This column is written for publication at each full moon. Observing the passage of the year through the lunar cycle provides an enduring connection with the natural world at a time when the rest of my life barely seems to take nature into account. The monthly lunar cycle and lunar year mark the same time period and calendar as my smart watch but calibrates momentum of an entirely different order. It is progressive rather than immediate. It feels less hurried and less personal. I can gauge time’s steady passage rather than find myself anxiously chasing something apparently in perpetual short supply. The moon is either waxing or waning. The present moment, charted celestially in the illumined night sky, tangibly contains both history and the future and paradoxically helps to ‘earth’ me. Writing the column to this particular rhythm reminds me to reconnect with a universal time in which I can creatively mark my own as the author of its unfolding. Perhaps it provides quality me-time, arbitrated by an empirically observable reality rather than the questionable ‘truths’ of my culturally conditioned beliefs. It works for me.

In astrological tradition, full moons are generally regarded as the five-day period surrounding the full moon at its peak - this Thursday in the sign of Leo. And in astrological parlance, a full moon is a recommended time to purge our systems and circumstances of all the stuff that's not working for us, potentially holding us back. It's a good time to detoxify and declutter, clearing and preparing an energetic path to set new intentions and instigate projects as the full moon wanes and a new moon approaches.

Whether we entertain a soft spot for astral horoscopes or consider it all bunkum, the start of a new year dangles the tantalising custom of freshly set behavioural resolutions to improve our lives and hopefully those of others. And, regardless of our astrological leanings, what more potently beautiful marker of time than the first full moon of 2024 under which to reinforce those commitments to make the world a better place.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

With a full moon influenced by regal Leo, astrologers would likely consider the overriding concerns in altering our habitual behaviour to be egotistical and tribal. Where do we see ourselves in the Leo lion's pride? How do we relate to those around us, whether lovers, family, friends, colleagues, or clients? How prepared are we for others to take the lead without feeling we are being undermined or usurped? How able are we to offer genuine assistance in other people's advancement, to forgo some of our own indulgences to bring out the best in others, confident in the value of such kindness to the benefit of All? Is anything we do or give to others truly unconditional?

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

(Thomas Merton)

In our personal relationships, Leo displays a healthy appetite for courage and passion, but for all the next fortnight’s short-lived horniness, there is likely to be a clearer than usual awareness of what it is that we want from a relationship over the desire to simply placate our loins. The behavioural boundaries in the Leo pride are likely to be drawn in the sand of loyalty, and anyone exercising deception, or worse, betrayal, is likely to get their head chewed off in right royal Leo fashion.

And the greatest betrayal of all? That of ourselves, of course. When we think or speak ill of ourselves, we broadcast clear signals into the world, declaring what we believe we are worth. There is a direct correlation between what we think and what manifests in our lives. The correlation has been dubbed the Law of Attraction - think ill of others or self and, surprise surprise, one is presented with a landscape full of ill behaviour. Conversely, thinking positively creates a filter through which even the darkest clouds manifest silver linings.

We forge the chains we wear in life.

(Charles Dickens)

The good stuff flows to them, that knows.....and varied wisdom traditions suggest we are all walking miracles, paradoxes of contradictory, flawed perfection yet divine in origin and essence. The what we are, not the who we are, is part of the interconnected, intelligently evolving, unified web of existence. By spending time enough to align with its rhythm, we can not only observe that constantly shifting feast of miracles in action but also directly experience their benefit in our own lives.

The argument goes, if we can get over ourselves and our blinkered egocentric concerns under this Leo Full Moon, great opportunities will arise to evolve in alignment with the magnificent creation of which we are an inextricable part, instead of battling willfully against it. Logic suggests that once this ultimate battle against ourselves is over, the path of peace and prosperity for All might open, something to which we can aspire as a species and a unified planetary entity. Simplistically put, happiness becomes more accessible.

Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.

(Paramahansa Yogananda)

At full moon, it is said that our emotions and instinctive behaviours (usually learnt habits) peak simultaneously with the full-shining face of Lady Luna. We can become overtly reactive rather than reflective, often a tad overwhelming, so here is a suggested list of Dos and Don'ts to help quell the overwhelm, reinvigorate our new year resolutions, and secure our invaluable place in the Leo Full Moon pride.

Do talk yourself up - especially in your own company. Make this your default setting. Commit to giving £5 to charity every time you catch yourself dissing yourself.

Don't play the victim of circumstances with ‘what ifs’ and ‘could have beens’. £5 to charity every time you catch yourself indulging past regrets. Determine instead to adopt a relentlessly positive mindset, operating confidently and consistently in the present. If negative stuff pops up, distract yourself with positive thoughts and actions - think cute puppies or knock up your favourite dish. This is not a trite denial. It is the powerful practice of choosing to place your attention exactly where you want it to be and nowhere else.

Do seek out and linger on the positive news, occurrences, and small wins for self and others that normally get dwarfed by the disproportionate weight of importance we accord the shite in our lives.

Don't dwell on the shitty stuff. Crap happens. Let it pass. Move on.

Do celebrate your lovers, family, friends, colleagues and clients with words and actions of loyal appreciation and praise, however random that may appear. Don't wait for Valentine's or a birthday. Use the L word on repeat. LOVE is all there is friends. The Beatles said so.

Don't judge! Negative criticism is the biggest own-goal we can score, even when we keep it to ourselves. It lays the blame for our misery at someone's or something else's door. Bollocks to that. The reaction to circumstance we choose to embody in thought, word, and deed creates the filter through which we experience our lives. Stuff happening (external circumstances) is essentially neutral. What we make of it is our own affair and within our control. The challenge of adapting our habitually negative, reactive behaviour defines our ability to change our lives and the world for the better.

Do make concessions in encouraging others to value themselves and succeed. Provide opportunities for those around you to shine.

Don't worry about pecking orders for the next week or so. Allow others to take the lead and control the narrative: more difficult than it sounds for most. At worst, taking a conscious backseat can be a passive aggressive ego massage; at best an opportunity to observe and genuinely revel in the unlimited nature of possibility. Go for the latter.

Do be loyal and value loyalty in equal measure.

Don't f**k with people's trust for the next fortnight - or ever as a general rule. Play it straight, or you might as well put your head in the Lion's mouth and have someone kick its arse.

Do make yourself available for a bit of volunteering. Good works for no dough is the way to go under this Leo Full Moon!

Don't bring it all down to cash. Quality of life is priceless. Go for quality time in the tribe, not overtime at work.

Do stand up for your clan but be wary that under this full moon your Leo roar could lead you into some serious confrontations. Best to remove yourself from those potential flashpoints before fangs and claws are exposed.

Don't entertain thoughts of revenge. This too will carry a nasty bite. At the risk of repetition....let it pass. Move on.

Do a good deed every day! Scouts, cubs and brownies ahoy!

Don't begrudge anyone anything, not even the Trumps and Putins of this world.

Only the privileged and the naive believe people's achievements are purely the product of their own genius.

(Gary Younge)

Under this Leo Full Moon, there is enough astral encouragement to claim our leonine, regal sovereignty as beings of extraordinary influence, courage, and purpose. But we don’t need to believe in star charts to prove it. We have merely to acknowledge our power to create positive change for the benefit of All and begin to exercise that capacity on Earth with stately wisdom.

Simplistically put, happiness might become more accessible.