The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving on Tuesday, the 1st (exact at 2:31 pm ET), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the July 17th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with the Chariot, 4 of Cups, and King of Wands, invited us to drink from the cup we are presented with—whether of delight or challenge—in order to keep moving forward. Out of the 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 Aquarius associated with the Tarot’s Star card. In the Shining Tribe Tarot, The Star figure we encounter is Persephone, the Greek Goddess whose mother Demeter is the Grain Goddess, the giver of Life, and whose husband Hades is the ruler of Death.
Persephone is intensely connected to both Life and Death. She drinks from both cups. She cannot choose between them, but instead spends part of the year with her mother and the rest with her husband and the dead that she serves as Queen. She is the traveler between the worlds, and as I’ve written extensively elsewhere can even serve as a messenger connecting us living with our beloved dead.
Traditionally, The Star is a card of pausing and simply being open to the grace and gifts of the universe that come freely and equally to all. In the pause, perhaps the energy of those in the Beyond will flow through us. Then their wisdom and energy become part of us and guide our action in the living world for change making. We could then be in a new kind of partnership that leads to still barely imagined possibilities.
I have most often thought of those in the Beyond as the ancestors, but lately I’ve been thinking, too, of the descendants, those whose ancestor I will be.
My pondering of the descendants began as I prepared to teach at Omega with Mary Greer and Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. I was tasked with introducing the Court—or People or Face—Cards, and created a spread using just the Courts, The Inner and Outer Helpers Octavo.
The first four cards represent the different parts of the self to help with a challenge. The next four cards were to call to mind external helpers, people who had, do, or will exist within time. The external people could be alive, ancestors, or descendants. Depending on the deck used, I thought that animals or plants could be the external helpers as well.
When we tested out the spread at Mass Tarot, I had no idea who one of the external helpers was. I thought to myself: That is one of the descendants who can help me by motivating me to create a world for them to live in. This idea resonated at Omega as well.
In fact, following the Octavo, Ellen led us through a powerful card play and writing activity to write letters to the ancestors and the descendants. My descendant was the toad from the Shining Tribe’s 2 of Stones. Here is my letter inspired by the message cards of Death, Ace of Rivers, and 4 of Stones. All cards were drawn randomly.
I am elated to see you here as a descendant!
Your future was in doubt; I thought we might lose you entirely to the pollution or drought-or both. But here you are glowing green, a spine sheen of nearly purple. Yellow markers. You are beautiful.
Thank you for your endurance. Your survival. Your being.
We are in the midst of a Great Death. My heart grieves for what we don’t do to stop it. My heart pounds rage for the pollutants we bathe you in. For how we build over your dwelling places. We heap Death upon you, which means we bring Death, too, to the human door.
And yet I see you peering back at me from the future. A new flow is coming. Clean water and spring vernal pools dark with leaf litter and then new life.
My heart fills with gratitude for all those that must have made the shift. Those who sounded the alarm and protected the places where you live. The storytellers who helped us see the connection between your skin and ours. The children who screamed.
Maybe it was Death that taught us. There was so much that we couldn’t ignore it anymore and took Death for our Teacher. Death skimmed our faces and we opened our eyes wider. Someone remembered that the Toad was once the Goddess giving birth. The desire for Death balanced with Birth sparked again and we put our hand to the wheel to make it so.
Then your dwelling places must have been seen as sacred again. We humans learned to care beyond ourselves. Or rather we were reminded we always had this capacity.
When we cared beyond ourselves, we cared better for ourselves.
Scientists mark you as an indicator species. They study the health of toads and frogs to assess the resilience of a whole ecosystem. That thin skin of yours lets in so much of the world that if there is poison there it is flowing through you. When you thrive, other creatures thrive. We humans are creatures. Your life offers hope for our life.
So I am not just thinking of you, I’m thinking of the whole web of us, when I say thank you for being there in the future, a descendant, a beacon. A motivator for me to make your future real.
You made it!
I love you,
This was a surprisingly powerful encounter for me. Looking back on it now, I see it brought me into the realm of the Star where hope lives. And because hope lives there, I know it can live in me and in this world even as we burn and choke this summer. (Plus I got COVID for the first time!)
In the Shining Tribe image, Persephone is enacting a healing ritual. She invites us, too, to action. Our actions may be magical involving prayer and ritual, alone or in groups. And because my toad friend has come from the suit of Earth, we are invited to practical action, too. You might:
~ support a local conservation organization or land trust;
~ take advantage of the Inflation Reduction Acts incentives to find ways to reduce your use of fossil fuels;
~ support local youth climate activists or national groups like the Sunrise Movement; and/or
~ go to a place where toads and frogs live and reproduce to listen with the ears of your heart and soul to them and the land about what action they would like taken on their behalf.
The toads will thank you for your action, but you’ll really be saving yourself.
To encourage a revelation on these Star themes, 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 Chariot and Star 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 connect to my ancestors? What support will they offer me? What can I do to make the lives of the descendants possible? How can the descendants support me to take action? What kind of ancestor do I want to be? 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 August 14th offer your gift to the world.