“…If Jupiter and Saturn meet,
What a crop of mummy wheat!…” (i)
As regular readers of this blog will know by now, in my horoscope a third house Jupiter in Scorpio squares no less than six planets in Leo in the eleventh and twelfth houses. Whether I like it or not – and often I do not! – the Big Picture issues of why are we here, and what is it all for, and what can we do to inject meaning into it, have been a lifelong preoccupation.
With the above line-up, the shadowy borderland between life and death has always intrigued and fascinated me more than many other people, most of whom sensibly appear to prefer to dwell on more concrete and less threatening matters.
In my case, I have noticed over the years that significant events of an in-depth Scorpionic nature seem to bracket the beginning and ending of the 11-12 year Jupiter in Scorpio cycles. I would be most interested to hear from readers if this has also been the case for them!
At the start of my second Jupiter in Scorpio cycle, having been fascinated for a couple of years previously by Egyptian mythology (ii) and the question of where we went after death, both my beloved grandfathers died within a few months of each other when I was eleven years old. This was my first conscious encounter with grief and irredeemable loss, and the recognition of how fleeting human life really is.
And now yet another Jupiter in Scorpio cycle, the one which began in 2006, is coming to an end for us intense Scorpionic types. I have to confess that I am beginning to look forward to Jupiter’s ingress into fiery, optimistic Sagittarius in November 2018.
Early in September 2018, with another personal Jupiter in Scorpio cycle ending along with transiting Saturn in early Capricorn opposite 10th House Mars in Cancer, the sign of home, family and roots, I did something I have never done before, and will probably never do again. I returned to my native island – to visit and honour the graves of my ancestors.
On the 2.5 hour ferry crossing, as I gazed pensively out to sea, those lines from Yeats quoted at the beginning of this post came strongly into my mind, and stayed there…I’ve learned over the years not to question fragments floating up from the unconscious which refuse to leave until I have paid full attention to what they mean – although their full significance often takes some time to manifest.
Firstly I visited my sister’s grave – she died two years ago the day after my birthday. Then my parents’ grave. Then my Whitaker grandparents. I brought a beautiful simple bunch of purple and white, long-stemmed flowers, placing some from the same bunch on each grave – thus linking the generations. This simple ritual felt deeply meaningful.
My husband and I then drove to the wild, beautiful Atlantic coast of my native island where my Maclean and Macleod ancestors are buried, being fortunate to have fine weather for this part of the pilgrimage. There at Ardroil is a stunning sweep of beach, above which the cemetery sits. I picked some wild flowers, including delicate purple harebells, laying a few flowers from the bunch on each family grave as we located it. My Macleod grandparents including beloved Grandpa Calum, and my mother’s brother and sister with their spouses, are all there.
It is quite something also to be able to view the burial stone of your great-grandparents; I especially honoured my psychic great-grandmother, known to all and sundry in our family as ‘Granny Uig’. My memoir “Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness” which gives an account of my own paranormal experiences, is dedicated to her.
It also occurred to me, as I contemplated all those graves, that one word encompasses two significant branches of the essence of Jupiter in Scorpio combined with Saturn in Capricorn: gravestone.
The day we were due to leave, I went with some cousins to visit an exhibition called ‘Blazing the Trail for Stornoway Women’, a celebration of island women held to commemorate the centenary of them getting the vote. A star of this show was my feisty grandmother Bella Whitaker, the first woman ( in 1907) to make the main speech at her own wedding, and one of the first two female town councillors ever elected in Stornoway – they were fearless in taking on the patriarchal dominance of local authority affairs at that time.
Then I left, feeling proud, realising something which felt very powerful: not only had I been honouring my ancestors, but had also been letting them know silently, symbolically, that I had done my best with what they had handed on.
Sitting gazing at the sea on the return journey, I understood why that Yeats quote had been inhabiting my mind for weeks: the ‘mummy wheat’ symbol of death and regeneration from ancient Egyptian myth is a powerful way of describing how we arise both physically and in spirit from the lives and deaths of our ancestors…
This quotation is from the first verse of ‘ Conjunctions’ from one of W. B. Yeats’s most obscure collections of poems, the “Supernatural Songs.”
And, for a definition of ‘mummy wheat’: from the Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (2nd edition): ‘…mummy wheat — a variety of wheat, _Triticum compositum_, said to have been produced from grains found in Egyptian mummy cases…’ If anyone is sufficiently excited by the notion that wheat can indeed be grown from Ancient Egyptian tombs, here is the link to follow: http://stupidquestionarchives.blogspot.com/2008/03/mummy-wheat.html
There is no complete text of the myth of the Ancient Egyptian god Osiris’s death and his restoration by his sister/wife the goddess Isis. However around 3000 years ago, ‘….In the early dynastic period Osiris became identified with new grain that rises from the earth, nourished by the waters of the Nile. He is pictured lying as a mummy beneath the grain which sprouts from his body, while a priest pours water on him. It’s interesting to note that at this time mats of earth with sprouting grain were placed in tombs of the dead, therefore making the connection between grain that rises yearly from the earth and immortal life…’
To read the full text of the article to which the above quote belongs, click HERE.
1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House