Autumn Equinox 2021: Reflections, Crossings & Thresholds (with special guests Lilith & Medusa).

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Image by author

The point of the autumn equinox happens this evening at 20.21 BST when the Sun enters 0° Libra. Looking at the equinox chart what stands out for me is the Moon, asteroid Lilith conjunction in Aries, and the Mars, Medusa conjunction in Libra… but that’s hardly surprising given that myself and a group of other women are completing a journey with the Dark Goddess. Both Lilith and Medusa have played a significant role in our enquiry.

Although this is a personal journey for the women in the group and myself, one thing that has surfaced in our explorations is the interface between the personal and the collective. I work with myth, archetype, the seasons, and planetary influences- or another way of saying this is, in my work which has its roots in shamanism, I like to weave the personal, collective, and the cosmic into tapestries for personal and collective reflection. Working with myths brings them alive, they function as doorways to access archetypal energy as it moves in and through us. We also have an opportunity to sense and feel how these influences operate in the wider culture. Reviewing how we are affected by and affect the collective allows the possibility of transcending our individual life scripts and place those scripts within a larger narrative framework. It didn’t start with you…

Never have I been so aware of the collision between inner and outer realities as during the past two years under the spectre of a global pandemic. Throughout this time we have collectively encountered events that have profoundly affected our lived experiences and in some cases shifted our reality paradigm. Individual trauma that may have been buried or kept at bay by workable structures began to surface in the crumbling of those structure. As the fabric of our perceived reality frayed at the seams under the pressure of eruptions from unconscious forces, confusion set in, and many began to review their personal beliefs which in turn initiated a closer look at the reflections of society as a whole. The personal is political read the slogan  used in the era of second wave feminism, but it is only now that this statement hits home beyond the women’s movement and into all areas of our lives from employment, socialisation, freedom of speech, and even the inside of our bodies. It doesn’t get much closer to home than that.

In our post Freudian world there has been an intensive focus on the causes, symptoms, and effects of trauma; teachers like Gabor Mate, Bessel Van Der Kolk, and Peter Levine enlightened us in the workings of trauma on the individual psyche. Less studied are the implications of collective trauma, though this is now changing and as I write there is a ten-day global online summit taking place on that very topic.

There is potentially a lot that could be said here though I want to offer a short intuitive perspective of the equinox chart, and the energy/medicine available in relation to the archetypes Lilith and Medusa, and the concept of crossing the threshold.

Asteroid Lilith being the only actual physical body of all astrological Liliths is the rawest, most manifest expression of the archetype in our physical lives. She is the voice that rises when we witness and experience injustice; she motivates us to protest, to speak out, to say “no,” and to say “enough,” when necessary. Lilith in this assertion is the rising fire in our bellies that will not be extinguished by manipulation nor the expectations and demands of the super ego. People with a strong asteroid Lilith are often overt in voicing their beliefs and in their rejection of what they perceive to be unacceptable.

With asteroid Lilith conjunct the Moon, the influence is working on our unconscious, habituated self, our emotional patterns, and our need for comfort. The Moon is where unconscious forces play out, giving expression to our primal needs; it shows what makes us feel safe and cared for in our environments and in our relationships. The Moon represents “Mother” and all that she stands for, it indicates how we were nurtured and cared for as babies, or not, as well as any lack we felt at this stage in our development. As we mature, any unmet need will continue to manifest, unconsciously driving us to devise strategies in order to have those needs met. This is why we often repeat dysfunctional patterns or why we are constantly drawn into the same unhealthy dynamics. Attempting to get our rejected needs met by others is often futile, perpetuating a belief that our needs are never met, or that we are unlovable or faulty.

Until we heal our Moon wounds the danger is that we are unconsciously driven by our inner child whose sole purpose is to finally have those needs met. This is an arrested development of the unhappy child which prohibits the happy, creative child in flourishing. In a sense, the Moon wounds prevent us from actualising and expressing our Sun- our essence. This infantilised complex renders us vulnerable in our personal relationships and also in society more broadly as we look to others to make important decisions on our behalf. In this state we have not yet learned personal autonomy or responsibly. Of course mostly this operates below the veil of consciousness and our well adapted persona, though it can be more obvious in certain cases.

Here’s a question, one that I am not going to attempt to answer now even if I could:

Do you consider there is a vested interest to keep humanity in a regressed or childlike state?

Yes, I know that question immediately alerts our “conspiracy theory” antennae, and I have no wish to enter the fray, though it interests me. Recently I was wondering about the law which allows doctors to prescribe puberty blockers to children under the age of sixteen without parental consent- coincidentally this occurred on the same day that the UK government released official guidance about the vaccination of children in schools programme, which again disregards parental consent. Puberty blockers? I asked myself, what is puberty and what does it initiate in a human being. Looking to indigenous cultures it would appear that puberty is a rite of passage that facilitates the crossing of the threshold from childhood to adulthood… what is this if not power?

On another note when we consider that nowhere is our instinctual nature more activated than when it comes to the protection of our children, what are the implications of parental authority being hi-jacked by government in the most intimate of their child’s reality? As Medusa comes out of her frozen state she is keen to know.

Lilith’s role is to show us where we have either been robbed of power or handed our power over as well as showing us where we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated by outside interests. She also draws our attention to our unmet needs (Moon) and shows how susceptible to manipulation we can be when these unconscious drives take over. Lilith, essentially and intimately involved in the relationship between the Earth and Moon, brings our unconscious impulses to the surface and shows how they influence our living reality. As the mediator between the unconscious and the conscious mind, she exists as the subconscious mind, the place where all of our beliefs and ideations dwell and are shaped. Lilith allows us to see how our minds have been moulded and formed. As the grand mistress of the conditioned and therefore the unconditioned mind; Lilith can unravel programmes and learned behaviour like a pro if we are willing to see the truth. She is the ultimate deprogrammer.

The world has an unmet Mother need-

I was talking with a friend recently about the upper-class public-school system where children, especially boys are separated from their mother at a tender age thus disrupting natural attachment. In our conversation we also observed that a similar dynamic exists on the other side of the spectrum within working class families where both parents need to earn a wage to survive, or where single mothers need to work, and children are sent to preschool as early as 0 years. This is a huge subject with complex ramifications that I won’t get into now except to say that under the systems of patriarchy (I am still looking for a better term) many of us are unmothered… we are the unmothered children of patriarchy. Our connection with the Earth herself, the Great Mother, is also in decline, weakened at an alarming rate as we are sucked further into artificial matrices of the machine age.

Moving onto the Mars Medusa conjunction in Libra, the frozen instincts of Medusa (serpent energy), is being thawed in the fires of Mars; sexuality (libido), primal drives, vitality, and masculine assertion are coming back online. Mars takes action and in his higher aspect is the sacred warrior ready to fight for what he believes in. He is ready to protect. As with aspects of the feminine principle, the masculine principle is also thwarted and restricted. Many of us are asking the question, “who’s the daddy… and where is he?”.  At least that’s my question though I am talking with others who are acutely aware of the lack of a strong benevolent fatherly holding and strong masculine containers.

Medusa’s frozen stare turns those who attempt to approach her to stone; when our own feeling, instinctual self is closed down we are no longer operating from the heart centre and are motivated instead by fear and defensiveness. In this state we are capable of turning those around us to stone… look at how divisive and attacking things have become on social media.

Mars gives Medusa the energy to act instead of being stuck in depression and stasis, unable to engage because it’s too painful to feel. In the Myth of Medusa it is the solar hero Perseus (a Mars-like figure) who slays her head off thus liberating Pegasus, the winged horse who represents creativity, and Chrysaor the warrior of the golden sword. It is the masculine principle who sets the frozen feminine free and it is the feminine who roots and births the masculine, an eternal cycle of creativity and evolving consciousness birthed through the dance of polarity.

What the implications of a society embracing a more gender-neutral model where it is not only gender but biological sex that is affected, remains to be seen. Dare I say, and I am well aware that I am now holding a very hot potato, the erasure of biological sex not only affects the material level of physical body but has weighty ramifications through all levels of human experience as well as the possibilities of natural evolution through differentiation and polarity.

Today, on the threshold of equinox, I am embracing balance, reciprocity, equality, and mutuality of masculine and feminine toward the sacred marriage and the birth of the divine child. Masculinity is intimately bound with the archetypal Father as femininity is bound with the archetypal Mother; how these images are expressed and understood in our living and consensual realities is crucially important. Archetypally Mother is mature femininity (not that it’s the only expression of mature feminine though it is only the mature feminine that can give birth), just as Father is mature masculinity.

I am considering rites of passage and initiation into adulthood; most of us, if not all of us, did not cross these thresholds consciously or with any ritual containers. It is not too late to recapitulate our conditioned mind, to take an inventory of what has influenced and moulded us into the person we are today, and to discover where the gaps are. When the powers to whom we have assigned authority, our governments, and leaders, are proving to be unworthy parental figures, it is time to reparent ourselves.

If you are interested in the work I do and would like to find out how I incorporate enquiries like this into experiential groups, courses, and 1-1 therapy; or if you would like to be added to my mailing list you can contact me at-

karen@redpsiral.co.uk

The Drugs Don’t Work- Unmedicating the Dark Feminine.

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Elizabeth Wurtzel (July 31, 1967 – January 7, 2020), Pluto/Uranus/Venus conjunction. Asteroid Lilith 1st house conjunct south node.

“It was just very interesting to me that certain types of women inspire people’s imagination, and all of them were very difficult women.”

― Elizabeth Wurtzel

Remember Prozac Nation, the book that defined a generation of disaffected, depressed Americans who had grown up under the milieu of divorced parents, working mothers, and who inspired the term latch-key kids?

Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America, is Elizabeth’s Wurtzel’s testament to her struggles with mental health and increasing dependency on psychiatric medication. In her journey to self-acceptance, she recognises that it is not only herself who is suffering from depression but that the whole nation appears to be under a fog of a chemical addiction.

“Sometimes it feels like we’re all living in a Prozac nation. The United States of Depression.”

Wurzel’s book defined an era of disaffection and burgeoning mental health labels that were managed by an ever-increasing plethora of psychiatric medication. Her generation, known as Generation X, were born between 1965- 1980, between the post war Baby Boomers, and tech savvy Millennials. A transitional generation, they bridged reality and a dawning artificial reality. They were the first generation to have home computers and gaming; many went onto create pivotal technologies in Silicon Valley such as Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter. Perhaps the success of those pioneering network platforms were in response to the growing sense of alienation that many of the Generation X felt.

Witten in 1994 when Wurtzel was 27, Prozac Nation was among the first of a burgeoning genre in Memoir Writing. The book received mixed reviews, some of which were a damning indictment of Wutrzel’s so called narcissism and self-absorption. Michiko Kakutani writer for the New York Times, compared Wurtzel’s book to the “emotional exhibitionism” of Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar, and said her “self-pitying passages make the reader want to shake the author, and remind her that there are far worse fates than growing up during the ’70s in New York and going to Harvard.”

Nowadays-hopefully-we recognise this “what do you have to complain about” mentality as a form of gas lighting used to shame and silence people into feeling guilty for authentically expressing their feelings, especially feelings that challenge the consensual reality by digging deeper and asking difficult questions. To my mind, this dismissive and life- denying attitude is also a rejection of the dark feminine which embraces the inevitable pain and reckoning of becoming something greater and more vital than our limited selves and exposing the lies of society.

Beyond the primacy- and perhaps because of- the GDP, and insatiable need for progress and growth at all costs, there is much grief to be felt… as well as the recognition in how we have colluded with and allowed ways of being that are contrary to our soul’s deepest needs and longings.

Today we are experiencing an epidemic of denial; freedom of speech and the right to protest has effectively been outlawed.

Still. What if…

We said no to medication, over-consumption, addiction, porn, vaccination, dead food, the prohibition of the right to roam the land… to live on the land, unwarranted social control. What would our true, authentic, organic, and maybe slightly wild selves do and say then.  How much closer would we be to a vision of freedom.  What if spoke truth and felt our feelings?

I was 27 when I read Prozac Nation, at around the same time I also read Carried Fisher’s (who incidentally had Black Moon Lilith conjunct Chiron, 1st house), Postcards from the Edge, and Susanna Kaysen’s Girl Interrupted. Feeling somewhat lost and alienated myself in a world in which I had difficulty-and resistance- adapting to, I sought out books written by women who were also struggling… although I couldn’t quite quell the nagging feeling that this book, and other icons of the grunge intoxicated 90’s was to some extent glamourising mental instability and heroin chic. Nevertheless, reading books like Prozac Nation eased me with a sense of not being so alone in my suffering, and even that there could be gifts to be found, especially creative ones- though that was far from most people’s reality. As a student of English Literature, I became increasingly disenfranchised from many of the people and structures around me. Growing weary of society, I found my way to the frayed edges where the other -self exiled- misfits lived, I became more comfortable in the sub-culture, immersed in aimless drifting days and wine fuelled nights. I was never prescribed meds though I self-medicated on the most socially acceptable drug of all- alcohol.

As I write about my 27 year old self, the age Elizabeth Wurtzel was when she wrote Prozac Nation, my thoughts also turn to the several famous people who died by taking their own life at that age- ‘The 27 Club’ as they are chillingly known. It would appear that 27 can be a difficult age for some; having not yet crossed the threshold into adulthood, marked by Saturn’s return, this unacknowledged initiation may be too much for some.

The pressure to conform in what felt like an increasingly plastic society was for the most part a painful and silent plight. The voices of disaffection that made it through the channels of main stream media -even while they incurred ridicule as Wurtzel did- were reassuring signs that the dominant narrative, presented as the only reality, was beginning to tear at the seams. Books like Prozac Nation, at least allowed for the possibility of a conversation about why so many people were on anti-depressants in the first place- then as now women were twice as likely to be prescribed anti-depressant medication as men and twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Remember the days of womb removal as an attempt to cure hysteria? Hysteria was a mental health condition applied to women until 1980- the end of Generation X- when the diagnosis was dropped in favour of an array of other conditions that could now be treated with drugs … a far less messy and much cheaper way of controlling ‘difficult’ women.

Wurtzel’s book it seems was a double edged sword, on one hand it opened the channels for a particular kind of confessional writing that exposed many of the ills of American society, while on the other it seemed to pave the way toward the acceptance of psychiatric medication as an inevitable way of life.

Prozac Nation and other books in that genre however were the voice of Lilith, calling from the shadows and exiled places, calling out the hypocrisy, daring to challenge the collective miasma and corrupt power structures- “Wake up! Don’t go back to sleep… don’t wrap yourself up in chemical cotton candy… don’t allow them to pathologize your soul’s longing and inner knowing… don’t accept a label that will allow you to fit neatly into a manufactured society, controlled by those who want as little disruption as possible in their quest for mastery over Nature.” Lilith has spoken.

Hand maiden to the dark goddess, Lilith keeps the score in our bodies and the many psycho- physical, psycho-spiritual illnesses that we experience. She may have fled into exile for a few thousand years, yet she is fully conscious, fully present, and entirely unmedicated. Biding her time and offering guidance from behind the veil, she shows up in the cracks that appear when we accept what harms us or what we know to be false. She comes to us in the life stultifying depressions, primal rages, and acting out; she exposes our addictions, people pleasing behaviours, and pill popping compliance for what they really are… a denial of our authentic self. Lilith wills us to be free from the seduction of an artificial life with its many promises of ease, pleasure, and comfort in favour of wholeness, liberation, and authenticity.

In just over a week, myself and 12 other women will embark on a 7-week journey- Meetings With the Dark Goddess and Finding the Seeds of Renewal. If you would like to be part of a future group, or similar explorations, or if you would like a Dark Goddess astrology consultation or shamanic session,  please contact me at karen@redspiral.co.uk.