A re-post from the 2012 September Equinox.
At the equinoxes, the day and night stand equal. The energy of the sun is balanced with the energy of the moon and the stage is set for transition to a new season.
In the Western esoteric tradition from which the Tarot grows, there is a maxim that you have probably heard, “As above, so below.” The longer translation is: “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.”
Following the direction of As above, so below,” the shift in the natural world at the equinox becomes an invitation for us humans to seek the unity of One Thing by meeting and melding our Solar selves and Lunar selves.
And what are our Solar and Lunar selves? This question might turn us to Astrology seeking an answer, but today I’d like to stick just with The Moon and The Sun Tarot cards and the meaning their symbols inspire.
We gain insight into our Lunar Self by looking at The Moon card. This picture of the Self is one in which not all can be known. We are a mystery even to ourselves, but periodically something rises up out of the depths calling for attention. In the Rider-Waite-Smith card, it is a crayfish emerging from the depths. This ancient life form is spiny, prickly, and not that attractive, but some strong desire has it setting out on the golden path that starts at the water’s edge. This tiny creature will have to brave the baying dogs and the guardian towers, but these tests will deepen the work of walking the path. This is our Lunar Self and especially as we move into lengthening nights here in the Northern Hemisphere, it may have something to reveal to you. To better meet this Self, journal or pull Tarot cards to find your way toward answers to these questions:
- What part of your Lunar Self wants to reveal itself to you at this time?
- How can you meet this Lunar Self?
- What challenges might this Self offer at this time?
- What gifts might this Self offer at this time?
We gain insights into our Solar Self by looking at the Sun card. This radiant and innocent part of our Self meets each day with open arms. Our Solar Self can stand naked before the world because there is nothing to hide. Clarity and accomplishment are the deep wells of this Self, and the way opens up easily before our Solar Self using its best gifts in the world. At the Autumn Equinox, we see the gifts of the sun at their zenith in the bounty of the crops; it is the time to harvest those gifts. This invites a celebration of the bounty of the Solar Self, too, and the work accomplished in the growing season of the past months. To better meet this Self, journal or pull Tarot cards to find your way toward answers to these questions:
- What part of your Solar Self has been most radiant these past months?
- How can you honor the gifts of this Solar radiance?
- What “seeds” or projects did not reach full growth and need to be weeded out of your life?
- What “crops” or projects should be preserved to nurture you during the long winter?
Supported by greater insight and understanding, these Lunar and Solar selves can meet each other and meld together. This is like what happens each day at dawn and dusk where the red line of their encounter marks the horizon with beauty but perhaps also with an awareness of the difficult surrender, the “blood” that must be spilt. The shifting of the seasons can be like that, too, with unusual and unexpected storms shaking our houses and chaffing our skin. The integrating of Lunar and Solar selves may take some time. My suggested process here is to mix your two sets of cards together and then lay them out in a line or a circle. Leave the cards out for at least a week or perhaps all the way until the Solstice and reflect on the following:
- What new relationships exist within these cards?
- What story are these cards telling now about you? Pick a starting point and go straight through the cards writing out a narrative.
- What is revealed in this new configuration?
- What remains a mystery?
This integration is a path way toward a transformed Self who can meet the world with greater inner resources.
[Images are from what many call the Rider-Waite-Smith deck to honor the artist Pamela Coleman Smith. The deck is published as the Rider-Waite Tarot by U.S. Games Systems in the U.S. and they hold the copywrite to the deck. These images are from the 1st edition collected by Holly Voley.]