The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving in the early hours of Monday, November 27th (exact at 4:16am ET, time zone converter), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the November 13th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with Death, the 7 of Cups, and Knight of Wands, invited us to honor Death when it is part of a generative cycle but resist the forces that shatter the balance of Life and Death in our world. Out of a full moon revelation about this developing energy, we are issued an invitation to return a gift to the world in the final weeks of the lunar cycle.
The exact moment of the moon’s fullness comes in the sign of Gemini associated with the Tarot’s Lovers card. Death and Love together can teach us surprising lessons.
I had a Death—Lovers encounter last year and, though it happened in the spring, speaks strongly to this astro-Tarot lunar alignment and the times we find ourselves in that I will share for this full moon.
Wandering along the Mill River pathway in April 2022, I encountered my first flowering Trout Lilies of the season. They raised their yellow petals just above the dead leaf litter on a turning of the path. I paused, then pulled from my notebook one of the handful of Tarot cards I carried.
The Ancestor emerged and I felt a wave of that deepest kind of knowing wash over me. Of course, the Ancestor who has traveled through Death is the mirror to this miracle of a spring’s flowering. All life today comes from a passing away of what has come before. The dead leaves become the soil. The soil is the breakdown of all plants and animals, even us humans in our bones and ash, the flesh released. The release from one form is the beginning of becoming another.
And here were the Ancestors shape shifting into Trout Lilies. I stood in the circle of their power.
The specific Tarot card I drew was from the Minoan Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. It is number 13 of the Major Arcana, usually named Death. In this version of the card the connection between the living and the dead is highlighted. The living descendant is shown as a small figure raising up a bowl in offering to the larger figure of the Ancestor.
Ellen describes the ritual depicted as “seeking to bridge the gap of silence and of breath, and the gap between glory and grief.” She says of the Ancestors, “If they would speak, one could learn the reality of the past, and understand how to better live in the present.”
Standing in their presence, I felt the Ancestors were speaking through the flowering of the Trout Lilies. What were they saying? Feel free to pause and imagine on your own, but what I “heard” was:
Rise up out of what is dying in your world—because Death is always happening—and dare to work to make it beautiful.
As I was looking at the Ancestor image and the trout lilies, I remembered Ellen wonderful wisdom on Love offered through the voice of Freya, the Norse Goddess of Love and Beauty and the Dark Goddess Tarot’s version of the Lovers card: “Love is power made beautiful.”
Trout Lilies would seem to have very little power. They rise just a few inches from earth and live for only a few days. But their power is awesome, they take death, re-shape it, and make it beautiful.
Our world is breaking apart. The rubble, real and symbolic, is the leaf litter in which we stand. But the Ancestors implore us still to rise, take the rubble, re-make it into beauty.
Here are Death and the Lovers together with their more seasonally appropriate—for the Northern Hemisphere anyway—kin of wintergreen, tiny but persistent throughout the whole year.
To encourage a revelation on these themes as we journey through this moonthly cycle, you are invited to one, some, or all of these practices:
~ Moon bathe by sitting or lying under a window or outside on the ground. Let go of your thoughts and soak in the light.
~ Take out any reading or your reflections from the new moon and look at them in a new light. How does your understanding of the cards shift now that time has passed and light has shifted? (If you haven’t done a reading yet, no problem, just do it now under the light of the full moon. You can try the one from the new moon.)
~ Bring out your Death and Lovers cards from your Tarot deck and connect them to your new moon reading / reflections. You could place/imagine these cards on either side of your reading or above and below, and then look at how they add meaning into the story your original cards offered you.
~ Reflect on questions such as: How is your ancestors’ love flowing to you? How will you return love to them? What could learn from your ancestors in the past that could help you live in the present? How does your love make you powerful? What will you do with this power made from love? You could, of course, pull cards as responses to any of these questions. You may want to engage in Visio Divina to find the layers of wisdom within the cards.
When you are done, remember to offer gratitude for what you have received. Consider what gift you now want to return to the world. Pulling a card for guidance on the gift is always a fine thing to do. In the coming weeks and before the moon returns to dark around December 10 offer your gift to the world.
Note: This week in Descent and Return of the Light we are connecting with ancestors to aid us in traveling in the dark toward the Solstice and the light’s return. You are welcome to join us.