*Whether astrology is science or magic, we’re open to most things, if they may be of benefit. ~ Ed
Grief is such a mercurial thing.
You think you’ve got it all figured out, shaving scraped it from the depths of your soul, and then there it is—peeking at you from around some unsuspecting corner.
Or, it is that thing we are afraid to look at altogether—in case it breaks like an aging dam over our whole existence.
The purpose of grief is to soften us, although it may seem to have an opposite effect. It moves in seasons through our lives, just another mystical spiral determined to be witnessed.
The truth is, we may be grieving without knowing it or consciously putting a label on it.
It may feel like depression or sadness; it may be an illness or a complete collapse of immunity to the sh*tty things that keep happening.
We may circle it for months or years until it speaks its name.
And then one day, aha, grief drops its veil and we see our manifested relationships and circumstances as our dance with her.
One day a month ago, I had a heart-to-heart with grief. I’d been thinking about a house I used to own before I packed up my broom and moved to the West Coast of Canada. I missed the land it sat on, and the gardens I had built, the woodstove and bookshelves crafted by a friend, the mantle built of 100-year-old oak found in another friend’s barn.
While sitting in my sadness over it all, I realized…this is grief. This is more than just missing something; my heart is actually aching with loss.
Now, I had made a clear choice to move, and don’t regret it one bit, and yet, there were these tendrils of grief that I had stuffed somewhere and ignored. They would grow legs, I knew, and call themselves resentment, anger, or worse, fear of not being able to manifest such a thing again.
Being the curious little Scorpio that I am, obsessed with all the shadows, I decided to explore what other memories contained grief. So, I poked around that homestead we had farmed for 12 years—the barn built with good friends, missed opportunities, decisions I’d made that in hindsight were ill-planned—and I realized, there was work to be done.
I’m not much for regrets, tending to live by intuition and valuing the adventure of free-range thought. But even with this belief in no regrets, just accepting what’s what, and how things turn out, I had to admit that I needed to allow room for a bit of decomposing.
Dark moon days are perfect for such magic. And yes, releasing grief is powerful magic. Dark moon days—waning crescent moon until new moon, a period of approximately seven days—are days for emptying.
Emptying is an important aspect of our emotional life. You may be familiar with the yang “active” energy of new moon to full moon, a more masculine thrusting where we build upon our dreams, creating through intention, action, and the spoken word.
The waning moon, yin in essence, supports the more feminine flow of surrender, which allows us to release, rest, contemplate, retrospect. To empty is to honor sacred spaces within us. We are energy and energy must flow.
We’re always being told to fill our cup. Well, that damn cup can sometimes be too full already with stuff that’s clogging our good reason or an open heart. When we drink of life, there is a beautifully wise cycle of filling and emptying, filling and emptying.
I’ve decided to greet grief like a friend. I’m practicing greeting it at the door with kindness and hospitality, offering it room to express itself and sit with it in presence.
When we grieve intentionally, we are not in opposition to the gifts that it brings, but instead, unwrap them with curiosity and gratitude.
A 12-Moon Grief and Gratitude Practice
1. Pick an intentional journal for this practice. You may be tempted to keep an online one, and that just fine, but I encourage you to “hold” grief in your hands.
2. This is a 12-month practice. After one year, you’ll look back at the shedding, the healing, the tears, the aha moments. You will be empowered by your fortitude and your willingness to commit to yourself.
3. Create sections for “old” and “recent” grief. Recent grief is related to the last lunar cycle, so from the previous dark moon to this one. Old will be the memories that come up from older wounds. Some may truly surprise you. Just open the door to them as you are able. Sometimes, even the act of opening that door and looking these memories straight in the eye is enough to make grief understand itself and dissipate.
4. Layer the pages. Layer the pages with a section for grief, then a section for gratitude.
5. Begin your emptying. Each month, at waning crescent moon toward dark, begin your emptying. You may do so for the whole week of waning moon to dark or it may become your one-day, dark moon ritual.
6. Know that it may be uncomfortable. At first, it may be uncomfortable or painful to intentionally court where grief sits. With each visit, you will see that grief really does want to be held, understood, then set free. It’s not there to keep you in sadness; it is a catalyst for your soul alchemy.
7. Write freely. As you desire. There may be harsh words, words that scream and release. Allow yourself the courage to truly feel it all. Express. Emote. Cry a veritable river.
8. Ask grief questions. Questions you can ask grief are:
What do you wish me to see or hear?
Where do you reside in my body?
What gift do you have for me?
Is there more you can teach me?
Who will I be without this grief?
Do I feel safe to let this go?
What do I need in order to feel safe enough to let this go?
Can I embrace grief as an ally?
9. In the spaces reserved for “gratitude,” write grief’s medicine. Write what it showed you and where it led you. Write the wisdom of that mini-death, the passage, and the initiation into the next steps.
10. Take time to reflect. This is a journey. Remember the spiral. There is a comfort in knowing that we don’t really need to get to an end point; it’s all about loving-kindness toward ourselves and our humanity.
11. Create a ceremony. On the day of the 12th dark moon, create a ceremony of crossing the threshold. Prepare as you would for any other sacred ritual, with a bath in scented waters, candles lit to call in the spirit world, incense burned to clear the air, a goblet of wine or juice to raise to the goddess, music to call in your joy.
Lay your journal on the floor, place a crystal or feather, or any item that speaks to you on top. Stand on one side of your journal. Observe how you feel. Thank yourself for the willingness to witness all that you are.
As you step over to the other side, say these words or craft some of your own:
By the fire of my soul
By the water of my courage
By the air of my expression
By the earth of my being
I step into my awareness and healing
Everyone processes grief in a different way; there are no real timelines. It is something to treat with softness. Resistance creates friction. Acceptance and your dance with it reveals the treasure.
Dark Moon Blessings Wild Ones!
P.S. Try this for one month if that’s all you wish to do; leave it there, or, continue on.
There is a Dark Moon in Scorpio on November 14th at 9:07 p.m. PST / November 15th at 5:07 a.m. UTC.