Welcome to April! Winter is finally over, the grass is green, the chickadees and other birds are chirping, and life is good. It's a breath of fresh air, isn't it? The Farmer's Almanac describes April as being known throughout history as the "Pink Moon", because the ground flower pink phlox is usually abundant this time of the year. Since it's still a bit cold and this just isn't true this year, and also because I felt like focusing on this meaning was a little bit lackluster for such an energetic and powerful time of the year, I decided to focus on the magical meaning of this month's moon. As discussed in this article, April is also known as the Wind or Seed moon. "...The thunderstorms of March are beginning to subside, and the wind picks up. Seeds are being blown about on the breezes, spreading life all around from one place to the next. In fact, this lunar cycle is often known as the Seed Moon. Trees have buds on them, spring daffodils and tulips abound, and the birds are nesting once more. Much like March, this is a time of conception and fertility and new growth." Spring is all about the element of Air, both literally and symbolically, which means new beginnings, intellect, and big ideas coming in on the winds. Air is also synonymous with the Heart Chakra, and the color green is used for balancing this particular chakra.
This full moon, use this plant-based, nutrient-packed "Green Soup" to balance your heart chakra and start Spring off right. Paired with pranayama breathwork and some wind magic, this moon meal is sure to have you feeling full, refreshed, clear-minded, and ready to tackle whatever Spring goals you've set for yourself. Hopefully you've taken the Winter months to reflect on this past year, and spent the last couple months of winter planning projects ("planting seeds") for this Spring and Summer. Now's the time to put into action all of that reflection and planning, and get your hands dirty! The recipe is below, after the pictures, and after that is the breathwork and wind magic that goes with this particular meal, if you're looking to get the full effect. Dream big, work hard, and have fun!!!
April "Wind Moon" Heart Chakra-Balancing Green Soup (Plant-Based and Nutrient-Packed)
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 cup chopped leeks
2 cups chopped fennel base
2 cups chopped celery stalks
1 1'' piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 head chopped broccoli
1 head chopped cauliflower
2 chopped zuchinni
6 cups vegetable broth
2-3 cups of fresh greens of your choice. I used 1 cup fresh spinach, and 1/2 cup foraged greens (1/4 cup dandelion greens and 1/4 cup mustard garlic). Foraged greens really add a seasonal element and energy that I believe ties us to our surroundings, has a grounding effect, and has a positive effect on our overall well-being. Also, foraged foods have a higher mineral content than commercially-grown vegetables, because they aren't grown in over-harvested, mineral-depleted soil! Just make sure you do your research on poisonous lookalikes and pick from areas that have clean air and soil (heavily-trafficked roadsides can be very polluted).
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
1. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the coconut oil on Medium-High heat. Add the leeks, fennel, celery, and ginger. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Cover, lower the temperature, and cook 5 minutes more until softened.
2. Uncover, raise heat again to Medium-High, and add the broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat again, cover, and cook about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.
3. Add 2-3 cups fresh greens. Stir until wilted.
4. Remove from heat and add in the coconut milk.
5. Blend with an *immersion blender until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
*You can cool it down a bit and pour into a blender or food processor, but it does get a bit messy!
Green Soup accompaniment:
Pranayama breathwork and Wind Magic/Contemplation
After your soup is done, pour yourself a bowl while it's still piping hot, and head outside to a quiet spot to sit. After you're settled, take a few minutes and do some basic breathwork. Here's an article providing a nice little overview of 4 types of pranayama breathing. I personally like to do alternate nostril and then deep belly breathing, but what you do is up to you. Just make sure to spend at least a solid 5 minutes focusing on your breath, clearing your mind, and relaxing your body. After focused breathwork, resume your natural breathing, and just observe. Since this practice focuses on Spring and the element of Air, look to the skies, and notice the wind. You want to note the wind's energy - is it fast slow, steady, chaotic? Warm, cold? Wet, dry? What scent is it blowing your way? And lastly, which direction is it blowing from? If you know which way the cardinal directions are, you can use natural indicators to figure it out, for instance, tree branches and leaves. Or, you can use this nifty website that just tells you which direction the wind is blowing in your area! The elements each correspond to a cardinal direction (North = Earth; South = Fire; East = Air; West = Water), and each element has it's own energy to interpret. The article I referenced earlier explains further:
"Because April's moon is associated with the winds–for obvious reasons–now is a good time to explore the winds that blow from each of the cardinal directions. For instance, the North Wind is associated with cold, destruction, and change–and not always the good kind of change. If you've got some bad stuff looming on the horizon, now's the time to work through it. Do this not just by changing yourself, but also the way you respond to other people and to events that are taking place in your life.
The South Wind, in contrast, is connected to warmth and the element of fire, which in turn is associated with passion and power. Fire is a destroyer, but it also creates, so if there is a passion that you've lost in your life–whether it's romantic or something else–work on doing what you need to do to rebuild it.
The winds of the East are often associated with new beginnings; in particular, focus on new careers, education, or other aspects of your life that are related to communication and your intellect.
Finally, the West Wind is tied to the cleansing and healing powers of water, so if you need to get rid of things that are causing you heartache or pain, let the wind blow them right out of your life."
Use this exercise purely as a contemplative activity to help tie up any "loose ends" in your Spring planning. By being in nature and observing certain "signs" in our surroundings, it sometimes helps us come to conclusions and wrap up plans and thoughts that we may not have otherwise. Hope you enjoy.. See you in May!