Beliefnet
This article first appeared on Mooncircles. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.

Each July in the Western hemisphere at the height of summer's golden brilliance, the Sun god burnishes nature with his warm and fertile rays. Earth blooms beneath a mantle of light and summer sweetness. Yet just at this time each year, the Cancer New Moon dawns to remind us of the ancient wisdom of the lunar mysteries. This New Moon in particular, Moon-ruled Cancer energies are greatly magnified, as five planets and one asteroid - Mercury, Sun , Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Vesta - align in that maternal, watery sign. Thus while we nourish our bodies with the lush abundance of fruits and vegetables at this time, so, too, can we feed our souls with the life-giving lunar qualities of receptivity and reflection - the secret wisdom concealed within nature.

Indeed, mystics have sometimes likened the soul to the Moon. To the Sufis, the soul's inner receptivity to the Divine Light was pictured as a crescent Moon illuminated by a star. Like an empty vessel, the crescent New Moon fills with the solar power of the Sun; likewise, the soul empty of self receives the light of Spirit. This life-giving spiritual nourishment is the esoteric meaning of Cancer, the Zodiacal sign so often associated with nurturing, family, food, and security. But the true abode of the soul is in the land of the Invisibles, the food that feeds our souls flows from the life force that pervades the Universe, and the only lasting security lies in the Creator-source of time and space. These truths were honored by the millenia-old Goddess traditions, which linked the creative, life-giving body of woman to the Moon. The timeless symbol of the crescent-shaped horn of the New Moon can be found carved into goddess figures and sacred vessels in archaeological sites around the world.

Gazing upon the Moon this summer's night, we might feel a chord of recognition resonate deep within us. Drawn back to a time when humans communed more deeply with Nature, we might go outside and sit beneath the velvet sky, so dark and pregnant with meaning. Reconnecting with the long lineage of our earthly ancestors, we might meditate on the slender, silver cup of Moon etched against the blackness. Breathing in her wisdom, breathing out our daily worries, we feel ourselves filled with a numinous, nameless presence. Allowing our hearts to become like the Moon, we draw down the spiritual sustenance that nourishes our soul life within. Fountain drops of lunar light irradiates our whole being. A still calm and quietude pervades the space within and without. We become the very Moon upon which we gaze: a vessel of light floating in a sea of infinite stars.

Thus nourished by the Moon, the Mother of the skies, we can return to our lives. Our souls restored and made healthy and whole through the light of the spirit, we are ready to embark on the next stage of the zodiacal cycle.

(Look for the Aquarius Full Moon July 24.)

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