Joseph Hakim Anderson

New moon in Sagittarius

Tomorrow's new moon in Sagittarius complements and reinforces the expansive mental energy that I wrote about that in my last post. In turbulent times it's easy enough to think that we don't have the luxury of expansive thought. But in fact there is no more important moment to get in touch with, honor and nurture what is growing within us. The set of Donna Cunningham Sagittarius moon affirmations below, from Moon Signs, are a good reminder to hold this mental dynamism in a balanced way.

I release my addiction to excess and to unwise risk
I release the need to know the answers and be right
I open myself to positive, growth-oriented influences
I rejoice in my capacity to understand advanced ideas
The growth of my mind and spirit is ever unfolding

My mind is quick and sometimes demanding; being in the technology world for the last 25 years has been a good fit for me. The problems to be solved are challenging, the people I work with are very smart, and there is a regular discharge of my built-up mental energy in the normal course of doing my work. That excess is so entirely absorbed that I'm not even aware of it, but I'm certain that it's part of the balancing act of my life. Years ago while doing some hypnotherapy I discovered a subpersonality that I named "Hermie" (short for Hermes, or Mercury, the god of thought and communication). I pictured him as a very brainy boy who longs to go up into the observatory, gaze at the stars through a telescope, and think big thoughts. At the times in my life where he has felt unable to do that, he gets very cranky and disruptive. My jobs at various technology concerns over the years give Hermie the keys to the circular staircase that winds up to the observatory, and he happily spends many hours scribbling his observations in a spiral notebook. Thinking about the affirmations above, I can see that Hermie is a very Sagittarian fellow!

Since I entered the shamanic path a little over three years ago and at last found my core spiritual work, a lot of things in my life are being gently reconfigured. I am finding healing, new energetic channels are opening up, clarity is coming. It's wonderful! And slowly two dimensions of the work are emerging. One of them is inner, earth-based, and intuitive: it includes my work with the spirits of waters and rocks, plants and trees, and animals, as well as my journeys to other realms through drumming-induced trance states. The connection between this dimension and the intention to heal myself and others is very clear, very simple...really impossible to miss. The other dimension is a little slower coming to complete clarity, but I am feeling a call to put that supercharged mental/verbal/conceptual activity into the service of healing and transformation too. It's manifesting most vividly now in the Soul Cartography research I'm doing, including the dozen books I'm reading simultaneously - everything from the history of cartography to a summary of Jungian psychology to explorations of the aesthetics of maps.

What I need to learn - and what makes the affirmations above so very helpful to me just now - is how to hold this sort of mental activity in a sacred way, and integrate it with the other parts of my being.

I release my addiction to excess and to unwise risk

The image of Hermie in the observatory is important: as long as he is up there, I may not know exactly what he's up to, and there's some risk with that. The enthusiasm and intensity with which I attack mental problems - especially new ones - knows no bounds, but that is fueled in part by a desire for escape. The term "addiction" doesn't seem too strong a way to describe this. Through my other practices, tai chi and meditation and chanting, I have ample resources to keep me grounded in my body as my mind goes flying through the universe. There's no reason to be afraid, but it is important to stay conscious.

I release the need to know the answers and be right

Another characteristic of Hermie (like all nerds everywhere) is the binary tendency to either understand it all or understand none of it - and the latter is just not fun at all! Mature mental functioning means holding in balance what is known and what is not known. A righteous blend of confidence and humility helps me stay on the path and avoid the arrogance of unwarranted certainty. 

I open myself to positive, growth-oriented influences

I've written before about the way our interior critical voice can quickly become demonic and adversarial. The razor of intellect is very sharp and it cuts both ways; the self-inflicted wounds can be very destructive. So it's important to contain this mental effort in the context of expansiveness and possibility. I am reminded of the sword-carrying wrathful deities of Buddhism, who find their role in the context of the profound wisdom and compassion of the Buddha. They are not freelance warriors, but live in the service of enlightenment; their swords are for the purpose of removing obstacles and opening up creative pathways. So I too want to put my mental effort into alignment with the higher purpose of healing and blessing to which I am committed. It's a good reminder and keeps me out of trouble (or, better, gets me out of trouble) every day.

I rejoice in my capacity to understand advanced ideas

Addiction, arrogance, negativity: the mind does need to be corralled to keep it from running wild and creating problems. But there is a wonderful, wonderful upside: so many amazing things to discover! With a balanced application of thought there comes the joy of discovery, the pleasure of understanding, the bliss of seeing how much more territory there is to explore. To have a mind, and access to the incredible wealth of information available to us today, and the freedom to write and share what I am learning - this is all unutterably precious. As I seek to walk this path in balance, it's important to affirm that as well.

The growth of my mind and spirit is ever unfolding

There is no end to the splendid intricacy of the universe; it is the nature of humans to grow ceaselessly into a deeper understanding of those limitless wonders. Why not keep going? What I love especially about this affirmation is that it calls on both mind and spirit to continue growing together - like a caduceus or DNA molecule, my mental function and my spiritual awareness can wind around each other in tandem, as I - a whole person - develop a wiser and fuller consciousness that leaves out nothing of who I am.