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Samhain Tag

Incantation—New Moon in Scorpio—November 4th.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves. We must die to one life before we can enter another—Anatole France.

Leaves of copper and gold blanket the black earth, and kelp-scented sea mists bejewel the fragile webs of spiders at this time when the veil between the worlds shimmers, gossamer thin.

This is a liminal time, halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. A time when we may notice an unsettling shift in the seasons. A time when melancholy wraps itself around the wan light of the dying year and ghoulish costumes create a safe diversion from our squeamishness about death. This is the month when the dead come callingDía de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. Hallowe’en, loud and gaudy, prickling with single-use plastic, once Allhallowtide, a time in the liturgical year that was dedicated to the departed. Soft-bred pumpkins grimace with menacing faces; bonfires consume summer’s fruitfulness, light-hearted tricks and sugary treats sweeten the older tradition of guising (disguising ourselves from sinister wandering spirits) while ruby-red toffee apples symbolise the potent symbol of the pentagram that lives in secret within every store-bought apple; incantations against the supernatural, rituals for protection against the descent into the dark of the year.

The truth is that the triple faced Cailleach drapes herself in her misty mantle at Samhain. She emerges from rocks of ancient granite and the smooth folds of glistening basalt to run her fingernails across the iron-grey belly of the sky, scraping loose bitter weather. Samhain is the Celtic celebration of summer’s end. A time when the Aos sí emerge from grassy fairy forts to traverse the “thin veil” into the world of humans. At Samhain, we seek to honour the dead who have walked before us. We engage in communal warding off those things that remind us of the fragility of life, the proximity of death.

For those of us who have witnessed the dying process of a cherished pet or a loved one, for those of us who have pared down to the bone after the dismemberment of a divorce, or the devastation of illness that has altered our lives forever know the pain of those irrevocable endings, those radical severances that bring us to our knees, rip off our layers of protection, leave us naked and defenseless. As we stand at the edge of winter, perhaps there is a deep sadness that still lies wetly over our hearts, a remnant of eternal timelines interlaced with others who have lived before us.

For so many of us it is the dying of the earth as we know it that haunts our dreams, intrudes on our walk through the woodlands or on the beach where the corpses of tiny turtles blacken in the sun. As we keep company with the collective grief, we may be brought to tears by an act of kindness, a soft word of sympathy from a strangerreminders that people are kind, caring. That we are not alone in our sadness. As the invisible threat of the pandemic, the existential crisis of climate crisis continues to strain our limbic system, tire our brains, keep us on high alert, psychologist Emma Kavanagh writes, “this phase we are in now, where everyone feels kind of on the edge, but no one can really articulate why—is what happens when you survive a disaster. When you live through what we have lived through, the net result means being broken by tiny catastrophes.”

As Nature withdraws, the fading Sun slips into the shade of Scorpio and couples in darkness with the Moon on November 4th, sombre Saturn squares the luminaries, a melancholic reminder of all that has been lost since those first reports of a strange new pathogen emerged from Wuhan. Minimalism, restraint, austerity, checks and balances, will be imperative as hollow men gather in Glasgow to talk, yet again, about the climate crisis. Missing in action will be collaboration and altruism, the solvents that ensure the survival of our species.

It was sixty years ago that Rachel Carson, ill with cancer and in great pain, wrote Silent Spring, a book that was denounced and vilified by the major chemical companies. She said then, “I think we’re challenged as mankind has never been challenged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves”.

Re-reading her words, now, two full Saturn cycles later, as we continue to beat nature into submission like little dictators, it is hard to imagine that we will have the maturity to change our behaviours; to comprehend that we are only a small thread in the web of life.

Yet, innovative, radical Uranus makes an opposition to this New Moon and Venus moves into serious Capricorn as Mercury enters Scorpio on November 6th, adding a colourwash of practicality and depth to our human interactions this month.

Pluto and Mars are invoked when we talk about the Scorpion. Mars moves fearlessly into the blackness of Scorpio on October 30th followed by fleet-footed Mercury, and though we talk glibly of transformation, Pluto, still moving through Capricorn and square to Eris, coils around that over-used cliché. When we enter the realm of Scorpio, the mystery of life and death are at work. Snakes shed their skins and feathered phoenixes emerge from scorching flames in a world that is no longer pristine and pure, but is still breathtakingly beautiful even as microplastics and chemicals seep through the earth’s capillaries, and the wild flowers and butterflies we knew when we were young have gone.

Scorpio, in its true essence, asks us to dive deep into waters diffuse and dark; to dredge up what lies beneath: a collective fear that concretises into protocols and incantations that we hope will keep us safe; a collective scarcity that clutches and clings; the fragile vulnerability of the top predator with imposter syndrome who has forgotten the interconnection and interdependence of all living things.

Writes Rachel Carson, “the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

As the light slips softly off the hillsides, we stand now in the potent darkness of this New Moon. New Moons are generative times. Seeding moments when we plant wishes in the darkness and wait patiently, expectantly, for them to grow. Rachel Carson invites us to consider this: “one way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”

 

For astrology readings and more information about forthcoming virtual workshops please email me directly: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Diamonds and Rust—Sun in Scorpio October 23rd

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So come my friends, be not afraid
We are so lightly here
It is in love that we are made
In love, we disappear
—Leonard Cohen
“Boogie Street

 

“Endings seem to lie in wait ” wrote mystic and poet, John O’Donohue who died so suddenly as he slept in the January of 2008.

We wait expectantly for endings at our journey’s end. Endings unfurl in the intoxicating sweetness of  that first kiss.  In the vows we make at the altar. Endings come with the loss of our identity when we retire; with the changes in our body as we age, our brave beauty etched in our faces, our strength shining through our bones. Endings strip us of our innocence. They come in the brutal betrayal that spills diamonds and rust from the forgotten places in our heart.

Shimmering spiderwebs hang heavy from the hedgerows, adorned with diamonds of dew. We’re at a threshold crossing. We’re in the gap between the equinox and the solstice, we’re in the “fall” as  the earth cools in the North, as the light begins to fade. In the south, the ancient rhythm of the earth stirs uneasily as the days lengthen, as the  searing summer heat carries the desert sands on scorching breath of the wind.

Things are not  what they used to be.

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On October 24th, we enter the primordial underworld, the shadowy realm of Scorpio. Spectral plumes of mist curl from rust-coloured forests and from the hill tops, the plaintive roar of the rutting red deer promises new life and the ambush of death.

When we cross the threshold into Scorpio’s territory, we become aware of those things that rust and putrefy; we meet scorpions and snakes. Scorpio rules those body parts that bring ecstatic pleasure and release—the anus, the rectum, the genitals. When we  cross this threshold in the cycle of the year, we encounter the healing power of in-depth psychology, the the magic of metaphysics, the deep knowledge of shamanism,  the dank dark underbelly of crime, the power of money and political intrigue, the renewal of sex, the inevitability of endings, the surety of death.

The darkly brooding presence of Pluto, Scorpio’s modern ruler, has cast a long shadow over the month of October in world events, perhaps in our own lives with news that has reminded us of the impermanence of this life.

1 Full MoonPluto stationed direct on October 2nd and the heightened effect may have lingered for a week before and afterwards in our own lives, most certainly in world events. Mercury and Venus entered Scorpio on October 3rd and 8th, and all these planets have aspected the Nodes of the Moon that have been moving across the Cancer/Capricorn axis since 2018. Mars in his own sign of Scorpio, squares the Nodes on October 22nd. Something bigger than ourselves, something fated, is at work. We may remember that for the ancient Greeks, Fate came in the form of three Moirai, those three sisters  who determined the Fate of every living creature. It was Atropos who cut the thin thread of life. She decided the end of things. We meet Fate when the Nodes of the Moon transit the planets or angles of our birth chart. The South Node draws us back, into the undertow of the past, we hesitate at the threshold, we circle endlessly in our place of discomfort. The North Node is where we see the diamond of our destiny, although the threshold crossing is never easy. Something is calling us to our purpose, our ability as a race to love and heal and to nurture one another and all creatures great and small.

8aebfce3b1ef310832da262296dd50bcThe New Moon in Scorpio on October 28th makes an edgy opposition to Uranus, indicating that our threshold crossing may not be smooth and sedate. Uranus is associated with sudden shock and upheaval, and when the energies of the Sun and the Moon combine at the New Moon in the sign of the Scorpion, we may discover the truth. We may feel a pressure to release, eliminate, burn on the bonfire those things, those thoughts, those behaviours, that have outlived their purpose.

Scorpio is a feminine sign, and paradoxically ruled by testosterone-driven Mars. With Scorpio there can be no compromises.  Death, trans-formation, may be unfolding themes in our lives this month and in our collective future.

The ancient pagan festival of Samhain marks the New Year on October 31st, the day Mercury in Scorpio turns Retrograde. As we cross this threshold, we prepare to enter the labyrinth down into the underworld, we must go within. The darkness and the cold, the scorching heat and drought, will test our resilience.

Thresholds are liminal spaces.  Threshold crossings were once protected by ritual and talismans. We may not yet see clearly what we are leaving behind, what we are about to enter.  As we pause at the threshold of summer or winter, we may feel assailed by grief or resistance, overcome by the instinctual force of survival that distracts us from the inevitability and necessity of crossing this frontier, of leaving those things that are safe, familiar and beloved behind. Our destination may not yet be clear. As we step across the threshold, we must walk lightly in the darkness for a while knowing that there are stars, scattered like diamonds, across the velvet blackness to guide us into the grace of a new beginning.

As our earth strains beneath the weight of our appetites and numbers, many of us sense the ultimate ending, as the climate crisis threatens all species with mass extinction. In a superbly-written piece , Catherine Ingram describes this ending with heart-breaking clarity.

She quotes Jonathan Franzen, who writes in his latest book,  The End of the End of the EarthEven in a world of dying, new loves continue to be born.

This is now the time to give yourself over to what you love, perhaps in new and deeper ways. Your family and friends, your animal friends, the plants around you, even if that means just the little sprouts that push their way through the sidewalk in your city, the feeling of a breeze on your skin, the taste of food, the refreshment of water, or the thousands of little things that make up your world and which are your own unique treasures and pleasures.  Make your moments sparkle within the experience of your own senses and direct your attention to anything that gladdens your heart. Live your bucket list now.”

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Please get in touch if you would like an astrology reading: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

I write regular astrological updates on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ingrid.hoffman.75

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Back to Black—Sun in Scorpio—24th October—23rd November.

30207d1bada3d57ac987789d413aefa3As brittle leaves blanket the black earth in copper and gold there is something poignantly reassuring in the contracting light of autumn. Yet as Nature responds to the ancient rhythm of life and death, some of us may sense a seam of blackness in a world advancing through a dark night of the soul. As the inevitable juddering, shuddering climax of climate change, habitat loss, micro-plastics and global warming is shrugged off by plutocrats and self-serving politicians, as thousands starve in Yemen, and “rogue killers” prowl through the Saudi Consulate, torture and gruesome death is the price paid for speaking out.

Fair is foul and foul is fair. This is the month of Halloween and the ancient festival of Samhain. A liminal time, halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. A time to cull. A time  when the veil between the worlds shimmers, gossamer thin, in the cooling air. Juxtaposed with rows of golden pumpkins, the rich aroma of roasting chestnuts, a ghastly parade of ghoulish costumes send a frisson of recognition that winter is coming. On October 24th the Sun dips into the deep waters of Scorpio. That night a Full Taurus Moon illuminates the fallow fields. The very first aspect the Sun makes is an opposition to disruptive, radical Uranus and a square to the Nodes, a foreshadow of  unexpected, fated, events. Scorpio is an archetype associated with depth of feeling, with intensity, and let’s say it out loud: with death. d9b8f2254e916f0ee05098aa8c9b74dd

Pluto and Mars are invoked when we talk about the Scorpion.  We talk glibly of transformation, and yet, Pluto, and the essence of Scorpio, coils around that over-used cliché. For those of us who have witnessed the dying process of a beloved pet or a loved one, for those of us who have pared down to the bone after the dismemberment of a divorce, or the devastation of illness, know the pain of those irrevocable endings, those radical severances that bring us to our knees. Death and loss of all that we hold dear, distills what we value to quintessential heart-bonds, makes us count our blessings. We’re humbled, overwhelmed by the beauty of the little things. We’re brought to tears by an act of kindness, a soft word of sympathy.  When we enter the realm of Scorpio, snakes shed their skins and feathered phoenixes emerge from the flames. We draw deep on our human capacity for resilience and survival. We experience forces greater than ourselves which render us powerless, broken, yet also capable of acts of heroism and love, as told by Heather Morris in The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

a3d0fa6c1b9099d09cdc8cea4946636eVenus Rx, Mercury and Jupiter are the Sun’s travelling companions this month. Jupiter’s passage through Scorpio—October 11, 2017—November 8, 2018 has been the Pandora’s Jar from which all kinds of “great and unexpected troubles” have oozed—Jupiter magnifies and amplifies, and in Scorpio, this has been the sexual harassment and assault has exposed the sepsis in our society that has festered in silence, for years.  The renewal and trans-formative power of human sexuality, as well as the distorted perversions and abuse of sexuality are Scorpionic themes, trivilaised on TV in the titillating Bisexual and the toe-curlingly awful Wanderlust. Venus has vanished from the sky.  She’s dressed in black, withdrawn, reflective. These forty days and forty nights, we may encounter those things that arouse a visceral response.  We may recoil from encounters or sensory experiences that sting or  poison us. Venus is the arbiter of our values, the tempera on our creative canvas. She’s our detector, altering us to those circumstances, relationships, or more literally, to a sense that our tastes have changed. We not longer crave a certain food,  love a certain style of fashion. The art or music that evoked a strong reaction now seems banal. The person we thought we liked or loved with such fervor fails to engage our interest as Venus stirs within us an internal transfiguration.

Scorpio, in its true essence, asks us to dive deep into rivers dark and dredge up what lies beneath: sexual diversity and preference, obsession and compulsion, deep vulnerability and soul naked intimacy. We experience the sublime and the profane, the Life-Death-Rebirth cycle of relationship, the intensity of  being here, now.

This month the Sun, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus Retrograde in Scorpio amplify the sense of awakening from our cruise on autopilot, as we re-examine our values and embracing each moment with renewed intensity. As we prepare for the coming of winter.

Jeff Foster, author of Falling in Love with Where you Are distills the essence of this archetype: “This moment is not life waiting to happen, goals waiting to be achieved, words waiting to be spoken, connections waiting to be made, regrets waiting to evaporate, aliveness waiting to be felt, enlightenment waiting to be gained. No. Nothing is waiting. This is it. This moment is life.”8973168f0cbeae708dc17104c57be8b5

For astrology readings and more information about forthcoming workshops in the UK, please email me directly: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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