Aug
3
2020

Full Moon Revelation: Our Star Lights

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving on August 3rd (exact 11:58am ET), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the July 20th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with The Chariot, invited us to integrate the energy of the Great Father and Mother to move forward powerfully in the 2nd half of the year. 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. Although the symbol for this sign looks like ocean waves, it is actually associated with the element of air. The working of wind upon water points to the sign’s power. Mental clarity, shift in consciousness, and/or communication across different groups inspired by the Aquarian archetype can work positively upon people to create change, even in difficult circumstances. Aquarian energy feels like the sun emerging from storm clouds while the wind still blows and brings a wave of light that flows over dark depths of pond or lake or ocean. The shimmer emerges from nowhere to delight the eye.

The Star is the Tarot card that corresponds to Aquarius, and this celestial light, too, can seem to emerge from nowhere with an offer of comfort in times of tension, turmoil, and trouble. 

From The Numinous Tarot

The Star’s message is hope and renewal. But the Star itself does not fix us, does not take away our wounds. Instead we and all our broken places are bathed in a gentle light. This light opens our eyes to perceive what exists in new ways. 

What our eyes look upon these days is disturbing. The pandemic brings a currently unstoppable catastrophe to which US institutions are not responding effectively. Because of this people suffer. Is it too dramatic to say that we are in apocalyptic times? Maybe not for the families and communities facing disproportionate death tolls and unemployment. 

Apocalypse in the ancient Greek literally means “uncovering.” The disturbing times in which we live—this darkness—call for an uncovering of what has brought us to this point. The great spot lights of larger institutions would rather not shine on and expose what is at their foundation. So to shine that light is left to all the little stars scattered through the dark.

We are the ones scattered in the dark. Our eyes become the stars when we dare to look at what waits to be uncovered. Individually, we don’t have enough light to raise the truth, but gathered in groups our light expands. The more that participate, the greater the light. 

Gatherings of stars are called constellations and these star patterns were the first guidance systems of our ancestors. They used the stars to navigate in fair weather and foul. When thrown off course in their journeys, the stars assisted them to chart their course anew. 

This moon cycle began stamped with the energy of The Chariot, encouraging us to move forward into the remainder of the year fueled by the power that comes from accepting and harnessing the fullness of ourselves, even those aspects that seem in opposition to each other. To course correct if needed or keep us on the productive path, The Star Full Moon invites us to reconnect with the guidance of our highest ideals. 

Stuck on a project that is demanding both creative thinking and logical design, for example? Remind yourself of why you are doing the project, who it will serve, what light it will bring into the world. Let this purpose guide your work through the challenge. For the United States currently facing the difficult work of reckoning with racism, the words invoked at the founding of “liberty and justice for all” are ideals we still have to reach for. 

Love is the highest and the deepest guide of this encounter of Chariot and Star. I found this by playing with numbers: 7 Chariot + 17 Star add up to 24 which reduces to 6, the number of the Lovers. Making this connection may seem a stretch, may seem too deeply a hidden connection. But we are in a time of uncovering. We may need to dig deep or reach higher than we thought possible, but when we do Love is there, a bright and beautiful star to follow. 

These themes of love and journey, the images of light on water, the possibility that we are the cusp of breakthrough bring to mind a poem by the prophetic poet Lucille Clifton. 

 

blessing the boats

                                    (at St. Mary’s)

may the tide

that is entering even now

the lip of our understanding

carry you out

beyond the face of fear

may you kiss

the wind then turn from it

certain that it will

love your back     may you

open your eyes to water

water waving forever

and may you in your innocence

sail through this to that

[Source: Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 (BOA Editions Ltd., 2000)]

To encourage a revelation on these Star themes as we journey through this moonthly cycle:

  • 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: What is being uncovered in my life … my community’s life … my country’s life? What highest ideal am I called to make real at this time? How can I join with others to do this work?  How can I serve love? You can, of course, pull a card for 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 15th offer your gift to the world.

Jul
18
2020

At the Center with Ishtar as our Guide

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

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. 

Connect

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. 

Reflect

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.  

Petition 

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. 

Gratitude 

After you’ve made your petition, offer thanks to the starlight, to the lions, to Ishtar. 

Rest

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. 

Jul
4
2020

Full Moon Revelations: Flow Through Fear to Reach Your Soul’s Purpose

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving overnight July 4th – 5th (exact at 12:44am ET on the 5th), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on June 21st new moon are developing. Guided by its associations with The Chariot, Two of Cups/Water, and Queen of Cups, the new moon invited us to refuse fear and embrace what helps us work together. 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.  

On this full moon the Devil comes calling.

 Associated with the full moon’s astrological alignment with Capricorn, the Devil appears ready to expose what we’d rather keep hidden, baiting us to respond with fear.

The Devil is one of the trio of cards that people fear the most in the Tarot. (Death and The Tower are, no surprise, this figure’s fearsome companions.) This fear is triggered by The Devil’s portrayal in the Christian tradition as an all powerful figure of evil who stands in opposition to God’s light and goodness.

But The Devil’s qualities are not consistent across cultures. There is no parallel figure in the Celtic tradition, for example, Though the horned god Cernunnos may have inspired some of the Devil’s iconography, his significance as a god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld is vastly different from the Christian Devil. Neither is there a Devil figure in most traditional African religions rather, as Courtney Alexander writes in the DustIIOnyx guide book, “humans and deities alike choose whether to navigate the world from a negative or positive disposition.”

The Jewish tradition offers yet another face of the Devil we can see in this depiction from the Raziel Tarot created by Rachel Pollack and Robert Place. 

About this Devil, Rachel Pollack writes:

Quite simply, the idea of an all-powerful Devil, who was the highest and most beautiful of angels, who led a war in Heaven against God and was cast into the dark and fiery pits of Hell does not exist in Judaism … And while Jewish superstition, especially in the Medieval period and after, became more fixated on demons these all involved individual dangers. No great Devil holds the soul of all humanity in its grip. 

So this chicken-footed figure with a pleasant face and orangish hair is just a trickster who seeks to keep us in his grasp. In the image, the Devil has trapped Adam and Eve who stand before the Tree of Knowledge, symbol of their disobedience to God, into believing that a world of constriction and punishment are all that exist. 

But this Devil’s reach is also limited. He controls only the small space he can hold. The rivers and mountains beyond do not belong to him. This greater world waits for Adam and Eve to open their eyes and see the truth of the world’s vastness.

This limited Devil is the guardian at the gates of revelation for this full moon. This figure will block your way and test your vision, but the beyond beckons. Don’t let the Devil’s limits constrict you. Don’t believe that the world the Devil is trying to sell you is all that exists. This full moon is also an eclipse, which sacred arts teacher Briana Saussy says is good for breaking patterns. What pattern has kept you living in fear, hiding from the truth, cut off the fullness of life? This is the time to break that personal pattern.

 As this Devil appears on the birthday weekend of the United States, the country has the opportunity to break collective, historical patterns. The US’s Trickster in Chief is not subtle as he directs our attention to the patterns that need to be broken. He defends Confererate statues and tweets supporters shouting white power. These are the symbols on top of a history of slavery, racism, and anti-blackness existing since the founding and activated in a new way today.  He celebrates the 4th in the Black Hills of South Dakota on land that the US Supreme Court ruled was illegally taken from the Lakota, reminding us of the land theft and genocide of native peoples. He has us thinking about the twin sins present at our nation’s founding.

The sins have spread their tentacles into every aspect of our society. It would seem impossible to dismantle them. But remember the Devil has limits. It’s only an illusion that we can’t move beyond his small thinking. We already are. 

Think that reparations to the descendants of enslaved people is unprecedented? We’ve already made reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II. And each year we offer financial support to Holocaust surivors living in the US.  The CARES Act to address the pandemic cost $2 trillion and there is more relief being planned. Why couldn’t some of these funds be redirected to close the racial-wealth gap – be in the form of reparations

Think that return of native lands is impossible? It’s already happening in various ways in Massachusetts, California, Nebraska, and Maine (see Cases here). 

When the 21 numbered cards of the Major Arcana are lined up in 3 rows for what is called the Fool’s Journey, the Devil starts the third row of work toward fully living out our soul’s purpose. We must go through the Devil to continue to grow. This full moon challenges us to take up that task individually and collectively. Then we will be able to break free.

To encourage break through under the full moon of July 4th – 5th, you might do one or combine all of these practices:

  • 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 included in the new moon post.)
  • Bring out The Chariot and The Devil cards from a 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. 
  • Moon bath by sitting or lying under a window or outside on the ground. Let go of your thoughts and soak in the light.
  • Pull a card or two in response to a question such as: What limits can I break through now? How can I break through? How can I contribute to the breaking of collective patterns? What fears do I need to face? What potential awaits on the other side of liberation? 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 July 17th offer your gift to the world.

Jun
19
2020

New Moon at Solstice: To renew ourselves in illumination

For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary – Seasonal Observances

Our Summer Solstice moment (exact at 5:43pm ET on Saturday, the 20th) with its height of light is followed shortly by the new moon’s emergence in the dark (exact at 2:41am ET on Sunday, the 21st). Dark and light are dancing together at this half-way point of the solar year. They are inviting us to mix their lunar dark and solar light energy together: to renew ourselves in illumination. 

The new moon comes in the place on the astrological Wheel of the Year associated with The Chariot (our path through the moonth), 2 of Cups (our passage and call to practice), and Queen of Cups (our posture). 

In the DustIIOnyx Tarot, the 2 of Gourds shows a union of wholeness through the gourds balanced and resting on a pearl at the figure’s crown. Visionary deck creator Courtney Alexander writes about the pearl: “Throughout human history, pearls have represented ideals of faith, innocence, purity, spiritual transformation, and wisdom. It is with this wisdom we learn to operate and work together.”

This moonth calls us to work together as we follow the path of the Chariot or as it is named in DustIIOnxy, the Rider. Our work together will require both balance and will to move forward despite obstacles. Ms. Alexander tells us: Whenever there is doubt or a requirement for a quick adaptation on your route, dial into the divine GPS, your spiritual source to center you again and put you back on the path. Ride on fiercely, bravely, and boldly to the place that you are called and know that all will work out in your favor.” 

We ride with the attitude of the Queen of Cups or Mama Gourd as she is known in DustIIOnyx. Mama Gourd copes with the obstacles on the path and her own difficult emotions not by pushing them away but by meeting them, acknowledging them, and using their energy. Mama Gourd is inspired by the work of the poet Nikki Giovanni who offers advice for working through one of the most difficult emotions that seeks to derail us on the journey: fear. She writes: 

Maybe what will really work is if we all have a fear tree in our backyard or a small fear plant growing on our apartment windowsill. When we are feeling uneasy we pluck a few leaves and find the right place to put them. Champagne would be the number one choice but spaghetti works, too. Have a little fear at least once a week and you will build up your resistance. Like a vaccination. Then, when wars and hatreds come along you’ll be able to recognize that’s just another expression of Fear. No thanks, I’ve had my quota.

Fear loses its hold when we become familiar with it. Fear is like the irritant the oyster encounters and then coats with pearl essence. The irritant still exists but it is transformed into a jewel. 

To explore what jewel you have been creating in this first half of the solar year and look to what can emerge in the second half of the year, you are invited to do this special Solstice – New Moon spread:

PEARL: What is the pearl you have formed in this first half of the year? 

CELEBRATE: How to celebrate this pearl at Solsticetide?

SHARE: What does this pearl call you to share with the world in the second half of the year? 

I offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative intitituve format for $23. I generally have reading slots open on Mondays and Saturdays. Feel free to check in with me about my availability.

 

Jun
19
2020

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary – Seasonal Observances

Ancient sun, eternally young,

giver of life and source of energy,

In coal and oil, in plant and wind and tide,

in spiritual light and human embrace.

You kindle the heavens, you shine within us

(for we are suns with hearts afire –

we light the world as you light the sky

and find clouds within whose shadows are dark);

We give thanks for your rays and clouds your rays draw up,

for the sky route your travel faithfully as we traverse the globe,

For your journey of earth which draws us together,

For our journey of dreams which sustains us when apart. 

Congregation of Abraxas from Earth Prayers

The Solstice comes at one moment in time (5:43pm ET on Saturday, June 20th in the Northern Hemisphere), but outward from that moment ripples a whole season influenced by the abundance of light and the life that it makes possible. Across time and cultures, people have observed the Summer Solstice with festivities and observances of this height of the sun’s light, including

  • Standing in the sunlight at noon and revealing in its energy.
  • Planting or tending to a flower, herb, or tree.
  • Eating a fabulous meal of seasonal food.
  • Attending or creating (safely) a bonfire or fireworks show.
  • Dancing, singing, and celebrating with family and community.

Here at the peak of the solar cycle, we also are invited to check in on what we have been bringing forth throughout the first half of this year marked by the mixing of Emperor and Great Mother energy. We can look back at what we sensed coming out from the dark of Winter Solstice and see in the full light what has become real.  

Here are three options for focusing your check in: 

Bring out your Solstice Seed selected on the Winter Solstice during Descent and Return of the Light. For most of us that was a Tarot card pulled that day.

or

Work with your Major Arcana Lesson card of the year calculated by adding your birthday to 2020 and reducing until you have a number under 21. (Want more info on the lesson card? Lori of Inner Goddess Tarotcan walk you through the math and meaning.)

or 

Pull a card today in response to a question like: What have I been bringing forth this year?

 

Carry this card with you as you celebrate the Solstice. Let it soak up the light along with you. Ponder how this seed / card / lesson is becoming real within your life and what gifts it is offering to you. Let it be illuminated.

 

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