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Issue#2 - October's Full Moon
Welcome to Lunesence, a free monthly ezine on mythology, archetypal psychology, goddesses, inner work & related topics.

I want to apologize for Lunesence being very late. I've been busy lately due to a cold, a visit from a dear friend who lives hundreds of miles away and a birthday. I also didn't want to stress out over this issue as an act of honoring and nurturing myself. I have spent far too many years becoming enwrapped in externals which drain years away from my life. I am trying to change my ways - and heal.

In any case, I hope you enjoy!


Website of the Month: Comfort Queen
I wanted to share a website that was grounding, which is the theme of this month's essay. The very nature of the Web is ungrounding, so this was a challenge. But Comfort Queen is a site that will have a soothing effect on anyone. It's filled with limitless short articles on nourishing yourself - your soul, heart & body. Every piece within discusses solutions to a harried, frazzled, everyday modern life. Dip into an article or two and feel understood, energized and encouraged to honor yourself.

- © 2003 Katharina Woodworth. All Rights Reserved.

Quote of the Month:
"Saving wildlife and wilderness is the responsibility of all thinking people. Greed and personal gain must not be permitted to decimate, despoil and destroy the earth's irreplaceable treasure for its existence is essential to the human spirit and the well-being of the earth as a whole. All life has just one home - the earth - and we as the dominant species must take care of it." - Daphne Sheldrick

Book of the Month:
Acu-Yoga: Designed to Relive Stress & Tension by Michael Reed Gach
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This is by far my favorite Yoga book. I have been practicing Hatha Yoga for years (Hatha Yoga is the physical Yoga that is the most common form in the Western world), but have discovered that many of the techniques and sets of asanas (exercises) described in Yoga books were not very tuned in to Westerners. Acu-Yoga combines Acupressure and Hatha Yoga into a very palatable form for the common Westerner. It is the best book I've seen as of yet for anyone suffering an acute or chronic disease or symptom. There are symptomatic exercises for such discomforts as the common cold, sinus problems, menstrual tension to exercises for more serious problems such as hypertension and spinal disorders. I have often warded off an oncoming flu or cold by following some of the advice in Acu-Yoga. There is additional supplemental advice from Michael Gach, in terms of lifestyle and nutritional imbalances - and very effective solutions to bring our bodies back into a state of harmony.

For instance, on our natural resistance to illness, Gach writes: "An ancient Indian method for maintaining resistance against illness is to swing a thick branch or club back and forth. The Yogis would do this when they felt any illness about to come on, since it was common knowledge that the tensions which accumulate between the shoulder blades contribute to illness. The swinging motion helped break down this tension. Swinging a baseball bat around moves and stretches the shoulder blades to release the tensions that collect there."

He goes on to describe the exact acupressure points around the tips of the shoulder blades, and then delves into a Yoga asana to help alleviate the oncoming flu or cold. Every exercise is complete with both a photo and an illustration, which details precisely his written directions. I have a terrible time learning physical things from books, even when they have illustrations and photos, but I have never had difficulty from Acu-Yoga.

Even if you aren't prone to illness or a symptomatic approach isn't for you, Acu-Yoga is split into 5 parts: a general introduction to the philosophies and practices of yoga and acupressure, a series of exercises based on the meridians (channels) of acupressure, a whole-body self-treatment emphasizing flexibility of the spine, a series of exercises that balance the chakras, and then the Acu-Yoga postures that benefit specific conditions.

This is a perfect book for the Westerner just beginning to practice Yoga, and for anyone who has an interest in expanding their current horizons of Hatha Yoga and Acupressure.

If you are interested in reading more reviews or buying this book, click here.

- © 2003 Katharina Woodworth. All Rights Reserved.

Lunesence is published by Aquafemina - Finding myth and meaning in today's fast-paced lifestyle.

Katharina Woodworth
Aquafemina -
Art & writing rooted in mythological, archetypal & Goddess explorations.

- © 2000 - 2003 - Katharina Woodworth. All rights reserved. All work herein is copyright (c) 2000 - 2003 - Katharina Woodworth unless it is otherwise noted the work of another author.

Feel free to send copies of Lunesence to your friends.

Featured Essay: Getting Back to Ground Zero
by Katharina Woodworth

Spirit and Ground
"I have thrown the word spirituality out of my vocabulary because it seems to imply abandoning the earthly dimension. I have little patience with people who say they are on the spiritual path, because almost invariably they are trying to advance the vertical (lofty, unearthly) part of their lives at the expense of the horizontal (earthy, human) dimensions of their being." (Robert Johnson from Balancing Heaven and Earth)

Until just recently - the past 100 years or so - time always moved much slower. The hurly-burly lifestyle of today "makes our heads spin" and our "feet lose touch" with the earth.

As Robert Johnson writes in Balancing Heaven and Earth: "Until the industrial revolution most people lived close to the earth, submerged in the earthy side of life. People lived off the land, they walked to wherever they were going if they traveled at all, they pulled water up out of the earth in buckets. Since people were bound to the earth, the holy movement needed to make them whole was upward movement of thought and abstraction. This upward movement was built into our language and customs. The place up away from the earth became equated with good; cities competed to see who could have the tallest skyscraper, nations competed to see who could go the farthest into space. For decades now, people have looked for artificial ways to "get high" and escape the earthy bounds of their lives. But what if we have escaped so much from the earth that our psychic need is now reversed? We hardly ever set foot on soil these days. People must discipline themselves to run just for exercise. It is conceivable that what is required to round out a modern person, to help make us whole, is to incorporate the downward, earthy movement of things. This will require an entirely new ethos and mythology. New symbols may bestirring in the collective unconscious to reverse the movement that has been predominant for thousands of years."

Just the other day, in yoga class, our teacher had us concentrate on our feet. We did foot exercises where we stretched our feet, our toes, asanas that brought greater flexibility and strength to our feet. Towards the end, she told the class to get up and walk around. I've never felt so grounded, so sure-footed. As Michael Gach points out in Acu-Yoga, the best way to cure nervous disorders is through our feet.

We walk around with just our heads. It's as if we are only heads - heads disembodied. It's as if we have no feeling from the neck down - and any feeling we do have is embarrassing, taboo, laughable, something to numb out or tune out.

Vata, the Element of Air
Every philosophy speaks of various elements. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian philosophy and holistic health science dating back over 2000 years. Ayurveda teaches that there are three elements: Pitta, Kapha, and Vata. Essentially, Pitta is the element of fire, Kapha of water/earth and Vata of air.

There is a predominance of Vata in our society today. Ayurveda classifies skyscrapers, high-speed/highway driving, light and airy foods (such as rice cakes), excessive talking, phones, computers, excessive thinking, travel by airplane, as imbalanced Vata. When one becomes imbalanced in any element, it affects the balance of the other elements. When one becomes imbalanced from excessive Vata-type activities, one becomes more deficient in their earth element, Kapha.

In Deepak Chopra's many books (which are based of Ayurvedic principles), he speaks of how most of our contemporary ailments are due to an excess of Vata. Many in Western society suffer from insomnia, irritable bowels, constipation, anxiety - an entire host of unclassifiable problems that Western medicine has given catchall names to such as "irritable bowel syndrome", "social anxiety disorder", etc. These "disorders" are all from a similar root, when one looks at it from a more holistic viewpoint. Chopra gives some tips in his book that deals with insomnia: don't read before going to bed. Reading is a Vata activity. For better elimination, don't read magazines in the bathroom. Elimination is a downward process. Reading is upward.

I am particularly prone to being imbalanced in my Vata element. I easily get sappily. I have often experienced this when walking into a large grocery store or mega-discount store. There is such an overabundance of stimulation - choices, colors, brands, people, energy. I lose myself. My boyfriend, Mark, has tuned into this. He notices a glazed look come over my eyes. Suddenly, I am unable to make decisions. I feel like a zombie: I can be led anywhere and feel nothing as to where I am going, what I am doing. Mark feels concern over me at these times and usually leads me outside or to the car, or cuts the shopping trip much shorter than planned. He and I have discussed this phenomena/challenge and both instinctively know that the only remedy for me at that point is to get back to the earth.

Turtle Energy
Early on in our relationship, I sojourned to Alaska to explore the wilderness, the state, and the homeland of my boyfriend. I flew out in the beginning of summer - I crossed 5 time zones and landed at 9pm Alaskan time, which was 2am my time. I was mesmerized when we landed - the sun was up as if it were 2 in the afternoon! I wasn't entirely prepared for the midnight sun that Alaskans and other extreme-northerners (and southerners) experience. I had a lot of trouble sleeping that summer. Mark had to spread aluminum foil onto the window in his cabin, so no sunlight would come in. Whenever I left the cabin in the middle of the night to relieve myself, my sleep was always broken up, because it was 2am but the sun was as bright as day.

A few times this experience culminated into intense anxiety for me, as anything will explode if left untreated for too long. One night, I kept feeling my body and my mind fly up. I could not ground myself. I could not sleep. I was miserable. I started crying in complete frustration. I spoke to Mark about it. Mark's instincts were very intact - he straddled over my body and pushed it down into the bed. It was very healing - I settled down a lot. He told me, "I don't know why, but it just felt like you needed to be pushed back to the earth." Mark has a very different nature from my own - we joke about his "turtle energy," which is very grounding.

My cat, Kena, is my best daily reminder of the earth. She decided to jump onto my lap as I wrote this - her stance and paws became a barrier, preventing my fingers from tapping at the keyboard. She insists on me petting her, touching her. So instead of touching a cold, unfeeling machine, I touch something soft, giving, humming with vitality. Kena is a heavy cat. She loves food unashamedly, without the guilt and neuroses humans have in Western society. She's also very maternal. Somehow, in her I see an earth goddess who attempts to mother me with frequent cuddles, purring & grooming.

Kena interrupts me when I most need it - for lately I have been ignoring my earth element. I spend hours writing, designing Web sites, editing, thinking, researching on the Web, answering emails. When I am in the middle of writing an essay such as this one, I will spread all of my source material and books out onto my bed. There is paper and scraps of paper and pens and pencils and highlighters everywhere - and Kena will decide that this is the time to remind me of the earthy element. She'll jump up in the middle of the torrent and splay out on top of my books and papers, so I can't produce anything.

How We Can Bring the Earth into Our Lives
Everyday we need to do something grounding: playing with clay, working on a garden or some potted houseplants, playing with our kids, pets, each other, hugging trees, dancing, taking a walk on the soil with our bare feet, inhaling a leaf or a flower, practicing yoga, tai chi, laying on the grass, relaxing in a bath, carving wood, even cooking or doing the dishes. No wonder writer/artist Sark's books are so popular! Her books encourage people to give time to their shadow sides, to honor what the modern world dishonors. Playing, dancing, breathing, touching. Someone once pointed out that the modern conveniences we have today are the equivalent of having 21 servants in the past - they take care of so much of our "drudgeries" & allow us the free time of what once belonged to only princes & Brahmins. But some of this freedom has cost us a heavy price. We need to intentionally return the earth to our daily lives, or we will forever feel disconnected, disembodied, and be searching in the wrong direction for the answers (up there instead of down here).

- © 2003 Katharina Woodworth. All Rights Reserved.

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