Cancer New Moon: Tidying Up

zen-closetInspired by Marie Kondo’s bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I’ve spent part of every day for the past month getting rid of unwanted things. I’ve already donated three huge bags of clothing discards, three boxes of books, and a box of CDs and DVDs to the library and my favorite charity, and I haven’t even started in the kitchen.

At this month’s New Moon in Cancer, the Sun and Moon are in aspect to both Uranus and Pluto, the epic gods of change. Uranus is the gleeful god which, once unleashed, can get carried away with tossing aside almost anything. But Pluto demands deep, thorough, and lasting transformation, and Kondo’s approach to household organization has the ring of Pluto depth and ruthlessness about it. Decisions about which things to keep is based on the answer to a single question: “Does this spark joy?” It sounds like an odd approach, and I rolled my eyes a bit… before I tried it, and found it surprisingly effective. There really is something marvelous about feeling that I could open my closet, my drawers, and my bookshelves and, even if blindfolded, choose an item I’d be pleased to wear or read.

If you decide at this New Moon to spend quality time with your house (and since Cancer rules the home, you probably will), it is likely to be Uranian freedom from possessions that you seek, but unpleasant Pluto tasks you will feel compelled to tackle – the ones you’ve been putting off for months, even years, because you just couldn’t face them, because they’re dirty, or exhausting, or overwhelming. What will you let go of?

Back when we moved every year or two, we didn’t accumulate so much extra junk. But now that we’ve lived in the same house for nearly 18 years, we fight a losing battle against paper, books, random computer parts, cat toys, tattered but comfortable clothes, and the sundry nuts, bolts, power cords, batteries, buttons, and scraps of notepaper that congregate at one end of the kitchen counter. We’re not in the same league as those tragic souls you occasionally see on some cable reality series, the ones who’ve hoarded so much stuff that they literally can’t walk from one end of the house to the other. But we still have a lot more clutter than we’d like.

Let’s face it, though: the stuff isn’t really the problem. The stuff is a symptom of the problem that so many of us have with letting go. It’s a security issue, and no sign understands the need for security better than Cancer. The more chaotic our external circumstances, the more driven we are to try to control them, to use things as a bulwark against unexpected deprivation or loss.

I’m a bit of an anxious traveler, and whenever we’ve taken a longish trip I’ve found myself collecting things as we moved from place to place—not souvenirs or mementos, but provisions. If our hotel gives us little bottles of shampoo, I pack them away in case the next place is less well-equipped. I save packets of crackers, rolls, and hunks of cheese in case of long, lonely stretches of highway. Napkins, tiny bottles of shampoo, books of matches… I squirrel them all away as a wedge against future need, hunger, or dull, lifeless hair.

And yes, a few sentimental treasures find their way into my luggage too… a rock from my favorite beach, a picture of a funny handpainted sign at a roadside produce stand. It’s not unknown for me to become emotionally involved with inanimate objects. My 1986 Toyota has spent more time at my neighbor’s house for repairs in the past few years than it has at our own house, but every time I think of letting it go, I tear up and my heart hurts.

I don’t let go of things easily, that’s the truth – and I don’t let go of people, or of love, or of hurts. As my oldest friend once said of me, “April has a long memory” – and while I usually (eventually) forgive, I never, ever forget a slight. I’ve always disliked this quality in myself; it’s disappointingly at odds with what I like to think of as my better, more expansive nature. But as I get older I at least understand it a bit better. In the crusty, protective Cancerian place in our hearts, old hurts become part of the fortress that we think will keep us safe from further injury. I even find myself feeling a certain tender appreciation for my spikey side, as you might for a protective older sister who is willing to make your battles her own.

When you decide at this New Moon to spend quality time with your heart (and with the Sun and Moon opposed Pluto, you probably will)… it will be the unpleasant stockpile of emotional refuse that you feel compelled to tackle. The old grudges, the ancient hurts and embarrassments, the terrifying vulnerabilities that you’ve lived with for years because you just couldn’t face them, because they are heartbreaking, demoralizing – or in some strange way, giving your life purpose.

So what will you let go of, this New Moon season? Whom should you forgive, and what are the lessons you should choose never to forget? Throw open the closets, the windows, the wounds and regrets. Hold each one and evaluate its contribution to your happiness. Then open up your heart and clean house.

My new book, Astrological Transits (coming Aug. 2015 from Fair Winds Press) is now available in Kindle and Nook formats and the print version is available for preorder! See this page for details.

9 comments to " Cancer New Moon: Tidying Up "

  • Lisa

    Very nice, thank you!

  • Susan Krieger

    What a beautiful and thoughtful post – you are so gifted April!

  • Åsa

    The last two weeks i have been cleaning out stuff like crazy.. I went through my old computer, with thousands of pics from years back and sorted them and got rid off a lot of them.. I feel so relieved now that its done.. And i have done lots of other cleaning out stuff, and fixing things in my home.. And spending a lot of time alone (have Cancer in my 12th house).. And I have been very emotional as well.. A lot has come up to the surface, that I need to deal with. And Im really trying not to eat up my emotions as I usually do.. Trying to take care of my body, and give it nurturance. So thanks for this article, I can really feel all of this going on in my life right now… Thanks!

  • Annie

    Dearest April,

    Thank you for always taking your valuable time and giving beautiful gifts of knowledge and spirit every month. The Cancer new Moon tidying up and letting go is so insightful and very well written, a gem among the many gems you graciously offer to our souls.

    Many blessing to you and your family,


  • Clairessense

    Once again you are right on the mark.
    Thanks April.
    Warm and comforting wishes to you.

  • Judy Wolfe

    Hi April…

    Insightful! Thank you for opening your heart and your thoughtful sharing. Happy New Moon in Cancer. ♥

  • Angela

    This is exactly what I’m feeling, and it isn’t very nice, because I’m not sure that I can let it go. In the past, I was forgiving, I got over things, and someone told me, even a couple of years ago, how forgiving I was. That isn’t true, anymore. This feels like too much damage, and it’s wrapped up in too much fear, even though I WANT to get over it.

    I’ve been feeling the urge to declutter for a while now. I’m off to in a little while, if I can cheer up a bit. I can’t go do it when I’m feeling depressed.

  • Angela

    *I can’t do it. Npt “go do it.”

  • Nancy

    I’ve purged so much “stuff,” that would probably fill a house w/ our multiple moves. And, I’m a Taurus Sun!! I would love to feel settled permanently somewhere w/ a bit of stuff around me that doesn’t need to go…

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