The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving Tuesday, December 26th (exact at 7:33 pm ET, time zone converter), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the December 12th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with the 10 of Wands, Temperance, and the Queen of Pentacles, invited us to compost our burdens.
The exact moment of the moon’s fullness is associated with the Tarot’s Chariot. When Temperance meets up with the Chariot, the composting of burdens can be a first step toward setting a new direction–or recommitting to a former direction from which you have strayed. Whether new or renewed, the way the Chariot invites us to go is forward.
The Tarot’s Charioteers often do not have an obvious way of directing the creatures that guide their vehicles. They may hold scepters or cups, but not often reins. Commentators on the Tarot name the will of the Charioteer as what guides forward motion. But will toward what end?
In Tending the Returning Light—the 2nd half of the Solstice-hinged eRetreat Descent and Return of the Light—we are guided by a Charioteer of powerful will and deep values to arrive at where we truly need to be.
This is the Charioteer from Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s Minoan Tarot. Ellen describes the image in the companion booklet:
On a painted stone sarcophagus from the New Palace Period, the Goddess drives a chariot drawn by griffins. With the body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle, the sovereign of beasts and the sovereign of birds together, griffins are especially powerful and majestic creatures, as they harness the powers of both Earth and Heaven. Yet the Goddess does not strain to hold the reins on the magical beasts. Her control is effortless.
In the Overview Booklet for the 3rd week of Tending the Returning Light, I note: The single rein the Goddess holds is the focused connection of Her longing; this will help to set a direction.
But I see only one rein of conscious control in this image.
There is, however, another connection suggested. The Goddess extends her chest toward Her creatures. The heart lives in the chest. I believe Her heart is the second rein. This heart rein does not control so much as align. Her heart rein is curious about where their griffins might want to go. Her heart rein is open to the journey as it unfolds.
Contemplating the Chariot is a timely practice for transitioning from one year into the next. Traditions and practices to take advantage of this fresh start such as setting intentions or engaging in annual planning ignite our visions of change and call upon our will to do the work to achieve them. I find less attention is given to tuning us into the deeper values that undergird these choices.
But the Minoan Charioteer calls us to our hearts as guides for making this annual transition and then persisting in the journey.
The past few years—months! days! —have been breaking our hearts. So many hearts are wounded and tired. We must be gentle with them. We must not expect them to be easily and quickly healed.
If both are true—that we are going forward into this new year and that our hearts will not be fixed at its start—then we will have to accept that we are moving with broken hearts. Then let these hearts be broken open hearts.
Nature writer Gretel Ehrlich in the Future of Ice, her meditation on how the heating up of our climate is eliminating the cultures of cold climates, speaks of the power of the broken open heart; “We don’t look because heartbreak might imply failure. But the opposite is true. A broken heart is an open heart, like a flower unfolding from its calyx, the one nourishing the other.”
When we let ourselves be guided by our broken open hearts—as me make the transition to the new year and all the way through it—both the sharp edges of the broken now and the replenishing flow of love are harnessed.
From here, we, the Charioteers, set off cleared eyed about the challenges we face but fueled with ever renewing, singularly powerful, expansive and beautiful love. Because love does not exist only within one person—it is a force that exists because it is shared between beings of the human and more-than-human kind—it can never be defeated.
So even if we feel this year passing has defeated us or go forward into the next one and have a plan fail, we can turn back in toward that force of love that flows all around it, take up its invisible rein, and begin again.
To encourage a revelation on these Temperance-encountering-the-Chariot themes as we continue our 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 Temperance and Chariot 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 can I best use my will to move forward? How can I listen to my heart to move forward? What can help me integrate will and heart to persist and flourish? 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 January 9th offer your gift to the world.