One of my recurring fantasies is to renovate and live in an old church. I’m enchanted by the idea of a home with arched stained glass windows, a choir loft (perfect for a master bedroom!), wood trim and floors lovingly scrubbed for decades with Murphy’s Oil Soap… and something more, perhaps. A peacefulness; a soulfulness gained from years of prayerful contemplation that have seeped into its bones, transforming a simple structure into a sanctuary.
I was born with Pisces, the sign of the spiritual seeker, on the cusp of my 4th house (the house of home and family). Home is my sacred place. The search for peace and quiet, for a gentle place of order and contemplation, has always been my first priority in choosing – or creating – a place to call home. Although my husband and I haven’t realized our fantasy of living in a church, our little bungalow is quiet and private. Two large trees shield the front of the house, the miracle of Caller ID protects us from unwanted phone calls, and uninvited visitors will find we don’t even have a doorbell. Inside, flickering candles and contented cats lend an atmosphere of relaxation.
Visitors often tell us that our house feels especially peaceful, but it wasn’t always so. When we bought our house, its recent tortured history (a divorce, discordant renters) seemed to linger like barnacles on the bottom of a boat. We had checked out the neighborhood carefully before buying, trying to avoid noise; but the very day we moved in, renters pulled up next door with a U-Haul truck and a pitbull whose barking kept us awake all night, every night. This was only the first of the challenges we’ve faced here, and it’s taken an enormous amount of spiritual work – negotiating with the universe through ritual, and (more tortuously) with neighbors – to create the sanctuary we enjoy today.
Wherever Pisces falls in your chart, you seek to create a sanctuary into which you can retreat from the rancor and agitation of daily life. But as anyone who has lived in a monastery can tell you, retreat and sanctuary don’t exempt us from working on our issues! In fact, I think the areas of life symbolized in our birth charts by Pisces are sacred not just because they’re places where we can retreat and regroup, but because they describe where we meet the issues that stand between us and true inner peace.
So at this new Moon I invite you to find Pisces – the sign of the sacred – in your chart, and consider how these areas of your life serve as both your retreat and your spiritual classroom. Here are a few real-life examples to prime your imagination:
- A friend with Pisces rising finds her sanctuary in physical exercise, especially yoga. But she was born with curvature of the spine, and working through her physical limitations was the spiritual work she faced in reaching this point.
- Another friend, with Pisces on the cusp of the second house, has a love of gardening and of treasured antiques. Unfortunately, he’s had trouble clearing a financial path to the prosperity that would help him enjoy these passions.
- With Pisces on the cusp of the third house, a serious, businesslike Capricorn-rising client found tranquility in writing poetry and making music with friends.
- My Pisces fourth house church/dwelling fantasy aside, many who have Pisces here pine to live near – and in the case of one man I know – on the water (he lived full-time on a houseboat!).
- I once knew a woman with Pisces on the fifth house who was not remotely religious, but who adored artwork with a sacred focus; one entire wall of her house was covered with crucifixes. With Pisces on the fifth house cusp, you may consider music, art, other creative pursuits, or time spent with pets or children as your sanctuary.
- I’ll always remember a co-worker with Pisces on her sixth house cusp. For several years she had held a well-paying position that forced her to work in an awful basement office with no windows or natural light. In desperation, she finally took a demotion just so she could move out of the basement! While she had the same standard-issue prefab cubicle we all bemoaned, hers was irresistibly serene and zen-like, complete with a trickling fountain and Japanese scroll. She made her workplace into a sanctuary.
- A client with Pisces on the seventh house cusp found sanctuary in a series of lovers who were artists, musicians, and spiritual seekers – and ultimately married a man who is strongly religious.
- One friend with Pisces on the eighth house cusp was an avid devotee of Tantric yoga. The eighth house is a house of sexuality, but also any intimate or emotionally intense relationships with others. Pisces offers an element of spirituality to these connections.
- A woman I know who has Pisces on the ninth house has been known to sigh, upon entering a library or bookstore, that “books are all I know of heaven.” Come to think of it, she would probably love to buy a church and turn it into a bookstore!
- A writer who had Pisces on the tenth house cusp once told me she did her very best work once she rented an office above a local church. But if you have this placement, you just need your career (tenth house) to in some way reflect spiritual as well as material values.
- A sensible Taurus rising man with Pisces on the eleventh house cusp found soothing refuge in his friendships, which included his Alcoholics Anonymous cohorts, numerous musicians and artists, and at least one priest.
- One woman with Pisces on the twelfth house cusp used to sleep as much as possible; when awake, she drank a lot. When she eventually got sober and found love and religion, her faith became her sanctuary.
Reconnecting with your sanctuary
Each New Moon offers opportunities to “reboot” our energy and approach to a particular area of life, and we often use ritual to focus this process. But when the New Moon falls in Pisces – and especially this year, with the Pisces New Moon conjoined with Neptune – it’s essential to revitalize your own personal sanctuary and reconnect with the sacred part of yourself.
If you’re new to spiritual practice, Lara Owen’s book Growing Your Inner Light offers a simple, common sense approach to incorporating the sacred into your daily life. Begin, she suggests, by cleansing your space – cleaning it, but also cleansing it spiritually with sage, salt, or water. Build an altar, as simple or complex as you like, to serve as a spiritual “safe place” where you can give thanks and ask for guidance. To invite spirituality to take root in the soil of your everyday life, institute a daily ritual such as lighting a candle, burning some incense, and playing sacred sounds such as chimes.
We who incorporate lunar cycles in our spiritual practice often add an additional element to this simple formula: our New Moon intentions. What do we want to grow in this lunar month? We write the intentions down and invoke them in our New Moon observances. Most of us perform New Moon rituals inside our homes, and I’ve found Simone Butler’s Astro Feng Shui system extremely valuable in helping me work with particular themes in different parts of my home each month.
However you like to approach ritual, the intention at this Pisces New Moon is to find a way to breathe clarity, compassion, and surrender into your inner sanctuary. Empathize with the barking dogs that are spoiling your tranquil home, and they will often disappear. Surrender to your curved spine and it becomes easier to work around it. Recognize the unhappy job situation that imprisons you, and you can release it to make room for a peaceful working environment.
Where is your sanctuary? Where are you called to create an oasis of peace and tranquility in the midst of life’s often harsh landscape? At this New Moon, find the Piscean sacred space in your life. Clear it physically and symbolically, anoint it with incense – and maybe a little Murphy’s Oil Soap – and transform it into your dream home.
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© April Elliott Kent. All rights reserved.