An Instagram challenge lead to a lunar-cycle-long practice of listening in the outside world. The messages brought lessons about the interconnectedness of things.

When Sabrina Monarch (Monarch Astrology) and Cici Cyr (Abundant LA) invited their Instagram followers to an Instagram challenge, I went all in! The energies that shaped the time period of the lunar cycle (March 4 to April 6) were the following: a new moon in Pisces (the goddess) and the entry of Uranus (the electrifier, the shock, the Internet) into Taurus (the material embodiment and all things sense-sual). The purpose of the #uranusintaurus challenge was to explore these energies and allow for insights into how they (the energies) affected us individually. The task aka the way to receive downloads was to connect to go outside, listen, and share the experience on Instagram. Here’s what that looked like for me.

There were two significant features that shaped my experience: I was in California when the challenge started, and I would be in New York (aka home) when it ended. A variety of environments, including not-home and home turf, would give me a range of messages, right? I was participating in some Christian rituals, since Ash Wednesday happened during this time, too (on Wednesday, April 6). I’ve found connection with my ancestral women through religion, so looping in the rites of the liturgical season added a layer to the reflection.

Ash Wednesday harkens an entry to silence—silence through which we listen to the divine. I was in Los Angeles that morning, and I took a walk in the rain—no umbrella or poncho—and let the wetness melt into my body. I like this pic, which I used in the challenge, because you can see the drops. When I received ashes (from an Episcopalian priest who was also outside, standing under a small portico of the boat house in Echo Park, where I was staying + where I went for my walk), I thought “star dust to Earth dust” as he recited “dust to dust”—and the rain spread that down my forehead and into my face. Immediately, I became aware of the infinitesimally small space I occupy as a human in a vast cosmos. The greatness of a natural order that is beyond me, supersedes me, forces me to remember that I am given the gift of existence. I felt my ancestral women within me at that moment, too, many of them in spirit, whose bodies were buried in the ground, who no longer felt the pleasure of rain on skin. The divine was present within my thoughts as the cycle of life and death brought a mood of humility. I am not just mind (that needs to process and makes sense of the transmissions). I am spirit (that understands the greater web of being intuitively); body is here to house my human experience, the reason I am here. I find myself thinking that the Internet, an ethereal body, connects me to community, individuals, out there in the world and embedded, enmeshed, intertwined in a network of fibers in a digital fabric. I imagine hyperspace as a quiet place, too, as bits of information that turnover and transmit silently.

By the time the challenge had come to the end of the cycle, I had arrived in New York.

#uranusintauruschallenge: home dirt! This is a walk on our go-to trail near Onteora Lake, New York in the Hudson Valley. The trail winds through a bluestone forest between Kingston and Woodstock. It’s also one of those places for me that, upon entry, I get lost in time. 2hrs here feels like days and seconds. I have a lot to organize and arrange rn, but I prioritized this session in the woods today. … I communicated with the trees—the same trees that listened to my pre-roadtrip desires … I said hello to the pieces of trees still stuck in early spring slush. I said hello to the moss and rocks. But each time I did, I felt like I was saying hello for the first time, like these beings were new to me and they didn’t recognize me. …

And then I realized that I had said hello to the physical things for the very first time that afternoon. I had walked the trail many times before, but I never walked in co-existence with the sentience of all forms: the trees, the moss, the rocks. I had been to that place (Onteora Lake) before my trip west, and I returned feeling like I was not recognized among the physical things there; but I felt at home with the community of people online who were also exploring the effects of the astrological transits. I’ve spent a while considering what this all means (and, what I would like it to mean for me), and I find myself coming back to the idea of my ancestral women—how humbling it is to know that bodies that once walked the Earth are now inside it, spirits going back from whence they came and bones and skin breaking down. Star dust to Earth dust. It is an odd thought to think that long after I am gone, these words will hang in hyperspace for anyone or no one to read them. It is an even stranger one to know that as I say hello to the Earth and all her beings, I say hello too to the ones who are inside me. Shared rituals (old and new, Lent and Instagram challenges alike) renew the connections. I attribute the disorienting sensation of time (-lessness, -distortion) in the woods to stepping out of a body that I had long inhabited—one of words, language, and communication with other human bodies—and out into a world beyond those bounds. And: home is everywhere through the physical body, spiritual body, and communication body. The transmissions are out there; you just have to know to listen.