Dionysus and the Undivided Self


The Maenad by John Collier

How do we contact the parts of ourselves that have become split off, exiled, or buried beneath layers of social control- either our own or imposed by others?

What lurks beneath the masks that we wear and how do we find ways to connect with and release those hidden parts of ourselves? Would we even want to?

Dionysus as ‘The Undivided’ god (or archetype) can lead us to the wilder, untamed parts of ourselves so that they may be reclaimed. His method of doing this is not necessarily talking things over in a rational way, he is more likely to lead us through the portals of ecstasy, dance, spiritual intoxication, passion, sensuality, sexuality, and the pulsating blood and flesh of our own body.

Dionysus is all about bringing spirit into the material world. He is after all one who can descend into the pit of Hades, come back to tell the tale, and then take his place in the abode of the gods. He is the quintessential walker of the worlds, or Shaman.

The ecstatic methods of Dionysus differ from what we have come to recognise as mainstream western analysis, or ‘talking therapies’ practiced in many a treatment room. Traditional psychotherapy tends to engage the ego- mind in a bid to reason with our scattered fragments and have them return home. This is the main aim of therapy and in psychological parlance is known as integration. Therapy like this works when feelings attached to suppressed material are finally acknowledged and felt. There may be tears, screams, anger… a whole host of strong expressions in the releasing of bottled-up emotions.

But what if we can’t coax our exiled parts back home? What if the structures of the ego are simply too hard? Or too clever?  What if despite our best efforts to heal we are in fact a tough nut to crack, or we have too much conditioning for words alone to dismantle?

 And what if we just sense that to reclaim all of ourselves in the most authentic and liberated way… to allow our bigness… we need more than western-style analysis… more than to be fixed so that we can operate in society even while we have an uneasy feeling that we have not brought all of ourselves to the party?

Outside the parameters of mainstream psychotherapy shamanism – which is itself a largely Dionysian practice – describes the process of becoming whole in terms of ‘soul retrieval’. Dionysus and shamanic practice are less about analysis and more about a direct route into the trapped or lost parts of ourselves. Amnesia, illness, mental disease, psychological complexes, physical illness, neurosis are all ways of describing what for the shaman is loss of soul. Dionysus can deal with collective soul loss.

In his book, ‘The Myth of Analysis: Three Essays in Archetypal Psychology, James Hillman exposes the limitations of analytical psychology when he says: “The analytical viewpoint tends towards divisions: consciousness from unconsciousness, cure form neurosis, individuation from collectively, even eros from psyche. The main aim may be a synthesis, but the means and methods are division. Dionysian consciousness proceeds otherwise. One of the names for Dionysus was The Undivided.”

Over and beyond analysis there are other ways to unblock psychic energy, reclaim libido and connect with the ‘Prima Materia’. There are other ways to release the ‘demons’ so that they might, in the end, become as William Blake suspects, ‘our greatest gods’. For Blake, who it could be argued was himself a Dionysian character, sexual energy is not an inherent evil, but the repression of that energy is. He says, “The preachers of morality fail to understand that God is in all things, including the sexual nature of men and women.”

But Dionysus is not only about the expression of sexual energy he is ultimately concerned with liberation of the soul… liberation from the tyranny of the ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’ that weigh down the human heart. And freedom from the safe-playing- small-self that would rather reject unpalatable feelings and emotions than face them. This is the same small self who, terrified to reveal his or her true nature, judges in others what it cannot tolerate in itself.

The ego fears rejection and separation from our culture and kin but with Dionysus who leads us to the group, and to the like- minded, we are not alone.

And here is the power of Dionysus- he is ultimately involved with group processes and the collective. Collective enthusiasm – some may say madness or hysteria – initiates a phenomenon much larger than the sum of its parts- you only have to watch a big football match, or the aftermath of a sports or political victory to witness this. I am thinking of the collective energy released in Paris last year after France won the world cup. I was so overwhelmed by the intensity of the celebrating, verging on frenzied crowds that I needed three days to recover (see blog post Paris, Mars, Football and Intrigue).

In ancient Greece, many indigenous cultures, and in cultures where initiation and ritual were a part of life, people bonded together in a purpose larger than themselves through the sharing of divine experience. Transformation induced in the initiates was witnessed, acknowledged and sanctioned by the wider community for the benefit of all. There was a ritualistic container to hold and transmute the strong spiritual energies that were being evoked and passed through the people, and in this way, change was affected.

When Dionysian energy is not contained within a ritualistic context there is propensity toward chaos. Examples of Dionysian energy in our modern world can be seen in the casualties of the rock world… sex, drugs and rock & roll; the acid and other casualties of the tune-in -drop-out of the 60’s; in the burgeoning pornography industry; the sex and sex trafficking industry; and in the young women who are swallowed up by unrealistic ideals of glamour and feminine allure. It can be witnessed in protests and political movements that degenerate into violence with the unspecific venting of primal rage.

Sometimes movements that start out with good intentions can quickly descend into mob mentality and stupidity… or are co-opted to do so.

The rave scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s was Dionysian in its expression, though again there was no ritual context in which to meet and hold the gods , and like many openings in human consciousness it was quickly exploited by the cold hand of capitalist economics, misuse of power, and personal interest.

Dionysian energy as wild as it is also needs containment- it is a bringing of the so called sacred and profane together – which is just a Christian way of saying heaven and earth, or body and spirit.

Today in the UK sees the beginning of this year’s Extinction Rebellion protests, to ‘shut down the heart of the government’ for the next 14 days unless demands are met. Here is an upsurge of collective energy that challenges the social order, not with remote ideas and manifestos but with active participation, group solidarity, music, celebration, and at times human bodies… I am thinking of the people who last year glued their hands to the trains in London’s financial district, Canary Wharf.

Dionysian collective uprising is often feared and maligned as mob rule – a remnant from some of the darker aspects of Europe’s past – it can instill fear into the rational order of Apollonic consciousness and therefore be subjected to further control and suppression. But the Dionysian outburst whether it be moral, or ecstatic is essentially ritualistic in its enthusiasm, it is ultimately for the higher purpose of breaking down stagnation and outmoded attitudes either in the individual or in the collective psyche.

This ‘ritualistic enthusiasm’ is a healthy expression of the human being and is not to be pathologized by an overly rigid, overly rational society imposed by those with a vested interest in maintaining a passive and docile populace.

While Dionysus may be an archetype of bottom up power, he is also a champion of the feminine… it is no coincidence that his followers were women who existed outside societal bounds of patriarchal control- women in Greece at that time were largely oppressed and controlled. The followers of Dionysus, the ‘maenads’ enjoyed rites that included wild dancing, music and ecstasy in the remote mountains, and unashamed divine intoxication … barefoot with untied hair, and wearing animal skins the women were free to unleash pent up emotions, trapped libido, psychic and sexual energy, and connect their bodies with the spirit without imposition.

It could be said that Dionysus is a bit like Lilith, the exiled shadow feminine who, repulsed with the oppressive laws of society, willingly banishes herself to the wild places to cavort with demons. But while Lilith is very much alone in her exile, the strength of Dionysus comes from the collective.  It is one thing to assert and release our untamed selves in the privacy of our own fantasies and it is quite another to reveal those selves to others.

How do we meet the wild gods? How do we invite Dionysus into our lives and our collective experience in a sacred way untainted by the corruption of our post capitalist world, a world that has long separated body from spirit, and that deems mad, bad or dangerous, anything beyond the rational mind?


September New Moon- Bacchus Conjunct the Sun: The Wild Gods.


Two- Satyrs- Pieter Pauwel Rubens- 1618- 1619- Munich

September’s new moon on Saturday 28th at 7.26 GMT places the Sun & Moon at 5 degrees of Libra. The Sabian Symbol for this degree according to Dane Rudhyar is:
KEYNOTE: The need to visualize clearly one’s dreams or ideals in order to make them truly effectual.
Given that the luminaries along with a stellium of other planets fall in the 6th house where spirit finds it full incarnation in the material world- this new moon opens a gateway to explore how we bring our dreams into vision. Not the dreams that we have constructed to fit a socially acceptable, safe and rational society, but dreams fueled by the passions and fires of our creative truth and primal energy.
This is about raw spirit incarnating on the material plain.
Also in 6th house Libra are Venus (17 degrees), Mercury 23 degrees), and Bacchus conjunct the Sun at 6 degrees. Dionysus is at 16 Libra.
In working with the energies of the ‘Wild Gods’, we (moon lodge participants) have been exploring how as modern women we may meet this energy in the outer projection of another who appears to possess Dionysian or Pan-like qualities as a force who sweeps us off our feet, turns our world inside-out, and takes us to the brink of madness. Dionysus is also known as the ‘Great Liberator’- the one who dismantles and dismembers the inner psyche, or the cultural order when it becomes too stultified, too rigid, patriarchal, controlling, or tight.
Dionysus is a god of the goddess and may well be a cultural icon for the reinstation of the sacred feminine.
In the myth of Dionysus, the stifling energy of patriarchal control is embodied by the King of Thebes, Pentheus who does not believe that Dionysus is a God. Unfortunately for him he meets a Dionysian- like shamanic death when he is torn limb from limb by the women of Thebes who under the frenzied spell of the God of ecstasy have retreated to the wild mountains to enjoy the rites of Bacchus. To make matters worse, Pentheus meets his gruesome death at the hands of his own mother who in her abandoned state has failed to recognize her own son.
In psychological terms this speaks of the dismantling of the old structures of the psyche that must be dissolved, sometimes chaotically and wildly so that the new, more authentic and natural expression can manifest.
Dionysus, like the great Hindu goddess Kali, takes no prisoners.
In the psyche, Pentheus and Dionysus are placed on a diametric axis representing the battle between the wild, ecstatic, and irrational aspects of ourselves pitted against the mortification of too much control and empty civility. In an embodied sense Dionysus may be the life force, prana, chi, or libido that seeks to find expression and be released from the body armoring that we have attempted to protect and control ourselves with.
On a collective level the systems we have created that does not allow life to flow freely is the cultural body armoring where the heart of the matter has been lost.
How do we meet the instinctual and irrational in ourselves? What access do we have to release this energy? If we do not find ways to honor this god, he will surely have his way with us by appointing an actor or an event onto the stage of our life to initiate this release for us. As Jung says, the unmet gods have become our diseases. When we don’t allow expression of our natural energy, we may fall sick. Or we meet it in another.
How many women have crawled from the dance with a Dionysian man, broken, stripped bare and on her knees… but stronger and more aware of her own wild power?
As we discovered in our moon lodge, Dionysus does not always manifest in the form of a wild god and many Dionysian women have also led one on a merry dance to their disintegration.
But we rise, and maybe now we can find a way to own that energy in ourselves so that we do not need someone to enact it for us. What does it mean in your life to own that wild power, and use the energy to bring your creative dreams to manifestation? How do you tap into your instinctual nature and your spirit’s calling?
This new moon is a portal into exploring what it is we are doing with our sacred energy. How we are using it to manifest and create in the world while honoring both the rational and irrational, male and female, and solar- lunar energy?
Saturn and Pluto up on the midheaven of this chart are preparing for their great meeting in January 2020 when this mighty merging will be expressed in the collective. Pluto is sometimes equated with Dionysus in the ancient world and when met with Saturn, the father of structure, rules and tradition, the showdown between the irrational and the rational will be under sway.
Here is the dance of Dionysus and Pentheus in the collective sphere.
What has become outmoded in the collective that needs a good Plutonian or Dionysian shake-up?
I recently watched the film Citizen 4 about Edward Snowdon, a whistleblower who leaked classified information from the NSA (National Security Agency) that implicated the U.S government in the unlawful spying on its citizens. I was intrigued by the force of conviction held by Snowden and his willingness to put himself in grave danger for the liberation of the American people. Snowden who was born on the summer solstice has a tight Pluto Saturn conjunction- Pluto at 26 Libra, Saturn at 27 Libra.
Here is an example of the person who will go to extreme lengths in defense of liberation which for him, is freedom to remain private from the spying eyes of the government.
Dionysus and the Maenads -the wild women who followed him- did not perform their rites in the Market Square for the amusement of all, they performed them in remote wild places ensuring total freedom and abandonment without danger of being co-opted or appropriated as so many ‘movements’ are. Watch out green ecology movement.
Untimely, Dionysus and Bacchus point to the need for the feminine in all her sacred and terrible aspects to be released from the bondage of a patriarchal sensibility that through fear has attempted to restrain the creative well spring of death and rebirth.
The laws of the Goddess- renewal and transformation- will always find expression both individually and collectively for it is the law of life and cannot be stopped anymore than summer turning to autumn.
If the great gods Pan, Dionysus or Bacchus, asks you to dance, I suggest you take your shoes off and head to the mountains.

From the Heath Where Witches are Kept Alive

Circe offering the cup to odysseus by John William Waterhouse

Now women return from afar, from always; from ‘without’, from the heath where witches are kept alive; from below, from beyond ‘culture’.

– Helen Cixous

In Scotland there are plans to erect a light house on the Firth of Forth in memory of the thousands of women who were murdered because they were accused of witchcraft. An article in the Scottish newspaper says.

“In 1563, the passing of the Scottish Witchcraft Act made witchcraft – or consulting with witches – capital crimes in Scotland, after which thousands of women were publicly accused between the 16th and 18 centuries.”

The photo below is from a recently published interactive map. It tracks more than 3,000 Scots women who were accused of being witches in the 16th and 17th Century.

Scotland was only one country where women were burned at the stake or endured humiliating trials at the hands of the church fathers and the courts. All over Europe the story was repeated.

Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of the Witches) is a treatise authorized in 1484 by Pope Innocent VIII – Malleus outlines and sanctions inquisitorial practices to exterminate witches. It ascertained that all witchcraft stemmed from “carnal lust” (quoted in Shuttle and Redgrove, 1978, p.54). In a chapter entitled ‘Nine Million Menstrual Murders’ Shuttle and Redgrove propose that being a woman was enough to be targeted in the campaign:

“In the middle-ages, it scarcely mattered whether you were an organized dissident or not. You were a dissident by being a woman. One aspect of women’s dissidence, so far as men are concerned, is that they magically menstruate, and produce magical blood” (Shuttle and Redgrove 1978, p.204).

The interactive witches map of Scotland is part of a growing trend to resurrect the story of the witch trials, a campaign that is taking root in many places as people come to terms with the ‘gendercide’, that occurred in this dark chapter of human history. From a deep instinctual place people are realizing that although the crimes happened centuries ago, the legacy lives on… sometimes all too painfully in the body memory of women who were the scapegoat of these dark projections and who continue to bear the emotional scarring.

It is time this wound is healed.

Articles like the one in the Scottish newspaper, the interactive map, the light house, the awareness raising of places like Crossbones graveyard in London are all involved in bringing the emaciated and rotting skeleton of crimes against the feminine out of the cultural closet and the shadow of the collective psyche.

And that has got to be a god thing, and yet…

I am ambivalent – on one hand of course it is good that a mass tragedy inflicted on the feminine by the patriarchy is finally being brought to light. On the other hand, there is a danger of bypassing the root of this wound by not addressing and challenging the consciousness that festered in the minds of the church fathers and other upholders of extreme anti- feminine attitudes. Attitudes that one may feasibly question if still exist today.

Is this misogynist consciousness truly healed? Is it true to say that the toxicity that led to this terrible blight has disappeared? Deep beneath the surface of everyday civility and politeness have we truly cleaned out this this wound? Are we now a woman loving culture?

On Canterbury’s river Stour just, a short distance from my house and from the towering Cathedral, a wooden seat is raised a few feet above the water. It is a replica of a torture device affectionately known as the ‘ducking seat’. Its purpose at the time of the witch trials was to plunge women who were suspected witches into the water to determine their innocence or culpability. If the woman drowned, she was not a witch, it she did not drown it proved that she was a witch and she was murdered anyway.

Historically a device of torture now a tourist attraction, symbols like the ducking seat are disturbing reminders of a dark misogynist past that find their way unchallenged into our contemporary landscapes. Will the lighthouse be the same? Will it be a tourist attraction? A photo opportunity? Or will it open the possibility of a gateway into understanding the collective psyche in relation to the feminine?

For me the true healing comes when women clear this vibration from their body-mind-spirit and reclaim their power.


Meeting the Wild Gods: Return form the Underworld – New Moon 28th September, 7.26 PM GMT- Persephone & Dionysus

Brigid Marlin – Persephone Painting

The September new moon places asteroid Persephone at 8 degrees Capricorn conjunct the MC, and asteroid Bacchus, or Eleutherois (“the liberator”) conjunct the Sun at 6-degree Libra.

Today (23rd September) in ancient Greece marks the end of the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, a death and resurrection initiation reenacting the story of Persephone’s descent into Hades. Before the initiates, or the mystai, could enter the sacred temple (Telesterion), they would recite, “I have fasted, I have drunk the kykeon, I have taken from the kiste (“box”) and after working it have put it back in the calathus (“open basket”).

After witnessing and embodying the mysteries, and sworn to secrecy, the initiates returned home to continue their daily lives. Having undergone profound transformation – a meeting with the chaotic and the divine – and facing, if not actual death, then certainly ego death, they are now liberated from fear and limited conditioning…they have met the gods.

Situations or people who may have suppressed, controlled or intimidated them previously are now cast aside as non-threatening pale comparisons of the true power and inner light that now possesses them.

As with many of the ancients gods who are often different expressions of the same energy, Hades and Dionysus may be viewed as one in the same according to Heraclitus.

1st image: Terracotta Relief of Persephone Seated on a Throne Receiving Dionysus 6th century B.C

Horned god figures such as Bacchus and Dionysus can lead us on a wild descent into the non-rational, chthonic and ecstatic states, for a confrontation with the divine in its most terrible aspects. The purpose of these experiences is to release trapped libido, to shirk off false conditioning and to find and own our true power.

It is not an easy journey and there is always the danger of no return. As with all initiation it is a confrontation, if not with death, then certainly the terrifying, the non-rational and the mad aspects of the unconscious. Many are lost by the wayside or fail to grasp the bitter gift of such dismantling experiences choosing to remain instead victimized and controlled.

The gods have become diseases says Carl Jung. If the gods are ignored or suppressed or we do not answer their call to initiation and renewal, we get sick. Liminal gods like Dionysus and Persephone who move between the underworld and the rational world offer the opportunity of death and rebirth.

The descent is annihilation but only of the old outmoded and limited parts of ourselves that the wild gods insist we sacrifice.

The next Canterbury Moon Lodge explores how as modern women we may be confronted by the terrible and wild power of the liminal gods in the repressed aspects of ourselves bursting through rational conditioning and initiating encounters in the world that while strip us to the bone, ultimately strengthens us and offers redemption.

September Full Moon in Pisces- Sacred Union

Soul mates by Ankur Rana

Full moon at 05.52 on Saturday 14th September.

With a strong 1st house, 7th house axis, this chart shines a light on relationships, inviting us to consider what good, healthy, respectful relationships look like, and whether are we cultivating those ideals in our lives.

With a stellium of planets in Virgo in the 1st house, including the sun at 21 degrees, feminine earthy Virgo is seeking a certain quality of relationship, discerning between the ones worth investing in and the ones that are unable to engage in respectful union at this time- and this does not only apply to lover relationships.

With Juno exactly on the ascendant, this rising energy is concerned with marriage, commitment, give-and-take, power and compromise, toward creating harmonious and satisfying relationships in which both parties are seen, met and valued.

Juno also suggests the empowerment we may experience while we are embedded in such relationships. When we feel valued, loved, safe, and respected we thrive and from that union we are brought closer to the truth of who we are.

If we are not inviting and sustaining nurturing relationships in our life, if instead we are finding discord, imbalance, disrespect and relationships driven by unowned shadow aspects, it may be tempting to project the blame outward, however Nessus on the descendent in the 7th house flags up a cautionary warning to examine how it may be ourselves and the not the other who is responsible for creating disharmony.

Nessus asks us to go even deeper to consider the ways in which we may in fact be harbouring the things which we resent and resist in others. This may be a very tough reckoning on the root causes of trauma and disconnection, asking us to review early relationship imprinting and conditioning.

According to astrologer Melanie Reinhart, Nessus offers the possibility of putting an end to outmoded and detrimental dynamics in our life- Nessus is the centaur who says, “the buck stops here”. What in your life, particularly regarding relationships are you simply not prepared to tolerate any longer? And is it really a feature of the other, or a hidden aspect in yourself that needs to be worked on to be released?

And what are your deepest longings for union with another, or others?

With strong Virgo energy it may be time to discern exactly who and what we want in our life. If we are attached and find it difficult to let go of toxic or unhealthy situations, it is time to get honest about what really holds us in positions of lack and disempowerment.

Meditating on moon and Neptune in Pisces in the 7th house, it may become clear that in the end, self is other and other is self, and all is one. This insight shows us that how we treat others and allow others to treat us reflects our relationship with our self.

To see the world and the people in it as a cosmic and sacred mirror through which we can see into the depths of our own soul may be the teaching of this moon.

This lunar cycle began with asteroid Magdalene on the north node, highlighting a potential collective shift toward qualities embodied by that archetype. The relationship between Mary Magdalene and Yeshua has been felt to be one of the most honouring, sacred, respectful and powerful ever witnessed or documented.

As the moon comes to fruition tomorrow, the full lunar illumination may also shine a light on our deepest desires for sacred union and what it takes to create that.

Friday 13th, The Moon, Mary Magdalene, and the Feminine Mysteries.

Mary Magdalene ca.1524 Andrea Solario and Bernardino Luini at The Walters Art Museum

Celebrate Friday 13th as a day to reclaim all that has been exiled about the divine feminine, the Goddess of love, the mysteries of death, resurrection, renewal, and the moon.

While the number 13 has been much maligned in our culture and is thought to be a harbinger of bad luck and evil, it is in fact an auspicious day connected to the Goddess, the sacred feminine,Venus and Mary Magdalene.

In ancient times there were 13 months in a year as there were 13 moons in a year and 13 menstrual cycles. The 13 month, 28-day, relationship to time was dominant on our planet for 6000 years before the turn from lunar to solar consciousness.

The Maya, Celts, Egyptians, Lakota, Essenes, Polynesians, and Cherokee all used a 13-month calendar. The Druid 13-month calendar was connected to their alphabet and tree calendar – each consonant of the Druid alphabet represented a moon cycle. In both Mayan and Druid cultures, the extra day was a ‘non-calendar day’ or a ‘day out of time’, traditionally a day of ritual and renewal in preparation for the coming year.

There is a technical term for fear of Friday 13th- ‘friggatriskaidekaphoboa’, the ‘Frigga’ prefix comes from the name of the Goddess from whom Friday was named. Frigg, or Freyja, like Venus or Aphrodite, is associated with love, fertility and erotic love.

Superstitious beliefs about Friday 13th can be traced back to the capture of the Knights Templar and according to Margaret Starbird, even further back to the Hebrew bible and the capture of the Jewish people.

On Friday 13th 1307, the French King Philip 1V ordered the mass arrest of 60 odd Knights Templar, including their grand master Jacques de Molay. The official reason given for this capture is that the Templars had become too wealthy and powerful, and that Philip the Fair was also a rather greedy King who wished to amass more wealth. Unofficially, the story becomes much more esoteric suggesting that the wealth possessed by the Knights was not of a material nature, but a mystical treasure linked to the Goddess, the Egyptian mysteries, and Mary Magdalene who some call the 13th disciple.

For Starbird, fear of Friday 13th goes back to the Hebrew Bible, the book of Esther, when Haman persuaded Esther’s husband, the King of Babylon, to arrest and execute her people, the Jews, en masse. She says that the faith of the Templars was based on ancient “Ebionite” or “Judaic-Christian” roots that included the full humanity of Jesus (including marriage and parenthood). This points the way to claims that attest to the union between Mary Magdalene and Jesus and the birthing of a holy blood line- whether physical or spiritual and probably both.

The number 13 is symbolic of feminine power, creative life force, and wisdom. Though Death is number 13 in the tarot deck, feminine wisdom teaches us that death also points to rebirth and renewal. On the inner planes ego death or death of the old self, heralds deep transformation necessary for conscious awakening- spirit incarnate.


The King and I: Soli luna Awakening on the Assumption of the Virgin.

The Plasma Queen and the Green Lion

Image: ‘Queen and Green Lyon’ by Elena Ray

What is your dangerous skill?

What is it that you need to reinstate in yourself to place yourself on your throne?

Today on the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (15th August), the cosmic line- up places a mighty divine feminine signature emblazoned across the top of the heavens.

While the full moon at 22 degrees Aquarius is opposing a Kingly Leo Sun, his consort is none other than the Goddess of love, sexuality, beauty and earthly pleasures, Venus. The feminine spirit embodied in union with the full power of an expressed and awakened solar consciousness can also be seen in the many depictions of the Great Mother goddess Cybele on her lion-drawn chariot, wildly banging her frame drum, triumphantly extolling the deep resonant sound of the sacred earth. Cybele is an earth goddess.

Dane Rudhyar’s sabian symbol for 23 Leo is uncannily appropriate for the opportunities available to make conscious intention towards expressing the divine feminine nature in the world, placing awakened feminine conscious firmly in the material world- bringing the Goddess out of the closet and reinstating her on her earthly throne.


KEYNOTE: The audacity and perseverance required to control and play with the powerful energies of the vital realm in human existence.

What is your dangerous skill? What is it that you need to reinstate in yourself to place yourself on your throne?


There are a cluster of asteroids on the extended outer asteroid belt known as ‘The Cybele asteroids’- they number approximately 2000, with seven main ones- Sylvia, Camilla, Hermione, Freia, Pretoria, and Steroeskopia. Four of these main Cybele asteroids are currently orbiting around the mid heaven of the full moon chart, alongside Venus 22 degrees Leo, and Juno 26 degrees Leo. The asteroid Hermione, a huge body discovered in 1872, is placed at 10 degrees Scorpio conjunct the ascendant at 12 degrees Scorpio.

In Greek mythology Hermione was the daughter of Menelaus of Sparta and Helen of Troy- the gist of her story is that there was a lot of confusion over the identity of her truly beloved and betrothed- was it Orestes who secured her hand before the Trojan war, or Achilles Neoptolemus who was promised Hermione as his bride during the conflict? After the war, unhappily married to Neoptolemeus, Hermione became paranoid and suspicious that Andromache, wife of Hector had placed a curse on her to prevent her from conceiving a child. Soon after, Hermione fled with her cousin Orestes as was originally planned and lived happily ever after.

With the great cosmic feminine line-up, the Assumption of the Virgin into heaven, Venus riding on the back of her alchemical Lion, and asteroid Hermione, one of the largest asteroids in the Cybele cluster rising, what is the symbolic essence of this power full moon gateway?

Here, I offer my intuitive perspective in the hope that it might speak to you on some level:

This archetype is a symbol of the feminine finding her true consort- not the consort out there projected in the world, but her inner masculine consort, her true animus. The story speaks of returning to the original plan…your personal Eden… before the war, before separation, before conflict and fragmentation. What was your original plan, what is the true face of your soul, and what do you need to in order to reinstate it? How do you find your inner beloved so that you can wed in holy sacred union and express your full lunar and solar power?

In the myth, Orestes is the cousin of Hermione, this speaks of the two of them being born from the same stock, not by flesh and blood but by energetic vibration and soul plan. He is her true love, but they lose each other in a bloody war in which there is much confusion and false promises. It is little wonder that Hermione grows unhappy and unsettled in a union with Neoptolemus, as she is not rightfully his and he has claimed her under a false pretext. This is the false animus and can be seen in the many ways women allow themselves to be controlled by an overly rigid patriarchal ideal. In such a contract she will never be able to express the fullness of her feminine soul. In turmoil and confusion, she suspects another woman of sabotaging her- the other woman is an unintegrated aspect of herself- the wife of the king. She herself is not the wife of her King and therefore pregnancy cannot happen in a diminished and unnatural context.

To conceive of and birth her true self she must first return to her true consort.

This reunion with the Self is expressed not only in the story of Hermione, but in many symbolic reflections of the ‘Gods’ today:

The Assumption of the Virgin (the whole unto herself feminine) into the kingdom of heaven (full awakened consciousness).

Venus, the fully embodied lover Goddess throned on her solar consort. Juno, daughter of Saturn and wife of Jupiter in close alliance, protectress of the sacred community and ensuring that the natural laws are adhered to.

The strong ‘Cybelene’ signature seen in the many Cybele asteroids, and particularly in the rising of Hermione in Scorpio.

Another point to note is that the Selene, the full moon, or White moon… the full lunar expression is currently sitting at 21 degrees of Capricorn exactly conjunct Pluto, lord of the underworld. Here she shines her full lunar illumination on the inner workings of the unconscious. What are the factors at play that hold you in positions of falsity? What is it that needs to be brought into conscious awareness so that it can be transformed and become an aid in facilitating your holy marriage?

In the Assumption of Mary, it is commonly held that it is Arch Angel Michael who aided Mary in her return to heaven. Call upon your inner warrior, not to slay your dragons but rather to get to know them, befriend them and then free the trapped energy to fuel your initiation.

The Assumption of Mary & the Awakening Feminine Consciousness.

The Assumption is a pivotal time to evoke a fully awakened feminine consciousness.

Mary In Lyon

Statue of Mary on top of the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourviere, Lyon

For the past few days I have been walking to the top of the hill over looking the city of Lyon. There stands the Basilica of Notre dame de Fourviere dedicated to Mary, side-by-side with Roman remains of what was once the most important centre in Gaul. In 1704 a taurobolic alter was discovered on the hill; it was used for ritualistic and sacrificial offerings to the Great Mother, Cybele as far back as 160BC.


Roman remains next to the Notre dame Basilica in Lyon where the taurobolic alter was found in 1704.

Cybele and her Lion Chariot

Cybele- the Magna Mater on her lion drawn chariot.

In the crypt there must be at least a dozen statues and paintings of Mary from all over the world. There are a few Black Madonnas among which are the ‘Black Madonna of Loreto’, and ‘Notre Dame de Fourviere’.

Notre Dame de Fourviere

Black Madonna de Fourviere in the crypt at Lyon.

I have felt very moved to be here… for centuries this has been a hugely significant Mary cult site, and in spite of the apparent corruptions and distortions of the feminine within the Catholic church, there is something much deeper and abiding. There is something pure to be discovered.

15th August is a national holiday here in France for the Assumption of Mary, officially recognised by the papacy in 1950. Tomorrow’s full moon in Aquarius also joins the Leo Sun and Venus in an exact conjunction. It is the perfect expression of soli-lunar power and magic. It is the power of the awakened feminine joined in union with the Sun.


Assumption of the Virgin- Guido Reni

Lyon is on the Apollo/Athena line an extention of the Michael and Mary line which according to Hamish Miller in “The Dance of the Dragon” extends from Skellig St.Michael in Ireland to Armageddon in Turkey.


The Apollo/Athena Ley Line, and extention of the Michael/Mary line inHamish Miller’s  “The Dance of the Dragon”

Apollo/Athena- Michael/Mary- expressions of the ‘hieros gamos’ or marriage of the God and Goddess in the physical world reflecting a state of awakened consciousness.

It is said that it was Arch Angel Michael who aided Mary in her Assumption.


St. Michael La Polermo

Full Moon Lunar Eclipse- Portal to the Past

Past lives, karma, ancestral fields, soul contacts… these are topics I rarely write about but as we are in the midst of a powerful eclipse season, and the full moon on Tuesday happens to be a lunar eclipse conjunct the south node, all things past, and even the very far past, are on the radar both collectively and individually. Maybe I am feeling this slightly more acutely as my natal sun is 17 degrees Capricorn which is the point of the lunar eclipse south node, and as well as a recent Pluto/Sun conjunction -which means I have been immersed in some pretty hefty transpersonal energies for the past couple of years- I am feeling the effects of some strong shifts. And yes, it also means a current Saturn/Sun transit. It’s been a ride!

During this eclipse season on the Capricorn/Cancer axis, and particularly the full moon lunar eclipse on Tuesday we are presented with a portal to the past, to go beyond the usual time/space restrictions of the temporal world and to glimpse the bigger picture. If you want to know what soul issues are up for healing for you at this time, take a close look at the conditions of your life. What issues are really hot? What issues seem to be coming round-and-round-again-and-again? Maybe it is a relationship pattern. Maybe it is an old story you live out of such as broken woman, or poverty consciousness, sick man, or unlovable person… What are the issues that really need your attention right now so that you can move on with your soul’s unfolding toward becoming the person you are here to be?

On a collective level what is up for healing is the uncovering and exposing of shadow aspects of power, especially as it relates to resources, sexuality, and manipulation.

My relationship with the past is changing. I find myself these days recalling many incidents from my life, things I had not forgotten about exactly, but which I am now interpreting quite differently. Things once only vaguely understood and barely integrated are now taking shape within a much larger framework, and when I say larger, I mean beyond the scope of this current life identity.

I have no recollections, and only vague notions of what might, at a push, be considered fragments of past lives. Past lives are a tricky topic… people who have ‘memories’ are often treated with a large dose of new age salt, or else are met with the usual retort of “why was no one a lowly peasant or ordinary person, why were they all kings and queens?.” Fair point, I get it, but what if the images we receive in relation to past lives are both symbolic and literal- in other words, what if recollections of past lives are, along with other material existing in our unconscious, pictorial representations of the vibrations we carry? Another way of saying this is that these ‘visions’ may be the soul’s way of telling its story, given as a gift to help us become fully self-realised. To help us remember who we are, to show us what we are working with at this point in our journey, and to glimpse what needs to be cleared so that we can move onto the next rung of the spiral.

Jung says the archetype comes cloaked in many guises that can be best understood by the receiver in his or her individual and cultural circumstance. In shamanic journeys people often ask me, “how do I know it’s not just my mind making it all up?” Well it might be, but why that particular image out of all the millions of other images? And even if it is just wishful thinking, that is still telling us a lot.

Several years ago, while embroiled in a messy and destructive relationship, a well-meaning friend suggested I go and visit a past life regression therapist, so I did. It was the first time I had ventured into this territory. I set a clear intention… I wanted to see on a soul level the dynamic that was operating between me and the man in question. I experienced something very similar to a shamanic journey but with a slight difference- except for shamanic journeys that also have a past life quality to them. The experience was also different to dreaming, even dreams that I consider of the ‘big’ variety. This was something else, and I even experienced strong bodily sensations so much so that my speech became impaired.

During my session I was in a state of semi hypnosis. I had a sense that the answer to my question was being shown to me in a mythical context through images that formed a narrative. The story was archetypal and yet contained information that was personal to me. I can’t remember if I had this insight during or after the session but at some point I realised that the information was not just showing me the quality and conditions of my relationship with the man, but also a vibration that I carry that had manifested in countless ways both in my present life… and in past lives. The reason for it surfacing again so painfully in my current situation is that it had come into my field for healing. It was time to let it go and I needed to re-experience the memory so that I could bring it into conscious awareness, and finally heal it.

This is just one example of how over the years I have connected with the patterns that I carry in my life, although this was the first time that I had confronted it so directly as a past life experience. In other instances, I have accessed the ‘codes’ in other ways including shamanic journeying, rebirthing, sacred sites, relationships, working with archetypes, and finally evolutionary astrology. Which brings me full circle back to the point of writing this blog.

Take this opportunity to dive deep. Really look into what it is that wants to be addressed at this time in your life. You will know. And then use this gateway of the south node (where we have been), conjunct the moon (our unconscious), conjunct Pluto (transformation), and Saturn (karma) to shed a layer or two.

You may have been waiting lifetimes for this moment. It may be time to show yourself as who you truly are.

Finding Our Way Home: New Moon in Cancer & the Total Solar Eclipse

Denise Elizabeth Byron Cancer New Moon and Solar Eclipse

Image By Denise Elizabeth Byron

The new moon at 10 degrees Cancer is happening in conjunction with a full solar eclipse and opens a portal for us to connect with our heart, feelings, and emotional body. It offers an opening for a ‘homecoming’ by showing us, through our feeling and emotional body, a way back to our true emotional nature.

It is an opportunity to touch base with and define what our real emotional needs are, what makes us feel safe in the world, and who and what help us to create the right environment to thrive in our full feminine essence. Of course, this does not only apply to women, it is also an opportunity for men to connect with their feeling body and perhaps review the ways society has conditioned men away from this truth.

And that’s just the beginning!

Eclipse season starting with the new moon in Cancer on July 2nd amplifies the energies and initiates a new season of change. After the full moon conjunct Pluto on 16th July, there is a sense of no going back… a point of no return from what has come to consciousness relating to our innermost needs and the unfolding of our soul.

The new moon and solar eclipse happen at 10 degrees of Cancer: Cancer is the first water sign and is deeply personal, it represents our first unconscious urges and impulses. There is the potential at this time to facilitate a ‘deconditioning’ of early imprints that we received from our family of origin, communities, and cultures especially as it relates to the emotional body, learned behavior and the ways in which we may have learned to survive by suppressing or distorting our feelings to meet the expectations of others. With the north node of the moon also in the sign of Cancer, there is a need to create an authentic, feeling based life that is more in tune with our deepest selves.

Our feelings are guides and way-showers of who we are and what we need in order to express ourselves fully. They are not to be made wrong.

With north node in Cancer, we are also being directed to consider our own personal moon and its day-to-day needs. What is your essential emotional nature, and how have you judged that? How is your personal moon doing, is she able to express herself? What are you choosing for yourself, and are you honoring your Moon?

Following what feels right and not what we, or others, think is right is a good compass at this time. It is about trusting our intuition and instincts again. For many women and men this sacred ability has been lost or diminished.

Who or what is home for you- have you found that yet? This lunar cycle is about bravely owing who we are at the most primal feeling level, and then mothering our own needs.

People pleasing behavior and self- betrayal in an attempt to find love in dried up or unavailable places may be sorely challenged and exposed now.

With the mothering and nurturing energy of Cancer, this time is also about considering the needs of others however the desire now is for truly equal and heart-based relationships based on mutual giving and receiving with those who can meet us in our emotional body and give of themselves in an authentic way. Relationships that are unbalanced or unequal in terms of emotional nurturance and exchange may be challenged, and with the personal planets Mars and Mercury squaring Uranus, there may be a break down, or a break-through.

What no longer fits you? What have you outgrown? Uranus can change the situation with lighting speed if you are conscious of what you need and of the dynamics that need to shift. Be mindful though that the square may also encourage behavior influenced from our unconscious or old patterns if we do not bring the situation to light from our feeling body. This can feel very vulnerable for the ego which may have maintained negative patterns of survival for many years.

Mars and Mercury are also forming a trine to Chiron which may suggest a personal shift and a reclaiming of something that has been forgotten, overlooked, or abandoned.

The north node is all about progression, developing and growth, whereas the south node is about release and letting go. The south node at 17 Capricorn, conjunct Saturn and Pluto is releasing at a deep soul level and possibly preparing us for the grand event of 2020- the Saturn Pluto conjunction which happens on a collective level.

What needs to go, what needs to come in?

To recap: The new moon total Solar eclipse in Cancer, along with the north node is highlighting the need for change, it is not a change of the will or one concerned with societal expectations- or indeed any expectations- it is a deep unfolding of our essential feeling nature and a need to create environments and relationships that nurture us. In doing so we are birthed from the womb of the Mother into our feminine essence- this applies to men as much as women. As the feminine soul appears to be the missing link in our dissolving culture (Pluto conjunct Saturn), the possibility to birth a new way that incorporates the feeling self is initiated with the new moon and eclipse season.

A key word to consider based on Dane Rudhyar’s sabian symbols is ‘DECONDITIONING’.

It is important not to get lost in an attitude of resentment and anger at the mechanics that have been operative in our culture and in our personal environments that may have led to various distortions of our feelings and emotions as this may inhibit the full potential of this time. Better to release old patterns with grace and an understanding that for whatever reason, even although it may not feel like it, part of us was complicit in the program.

Taking full responsibility will lead to greater liberation. We may have colluded but now, with more insight and a deeper connection with our hearts and emotional nature, we can plant the seeds to create the environments and relationships that will nurture us.