101: FIRST SERVE - NEW BALLS PLEASE
MON 20 JUL 18:32 - Mooning Monthly serving up a new load of balls .....
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Happy New Moon on Monday dear friends Firstly, we must report a sad and unexpected loss to the Mooning Community. Marc Treanor, the UK's foremost sand artist (www.sandcircles.co.uk) and active Mooner since this blog's inception, made a sudden, unforeseen transition on 2nd July. He went for his regular morning swim on the beautiful Cornish coastline and didn't return as expected. He had been experiencing chest pains of recent and it is suspected he had a heart attack. Marc has left us a magnificent artistic legacy, etched in sand, washed away by the sea but saved for posterity in photos and film. The work's quiet presence, intertwined with his own, spoke eloquently of the ephemerailty that defines us all and he is sorely missed. Further memories of Marc and some of his own words can be read at the end of this message. Accordingly, optimism may be hard to find under this coming Monday's New Moon in Cancer. Disheartening restrictions are likely to pop up whenever we feel we're heading in the right direction or about to make a breakthrough. It's a stop/start kind of energy that could cause all manner of frustration. As a result, the next fortnight is likely to be a hard slog with one too many false dawns and generally a bit of a downer. Soz. (Don't despair entirely. There is some creative light at the end of this message's tunnel, so do keep reading.) Saturn sits directly opposite this new moon and it's the planetary hard task master. Saturn represents authority in all its guises - has a predominantly male vibe (watch out for turbulence with dads and father figure issues over the next fortnight) and is firmly rooted in all institutional structures: work environments; big business corporations; public service organisations; education; government; policing and law. These structures were originally set up to serve the advancement of human society. There is a tension under this particular moon between those founding intentions and the realities on the ground in these unprecedented Covid times. Without wishing to fuel any dramatic air of collusion or conspiracy, the emergence of Covid-19 has enabled Governments around the world to undermine civil liberties - predominantly with sound, health related reasoning. There is convincing evidence that the countries with the most closely policed restrictions of movement were those that suffered fewer deaths from the virus. However, moving out of lockdown, the ominous ghost of governmental control haunts daily proceedings across the planet with greater menace. Having been exercised in a hitherto unheard-of fashion, the spectre of state supremacy can now be invoked as a matter of course should the dramatic occasion arise. It's not a huge leap from future viral pandemics to issues of national emergency or security, however those may be defined by our leaders at the time. (Article - World leaders use Covid-19 to violate civil liberties) Are such measures of control devised purely for public safety and wellbeing? One would certainly hope so. In our personal lives under this Cancer New Moon, we are likely to find ourselves between a rock and a hard place when it comes to our relationship with authority. Who writes the rulebook for our own life experience and under whose juristiction? Which life choices are we making consciously and which are default cultural norms derived from our societal and familial heritage? What do we accept because it's what we've been taught and what do we choose to challenge because we believe change is necessary? What aspects of our lives are truly designed and built to serve the good of all? Which patterns of behaviour suit us because we stand to benefit, even at the expense of others? Post Coronavirus, is an 'I'm alright Jack' attitude either appropriate or acceptable? Many of us will currently have deep anxieties about our job security and the concerns a change in employment status might bring. On a wider stage, how will greater unemployment effect society at large? As a collective, will we utilise our resources to support those in need or will there be the usual litany of losers, in the most vulnerable sectors of society, that economic crashes usually leave in their wake? The conventional structure of the workplace seems to be shifting toward the very different dynamic of working from home. Those that have tried to juggle the realms of work and domesticity will be no strangers to the new set of challenges, particularly if children are also in residence. (Mental Health Foundation - mental health tips while working from home) Both employees and employers will need to be mindful of the implications of these immediate but fundamental shifts in the working experience if we are to negotiate the changes without causing harm. On a spurious separate note, here in the UK, had circumstances not changed, we would have just witnessed the crowning of this summer's new Wimbledon Tennis Champions. In our time, we've loved a bit of tennis here at Mooning HQ, but this year's forced suspension of play in South London, for something other than rain, has got us thinking about service.......see what we've done there? At the risk of another set of lame metaphors, if life can be viewed as a game in which we participate, how are the rules of that game truly serving us? Who designed the court and it's dimensions? The present favourite bet at Ladbrokes is that he was white, male and privileged. The odds are low. It might lightheartedly be seen as a game, but to what end does a competitive mind set help anyone or anything? An aspiration to be better than someone else usually necessitates exploitation of another's weakness to gain advantage. We've heard the specious argument that suggests a degree of competition allows us to achieve our full potential, that great innovation is born of the marketplace........but we're not convinced recent planetary history suggests that marketplace ideology has covered itself in racially equitable glory or burgeoning biodiversity. The rules by which we're currently playing seem to be serving fewer, increasingly privileged people, at great expense to the many and the planet upon whom we all depend. Winners need losers folks. End of. Perhaps our post Covid economies will, by necessity, develop new, more flexible political structures but, under the pessimistic eye of this Cancer New Moon, we're not expecting it to happen overnight. The most meaningful immediate change will emerge as individuals recalibrate their own rule books, defining the parameters and objectives of their own fields of play. Heavens, we might even devise matches in which we happily assist fellow participants in scoring goals of breathtaking collective magnificence! An economic adjustment towards meaningful service of need - of self, others, communities, cultures and the planet as a whole - might birth a new definition of profit and a greater security for All. The pandemic has cruelly exposed that those upon whom a robust society is most dependent - our key workers: nurses, carers, healthworkers, refuse collectors, street cleaners and their whole heavenly host, are often the lowest paid. (FT article - Lockdown Heroes - Will they ever get a raise?) What does that say about the 'game' we're playing? Which of us gets first grab of the pristine, fluffy new balls and who has to manage with threadbare, defective equipment which, in the current climate, away from trite analogies, has led to tragic, life threatening consequences? If you're still with us and not already too demoralised, there is a little redemptive relief yet to be found under this otherwise depressingly authoritarian New Moon. It is upon this relief that we suggest our focus should be trained. It can be unearthed in our own creativity, a mirror of the same expansive force that flows throughout existence. In between the Saturn influenced doldrums, we are likely to feel a counterpoint Cancer creativity coursing through our veins over the next fortnight and the suggestion here is to answer the call. Outwardly, our creativity finds voice in active participation in the arts: traditionally music, art, dance, theatre, film, photography, a list we would expand to include gardening, cookery, making sand circles, improvised Lego construction, dreaming and doodling whilst on the phone. With practice, these arenas of creativity allow us to set our minds free from our habitual conditioning and open ourselves to new possibilities. Immersive creativity can be the equivalent of a change of ends in tennis or half-time in a soccer match. It allows us a breather in which to find an overview of the game so far and an opportunity to focus on what we might do to improve things. A good half-time team talk from a coach often leads to an improved subsequent performance. Whilst creative we can become our own integrated player, coach and injury specialist, capable of optimizing the outcomes of the game we choose to play. Ultimately, if the game isn't serving us - often signaled by a recognition that it's not much fun - it is within our creative power to alter the goalposts, rulebook or size of pitch so that it does. New balls please. In the Hindu tradition our creativity can be harnessed in Sankalpa (Wikipedia): an intention formed of both heart and mind. Loads of western Yoga teachers adopt it as a means of encouraging meaningful change in life experience. The idea goes, that through repetition of practice, we redefine ourselves in alignment with our clear intentions and positive change manifests as a consequence. Apparently, the brain has difficulty in determining the difference between us actually doing something or just thinking about it, so, if we want to speed up the process of building neural pathways toward the change we want to see in our lives (doesn't everyone? - article: Neuroplasticity, the potential for life long brain development) we simply need to employ our creative faculties to repetitively imagine that change happening. Sounds too simple? It's all about the mental gym reps allegedly and a license to daydream at will. Neuroplasticity expands; personal creativity reigns over outdated, restrictive cultural dictates; the rules of the game change in our favour toward the favour of All - it's the win/win we're all looking for if we did but know it. Huzzah! It may be, as we become more aware of the available power held in our thoughts, words and deeds, that each of us sets a primary intent, a 'first serve' sankalpa, for everything that we think, say and do to have a positive benefit for All. Under this occasionally daunting Cancer New Moon we therefore offer a brief selection of dos and don'ts that might help create a positive spin on our ability to serve: DO get creative. Encourage your dreams at night. Keep a concise dream diary as soon as you wake in the morning, noting the memorable points of the dreams you can recall. DO read your notes briefly before you go to bed at the end of the day, taking up where your subconscious left off. Watch your dreams become more vivid and intricate - more real even. DON'T feel you have to search for meanings in your dreams. It's reward enough to appreciate the multicoloured flights of fancy that you have created for yourself. Enjoy them. Dreaming is a skill that is underestimated and largely disregarded as a tool for personal exploration, yet central to our inherent creativity. DO get creative. Encourage your dreams during the day. Daydream with impunity. Encourage your imagination to new levels of creative bravado. Can you imagine the utopian world in which you want to live? The alchemical argument goes that in imagining it, you create it as a tangible reality...so why not dream big? DO Make a note of your three favourite daydreams of the day before bedtime, then remind yourself of them before breakfast next morning, setting the creative tone for the day ahead. DO Push yourself to take your daydreams further during the day. Pick them up like a favourite book whenever you have a spare moment and create your own, ongoing narrative. DON'T judge your daydreaming as indulgent or time poorly spent. Visualisation skills have been used for millennia in many spiritual traditions to attain greater powers of conscious awareness. Instead, think of daydreaming as exercising the creative muscles of the mind. (Psychology Today article - The benefits of creative visualisation) With practice, you will be able to apply new levels of mental resilience in your responses to circumstance and consciously create your own reality. DO get creative. Find a way of tangibly creating something every day until the Lughnasadh Full Moon on 3rd August. It could be making a sketch, writing a poem or baking a cherry pie, anything that consciously engages you in immersive creativity on a daily basis. DO get busy with the pens, paints or playdough. Switch off the telly, clear the kitchen table and just make stuff. DON'T worry about the outcomes of your creative efforts. If something emerges that pleases you it's a bonus but not the reason for playing. This game is all about feeling good during the creative process. It's about play, without the restrictions of expectations or prescribed goals that lead to fear of failure. Surprise yourself. Under this dour, potentially limiting Cancer New Moon explore the creative path to unlimited liberty......and have fun dammit! That's an authoritarian order from Mooning HQ. I light my torch and wave it for the New moon on Monday And a fire dance through the night I stayed the cold day with a lonely satellite New moon on Monday "New Moon on Monday" - Duran Duran 1983 (Spotify link here - truly dreadful) We hope you continue to enjoy these missives, however autocratic, written for and exclusively delivered every fortnight to members of our expanding international Mooning Monthly community. Please encourage friends of a similarly Moonish persuasion to subscribe for free so that we can share the lunar bounty, all of which can occasionally be found uploaded to the website www.mooningmonthly.com. With Love......as we wave a fond, perhaps temporary, farewell to lockdown.....'til next time.
MARC TREANOR 19.06.1963 - 02.07.2020
The Mooning Community mourns one of its founder members, Marc Treanor. Over the last seven years he had been recognised as the UK's foremost sand artist, creating works of increasing complexity and ambition. His work was often spiritually motivated, employing the language of sacred geometry to align with the building blocks of the natural world he loved so wholeheartedly. In his own words: The patterns I create on the beaches are all inspired by sacred geometry. The idea of 'sacredness' transpires from the realisation that these patterns appear everywhere from the very small, the quantum field or the microcosm, to the very large, the cosmic realms or the macrocosm. In creating these beautiful patterns on beaches I am consciously stepping into the dance of matter. By scribing these sacred blue prints into the silica of the shores, I briefly still the patterns of movement that define all of existence. For these circles, these mandalas, point to the eternal truth of impermanence. Everything appears and disappears in a continual dance of life. A movement between creation and destruction. And me, the human interface, the fulcrum, dancing between the two worlds. In the inexpressible present, surrounded by the infinite loops of past and future, I create an existence that can only be grasped until the next tide washes it away and leaves the sand empty, like a tabula rasa, ready to be rewritten upon.....and all of that jiving around!" His work speaks for itself and can be found at his website www.sandcircles.co.uk. He leaves us a wonderful, passionate and playful artistic legacy which we could do well to emulate creatively as we meditate on his visionary example. He was a beautiful man who found deep resolution to the complexities of life circumstances in the simplicity of his relationship with nature. He remains loved but deeply missed. MARC TREANOR 19:06:1963 - 02:07:2020 Father of Joe and Ellen; beloved of Rachel; Mooner
GOLDEN TEMPLATE - Marc Treanor and Mark Weighton - November 2014