On July 18th we enter the dark that comes before the moon is made new on July 20th (exact at 1:32pm ET). The moonth we are concluding began and now ends in Cancer which corresponds to the Tarot’s Chariot card. Usually the moon as it moves from dark to new shifts into a new astrological sign and Tarot association, but this lunar transition makes a circle, sending us back to swim in the waters of Cancer, making us mount the Chariot again.
We are at the center of a journey rather than at the end. This lunar journey began with a new moon on the Summer Solstice inviting us to transform the irritant of fear into a pearl of wisdom. At the full moon on July 5th, the Devil came to test our resolve. Those who faced their devils were rewarded with a knowing that the Devil rather than having power over our lives is instead small and limited. We can always step away from the Devil’s illusions.
Our testing by the Devil prepared us to meet and learn from a greater power coming toward us in their chariot. Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess of Love and War, depicted atop blue and red lions as the Chariot in the Dark Goddess Tarot, comes to show us this power.
Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, creator of the Dark Goddess Tarot, tells us that Ishtar is worshiped as both a female and male deity. Ellen’s description includes:
Her symbol of the eight-pointed star, two four-pointed stars crossing over one another, … is a symbol of the union between matter and spirit, as well as the balance between male and female. Ishtar has evolved over millennia into a goddess of contradictory aspects. She is fire and rain, both burning and quenching the land. She is nurturing and she is bloodthirsty. With Ishtar, one experiences the dynamic power that is generated through the ability to harness opposing forces.
Each of us carries within us oppositions. Some are understood and embraced, but others are hidden from those around us or even from ourselves. We may be able to acknoledge and express our nurturing side, for example, but tamp down expressions of anger, be unable to admit our rage—or vice versa. What we tamp down is there, either draining our energy to suppress it or surprising ourselves and others when it explodes.
Oppositions, of course, also exist within the collective. Right now we are facing the constrictions of a pandemic counterbalanced by the release of truth telling about racism in our global institutions. Long buried oppositions cannot be hidden any longer.
In these broken open times, we are confronted with the chaos that comes from long separated energies flooding together. Really, it is too much to face alone. We need each other. And we need support from the Greater Than. This doubled moon cycle Ishtar is the face of the Greater Than offering Themselves to us. They wants to show us how to stand on the back of this wild oppositions we face—and integrate their power into ourselves.
To accept Ishtar’s offering, I present a prompt for practice a little different from the usual dark moon release. These dark moon days you are invited to open to an encounter with Ishtar and to integrate rather than release. Here is a flow to use or modify.
Find an image of Ishtar to keep in front of you. Use the one above from the Dark Goddess Tarot, find one in your own deck, or search the web to find an ancient image.
Step out of the usual flow of time and enter into sacred space. Do this in your usual way or in these simple movements: close your eyes, straighten your spine, and bring attention to your breath for a few moments.
Spend some time gazing on your image.
Invite Ishtar to be with you and aid through this dark moon time and moonth to come. You can use your imaginal mind to sense above you Ishtar’s eight-pointed star. Become aware of streams of energy flowing down from each point to you and over you. You might imagine yourself surrounded and protected by this star light.
When you are ready, think back on the moonth by looking over your calendar, journal, or even photos taken to jog your memory about the past 28ish days.
Note your accomplishments or moments of emotional satisfaction. Give gratitude for these, thanking all your helpers and yourself for your part in these wonders. Reflect on how you would like to continue this flow into the moonth to come.
Then hunt for the fleeting moments and memories that you’d rather forget: places where you were afraid or bored; a task you evaded, though you knew it was yours to do; a dream that was scary or kinky or disgusting to you; a moment of rage, a moment of apathy (which might be the flip side of the rage). Take this memory and dare to dive into it, maybe through journaling or art making or sitting and thinking more about it.
If needed, remind yourself that you are surrounded by Ishtar’s star light. As you do this, let yourself be open to finding a hidden aspect of yourself that you are ready to accept. Ask for Ishtar’s help for naming this part of yourself. They will push away the voices of oppression that are not from within you. They will guide you to claiming a power from a rejected part of you that is lying in wait within you.
Now that you know—either very consciously or in an instinctual way—what you want to continue and the hidden you want to integrate, call upon Ishtar to aid you. Praise Ishtar’s power and as you do know that this power is entering you as well. Name what you desire. Ask for Istar’s help.
After you’ve made your petition, offer thanks to the starlight, to the lions, to Ishtar.
When you are done and through the arrival of the new moon, pause and integrate all within yourself. Remember that the journey with Ishtar is just beginning. They remain the guide for the whole moonth to come.
Travel the Moonth
Let yourself return periodically to your desires and what you are attempting to integrate. Keep your image out so you can gaze upon the face of Ishtar as we travel the moonth stamped with Her energy. Prepare yourself to meet her dark moon face again when the moon is made new next on August 18th.