When Waiting with the Dark we follow the same themes each year because the Sun is consistent in its movements. But the Moon travels a changing path, shifting through dark and light on its own 28 day cycle. As constant Sun and shifting Moon dance together, each season flows with a unique energy. 2019 brings a full moon alignment with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as we explore the theme of Dark Power. The height of lunar light comes the night of the 11th into the 112th and here in the Eastern Time Zone is exact at 12:12am on December 12th, Her Feast day. (The appearance of so many 12s captured my attention!)
We have a special and powerful guardian for this week of Dark Power to guide our full moon revelation. She is known by many names:
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Tonantzin, the Aztec Mother Goddess
La Virgen Morena, the Dark Virgin.
Empress of the Americas
She answers to all who petition Her. She isn’t limited to one name or identity. In A Short History of Tonanztin, Griselda Alvarez Sesma describes her witness of cross-cultural veneration:
To many people, she is not either/or, but rather one: TonantzinGuadalupe. Her blend of indigenous and European features represents the beauty and sacredness of both cultures not just those of the dominant society. Her face is the face of todays Mexican, Chicano, Mestizo.
She does not have one name, but there is one specific moment in time for this appearance of the Divine Feminine: 1531 during the Spanish Conquest of Mexico.
She appeared to Cuauhtlatoatzin (“the Talking Eagle”) who is more popularly known by his Spanish name of Juan Diego. Speaking to him in his native language of Nahuatl, she charges him with convincing the Catholic Bishop to build Her a shrine on the hill of Tepeyac, a place where Tonanztin had been worshipped. With miraculous roses in winter and an imagine of the Lady imprinted on his cloak, Juan Diego succeeds.
As Clark Strand and Perdita Finn point out in The Way of the Rose, this miracle happens against the backdrop of the single largest genocide in human history – 20 million dead in Mexico alone during the 16th century. The human slaughter is matched by the ecological devastation as traditional ways of earth tending are upended.
Guadalupe/Tonanztin’s appearance does not stop the devastation, but She finds a way to be with her people in their greatest need. (This is a trick the Great Mother plays over and over again in history as patriarchal religions try to erase Her. They have never succeeded.) Strad and Finn tell us:
Hers is the hand always held out to the hopeless during the darkest moments. ‘Take it,’ she seems to say. ‘Follow me, and I will ensure that your people will never perish from the face of the earth.’
That is why Guadalupe is pregnant. She appears at the end of one world yet holds the promise of another. Even the worst that human beings are capable of is no match for the life-giving Lady.
Today we live on a planet in a climate crisis facing mass extinction. Species are disappearing at a rate 1000 times more than the norm. We know to worry about the polar bear, but haven’t even met the insect species with vital ecosystem-maintaining abilities disappearing daily. Floods, fires, and wars with roots in a changing climate are driving people from their homelands, but these refugees are rejected at borders across the world. Remedies for this climate crisis already exist: carbon pricing, replacing fossil fuels, restoring natural landscapes, restoring land management to indigenous people.
I often read that we lack the will to enact the remedies, but I feel the undercurrent below the lack of will as a lack of heart. So many of us humans have become disconnected from each other and the earth so are not feeling this crisis (though our young people marching for climate action seem to be heart wiser than most of us adults). If we could allow ourselves to recognize the enormity of our fear, grief, and anger at this time, we could bring our hearts to meet the challenges of our times.
With the scientific consensus being that we have little more than a decade to make radical changes it seems we a need a miracle to make this change of heart.
Who will guide us in transforming our hearts? This week Guadalupe/Tonantzin – or use the name that you know for the Great and Compassionate Mother – appears on a long dark night to be illuminated by the full moon. She is the guardian at the gateway of revelation. If we listen we might hear Her speak to us like she did to Cuauhtlatoatzin/Juan Diego asking:
Am I not here who am your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and my protection?
Am I not a source of your joy?
Are you not in the folds of my mantle,
And in the crossing of my arms?
Is there anything you need?
She wants us to let ourselves go into Her embrace and in this protected, joyous space let our hearts expand as wide as Hers. We might just be broken open by the enormity of feeling. We might suddenly able to hold more than we ever thought possible. Our expanded hearts can then join with intelligence of the mind and the work of our hands to put in place the solutions that already exist.
To cultivate heart opening on this full moon blessed with the presence of Guadalupe/Tonantzin, you might do one, some, or all of these through the days and nights of December 11th – 13th:
Moon bathe by sitting or lying under a window or outside on the ground. Let go of your thoughts and soak in the light. Imagine that the moon light is entering into your physical heart and expanding it. Really, your ritual can be that simple.
Engage in a religious practice that honors the Divine Feminine that your grandparents or ancestors practiced. As an example, I am praying with my grandfather’s rosary these days. I sometimes use the traditional prayers because they come to me from my childhood, but I also have created modified Hail Mary: Hail the Bone Mother, full of power, I trust you to heal me, to heal the Whole, through a Way that serves our souls.
As you connect with and celebrate Guadalupe/Tonantzin, take an action to support the people who brought into being and nurtured her devotion: the descendants of the indigenous people of what is now Mexico, Central America, and the US Southwest. Families are still separated at the border and most likely also in the community where you live. Connect with an immigrants rights group where you live, call your legislators to demand funding be eliminated for this abusive system, and/or make a donation to a group offering legal support to migrants such as The Florence Project at the border or an ACLU chapter near you.
Use the questions presented above to create a process and spread for working for Tarot or oracle cards such as:
Consciously choose from a deck an image that represents the Divine Mother to you. Keep this image out as a guide to the reading.
Then choose from random draws card for questions like:
How can I belong more to the Mother?
What of the Mother’s joy can I bring into the world?
How can I open more to her protection?
Under her protection, what will I be able to do?
Finally, consciously choose a card to represent a need that you have. Look to how the cards drawn at random can help you meet this need.
To conclude place your need card next to the Divine Mother card and close with a prayer that springs from your heart.
You are invited to join the Descent and Return of the Light e-retreat in progress for support in tending the season with daily emails and weekly virtual circles. The ritual continues next week with a post on Monday with ritual ideas for Solstice week.