Solar Eclipse: Rekindle Your Vital Force.

Leighton,_Frederic_-_Invocation

Invocation by Frederic Leighton

What if I told you that the New Moon solar eclipse happening this Thursday, 10th June is an opportunity for personal and collective soul retrieval? That at the time of a New Moon solar eclipse, when the Sun -our conscious mind- is obscured, we have access to forces of the past that lay buried in the unconscious as psychic complexes and that these forces or powers may be seen, realised, and integrated. This may facilitate a release from past binds or an assimilation of old, previously forgotten gifts, knowledge, skills, and awareness. This concept is articulated by Dane Rudhyar and later Demetra George; Rudhyar goes on to say that whether the Sun is conjunct the north or south node also bears upon the meaning and potential of the eclipse.

In the case of Thursday’s solar eclipse, the Sun is conjunct the north node which symbolizes future possibilities of growth on the basis of what has already been accomplished in the past. The eclipse can awaken new illumination about the future and activate new ways to do things both individually and collectively. When the Sun is conjunct the north node, we are called upon to face the necessity of manifesting new ways to move into our future. Hence eclipses often correspond to stress, crisis and change in our lives. During eclipse season we are involved with the journey of the individual soul and the World Soul.

Eclipses represent major tests that are presented to us in those areas of the chart where the eclipse falls. The position of the Sun and Moon this eclipse is 19 Gemini, 47’. The Sabian symbol which can reveal more about the unfolding energy is-

PHASE 80 (GEMINI 20°): A MODERN CAFETERIA DISPLAYS AN ABUNDANCE OF FOOD, PRODUCTS OF VARIOUS REGIONS.

KEYNOTE: The assimilation of multifarious knowledge through the synthesizing power of the mind.

From the One, the Many arise in due time. The Original Source gives birth to the mountain stream which, gathering to itself the down-flow of rain water, becomes the large river around which cities are built. These in turn pollute the river on its way to the vast ocean. This modern symbol expresses the fact that man, now at the close of a cultural cycle, is able to gather foodstuffs – mental as well as physical – from many regions of the globe. His diet has acquired a planet-wide foundation; history tells us that the search for salt and spices, then for commodities rare in local regions, provided the impetus for global trade and thus eventually for a planetary consciousness. The results may be satiety and indigestion, and mental confusion caused by lack of discrimination.

This is the last symbol of the sixteenth five-fold sequence. As is most often the case such a fifth stage implies a certain kind of synthesis or at least a preparation which leads to a new level. The keynote here is indeed ASSIMILATION; the negative potentiality of the symbol is WASTE.

“Mental confusion caused by lack and discrimination” and a need to either assimilate or eliminate… As we fully enter the information age we are called to exercise our power of discrimination and discernment more keenly… haven’t we become painfully aware of this over the past eighteen months and more?

When we consider our soul’s journey through lifetimes, we may also wonder what extraneous “stuff” we have picked up along the way that has obscured our pure soul essence. Through a process of pollution and contamination our own sacred flame may have diminished and even extinguished. There is also the ancestral field to consider… to what extent is our soul journey bound with ancestral legacies? Vesta inconjunct Chiron on the solar eclipse may reveal information to this end if we are prepared to look.

Keeper of the Sacred Flame, Vesta, represents the flaming torch of illumination that we carry from life time to life time. This light is encoded within our unique vibrational tone, our soul’s essence, and keeps the Home fires burning. No matter how far we stray from our essential self Vesta holds the torch for our return. Like a lighthouse flashing into the dark oceans of the unconscious, She calls to us… and we call back.

On the Full Moon lunar eclipse on 26th May, Vesta was in a square aspect with the Sun and Moon and an exact square with the lunar nodes on the Gemini/Sagittarius axis. As eclipse season continues with the New Moon solar eclipse, Vesta is still squaring the Sun, Moon, and lunar nodes. The Gemini/Sagittarius axis has been prominent this last year as the north node has been retrograding through Gemini and the south node retrograding through Sagittarius. The moon’s nodal axis -or the head and tail of the dragon as it known- is involved with the soul’s journey through lifetimes. Loosely speaking the south node tells of where we have been, lessons learned, experiences gained, and the things we have mastered. The north node pulls us forward into the new for the purpose of our soul’s growth. Closer to the truth is that we continually move on that continuum weaving past and present towards wholeness and integration. Whenever a planet or other celestial body forms an aspect pattern with the lunar nodes, the energy or vibration of that body is highlighted and included in the experience, or Kairos – the uniquely timely, the spontaneous, the radically particular.

Vesta is our commitment and devotion to our sacred calling…  for me personally I have been strongly aware of Vesta’s influence as for the past week or so Jupiter has been conjunct my natal Vesta at 1 Pisces in the 8th house… though her presence is very much a collective event on more levels than I’d initially realised when considering this blog.

As Vesta has been in Virgo for some time, Jupiter’s entry into Pisces highlights Vesta-type concerns as they relate to the Pisces/Virgo axis… surrender to the transcendent flow and the material containers needed to stay rooted in the physical world… or how bring in and anchor spirit in the material realm. Many Astrologers believe that Virgo- 6th house- is under the rulership of Vesta.

Vesta’s hearth kindles a desire for Home, exposes the painful absence and dislocation from it, and inspires joy when we are aligned to it… symbolically at Home with ourselves at the deepest most essential level. Vesta is also involved with the Earth as our collective Home… our Earth Heart. Essentially a spiritualised feminine energy that seeks to take root in the physical world of matter, when inspired by Vesta we are conduits of spirit capable of manifesting and expressing spirit in and through the physical container of our body. It is also where we find and create other containers to express and ground spirit. Each of us are coded to facilitate unique spiritual qualities and anchor them here on Earth. It may be that we have carried our particular Vesta torch or sacred flame through lifetimes igniting the same energetic vibration time and time again. It is what is ours to do and by doing it we are brought more fully into our essential truth. By expressing our unique vibration in this way we  participate in our collective awakening and Homecoming.

For all the above reasons, I feel Vesta features strongly throughout this eclipse season however there’s more…

As the brightest asteroid Vesta is occasionally visible to us with the naked eye… now is one of those rare times!  Between 5th -22nd June, Vesta may be visible in our night sky.

On 19th June Vesta will come within 170.6 million kilometres of Earth which is the closest it has been for two decades and is the closest it will be until 2040.

To find out more about how to spot Vesta go here-

https://skyandtelescope.org/observing/vesta-2018-opposition/

That Vesta is visible to us suggests that we have a direct link to this spiritual dimension and can make it conscious.

And, as these things go, the Vestalia was a Roman religious festival to honour Vesta and the Sacred Flame which took place over several days from June 7th– 15th. During this time women were allowed to enter the inner sanctum of Vesta and make offerings to Her, approaching Her alter barefoot. No official business was conducted in Rome during this week and on the last day the entire city was purified.

According to Ovid, the shrine of Vesta was always a circular building to emulate the earth. Vesta signified the life force of the earth; its ‘vital force’ from which she took her name and which her sacred flame represented.

In Roman mythology, Vesta was the third daughter of the god Saturnus. Unlike her sisters Juno and Ceres, she did not marry but remained a virgin although in this context it is the archaic meaning of the word virgin- whole unto herself.

I have written a lot over the years about Vesta, the Vestal Virgins, and the Vestas as sacred sexual priestesses in my blog www.gnosticwoman.com

To find these blogs simply type “Vesta” into the search bar.

To read more about the Vestalia and the power of Vesta this is an interesting blog-

https://historyandarchaeologyonline.com/the-vestalia-celebrating-vesta-and-purifying-rome/

Somewhere I feel in all of us there is a little flame that burns with the essence of our unique soul code, a distinctive note that only we can add to the collective symphony. Maybe we are fully aware of our flame as a bright phosphorus light illuminating our life and leading us forward toward our sacred calling. Alternatively it may be that the light comes and goes brightening and diminishing depending on how obscured it becomes by life’s events and experiences that take us away from ourselves. It can happen that we forget to tend the flame and for a while and it appears to diminish, even extinguish, but it is always there waiting for us to reignite it and remember who we are and why we are here.

The Full Moon eclipse on Thursday is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to our sacred commitments. Even if we have strayed far away from home and our sacred flame is faint or has gone out, we can reset our intention and relight our candle by recommitting to what we know in our heart to be our true calling.

There is a mighty asteroid Goddess influence this New Moon with Vesta at 15 Virgo, 33’ in a trine with Uranus (12 Taurus, 54’) and Ceres (12 Taurus, 41’). On an esoteric level, Ceres is involved with the Eleusinian Mysteries, guiding initiates through a death rites of passage, as well as the Blood Mysteries.

At the same time Pallas (24 Pisces, 56’) conjunct Neptune at (23 Pisces, 08’).

But this is for another blog… or two.

If you would like an astro shamanic reading to explore where Vesta sits in your natal chart by sign, house, and aspect and to explore your sacred calling, I am available for online sessions.

To finish this piece I’d like to quote an extract from T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding”, as I feel it captures something of this solar eclipse-

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.

—T.S. Eliot, from “Little Gidding,” Four Quartets (Gardners Books; Main edition, April 30, 2001) Originally published 1943.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

The Red Death: Menstruation as Symbol of Renewal- Part 8

Why is it that so many modern women are choosing to reject their menstruation which we have seen is a rich source of feminine power, magic, and healing? Previous blogs in this series show that rejection of the feminine and in particular female bodies and bodily functions can be traced back to Greek philosophy and early Christianity. We have seen how fear of the feminine and misogyny was particularly virulent in the early modern period manifesting in the genocide of countless women, and we have seen how modern gynaecology, according to Mary Daly continues to oppress women.

Greeks and gender

In Feminism and Ecology, Mary Mellor says that “Debates around the nature of sex/gender differences and the impact of women’s biology on their social position has been very much a feature of Western feminism”. Within the feminist dialectic the most enduring and contentious issue has without a doubt been the essentialist debate: Is there an inherent quality of female distinct from male that runs deeper than social conditioning? And if so, what does this mean? Many second wave feminists rejected any essential difference between men and women other than biology while refusing female biology as the bind that keeps women subordinate to men. For de Beauvoir and other cultural feminists of the 20th century there was no ontological difference between men and women other than on a physical level and anything men were capable of women were too. In this way, many women sought to prove they were just like men. Other feminist disagreed and feminism itself splintered into a shattered picture of womanhood.

Within feminism the debate raged: Are women on account of their biology connected with the natural world and the cycles of nature in a particular way? This question, more than any other in the feminist/gender debate has been prohibitive in a coherent meaning of womanhood and points to more than just a split in feminist thinking: it is a wound at the core of the female experience and is instrumental in a perpetual rejection of the feminine.

Gaia essentialist image

Gaia, Greek Goddess of the Earth by Marcia Snedecor

While the debate remains unresolved and while women are constantly splintering into more and more factions over their basic spiritual and cultural identity, ‘maldeveloped’ technologies such as menstrual suppression, artificial wombs, gender reversal operations and puberty blockers remain largely unchallenged to any significant degree while Misogynist tendencies beneath the surface of our culture remains unchallenged in any truly meaningful way. If these assumptions are not challenged, they cannot be healed… if they are not healed they will prevail. It is not possible to by-pass these issues by suddenly creating a gender neutral or unisex society.

As we approach greater levels of crisis in the natural world and planetary condition, it is not possible to address these issues without also addressing the issue of the feminine. While many eco-feminist are unashamedly making the link between the oppression of the feminine and the oppression of the natural world under dominion of patriarchy, still others, including ecologists would rather avoid the link. In avoiding the issue, especially within an ecological framework that concerns itself with the future of the natural world, is to by-pass a hugely important issue. Avoidance does not address the denial of the feminine, nor does it offer a possibility to truly differentiate masculine and feminine, a task, according to Ann Ulanov “we must wrestle with”.

earth

To take an anti-essentialist position as a safe guard toward biological determinism is to not only reject the female body and inherent feminine qualities that exist in and of themselves, but also diminishes the possibility of opposites – the creative tension which allows for renewal and regeneration. Denying the qualities of woman’s nature and the feminine principle is detrimental for women but ultimately affects all of us in our human connection to and embeddedness within nature.

Fear of biological determinism is rooted in the patriarchal assumption that women’s primary function is to produce children. Just because a woman can produce children does not mean she is obliged to. Before the witch trials, women would have held many positions in their community that did not entail mothering and were not under patriarchal control– herbalists, midwifes, healers, wisdom keepers. crones…

Within a cultural context, essentialism need not mean subordination by the patriarchy- this has been the main and enduring argument used against a gynocentric and female embodied positions. For pagan feminist Starhawk, a.k.a. Miriam Somos, rituals involving menstrual blood and other aspects of women’s bodies that are declared taboo or unclean in male religions are celebrated; she sees ritual as a way of generating energy for political action and the image of the goddess as a way of understanding the immanence – the aliveness of spirit and vitality that permeates the natural world.

Utero by Elisa Riemer

Utero by Elisa Riemer

We are all connected to nature, male and female, but how we are connected to nature and what those differences are must be addressed, if they are not, I suggest that the feminine will continue to be rejected under the guise of an ever encroaching ‘gender neutral’ society. Esther Harding, an early advocate of Jungian thought views the essence of feminine psychology in sharp contrast to masculine psychology. Harding says: “Without wresting with this task of differentiation, we fall into formlessness and cheap imitation of current personal roles…. we miss our chance to become unique persons”.

In transpersonal psychology we see that opposites are important in coming together to form what the ancient world referred to as hieros gamos. Jungian analysts Nancy Qualls Corbett says that the hieros gamos is “a mystical process in which the disconnected elements are joined together to form a whole” (Qualls-Corbett, 1988 p.70).  In her book The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspects of the Feminine, she says: “If we deny sexual difference, we deny the fact of otherness” (Qualls-Corbett, 1988, p.82). A condition of equality does not exclude, and perhaps even demands, difference. According to Nietzsche, “Opposites have an equal inherent value, so that one polar element cannot dominate and annihilate its counterpart”.

Le livre de la sainte trinité

Hieros Gamos Alchemical image from Le livre de la sainte trinité

The ongoing feminist critique, including some ecofeminist and ‘third wave’ feminism often holds the ‘master model’ of patriarchy responsible for the continued subordination of women and nature but I suggest this view is in danger of fostering a belief in the inherent weakness of the feminine. It is a view that challenges the system by fighting fire with fire and is filtered through logic, the rational mind and fear. Endless books have and continue to be written in ever decreasing spirals and hair-splitting semantics in an attempt to change the system from without when in truth the change comes from within. Expending energy on patriarchy, vying for an equal status in an unequal system and jumping through impossible hoops leads to nowhere.

I am not saying do not challenge the system or patriarchy, my point is to extract vital energy from an endless pit of distraction and illusion and put it to better use by forging a genuine and life enhancing connection with both the material world and spirit thereby becoming conduits of vitality, creativity, and life force. Being embodied helps us to connect but while we dual with the nameless faceless forces of control, resorting to separatist viewpoints we lose energy and are worn down. By constantly battling with this rather elusive entity we call patriarchy we hand our power and precious energy over to a devouring beast who always demands more.

When we finally see that the emperor is wearing no clothes, is he still the Emperor? And if he is, is it not because we continue to call him so?

The Emperor has no clothes on

Though it may be true that modern Western culture is patriarchal, I would argue that women will not find their power within that paradigm and therefore must reinstate a feminine power that does not depend on patriarchy. While some feminists could argue that this position is separatist and excludes women from culture, it is important that women (and men) embrace their own feminine in an empowered way. I am not arguing for a separatist situation where men and women exists in different cultures -that is not possible and more importantly patriarchy is not about men and women- that is one of the biggest illusions – what I am advocating is a feminine revival in which all the exiled and rejected parts of the feminine, for men and women, are brought back into the matrix of consciousness- including and perhaps beginning with the body and the natural world.