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

The first New Moon of the New Year is off to a slow start. With Sun and Moon in the Saturn-ruled, earth sign of Capricorn, caution and restraint are the keynote. More important, Mercury at 29 Capricorn has just halted its forward motion, turning retrograde exact on this day. Planets are said to be at their most powerful when they are making a station - pausing in their orbit to go either forward or backward. Thus this lunation carries an important message from the winged messenger of the gods: slow down with the stars, turn inward, and cultivate soulful patience.

For while we may feel inspired to rush forward to put our dreams and New Year's resolutions into action, the heavens tell us that the next several weeks are a time for reflection and contemplation. Indeed, if we can resist the forward pull of everyday life, we can realize within our consciousness the esoteric teachings embodied in the sign of Capricorn: the wisdom that comes with patiently abiding the ever-moving, ever-changing cycles of time.

To align with the rhythm of the planets this New Moon, you may wish to cultivate the quality of interiority and receptive waiting. One way to do this is to "think like a mountain" and attune to the consciousness of eternity as it is reflected in nature. Seated in quiet contemplation, for instance, bring to mind a stone on the bottom of a river. In your mind's eye, watch as its jagged edges are polished to smoothness by the tides, whirlpools, rapids, and swift-moving currents of water over the ages. Then, contemplate the great religious monuments and temples that have been forged from stone into edifices of timeless endurance: the Black Stone of Mecca that is an ancient meteorite; the Western Wall in Jerusalem, said to contain stones from both King Herod's and Solomon's temples; and Delphi, the ancient Greek sanctuary where a white stone covered the tomb of the sacred serpent.

Next, imagine that you are standing at the base of a pyramid, that mysterious structure whose origins have long since passed out of human awareness. As you stand at the base of this massive stone monument, looking up at its face set against the blue sky, experience what it is like to feel as ephemeral as the grains of sand upon which it has been erected. The solid presence of the pyramid, its patient stance as sentinel over the passage of aeons and the rise and fall of civilizations, triggers in you an awareness of God's permanence and indestructability-as if infinity had been etched into stone.

Recognize that this quiet, unruffled spirit of endurance is a part of yourself, as well. Like the mountain peaks that radiate a majestic calm, there is a part of your being that remains unmoving and unperturbed. Because stone symbolizes that which remains constant despite the changes and upheavals that characterize life in the world, many wise teachers over time have taught that stone represents the incorruptible, everlasting aspect of the soul - that which endures with no destruction to its essential nature.

So this New Moon, as you stand at the gateway of the New Year, recognize the value in the old alchemical adage "in your patience is your soul." For by becoming as steadfast and durable as a rock, a boulder, or a mountain in your spiritual faith, you can learn to withstand the struggles of everyday life. This way you unwrap the true gift at the heart of human existence: the realization that your soul is immortal as the medieval alchemist's Philosopher's Stone, or brilliant as the diamond said to be identical with the Buddha's nature. By remaining constant and true to your higher destiny, you become like the prophets and priestesses of old, pillars of the temples of the Gods and Goddesses that stretches across time and space.

And from all of us at MoonCircles, we wish you a blessed and fruitful New Year!

(Look for the Cancer Full Moon January 18th, 2003.)

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