The arrival of summer brings family vacations. We took ours this past weekend when we attended my husband’s family reunion in the Texas town of Weatherford. All Southern accents and hospitality, cowboy boots and freeways, barbecue & TexMex, the 105 degree humid heat stretched across a flat expanse of land that seems to disappear into the horizon line. The family stayed in a ten-bedroom home converted into a B&B, originally built in the 1800’s by a family relative (pictured). Our official agenda was “food and fun” so a decadent brioche pancake breakfast topped with blueberries and powdered sugar and side of bacon was en pointe. I ate raw crackers, almond butter and tea. I wasn’t surprised to eventually learn that almost everyone at the breakfast table was diabetic or pre-diabetic. Sadly, the typical American diet has the majority careening in that general direction. As I ate my monkish breakfast with these nice new to me people, I wrestled with complex feelings about alienation…& self-care.

Self-care is a topic that is dear to this Cancer, but caring for the body-mind-spirit hasn’t been an easy relationship. For my Aries Moon, my physical needs have often been annoying at best, and frustrating at worst. Still, over the years, I’ve learned to act within the limits of my health; I’ve pulled on all my discipline to create a diet that kept me basically well, including the willpower to sit at a table and, at times, not eat. With natal Sun-Saturn, the discipline, self-restraint and patience of a monk comes easy to me (though food anxiety, fears of starving, how to obtain my next meal do, too). But this good parenting didn’t mean I was a-okay. In some situations, the inability to break bread with others, can reinforce my detached sense of not belonging. At events like this one, I often feel like an Alien (my Moon in Aries is opposed by Uranus in Libra) – & not the UFO kind so common in Texas. I’ve felt this way with food, but also with people who did not understand or accept my crazy diet. I had accepted I was a food renegade long ago, but today I realized, due to no fault of their own, I didn’t feel accepted.

The Uranus-Pluto square is a phoenix process. We die and are reborn incrementally. As the square worked my Cancer Sun, Mars, Pluto t-square from all angles, I had a few more health crises, and hurt just bad enough to realize that for as much as I prided myself on being the Competent Survivor (Aries Moon with Sun-Saturn), my ability to self-nurture was wounded.  One day when my body ached and creaked, groaned for a bath, gentleness, more homemade food, and I felt irritated and annoyed, I had the epiphany that me, begrudging self-care, was an unconscious wounding pattern. When a wise elder friend asked, Is that how you would treat your child? It stopped me cold.  I thought of my mom then. Today, I think of her again.

My mother. My mother was impatient with the health needs of my sister and I, a typical Aries Moon experience. Our meals were inconsistent; one week she was on a health run, and we were eating homemade tofu enchiladas and no processed foods, the next frozen fish sticks, cheetos and ice cream. I remember my mother’s weight struggles, her introversion and the way she held herself apart from any crowd.  I remember a friend saying she was ‘weird’. I remember how she could be reactionary – she said “No” a lot, protesting this or that, apparently liking to do things her own way. Today I can see her beligerence as a reaction to the pain of not belonging and truly connecting, her introversion as withdrawal. I doubt she felt she had a ‘tribe’– a true family that accepted, understood her. I think about the subtle feelings of alienation I felt sitting at the table in Texas, feelings that are somehow keeping me from being fully present, and I recall mom, alienated from her body, family, Self.

This is the season of spending time with family, and for unpacking the baggage from the past. Capricorn Moon holds calcified, ingrained patterns and as a counterpart to the nurturing, tribal Cancer Sun, and so our family, food and self-care structures are receiving full light. Like me, I imagine you have habituated emotional responses related to food, family and self-care. Often, we are so unconscious (or so stubborn) about our food, physical or emotional health that it takes an emergency, getting bad enough, to finally change. The close proximity of the Uranus-Pluto square to this full moon illuminates where we are in our phoenix process, and how far we’ve left to go. The Capricorn Full Moon invitation? To discover new levels of self-integrity; look at any of your disempowered, life-draining, habitual, rigid, controlling emotional patterns and figure out how to make new choices. That’s the way we heal. To be whole and present is to be powerful, unstoppable.

There’s more for me to work on in this phoenix process, but incrementally I’m lightening my load. I’m learning to listen to my deeper needs, and to feel where energy is being siphoned off by old patterns. 20 years in exile from the rest of the world’s dinner table has given me a lot of insight into the body, diet, lifestyle and how it relates to overall health, so I’ve invited myself in from the cold; I’m training to be a health coach, to support others in the ways I wished I had been. Supporting others in wellness, in “wounded healer” fashion, nourishes and heals me, too (Moon conjunct Chiron on 6th/7th).

I couldn’t have made it this far without the gifts of Saturn, the discipline, self-restraint to say “No” as an act of self-care, but now when I sit down to breakfast, instead of the aching hunger of Self-denial, I feel lightness in my belly, and more presence. And remembering mom, I am learning to say Yes to who I Am, to my Self- and to feel that Yes with my everything.