The arrival of the new moon stamps the moonth with an initiating energy that shifts and develops through a cycle of growth, fullness, and descent. Each moonth I look to the Tarot’s astrological correspondences for the new moon to find 3 cards (a Major, a numbered Minor, and a court/people card) to guide musings on soul tending as well as creation of a moonthly reading. The reading can be done any time, but ideally between the new and full moons. Revisit the cards you pull periodically up until the next lunation to gain new insight as the light changes. This new moon arrives Tuesday, November 26th (exact at 10:05am ET) . The full moon arrives overnight November 11th – 12th.
This moonth we are invited to walk the path of Temperance and gain its wisdom lessons.
A figure mixing the contents of two cups is Temperance’s most common image, offering us a teaching about the power of combining opposites. The card is sometimes named Alchemy or Art.
From the Tarot of Marseille
Out of my recent reading of Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, a collection of essays about confronting the truth of planetary change and species extinction, I discovered another compelling name for Temperance: Reciprocal Capture.
Ethnographer Deborah Bird Rose introduces this term from the Western science tradition as describing “the production of new immanent mode of existence in which neither entity transcends the other or forces the other to bow down. It is a process of encounter and transformation not absorption, in which different ways of being and doing find interesting things to do together.”
The most interesting thing that Rose’s essay suggests that entities do together is shimmer.
We understand shimmer on a visceral level from the delight that rises in us when we see sunlight rippled on a pond’s or even a puddle’s surface. There is a heightened meaning to shimmer in Rose’s essay that comes from the Aboriginal people of Australia’s Northern Territory. As I understood Rose’s use of the word, shimmer is a special quality that flows out of art, places, or communities when the conditions are right. She interchanges the word shimmer with ancestral power, inspiring in me the idea that shimmer’s source rises from Beyond what exists in the manifest world to flow out into what we experience around us. There is a touch of magic in the idea of shimmer.
An artist and their piece capture each other with neither controlling the process, and then in an unplanned moment the true beauty emerges. Day meets night, and they mingle until a fire of magenta and rose ignites on the horizon. Our grief meets a joyous memory or has an actual encounter with the Beloved Dead in the Beyond, and sadness shimmers with transcendence for a time.
To welcome the shimmer of reciprocal capture – which can also be said as: to walk the path of Temperance – we are called to cultivate opposite energies of focused attention and surrender to the (interesting) unfolding beyond our control. Or as the poet Rilke says: “no forcing, no holding back.”
Passage and Practice
The timing of the new moon’s arrival takes us through the passage of the Eight of Wands. In the iconic, RiderWaiteSmith deck, this enigmatic card is the only one without a human or animal figure. Just the wands are shown in swift movement.
Things are moving quickly! That certainly sounds like the pace of our modern, mobile, tech-enabled lifestyles. We feel pressure to move at the same pace, and this moonth could bring opportunities and new inspirations that we would be wise to respond to.
But we can’t respond to everything so how shall we make soul-tending choices?
Tarot master Rachel Pollack offers a unique take on this card as representing messages from the Divine, from Spirit, from guides. The wands after all are traveling down from the sky towards the earth, towards us. This Eight of Wands meaning invites us to make time and space in our lives to listen carefully to guidance from the Greater Than so we can discern their messages – and then act on the messages we receive.
As we enter the longest nights of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere and move toward the holidays of light around the Solstice, we enter the perfect time for this listening – if we can create the right balance with holiday busyness!
Here at Soul Path Sanctuary, we wait with the dark until the Solstice comes and tilt the ears of our heart to listen to our gratitude, the ancestors, dark nurture, and the Divine. We use candles and cards in a ritual structure. You are invited to join us. Perhaps you’d like the daily prompting of the e-retreat. Or if your listening would be best supported by simple ritual on your own, you can watch here for weekly posts.
How ever you do this pausing and listening, you can let it open you to the guidance of the Greater Than for choosing which inspirations to embrace and take swift action to make real.
And how will we look as we travel the Temperance path through the wands of Divine inspiration? We will, of course, shimmer.
From The Gaian Tarot
As an Explorer of Fire, our path walking may look effortless by the time the moonth is done, but that is because we have practiced, because we have risked, because we have allowed ourselves to be captured by the Greater Than Ourselves. In writing about this card, Gaian Tarot creator Joanna Powell Colbert says: “She wears the mask of a fire goddess; in her trance state, perhaps she becomes one. As the flames whoosh! around her, she enters the silence at the center of the circle.”
May you shimmer this moonth in darkness and in silence, in daylight and in singing. May you let yourself by captured by the joy of the year’s turning.
Reading of the Moonth
These questions are offered for reflection and to spark practice throughout the moonth. Pulling Tarot and oracle cards in connection to these questions is appropriate, but not absolutely necessary. You might carry a question with you on a walk for example and observe what is happening in the natural world as a way to find insight into the answer to the question.
RECIPROCAL CAPTURE: What wants to capture me so we can do interesting things together?
RESPONSE: How can I respond?
SHIMMER: What shimmer will emerge from what we do together?
I offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative intitituve format for $23. Because I am starting up Descent and Return of the Light this week, I don’t have any open slots until after Thanksgiving. If you would like to get in line for a reading then, sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email.
The work of cultivating truth isn’t completed just at the time of the new moon. When the full moon comes on December 12th, we will open up to a special flow of love to bless our tempering work. People on my list receive more timely new moon missives and often full moon inspirations for ritual as well. Sign up if you’d like to receive those.