Mars is currently transiting my Third House (of neighbors, communications, transportation, mind), and as Mars transits goes it’s textbook aggravating.

Seeking relief, I decide to go shopping but my stress-relieving trip proves more stressful. The mall is crowded with people wearing sour looks. I feel shamed, by the body language and tsk-tsk of both customers and salespeople, for bringing my friendly puppy to “pet-friendly” stores. While driving back home, a driver lays on her horn because I allow a family, huddled together on a small median, to cross the street on a green light. Reaching my neighborhood, I drive through a kid-populated area and receive an accusatory glare — a glare that tells me she thinks I’m driving too fast although I’m well under the speed limit.

Meanwhile, I’m still thinking about an earlier correspondence I had with a spiritual teacher who responded to a vulnerable question with projections, unkindness. Moments later, bristling with accumulated irritation, I notice I am behind a car with the bumper sticker reading “Metta” (lovingkindness). Primed, I viciously think: Ha! This is probably the worst offender of all. Holy on the meditation cushion, sure, but this one will be the first to leer at you when you accidentally bump into them and spill their seven-dollar designer coffee. That’s how the cycle perpetuates: Blood-thirst begets blood-thirst.

When frustration, anger or worry threaten to send the rest of my life spiraling, I slow down. I get still. I listen to the gentle tumble of the clothes in the dryer, the soft breath of my sleeping puppy laying next to me, the steady pecking of the chicken outside my office window, the silkiness of my pajama bottoms against my skin, the warmth of spicy tea going down my throat. I bake lemon bread with fresh-picked Meyers lemons I buy from the market. I take a walk. From the trees turning colors outside my window, to the stillness of silence surrounding, I ground myself in the gentle steadiness and comforts of Earthly life. These are the things that transport me from ground zero back to solid ground.

Scorpio season churns our emotions with truths, bottom lines. The intensity of our own emotional experience can overwhelm our body, signaling a need to return to our senses. Taurus, as a counterbalance, offers sanctuary, safety in the world of nature, pleasure and beauty. A Venus-ruled Earth sign, Taurus best restores our sense of calm and ease through the natural world. I think of my Taurus friend who, when deep in the throes of a Pluto-Moon transit and teeming with icy hot emotions and despair, went for a run in the forest, planted herself next to a tree, and surrendered years of emotional hell. While the tree supported her and the Earth absorbed her emotions, she experienced a surge of purification. By connecting with Earth and her body, by going into her senses, she came to her senses.

In periods of emotional intensity, irritation, confrontation it’s easy to lose connection with our sanity. When affronted, we want to react, defend our self, even if doing so has proven unsatisfactory in the past. We might simmer on a slow burn, plot revenge, spin out into negative stories or conspiracy theories. It’s natural to react to offenders, even if it hijacks our higher intelligence: Science says we all have a reptile (lizard) brain that is triggered by “reptile issues” such as territoriality, and when the reptile brain is in control, we don’t have access to our frontal cortex (which explains why we why, after a stressful argument, we wonder why we were unable to say the thoughts we can clearly articulate now).

There is something primal in each of us that easily perceives anything from a glare or bump from a stranger to a loud noise as a threat to its survival.  It’s interesting that during autopilot responses to stress, the more reflective, higher response of the prefrontal cortex available to us is only accessible through awareness and acknowledgment of our feelings. Science shows that simply naming the emotion we are experiencing can stop the amygdala from firing, allowing the space for the prefrontal cortex to say: hey, we’ve encountered this before, and we’re okay. Cup of tea?

This is the first step toward safety and sanity, toward a return to the senses.

When the world’s non-sense presses in on you, where do you recover solid ground? Nature? A candlelit table? The arms of a loved one? Taurus Full Moon invites us to sit in a forest, by a stream, next to a tree or on a cushion and discover solid ground again. A grounding question to ask, What do I stand on? What do I stand for? Can I allow my true values to support me when the wind, and my hot emotions, blow? Because once you are firm in your heart values, once you connect with your innate goodness and kindness and trust it, nothing – not even a fierce emotion – can undermine you.

It’s a time of year for honesty about this, because right now we can see behind any “truthfulness” that conceals hidden motivations; behind actions and words that do not reflect humane values of kindness, tolerance, compassion. When our emotions churn in response to the ugliness we will sometimes encounter, can we honestly acknowledge what we feel, and be as unshakable as the firm, kind, confident Great Oak?

In keeping with the spirit of Taurus, we don’t have to do much to access the grounding support of this Full Moon. We can be lazy about it. Simply noticing the pleasures of this Earth and this body allow us to feel supported, to remember the world is a safe place. In the clothes softly tumbling in the dryer, in the hum of the teakettle we can rebuild repose, confidence, sanity, trust and safety. How easy is that.