The Lilith Lines

Lilith by Tom Bagshaw

I think of Lilith’s influence as ancestral lines, or mother-lines, coiling threads of black light through time and space… serpentine movement in the spirals of our DNA swimming in deep waters far below conscious awareness.

Every once in a while I feel her hot breath as I wrestle in feverish sleep, trapped memories trying to break free from frozen tissue.  I call out to her. I try to talk with her, to hear her, make her listen, tell her to come home…  but I make no sound save for a few incoherent mutterings and groans.

Like Ereshkigal deep in her kingdom of darkness, Lilith is uncompromising and demands sacrifice… the sacrifice of the false self.

Sometimes it seems that I need only follow her across the threshold to the liminal space where she dwells. I set out, holding onto the line that she has cast to me from the other side where all the lost souls and unborn babies roam… a world created from the abandoned memories that refuse to be silenced.

In 2016 Lilith gate-crashed my life in an uncanny way. It was September 11th and I was thinking about what to wear to a friend’s 50th birthday party. The invitation was enticing… “Come as your higher self”. I was filled with romantic images of floaty white dresses, angel wings, and perhaps a sprinkling of celestial glitter. Possessing no such things in my wardrobe, I headed to the fancy-dress shop located conveniently a street from my house. There indeed I found lovely angels’ wings, bright white gossamer feathers wrapped in plastic. Just as I was about to purchase the wings, I caught sight of other wings tucked at the back of the rack… shiny black ones that suddenly felt far more exciting than angelic white. And then it hit me- I would go as Lilith!

And so, among the halos and priestly white robes, Lilith and I sipped wine with the saints, dressed in black lace and racy animal prints, fluttering velvet black wings, and feeling just a bit wicked.

Although this may seem like a random event, as these things go, symbolically it happened to be very significant…

A few weeks later I became curious about why I had a sudden urge to dress as Lilith. I looked up the astrology, and lo-and -behold- on that day Black moon Lilith was exactly conjunction my natal Sun at 17 degrees Capricorn.

I was already aware of the mythology of Lilith… Adam’s feisty first wife, the demonic seductress, succubus, child-killer…  I was aware too of the Lilith points in astrology- not one point but several points indicating how indefinable and uncategorised her archetype is. But since that day my relationship with Lilith opened to a deeper level and I came to understand that she represents the exiled feminine as it exists in each individual and in society.

I knew I had black moon Lilith (true and mean on the same degree) conjunct my natal moon, Uranus and IC, but what I didn’t know is that my grandmother also has Black Moon Lilith (true and mean on the same degree) conjunct her moon too.

More… my grandmother’s asteroid Lilith is conjunct my ascendant by one degree, and her dark moon Lilith is exactly conjunct my Black Moon Lilith- Moon-Uranus-IC.

These astrological degrees have become important in trying to piece together the story of my mother-line so much of which is shrouded in secrets, lies, and shadows.

Sad to say that my grandmother is one of the most exiled feminine figures that I have ever known and when I acknowledged my own banished aspects it became clear that some of the clothes hanging among the skeletons in my closet were cut from the same cloth as hers.

The shadows that had haunted my grandmother’s life, the ghosts of the undead, still roamed through the labyrinth of my psyche.

The Lilith journey is a long and often painful one. In my case, it begins with my great grandmother who died while giving birth to my grandmother. Details of my great grand mother’s life were so elusive that we didn’t even know her name, and since my grandmother-an only child- died in 1990, there was no one left to ask.

In 2014 my mother uncovered some information that finally revealed my great grandmother’s name- Jane Laurie. We discovered that she’d had been from a ‘rag and bone’ family in the east of Glasgow at the turn of the 20th century. This information prompted me to look into the story of the rag and bone families in Glasgow and I found that there is a possible Romani connection. Many of the gypsy families settled in large cities and tried to make a living from buying and selling bits and pieces, often metal. They used animal bones to make glue and fuel, and worked their rounds by horse and cart. I’m sure it was a hard life though I also sense there were freedoms too.

In Scotland, as in England, an act was passed by parliament in 1609, “Act against the Egyptians”, which made it lawful to condemn, detain and execute gypsies if they were known or reputed to be ethically Romani. Until that time there is evidence to suggest that gypsies of low-land Scotland had their own royal heritage and king – the last Romani king of Scotland died in1902.

I don’t know for sure if Jane and her family were of Romani descent, but it is an interesting story, and like the persecution of the witches of the same era it is an entirely Lilith story.

Wherever there is persecution of any sort, there too is Lilith.

My grandmother, motherless from birth, and living in poverty lived a chaotic and difficult life that ended in an early death. Among the details of her story are several marriages, alcohol addiction, incarceration, mental illness, and abuse.

I was seven years old before I met her and after hearing how terrible she was I had expected to be confronted by nothing short of a freakish outcast. She was spoken about in hushed voices with a mix of terror and shame. She and my mother had been estranged for many years and she was almost a taboo subject in out house.  And yet, my grandmother was a gentle soul, vulnerable, lacking in boundaries and strong sense of self so that she was often taken advantage of (and worse) by what appeared to be a string of unsavoury characters. At least, the story goes, this was her life after her husband, my grandfather died at the age of 27 when my mother was only 5 years old.

She like many working-class women of the 1950’s was given a mental health label- schizophrenia- possibly one of the most stigmatized and misunderstood conditions in psychiatry. Today the equivalent appears to be Border Line Personality Disorder, given liberally to difficult or damaged women of the working classes. To my mind these are often abused women as my grandmother was… Lilith is whispering in the wind.

This is the story of the exiled feminine, the persecutions and incarcerations that were never talked about and therefore never healed. The legacy is passed on through the maternal lines as inherited, or inter-generational trauma until someone in the family finally clears the ancestral field and acknowledges what happened.

Lilith is restless, she will not be subdued. In the astrology chart she shows us where to look to identify our exiled and fragmented parts. While she may be cavorting in a desert on the other side of Eden in the Hebrew bible, she also exists in the repressed and forgotten parts of ourselves that lay trapped in our body and psyche. She is the contraction we feel in our muscles when the flight, fight or freeze impulse is triggered in us; she is the armouring suffocating our cells preventing renewal and a sense of cohesion; she is the addiction; the depression; the hardened mask of Medusa that can turn others to stone.

Finally, Lilith is the one who can set us free from our bondage and liberate us into our original essence. She herself is not the healer though she is the way-shower. Once we have accepted what Lilith has revealed to us it is left to another archetype- Chariklo- to offer the healing balm that will finally bring our wild and broken parts home.

Chariklo whose name means ‘graceful spinner’ has entered my life in a softer but no less synchronistic way as she was conjunct my natal Sun in December 2018 when I was researching material for the women’s moon lodge.

Chariklo, Lilith & our Mother’s Mother: New Moon in Aquarius.

New moon chart- 24/01/20- 21.42- GMT- 4 degrees of Aquarius.

Pluto 23 Capricorn

Saturn 24 Capricorn

Chariklo 25 Capricorn

Black Moon Lilith (true and mean) 3 Aries

Chiron 2 Aries

Sabian symbol for sun/moon conjunction-

“Every individual is far more dependent upon the strengths of their ancestors’ achievements – or oppressed by their failures- as they usually believe.”

In this new moon chart I am focusing on the Lilith/Chiron conjunction at 3 degrees of Aries, and the Chariklo/Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn.

In the chart – based on the UK- Black Moon Lilith is in the 7th house- house of relationships.

Black moon Lilith (both true and mean) has a tiny Lilith ‘corridor’ (6 minutes) which intensifies Lilith energies and may invoke instant manifestation of Lilith-like issues- the exiled parts of feminine consciousness.

Black moon Lilith has to do with our bio-emotional-physical experience where we are receptive to subtle energies and currents as they move through our physical, emotional and psychic being, as well as our environment and on the astral planes.

In the house of relationship conjunct Chiron this speaks to the possible ways in which we are wounded in our personal and intimate relationships and how we store these experiences/memories in our body… often this pattern was set-up in childhood. Understanding this is not a rational process and cannot be worked out by the mind or by talking alone, it a deeply visceral experience that is instinctual in nature and has to do with the ways our nervous system has been wired or programmed.

If there are deep rooted bio-psychological issues laying unresolved in our nervous system, such as abandonment or abuse, healing can feel elusive at a times impossible (Chiron). However through the process of loving awareness and consciousness- not necessarily mental awareness- these deeply buried wounds in our cells and tissue can finally be released. This is the healing of the ‘Chironic Wound’- it may never be fully erased but in time we can experience a deeper understanding of the instinctual processes driving us and bring in more light & consciousness.

This is where Charilko comes in and takes the healing a step further. In the new moon chart Chariklo is conjunct Pluto and Saturn at 25 degrees of Capricorn. As the wife of Chiron, Chariklo- whose name means ‘graceful spinner’- is the divine feminine, weaving her healing magic through love, forgiveness and compassion.

Chariklo tells us we cannot heal our deepest soul wounds with reason or will alone, it is the quality of grace… divine grace, that can initiate us into this process of transformation.

Chariklo insists that we no longer blame anybody else for our wounds and suffering. She shows us that everybody is operating according to their soul imprints- and in this knowledge we can finally offer forgiveness.  But it does not mean that we continue to allow ourselves to be adversely affected by toxic or transgressive behaviours- we learn to forgive but we also learn to set strong protective and self-loving boundaries… we can love and administer grace and compassion without being subjected to another’s will, misfortune or abuse.

Chariklo takes us to the void, to the wounded instinctual places where we may call in a higher spiritual power and where we are assisted by the grace of divine will. When the life sustaining and rejuvenating principle is operating through us, we are no longer at the mercy of other people as our main source of nourishment and validation, and less likely to tolerate, or engage in harmful behaviours and attitudes.

Working with the energy of Chariklo we are involved in the mystical processes of self-care and self-love, consciously inviting the divine feminine into our lives.

With the focus on ancestral influence in this new moon’s point of Aquarius, we are called to acknowledge how patterns of trauma and wounding may have been passed down through our lineage.

As Aquarius is the water bearer, what are we being asked to bear for our ancestors and our lineages?

Healing these patterns is a shamanic process, a rich layering of past & present, inner & outer.

I am currently reading a book by Mark Wolynn about inherited family trauma- the author says that how we love or relate to our intimate partner is how our mother was related to as a child in her family home, and possibly even how her mother, our grandmother, was raised.

As the Pluto/Saturn conjunction continues to dismantle outmoded structures we may be called to take a candid look at the structures we have woven and set up for ourselves in our own lives. What are the driving forces behind these impulses and motivations? Are we creating our lives from a place of health and integration, or unaddressed dynamics and learned patterns?

Tonight’s dark moon is an excellent time to consider these points.

If you would like an astrology consultation to discover how asteroid Chariklo or Black Moon Lilith moves in your life, please contact me- karen@redspiral.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aquarian Woman- The Higher Love

Image by Tashina Suzuki

The next new moon is on Friday 24 January, at 21.42 GMT when the Sun & Moon are positioned at 4 degrees of Aquarius.

The sabian symbol for this degree reads:

“A COUNCIL OF ANCESTORS IS SEEN IMPLEMENTING THE EFFORTS OF A YOUNG LEADER.

KEYNOTE: The Root foundation of past performances which power and sustain whatever decision is made in a crisis by an individual.

The whole past of mankind stands behind any individual effort, especially in times of critical decisions.”

By the end of this year we will see Jupiter and Saturn moving into the zodiacal sign of Aquarius heralding another major shift in consciousness- in this case from the element of earth to air- a new breath of reason blowing into the stale fibres of structures that have now outlived their purpose. Perhaps we realise that the shelter we have previously held on so tightly too is in fact a pale shelter, unsustainable and imprisoning rather than safe and protective. What have we been holding onto? What are we ready to shake off in a bid for more freedom?

The many shifts of this time are preparing the way for the epochal move into the age of Aquarius which is well underway and will begin to take shape in approx. 150 years. We know from intergenerational trauma, family constellations, and the science of epigenetics that we are influenced by our ancestors from at least 4 generations before. It even states in the bible-

“Keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:7-

The decisions we are making now, the clear sightedness with which we are able to view the lay of the land; the joining of heart & mind; reason & instinct will lay the foundational bricks of the path that will lead us into the new age.

Social media and other channels of (dis) information appear as mighty forces in the manipulation of the human being at this time, pulling on weary heart strings and triggering the pain of our own unacknowledged wounds which are then projected onto the world stage. Can we stand back from this, and still with profound love and compassion, still fully connected to our humanity, cleanse the doors of perception and rise above the distortions peddled by forces that would manipulate the vulnerabilities of the human heart?

Can we reconnect body & soul; Heaven & earth, realising both our power and divinity and our humanness?

Aquarius, the water bearer symbolises the ability to carry water but is not the water. Water is the healing balm, the elixir of life. In our human experience, water is connected to the emotions. When we can master our emotions, that is bear them, and even bear the emotions of others, but are not consumed by them, the empathy and healing that we can offer ourselves and others is nothing less than the gateway to love.

It is not to shut off from emotions and feelings, rather it to see these human experiences as sacred portals into the truth of our being, and to find it in others. This is the key to healing, staying conscious in the depths of feeling, not judging but understanding the gift of integrating the whole spectrum of human life. It is the bridge between the human and divine realm, what we may think of as grace.

This consciousness keeps us fully connected in the world, administers of love and understanding without getting lost in sentimentality and the manipulation of emotive tactics to draw on our heart strings and the lower mind.

Here, there is no need to get lost in the mire of overwhelming emotions that can lead us to check out an escape what we consider too painful to bear.

In this we can step into the new age like phoenixes from the ashes, not transcended from earth and matter but fully embodied, fully cognisant, human divine, with celestial winds blowing through our higher mind and lifting our spirit.

 

Epiphany,Venus, & The Feminine Christ

Beginning on December 26, Holy days are Twelve (sometimes Thirteen) in number up to and including January 6th which in the Christian calendar is Epiphany. Epiphany means ‘great light’ or ‘illumination’ and refers to the manifestation of Christ on earth. The Twelve Holy days are observed within the Christian mysteries, as well as the ancient mysteries, the Arcane School, and the ‘Ageless Wisdom’.

Epiphany is connected to the Star of Bethlehem which rose in the east guiding the three magi (or Astrologers) to the place of Jesus’ birth. Modern astrologers speculate that the Star of Bethlehem may have been a Venus/Jupiter conjunction, a comet, or a supernova.

The Twelve Holy days are believed to be of profound spiritual significance and are said to be under the influence of the Twelve Zodiacal Hierarchies which during the period leading up to Epiphany imprint their archetypal vibration onto the earth in order to create a harmonic resonance that completes at the end of the solar year. (You can read more about this by refering to the work of Rosicrucian author Corinne Heline).

Holy days are also believed to initiate the redemption of the earth and involves the 9th Degree of the Lesser Mysteries. The process refers to the role and status of Earth as it relates to cosmic alchemy. This is found in the teaching of Alice Bailey.

The light building through the Twelve Holy days culminates and is released on Epiphany when the manifestation of divine light is anchored on earth. This is represented by the embodiment of Christ.

In some church traditions only full days are counted, so that 5 January is counted as the Eleventh Day, 6 January as the Twelfth Day, and the evening of 6 January is counted as the Twelfth Night. In these traditions, Twelfth Night is the same as Epiphany and is also known as the “Thirteenth Day” (Van Wagenberg-Ter Hoeven, Anke A. (1993).

The number thirteen is symbolic of feminine power, creative life force, and wisdom. While in modern culture the number thirteen is considered an omen of bad luck and ill fortune, in previous times and in many other cultures it was considered auspicious. The number 13 is connected to the Goddess, the sacred feminine, Venus and Mary Magdalene.

Perhaps the Star of Bethlehem was in fact Venus as the Morning Star for in the last chapter of the Bible, Jesus called Himself “the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16).

Lucifer or ‘Light Bringer’ is also a name for Venus as the Morning Star.

On planet earth, humans are activating, or reactivating, and anchoring the light of the divine feminine, a light which has been seriously obscured in the last few thousand years.

But while the birth of Christ is the physical incarnation of the divine on the planet- matter infused with the Christos – many teachings show that it is through the feminine that Christ consciousness is birthed… Mother Mary with the infant Jesus on her lap, mirroring the image of Isis with Horus… both solar deities birthed from the Mother.

Are these times heralding the manifestation, or realisation, of the feminine Christ?

Are we awakening to the necessity of a wholly acknowledged and fully realised feminine vibration toward the facilitation of human ascension? Is this what the questers after the Grail sought? Is it the heretical wisdom of the Knights Templars and other mysterious Brotherhoods? And could it be the gnosis behind the ‘Court of Love’ initiated by Eleanor of Aquitaine in Poitiers?

Is this the true mystery of the dance of Venus? The harmonic that will awaken humankind when the seat of human, now divine, consciousness awakens in the spiritual heart.

Like in the castle surrounded by thorns where Beauty (the Rose) sleeps, the true feminine has laid unconscious and absent from human activities for millennium.

And who was it that put a curse on Beauty?  It was the 13th fairy.

But this myth may be read in a different way: Rather than scapegoating the dark feminine, or the witch, it points to the rejection of Her by a fear-of-the-feminine based consciousness that both lives in terror of feminine power, and fails to anticipate the destruction that results in its absence.

People are coming to appreciate the imbalance and discord that has been created through the uprooting of feminine power. Women and men are becoming conscious of how this principle lives within themselves and the collective and are experiencing the consequences of its suppression. The past few decades have witnessed a feminine revival and renaissance – though not always wholesome and often subject to manipulation and distortion – the time has nevertheless come for the Princess to awaken and claim her seat of power so that the castle, or the Waste Land may once again flourish.

In the fairy tale, it is a brave knight, perhaps the Grail quester, who awakens the sleeping beauty. Here is a symbol of the masculine kissing awake his own anima (often represented by Venus), and at the same time, embedded in this myth is the awakening animus (inner man) of the feminine. It is the hieros gamos of the gnostic texts.

Herein lies a key to the return of feminine power. In activating and making union with her animus, a woman cannot simply adopt masculine symbols of power such as those that are held in regard by the patriarchy. In that instance, nothing would change, and the imbalance would continue. Instead, the feminine needs to refine her masculinity through her heart centre. Similarly, the masculine cannot merge with his anima in a wholly feminine manner less he becomes emasculated. He must contact his feminine through his masculine energy.

The much-maligned power of the 13th fairy is nothing less that the principles of renewal, regeneration, and transformation. It is not only the acceptance of death and an adherence to the principles of nature that the dark feminine symbolises, it is also the link to cosmic consciousness and the non- dualism that is required to merge with universal and planetary energies. It is a circular rather than linear way of human-beingness within the wider cosmic influence.

What is most feared about the integration of this consciousness is the ability to experience beyond limitations of time and space and imbibe the merging with God. This is an alchemical process which in true Grail fashion cannot be mediated or gained by proxy. It must be got through direct experience… and the Grail is different for everyone. What is clear however is that it is unobtainable without the feminine.

As I see it, the Grail is no less than the awakening and manifestation of human/divine feminine consciousness and living according to those principles. What’s more, the time of year from Christmas to Epiphany -these days little more than a faint idea in most modern minds – is in fact a time when the door to anchoring divine light within human beings and earth is wide open. That Venus as the Light Bringer heralds this opening points to the profound energies currently available for ‘cording- in’ the divine feminine.

From Olympus to Westminster- The cost to women in power.


At the centre of Conservative party rule is a tiered structure rooted in the English private school system, and the misogynistic mindset of 19th century rationalism. With only 29% of female MPs represented in the House of Commons, and a mere 24% female representation in the House of Lords, British politics still has some way to go in fairly representing women.

I am aware as I write this that being a biological woman does not automatically announce the embodiment of feminine values. I would be curious to know how many women in seats of power are freely expressing their feminine nature, and how many repress it in order to be accepted in their field.

In an article in the Guardian on 25 July 2019, it was revealed that two-thirds of Boris Johnson’s cabinet went to private schools, compared to only 7 % of the general population.

Nick Duffel, a psychotherapist for boarding school survivors says the political implications of this syndrome are huge – because it’s the children inside the men running the country who are effectively in charge.

From the description of Duffel’s book, ‘Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion’ –

“This specific culture of elitism, protected by financial interests and the “It never did me any harm” syndrome, means that Britain is unlikely to foster the kind of leadership necessary in our world of increasing complexity, which needs a communal mindset and cooperative global solutions. But worse, new scientific evidence shows that this hyper-rational training leaves its devotees trapped within the confines of an inflexible mind, beset with functional defects, presented here as the Entitled Brain.”

Boys who go through this system are separated form their families at the tender age of 7, ensuring no, or little, feminine influence and are instead indoctrinated into a culture of ‘It didn’t do me any harm’, designed to close the heart and give primacy to the overly rational, emotionally detached and uncaring mentality evident in Conservative values.

In a system where the so-called enlightened mind of rationalism calls the shots, everyone is forced to endorse the prevailing paradigm. Women, children and any ‘Other’ comes under the sway of the agenda being either appropriated, corrected, or rejected.

These dynamics are nothing new and can be traced back to Greek mythology which show that in changing from matrilineal and lunar-based consciousness to the reign of the solar hero, women were acceptable only if they renounced their femininity and came under male rule. The priestesses were ousted form the temples and replaced with male priest who proclaimed themselves divinely appointed agents of the one true god.

Here is the Faustian bargain imposed upon Athena, goddess of wisdom: in order to claim her place among the Olympians she became detached from her original essence, and even punished expressions of instinctual or other apparently female identified qualities in other women. This dynamic is seen in the myth of Medusa where, as a punishment for a sexual tryst with the sea god Poseidon, Medusa is turned, by Athena, into a monstrous Gorgon with a hissing head of serpents, capable of turning men to stone with one glance.

It is not only men who sanction and impose misogynists’ values, it is the women who are embedded in this system who uphold them too…and herein lies the double betrayal of the feminine- a wound that surfaces in many of the women whom I work with.

Of course, at the heart of many of these myths as well as current socio-political and cultural structures is the fear of the feminine.

What will it take for a genuinely female-based consciousness to find its place in the halls of power? When the elites ruling the country are forced to separate from and belittle feminine values from a tender age, how can mature adult, social, political and intimate relationships based on equality of the sexes be possible?

These are old issues going way back into the vaults of time… to believe that the darkness at the core of androcentric institutions such as medicine, politics, education, military, and finance has been exposed and healed is misguided.
 
While it may be comforting to believe that in our post feminist world, the ‘old boy network’ no longer holds the power it used to, there is clearly much work still to be done.
 
I have huge admiration for anyone- man or woman- who is stepping forward as agents of change in whatever way they are called.

12:12 Full Moon, the UK election, and the goddess of love.

Image- Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan by Alexandre Charles Guillemot (1827)

Image- Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan by Alexandre Charles Guillemot (1827)

Venus the eternal goddess of love is somewhat challenged today (astrologically speaking). Slotted between mighty Pluto and Saturn, she is having difficulty breathing.

Pluto/Venus and Saturn/Venus placements in natal and relationship charts can be tricky and in the case of Pluto/Venus may suggest a tendency for intense, obsessive and even abusive relationships.

As well as being placed in the zodiacal sign of Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn, Venus is conjunct Saturn by 1 degree. Saturn/Venus contacts may show a rather authoritarian or aloof relationships, or a feeling of being unloved.

I write this on the train and only a few moments ago a uniformed guard sternly tried to remove a young woman from the train, not by physical force but with a very earnest and authoritative manner. The woman was being accused of inciting political sentiment inappropriately on public transport (I doubt she was rooting for Boris Johnson), and was told on no uncertain terms to leave the train. An interesting scenario given that I was at that very moment contemplating the Venus/Saturn relationship, and the relationship of the masculine to the feminine generally.

In tonight’s Sun & Moon Lodge we will be exploring through shamanic journeying and astro drama, the relationship between the masculine and feminine. Using the mythology of Venus, her husband the blacksmith Hephaestus and her lover Mars, as well as her imposition between Pluto and Saturn, the intention is to get a glimpse of the current collective climate, as well as our own personal dynamics in this regard.

With Mars also on the ascendant of the full moon chart, can the goddess of love temper all this strong masculine energy?

Hephaestus- known as Vulcan to the Romans- is depicted as the jealous husband who, furious by his wife’s infidelities, weaves a fine net to trap the lovers and present them before the gods of Olympus. This story however may say more about the nature of Venus rather than her scorned partner… though Venus has many relationships with both mortals and gods, and although to some extent she is not whole unto herself without a consort, she is also a goddess who cannot be possessed- even although I am sure the dark lord of the underworld, Pluto might like to try.

The relationship with Hephaestus and the feminine is an interesting one for he is also the god who created the first woman, Pandora, as a punishment for men for whom Prometheus stole the fire of the gods. Imbued with femininity from Aphrodite (Venus), and the skill of crafts form Athena, Pandora is described as being ‘beautifully evil’.

What is the relationship between your own inner masculine and feminine like, both in its balanced state and shadow state? To explore this, you can journey to the inner spaces using images or journeying, dream work and any other resources able to facilitate an opening to the imaginal realm- or simply look at your astrology chart!

For myself, when my inner masculine and feminine are balanced it is a beautiful relationship in which the masculine is in service to the feminine, however with fiery Mars in Aries conjunct Chiron (the wound) at the top of the chart, in its shadow aspect this relationship has a tendency toward Mars being a bit of a bully, rushing the softer more intuitive aspects of my feminine self which needs space and the gift of unfolding in her own good time.

On a collective note, I hope that the over masculinised influences of today’s full moon chart don’t influence voting too much.

Here’s to the deep need we have to integrate, anchor and weave feminine and soulful values into our public and political spheres. Here’s to Venus the goddess of love in her many aspects.

Image- Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan by Alexandre Charles Guillemot (1827)

Living Mythologies: The Sisterhood Wound

Ladon and the Hesperides

In this Thursday’s Moon Lodge, myself and a small band of women will be exploring sisterhood, and what it means for modern women. Do we have a sense of its existence in our lives… or not and if not, what prohibits us from owning this rite of the feminine? And what must be done to reweave this torn web?

Canterbury Moon Lodge works with the natural cycles, the zodiacal placement of the moon, astrology, the mythic realms, symbolism and shamanism to lead us through the barriers of the rational mind and ego consciousness… beyond our limited stories.

The key to Moon Lodge is found in the weaving of myths, symbols, and archetypes with our own soul experiences and the contemporary cultural condition which we inhabit… but which may, if we are not careful, inhabit us.

Myths are living entities- on one level they are rooted in cultural and spiritual history and may reveal a lot about the lineage of our shared human consciousness. On another level they exist in an astral space of flux, change and movement mirroring our evolution process. They liberate us from the hardening mechanics of our own small stories and the engine of our ego mind. They can be a healing balm for the soul- provided we do not get too rigid about their meaning and are able to flow in the primordial waters and drink from the fountain of life.

There is no fixed meaning to myths, they are fluid expressions of the journey of the human soul both individually and collectively, revealing ever deeper layers of our relationship with the divine.

Working with myth enables us to take flight from the weight of our personal stories and prisons of the mind, freeing us into archetypal realms that have much to teach us about what it means to be spirit incarnate in the material world. Myths exist in the imaginal realms- they join body- soul- mind and spirit.

Exploring sisterhood through myth:

I am struck by the many stories of groups of women, nymphs, witches, graces and sirens from the mythological archives- from the Gorgons, Graeae, and the Stygian Nymphs in the myth of Medusa, to the women of the Isle of Lemnos in the Argonaut story, to the many daughters of Atlas… the seven sisters of the Pleiades, and the seven Hesperides guarding the Golden Apples. Myths and fairy tales are full of groups of women who possess magical powers or supernatural gifts especially when they join forces. Often, these groups of women are guarded by primordial beings such as snakes or dragons – as with Ladon the dragon who guards the sacred tree in the garden of Hesperides (this echoes the serpent who guards the Huluppu tree in Babylonian myth of Ishtar).

But what meaning can this have for modern women? What can these stories teach us?

Certainly, there are far fewer tales of groups of men who, by and large, appear in myth, stories, and fairy tales as solar heroes on lonely quests for individuation, or to prove themselves worthy by achieving feats of high danger or seeming impossibile tasks (or to get the girl). Often, they must obtain the power of women to set them on the next leg of their quest, and sometimes the feminine power or wisdom is stolen, or as the case of Medea is taken on false promise thereby betraying the feminine. Stories of stealing feminine power and wisdom are told through many sources and can also be witnessed in more concrete ways throughout history… this can be quite hidden and occult too.

What then is it about groups of women? Could it be that something incredibly powerful is initiated when women join forces? When I talk to women about sisterhood, they often report a feeling of being thwarted against other women. As I see it, this sometimes looks like who can be the most ideal feminine based on a standard of masculine values.

In a patriarchal culture where hierarchy and competition are esteemed values of solar consciousness, one might wonder, where is the space for people, and especially women, to come together on equal terms, encouraging and invoking the unique gifts of each member while in turn creating something much larger and more powerful than the sum of the parts?

Historically, groups of women have been feared and accused of witchcraft and malice.

What I have learned from three years of holding moon lodge circles is that it is indeed very powerful when women come together. Sometimes I feel nothing much more than gathering in circle with open hearts and good intentions needs to happen. Being witnessed in truth and authenticity is deeply healing – to see and to be seen as we really are.

But how real can we be?

Can we be vulnerable enough to show ourselves… the wounds we carry, the trauma we have suffered, our hopes and aspirations for our lives, our innermost truths about who we profoundly know ourselves to be without the need to play small… or big? Are we angry when other women tell their truth, or shine their light? Do we pity women who dissolve and unravel, unable to keep themselves together as we calmly don our mask of ‘got it all worked out’?

Who triggers you and why?

Can you truly love and support other women? Can you receive the enormous power and magic that wants to enter your life when you are able to open to other women?

I own in myself that in the past I have found it easier to open to men and reveal more of my truth to them than I have with women (although this is a whole other stone to be turned!).

When I look into this, I see that as a little girl I feared being subsumed by my mother. I felt on some level as if I existed only as an aspect of her and not as a person in my own right. I was an appendage of her, and she needed to hold the power so that I would not defy our mother-daughter complicity which was designed to continue living-out the false woman image. While the true or authentic woman was devastated by unresolved inter-generational and inter-cultural trauma, a mask had been created to prevent the pain from showing- which also meant that the trauma could not heal. In the culture I was born into it did not take much for a woman to be considered crazy. Many women were socially rejected, labelled and judged for dispalying symptoms of trauma- my own grandmother included.

I was strongly encouraged to hide behind the false woman mask because if the terrible wound that my mother and I, and my grandmother carried was exposed, it would have felt like certain death. And with compassion I can see that my mother did not feel she had the tools and resources to make the descent into the deepest soul wounds and come back to tell the tale.

This dynamic of complicity set me up for a lifetime of feeling unable to own myself in the company of other women- especially ones who wielded patriarchal type, control-over power, who denied the feminine in themselves and who would therefore no doubt punish me for it. But what is the experience of being in our authentic woman in the presence of other women (or anyone for that matter)? As the archetypal psychologist James Hillman says, we do not know what a real feminine consciousness looks like. It has been a long time since this has been anchored on the planet.

I and others are involved in the work of returning the exiled feminine.

At some point I realised that in not owning the truth of who I am in my full woman, I cannot fully support and love another woman to express that integrity either because of feeling threatened on some level. Feelings of jealousy, envy, suspicion, judgement, and any number of negative emotions keep us separate from other women- but in truth this is only separates us from ourselves.

Deeper still is the fear that if we really show ourselves for who we really are we will be abandoned, unloved, rejected or ridiculed. But it is silence and complicity that prevents us from coming home to ourselves.

These are some of the questions that we will be journeying with in Thursday’s Lodge, however if this post has inspired you please add your comments.

 

Re-Visioning Medusa: A New Myth of Serpent Power & Instinctual Wisdom

'Serpentarium' By Patricia Ariel

In re-visioning the myth of Medusa, I begin to see it as a teaching for modern women about the journey back to our instinctual selves so that we may become co- creators in our own life. It is the teaching of the Dark Goddess, and the dark moon mysteries. It is also a teaching about menstrual rites, and the ability to reset ourselves during menstruation which acts as an inner barometer checking how aligned with ourselves we are.

As a priestess in the temple of Athena – goddess of wisdom – Medusa is primed to be Athena’s top girl. She is diligent, devotional, chaste, reverend and respectful. She is the ‘good girl’ doing what is expected of her but ultimately responding to the will of another, and as we shall see, denying her true nature.

Medusa’s story begins with consciousness- though it is controlled and inauthentic, then her descent into unconsciousness when she is turned into a hideous gorgon, and finally her rebirth into her true self as the moon horse Pegasus, and healer of others through the power of her blood. In exploring feminine consciousness, Medusa’s myth also sees parallels in the myth of Lilith. In astrology the triad of Lilith consciousness- asteroid Lilith- Dark Moon Lilith- Black Moon Lilith- tells a similar story of reclaiming banished feminine wisdom. Looking at Lilith and Medusa points in a natal chart can describe the possibility of feminine rebirth.

In the most common reading of the myth, Medusa’s liaison with the sea god Poseidon is seen as a rape, in much the same way as Kore’s abduction to Hades is also viewed through the lens of violation.  But what if Medusa, originally a sea nymph, ‘protector of the dark moon mysteries, who celebrated the sexual rites with the lineage of sea gods’[i] was in fact initiated back to herself, in a sacred homecoming in which she reconnects with her instinctual energy?

In the temple of Athena, Medusa is a dutiful Priestess but serving the chaste goddess of wisdom Athena – a goddess who was born from the head of the ultimate solar god, Apollo – may be a self-sacrificing act that denies her access to her true self. Essentially Medusa is mistress of the dark moon, occult teachings, and sex magic. To deny these aspects in herself is to deny her essence and her destiny. A tantric union with the sea god, King Poseidon offers Medusa a return to her true nature even while she deeply offends and is punished by Athena – reason- and cast out from the temple precincts- ordered society.

It could be that originally Athena and Medusa were one in the same, derived from an ancient Libyan goddess, or rooted in Egyptian mythology through the goddess Neith. As the solar gods assumed precedence over matriarchal and lunar consciousness, the temples were often burnt and desecrated, many of the priestesses became destitute, whores, or nuns, and the Sun god Apollo boldly steaked his claim in the Temple of Delphi- a name whose etymology has its origins in the same word a womb- and where the famed Oracles of Delphi advised the great and good of the land though a mysterious power that rose form the earth- serpent power.

In mythology, particularly Greek mythology, but also Roman, Christian and Celtic, fragmenting the goddess into opposing aspects was a way to undermine Her power, or set Her against Herself in the form of the ‘Other’.

In our next Moon Lodge, we will be exploring Sisterhood and addressing the blocks that modern women have in joining forces with, loving, and supporting other women. Divide and separate is one the oldest and simplest methods of bringing things, and people, into a weakened state and many modern women have a hard time supporting other women. One reason for this is that is hard to support/love another when you cannot be that for yourself. Women often report issues around trusting other women, or feeling that other women are out to get them, undermine them… or steal their man. When female power is in short supply, patriarchal values such as survival of the fittest, power over, control, and undermining the enemy comes into play. When women do not feel empowered to get their needs met, they are often accused of using tactics of manipulation. A friend once told me that she thought the hardest thing for a woman to do around other women is to hold her power. Whatever way I look at it, I can see/feel that the issue of sisterhood is deep wound of our time that is ready to be healed.

Imagine Athena and Medusa as one in the same- a mighty power of instinct, wisdom, the ability to merge, and the ability to separate. Soli/lunar magic unified in one awakened being.

When Medusa’s head is severed by the demi-god Perseus, the drops of blood falling on parched African desert as her flies away form the scene of the crime, causes little plants, flowers and shoots to spring up in an otherwise arid land. The blood of Medusa is a holy substance with life giving properties, and death dealing powers. Fertilizing barren land with the healing waters of life echo Medusa’s role as ‘mistress of the waters’ and connects her with a lineage of grail priestesses including Mary Magdalene whose knowledge of how to materialize spirit are at the heart of the gnostic and grail teachings.

The flowers that spring up from the drops of Medusa’s blood represent the power of renewal- which are the secrets known to the dark moon goddesses of transformation, renewal and initiation.

On receiving the blood of Medusa, Athena makes a gift of it to the god of healing Asclepius who separates the liquid into two vials. The blood in the left vial can destroy and cause death, while the blood in the right vial restores and heals and can bring life back to the dead. This is the mystery of the serpent wisdom- it has the power to destroy or create. Medusa herself has the power to destroy by rendering those who gaze upon her to stone, while in her beheading she unleashes the winged moon horse Pegasus, symbol of creative inspiration, revered by artists for centuries.

I prefer to read the myth like this… a rebirthing story for Medusa, her creative power finally unleashed by the death of her old persona and the restoration to her natural state. Medusa is sometimes originally depicted as a sea mare, and her name means “I come form myself”.

For modern women we might read the myth of Medusa as a caution against rejecting our essential selves. When we do this, we are in some way punished and we punish others… we can turn others to stone in our jealousy and frustration at our unlived lives. We, daughters of the patriarchy, often carry the burden of the unlived lives of our mothers’ who may have bitterly resigned themselves to a life of denial, and like Athena punish their daughters who dare to turn away from this feminine denying conspiracy.

Returning to one’s primal essence is often viewed by others as not very rational and indeed can at times look quite mad to the rest of the world. And in one way or another we will be punished for such a transgression against the social order. But sometimes we have no choice. Afterall, you cannot turn down the great sea god Poseidon.

In astrology, Neptune- Poseidon’s Roman counterpart is an outer planet taking us into the transpersonal realms. This suggests that when we are in the grip of an outer planet god, it is not about our self-will, wants and desires, rather the experience weaves us into the non- rational mystery of our soul’s journey and homecoming.

Of course, the shadow part of working with the myth of Medusa is undoing all the ways that we betrayed ourselves and were betrayed by others- often our mother- healing the wounds… we might even say sins, of going against our true nature.

[i] Mysteries of the Dark Moon by Demetra George. P. 159

Shamanic Mask Work

Using masks as a shamanic practice is deeply powerful and healing. In last night’s Sun & Moon lodge, wearing a mask gave me permission to be more theatrical, more confident, and removed from my usual persona so that I was able to open and channel an energy that is both me and at the same time is the point where I meet the gods. Mask wearing as a shamanic practice grants us access into the transpersonal realms where we are liberated from the burden of our conditioning.

In shamanic mask work the ego is silenced, our normal persona falls away and something else comes in- latent parts of ourselves, shadow parts, gifts, sacred insights… we become a transmission for something much larger than our ego identified self and beliefs about who we and others think we are.

Wearing a mask also has a strong effect on those around us… their preconceptions of us drop away, they can no longer hold onto who they think we are- which in turn challenges them to also redefine who they are. They are brought in that moment into a new space of knowing nothing about us or who we might become. And they are not sure who they will become in this new dynamic.

Last night we worked with the mask of Medusa which as a symbol is more than the myth of the terrifying gorgon abandoned in the cave at the edge of the western world. The mask of Medusa was donned by priestesses who worked with dark moon magic and wished to keep their workings secret from the uninitiated. The serpent headed crowns and monstrous masks were an emblem of the serpent rites and mysteries.

When considering the mask in a modern context and working with it for collective and psychological healing, it is interesting to consider the many masks we wear in our lives and the expectations that we fulfil for others. By refusing to accept the masks, by refusing to wear them, and instead explore hidden parts of ourselves by dropping our persona and stepping into something new is so liberating!

In ‘Mysteries of the Dark Moon’, Demetra George says that in order to transform the mask, we must recognise and acknowledge the wrathful face that we present to others. In working with Medusa, we must recall her from her banishment and reclaim the serpent headed Queen by honouring the dark moon wisdom that arises from our sexuality. Medusa is the source of our deep, regenerative healing power. The menstrual blood of the Serpent Goddess that could heal or kill, and even raise the dead is reflected in the twin serpents of Life and Death twinning about the winged staff of the caduceus- today the emblem of the medical profession.

Finding the point where asteroid Medusa is placed in our natal birth chart offers clues to understanding how this power may be activated in our lives and the ways in which we wear masks to deny and supress this power in ourselves, or project it on to others.

Please contact me if you would like an astro-shamanic consultation.

Medusa as Shamanic Guide to Reclaiming Feminine Serpent Wisdom

Medusa – Serpent Goddess of female wisdom whose name means “I come from myself”, may have a lot to teach us in reclaiming our wise woman- but we have to reach behind the mask… a very scary thing for us modern women to do, as the mask has kept us, if not entirely connected to our feminine wisdom and power, then at least alive in a culture that has largely rejected these aspects of the feminine.

In the beginning the mask of Medusa was a protection to guard the feminine mysteries from those who had no ‘rite’ to know them, or those who could misuse, damage or destroy this sacred knowledge. Unfortunately, as women became less sourced in their feminine power, the mask of stone that could be turned turned either outward or inward, replaced the true face of feminine power.

Medusa- serpent headed monster, once priestess, primordial sea nymph, stony-eyed death giver, cave dweller on the edge of the world…

What can the myth of Medusa mean for modern women?

Like all myths the Myth of Medusa is a living entity, morphing into new shapes and interpretations with the continual unfolding of human consciousness.

The most commonly known version of the myth is that Medusa was a priestess in the temple of Athena, goddess of wisdom before her terrible transformation. In this myth we witness Medusa very much as the victim, rather like Persephone whose journey of initiation is also corrupted to portray the feminine in a passive state. In both cases, the myth of Medusa and the myth of Persephone may instead be read as journeys of initiation in claiming our Queendom by accepting our true essence.

Originally a sea nymph, her beauty was beyond compare and men travelled far and wide just to catch a glimpse of her- though in her vows of chastity appropriate for Athena’s temple she would give herself to no man. But the mighty sea god Poseidon had other ideas… so enraptured was he by Medusa’s beauty that he vowed to have her by hook or by crook. Poseidon raped Medusa in the temple precincts thus enraging the chaste and virtuous Athena who, rather than avenge Poseidon, instead punishes Medusa by changing her beautiful tresses into hissing serpents.

Medusa at once is banished from the temple taking up residence with her two gorgon sisters, Sthenno and Euryale, in a cave on the edge of the world, on the ocean’s edge near to the border of night and death. So horrifying was Medusa’s monstrous appearance that any mortal who dared to look upon her was immediately turned to stone- stories spead far and wide about the lands and caverns in the area being strewn with pertified men.

Of the three hideous gorgons, Medusa was the only one who could die and the solar hero Perseus on a mission contrived by King Polydectes set out on a mission to slay the head of Medusa. The gods were on his side… donning a mirrored shield given by Athena, golden winged sandals from Hermes, a sword form Hephaestus, and a helmet of invisibility from Pluto, the young demi-god son of Zeus and the mortal Danaë, was invincible.

Taking care not to look at Medusa directly, Perseus captures her reflection in his mirror as he slowly steps backwards, then with one fell swoop cuts of her head. From her severed body spring the winged horse Pegasus and the golden sword wielding giant Chrysaor. The other two gorgon sisters arrive on the scene, but Perseus escapes wearing the helmet of invisibility given to him by Pluto. Some people say that he flew away on the back of Pegasus holding in his hand the grotesque head of Medusa and that wherever the drops of blood fell to the earth, flowers, plants and other verdant life sprung forth.

Thereafter the goddess of wisdom Athena wore a breast plate of the Medusa’s head on her person as a symbol of protection. She gifted the blood of Medusa to the great healer Asclepius who separated it into two vials- the right vial it was said had great healing properties- even the power to bring back the dead- while the blood of the left vial was said to destroy and kill.

The Myth of Medusa is immensely rich with its origins rooted in north Africa and the Egyptian goddess Neith, who was known as Anatha in Libya, and Athena in Greece. In her book, ‘Mysteries of the Dark Moon’, Demetra George tells us that Neith emerged from the primeval floodwaters, and her name means, “I have come from myself”. As part of a triple goddess figure with Neith/Anatha, and Metis, Medusa embodies the third dark aspect of the destroyer/crone, and was revered as the Queen of the Libyan Amazons, the Serpent Goddess of female wisdom.

Feminist and Jungian scholars have made much of the layers of symbolism embedded within the story. For George, “Medusa in her association wit the serpent and the menstrual blood that could both heal and destroy, embodies the dark moon mysteries of the goddess. In her red-faced gorgon mask mounted by a crown of snakes, Medusa in women signifies a source of feminine wisdom that is connected to their sexuality.”

Kundalini serpent power is the life-force, prana or chi that lays dormant at the base of the spine until such time that it is activated and begins its journey up the spinal, passing through and activating the chakras (power centres) before arriving at the crown chakra. At which point cosmic consciousness is awakened. This force can then be used for regenerative healing and renewal, open doors of creativity, oracular wisdom and spiritual power.

Like Demetra, I see the hissing crown of the Medusa as feminine serpent power that once activated moves one beyond the constrictions of duality into a cosmic consciousness where there is a union between human and divine. Another way to say this is that the human body becomes the earthen vessel able to be penetrated by and hold divine energy.

This power has been repressed and punished by centuries of culture that have feared it, and women themselves have become cut off from the root of their feminine grounding. The monstrous aspect of Medusa is the mask we wear to protect ourselves from the vulnerability that we feel in being cut off at the root. Either we turn the mask out toward those we feel we must protect ourselves from- and in the case of modern women this often translates as many aspects of culture. If we turn the mask inward on ourselves, we despise all that makes us powerful and feminine- our menstruation- shamanic birthing- sexuality- magic, and Dark Goddess wisdom. This power has been so feared and so rejected in our culture that we have learned to disown it in ourselves and punish it in others.

Rather than see the myth of Medusa as another story of female disempowerment and victimisation, I see Medusa as a shamanic guide who can lead us to the places where we have blocked Dark Goddess power in ourselves. One way to do this is to acknowledge the mask of bitterness we wear, and the situations where we can petrify others and ourselves in our stony rigidity and insecurity.

However, this tale comes with a huge caution- these mysteries must be approached carefully and with great respect, and at the right time. Like a kundalini awakening the serpent power must not be unleashed prematurely or in ways that are dangerous, for then it can kill.

The clue to approaching the feminine mysteries lies in the fact that Perseus, or anyone else for that matter, cannot look directly at Medusa. With a lot of help from the gods in the form of magical tools, and by only looking upon the reflection of medusa rather than her actual person, is Perseus able to slay her.

This tells us that the feminine mysteries cannot be approached in a rational way, and that we must seek the help of the gods to contact the divine. That is why we need ritual, ceremony, initiation, rites of passage and prayer, and return to our bio-mystical rites.

It is said that at one time Athena and Medusa, along with the sea goddess Metis were all part of the tripe goddess archetype- from Athena we receive wisdom, intellect, valour and courage, from Metis intuition and creative expression, and from Medusa sexual power, magic and psychic abilities. Before patriarchal consciousness separated these aspects of femininity, this trilogy of power and attributes was the bedrock of the feminine wisdom and essence.

If you would like to work with Medusa and begin to see behind the mask in your own life, looking at the placement of asteroid Medusa in your chart can point to the area of your life and rulership under whose power Medusa operates.

Contact me if you would like a consultation.