Healing the Micro and Macro

Happy Litha, witches! Today we honor the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Litha is one of the four major Sabbats in the Celtic Wheel of the Year, and an opportunity to set energetic patterns in motion for healing and abudance. In the mythology of the reproductive cycle of the Wheel of the Year, the Goddess is pregnant from her encounter with the God at Beltane, and the God is at the peak of his youthful form.  

The contradiction of Litha lies in that while it is the longest day of the year, summer has not truly peaked. The days will start shortening after today, foreshadowing the inevitable arrival of winter. However, the heat has not reached its apex, as the summer days will still get hotter and more intense, bringing us to Lammas in August. Litha is often considered one of the fire festivals, being celebrated with bonfires and feasts. We celebrate the abundance spring brought us, with lavender and rose infused pastries. 

As you gather to honor the energies of the solstice, whether in a group or in solitary practice, I want to ask you to consider the state of the world and offer healing on a macro scale. One of the most important teachings of shamanic work is the understand that our bodies function as a microcosm of the earth. By healing the earth, we heal ourselves, and vice versa. One of our goals as shamanic practitioners is to foster harmony between ourselves, the earth, and the spirit realm.

We are at a time of crisis in the world. The earth and humanity are unquestionably hurting right now. As much as we may feel powerless, we must remember we are far from it. There are many ways you can take action and make a difference through political process, activism, volunteering, and so forth. But we must also remember that our ritual space is also a vehicle for change on a larger scale. 

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If you are unsure where to start, I hope you find this quick tarot spread helpful. Asking our helping spirits for guidance is always a good place to start. Using a two-card spread, asking the following questions:

  1. How can I be a vehicle for healing in my community?
  2. What is my first or next step?

As I gather with my wonderful coven, we will be setting intentions to heal both ourselves and our community. While we rejoice in our celebratory Sabbat dinner, we will not forget those who are far less fortunate. Let's use our magic to reach beyond ourselves. 

 

New Moon, Dark Moon, Creatrix, Reaper

Hello moon children, and happy New and Dark Moons! We are at the end of a lunar cycle, coming out of a New Moon in Gemini. At the Gemini New Moon, we find double Gemini energy, as it comes together with the Gemini Sun. This is a time to explore the dualities in ourselves, and how these play out - including questions of how accurate or valid dualities are, and the reality of spectrums. Wren McMurdo has a great post on Gemini and the exploration of duality and the gender spectrum (and how wonderful is it that Pride month coincides with Gemini season?).

But back to the Dark and New Moons. I've been seeing a lot of discussion about these moon phases and their definitions. In truth, there is no absolute consensus. Rather than providing an astronomical or astrological interpretation, I am going to focus on the ritual significance and let you discern the timing that makes most sense for you.  

So how do the energetic vibrations of these two moon phases differ? The New Moon is about beginnings, birthing new projects, starting new directions, and the overall initial creative spark. On the New Moon, we perform rituals of attraction and invocation. We plant the seed for new energies we want to attract to our lives, so they can grow and mature as the moon waxes. 

Within tarot, I see the energies of both the High Priestess and the Empress as connected to the New Moon. When working with single card associations, I connect the High Priestess to the waxing moon (Maiden), the Empress to the Full Moon (Mother), and to the waning moon (Crone). But as always, there are many levels and layers of interpretation. The High Priestess is connected to the New Moon as the Maiden, and as the keeper of the portals to the Spirit realm. She asks us to step into something new. The Empress is usually considered the Mother of tarot, but I like to think of the Mother archetype in a more expansive way. Rather than Mother, I have come to embrace the Creatrix archetype. 

The Creatrix archetype is an expansive view of the Mother archetype. The Mother archetype can feel a bit restrictive, as it tends to refer to genetic motherhood and giving birth. In present day society, many people choose not to have children. As such, many women are excluded from this archetype, and it doesn't address the various, multi-faceted ways that we can birth new things into the world: projects, ideas, manifestations of all sorts. A woman who does not bare children but spends her life manifesting creative project is still a Mother, just not in the traditional sense. Here we find the Creatrix. 

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The Dark Moon, on the other hand, is about shadow work. The Dark Moon vibrates along the same frequencies as the Crone archetype. She asks us to confront our shadow selves and the power of death. In mythology, the Dark Moon energy is seen in Goddesses such as Kali, the Morrigan, Baba Yaga, Lilith, and Hekate. In the Dark Moon, we see the Reaper Goddesses. 

As the Full Moon is the plenitude, the Dark Moon is the void. To steal part of Nietsche's quote, "when you gave long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." This is the energy of the Dark Moon. By presenting us with the void, it reflects ourselves back to us. At Beltane, I briefly discussed the medicine of Death as ultimate transformation of self. There is medicine in every phase of the moon, but the Dark Moon is where we find the biggest opportunity for deep shifts.

At first it might seem that the energies of the New and Dark Moons are at odds with each other, but it's quite the contrary. There is no ultimate ending, as the end of every cycle leads to a new beginning. Conversely, every beginning leads to an end. Therefore, the end of the cycle holds within it the seed for the next beginning, and every beginning carries the seed of death. 

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Fire and Water: The Alchemy of Beltane and the Scorpio Full Moon

Yesterday we had a Full Moon in Scorpio, and tomorrow is Beltane. Today, we are in between. There is power in liminal spaces, and we are in the alchemical place between fire and water. Yesterday, we had a lovely Full Moon Meditation, where I asked folks to step outside of comfort and sit in their vulnerability. 

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The Scorpio Full Moon brings about intensity, as it asks us to confront that which has been exposed but which we don't want to address. Scorpio pulls us into the shadows, with the message that only the darkest shadows can bring about the brightest light, and vice versa. In order to evolve, we have to sink into our depths.  

Scorpio is a water sign. It is axially opposed to Taurus, an earth sign, and seat of the physical realm and stability. In the Scorpio-Taurus axis, we are reminded of impermanence and asked to embrace transformation. Water takes us to the greatest depths and asks us to surrender. With Scorpio, we must turn inwards. The Death card is linked to Scorpio, and the Death card in the Major Arcana is a metaphor for ultimate transformation. It's the shedding of the old self, so the new self can emerge. Beyond that, the old self becomes the fertilizer for the new self. In a nutshell, the ultimate medicine of the Scorpio card is the Phoenix. It teaches us that we need to allow ourselves to burn down, so we can emerge from our own ashes. In the midst of the fires of Scorpio, we find fire.

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Which brings us to Beltane. It's so interesting to me that Beltane and the Scorpio Full Moon always happen around the same time. Beltane is part of the Gaelic calendar, and is a fire festival and celebration of fertility. Here we see another parallel to Scorpio. Scorpio's magic is undeniably sexual in nature, and Beltane honors this through ritual sexuality. It celebrates fertility and procreation, both in the plant and animal realms, which includes us, though often we try to stand apart from our animal roots. 

In this liminal space, we can take the opportunity to sit with and understand what it means to hold both fire and water. It is a call to honor both the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energies within us. When we distill Feminine and Masculine energies down to their very basic elements, we are looking at Receptive and Projective energies. The Feminine Divine teaches us how to turn inwards and how to receive. The Divine Masculine teaches us to reach out beyond ourselves and how to project. 

I've talked a bit about the medicine of Temperance in a previous post, and this is a theme that comes up over and over. The teachings of the Tarot are constantly pushing us to challenge our boundaries, and circle back for integration. Temperance should be the constant pursuit, because when we balance our energies, we put ourselves in a liminal space, which is where we can tap in to our greatest medicine and power. 

Happy Beltane all, I'm off to start prepping for a bonfire!

Ostara, the Cosmic Egg, and the Fool

Today is the vernal equinox, welcoming the beginning of spring. The mythology surrounding Ostara and the goddess Eostre involve rabbits and eggs, elements which were absorbed into Easter. The Hare is considered a totem animal for Eostre, and a symbol for the moon. The earth is starting to awaken from winter's slumber, and the possibility of new life is peeking out. 

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Today I find myself thinking about the eggs, or more specifically, the Cosmic or World Egg. The egg is a symbol of fertility and new life. It is sometimes seen as a symbol for the entire universe. The Cosmic Egg is seen in many mythologies, and the distilled concept is the same: The egg as a container for all potential, that which brings forth the new. 

As I deepen my connection to the tarot, the connection between The Fool card and the Cosmic Egg resonates more and more. The Fool is pure, innocent, creative energy. It's the beginning, the very first step in any journey, brimming with potential. In the Rider Waite deck, we see a carefree character, joyfully about to step off a cliff. Rather than a warning, perhaps this is a metaphor for the leap of faith - the willingness to jump into the unknown. Without this leap of faith, many things would never spring forth. 

In the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck, which is an oracle deck rather than a tarot deck, the egg motif features heavily. It even includes three cards that are lone eggs unto themselves: the Golden Egg, the Black Egg, and of course, the Cosmic Egg. The Golden Egg is the message of one's Core, a heart message. The Black Egg is one's essential truth and true voice. The Cosmic Egg connection with the cosmic consciousness, perhaps an opening of the Crown Chakra. 

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In the Nomad Tarot, I see a merging of the traditional Rider-Waite Fool with the Cosmic Egg. The character is no longer upright, wandering off the edge of a cliff. We now see the character laying down, arms and legs tucked in close, surrounded by budding greenergy. If we were to trace a shape around this figure, it would be an egg. This character is restful, potential energy waiting to awaken. They have become the Cosmic Egg. 

There is so much that could be said about this Fool-Egg connection, but I am going to refocus on the energy of Ostara and how to bring these ideas into honoring the Equinox. Today, I will be, shall we say, tending my eggs. This is a time to look at the projects we've been percolating during the winter months, the seeds we have been planting. Now is the time to nurture them and push them out into the world, to move beyond potential energy to kinetic energy. Happy Ostara!