Verses for the New Moon

Aug 11, 2018 | Blog


This is me hanging off the moon pyramid at Teotihaucan.


When I was eight or so I had this tape recorder.


It had a microphone embedded in the handle, and I’d hold it close and speak. I would lock myself in a room for hours with nothing but this tape recorder and my cat and sing songs and make up stories, happy as a clam. I’d never share these; they were for me. It was before I learned to judge my voice. It was blissful unfettered expression.


When I make a recording or write a poem I tap into this youthful creative abandon. I don’t need bells and whistles, not other than I can create for myself. Leo season is my time to contemplate who I am, what I make, and how I share it. It’s the first house in my birth chart in the sign associated with the self and expression.


So it was fitting, this week, when I came across an article about a Buddhist practice called Gatha and was reminded of this love of creating sounds.


It was not my first time hearing about this practice. I’m familiar with the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, the teacher that popularized Gatha as a modern practice, and without knowing its name, I have worked with it before. A Gatha is a verse that you say in your mind or out loud when doing an activity. It is a doing meditation. Often once the Gatha is learned it’s shortened and becomes one word that’s easy to say while moving. The practice is very similar in execution and effect as a mantra. Unlike a mantra that can be said for its own sake while doing nothing, a Gatha is meant to bring awareness to an activity that you regularly do.


After reading the article, I decided it’d probably be amazing to write personalized Gathas for activities in my life where I could use more awareness. This new moon in Leo seemed the perfect time to ask myself ‘where in my life might I need verses?’ Verses remind me of my solitary escapades with my tape-recorder, fun, expressive, and light. And now that I’ve grown I find an opportunity to sharpen awareness while exploring creativity and words.


When considering where I could apply intentional verses, I’m reminded of a trip I took the Teotihuacan, Mexico when I visited the pyramids with a spiritual teacher and a community of like-minded individuals. We were tasked to make intentions for our spiritual work. I channeled the phrase “be a poem.”


At the time I had no idea what this meant. Over the course of the next two years, I would explore what it meant for me, or rather my life, to be a poem. The exploration of verse became the exploration of life purpose. I was, at the time, a poet who didn’t write poems or anything else. I came to recognize my life as one that was not being lived.


Where in my life might I need intentional verses?


Everywhere that I’m addicted. The places I consume and perpetuate consumerism. I need Gatha when on social networks to remind me why and how I’m sharing. These social networks choose white supremacist sponsors over their users, when they fail to take responsibility for their mass effect on societal psychology, politics, small businesses, and the welfare of their most marginalized users, it becomes clear that using their services suggests alignment with their values, even if theirs do not match mine.


When I eat food, I need a Gatha to help me reflect on the what and how. I know that processed food is engineered for my addiction. I know that corporations usually cannot be trusted to disclose everything about the products they want me to consume and that when I regularly ingest a processed thing, I bank my life on how it was made. But I want tasty things. The things I’ve been raised to crave since infancy, I still crave.


I need powerful reminders. I need magical words to fortify myself. I need a short song of my values to help me remember. I need Gatha.


For my newsletters. A medium less likely to be controlled by outside entities. Where I am able to say more. And where we constantly practice consent, opting in and out when we dare to stay aware.

I need Gatha for my readings. Every time I sit down with my cards, the same level of awareness or more than I have ever had before. All the life I live, a moving meditation. The spaces that I hold and facilitate for people. Each of these needs their own Gatha. I needn’t feel overwhelmed. It’s a process that goes one verse at a time. Some I write. Some written by teachers like in a book written by Thich Nhat Hanh.


Why I’m careful about doing.


In past years I resisted mantras, affirmations, any intentional words beyond a monthly check-in I did to set practical goals for the month. I resisted the mantra and other words like these because I considered them a distraction.


The reason we often want to use words like these are for the emotional payoff it affords us; the biochemical reaction, the dopamine hit that we get with that feeling of having accomplished or started something. In the case of mantras, we alter our breaths and sometimes experience an actual physical high. And we do this while we indulge a hope that we can become something other than what we are in the present moment.


I do not want distractions from accepting who I am right now.


Even if I’m angry or miserable or feeling victimized or anxious. I don’t want to look away from the totally of myself; but even if distractions from what ‘is’ are a kind of spiritual poison, opting out of these spiritual practices didn’t mean that I opted out of all poison.


Everything I crave is still poison even if I am unaware, certain kinds of foods, negative interactions, the way that I binge-watch TV, and really I mean anime because this is me we’re talking about, and social networks. I am still choosing poison. With this verse experiment, I’ve decided to consciously pick my poison for a while.


A Gatha verse for writing.




I’ve written four lines. The first and third lines are meant to be thought or said on the in-breath. The second and fourth are for the out breath. I place my fingers on my keyboard and notice what they feel like while thinking or saying, “placing fingers on the keys,” and breathing in. Each line draws my attention to the present moment and my intentions for the present moment. And on the right, I’ve shortened the lines so that once I’m familiar with this verse, I can remember my intention with a single word for each breath.


I mentioned above that Leo season matches my first house and knowing this I’m thinking a lot about my sense of self and creativity how I express. So rekindling this childlike joy for me is at core of that first house. If you’re wanting to explore Leo or even another season as this summer progresses, there are 11 other houses that might correlate to the current sign in your chart depending on where in the world you were born and what time.


I can’t speak to which houses match up with which signs in your chart but I can name the themes associated with the houses. If you have access to your birth chart and want to explore intentionality with this new moon eclipse or other new moons, they’re a great time for it, you might look at which house correlates to the sign of Leo, or whichever sign is current and ask yourself:




First house Who are you right now?

Second house

What do you feel you deserve?

Third house

What, or who, are you attached to?

Fourth house

What do your feelings tell you about what you need?

Fifth house

Where might you need joy?

Sixth house

What routines are you not aware of?

Seventh house

What’s the most satisfying combination?

Eighth house

What are you learning from your secrets?

Ninth house

What causes do you care about?

Tenth house

What are you here for?

Eleventh house

Who’s with you?

Twelfth house

How are you rising?


Do you need to care about or believe in astrology for these questions to be relevant?


Well, I mean, that’s up to you isn’t it? As you look at these remember that while it’s satisfying/exciting to start or do things, sometimes the most profound thing we can do in our lives is to consider what we can stop doing.


Let me know in the comments what you worked on for the New Moon Eclipse.


If you like posts that deal with astrology you should probably check out the member’s area. It’s usually the only place I talk about astrology.