Tag Archives: Winter Solstice

New Moon in Scorpio: a meditation on darkness, power and poetry ….

This year, the 26 Degrees Scorpio New Moon is due to fall in my Scorpio third house , conjunct  28 Degrees South Node/Scorpio IC ( place of core, roots, home, family inheritance) close to Jupiter at 19 degrees of Scorpio, waiting  yet another 11-12 year Jupiter Return in 2018..

Recent weeks since Jupiter entered Scorpio on 10th October 2017 have been turbulent to say the least: I know from my work, conversations with friends and colleagues, and from observing events in the wider world  that there is a delving into deep murk – and hopefully cleansing and liberating process – going on. Most striking has been the way that aspects of the victim/abuser dynamic have been reversed. Victims, empowered by a few brave souls early on who have exposed their abuse and abusers, have spoken out across the world. It seems clear that we are living through a major cultural shift.

This is one of the many gifts of Jupiter in Scorpio: by our naming and exposing to the light some of the darkness at the heart of what being human means, it loses at least some of its negative power. However, as you will see from the extract quoted at the end of this post, darkness is at the core of Life’s power and vitality. We need the dark. We need to own and find ways of using both personal and collective power wisely. This to my mind is one of the biggest challenges of being human.

Pondering on this, and working through yet again some ancient childhood pain of my own these last few weeks, thereby releasing the unconscious energy used to hold it under, has taken up much of my focus. It has felt like a turbulent but liberating time.

I would be most interested to hear from my readers how it has been for you!

Now is Scorpio’s season

The thirty degree band of the sky as viewed from Earth, occupying from 270 to 300 degrees of the 360 degree zodiac, is the sector called Scorpio, the beginning of the final quarter of the zodiacal year. The Sun, our marker for the unfolding of the year and the changing of the seasons, entered Scorpio this year on the 23rd October, and leaves it for Sagittarius on the 22nd November – heading for Capricorn and the winter Solstice on 22nd December: the Sun’s most remote point for us in the North.

The astronomy leads us to the symbolic meaning of Scorpio. It is the time of late autumn: in this season the clocks go back, making darkness come earlier. It is the time of grass dying off, trees being stripped bare of leaves, a time of retreat: warmer clothes, more heating, putting things off, often, “….until the New Year”. Energy is lower. Winter flu scythes away many of our old folk. In Greek myth, the goddess Demeter goes into mourning for her beloved daughter Persephone, abducted to his Underworld realm by Hades, king of darkness. The Upper world mourns with her.

A Scorpio poet’s view

However – descent into darkness harbours its own deep, creative purpose. The Scottish poet Christopher Whyte, born with several planets in Scorpio, expresses that purpose with profound eloquence in this extract from his poem Rex Tenebrarum (King of Darkness), an English translation by the poet himself of a poem written in Scottish Gaelic:

……How heavy the earth is above the seed

that struggles and thrusts, looking for nourishment

from the sun, and showers to freshen it!

But if it wasn’t rooted in the darkness,

in a warm, enclosed place filled with worms,

it could do nothing with air or light…..

King of the darkness, king of the world,

when I saw two faces in the mirror

superimposed, made one, I understood

that you have to be reconciled.

Unless the sapling knows

where its roots are sunk, and the whole

plant admits that life

and nourishment come from darkness;

unless it has unequivocal

love for what bore and raised it

how can there be a rich

summer flowering for our hopes? “

The astrological writer Paul Wright reveals in his fine, acclaimed book  The Literary Zodiac, the way in which “writers express cosmic patterns in their creative work….”In the above extract Christopher Whyte’s deep roots in the sign of Scorpio have enabled him powerfully and accurately to capture and express the essence of that sector’s meaning and challenge to us.

All powerfully charged dimensions of life belong to Scorpio: that stage of the human journey challenges us with those facets of life which most powerfully compel us, attract us, repel us, scare us – and transform us.

Another poet very strongly rooted in the sign of  Scorpio, Dylan Thomas, talks about ‘deaths and entrances’.  Thomas was born, fittingly, in Scorpio’s season: on the 27th October 1914, the year of the start of the Great War.

If we can face and grapple with our deepest attractions, compulsions, power drives, fears and repulsions, then we can experience – through staying with the struggle, seeking support where we can, having faith in the transformative dimensions of life – the symbolic death of aspects of the ‘old order’ holding us back from entry into a more complete and authentic expression of who it is we actually are. Jupiter’s presence in Scorpio for the next year offers us a magnificent opportunity to do just that.

*********

What does this New Moon, ushering in Scorpio’s season, mean to you? Do share your thoughts and feelings!

*********

Christopher Whyte 2011

Christopher Whyte

Christopher Whyte has translated Rilke, Tsvetaeva and Pasolini into English. He published four novels between 1995 and 2000 and his fifth poetry collection, in Scottish Gaelic, appeared in 2013. His translation of the work of the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) “Moscow in the Plague Year” was published in 2014 (New York, Archipelago Press 2014). He lives in Budapest, Hungary and writes full-time.

*********

Zodiac

950 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Christopher Whyte 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Advertisements

Winter Solstice: a poetic invocation for the Sun in Capricorn

Today the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn, the zodiacal backdrop to our journey through the dark heart of  winter each year. 

We humans in the Northern Hemisphere, beset by darkness and cold, have from long antiquity needed light and celebration to lift our spirits in the bleak midwinter, no matter how much the grimness of world affairs or the pains of everyday life hold us down: 2016 has been a particularly harrowing year. 

We have, also, long needed ritual to guide our lives through the passage of all kinds of seasons: seasons of the year, seasons of our lives, seasons of joy, seasons of mourning…these rituals give significance, dignity, to the archetypal processes of life and death, then rebirth to new life in one form or another. 

All families across the world have their own variations on seasonal ritual. An annual event in our house is to flick malt whisky symbolically onto our Xmas Tree, the modern version of the ancient Sumerians’ Moon Tree, and to read Susan Cooper’s wonderful Winter Solstice poem aloud. I do hope, somewhere, somehow, she knows this.

Happy Solstice, Everyone! 

Our Midwinter Tree

Our Midwinter Tree

THE SHORTEST DAY’ BY SUSAN COOPER

 

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

******

In the bleak Midwinter...

In the bleak Midwinter…

350 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Susan Cooper 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Scorpio’s Season: a meditation on darkness, power and poetry ….

 What better glass, darkly, through which to view life’s fleeting nature, its fathomless depths, than that of the sign of Scorpio?

Scorpio New Moon

Scorpio New Moon

Now is Scorpio’s season

The thirty degree band of the sky as viewed from Earth, occupying from 240 to 270 degrees of the 360 degree zodiac, is the sector called Scorpio, the beginning of the final quarter of the zodiacal year. The Sun, our marker for the unfolding of the year and the changing of the seasons, entered Scorpio this year on the 22nd October, and leaves it for Sagittarius on the 21st November – heading for Capricorn and the winter Solstice on 21st December: the Sun’s most remote point for us in the North.

The astronomy leads us to the symbolic meaning of Scorpio. It is the time of late autumn: in this season the clocks go back, making darkness come earlier. It is the time of grass dying off, trees being stripped bare of leaves, a time of retreat: warmer clothes, more heating, putting things off, often, “….until the New Year”. Energy is lower. Winter flu scythes away many of our old folk. In Greek myth, the goddess Demeter goes into mourning for her beloved daughter Persephone, abducted to his Underworld realm by Hades, king of darkness. The Upper world mourns with her.

A Scorpio poet’s view

However – descent into darkness harbours its own deep, creative purpose. The Scottish poet Christopher Whyte, born with several planets in Scorpio, expresses that purpose with profound eloquence in this extract from his poem Rex Tenebrarum (King of Darkness), an English translation by the poet himself of a poem written in Scottish Gaelic:

……How heavy the earth is above the seed

that struggles and thrusts, looking for nourishment

from the sun, and showers to freshen it!

But if it wasn’t rooted in the darkness,

in a warm, enclosed place filled with worms,

it could do nothing with air or light…..

King of the darkness, king of the world,

when I saw two faces in the mirror

superimposed, made one, I understood

that you have to be reconciled.

Unless the sapling knows

where its roots are sunk, and the whole

plant admits that life

and nourishment come from darkness;

unless it has unequivocal

love for what bore and raised it

how can there be a rich

summer flowering for our hopes? “

The astrological writer Paul Wright reveals in his fine, acclaimed book  The Literary Zodiac, the way in which “writers express cosmic patterns in their creative work….”In the above extract Christopher Whyte’s deep roots in the sign of Scorpio have enabled him powerfully and accurately to capture and express the essence of that sector’s meaning and challenge to us.

All powerfully charged dimensions of life belong to Scorpio: that stage of the human journey challenges us with those facets of life which most powerfully compel us, attract us, repel us, scare us – and transform us.

Another poet very strongly rooted in the sign of  Scorpio, Dylan Thomas, talks about ‘deaths and entrances’.  Thomas was born, fittingly, in Scorpio’s season: on the 27th October 1914, the year of the start of the Great War.

If we can face and grapple with our deepest attractions, compulsions, power drives, fears and repulsions, then we can experience – through staying with the struggle, seeking support where we can, having faith in the transformative dimensions of life – the symbolic death of aspects of the ‘old order’ holding us back from entry into a more complete and authentic expression of who it is we actually are.

*********

What does this New Moon, ushering in Scorpio’s season, mean to you? Do share your thoughts and feelings!

*********

Christopher Whyte 2011

Christopher Whyte

Christopher Whyte has translated Rilke, Tsvetaeva and Pasolini into English. He published four novels between 1995 and 2000 and his fifth poetry collection, in Scottish Gaelic, appeared in 2013. His translation of the work of the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) “Moscow in the Plague Year” was published in 2014 (New York, Archipelago Press 2014). He lives in Budapest, Hungary and writes full-time.

*********

Zodiac

700 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Christopher Whyte 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

A time for retreat, contemplation: the Dark of the Moon

I was born in the very last hours of Moondark…and find that it’s best to note Moondark periods in my new diary each year. At these times, each month, I find that I need even more time than usual (having several 12th House planets anyway) to retreat, be in silence, drift, and dream…let my mind wander.

This is what I am able to do today, on the last day of Moondark. I’d be interested in others’ experiences of this phenomenon – and its impact especially at those times which happen to us all, when LIFE requires us to engage, to be busy, to stay focused. What are you doing today as you wait for the Cancer New Moon tomorrow?

Having googled “Writing about Moondark”, I found this fine article, a compilation of others’ writings by  astrologer  Molly Hall. (see full attribution at the end.) It is well written and informative. I do hope you enjoy the read – and please do leave a comment especially if your experiences resonate in any way, either with what I have said or  in response to this article. You can also read an article I wrote last year about Moondark on  Writing from the Twelfth House .

When is the Dark Moon?:

Also known as the “dead” Moon, this is the time when there is no solar reflection, leaving the lunar face in darkness. The dark lasts about three days before the new crescent appears.

Is this the same as the New Moon?:

For many, the new Moon begins at the moment of the Sun-Moon conjunction, but for others it remains the dark Moon until that crescent is in view. As the Moon wanes toward those final days of darkness, there’s often a turn inward.

In those contemplative moments, the inner reality is presented through dreams and waking visions. It’s fertile ground for the new Moon intentions to be conjured.

How does the Dark Moon differ from the New Moon?:

The dark of the Moon is the most powerful time psychically. It seems to lure us toward the deepest self, the longings of the soul, and restful listening is a great way to receive these messages. It’s been compared to the dormant seed under the winter snow, or the cocoon holding the butterfly. You might feel tired, or crave quiet solitude. It’s important to make space for the unfolding of the spirit at this time. Like death itself, it’s preparation for the new beginning that begins with the crescent.

The Dark Moon and Women’s Cycles:

You’ve probably heard about the “menstruation hut” of matriarchal and so-called primitve cultures. The dark of the Moon was one of those times when women gathered together to draw wisdom from the powerful psychic energy afoot. Often there was a merging of women’s cycles — as there is now when women live in close quarters — and this created an amped up collective power.

In the hut, women could share visions, divine messages and open to higher wisdom.

The Dark Moon and grief:

Whenever we experience a deep loss, we are changed profoundly, which is a kind of death. This is considered a dark Moon phase, and lasts as long as it takes to fully integrate the experience. Sometimes others are made uneasy by our personal confusion, melancholy, soul angst, etc, and try to prevent us from fully dwelling in the dark. But taking a cue from nature, we can see that everything dies for a time, before coming alive again in a new form. Just like that, there are times when we die to our old self and are reborn to a new life.

The Dark Moon and the Seasons:

During the Winter Solstice, when the days are short (in the Northern Hemisphere), it’s an inward time with a cozy intimate feeling. It’s always a surprise to see the green things come to life again after being stripped to such a bare state. The growth at this time is underground, hidden, but powerful because it’s often the base, the roots.

The Dark Moon and Growing Older, Dying:

In our own lives, there’s a dark Moon phase toward the end as we prepare to enter the mystery of death. Often there is a convergence of memories, making time seem to run together. So many traditions believe the spirit carries on, but to where? This is the great unknown, and a dark Moon period that is taken on faith, with the hope of new life to come. The dark Moon is associated with the underworld, a seperate plane where the dead and almost born are together.

Are we living in a Dark Moon phase?:

In her book, Mysteries of the Dark Moon, Demetra George presented this concept. We live on a dying planet in the sense that her form is changing, from the rainforest floor to the air encircling her. Part of the dark Moon is a break-down of old systems, and letting go, and there’s some review going on of how we’ve been living, what we believe, our relationship with the natural world. The new seeds are being planted, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty and fear — darkness. Seeing this time as a dark Moon period can put it in a broader perspective, with hope for a new beginning.

The Power of the Dark:

The dark Moon is private, intimate, richly renewing and full of depth. The waning Moon is a time of letting go, and as you’re stripped of what you’ve known, there’s a moment of standing naked, not knowing who you are. This might be what dying is like, an awesome mystery that makes us feel fully awake at that final moment. What comes next, we wonder?

I’ve found the dark Moon to be the most powerful time for organically unfolding soul-searching. The inner Self starts to grow in power, and make its presence known. Ideally, you can listen, integrate, and set intentions that will bring you into harmony with yourself during the waxing Moon.

Stillness is the key word for the dark Moon. Restful, rich solitude gives you the chance to hear that inner voice. With the lunar face hidden, the intuitive-psychic self takes over. Make space for a clearing of the mind and spirit, so that you can be ready to recieve.

There’s a historic pattern of fearing the dark, and denying death. But it’s a fact of nature, and if embraced, can be met as the winding down before the next new beginning. The Moon is associated with women, and many Goddesses like Hecate, Kali, Lilith, represent her dark aspect. The dark Moon reminds us of nature’s cycles of death and rebirth. The grave and the womb become the same place, a transition when you’re held in the mystery beyond physical existence.

Each dark Moon is a chance to be renewed, to experience unknowing, and to gain timeless wisdom. The dark Moon opens a door to the past, and it reaches back far into the collective memory. Make it a sacred time for yourself each month, a time to connect to the great mystery of life.

Attribution: This piece was authored by astrologer Molly Hall, who listed her sources thus:  “This is original writing, the foundation of which came from the works of Vicki Noble, Demetra George, Judy Grahn, Starhawk and Elinor Gadon, to name a few…”  and appeared  on the About Religion site which has a section on astrology. I stripped out all the extraneous material, ads etc, so that you could read it without distraction.

Zodiac

Zodiac

******

1250 words copyright Anne Whitaker/ Molly Hall  2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

The Sagittarius New Moon – how was it for you?

I woke early this morning to a clear sky, deep blue turning light, and a lovely sight: the bright, waning crescent of the Sagittarius New Moon, born on 22nd November, Full on 6th December, now preparing to fade into Moondark in anticipation of a new birth. The Capricorn New Moon arrives with the Winter Solstice on 22nd December this year…thus the weave of our tiny solar system  unfolds within the vastness of the Universe, challenging each of us to find our place, our sense of meaning, our purpose…

waning crescent Moon

waning crescent Moon

Cycles govern all our lives, from the vast unfolding of the life and death of stars to the tiny monthly dance of Sun and Moon with our beautiful blue planet Earth.  The same basic stages apply to all cycles: seeding, germinating, sprouting, flowering, ripening, harvesting, dying back in preparation for the new, into that three day period of seclusion the Ancients knew as Moondark. Any New Moon represents the emerging energy of possibility from Moondark’s womb. The first fragile, beautiful waxing crescent appears in the night sky 2-3 days into a new cycle, indicating that fresh potential is taking form.

This image is especially appropriate in evoking the Sagittarian New Moon, which in the unfolding cycle of the Sun and Moon’s yearly journey through the twelve signs of the zodiac emerges from the unfathomable depths of watery Scorpio into the fiery, mutable brightness of Sagittarius, that restless seeker after wisdom, truth, and above all ultimate MEANING.

Visionary poet and painter William Blake – himself a Sagittarius Sun –  describes Sagittarius’ reckless, abundant courage, openness to experience of all kinds across all beliefs and cultures, and great capacity to distil joy and meaning from even life’s worst adventures, so well:

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”.

This most recent New Moon in Sagittarius on 22nd November 2014  carried a particularly powerful creative and exploratory ‘charge’ since the Sun and Moon met at 0 degrees 07 minutes of Sagittarius that day. Planets at zero degrees are highly potent! So – this was a great month for bathing in the abundantly rising energy of inspiration, and for working to give it form across continents and cultures…

Foreground energies : Uranus square Pluto

However, it is important to recognise that life on planet Earth is complex. Contemplating the core meaning of each month’s New Moon can only ever provide broad brush strokes. In order to form a more detailed symbolic picture of the energies of any given month, we have to take the whole planetary picture into account. For example, the 13th December 2014 saw the sixth exact square of the explosive, disruptive and tempestuous Uranus/ Pluto combination, its first major encounter since the turbulent 1960s and an increasingly dominant major planetary pattern since it began its journey towards exactitude way back in 2010/11.

Here are some of its immediate mundane effects: in Australia, a cafe siege resulting in the deaths of three people including the gunman. In USA, a family tragedy involving a deranged man shooting dead six members of his ex wife’s family. And most ghastly of all, today’s breaking news is of a revenge attack by the Pakistan Taliban on a Peshawar military school, leaving 132 youngsters and 11 of their teachers murdered. Truly horrific.

In Russia, meanwhile, tumbling oil prices are taking a devastating toll of the economy, with the rouble falling to almost half its value against the U.S. Dollar amid rising panic.

And on a brighter note my own small nation, Scotland, is once again a world leader. Today gay marriage became legal here, with the backing of an estimated 68% of the Scottish public. 

From the Big Picture to individual lives: creating meaning

The inter-relationship between the Big Picture of our collective lives and the tiny individual lives of humans, as explicated by planetary symbolism, has been a source of enduring fascination for me right from the beginning of my astrological studies. In this short article I have chosen only to focus on one planetary combination and its impact, set within the context of the Sagittarius New Moon.

There is of course Saturn preparing to move into Sagittarius, thereby beginning a year-long square to Neptune, whose ancient ruler was Jupiter – modern ruler of Sagittarius. And exuberant Jupiter himself is placed in fiery Leo, spending much of 2014/5 in a dynamic trine to the great disrupter and techno-futurist of  the zodiac, Uranus.

Jupiter in Leo

Jupiter in Leo

In sum, there is a huge charge of Jupiterian energy in our Sun/Moon/Earth system at present, both for good and ill – as is always the case. The challenge for all of us this soli-lunar month has very much been this: HOW do we take whatever inspiration has come our way and create meaning from it? What are our truths, and how do they shape our lives?

We have seen some of the appalling effects this month of deluded people living out in our world what they see as the truth  – with devastating inhumanity. In this we see Sagittarian energy’s dark and deadly shadow. We struggle with the idea that such ghastly events might have any meaning whatsoever…

So – what have we done this month, even in small ways, to bring some light and inspiration into our personal world? What positive energies have come our way, no matter how difficult things may be, to give us heart and make us feel that life is worth living? 

I do hope some of my readers will respond to this by leaving some comments with personal examples. Let me start you off by sharing some of mine. There are some dark and difficult things going on in our overall family life (Saturn is on my IC…) but I have had some great feedback over the last three weeks regarding my writing, return to teaching, and the astrological work I do.

And the inspiration for this post? A new writer and artist friend who lives in Hawaii (she contacted me, having read an article of mine in The Mountain Astrologer this summer) needed an astrological perspective on the Sagittarian New Moon. On the day of that new moon, she had embarked on an artistic venture linking writing, art and poetry with a new friend of hers – also met via the Internet. I was happy to write a short astrological piece for her. That has formed the core of this post…

“As above, so below” . How profound. how TRUE!

Zodiac

Zodiac

********

1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page