4. Add dry ingredients to cheese mixture and blend well.
5. Melt butter in a frying pan on medium high heat.
6. When the pan is hot, drop spoonfuls of batter in and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon.
7. Cook 2-4 minutes (until lightly golden) on each side.
8. Serve warm topped with jam of choice.

Makes about 8 pancakes

*One traditional association with Imbolc that I omitted in this post is candles. Young toddlers are extremely curious and hands on. If you choose to incorporate lit candles in any celebration, please be very cautious. Flameless candles are a nice alternative but are not toys and should still be heavily supervised.

**Please be sure that paint, glue, ect. is non-toxic and monitor use of all craft tools and materials.

For more information about the Celtic Calendar:
www.almanac.com/content/quarter-days-and-cross-quarter-days%3famp

BEFORE THE BOOKSHELF: WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES PART I

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Welcome to the first installment of Before the Bookshelf. In this series I will share wisdom and words from a book recently read before shelving it. My hope is that this series will (a) help synthesize the reading for me and (b) pass on some pearls of wisdom gleaned from some amazing writers to all of you.

The first book I will be highlighting is Women Who Run With the Wolves (WWRWW) by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Toward the end of 2018, I felt lead to reread this gem after reading it for the first time in 2015. WWRWW uses traditional tales metaphorically to guide the reader through various rites of passage and journeys into the female psyche.

This book is rather lengthy, so I will be devoting two separate posts to it. Full disclosure, if you choose to read WWRWW, it may feel a bit cumbersome at times. In my opinion, the effort is well worth the rewards. Each chapter focuses on a different learning or task that women face during their lifetimes and can stand alone to be used on an as needed basis. Therefore, I will be including a “Read this when…” statement after each chapter’s wisdom for your reference. Enjoy!

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INTRODUCTION: “Singing Over the Bones”

WISDOM:

“Singing Over the Bones” establishes the titular kinship between wolves and women by citing the similarities between the marginalization and resiliency of both species. Using archetypal psychology as a foundation, Dr. Estés establishes the concept of story as medicine for the plight of women today, many of whom have tragically lost connection to the Wild Woman archetype. She proposes that through the dissection of folk and fairy tales we can reclaim this relationship and recover life lessons to aid us in healing ourselves, our loved ones and our world.

Read this when you’re looking for

a way to “get back to good.”

WORDS:

“I once dreamt I was telling stories and felt someone patting my foot in encouragement. I looked down and saw that I was standing on the shoulders of an old woman who was steadying my ankles and smiling up at me.

I said to her, ‘No, no, come stand on MY shoulders for you are old and I am young.’

‘No, no,’ she insisted, ‘this is the way it is supposed to be.’

I saw that she stood on the shoulders of a woman far older than she, who stood on the shoulders of a woman even older, who stood on the shoulders of a woman in robes, who stood on the shoulders of another soul, who stood on the shoulders…”

P 19 “Singing Over the Bones”

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CH 1: “The Howl: Resurrection of the Wild Woman”

WISDOM:

In this chapter Dr. Estés introduces the Life/Death/Life cycle, a theme that is repeated again and again throughout WWRWW. It is Wild Woman herself who embodies the nature of this cycle in all her many forms. This Wild Woman lives in all of us, and bit by bit, piece by piece we can know her, reclaim her and BE her.

Read this when you need

some hard truth and tough love.

WORDS:

“This is our meditation practice as women, calling back the dead and dismembered aspects of ourselves, calling back the dead and dismembered aspects of life itself. The one who re-creates from that which has died is always a double-sided archetype. The Creation Mother is always also the Death Mother and vice versa. Because of this dual nature, or double-tasking, the great work before us is to learn to understand what around and about us and what within us must live, and what must die. Our work is to apprehend the timing of both; to allow what must die to die, and what must live to live.”

P 32 “The Howl: Resurrection of the Wild Woman”

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CH 2: “Stalking the Intruder: The Beginning Initiation”

WISDOM:

“Stalking the Intruder…” is about identifying the inner saboteur and predator of the psyche. Dr. Estés postulates that women may be especially susceptible to developing an inner destructive force, because we are socially conditioned to be nice and naïve from a very young age. The good news is that we can learn to call BS on ourselves and society by relying on our own intuition and being willing to question anything that doesn’t feel right to us.

Read this when you suspect that

you are getting in your own way.

WORDS:

“Instead of reviling the predator of the psyche, or running from it, we dismember it…We dismantle the assaults of the natural predator by taking to heart and working with what is truthful in what the predator says and then discarding the rest…We dismantle the predator by maintaining our intuitions and instincts and by resisting the predator’s seductions…When we refuse to entertain the predator, its strength is extracted and it is unable to act without us.”

P 65 “Stalking the Intruder: The Beginning Initiation”

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CH 3: “Nosing Out the Facts: The Retrieval of Intuition as Initiation”

WISDOM:

This chapter outlines the process for reclaiming, strengthening and embracing our intuition. We are reminded that our intuition (wild nature) is Wild Woman (the Life/Death/Life cycle). Therefore, we are in an ongoing process of checking in with our deepest knowing and acting on it, despite outside expectations. Sometimes the action is creation and sometimes it is simply letting go.

Read this when you’re struggling with self-doubt.

WORDS:

“To possess good intuition, goodly power causes work. It causes work firstly in the watching and comprehending of negative forces and imbalances both inward and outward. Secondly, it causes striving in the gathering up of will in order to do something about what one sees, be it for good, or balance, or to allow something to live or die.”

P 113 “Nosing Out the Facts: The Retrieval of Intuition as Initiation”

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CH 4: “The Mate: Union With the Other”

WISDOM:

“…Union With the Other” reminds us of our dual nature: the persona we present to the world v. our true, deepest desires. First and foremost, it is important that we recognize these two aspects within ourselves and dig deeper to uncover our own authentic truth. Just as important, is allowing this deeper self to be seen and honored in relationship by introducing her to your mate.

Read this when you feel like

your partner just doesn’t get you.

WORDS:

“If a woman wants a mate who is responsive…she will tell him about the interior woman…by teaching… (him) to ask her two deceptively simple questions that will cause her to feel seen, heard, and known…’What do you want?’…’What does your deeper self desire?’…To securely weave a relationship, a woman will also ask the same two questions of her mate.”

PG 135 “The Mate: Union With the Other”

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CH 5: “Hunting: When the Heart is a Lonely Hunter”

WISDOM:

This chapter explores the concept of intimacy within before intimacy without. Devoted relationship with the self requires us to do the work of listening to and acting upon our intuition, deciding continually what to honor with more energy and what to let go of (the Life/Death/Life cycle). Many times we attempt to escape this task by looking for satisfaction from the outside in the form of lover, career, materialism, etc. Once we are able to find self-fulfillment and balance, this will begin to reflect in our relationships. As within, so without.

Read this when you feel empty or unsatisfied.

WORDS:

“We all have made the mistake of thinking someone else can be our healer, our thriller, our filling. It takes a long time to find it is not so, mostly because we project the wound outside ourselves instead of ministering to it within.”

PG 165 “Hunting: When the Heart is a Lonely Hunter”

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CH 6: “Finding One’s Pack: Belonging as Blessing”

WISDOM:

“…Belonging as Blessing” discusses the way in which women are domesticated and taught to ignore Wild Woman from a very young age. It is in this way that many of us develop what Dr. Estés calls a “collapsing mother construct” that causes us to surrender to societal pressures and norms rather than follow our wild, creative nature. A we learn to hear Wild Woman’s call teaching us how live our truth, we come to identify others just like us and finally find where we belong.

Read this when you feel alone.

WORDS:

”If you have attempted to fit whatever mold and failed to do so, you are probably lucky. You may be an exile of some sort, but you have sheltered your soul.”

PG 198 “Finding One’s Pack: Belonging as Blessing”

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CH 7: “Joyous Body: The Wild Flesh”

WISDOM:

This chapter focuses on a particular area in which society attempts to mold women – our outward appearance. The resulting scrutinization and judgment of women is in direct offense to our various cultural and familial heritages and legacies. This takes much away from our joy and speaks to an injury in the culture at large.

Read this when you are tempted

to body shame yourself or another.

WORDS:

“When women are relegated to moods, mannerisms, and contours that conform to single ideal of beauty and behavior, they are captured in both body and soul, and are no longer free.”

PG 213 “Joyous Body: The Wild Flesh”

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CH 8: “Self-Preservation: Identifying Leg Traps, Cages, and Poisoned Bait”

WISDOM:

This chapter outlines the various ways by which we become separated from Wild Women. Here is a list of the eight traps in my own terms based on how I interpreted the reading:
1. Settling (taking the easy road)
2. Conforming (surrendering to the collective)
3. Deprivation (denying our soul-needs)
4. Incapacitation (losing our instincts and giving up)
5. Dissimilation (hiding our true selves away)
6. Rebellion (reclaiming freedom in unhealthy ways)
7. Assimilation (embodying the conventional)
8. Self-Destruction (succumbing to harmful behaviors and habits)

Read this when you’re at a crossroads.

WORDS:

“Let us understand that the issues that entrap women’s joy will always shift and shape-change, but in our own essential natures we find the absolute stamina, the necessary libido for all necessary acts of heart.”

PG 263 “Self-Preservation: Identifying Leg Traps, Cages, and Poisoned Bait”

MOON CYCLE MUSINGS: January 5 – February 3, 2019

moon cycle musings spread (1)

This moon cycle extends an invitation for us to be mindful of the sweetness in our lives. Many of us have been on a track of loss and letting go for quite a while now. Tying up loose ends will ensure we are open to accept and enjoy the party. For some, this will simply be a minor tidy up. For others, we will finally part with things that we’ve been preparing to leave behind for quite some time. Either way, we can expect to feel confident and empowered as we exercise personal sovereignty and finally get down to the business of enjoying life.

It is important for us to be aware of old energies of doubt, procrastination, guilt, etc. that may be carrying over from last cycle. We must trust our inner voice and gut feelings in order to overcome outdated ways of thinking and being. It’s time to walk away from the past and embrace the future. We know the way!

The new cycle simultaneously brings energies of endings and new beginnings. We’re realizing our power to lessen our load (or cast it aside entirely) and take initiative to look up and see new possibilities. This is the time of clarity and innovation we’ve been waiting for! Instead of choosing A or B, create and take option C.

instead of choosing a or b, create and take option c.

Considering a softer side of empowerment is essential to use this cycle’s energy for the highest good of all. We must all examine our true feelings and motivations to maintain empathy and compassion. It is vital that we take authority in our lives but with loving intentions and authenticity.

Now is the time let go of our need to know. Instead of searching for an end game or big picture, let’s just enjoy the space and freedom that has been created around us. We are in new territory, but that can be exciting if we allow it to be.

The acts of allowing and mindfulness require us to change our mode from doing to being and from thinking to feeling. Again, if there are outside forces blocking us from the sweetness of feeling alive in this moment, it’s best to make the necessary changes. Remember that change comes from our intuitive inner authority.

instead of choosing a or b, create and take option c. (1)

This moon cycle holds the lesson of rewards gained from leaps of faith. Whether we take a little hop like finally donating a pile of outgrown items or a huge bound like shifting to a completely different lifestyle, it makes little difference. It is the resulting self-confidence and lightness of spirit that is important.

Close your eyes, hold your nose shut and jump…the water’s just fine!

THE CHIRON SHIFT

Chiron Shift

In mythology Chiron is a wise oracle and teacher. In astrology, he is a celestial body that orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. Chiron exhibits a dualistic nature in both manifestations. As a centaur he is part horse and part man, and to scientists he is categorized as both a minor planet and a comet. Chiron is a powerful symbol for us, as we each hold both feminine and masculine energy within.

This month marked a huge astrological shift as Chiron moved from the sign of Pisces (feminine, mutable, water) to Aries (masculine, cardinal, fire). Often referred to as “The Wounded Healer,” Chiron represents what needs to be recovered, restored and mended. When in Pisces, we saw a healing of the Divine Feminine evidenced by events such as the women’s march and #metoo movement. As Chiron travels through Aries, we will witness healing of the Divine Masculine. This energy will support societal change in what is accepted from and expected of men, allowing them to embrace and express their empathic, spiritual selves.

A new cycle is upon all of us...

Traveling in an elliptical orbit, Chiron spends the most time (8-9 years) in Pisces and Aries, the last and first signs of the astrological year. This transit marks an ending and new beginning, brings the unconscious into consciousness, and links the feminine/masculine principles together bringing balance. A new cycle is upon all of us, men and women alike, as we experience awakening as spiritual beings. May we all continue to explore our Piscean depths so that we can rise to the light and share it with others as healers and medicine keepers. May we each feel empowered to walk the path of a true Aries warrior, one who fully embodies and upholds their Higher Self and truth. And so it is.