Create freedom this month by practicing gratitude.
What is Chakrastrology™?
Editor’s Note: Chakrastrology is based on the principle that each of our chakras (energy centers) is ruled by a planet, and that by working with both, we experience greater health and well-being. This wisdom is rooted in ancient texts and brought to life in a modern context. By looking at our chakras in terms of the planets, we get a major advantage in working with them and in seeing what’s influencing them now. For more information on Chakrastrology, scroll to the bottom of this article.
December is a time of darkening, introspection and revelation. As we close out 2017, the days get shorter until the winter solstice on December 21. Not only are there major religious holidays at this time of year, but this season has been celebrated since time immemorial.
Our earliest ancestors based their original myths and rituals on the movements of the sun and moon. One of the most important celestial events of the year is the winter solstice. The shortest day of the year was obvious to our ancestors, who tracked the movements of the heavens, just as modern astrologers and astronomers do.
It was more than a date on the calendar, though. It was the peak of the cold season, the most desolate of times and the darkest of nights. It represented death, but only in that it also represented rebirth. The earth is cold and seemingly dead in the winter. But, just underneath the surface, life is present and waiting for warmth. The sun always returns to brighten the sky, more and more every day after the solstice.
This outer observation of one of the most basic principles of our planet is a reflection of our own internal reality. Within us, we experience a darkening, a death, a coldness. Whether it coincides with the celestial movements or not, we all, as humans, go through this cycle. Eventually our inner shadow gives way to a rebirth, a resurrection, a revelation of light. It is a cycle, just as everything is in this world. Nothing lasts forever. And, in the spirit of dynamism, we celebrate this darkest of times.
It is what leads us toward the light…and love.
The Chakrastrology focus this month is on Venus and the heart chakra. All month long, Venus is lighting up the sky, and stays close to the sun as it moves through its transition toward lighter days. This phenomenon infuses the season’s energy with love, compassion and beauty. In our relationships, our everyday lives and the way we treat ourselves, Venus is encouraging us to keep our heart chakras open and infuse every interaction and movement with a sense of love and forgiveness.
With the Gemini full moon on December 3, we are particularly charged to transform whatever holds us back from keeping our heart open, and let go of old, tired belief structures that prevent us from loving ourselves or others. This can require deep shadow work, so it is a good time for yoga and meditation practice, as well as being in the company of good friends and loved ones.
Because Mercury is retrograde from December 3-23, our communication is challenged. Take extra care in saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Let your words come from the heart, and consider your choice of words carefully, especially in your close relationships. Just a word of caution: Mercury in retrograde also complicates travel. Plan extra time for your holiday journeys, and use your tools of compassion and forgiveness to make the snags easier to bear!
Because Venus is in direct contact to the sun, moon and Mercury in retrograde, during the new moon in Sagittarius on December 18, the importance of cultivating compassionate communication is paramount. This is a perfect time to use the retrospection from the beginning of the month to start talking about what is important to you, forgiving yourself and others and taking great care to plant seeds of love in relationships. This is sometimes hard work, but at this time, and with these astrological influences, it is well worth it.
Our love and compassion is needed now more than ever before. Each of us must be willing to embrace the dark, walk in the shadow and tolerate the cold in order to be reborn brighter and more open-hearted in the year to come!
Recommended activities: Working with the heart chakra requires compassion, softness, love and joy, but it also requires a release of energy! We store a lot of emotions and tension in this region (heart, chest, shoulders, arms, upper back). In order to release it, try emphasizing backbends in your yoga practice, or taking a Les Mills Grit or Boxing Bootcamp class at your local 24 Hour Fitness.
When you’re not letting go of stored energy, create more freedom in the heart chakra through the practice of gratitude. Even before you get out of bed, set the tone for the day by sitting up in bed and writing on a piece of paper three things for which you are grateful. Take this piece of paper with you along your morning routine (perhaps write it on a sticky note) and glance at it periodically as you get ready for your day. This simple practice takes almost no time at all and helps you to get connected to gratitude, which is a precursor to love and joy!
December Chakrastrology meditation: There are many ways to keep the heart open, but they all begin with the practice of loving kindness. Known in yoga as metta, loving kindness is how we expand the capacity of the heart. It involves cultivating unconditional love, which means love for all! Beyond judgment, beyond right and wrong, love is what makes the world go around and sets our soul free.
Try the following meditation to let go any residual judgment inside the heart and open it to maximum capacity!
- Find a good, comfortable seat and be still.
- Take a few moments to center and ground yourself with your breath.
- With your eyes closed, visualize a loved one. Using your breath, send this loved one compassion, kindness, gratitude and well wishes.
- Next, visualize someone who inspires you. Use your breath to send this person compassion, kindness, gratitude and well wishes.
- Follow that by visualizing someone in need. Let your breath help you send this person compassion, kindness, gratitude and well wishes.
- Finally, visualize an enemy or harmful person. Using your breath, send this person compassion, kindness, gratitude and well wishes.
- In all cases, let your compassion, kindness and gratitude be sent to the other wholly and completely—no matter who the other is!
- When complete, bring your hands to prayer, touching your thumbs to your forehead, and bow slightly in gratitude to the wisdom of the heart.
- Carry this compassionate energy throughout your day!
Mantra of the month: I offer unconditional love and compassion to myself and others.
Heart chakra smoothie recipe: Avocado, banana, dates, spirulina powder and almond milk
December’s Chakrastrology focus: Heart chakra + Venus
Location: Heart, chest, lungs, shoulders, arms, respiratory and cardiovascular systems
Core mantra: I am loved.
Sanskrit name: Anahata (meaning: “unstruck” or “unhurt”)
Venus rules the heart chakra and lends love, compassion and forgiveness to our lives. Its influence also encourages us to seek beauty in all things: the way we live, what we surround ourselves with and how we present ourselves to the world.
More on Chakrastrology
The ancient wisdom of the chakras reveals that there are “energetic hot spots” within the body where we store our experiences, emotions and beliefs. When we don’t examine these deeper elements of the self, then eventually imbalances in these areas manifest as physical sensations like tension or chronic pain. This is the inherent link between mind and body, and the chakras provide us a road map for unlocking it!
To take this understanding further and to see how our chakras are being influenced by the outside world, we look at their connection to the planets, which are yet another ancient body of wisdom. In alignment with the alchemical idea “As above, so below,” we watch the planets above us for insight into what’s happening within us. For millennia, astrologers have witnessed the influence of the planets on our day-to-day lives.
By recognizing the intrinsic links between the planets and areas of our body (the chakras), we also get invaluable information about how to optimize our health and well-being. This comprehensive system, known as chakrastrology, bridges the gap between outer and inner, and helps us make sense (and greater health).
Photo credit: Ingram Publishing, Thinkstock