by David McConaghay
Today is Saturday, September 22, 2018, the Autumnal Equinox, when we experience equal hours of light and dark. This letter is composed in Denver, Colorado.
As Fall officially arrives, there is strong forward momentum as all the planets are direct after a Summer full of retrograde introspection.
Vedic Astrology measures the cumulative effect of nine planetary bodies from our perspective here on Earth. Of these, only five (Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn) vacillate between direct and retrograde motion.
The other four “planets” are the two luminaries (Sun and Moon), which are always direct, and the shadow planets (Rahu and Ketu), which are always moving in the counter-clockwise direction indicative of retrograde.
Between April 18 and August 27, 2018, at least two planets were retrograde, and for one-third of that time, we had three planets appearing to move backwards in the sky.
Of course, the planets don't actually stop, turn and start orbiting in the opposite direction. This is merely a trick of perception, similar to how a car you pass on the highway appears to be moving backwards for a moment as you fly by. The illustration below (from Wikipedia) is worth studying.
The effect of retrograde is to invert the energies governed by a given planet. For example, Jupiter represents the part of us that seeks inspiration and higher meaning. It rules the realm of experience we call “religious.” Jupiter is associated with “the king of the gods” in Indic, Western and Norse mythology, whether named Indra, Zeus or Thor. This indicates the way Jupiter calls us toward the highest authority, inspiring us to pursue the Truth that surpasses all other truths.
When retrograde, Jupiter asks us to review that Truth, and scrutinize it to be sure it is accurate. When Jupiter retrogrades, it is time to test the teachings we’ve received, to question our teachers to ensure that our beliefs hold together. If our deepest beliefs lack integrity, if our chosen path fails the experiential exam, perhaps we are wise to adjust our psycho-spiritual orientation before continuing any further.
Jupiter was retrograde from March 8 through July 10, 2018. Think back: did you undergo any re-evaluation of your belief structures during that period? Personally, it was during this time that I became profoundly disillusioned with the organization that I had previously regarded as my spiritual foundation. Right as Jupiter turned direct, I set out to establish a different path for myself based on an updated interpretation of who holds true authority over my life (hint: I do).
Similarly, during this time, there was great upheaval in the Shambhala tradition as its previously unimpeachable leadership was revealed to have perpetrated acts unbecoming of spiritual luminaries. These allegations had swirled for a long time, and the turmoil is ongoing, but it was July 11 (the day Jupiter went direct) that this damning article was published in the New York Times. Previous to publication, of course, there was a great deal of research and fact-finding — the sort of behind-the-scenes work typical of retrograde periods.
When planets are retrograde, it can appear on the surface that there is nothing happening in that area of life. Appearances are deceiving, in this case, as there is likely to be significant churning occurring just below the surface, the results of which come forth when direct motion is resumed.
Mars was retrograding from June 26 until August 27, 2018. When exalted in Capricorn, where it has been since March 8, Mars’ tendency is to serve as the impulsive spark that sets Capricorn’s carefully laid plans in motion.
However, when retrograde, that energy is directed inward, creating circumstances in which Capricorns’ plans are given extra scrutiny to be sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed.
The intensity of Mars can make this inquisition feel combative or destructive — a true trial-by-fire. Indeed, Mars is trying to destroy that which makes us weak, and if all the details of a plan are not in alignment, perhaps that plan deserves to be tossed to the flames.
In reality, it can feel particularly harsh when we've been working hard on a plan and someone comes along and starts poking holes in it. We may feel compelled to fight for our ideas, just on principle, and are thereby in danger of missing the opportunity to patch the gaps.
Saturn was retrograde in Sagittarius from April 18 until September 6, 2018. Saturn is the planet of long-term limitations, bringing awareness of our inevitable dissolution and delivering our karmic comeuppance. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, and is the sign of religion, higher education and laws, both human and divine.
The pressure exerted by Saturn’s presence in Sagittarius can be seen in the ongoing disintegration of our most vaunted institutions. In the current political climate, people on all sides of the spectrum seem to feel like the courts, the churches and universities are under duress and losing whatever integrity they had left.
When retrograde, the stress associated with Saturn becomes internalized, making otherwise benign circumstances feel like they have lifelong consequences. The events in which we’re involved may be mundane, but there is an ever-present sense that the way we do anything is the way we do everything. This feeling is full of wisdom, although it can be overwhelmingly stressful. The truth is that every thought, word and movement does have repercussions. When Saturn is retrograde, we feel the pressure of that fact very viscerally.
For a real world demonstration of what happens when a planet shifts from retrograde to direct, the congressional hearings to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court began on September 4, 2018, when slow-moving Saturn had almost come to a complete halt before resuming its forward motion. And things are certainly moving now, are they not? The karmic comeuppance upon which Saturn insists is impossible to miss, especially amidst these most recent proceedings involving Christine Blasey Ford. Do you think Judge Kavanaugh is feeling any pressure?
Mercury was retrograde in Cancer from July 26 until August 19, 2018. “Mercury retrograde” is perhaps the most (in)famous astrological concept circulating throughout popular culture in the 21st century United States. Mercury is retrograde about one-third of the time, so it would be wise for everyone decrying or belittling its effect to educate themselves about its actual implications and, on some level, get used to it.
Mercury governs the insatiably curious aspect of our minds, the part of us that wants all the information available, with no regard for what purpose it might serve or what meaning it holds. Mercury simply wants to collect data, build skills, and communicate. No planet moves faster around the Sun, so Mercury brings a certain quickness to everything it touches, a sense of urgency that can derail into outright frantic antics.
Can you think of a time when someone was talking to you super fast because they had a lot to say and had to get it all out immediately or else you just wouldn’t understand but in order to get the first part you had to hear the second, third, fourth and fifth parts of the story too because it’s all connected and none of it makes sense unless you hear the whole thing and you really wanted to comprehend them because they were so enthusiastic but they were talking so fast you had troubling following the thread? If so, that would be an exaggerated expression of Mercury.
Mercury retrograde, again, internalizes these qualities, imposing a funhouse mirror effect upon all the details and logistics that need to be accurately communicated. The above example is the kind of thing that happens when a person has had a long time to think about what they’re going to say before they say it, and when the dam breaks it all floods out and lots of crucial minutiae are lost. The other end of the spectrum is to stutter, overthinking the words, stymying their natural flow with hesitation and thus distorting the intended message.
In Cancer, Mercury really just wants to talk about feelings. Cancer is ruled by the Moon, indicative of the mind and emotional body. Cancer is compelled to nurture others in order to feel nurtured in return and wants nothing other than unconditional love. Therefore, when in Cancer, all of Mercury’s cleverness and dialectic skills get put to use in the pursuit of complete, unconditional, mutual nurturance.
When retrograde, this process can become a bit clumsy. The romantic poem is misremembered; the overeager new lover says “I love you” way too soon; sensitive couples spend endless hours practicing reflective listening trying to unpack one split-second of their interaction and get nowhere, or likely end up more confusingly entangled than when they began.
As of September 6, however, all the planets are moving direct. I invite you to look back at your calendar or peruse your journal. Over the summer, did you experience any of the stuckness or unavoidable introspective reevaluations associated with these retrograde cycles? Have things started moving noticeably forward since the start of September?
With all the planets direct for the next several weeks, it is time to put plans into action. It is time to embody all the internal shifts that have been occurring. All the behind-the-scenes, below-the-surface work that’s been in process over the summer must now face the test of outward expression.
The only planet not to retrograde during this time was Venus, but she has her turn coming up, from October 6 until November 16 in Libra, her own sign. This will be a potent period for reviewing our sources of pleasure in life and examining if perhaps we are compromising too much or too little to achieve said pleasure.
If you experience any specific alignments in the timing, or if any of the issues touched upon feel particularly relevant to you, please let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading. Take care out there.
David McConaghay is a Denver-based Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedic Astrology, Yoga Philosopher and Doctor of Divinity candidate who specializes in helping people navigate transition. He serves as the Communications Chair for COLORAMA. His work and play is collected at VedaDave.com
It may be here, now.
A Letter from COLORAMA President, Heather Baines
Dear members of COLORAMA,
We have provided a number of articles over the past few years about the how to continue to uplift the professional practice of Ayurveda for the benefit of our clients, patients, and Ayurveda enthusiasts, adopters, and general public supporters.
Your Board of Directors meets monthly by phone conference and quarterly in person to discuss the role of our association, how best to support our members, and how to offer the highest benefit to our active membership. We don’t take your dues, time, or your affection for granted, and we strive to be an engaged, beneficial part of your Ayurvedic life and practice.
With this background in mind, we engaged the assistance of Robert A Lees, Esq in the spring of 2017 to guide us in the best practices for the clinical practice of Ayurveda in Colorado. We are vigilant about the safety and efficacy of our practice, and by seeking legal counsel for our membership, strive to insulate our members from accusations of negligence or the “practice of medicine without a license” by giving you tools, resources, and sound legal advice.
We are thrilled this month to roll out a new member benefit, a deeply discounted package for legal services, including all of the patient/client intake forms required to practice in our Health Freedom state. Sujata Reddy, BAMS AD LPC, your Governance Chair, has worked tirelessly with Bob and his team to put together a document package that you can readily convert for your use in your practice, with expert help from the Robert A Lees and Associates law firm.
This level of legal oversight usually comes at a steep cost. When I opened Roots of Wellness Ayurveda in Boulder, CO a local health care law firm quoted $2,500-$3,000 for all of my legal start up paperwork. We will be offering this package to our active members for $450. And for each package purchased, Bob has agreed to donate a significant portion of your cost (greater than 20%) back to COLORAMA to support our mission!
To access this valuable legal package, sign in and visit the Member's Discounts page and reach out using the contact form there. We can then begin the process of customizing legal documents for your practice.
We are planning a Town Hall meeting for all of our members on August 11th to present to you our findings, and continue to carve out the pathway for the legal and ethical practice of Ayurveda in the state of Colorado. We hope you’ll join us for the conversation on August 11, 2018. Save the date!
by David McConaghay
In late April of 2018, the National Ayurvedic Medical Association held it’s 14th annual conference in Plano, Texas. I was there to serve as a volunteer, as a soon-to-be graduate of the Ayurvedic Doctor program at Alandi Ashram, and as a COLORAMA board member.
This was my first time at a NAMA conference and it was inspiring to be surrounded by an international community of Ayurveda enthusiasts and experts. Lots of people get excited about meeting famous musicians, actors or athletes. In this case, I was mildly star-struck when I asked Robert Svoboda to sign my copy of The Greatness of Saturn. Likewise, it was meaningful to share a meal with Amadea Morningstar, having enjoyed so many meals made of her recipes in the past.
After the welcome banquet on Friday night, many of the conference attendees made their way to a nearby theater to see The Doctor From India, the recently released documentary about Dr. Vasant Lad. It was poignant to watch this heart-opening film alongside so many people whose lives have been profoundly influenced by Dr. Lad.
Ayur-celebrities aside, it was of profound practical significance to meet with various members of the NAMA board and staff to explore the near and long-term potentials for Ayurveda in the United States. Of particular interest was a meeting focused on NAMA’s relationship with the state organizations.
Approximately 25 individuals from 9 states and Canada attended the meeting to discuss relevant topics about what it takes to start and maintain a state organization, what is the proper relationship between NAMA and the state associations, and of course, the pros and cons of health freedom laws and licensure.
The first outcome of this meeting is the formation of a State Organizations sub-committee whose purpose is “to support the development of state-level Ayurveda associations and to coordinate with them in order to foster community and avoid redundancy. Ideally, the committee will serve as a center of gravity, encouraging creative cooperation between states and alignment with the NAMA mission."
As it happens, I am the chair person for this newly formed committee, and very much looking forward to helping NAMA and the states work together for the benefit of Ayurveda and everyone involved.
The conference was also full of top-notch talks on panchakarma in the modern world, the Ayurvedic approach to gastrointestinal conditions, and Ayurvedic psychology. I particularly enjoyed Arun Deva’s presentation on Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, as well as the research posters presented by two students who looked at NOAA climate data to determine appropriate rtucharya protocols for their local environments.
Even beyond the official presentations, the casual conversations between all the practitioners and life-long students were fascinating and uplifting. I came away from the conference feeling a sense of camaraderie that gives me more enthusiasm about Ayurveda in America than ever before.
Next year’s conference will be held at the 1440 Multiversity campus outside Santa Cruz, California. It promises to be a beautiful and intimate setting to explore the theme, “Ayurveda and the Mind.” I’m already looking forward to it, and hope you will consider joining us there.
by David McConaghay
Today is May 10, 2018 and this letter is composed in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Until May 15, both Mars and the Sun are exalted in the sky, bringing prominence to the fire element. This can bring great clarity, but also a tendency towards explosiveness, which we can see with the volcano erupting in Hawai'i, all the bluster about nuclear weapons and the (thankfully, until now, relatively minor) exchange of rocket fire in the Middle East. Individually, the fire element is associated with rakta dhatu, so watch out for eruption of pitta skin conditions which can arise when our blood is boiling, so to speak.
Last week, Mars moved into the sign of Capricorn, where it will remain in exalted dignity until November. Mars is a tamasic planet primarily concerned with keeping us alive. When it comes to survival, things are very black-and-white — you either make it, or you don’t. Mars is that part of us that will fight for our right to exist.
Capricorn is a tamasic sign, focused on avoiding what might go wrong. This awareness of potential obstacles makes Capricorn skillful in commercial enterprises, as they always have a contingency plan. However, their deep aversion to risk can prevent Capricorn from taking action on even the most robust plan — which is where Mars comes in.
Mars is exalted in Capricorn because it provides the courage and discipline needed to activate carefully laid, long-term plans. The fiery quality of Mars serves as a spark plug to set the machine in motion. Mars represents the courage of a warrior, willing to do whatever is necessary to accomplish the mission, and this quality comes with just enough impulsiveness to initiate the proceedings.
Here’s a story to illustrate this dynamic: imagine there’s an attractive person that you would like to know better. They are in your extended group of friends, you’ve seen them before, exchanged smiles, but that’s it.
Every time you see them, you spend the rest of the night thinking about what you’ll say when you meet, rehearsing how it will go. You’ve found them on Facebook and (obviously not sent a friend request; that would be crazy) discovered that they like hiking and live music, just like you (you both live in Colorado, after all). You practice the words in your head, and then out loud. You game plan for all possible scenarios. You're ready for every disaster possible in the context of this hypothetical future interaction.
Now, you are at a party with a dear old red-headed friend of yours, when this attractive person walks in the door. Your ginger friend knows about your crush, knows how perfectly prepared you are for the encounter, and also knows your fear of failure may prevent anything from ever happening.
So what happens? Of course, your slightly insane freckled friend physically pushes you towards your crush, causing you to bump into them and unavoidably engage in conversation. You mention the trail you hiked yesterday, or the last band you saw. Your crush touches your arm in disbelief — they were at that show too! And that’s their favorite trail!
The combination of your preparation and the endearingly spontaneous moment created by your rude (or, funny) friend sets the gears turning and you can make up the rest of the story from here.
You are Capricorn. Your ginger friend is Mars. Your crush relates to whichever house is occupied by Capricorn in your chart. Sam Geppi provides a reliable place to calculate your Vedic chart at this link.
Remember: Mars is in Capricorn from now until November 6.
It will be retrograde from June 27 until August 28.
Now, let’s go through the signs one by one...
Capricorn: Mars is in your first house. This brings the focus to your physical self. Take advantage by exercising regularly, but avoid extremes. Regularity is more important than intensity. Routine and proper technique will help settle any sense of insecurity. Be especially careful of pitta provocation.
Sagittarius: Mars is in your second house. This relates to the organs of the face — particularly the mouth, in the form of what you eat and what you say (life is all about the inputs and outputs). Cultivate discipline with your diet and discussions. Don’t eat out of habit or boredom; don’t speak just to hear your the sound of your own voice. Eat to nourish yourself; be precise with your language. Avoid excess spicy food; be extra gentle with your words.
Scorpio: Mars, your ruling planet, is in your third house, activating egoic desires and the assertion of personal will. This is a time when you can confidently approach big accomplishments, but be careful not to get too grabby about your goals, as that can backfire. When you catch the tiger by his tail, which one of you is truly caught?
Libra: Mars is in your fourth house. First and foremost, be kind to your mother. Then, take time to reflect on how it feels to have accomplished your goals. Did it give the satisfaction you were seeking? If not, what does that tell you about your current ambitions? It may be time to adjust the sails of your ship and reorient your course according to a more appropriate North Star.
Virgo: Mars is in your fifth house. What great promise! Act on your enthusiasm. There is likely to be a new project arising that will pull you out of your comfort zone. I encourage you to allow this alluring idea to take you there. Devote yourself entirely to this fresh creation. Esoteric pursuits such as astrology, palmistry and nature-based healing and spirituality are indicated.
Leo: Mars is in your sixth house and it’s time to get to work. The inspiration and planning phases are through and now is when we keep our noses to the grindstone and do what simply must be done. Cultivate your courageous heart now by embodying the archetype of the father who, like the sun, provides what is needed to nourish life and asks for nothing in return. That being said, be mindful not to burn anyone too badly if you aren’t getting anything in return for your noble efforts.
Cancer: Mars is in your seventh house, bringing the focus to your committed relationships, be they romantic or commercial in nature. You will have greater clarity and sense of purpose in these relationships, which is crucial to your evolution in this lifetime. Get clear with yourself, then approach others with courage and conviction. Don’t let them overwhelm you.
Gemini: Mars is in your eighth house, begging for transformation. It is time to set aside anger and resentment about the way the world is, the way other people are, and refocus the warrior within to focus on deeper questions. Your naturally curious nature can benefit from the courage of Mars when exploring these deeper, inevitably darker realms.
Taurus: Mars is in your ninth house, calling you to apply greater discipline with your spiritual practices. I have often heard my teacher Sam Geppi say, “Religion is what you believe; spirituality is what you practice.” So what are you practicing? Are you practicing daily? Do your habits match your high ideals? If not, you now have cosmic support in making it so.
Aries: Mars, your ruling planet, is in your 10th house. Consistency is the name of the game. If you are ever to achieve the power and prestige you seek and generally deserve, you must learn to consistently funnel your fire in the same constructive direction. It’s like zapping someone in the eye with a laser pointer, obscuring their vision, versus applying the steady, focused laser of LASIK eye surgery, which brings perfect sight. See the difference?
Pisces: Mars is in your eleventh house, calling you to apply your spiritual principles in service of society as a whole. Fight for what you know is right for everyone. There is no time for navel gazing now; the moment is ripe to get out there and instigate change based on your universal sense of right and wrong. If you do, there just so happens to be the opportunity to accrue great wealth in the process.
Aquarius: Mars is in your twelfth house, beckoning you inward. The enlightenment you seek in the world is only truly found within, and the courage you normally display in working towards the benefit of society must now be applied within. Travel abroad, perhaps to an ashram or spiritual retreat where you can evolve in solitude and learn the internal resilience that will allow you to better serve others in the future.
Look for the next edition of Seasonal Astrology on the Summer Solstice. Until then, take care. Many blessings,
Today is March 20, 2018. This letter is composed in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Last week, on March 15, the Sun entered the mytho-poetic realm of Pisces. Two days later, on March 17, we experienced a new Moon in Pisces, initiating a month-long cycle wherein we are invited to zoom out and adopt the most expansive possible perspective on our experience of life.
Pisces is the sign of day-dreamers, often accused of being aloof, if not outright lazy. But this is an incomplete portrayal, ignoring the fact that Pisces can be highly devoted and hard-working when the task(s) at hand align with their sense of higher meaning. Pisces is the part of us that seeks for the metaphorical significance of our existence, fueled by the irrational but undeniable knowing that there must be more to life than the mundane humdrum.
The wise approach Pisces as Vishnu (pictured above) does: floating at ease, enjoying beautiful Lakshmi (embodied as Venus, exalted in Pisces until March 27) and feeling perfect faith that the tides are drifting in the correct direction. Having cultivated a perspective inclusive of the entire cosmos, an individual life is clearly nothing but a speck of microscopic marine life. Prokaryotes are of course crucial to the health of the ocean as a whole, but they remain at the mercy of forces far beyond their power to influence. They may squirm this way or that, but the prevailing tides chart their predominantly predetermined course. Therein lies the wisdom of Vishnu: to relax and enjoy the ride.
The opposite of this laissez-faire strategy is embodied by the over-eager curiosity of planet Mercury, who finds himself debilitated (at his weakest) in the sign of Pisces. Mercury's youthful exuberance leads him to recklessly splash about, to flail, exhaust himself and ultimately drown in the vast ocean of consciousness. Floating calmly on one's back, one can last for days and be washed ashore; swimming frantically in one direction then the other because of a pretty fish or interesting eel leads to sinking quickly.
Mercury has been in Pisces since March 3, and will move retrograde from March 23 until April 15, finally leaving Pisces for Aries on May 10.
Takeaway: from now until May 10, be mindful of excessive outward seeking. You probably don't need to buy any new books or sign up for any more online classes, even though there are many enticing offerings available that will definitely pique your curiosity. Better for now to recommit to your established practice. Go deeper, not wider. Drop anchor and climb the crow's nest. Watch. Wait. Be the still point and just ride the passing waves.
Mars & Saturn in Planetary War
As observed by Komilla Sutton in her highly recommended monthly update for March, Mars and Saturn will be engaged in battle from March 31 to April 4. Komilla writes: "In Sagittarius, Mars is strong, yet... Saturn can be a frustrating influence as it forces reality and discipline... Mars is the action planet and when faced with the restrictions of Saturn, it feels very angry and dissatisfied."
This transit reinforces the the suggestion to take things slow. Focus extra attention on your practice of patience. Do your daily duties with diligence and faith that the little things count in a big way. The outcomes beyond our control are inexorably in motion. Therefore the best bet is to control ourselves, resist giving in to frustration or irritation, and instead keep our noses to the grindstone of inner work, knowing that the opportunity for more grandiose expressions is coming soon.
That opportunity arises in mid-April, as the Sun enters Aries (its sign of exaltation) on April 14 and Mercury turns direct and Moon is new in Aries on the 15th. The Aries cycle brings with it the fresh energy of Spring as it explodes into Summer. Our sense of power and purpose is strong with the Sun exalted, and we are now ready to break open the shell in which we've been incubating all Winter and early Spring.
Takeaway: between now and mid-April, think of yourself as a coiled spring receiving downward pressure. The squeeze is intense and claustrophobic as all your pieces are compressed into the smallest space possible. However, you can better bear this discomfort knowing it is in service of ultimate release. But until then, instead of worrying about how much more pressure you can handle, or wishing for it to end, I advise you to spend your energy aiming your spring in the correct direction. Get it tilted at the precisely proper angle so that when it comes time to be set free, you explode where you want to go and don't squander the potential benefits earned through this time of compression.
By the time Mars enters Capricorn on May 3, there will be strong momentum for more practical actions out in the world. We'll discuss that in detail in the next newsletter, set to be sent out that first week of May.
In the meantime, you can learn more about what these transits mean for you personally by calculating your own Ascendant and determining what house is Pisces and Aries in your chart. This lets you know in greater detail which area of your life these energetic patterns are likely to play out.
If you have questions or comments, please reach out! COLORAMA is nothing but our members, and we welcome your engagement. Thanks for reading and participating!
Today is February 8, 2018. This letter is composed in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
One week ago today (Jan 31) we experienced a partial lunar eclipse in the sign of Cancer. Depending on your natal chart, the few days before and after this celestial alignment may have lit you up with inspiration and clarity or plunged you into the dark depths of self-inquiry.
The veil is thin during an eclipse; it is a time when cosmic portals crack open. This can be an opportunity or a crisis. In either case, we must be very careful what exactly we invite through that portal.
The universal remedy for such moments is meditation and prayer. Listen to the lessons coming through then chant mantras for protection, to purify your subtle surroundings and activate the most benevolent potential of the transformative energies now available.
One week from now, on February 15, we will feel the second half of this cycle, with a partial solar eclipse in the sign of Aquarius. This is, in many ways, a counterpoint to the total solar eclipse that sliced across the United States on August 21, 2017. That event occurred in the early degrees of Leo, the results of which can be seen in the #metoo movement, as men in power (kings) have found their influence eclipsed by the feminine principle.
This eclipse takes place in Aquarius, the opposite of Leo. This shifts the focus from the "kings" onto the people. Abuse of power has led to the downfall of many formerly mighty individuals; this month we'll see how well the masses know how to wield their power in response. Be careful out there, as it could be a time of backlash, when people in power fear the loss of that power and therefore make efforts to suppress and oppress the population.
Will the people recognize and act on their profound power? Or will they submit to brash, reactive and ultimately empty intimidation tactics?
Aquarius themes (humility, humanitarianism, self-sacrifice) will dominate the next six weeks. Venus left Capricorn for the sign of the water-bearer on February 5, and the Sun and Mercury will follow on February 12 and 14, respectively. The Moon joins these three planets for three days, including the day of the solar eclipse (Feb 15-17).
This is a good time to cultivate a positive self-image; to build yourself up; to activate your influential potential and not be cowed by authoritarian fear-mongering. People are basically good; don't let anyone scare you into believing in and thereby empowering evil.
In March, the planets march into Pisces one by one: Venus on the 1st; Mercury on the 3rd; Sun on the 14th. Venus is exalted here, while Mercury is debilitated. Now is a time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds you, but be careful not to get swept away by it. Do one thing at a time. Chew your food carefully. Acknowledge the divinity of others before you speak.
March 7 is a day to be especially cautious as Mars moves into Sagittarius. A fiery planet in a fire sign invites explosive energies. Saturn is still there, so this might be a potent moment to take action on your big-picture projects. If you're feeling inspired, then make moves, but be sure you're moving in the direction of your highest priorities and inspiration and not taking an impulsive detour.
March 10 may be a good day to maintain silence. By all means, exercise and meditate but you're likely to feel all fired up with the Moon hemmed between Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius. This is not a comfortable place for the mind to be, caught between burning, moment-to-moment desires and long-term aspirations. For today, just observe, watch the fluctuations of the mind and do nothing. It is unwise to set fire to a library to stay warm for one night.
The next edition of the newsletter will arrive on the Spring equinox, March 20, 2018.
David McConaghay is a former four-sport athlete who discovered yoga as a means to bring ease to an overburdened body-mind complex. He will graduate in May 2018 from the four-year Doctor of Ayurveda program at Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula. He holds an Associate's degree in Vedic Astrology and is pursuing a Doctorate in Divinity from the University of Metaphysical Sciences. In addition to extensive training in the Sivananda yoga tradition, David has a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from the George Washington University. His work and play is collected at VedaDave.com.
On Friday, November 10, 2017, COLORAMA held its annual public meeting with the intent to nominate, confirm and re-elect members of our Board of Directors.
COLORAMA by-laws require that 25% of the membership attend such meetings in order to cast a valid vote. We now have 44 active members! Unfortunately, only 8 members were able to be there, three short of the 11 required.
Therefore, we are resorting to an electronic ballot. If you are a member, you will receive an invitation to vote via email. The purpose of this document is to provide further information about the individuals up for election.
The information below is compiled from letters of intent written by the candidates themselves, official board recommendations and some inevitable personal perspective by David.
If you are not a member but would like to have your voice heard in these and other matters, please join us! We have big plans for 2018, so stay tuned!
For re-election — Heather Baines
The COLORAMA board unanimously endorses Heather for re-election as president.
Heather joined the board in 2014 and was elected president in 2015. In that time, she has spearheaded important transformations in every aspect of COLORAMA.
It began with a deep audit of our financial accounts, bringing needed clarity to the underpinnings of our organization. In 2017, she secured Robert Lees as the official legal advisor to COLORAMA, simultaneously solidifying our own legal status and negotiating a deal where an eminent healthcare lawyer is available for members benefit at an extraordinarily discounted rate.
Heather is a nationally respected figure and is the driving force of our organization. She is currently working with the NAMA legal affairs committee to develop a strategy for active partnership between the national and state organizations. We are grateful to Heather for her diligent leadership and excited that she has agreed to serve another term as president of COLORAMA. Please confirm her!
New nominee — Madison waggoner
The COLORAMA board
unanimously endorses Madison
for election to the board.
Here is an excerpt from Madison's statement of intent:
I am passionate about being actively involved in our community. Last fall, I participated in Impact Denver through the Denver Chamber of Commerce where I met many highly involved professionals. Many colleagues serve on boards, and I knew I would like to get involved in an organization in that capacity. When David mentioned the COLORAMA board, I was excited that my passion for Ayurveda could intersect my passion for involvement and leadership.
Although, I have never served on a board, I am confident that I would be an asset. The past few years of my career have been focused in event planning, particularly corporate and non-profit events. I have managed the entire planning and execution of events from timelines, multiple vendors, client expectations and budgets all in high pressure environments. As program manager for Bespoke, I worked with colleagues, interns and volunteers to successfully plan and execute events. As a successful board member, I would love to work with a committee to brainstorm and execute meaningful events on the Front Range.
I would love to be able to educate and build awareness of the ancient science in Colorado through events. The time is ripe to spread the knowledge, and I would be thrilled to facilitate this!
Highlights from Madison's resume includes significant experience in corporate event planning and nonprofit fundraising. She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner having completed her studies with New World Ayurveda under Dr. Paul Dugliss, MD (trained by Maharishi International University and Maharishi Vedic University), and graduated from the University of Arizona, majoring in Business Management and Entrepreneurship and minoring in Nutrition.
We are excited to bring Madison into the fold to continue growing the COLORAMA community through outreach and events. Please confirm her nomination!
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outgoing Membership Chair
and Communications Chair pro tem
by Terra Rafael, Ayurvedic Practitioner, COLORAMA member
Common names: Gumweed, Tarweed, Rosinweed, Gumplant, Yerba del Buey
Appearance: “Leaves are green to blue green, somewhat spade shaped, and clasp the stem without a leafstalk. They are slightly toothed. When it is in bloom the plant is about 3 feet high and the many sticky yellow flowers are surrounded by pincushion-like bracts. The young flowers and buds are covered in a thick, milky exudates that smells balsamic, a device that insures pollination if insects fail, and which gives rise to its name of Gumweed, for it can be chewed like chicle.” - Michael Moore (see drawing)
Karmas / Prabhav:
Forms of medicine to use:
Tea: (leaves &/or flowers) — bronchitis, expectorant, antispasmodic for dry hacking coughs, alone or with Yerba Santa, a tablespoon in tea as needed. (Michael Moore) 6-15 g per pint of water
Tincture: (flowers preferable) — for bladder & urethra infections, one-fourth teaspoon in water every four hours. (Michael Moore) ½-3 mil, or 12-75 drops (Peter Holmes)
Topical use of tincture or poultice of crushed flowers: poison oak inflammations (Michael Moore)
Flower essence: Rocky Mountain Flower Essences (Grindelia sqauamasa), by Alakananda Ma — “[The] Gumweed pattern is illness as a turning away from life. The Gumweed person is weak, neurasthenic, frequently ill or suffering frequent relapses, may have chronic fatigue syndrome, [and] turns to invalidity as a refuge. Those Gumweed types who have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome characteristically drive themselves so hard that disabling illness is indeed their only refuge. The quality of Gumweed is the understanding of illness as a gift, the ability to learn the lesson & move on, whether to health & strength, or if the disease is a continuing karmic necessity, to transform through illness.”
Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, The Yoga of Herbs, p. 203.
Mrs. M Grieve, A Modern Herbal, pp. 376 & 377.
Peter Holmes, The Energetics of Western Herbs, pp. 202 & 203.
Michael Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West, pp. 80-82.
Alakananda, Earthkeeper Flower Essences, 1991 Handbook, p.14.
Anne McIntyre , Michelle Boudin , Dispensing with Tradition p. 70
by Susan Bernhardt
My years of studying and practicing Ayurveda and yoga introduced me from afar to India. I anticipated that a three-week trip to India last month with my Ayurveda teacher, Dr. Bharat Vaidya, and his school, Ayurved Sadhana, would make everything feel more tangible and deepen my knowledge. The trip certainly did that. And much, much more.
The majority of our trip was Ayurveda-focused:
I'm still working on sorting through photos as well as thoughts about the trip, but for now I want to share a few observations and takeaways. Some Observations
In the spirit of giving more public acknowledgments and expressions of gratitude: thank you to Dr. Bharat Vaidya and Anupama Vaidya for organizing this trip and founding a school based in traditional Ayurvedic teachings; thank you to Dr. Ujjvale Kale for organizing the clinics, being a guide for much of the trip, and for sharing your warmth, fun-loving spirit, and love; thank you to all of the local Ayurvedic doctors and others who visited with us, cared for the people who came to the clinics, and shared their knowledge and experience in order to enrich ours; thank you to those who visited the clinics, sharing your concerns and trusting our advice. Thank you also to other teachers who have shared their wisdom and helped lead me on this beautiful journey in Ayurveda, yoga, and healing, among them Dr. Sarasvati Buhrman, Shar Lee, Derik Eselius, Santosh Powell, and Baba Hari Dass and his senior students.
Mantra Purusha marries the healing sciences of mantra and marma therapy. The mantra and marma connection is very important for healing purposes. The combination of mantra and marma heals the physical body, changes the frequency of the subtle body, and removes negative patterns from the mind. It reduces the karmic code or matrix which resides in the psyche. This paper will describe the meaning, purposes, and origination of mantra and marma. It will also describe why the Mantra Purusha is the best tool in Ayurvedic medicine.
Marmas are special, sensitive points on the body; they are junction points where 2 or more tissues meet. They are located at the intersection of blood vessels, bones, and ligaments; they are most commonly found at the joints. The wrist joint is an example of a marma. These locations are places where prana can enter or leave the body. The ancient healing practice of marma is used to shape prana in the subtle body.
These special points carry energy information between the mind and the organs and tissues of the body; they are access points to body, mind, consciousness. Marmas are the intersection between: matter and energy, the physical and subtle planes, matter and consciousness, Purusha and Prakriti, ojas and prana. Each marma point contains the energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Another meaning of marma is “secret”. This alternative meaning of marma is used in several contexts. One context is that the marma points exist below the surface of the skin. Another context is in connection with keeping the teachings of marma secret until the person is ready for the information. A third context is that this valuable knowledge was known only by kings and warriors to be used judiciously in battle. Sushrut promulgated the science of marma, and he used it in surgery and healing wounds in warrior battles.
There are 108 marmas; 37 on the head and neck, 22 on the arms, 22 on the lower extremities, 14 on the back, 12 on the chest and stomach. The mind is the 108th marma point.
Mantra finds its origin in the Vedas and is derived from the word “man” which means mind, and “tra” which means tool. Therefore, mantra is a mind tool. Mantra is asana for the mind. “Mantra puts the mind into a certain pose in which it can become a conduit for higher flow of energy and grace.” . It provides focus, strength, adaptability, and plasticity for the mind by forming new synaptic connections in the brain. Mantra works on many levels and has many purposes.
Painful memories are stored as frequencies or sound patterns in our psyche. The liver stores unresolved anger, the gall bladder stores hatred, the kidneys store fear, the stomach and colon store nervousness, the lungs store grief and sadness, and the spleen stores attachments.
Mantras can be used in Ayurvedic preparations; they empower the herbs, foods, and therapies. Since water is a vehicle for prana and emotions, one could energize the water with mantra and then use the water to release and heal the negative experiences and painful memories, and uplift our inner rasa.
The Sanskrit language is the language of the angels. It is the only language that transmits meaning through sound. It is a vibrational language and therefore it can awaken Kundalini and transform us. The Sanskrit alphabet reflects prime powers of creation. The Sanskrit syllables are “Matrikas” or spiritual mothers of our being. They are the root forms of Shakti.
There are 50 sounds and each sound relates to a place on the body or a marma. The 16 vowels relate to the head and senses, the first 20 consonants relate to the main joints on arms and legs, the last 5 consonants relate to the abdominal region, the 9 semi-vowels and sibilants relate to the tissues, mind, and soul.
There are also mappings of the language constituents to other facets of the universe. The vowels correspond to consciousness, spirit, Shiva or Purusha. Consonants relate to matter or nature or Shakti, or Prakriti. The sibilants and semi-vowels stand between vowels and consonants, between consciousness and matter.
There is even further mapping of the sounds. Gutturals symbolize pranic urges or impulses in life. Palatals connote emotional energy, and generative power. Cerebrals give stability and form to life. Dentals project force from our being. And labials express our energies to the outside world.
In order to turn the alphabet letters into mantras, an anusvara, or final “m” is added to each of the letters. For example, the letter “ai” becomes the mantra “aim”. This way the recitation of the alphabet becomes a mantra.
The Purusha mantra links marma and mantra; this mantra directs healing energy and higher prana to different places within us that need healing. Each of the 50 letters corresponds to a marma or body location. To awaken the Shakti in each Sanskrit alphabet mantra, one must recite it with deep feeling, awareness of a larger power, and with concentration of the mind and heart. The attached file contains the mantras and body parts chart. There is also a jpeg file associated with this paper that contains a more advanced version of the mantra. You can touch each area with your hands or with your mind, and recite the associated mantra. As you deepen the practice, the mantra begins to speak to you and teach you. You move from speaking the mantra to listening. Grace flows from the mantra when we are in the listening state and receptive to its Shakti. Sanskrit is the language of the angels. Practicing mantra in this way moves us to a state of listening to the angels.
As a final foot note there was an article in the NY Times about Einstein’s theory. It explains how there were 2 black holes circling each other (Purusha and Prakriti) and then they finally merged and produced a sound or frequency that was recently measured by the LIGO apparatus in Louisiana. One could surmise that the 2 black holes were Purusha and Prakriti, and the sound produced was OM. OM is the prime mantra of the Atman, or Purusha. It is the seed mantra of all other mantras
 Dr. David Frawley, "Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, Secrets of Seed (Bija) Mantras”, 2010, p. 24.
From the professional and student members of Colorama