Perhaps the most powerful and universal physical, mental, and spiritual tool we have is our breath. Breathwork refers to a conscious, controlled breathing practice. Breathwork can be done at any time by anyone— simply taking three deep breaths to calm down is a basic form of breathwork. Practicing breathwork is an instrumental part of mediation, physical therapy, exercise, performance art, emotional regulation, and a principle of yoga (pranayama). This conscious practice allows an individual to tap into a deeper awareness of their mind-body connection. We can remember our breath is always with us, and is something we can always control.
Spiritual author Mark Nepo writes, “Breathing is the fundamental unit of risk, the atom of inner courage that leads us into authentic living. With each breath, we practice opening, taking in, and releasing. Literally, the teacher is under our nose. When anxious, we simply have to remember to breathe.”
Breathwork is an amazing way to align with the Air energy of Aquarius season (January 21-February 19). This energy is collective, creative, and healing; guiding us to graciously understand our individual gifts.
Aquarius season invites us to be curious about what we can uniquely offer to ourselves and to others.
Aquarius is symbolized by the Waterbearer— pouring forth their libations to humanity. They represent a universal provider and healer; they collect water in their vessel and cleanse it with the power of their breath to return it down to Earth. They are intimately intune to the needs of the collective.
One of my favorite depictions of the waterbearer is the oil painting by Spanish artists Francisco de Goya, “La Aguadora” or “Young Woman with a Pitcher.” Her portrait, to me, embodies the very real labor caretakers must do— especially the physical and emotional labor our culture asks of women. The way she carries the weight of the pitcher on her hip, like a baby, while holding a basket in the other hand feels so genuine and familiar to how women move— strong and enduring yet graceful and fatigued. I see my mother and other women who have taken care of me growing up, and now I see myself as her.
We are all Waterbearers in our own right; we each have responsibilities beyond ourselves. Whether to our family, our community, our homes, or our vocations, we carry these responsibilities not as burdens, but gifts. It is a gift to be able to provide, nourish, and care for others. The Waterbearer teaches us to do so with and because of love.
The Aquarius New Moon (January 22) invites us to honor our differences. We may feel the need to disrupt the status quo or routine in order to refocus on our true callings.
This Fixed Air sign’s energy harnesses the power of artistry, intellect, and curiosity. The energy promotes expanding our perspectives and outlooks, to truly indulge and practice those vocations that breathe life into our soul. This New Moon ask yourself: What personal interests, vocations, or passions allow me to expand my mind, body, and spirit? This could be artistic practices, domestic hobbies, fields of study, outdoor activities, social groups, or activism and volunteer work.
Aquarius energy does not shy away or hide their peculiar nature; they are distinguishable, while equally able to understand and find their valuable place within their social group and collective whole. They are known to be empathetic, compassionate, and generous leaders and friends, especially in artist or humanitarian roles— able to bring others together within their own unique world.
This connective energy continues, bringing closure and rebirth to our relationships as Venus, the planet of love, moves into Pisces (January 26).
Pisces’ Water energy works in the shallow waters between the tides— it is the magical shift between low and high tide. Therefore, you may experience a sudden lull or expansion in your interpersonal life. Take time to reflect on your relationships: maybe you require time to to ease off or let go? Or is it time to take the next step?
Remember, our relationships are not just with other individuals, but our relationship to our jobs, our practices, and to ourselves. Artists and Astrology writer Leah Wellbaum reflects, “We have an epic search for a whole. So many times when we’re searching we are looking outside of ourselves because it’s the only way we know; but the truth is what we are looking for lives within.”
Just like Pisces’ changing tides or Aquaius’ compelling winds, this shift will not be subtle. You will know what relationships breathe life to your soul, which are being carried away with the tide and which are moving in with the waves. You must decide to swim with or against the current.
These focused intentions culminate at the Full Moon in Leo (February 5)— bringing an ever present intensity, warmth, and sense of openness. We are invited to keep our hearts open and reclaim our right to shine.
While Aquarius energy channels its individualistic power outward toward healing, caring, and giving of the self to the collective, Leo channels the external in. The Full Moon again asks us to align with our individual desires, creative expressions, and personal truths in order to embrace the fullness of self.
Because the Waterbearer feels such loyalty to their collective role, they may forget the needs of the individual. Remember, when we consistently look for compromise, the “greater good,” or logical conclusions, we can easily be dismissing the deeply human and specific needs and feelings of others or even ourselves. Therefore, Aquarius’ vices may be impatient, superficial, detached, forgetful, fearful, or unforgiving.
Use the innovative and creative power of Aquarius and the courageous and uplifting power of Leo to create space for emotional security, personal values, and intimate care. For example, allow others to grieve or vent without finding a solution, set boundaries when you do not agree with something, or give yourself time to rest and indulge in self-serving activities. Ask yourself: How will I balance staying true to my own emotions and wants while bringing conscious awareness to my relationships?
Remember, you always have your breath to return to. Guide this connection with your body, your mind, and your spirit. Without an intimate and loving relationship with yourself you will never truly be able to care and provide healing for those you love.
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