The moon of this lunar cycle that begins the Chinese New Year of the Monkey here on February 8th is known as the “Hunger Moon.” In the Northern Hemisphere we are in the depth of winter at a time when tribal peoples would often go hungry. Through the creation of modern lifestyle and cultural abundance many have been fortunate to improve upon our seasonal tendency toward starvation, but even if this is the case for you, it is a good time to ask yourself about your emotional, mental and spiritual nourishment as well. With all our gains and growths and wisdom as humans I wonder, isn’t there a way to be physically nourished through long winters and have our hearts and our souls consistently nourished too? Many are uncomfortable with these words like soul and spirit, and it is difficult to talk about something that really has no words anyway, so listen into that place in your chest or your belly as the dark Hunger Moon arrives to the horizon. You cannot see it, but you know it is there. It is asking you an ancient question: what is your hunger? If there is no emptiness, no space, no time and nothing has been lost, could it be that your life is too full to take in anything fresh and present and nourishing?
The new year and this “journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” All energy is HERE. All energy is accessible in this NOW and then this NOW. Energy is not available to us in the future; it cannot be used in the past. Energy, tells the physics of our dimension, cannot be created or destroyed. Energy can change form. All journeys are comprised of a single step, then another single step. This is vital to the comprehension of what we refer to as life.
One of the most remarkable experiences in my own personal development came when I was technically lost deep in the back wilderness of the Marble Mountains. It was the middle of the night before the moon came, in a dense forest where I was in route on a much needed mission. Someday I will like to tell you this story. For now, just imagine such a place. If you have found yourself in the throes of a “spirit walk,” where you have never been where you are, and you do not really know if your compass actually works, or if you are on the right trail, track, road or river, let me be the one to say in words to you (as no one in a tidy, predictable life is going to understand your plight), you are growing. You are developing. Not knowing what is to come, and not being familiar with where you are, is how growth happens. We must, at least occasionally, empty (become hungry) in order to have room to create. When we have let go of all the old and outdated excesses we are free to go on a spirit walk. Are you ready for this journey? My own sacred pilgrimage that I refer to as “my life” consists largely of not knowing where I am or where I am going. My practice is being HERE, NOW. Thus my energy is present and I am in the best position to LIVE. When I am living, I have access to abundance that is not available in the past or the future and it is remarkable how easy it is to share it when it is understood that energy moves. Stagnant energy is metaphorically akin to a river pooling in the backwater. Water that has been trapped becomes stagnant, sometimes even diseased, at very least dis-eased. I know that suffocating, swampy place. I do not wish to linger there. To grow beyond this, it is sometimes imperative to bring consciousness to our location.
Energy has many densities, for lack of better word, it is physical, it is flesh and blood, it is emotional, it is endocrine, it is thought, it is intelligence, it is love, it is kindness. Regardless of density, it is always in the present. Our culture has created (industrial growth economy aside, I want to believe it has been accidentally) a time-impoverished peoples. When there is never enough time, there is never enough energy because there is never enough presence. It is up to me to consciously change this default cultural paradigm in my own life. The same choice is available to each of us who are still living.
Can you embrace the year’s totem of the playful, communal, tender-loving monkey to find the being in this moment, and then this moment, while at the same time committing to this spirit walk that sometimes requires you to let go of everything obsolete to make room for something that has not yet arrived? Can you bring what you have left in your cupboard to the communal pot and share in the greater collective abundance that joyfully fills everyone’s belly for this night but leaves you with not knowing where your next provision is going to come from? Is there an old, tired relationship in your life that has become so stagnant that it sucks the very life out of your every moment leaving you feeling malnourished with nothing left to offer? Is is time to take the next step?
I wonder if you have found what I have here in this moment of my own adventure: energy is love, and love is sustaining. Love is not a person, a place or a thing, it is a force that can move through us, it is a presence that has sustenance. If you are lost, it still knows where to find you. It requires that we not be time-impoverished because it requires an open, receptive space and a river-like flow through it. On this Hunger Moon cycle we could learn a great deal about sharing, about being present, and about being loving from observing the totem named long ago by the wise Chinese philosophers who understood there are archetypal constructs we humans need to address our development. When I am willing to be on this pilgrimage and here, now, the available energy is so amplified and abundant that I cannot help but share it. This energy feels like love (for lack of better word) and I want to tune my heartstrings to that song. Consider what hunger has to teach when that hollow and empty space behind the strings is what makes the music so nourishing.
Poem: “Lost,” by David Wagoner from Collected Poems 1956-1976
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
To read more about the Hunger Moon you might like to see my past posts:
A good review of the symbolic meaning of the monkey: monkey symbolic meaning