This month’s New Moon (May 11, 2021, 12 noon PDT) is in Taurus, “the money sign.” For a variety of reasons, many of us might be fretting a bit over our bank accounts lately. It’s no fun feeling worried about how you’re going to pay your rent or your car mechanic. So by all means, at this New Moon, do some rituals (I love this one from Dana Gerhardt) and set intentions around attracting more money into your life.
But to focus only on money is to miss the larger point of Taurus, and perhaps of whatever stressful situations come your way. And that larger point is the importance of self-sufficiency.
Aries represents the challenge of withstanding immediate threat, but Taurus is where we meet the challenges of day-to-day survival. It represents how we put shelter over our heads, food on the stove, clothes on our back. If we don’t have these basic necessities or can’t provide them for ourselves, we’re in a serious crisis of security. Nowhere is this crisis more evident and immediate than in the way we feed ourselves.
A recent loaf
IIn my lifetime, I’ve seen enormous changes in the way people handle the basic requirement of getting fed. When I was a kid, every family in the neighborhood sat down together to at least one home-cooked meal every day. These days, many overworked and over-scheduled families grab prefab meals on the run (or in pandemic times, ordered in).
In a recent interview, author Michael Pollan (Cooked, The Omnivore’s Dilemma) explored a couple of reasons for this change. Partly, it’s because we work pretty long hours here in the U.S. (Pollan points out that labor movements in Europe have fought for leisure time rather than money, resulting in fewer working hours, more vacation time, and a lot more home cooking.) Consequently, fewer and fewer families cook and eat together.
Also, food has become increasingly industrialized, and nothing about this development has been accidental. It has become far more lucrative to process food than to grow and produce it. Gradually, processed food insinuated itself into the American kitchen and eventually took over – leaving us less competent in the basic survival skill of nourishing ourselves. A disturbing number of people no longer know how to cook a simple meal from real ingredients.
I enjoy watching homesteaders make their own cheese and build houses from scratch on YouTube, so I know that our household is by any means completely self-sufficient! Food-wise, we’re maybe 1960s-era self-reliant. We do a bit of vegetable and herb gardening. I make my own sourdough bread; my husband roasts coffee and brews beer. We cook most of our meals at home. Truthfully, these are all just activities we happen to enjoy.
But it surprises me (and honestly, worries me a bit) to think how many people I know who don’t cook at all, or even brew their own morning coffee. Many of them say they’re too tired or overworked to cook, and some just never learned how. They do realize they’re spending an awful lot of money on eating this way, and they’ve had to do a certain amount of “on the job” learning during the pandemic and shut-downs.
And I sympathize. I clearly remember the days of working full time at an office job, fighting an awful commute, and feeling exhausted when I got home. Working from home for nearly 25 years has been wonderful. Instead of spending my coffee breaks in a lunchroom or at Starbucks, I can go into the kitchen, feed the sourdough starter, put a pot of beans on to soak or get a soup cooking, or go outside and do a little weeding in the garden. My husband is retired now, so he usually cooks dinner while I sneak in some extra work. In many ways (and with much good fortune), the pandemic hasn’t much affected the way we live.
The trade-off for this relatively leisurely existence? To be honest, we’ve never earned a lot of money. I could probably earn a lot more than I do if I worked for someone else. But whenever I’ve offered to give up astrology and throw myself on the more pyre of more lucrative work, my husband has always objected (to my enormous relief), “But… I like the way we live!”
So do I. A loaf of hot sourdough bread with breakfast, a fresh-brewed cup of home-roasted coffee, home-cooked meals that don’t leave us both completely stressed out – these are simple pleasures that make us feel incredibly wealthy, even if we’re not completely sure where we’ll find the money to fix the roof.
I think the past year, when many of us have radically shifted our lifestyles, has made us think more about what the old way of life was costing us. I don’t mean to preach any kind of gospel here. I’m no purist. We don’t all have to raise our own chickens or bake our own bread, or even do all our own cooking. All of us make trade-offs of time, money, and energy every day, in different areas of life. The opportunity in this Taurus New Moon is, I think, to figure out whether you’re making the right trade-offs – the ones that make you and your loved ones stronger, healthier, more financially secure, and happier.
Writing and images © 2013-2021 by April Elliott Kent