Hello to you as you are in this moment.

My hope is that this Moonletter meets you well exactly where you are at, and is a reminder of your inherent enoughness and interconnection. May you take what resonates from these musings, inspirations, and pieces of the whole, and leave the rest behind.

This is Rachael Amber, the creator of Cycles Journal, writing to you from my creative corner in my studio/office/meditation/altar room.

If you didn't see my last message to you, feel free to check it out! In it I share a bit about myself and my intentions in writing these moonletters to you moving forward. (the full post wasn't live when we sent it, oops! but you can check it out here.)


Pausing into the present...

One thing I'm really grateful for right now is the space I'm now able to give myself in the mornings, like I did today before writing this.

Waking up has always been a struggle and still is. But when I ease slowly into the day through routine/ritual, connecting to myself and spirit before I connect to the digital world, and nourishing my body and my creativity first... I am the truest version of myself, and it really sets me up centered for the rest of the day.

It's not always easy, like yesterday when I had to be up earlier than my body was used to for some maintenance work and wasn't able to start my day with my usual grounding routine or a proper breakfast. It's not always possible, but days like that are great reminders of what to prioritize and what gives me a headache for the rest of the day. Maybe you can relate, or maybe you have a different relationship with mornings?

drawings by Rachael Amber at the river with trees around


Current cycles and energy...

Our New Moon in the fixed fire sign Leo exacts at ~5:37 am EST on Wednesday, August 16th, 2023. (If you're reading this at a much later time, it's still relevant to reflect on yourself around this time/Leo season! Especially in comparison to what's happening now.)

As always, this peak of the lunation cycle is just that; the energy of a transit affects our collective before and after this moment as well. Additionally, we continue to integrate the lessons of a transit well after it shifts - whether we're aware of it or not.

New moons begin a lunar cycle when the moon meets the sun, which is always a good time to revisit or set our intentions and needs. In Leo, the sun highlights our innermost values and desires. Through this solar-ruled sign, these areas may come into clearer focus and upliftment, and what doesn't align may begin to show up in the form of irritation, resistance or other difficult emotions – especially with Venus retrograde conjunct this transit.

There is a big focus on meeting our own needs in order to better support the collective. Have you been listening to what your inner self is asking for, or what your body is trying to tell you? If not, there's no shame (we live in a world of distractions) - but this is your reminder to tune into your inner flame and follow what sparks it.

Leo can be seen as selfish, and while a lack of external perspective can be a shadow aspect, this can also be a projection from a world that profits off of our lack of foundational care and self-acceptance. Leo energy at its core seeks empowerment and consent, creativity and expression, not manipulation or shame.

With Uranus in Taurus square this new moon, something is stirring and shifting at the roots of our being collectively (maybe personally too). Sometimes triggers are unavoidable, but are they sometimes showing us a boundary that needs to be created or a shift to enact? Is all of the trauma, fear and chaos in today's world a calling for you to bring your gifts to the table and contribute to the whole, rather than hide them out of fear of it not being enough? We can't do Uranus work alone, and Leo + Taurus energy brings us into allyship with self. So how can you meet your own needs first?

This is just my interpretation of this collective energy. How this affects you specifically may vary depending on where Leo/this transit shows up in your chart.

For me, Leo doesn't rule any planets, but it still rules my 9th house, which governs 'higher' education, spirituality, exploration through learning, etc. (Sag-esque things). This feels very relevant to what a retreat I just returned from is related to.

Allow / Flow

Behind the scenes of creativity / reflections on recently...

I just attended a meditation retreat with Lama Rod Owens called The Dharma of Homecoming in Times of Fear, and there's so much I want to share and reflect on as I integrate. You don't need to be Buddhist to benefit from the teachings of this Earth-based lineage, or to relate to the concept of fear causing disconnect in your body. so I wanted to share some of what this pivotal teacher has brought to light (which feels sooo relevant in the middle of Leo season).

It's funny how going on retreat feels selfish at first, but it's truly a gift back to others when we can integrate and carry this work through our fields. I intend to do so here and beyond, especially as I continue to work on creating my oracle deck and more to come... :) Lots of inspiration is flowing!

Homecoming means returning to our bodies and selves as our first vessel of stability; filling our own cup so we can support others. In our capitalist world, this is radical and it ripples. It's the work we do when we track our cycles and tend to our self-care.

Rachael Amber on a hammock reading a book

We worked with Green Tara - a nurturing mother figure who is The Liberator. She can be compared to many other motherly figures across spiritual traditions, but she ultimately is a symbol representing space and the Earth. Meditating with the essence of space felt like being rocked in a safe boat, held in the womb of the Earth.

Lama Rod is such an authentic gem, who creates a truly safe space for everyone, especially queer folks and BIPOC. We not only sat and practiced, but we also sang, chanted, moved, and rested; proving that practicing our self-care and empowerment work does not have to look one way for anyone!

In true Leo energy, he spoke about radical notions of the un-selfish nature of meeting our own needs first, and how we're taught this is not okay as a form of oppression. This blocks true connection and love. Can we say to ourselves as he said, "I love myself more than other people's projections of their insecurities." Can we make choices out of this place of autonomy and self-trust? It's part of the practice.

Plant doodle by Rachael Amber of a quote by Lama Rod "I love myself more than other people's projections of their insecurities."

It hit me hard when he said, "Most of us are just reacting to what others expect of us... who are we when we're no longer performing?" In my art I'm not performing, I'm flowing. But in conversation, in vulnerably writing, I struggle to not hide behind fear. Yet noticing this is huge, and it's part of the self-empowerment and enoughness this new moon is calling us into.
doodle by Rachael Amber of a quote by Lama Rod "Most of us are just reacting to what others expect of us... who are we when we're no longer performing?"*"I love myself more than other people's projections of their insecurities."
We also discussed, in the generous space he left for share and questions that really added to the level of vulnerability all of us were able to achieve, the possibility of compassionate boundaries. Lama Rod says, "Boundaries create space to disrupt harm / broken-heartedness... Liberation is a practice of consent." Our boundaries help us become liberated when they are made out of love rather than fear. True boundaries are not borders, but bridges to other possibilities. "What are you willing to give up to get free? And how are you willing to care for yourself through the process?" It's a balance of receiving and offering from the authority of your inner light.

doodle of a person with a plant as their spine by Rachael Amber, quoting Lama Rod above in a circle, "Boundaries create space to disrupt harm / broken-heartedness... Liberation is a practice of consent."

This is not easy work, but in the flames of Leo energy reflected in both the moon & sun, we are asked to bravely embody strength and self-trust. "To work for liberation and be in the world at the same time creates a tension to tend to... " yet we are not alone in any of this.

moon phase drawing by Rachael Amber and a flow chart of their synthesis of Lama Rod's practice; showing us how to move from fear/resistance to sit with it and invite space in, gauge danger, offer it up to spirit or the earth. let is break you open, let yourself be seen and heard and supported. then give gratitude and offer it back to others.

I could share so much more, but maybe sharing some of my journaling reflections in my Cyclical Notebook will be enough... (Yes, I use what I make because I made it since I need it too! This tool is something I use everyday to expand beyond the space in my Cycles Journal – it's so helpful to reference some basic tracking features right on the page, and be able to link/reference it back to my journal as needed!)

drawing by Rachael Amber at the river, and writing that says; *The river teaches me fluidity, I watch them bend and shape with ease. Many paths, one destination. Here lives an example of embodied liberation.* 

The river teaches me fluidity, I watch them bend and shape with ease.
Many paths, one destination. Here lives an example of embodied liberation.

What if everything within me is actually conspiring to support me?

What a gift it is to find and feel this clarity, and what a practice it is to hold it with me through all the fear and grief that exists personally, communally, collectively, generationally...

I hope that something within all of this resonates with and supports you.

At the retreat I practiced using my voice and sharing – trusting that taking up space is important to add to the collective pool of wisdom and perspectives. Such a solar practice, that my very lunar self is grateful to be growing within. This newsletter will continue to be a practice for myself.

Reflect / Release

Invitations for you to sit with - you can pull cards about these, meditate on them, and/or reflect in your journal or notebook.

  1. What's been igniting your interest lately?
  2. What wants to be uprooted &/or transplanted?
  3. What part of you is asking for attention?
  4. What helps you feel most empowered and liberated?
  5. How are your current bodily cycles relating to the collective?
  6. Reflect on one of the quotes or poems shared above that resonated with you most – how does it feel in your body and mind and what does it mean to you?

There are quite a few questions scattered above in the new moon report, so feel free to use those as well!

Gratefully connected,
Rachael Amber (they/she)
Creator of Cycles Journal

All words, photographs and artwork are by me unless quoted or otherwise stated. You're welcome to share (for non-commercial reasons only) so long as credit / links remain attached! Thanks for supporting living artists <3

p.s. I know I said I'd share about the journal's cover art, but there was just too much to share post-retreat lol! So I'm going to dedicate a separate blog post to this very soon! I'll let you know once it's ready, promise. :)

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Current Offerings as of 8/15/23;
Our upcoming Moonthly Meets Crystals & Aromatherapy Workshop is happening on Sunday, August 27th – but you can always catch the recording, along with our entire library of 15+ past workshops!

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August 15, 2023 — Rachael Amber Longo
Tags: Moonletters

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