Sheela-Na-Gig, St. Patrick, and the Serpents of Ireland.

Le Diable de Papefiguiere, by Charles Eisen

‘Le Diable de Papefiguiere’ from ‘Contes et Nouvelles en vers’ by Jean de la Fontaine *engraving *

The wheel of the year turns to the gateway of Spring- the first day of Spring heralded by the Vernal equinox when primordial forces of fertility, life and renewal are strong. It is a balancing point between the opposites, inviting integration and wholeness… beyond duality.

In the old Celtic calendar, the Sheela na Gig was celebrated on March 18th- the day after St. Patrick’s Day- the Saint who allegedly eradicated the serpent form Ireland and converted the people from pagan to Christian.

The unflinching Sheela, shamelessly opening and exposing her vulva for all the world to see is in stark contrast to the pious Christian missionary bearing book and cross.

It may be no coincidence that Saint Patrick is celebrated on March 17th (other than it is said to be his death day) as it is at this time of the year when the serpent energies, risen on Imbolc and celebrated by honouring the Goddess Brigid are sweeping thorough the land and people, gaining strength towards the fertility rites of Spring, and onward to Beltane.

This fertile power is connected to the mysteries of the womb… life, death, renewal, and transformation. Killing the serpent can be read symbolically as crushing the feminine wisdom deemed to be dangerous by the Church Fathers… kundalini fires of awakening that forge empowered people for whom an intermediary to Source is redundant. It is also a confrontation with death not as an end in itself or a prelude to the heavenly hereafter but as an organic cycle.

Fertility and the rites of the spring points to more than the greening of the land or the fertilization of the egg- it is the physical manifestation of divine processes able to facilitate a deeper anchoring of Spirit in the material world. It is the sacred marriage of Heaven and Earth, the union of opposites expressed so perfectly in the equal day and night of the equinox and offers a portal into the mysteries of the ‘twice born’, as expressed through the mythos of the resurrected Christ.

The gaping black-hole of the Sheela’s yoni invites us in, challenging us to enter even as we instinctively know that part of us will die. Her plump, fleshy and fertile vulva is in stark contrast to her deathly skinny crone body with protruding ribs and swollen staring eyes that refuse humility.

Sheela Na Gig

Sheela Na Gig

This is the initiation… the resolve of opposites, life and death, heaven, and earth, in one whole and eternal cycle with no beginning and no end, no good or bad, or hierarchy of dark and light… a knowledge which surely challenges our ego, constructed through illusions of safety, control, and superiority… and separation from the Great Mother.

Blessing of Spring!

Persephone’s Power

2 saatchi-art-artist-henry-shmulevich-painting-e2809chades-and-persephone

Art work~ Persephone and Hades by Henry Shmulevich

Following on from a previous post about the mother wound, and as my focus on relationships continues, this full moon calls me deeper into psyche through the myth of Kore/Persephone and the Eleusinian mysteries.

At the time of the full moon on Friday 18th March, Persephone is at 9 Gemini 0’ 56” and Ceres is at 8 Gemini 49’ 45”; mother and daughter are in tight conjunction just at the time of year- early spring- when the ancient Greeks marked the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, when Persephone leaves Hades and the underworld to be reunited with her mother… but she is changed, she is no longer Kore innocent maiden goddess, she is now Persephone Queen of the Underworld.

What can the Eleusinian mysteries teach us about feminine consciousness today?

Myths are shapeshifters, they meet us where our own consciousness is; they are multi- faceted, offering up many interpretations depending on where we are in our soul’s journey or psychic transformation. Myths cannot be pinned or fixed to one interpretation; each interpretation shows different aspects and angles, all are valid, all are true. Myths move in spirals. Astro mythology (exploring how myths unfold in our own life through our natal birth chart) is a powerful way to dance with the archetypes and meet ourselves at a deeper level.

How is the myth of Persephone speaking to you, or through you?

Discovering where Persephone sits in your own astrology chart can be a key to the mystery. For myself Persephone is 2 degrees from my descendant and 3 degrees from my north node- this points to Persephone as an archetype that is connected with my soul’s journey but… also suggests that I do not- or have not- fully owned this part of myself… until now.

What is it that I am owning? The dark feminine yes, but it also linked with two main themes: Meeting with my animus including the dark animus; and a separation from the maternal cords that have bound me to not my personal mother perse, but the mother wound that has entangled and prohibited me from growing into mature womanhood. With this aspect I am likely to encounter Persephone in others or be attracted to this quality in others even while I overlook my own Persephone and personal power.

A descent to Hades, the unconscious, sheds light on the forces, beliefs, stories, wounds, fears, and ego identifications that allow us to stay trapped, and to a degree powerless, vulnerable, and limited. It is often the case that a daughter will unconsciously remain small or less than in order to appease her mother who is unconsciously angry or resentful at her own unlived life. This powerless state leaves a woman (daughter) open to manipulation because she unconsciously occupies the role of innocent maiden sometimes long after she has arrived at the stage of life where what is required is mature womanhood.

To an extent the collective is guilty of infantilising women.

The other important aspect of the myth is that during her descent Persephone confronts and integrates death… no longer are the summer meadows endlessly blooming with pretty flowers, the hand of death has risen to ensure that the old dies away allowing the new to flourish…the laws of death and rebirth are honoured for the sake of renewal.

The Eleusinian mysteries can be read as a menstrual myth but also as a menopause myth; a first sexual encounter; a meeting with the animus; a confrontation with death; any transition, or rite of passage. It can also be about accepting the darker aspects of human nature both individually and collectively as well as understanding and coming to terms with power and its operations.

Claiming our own power might not look like good girl behaviour!

Individually if we exist, or strive to exist, only in the light we become unbalanced; our darkness is cast to the shadows and projected onto the outside world or onto others leaving us vulnerable to attracting what we don’t own in ourselves.

This full moon is an opportunity to dive into the depths, a soul retrieval, to reclaim the parts of ourselves that have been banished to the underworld which in the case of modern women where we find our treasure and power. Lilith is an excellent guide in this.

It is also a potent time to consider how we- now that we have owned ourselves- go forward in our relationships, particularly those relationships which have been based on an imbalance of power. Will we forever appease others and carry their unowned stuff, or will we finally place it where it belongs? This question is especially relevant when considering our own mother daughter dynamics… bearing in mind that we find mother in many faces.

I am inextricably linked with my mother line, it cannot be otherwise, but I also hold the power to transform the dynamics of my psyche through what Marion Woodman calls “soul making”, to restore my instincts and live directly from my centre and become a woman who is conscious of herself as a living soul.

I transform my psyche and claim my power through bringing my unconscious to light and through meeting and integrating my animus.

Contact me if you would like an astro- counselling consultation to explore this myth in your own chart and explore how it plays out in your life.

Night Rose

Suhair Sibai

Image by Suhair Sibai.

Some of the hardest wounds to heal are the distortions that come through the mother-line. If as a daughter you lacked a mother’s love through your own mother’s absence, trauma, and fragmentation; or if she loved you in the only way she knew but either consciously or unconsciously handed you her unhealed pain… and the pain of all mothers… if you carried it in quiet desperate smiles, in fevered rages, placid resignation, and lonely spaces then you have lived the mother wound.

If- as daughters do- you absorbed your mother’s wounds and carried them as your own, as she did for her mother (whether she knew it or not), the burden getting heavier with each unacknowledged generation. If you lived the pain and felt the deep knife of intergenerational trauma cut your soul like shards of broken mirror; when the person who should have been your foundation, the matrix out of which you rooted was damaged at the core, as you believed you were too, you know the pain of the mother wound.

If you found The Mother…

in hidden forests; musky damp earth; the smell of rain; the silver trail of snail, and the serenity of the moon; your stirring animal soul; coloured stars like street lights calling you home; shy lips of your first love; the smell of your knees as you lifted them to your chest; feet that begged to be free… and to dance; bells from a distant time; flickering candles and exotic smells; night trains certain that other places exist; strange dreams and the daimon who courted you; endless days of hazy sun and lapping sea, perfectly at peace in your red and white polka dot swimsuit; trees that knew your name; mysterious sap that flowed in dark rivers inside of you; darkness that wrapped you in her arms as you learned to not be afraid; laughter that hurt your head and made you cry; the taste of tears, yours and his.

But still there was the world, the unmothered world that hid its pain and asked you to do the same. Maybe you forgot and remembered The Mother many times over.

If after living the wound- or the wound living you- you found a way to heal, not by being “fixed” by some textbook model unable to guess at let alone know what feminine wholeness looks like, but by rebirthing yourself through the Womb of your Soul, by repeatedly falling into and through the valley of shadows… if you survived… if you rose… if you learned to see in the dark… many beautiful flowers bloom at night. Night rose.

If you followed your inner light no matter how dim… if you set out on your Grail Path… yours and no one else’s and if somehow, piece by piece you put yourself back together and, in that strength, sent love back down the line on the wings of Venus’ dove… through webs and spirals, pumping new life from the sacred heart, purifying the waters of life, the blood… your blood line.

If you forgave; if you saw and came to know the true face behind the pain, the fear, the sad tear of God, and the love of Sophia; If you did that, or are doing that, you are among the strongest this world has known and through you there may yet be redemption.

Words by Karen Mullen-Smith- International Women’s Day, 2022

International Women’s Day: One Tiny Seed at a Time.

Leonora Carrington
“Play Shadow” by Leonora Carrington.

Today is International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women globally.

What are we really celebrating?

Women who against the odds and in the face of adversity, economic hardship and cultural repression have risen time and again in systems of patriarchy that sought to sever her from the ground of her being… body and soul.

And still, she rises…

Like water she finds a way up through the parched earth, a tiny droplet of moisture extracted by the light of the moon, enough for one tiny seed to sprout and grow. One tiny seed at a time.

Women are reforesting the deserts of the inner worlds, pushing from the inside out, breaking the petrified mask of Medusa… watering the wasteland.

Workshop: Venus & Mars: Exploring Union.

Thoth Tarot The Lovers.

Image- “The Lovers” Thoth Tarot

The journey to emotional freedom from the battle of the sexes begins within…

Have you ever considered how your inner masculine (if you are a woman), or your inner feminine (if you are a man) operate? A clue is in the condition of our outer relationships with the opposite sex.

I warmly invite you to join me in a two-part workshop where we explore the inner & outer marriage.

Workshop title: “Venus & Mars: Exploring Union”.

Part 1- Thursday 3rd March-7.00 -9.00 pm GMT-

“Pluto, Power, & What Lies Beneath”

(On this day there is a triple conjunction between Venus, Mars, & Pluto).

Here we will try to get a sense of what dynamics lie beneath our relationship patterns by exploring the following questions:

~Can we identify repeating patterns in our partnerships?

~Can we locate the origins of those patterns?

~How do our relationships make us feel and what are the consequences of participating in relationships that do not feel quite right… and sometimes even quite wrong?

~What and why are we compromising?

~Are our relationships based on love or power?

Part 2- Tuesday 5th April-7.00- 9.00 pm-

“Setting Ourselves Free & Attracting the Love We Want”.

(End of conjunction- Venus enters Pisces).

A chance to review what we have learned from our journey so far and how to move forward with greater awareness of our relationship patterns and preferences.

Cost for both sessions is £40

In each session I will work with a participant’s chart to explore the connection between Venus, Mars, and other relationship signatures, however if you would like a consultation with me before during or after the workshop dates, I am offering a 30% discount to all participants who enrol on the workshop.

You can book you place for the two part workshop here.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/…/venus-mars-exploring

Or pay using Paypal and send an email confirmation to karen@redspiral.co.uk

paypal.me/karensmith1732

Anaïs Nin: Vesta & Lilith, Sacred & Profane.

Image by Marco Paludet

Image by Marco Paludet

With the spotlight on Venus and Mars over the next month or so, today’s musings turn to sexuality and the Prima Materia of romantic relationship between the sexes. Here’s a lady who knows a thing or two about sexuality and who once claimed, “I had my degree in erotic love”.

It also happens to be her birthday today.

Anaïs Nin (February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977), was a French Cuban-American diarist, essayist, novelist and writer of short stories and erotica. She is hailed as the one of the finest writers of female erotica and was the first prominent woman in the West known to write erotica.

While there are no aspect patterns between her natal Venus and Mars, Nin’s Mars is prominent in her first house conjunct the north node- her destiny was tied up with sexuality and this was a very strong aspect of her identity.

Venus is conjunct Vesta in Pisces in the house of service, and certainly Nin’s erotic literature seemed to be in service to uncovering the largely unknown territory of female sexuality. Venus conjunct Vesta brings a quality of the sacred and profane nature of sexuality and many of her short stories revolve around the themes of sexual corruption, power, submission and in many instances the sacralising of the “whore” – this is Vesta’s territory: the sacred sexual priestess. And I think that who Nin was.

Also striking is her Lilith conjunct the IC; it is no secret that Nin is said to have an incestuous encounter with her father at the age of 32 (and who knows what may have occurred before). Here, Lilith true and Lilith mean are on the exact degree with only a few arc minutes difference; it is unusual to have no or little corridor or “Temple” of Lilith and according to Kelley Hunter this denotes an intense and instant manifestation of Lilith.

Over the coming weeks and months, I am diving deep into relationships and sexuality. If you would like to have a consultation with me to explore this and related themes in your own life, I would be delighted to facilitate this exploration for you through the lens of astrology, myth, and archetype.

“With her eyes alone, she could give this response, this absolutely erotic response, as if febrile waves were trembling there, pools of madness… something devouring that could lick a man all over like a flame, annihilate him, with a pleasure never known before.”

~ Anaïs Nin, “Little Birds”.

Magdalena on the Galactic Centre- Venus/Mars Conjunction: Full Moon Sacred Union Activation

Image- Mary Magdalene and Yeshua (ChristoSophia), Kilmore Church, Dervaig, Scotland.

Image- Mary Magdalene and Yeshua (ChristoSophia), Kilmore Church, Dervaig, Scotland.

On 16 February, the Moon will be full at 27 ° Leo, opposite the Sun at 27 ° Aquarius. Illuminated by the Sun this is a fiery moon, a Queenly moon, reflecting the light of Aquarian consciousness from the throne of the heart. A Leo moon indicates a solar feminine quality, a signature that is also reflected in Venus’ blazing glory as Morning star.

While the dance of divine feminine and divine masculine is highlighted in the opposition of the luminaries- Sun & Moon- cosmic lovers, Venus & Mars tango in an exact conjunction at 16 ° Capricorn. Magnetic Venus, core essence of the feminine nature in her manifest form awakens the impulse to regenerative life-force, activating Mars’ libido and vitality… the Goddess of Love is being penetrated by her cosmic consort. The union takes place at 16 ° Capricorn, sanctioned by Earth bound Law Keeper and Lord of Karma, Saturn; vows made by the union of masculine and feminine at this time have staying power and holds the potential to actualize on the material plane.

This is the hieros gamos- the sacred marriage made manifest through masculine and feminine polarity and union.

At the point of the Moon’s fullness asteroid Magdalena is conjunct the Galactic Center at 26 ° Sagittarius. Mary Magdalene, in whom the hieros gamos takes place archetypally within her own essence and in sacred union with Christ, emanates higher vibrational information from Source to the human sphere. For the Maya, the Galactic Center was the supreme godhead and ultimate creator which they named “Hunab Ku;” for them it was a portal to other galaxies and the consciousness that organizes all matter from a whirling disk into stars, planets, and solar systems. Burst of energy from the Galactic Centre- the cosmic womb- is the portal through which the creator orchestrates the unfolding of our galaxy.

Mary Magdalene Priestess and Keeper of the Womb Mysteries embodies the feminine Christ; She holds within Her being dark and light; She anoints Yeshua and resurrects the human soul. Through sacred feminine gnosis- now mostly lost and suppressed along with other gnostic teachings- Magdalene offers liberation and awakening into our divine nature; she imparts the lost teachings and points to where they may be found… in sacred union within and in sacred union with the beloved. If Christ is pointing to God, Magdalene is pointing to God within, to Sophia, She who consciously descends into physical matter existing as indwelling light.

When Venus’ husband Hephaestus discovered her love affair with Mars, he sets out to shame the couple by ensnaring them in an invisible bronze net of chains, their passion and nudity exposed for all the gods to witness. The marriage between Venus and Hephaestus (Vulcan) however was part of a bargain made by Zeus who promised Hephaestus the hand of Venus/Aphrodite for the release of his consort, Hera when she became trapped by Hephaestus- her own son- on a golden throne… a classic Möbius loop of the ongoing battle of the sexes; a thread that weaves through fairy tales, myths, and stories, manifesting as world history through a distorted mythologem.

The stealing of, entrapment, and raping of the feminine is a staple theme in Greek drama and is reflected through the archetypal distortions and overlays of patriarchy. Use and abuse of feminine energy degraded and desacralized as chattel in systems of power that have commodified and attempted to control the soul has become an intrapsychic reality. Now however the conditions are ripe to dismantle these webs.

At this time, we are being given an opportunity to do things differently; Venus and Mars are magnetic lovers, they are irresistible to one another, beyond any socially approved contract or ‘civil engineering’, they embody the universal law of attraction, the magnetic reproductive force of the feminine penetrated by the generative masculine, who in turn is ‘anointed’ by the feminine. Mary Magdalene and Yeshua symbolically embody the bridal mysteries- She with gnosis of Herself as divine feminine consort in sacred union with the divine masculine, and He in holy service to Her accepting that His resurrection happens through Her.

Magdalena on the Galactic centre… Venus and Mars conjunction… if you believe that we exist in a vibratory universe, that emanations from the planets and other celestial bodies interact with our own soul essence which in itself is a frequency, a cell in the vibrational cosmos, this full moon is an invitation to illuminate and let go of limiting beliefs and patterns constructed according to a world view where divine masculine, and divine feminine have been distorted and degraded.

This is a moment of freedom.

Magdalene stands as the doorway to a higher consciousness beckoning us to enter Her Temple of the Heart.

Also involved in the full moon configuration are the lunar nodes forming a Grand Cross- Sun at 27° Aquarius; Moon at 27° Leo; North Node at 27° Taurus; South Node at 27° Scorpio… a Grand opportunity to reset our collective destiny.

How can we work with this?

Move away from the drama stories: On the lower polarity Mars and Venus act out the battle of the sexes- attraction and repulsion; desire and rejection; jealousy and revenge; fear and manipulation; primal instincts expressed without measure, consequence, or consciousness resulting in shame, infidelity, and transgressions of all sorts.

On the higher polarity- in the Magdalene/Christ vibration- union is lifted from unconscious wounding and destructive patterns to conscious choosing and heart centred relationships where men and women create an alembic of transformation, a sacred geometry of resurrection, not only for themselves, but as a Christ light in the world.

The sabian symbol for the Mars/Venus conjunction is (CAPRICORN 17°): A REPRESSED WOMAN FINDS A PSYCHOLOGICAL RELEASE IN NUDISM.

KEYNOTE: The escape from bondage to social inhibitions and a reliance upon the wisdom of the body.

This I suggest is the gnosis of Mary Magdalene- High priestess; once we accept that we are the Temple, that our bodies are a bio- mystical experience of inner alchemy, the light of that truth shines so powerfully that any man-made laws and rules that impede sacred connection to Source dies in the dust of its own soulless sway. Likewise, connections where disrespect, dishonour, absence of love, abuse or any other low vibrational experience cannot thrive in the Magdalene/Christ frequency.

While the old empire crumbles, a new earth, a sacred child is being birthed out of the cosmic alembic, through the sacred union of masculine and feminine.

New Moon- Imbolc- Venus Vesta Conjunction.

FireManKLS2

Image-Fire- By Karen Smith

As the earth in the northern hemisphere awakens and stirs, February’s gate opens with a new Moon at 12 degrees of Aquarius. The cross-quarter point of Imbolc at 15 degrees of Aquarius – between winter solstice and spring equinox- is a lunar fire festival traditionally connected with purification.

Even while spiring is not quite here and winter has not entirely left, the first stirrings are felt from deep in the Earth and there is a sense of hope and renewal.

The Christian holiday of Candlemas celebrated on February 2nd can be traced back to 4th century Greece is also a purification holiday and a celebration of the returning light.

At Imbolc, Brigid, goddess of fire and inspiration invites us to connect with our own rising fire, our shakti, and dream into our soul’s longing.

The Sabian Symbol of the Sun and New Moon is:

 (AQUARIUS 13°): A BAROMETER.

KEYNOTE: The ability to discover basic natural facts that allow us to plan in advance for action.

Here we are no longer dealing with ascent or descent, but with natural laws which involve causal relationships and the passage of one natural condition into another. Planning for the near future is a possibility because the potential (or seed) of the future is already operating at the core of the present.

The Keyword is ANTICIPATION.

At the point of the New Moon, asteroid Vesta is conjunct Venus in her newly risen status as Morning Star or Venus Lucifera, at 11 Capricorn.

Vesta or Hestia is also associated with Imbolc; as a hearth goddess, she was the keeper of the fire and sacred flame. On an esoteric level, Brigid and Vesta are connected with the raising of the inner fires and the kundalini, a rising that is mirrored in the newly birthed earth energy.

Prior to their role as Vestal Virgins in the temple of Vesta in Rome where their duty was to keep the sacred flame burning, according to Demetra George, the Vestas were the sacred sexual priestesses who worked with the sexual fire in service to the Moon goddess.

Before the patriarchal take-over the virgins- that is whole unto herself- lay with the King’s men on the solstices in a sacred cave, the results of which produced the successive heir to the throne if the King’s consort did not conceive that year.

Vesta represents single pointed focus and concentration of energy, Demetra George says that Vesta is the High Priestesses archetype that kick starts the process of transformation through the compression of energy that gains traction, is released, and springs forward in a burst of psychic energy.

With Venus ahead of the morning Sun in her fierier aspect as Light bearer, and Vesta as the keeper of the inner light, this New Moon conjunction has the quality of feminine energy that may be used for a purpose other than consort, wife, lover, mother, or erotic partner. This is the self-sustaining, self-generating complete feminine system akin to the Virgo/ virgin energy able to be concentrated as single pointed, inward turned power for the purposes of self generation and transformation.

The Sabian Symbol for the Vesta Venus conjunction is –

AN ILLUSTRATED LECTURE ON NATURAL SCIENCE REVEALS LITTLE-KNOWN ASPECTS OF LIFE.

KEYNOTE: The ability to explore unfamiliar realms and discover the laws underlying the complex processes of nature.

It is man’s essential function to become fully conscious of all life forms and processes on this earth. Mankind is the conscious mind of the planet.

To me this speaks of the bio-mystical processes and capabilities of the divine feminine, where the human being is a living system fully connected to the organic and natural processes of biological life, and with Spirit. This is the power of Vesta and when she is in alliance with Venus the erotic energy is turned inward to facilitate a direct experience of source energy or gnosis.

What does this mean for us? Intuitively I sense that the potential of this time- the Imbolc threshold- New Moon- Venus Morning Star is an opportunity to bring awareness to ourselves as creators. In psychological terms we may be motivated to begin to take back projections that we have factored out to others and to the world generally, and to resist projection from others. If we have been deriving self identity from the perceptions of others, the process of engaging with our own inner authority is now available. It is an opportunity to address issues such as co-dependency and need for external validation.

Even if autonomy and self-authority seems out of reach for now, deciding to reclaim this power is a confirmation of self responsibility.

No man or woman is an island and to an extent we have all been conditioned to outsource our power and energy, however if we consider thresholds as a turning point, to become more aware of how we spend our energy, on what, with whom and for what purpose we have a chance to own ourselves as creators.

As a lunar fire festival traditionally connected with purification, Imbolc invites purification on all levels, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

To separate what is ours and what is not ours is a beautiful process. When the inner fires of purification burn away the dross of the admixture, who and what is left?

Finding the Centre in the Soul’s Journey to Individuation.

Joseph Mallord William Turner- Melrose Abbey- 1822

Painting of Melrose Abbey by English Romantic Painter, Joseph Mallord William Turner- 1822

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling born 27 January 1775 – 20 August 1854: German philosopher whose Naturphilosophie was dismissed by the scientific community who viewed his work as too metaphysical with a tendency to analogize lacking empirical orientation.

Schelling says,

“There is no greatness without a continual solicitation to madness which, while it must be overcome, must never be completely lacking. One might profit by classifying men in this respect. The one kind are those in whom there is no madness at all … and are so-called men of intellect whose works, and deeds are nothing but cold works and deeds of the intellect…. But where there is no madness, there is, to be sure, also no real, active, living intellect. For wherein is intellect to prove itself but in the conquest, mastery, and ordering of madness?”

This criticism of his work and his quote seem relevant today given our tendency toward empirical science, which in Schelling’s view is not a “living intellect”. There are those who operate in the world of “cold work”, or in other words soulless work; there are those who live in fear and resentment of that apparent authority but have not yet solicited their own (divine) madness. There are those who have embraced it too much and have dissociated from the world in some way preferring instead to live in the labyrinths of their psyche; and there are those who rise to the challenge of mastery by “ordering the madness” that they encounter. This is the grail path; it’s different for everyone.  The trick seems to be in finding containers, structures, and discipline for the overwhelming and vast planes of the inner world and finding a way to ground it in the material world. To quote Schelling again,

“To achieve great things, we must be self-confined…mastery is revealed in limitation.”

It takes a certain kind of single focus to achieve this; the journey toward it is chaotic and many have been blasted along the way. Carl Jung, the giant of analytical and transpersonal psychology made the descent in 1913- 1916, he was supported by his wife Emma Jung who was one of the richest women in Europe at the time, and Toni Wolff, his mistress who lived with the Jung as a second wife and was an important collaborator on Jung’s work- herself a gifted analyst. Jung was also at the top of his game, much respected and honoured within the patriarchal structures of the time. None of this is to discredit Jung, I am a great lover of his work; my point is to highlight the need for structure in our meetings with the unconscious.

Spiritual questing and opening to the archetypal forces, particularly in the new age when there is so much pop spirituality, access to psychedelics, and dare I say bypassing, runs the risk of dissociation and fragmentation. If our psyche has already been opened through something like trauma experienced as a child, the road to integration can be even more challenging and without a strong core we are susceptible to outside influences, open to suggestion, and vulnerable to manipulation.

It’s a rabbit hole as they say, and yet… the urge to break free form an overly rational, cold, and soulless existence burns bright inviting us to individuate, to realise and express the unique essence that we are.

Astrologically if we are very Uranian or Neptunian in our makeup, more effort is needed to ground down in the world of matter- working with Saturn can help.

January Full Moon: The Great Mother Within.

Painting by Ayami Kojima

Painting ‘Persephone’ by Ayami Kojima

About a week into a new Venus cycle and the divine feminine signature is gaining momentum.

Today’s Full Moon is at 27º Cancer- the sign of the Mother- is in opposition to Pluto at 26º Capricorn, sign of the Father. Right next to Pluto is Juno at 24º Capricorn; Juno in her higher aspect represent the divine consort, one half of the sacred marriage, while in her lower polarity expresses the shadow side of relationship where issues of power and manipulation may play out.

Particularly in her conjunction with Pluto this full moon, relationship power dynamics may come to the fore in order to be acknowledged and transformed. If you are in relationship, it might be a good time to check that the power structures of your relationship are balanced and that both you and your partner are giving and receiving in equal measure.

It could also be a time to recognize that you are now ready for something new in relationship, particularly a move into sacred union as many of us are being called to. Whether that is possible in your current relationship or not depends on the awareness willingness of your partner, and as with many things on timing.

Venus is still in her retrograde phase emphasizing the theme of relationship separations and returns… this is highlighted with a Pluto Juno conjunction.

With Moon opposite Pluto and Juno there may be some relationship drama or turmoil to contend with. If you are feeling ready for a new level of relationship however this may now feel tiresome and old hat to you. It is up to you how much you wish to participate in emotional drama.

Exactly conjunct the north node at 28º Taurus is Ceres, representing the Great Mother, nurturing, unconditional love, self-worth, attachment issues, rejection, loss and at the occult level, the blood mysteries, death/rebirth, and transformation. Next to the north node she is highlighting our collective needs and attitudes to this regard. How we were personally mothered, and how we mother (including self-care), what we need to feel loved and nurtured and how we can do this for others is under review as the north node, our collective destiny, moves through the fixed earth sign of Taurus under the rulership of harmony focused Venus.

Less than 2 degrees away from the lunar north node and Ceres, is the maiden daughter, turned Queen of the Underworld, Persephone. This Mother Daughter conjunction speaks to the esoteric mysteries of Eleusis where a descent to the underworld in the house of Hades facilitates an initiatory confrontation with death and offers the promise of renewal. In modern psychological speak, facing and integrating our shadow… and maybe freeing ourselves from the shackles of a spiritually ruptured society.

The Mother Daughter merging at the point of the lunar node, for me, highlights a need for collective surrender and willingness to let go of all that we are holding onto through attachment, emotional insecurity, unresolved trauma patterns from being raised in a society where in many cases the mother principle has been weakened. Clutching to old patterns and wounding prevents breakthrough to a higher level of self hood where the invitation is to merge with the Great Mother within as well as without. In the gnostic teachings it is said that the ‘Kingdom of God is within’, and so it is that the (wild) Garden of the Mother is also an inner condition.

Learning to mother ourselves and to trust the universal Mother has been a feature of our time. In the myth of Persephone, the maiden’s descent is an inevitable if painful necessity on the path of individuation- life and death, Eros, and Thanatos, dark and light must finally co-exist as fertile ground for the sacred marriage to take root.

Remarkably these sacred feminine essences, involving the nodal axis of collective karma, are creating what is known as a ‘Mystic Rectangle’ at today’s full moon.

A mystic rectangle is comprised of two oppositions (Moon opposes Pluto and Juno, and north node, Persephone, Ceres, opposes the south node; two sextiles, north node, Persephone, Ceres sextile the Moon, and Pluto, Juno sextile the south node; and two trines, Moon trine south node, and north node, Persephone, Ceres trine Pluto Juno. This Mystic Rectangle is within a tight 2-degree orb.

If this all seems a bit baffling to non-astrologers, we can take comfort in the words of Dane Rudhyar who says that a Mystic Rectangle denotes ‘Practical Mysticism’ where oppositions that would normally be challenging are alleviated and made smoother by the sextiles and trines.

In short, the above-mentioned dynamics – and let’s face it some of us have been struggling with these issues for a long time -are blessed with a divine opportunity to be worked through much easier and quicker than we have previously believed.

These are super accelerated times and just by bringing our awareness to the issues, having faith in our divine nature, our connection with the planets and asteroids (or gods), and a willingness to raise our vibration as we head into a new age, can trigger profound change.

To recap-

This full moon is shining a potent light on a transforming feminine consciousness particularly as it relates to:

~Partnership/ Sacred Partnership

~Nurturing of Self and Others

~Power balance within relationships

~Attachment issues

~Unresolved emotional mother wound issues

~ Relationship with the Mother god within

~Relationship with the Mother god without

~Our willingness or lack of it to surrender to the depths

~Our collective past in terms of the feminine principle

~Where we are collectively headed in relation to the divine feminine principle

Mythically the essence of Demeter (Ceres) and Persephone is a story of death and renewal- what is within us that can now be metabolised and alchemised into new life (consciousness).

Juno brings to the surface our relationship patterns, hope, desires, and dynamics that will elevate us into our highest potential of sacred union. In doing so Juno will first express any unresolved shadow issues particularly of a power-based theme in her conjunction with Pluto. Are we ready to let go of the drama and fully open to love?

And finally, while it is not included in the mystic rectangle, Vesta is conjunct Pholus in the early degrees of Capricorn offering an opportunity to address sexuality, the presence or absence of sacredness within our sexual relating and reflecting on how our sexual attitudes, behaviours, repressions, or neurosis may have been influenced by our ancestral lineage.

It is a potent time to let a lot of ancestral karma fall way, not through bypassing or rejection but with love and compassion (Ceres) and staking claim to our soul’s unique calling. It is a powerful time to rise above all that has previously defined us.