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Full Harvest Moon in Aries: Get Moving

Over the last few weeks I’ve found myself glued to the news. I’ve feverishly searched for the right places to donate to in order to continue to support relief efforts in the Caribbean. My parents, who live part-time in the Florida Keys, kept me up to date on the unfolding tragedy in hardest hit areas of South Florida. And as Puerto Rico’s tragedy worsened, my heart broke even more. With Houston, Dominica, Barbuda, the Virgin Islands, as well as other places, simultaneously ravished by tragic storms, I’ve had empathetic overwhelm.

Waking up on Monday to find out that in addition to the hurricane tragedies, the U.S. now faced another horrific mass shooting my body went into overload. I heard the death toll, got the gist of what happened, and turned off the news. A nervous agitation arose from within—a feeling of grief welling up, sadness. I sat with what I felt. And then I opened my laptop and got to work.

My to-do list felt longer than my arm.

To learn later that day Tom Petty died? Tom Petty’s music, a soundtrack of my youth, brought a richness to the history of rock n’ roll that beckons acknowledgment and respect. Damn. The tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t take learning that—on top of all of this—we lost a rock n’ roll great.

I shut down my laptop, put my earphones in, and took a long walk listening to music under the bright blue country sky.

One of the biggest healing forces in my life: music.

While that long walk gave me space to get present with my emotions, unfortunately, the hours that followed brought back pangs of overwhelming angst within my body. I’ve witnessed myself process all of this with an insatiable need for snacks. I watched myself feverishly head out the door to go buy a bag of local apples (I needed something to crunch on), after having raided my pantry for some crackers. While in my local co-op later in the week, I found myself at the bin food containers buying dried mango (I never eat dried fruit) because my cravings for something sweet were so wild I actually wanted candy.

I felt fidgety. Unsettled. Alarmed. Sad.

I don’t think I am the only one.

No matter how much work we do on ourselves when tragedy strikes, our bodies respond. Nuanced, inconvenient feelings creep through our psyche. I’ve learned so much about my stress response the last few days.

Yesterday, on a pilates reformer in the midst of a strenuous workout, I repetitiously moved my body and breath together. I could feel the intensity leaving my body. I felt comforted by the tried-and-true predictability of the impact that exercise has on my life. Move, breathe, resist, release. And change—change my biological response to stress.

While many people think resilience is how we endure, building resilience actually requires us to pay attention to how we recover.

The Harvard Business Review published this article in June 2016, pointing out that resilience isn’t about sludging through stressful situation after stressful situation, but rather strategically recovering from stressful situations. Resilience requires rhythmicity.

Chief among the practices we can take on in our lives when it comes to managing stress and building our capacity to withstand tragedy and rise anyway: exercise.

As we enjoy the full moon upon us, it’s important to note that it’s a full moon in Aries. As the first sign of the zodiac, especially given that it’s ruled by Mars, Aries places an emphasis on action. And as a fire sign, it emphasizes the need for movement.

This Full Harvest Moon in Aries brings to light the dichotomy of me (Moon in Aries) vs. we (Sun in Libra).

With Pluto squaring (making a difficult angle) to the Sun and the Moon at this time, it is essential to look at our shadows:

  • Where does our selfish nature hold us back?
  • Where does our need to please push us forward for the wrong reasons?

Checking in with our shadows opens us to experience more freedom; something we’ll want to take advantage of this Full Harvest Moon in Aries. It also offers us potent information about where we hold ourselves back from giving ourselves what we need to recover and embrace our greatest sense of resilience.

Emphasize health and wellness. Step into your power.

The Full Harvest Moon is always the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox. As the Harvest Moon rises around the same time every year, “it would result in an abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening, which was a traditional aide to farmers and crews harvesting their summer-grown crops,” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

This year, the Full Harvest Moon in Aries answers to Mars (and Venus) in Virgo, both at the same degree and both accepting help from Pluto. Virgo emphasizes health and wellness, while the trine from Pluto gives gifts of strength and power, suggesting that we have the strength to take care of ourselves.

Take care of you!

An Aries full moon brings cardinal fire energy, so you’ll want to think about channeling this effectively. Just don’t let it stir in your body—use it productively by getting physical, through your sex life, or at the gym. Look at ways you can engage exercise to help process the intensity of life. Take a walk. Go for a run. Turn on music and dance. If you need to, punch a punching bag! Let out all of your feelings, including aggression, and anger. Do it productively.

If you need some music to listen to, check out this video of Tom Petty playing of his older, more obscure songs, “Rockin around (with you)”. #Musicheals

And if you really need a timeout to resource yourself and clear through difficulties in your body, mind, and spirit, please consider joining me at Soul Camp West later this month. I personally couldn’t be more excited that this is right around the corner. I’d love to meet you there! Soul Camp provides a wonderful experience to heal and recover.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What are you doing to take of yourself? Do you have any fun workouts you’re trying out? Other tips on you use self-care during difficult times? Leave me a comment below.

As always, I send you all of my love.


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  • Celeste

    Thanks so much for another great blog post, Jenn! I’ve been intuitively craving higher intensity exercise, so it’s cool to know that coincides with the Aries moon. And I’ve also felt more anxious and scattered lately and wasn’t sure why, but you made it clear for me that the world’s turmoil has affected me big time. This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada, so I’m going to take the weekend to do some major self-care, including some exercise. I want to sweat!! (The Fitness Marshall videos are sooooo fun.) I also feel drawn to water these days, so will take time for some baths and breathing. Sending love back!

    • jracioppi

      Awesome Celeste! Thanks for reading and commenting. And, Happy Thanksgiving. I love the self-care weekend you have planned.

  • Hala

    Jenn, thanks again for another great explanation of the things I’ve been feeling. Empathetic overwhelm, the desire to comfort my body with food, feeling totally underwater and irritable with no particular reason (personal reason, I should say. What’s happening in the world around us is reason enough!). Anxious and antsy and wanting to move- it all makes sense now! I’m going to put this energy to good use (and walk/run/dance away from the salty snacks!).

  • Kim

    Yes, it has certainly been a time of Empathetic overload! 😥 I so appreciate your explanation concerning the bigger picture (sun, moon, stars, macrcocosm, microcosm) and your honesty in how you have responded. It feels like our world is totally crazy and out of balance, which is probably why being out in nature and comforting with food feels so right! I have been roasting butternut squash and beets and practicing more flow yoga to balance ou the craziness. Thanks again, Jenn, for your insights!

  • Laura

    Thank you for all of this! I think I can relate to the empathetic overwhelm. I woke up a few days this week feeling like I did after the election. I appreciate your vulnerability, willing to share, wisdom & insight so much. Thank you 💛💛💛

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