This New Moon/Solar Eclipse is in Taurus, “the money sign.” Since eclipse times are usually pretty frantic and stressful, many of us might be fretting a bit over our bank accounts lately. It’s no fun to feel worried about how you’re going to pay your rent or your car mechanic. So by all means, at this New Moon, do some rituals (I love this one from Dana Gerhardt) and set intentions around attracting more money into your life.
But to focus only on money is to miss the larger point of Taurus, and perhaps of whatever crisis in which you find yourself. And the larger point is the need for self-sufficiency.
Aries represents the challenge of withstanding immediate threat, but Taurus is where we meet the challenges of day-to-day survival. It represents how we put shelter over our heads, food on the stove, clothes on our back. If we don’t have these basic necessities or can’t provide them for ourselves, we’re in a serious crisis of security. Nowhere is this crisis more evident and immediate than in the way we feed ourselves.
Eclipses usually bring about forced change. In Taurus, these changes might have come in the form of reduced income or other resources, including your physical health. If that’s the case for you, you might be in the process of rethinking your relationship to the food you eat, either to save money or to feel better. And learning to do a little bit of cooking or gardening is a great first step.
In my lifetime, I’ve seen enormous changes in the way people handle the basic requirement of feeding themselves. When I was a kid, every family in the neighborhood sat down together to at least two home-cooked meals every day. These days, many overworked and over-scheduled families grab prefab meals on the run.
In a recent interview, author Michael Pollan (“Cooked,” “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”) explored a couple of reasons for this change. Partly, it’s because we work pretty long hours here in the U.S. (Pollan points out that labor movements in Europe have fought for leisure time rather than money, resulting in fewer working hours, more vacation time, and a lot more home cooking.) Consequently, fewer and fewer families cook and eat together.
Also, food has become increasingly industrialized, and nothing about this development has been accidental. It has become far more lucrative to process food than to grow and produce it. Gradually, processed food insinuated itself into the American kitchen and eventually took over – leaving us less competent in the basic survival skill of nourishing ourselves. A disturbing number of people no longer know how to cook a simple meal from real ingredients. (Every time I make pancakes, I’m puzzled anew as to why anyone would use pancake mix; it’s six ingredients, max!)
Not that our household is by any means completely self-sufficient. Food-wise, we’re maybe 1960s-era self-sufficient. We do a bit of vegetable and herb gardening. I make my own sourdough bread with no commercial yeast. My husband roasts coffee and brews beer. We cook most of our meals at home. We never set out to be virtuous, or even self-sufficient; these are all just activities we happen to enjoy.
But it surprises me (and honestly, worries me a bit) to think how many of our friends don’t cook at all, or even brew their own morning coffee. Many of them say they’re too tired or overworked to cook, and some just never learned how. They do realize they’re spending an awful lot of money on eating this way, and that they seem to get sick a lot.
I sympathize. I can certainly remember the days of working full time at an office job, fighting an awful commute, and feeling exhausted when I got home. These days I work from home, and I know just what a boon that is. Instead of spending my coffee breaks in a lunchroom or at Starbucks, I can go into the kitchen, stir sourdough starter, put a pot of beans on to soak or get a soup cooking, or go outside and do a little weeding in the garden. My evening commute takes about 15 seconds, so I get dinner on the stove while my husband is driving home from work. And we have no children, which I realize simplifies the logistics of our household exponentially.
The right trade-offs
The tradeoff for this relatively leisurely existence? To be honest, we don’t earn a lot of money. I could easily earn several times more than I do if I worked for someone else. But whenever I’ve offered to give up astrology and throw myself on the more pyre of more lucrative office work, my husband has always objected (to my enormous relief), “But… I like the way we live!”
So do I. A loaf of hot sourdough bread with breakfast, a fresh-brewed cup of home-roasted coffee, home-cooked meals that don’t leave us both completely stressed out – these are simple pleasures that make us feel incredibly wealthy, even though we drive ancient cars and live in a funky old house.
I don’t mean to preach any kind of gospel here. I’m no purist. We don’t all have to raise our own chickens or bake our own bread, or even do all our own cooking. All of us make trade-offs of time, money, and energy every day, in different areas of life. The point of this Taurus New Moon/Solar Eclipse is, I think, to figure out whether you’re making the right trade-offs – the ones that make you and your loved ones stronger, healthier, and happier.