Choosing Love this New Moon

And this simply means this: that within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls “the image of God,” you begin to love him in spite of.   — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we honor the memory of MLK in this country, but his teachings remain a struggle for us, a nation polarized by constant divisions in opinions and beliefs. This is also the last day of this lunar cycle, the dark night of the Moon in Capricorn. Tomorrow’s New Moon occurs in the last degrees of Capricorn, signalling a shift in astrological influences toward the next sign of the zodiac– the fixed air sign, Aquarius. The idealistic and humanitarian nature of Aquarius links us to what the United States was founded on, and the very values that seem to plague us today. For we are not a country where every man and woman are equal, and we don’t necessarily honor every person’s right to the pursuit of happiness.

King often spoke of love and understanding as the key to peace in our country. But loving an enemy seems impossible when hatred, fear, and disappointment are parts of human experience. Especially now, where it feels like there’s something evil out there, something that is disgusting about our world, making us even more cynical, guarded, and judgmental. This is indicative of a larger symptom, a downward spiral that has gotten us to this point in history. And a lot of us are hoping that 2018 will help lift us out of this toxicity, will show the way to heal this disconnect between what we know to be right and what we see in our reality. Racism, sexism, competition, and jealousy have undermined our ability to trust, and we need to work together in order to mend the wounds. But how do we do that, in actual terms?

I think the answer has to start inside our own heads. Much of this new lunar cycle has to do with the connection between head and heart. The Sun and Moon meet in Capricorn at 9:17 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16th, and then both the Moon and Venus will move into Aquarius on Wednesday, followed by the Sun on Friday. The season of Aquarius brings in an air of freedom and open-mindedness, where the more controlled nature of Capricorn loosens its firm grip and gets a little weird and rebellious. Aquarius embraces individuality and independence, but also honors the equal rights of others to their own individuality and independence. It corresponds to the universal love and acceptance that is the core of any internal peace and spirituality, when our emotional body interacts with our higher mind, and we intrinsically know that every person has the same right to be happy and free.

This sort of universal love comes from the heart chakra, or Anahata in Sanskrit, located in the very center of the chest, and is active and healthy when we are feeling loved, secure, and accepting of others as they are. Just like yoga, this is a practice– we choose to actively engage the heart chakra, or we choose not to exercise it. Making a commitment to forgive and accept ourselves is a central part of this practice, because we can’t give and receive outwardly if we can’t give that compassion to ourselves internally. And that choice between love and hate is where the head comes into the picture, as Mercury, symbol of our mind and perception, gets active in January’s waxing lunar cycle astrology.

Mercury will form intense aspects with Pluto, Jupiter, and Uranus over the coming two weeks while it speeds through Capricorn, energizing the mental buzz during the rest of the month. Our minds are powerful catalysts for change. As we head toward the second Supermoon on January 31st, Mercury’s activity will likely shake up what we’re talking and thinking about. We have the freedom of choice here to cultivate love or to get caught up in the frenzy of hate. We need to be clear-headed and committed to the ideals of peace and non-judgment in order to heal all that is dragging us down now.

Again, how do we do actually do that? We have to exercise the heart chakra, the basic value of loving self and others as equals on the same path. Every time we feel judged, jealous, or insecure, we need to practice it for ourselves. Every time we feel threatened or frustrated by another person, we need to practice it for them. This waxing moon phase is all about the awareness of choosing love in order to create a healthier perception of the world.