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

Leaf

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

Demeter & Persephone: What Can The Eleusinian Mysteries Teach Us Today?

Eleusinian Mysteries
“Women were everywhere the original mantics”
~Monica Sjöö
Are you interested in the ancient mysteries, shamanic practice, and the language of myth, archetype & symbolism?
September 14th in ancient Greece would have seen the beginning of an initiatory rite known as the Eleusinian Mysteries an enactment of the transformation of Kore, through her time spent in the underworld (Hades), into Persephone, Queen of the Underworld.
At this time the Sun is in Virgo a sign involved with the mystery of inner and outer processes of death, rebirth, and renewal. Containing her energies within, the virgin goddess undergoes a process of inner alchemy becoming a self-generative source of energy.
How we use our energy is an important question especially in times when the there is so much happening in the world pulling us in many directions. Virgo teaches discernment and discretion, and to reside firmly rooted in ourselves.
On 14th September, the Sun is at 22 Virgo- the sabian symbol is-
PHASE 173 (VIRGO 23°): A LION TAMER DISPLAYS HIS SKILL AND CHARACTER.
KEYNOTE: The need to tame one’s vital energies in order to fulfil one’s destiny.
Join me for a multi-dimensional exploration of the mysteries as I share rich material about Persephone’s descent to the underworld, her mother Demeter’s grief, and what this story may teach modern women about the need for conscious descent to transform unconscious material into conscious power.
This event is part taught material and part shamanic exploration (visualisation).
It is an event for women; you can find out more information through my Meetup group- “Red Spiral Shamanism For Women”.
While I have a master’s degree in Myth, Cosmology & the Sacred, however I am not a scholar of the ancient mysteries nor of ancient Greece, my interest is of a symbolic, imaginal, and shamanic nature. My research is factually derived from scholarly interpretation… but the rest may have wings!
To find out more and to sign up visit my Meetup group- Red Spiral Shamanism For Women-

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.

July Full Moon: Activating Our Star Body & Dark Knowing.

Sunrise

“Sunrise from Glastonbury Tor” authors own photograph.

“Everything in life possesses the power to transform, to become, to expand its inherent nature and grow as it were from within, which is Sakti.”

~Madhu Khanna, Yantra

Far from the endless confusion of contradictory messages and the paralysing channels of fear, there is another place, a place that arises from deep within the ground of our being, from our self-generated energy, connected and aligned to the natural cycles and flow of life. Strengthened by our relationship with the organic, natural world, this connection is in danger of becoming weaker in an increasingly artificial world- if we are not mindful of the more subtle dimensions of our existence. This deeper knowing is our “star body”, or astral body, a perception or awareness that connects us to the unseen or subtle realms of reality.

In a glut of words, theories, and concepts, how do we figure out what we truly need, or what to invest our faith in? Our tired minds cling desperately to some semblance of normality, trying to process the unprocessable, amongst the absurdity and insistence that there is a logic, a reason, a purpose which must be grasped even while it changes day by day.

These shadowy projections of a deeper reality, offer no real fulfilment, and for many the show has grown tiresome… for some unbearable.

Where do we go from here and what resources may we draw upon?   

Truth says Ernest Hemingway is elusive- “I know now that there is no one thing that is true – it is all true”. But when everything is true is it not also the case that nothing is true? Slowly we come to realise- as we stumble out from beneath the rubble of our left- brain dominant, and somewhat frazzled western minds- that truth is indeed highly subjective. The people to whom we have assigned the role of keepers of truth, our “experts” and governments, no longer reassure us and indeed seem to steer the world through oceans of myopic confusion… either mistakenly or deliberately.

Author of The Black Goddess and the Unseen Real, Peter Redgrove identifies spiritual intuition as our chief organ. In the mire of information and disinformation overload, clearer waters are to be found in the well spring of our inner knowing, a knowing beyond the conditioned mind and learned behaviour cultivated to fit into a model of society.

No one comes to his true selfhood by being what society wants him to be, nor by doing what it wants him to do.

Stephen Holler author of The Gnostic Jung

Getting back to the unseen real of the black goddesses- wisdom keeper Lilith exiled and demonised for a few thousand years is making a comeback; from out of the shadows, from the wild places, she is calling us to join her. Lilith teaches us to trust our intuition, to stand strong in our truth, to see behind the veils of illusion, and to place our own intuitive knowing above all else. This is not so easy… just as Lilith has been exiled for millennia, our intuitive wisdom, our “star body” has also been off line to varying degrees.

Lilith draws us closer to the invisible realms, out beyond the known world, beyond the chasm of other people’s beliefs, opinions, and assumptions; beyond fear, past the horizon line, so that we may merge with our “star body”, loosened from the shackles of a world that has become so compressed it’s hard to breathe. She shows us we can use this compression to aid our own rebirth… when snakes shed their skin, they rub themselves against a hard surface.  

At the time of the full moon, Black Moon Lilith (true) is in aspect with asteroid Ishtar. In Mesopotamian mythology, Ishtar is the hierodule, the most holy aspect of the bridal ritual (hieros gamos), a sacred ritual and key process in the mysteries of alchemy and rebirth.

Lilith is an aspect of the cosmic feminine who opens psychic awareness and connects the personal and transpersonal realms, she facilitates maturation of the self through a process of self-gnosis. She guides us to find the disenfranchised or unowned parts of ourselves so that we may bring them home. Her darkness in part lies in the recognition of how our unowned or unclaimed energy operates- or is used-  beneath the veil of consciousness… Lilith knows a thing or two about rabbit holes.

Redgrove writes,

“There is a persistent rumour that she herself [Lilith] is the Messiah, come to redeem the divided souls of women, by virtue of her ability to circuit the sky and traverse the depths of the abyss.”

The cosmic feminine is an immense liberating force, animating and flowing with all of life, it is shakti, immanent, transcendent, mysterious, invisible, and utterly embodied. It is not surprising that this force therefore has been shut down, demonised, punished, and deemed unacceptable in a world which has become increasingly dominated by those who like to be in control, or at least enjoy the illusion of being so.

There is a tremendous sense of need right now to break free from all kinds of mental slavery, and it is because of this that our intuitive power is coming back online. Our need to expand beyond intolerable limitations may in the end be the grit we need to produce our pearls.

To find a truth that we can live by, that we may call our own, one that is whole and sustaining we are being asked to step up, to reach down, and go through, to the core of our embodied reality and the “dark knowing” waiting to be revealed via our subliminal and intuitive senses. This is the subtle plane of existence, the astral field, and it is the astral part of ourselves, our “star body” that is waiting to be activated and perceived.

In the time of our greatest challenge we are also offered an opening into our spiritual destiny.

  • Star Body is a term borrowed from Peter Redgrove’s, The Black Goddess and the Unseen Real.

Meetings With the Dark Goddess: Ishtar.

akkadian-goddess-ishtar-on-a-seal-2350-to-2150-bc-tom-hill

Our journey begins on the eve of the Sun’s astronomical entry in the constellation of Leo on Aug 10, 2021.

This is no coincidence; our exploration begins with a meeting with the Akkadian goddess Ishtar who is often depicted with a Lion.

 Ishtar is associated with sexual love, war, justice, and political power. In Sumer she is known as Inanna, and her West Semitic counterpart is Astarte. Ishtar is also an astral deity associated with the planet Venus.

Ishtar/Inanna’s descent to and resurrection from the underworld is among Her best-known stories.

Ishtar is one of a number of Goddesses associated with the Lion- Depictions of lions adorned the walls of the ‘Processional Way’, a half mile brick road connecting the outer city of Babylon to the Temple of Marduk. At the entrance was the Gate of Ishtar, adorned with ornate lions. The gate is also bordered with the rosettes to symbolise Ishtar’s role as a fertility goddess.

What is the connection between the Ishtar, the solar mysteries, the rose, the constellation Leo, individuation, and heart centred consciousness… and how can this rich symbolism and mythology offer guidance to contemporary women during a time of unprecedented change?

Meetings with the Dark Goddess- a humble enquiry into the paths of initiation for modern women.

If you are interested in joining the group which runs every Monday evening via Zoom between 9th August and 20th September, please PM me, or join here-

https://www.meetup.com/meetings-with-the-dark-goddess-the-seeds-of-renewal/photos/31529952/497541088/

 

 
 
 

The Black Madonna of Czestochowa

 
 
 
Black Madonn
 
 
I found this little plaque of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, at a car boot in 2002, or 2003. She was my first meeting with the Dark Goddess, shining gold and bright across and otherwise ordinary scene. She has been with me ever since in many different places, on many alters. At first, I didn’t know why I felt such a strong affinity with Her, it was more of a felt, inner, sense of something both profoundly mysterious and yet also tangible and available… something that contained a truth, one which I had faith would be revealed step by step.
 
Increasingly I feel more rooted in Her wisdom (and my body), and as I stand yet again on another life threshold, She steps forward once again.
 
We all stand on a threshold now.
 
She does not look happy and that makes some people uncomfortable, I can see why, She’s not your typical new age goddess, not vibrant and alive, not sexy, and apparently not powerful, but that’s just it, Her power is a hidden power, it’s not just for the taking (or the buying), there are stages, lessons, initiations, breakdowns, break throughs, rages, brokenness, separation, grief, death… and She is asking us to feel it all because until we do, we are too easily seduced by the superficial comforts of the world, the niceties, the civility, the order, the control… but things are not as they seem, behind the veils things look quite different. She invites us to take a look; we can only take so much at a time. There are times though when we need to see more… now is one of those times.
 
As I stand on a personal and a collective threshold I am called to step in, to follow Her through the flames. And if you feel called, I invite you to join me in a 7 week exploration- Meetings With the Dark Goddess: Finding the Seeds of Renewal- find out more here-
 
 
 

Meetings with the Dark Goddess & Finding the Seeds of Renewal- an online course.

Meetings with the Dark Goddess

Collectively we are in the domain of the Dark Goddess, a liminal space between one state and another; behind the scenes a mystery is unfolding…we are in the birthing canal. It is a precarious time as we have not yet fully let go of the dissolving world or yet grasped the meaning of the new one. Astrologically this state can be likened to the 12th  house, the house of undoing before a new beginning emerges. In the lunar cycle it is the balsamic phase when everything is mulched down from the previous cycle providing fertile compost for the new to be born. It is the Phoenix rising from the ashes. States of transition however are not without danger. Folklorist Arnold Van Gennep describes the perils of transition within society thus,

A house with rooms and corridors in which passages from one to another is dangerous…. danger lies in transitional states, simply because transition is neither one state nor the next, it is undefinable…. the person who must pass from one to another is in danger and emanates danger to others…. the danger is precisely controlled by ritual which precisely separates [her] from [her] old status, segregates [her] for a time and then publicly declares [her] new entry to [her] new status”

Danger lies in the overwhelming and extraordinarily confusing glut of information, widening and fractious polarity, and above all perhaps in the social pressure to conform to an accepted reality that may be at odds with our inner truth. What if our voice sounds different even to loved ones and family? Our authentic voice may be rising up against not only societal injustice and pressure but also against the ways of being that have made us small, sick, victimised, or in any way diminished from who we truly are and what we are here to embody.

In these times we need containers, support,  ritual, and positive affectation. Once the lid comes off, what is revealed is sometimes a life time of playing small, of being fearful, shamed, or shrouded in false self-identity and beliefs about ourselves. And yes, maybe our psyches and our bodies have been damaged in systems that have not always supported life and healthy growth… much has been revealed to this end. I believe we can heal and make the transition a positive, affirming one in which we retain or claim our sovereignty.

Ritual and initiation may offer a connecting thread between the worlds, the inner and outer, the old and new. For the ancient Gnostics, ‘initiation worked to make initiates aware of their unconscious selves as a source of their greatest anxiety and their greatest power’. What have been, or are, your greatest anxieties during the pandemic, and how might they serve you now as a means of transformation and reclamation?

This is the time of the Dark Goddess, suppressed and exiled for millennia, she stirs beneath the Earth inviting us to meet Her, to face Her and to learn from Her wisdom but first we must make the descent into our own unconscious to illuminate what programmes, beliefs, wounding and rejected parts lay waiting to be brought home. She is the rage we feel at the injustices of the world, the terror and fear that paralyses us, and the quivering eruptions that explode when we are tired, stressed, diluted, or fragmented. She stands beside us now, willing us to talk truth, to utter the words from our wombs and release the tension of living in systems and circumstances that tether our soul and feminine essence. We are not victims however, we hold the key to our own liberation, and the Dark Goddess is the ultimate Wayshower. She appears to us in dreams, in our creativity, our sexuality, our bodies, our sickness, our darkness,  our “Enough!”;  She exists in the spaces in between, in the irrational, the liminal, in our rages and passions and the moments of silence. She is the language of the Soul; She speaks in symbols and intuitions. She is the ultimate Liberator; She appears to us as Lilith, Inanna, Ishtar, Hecate, Persephone, Demeter, and the Black Madonna. She dances through the veils.

This course does not provide a platform for political discourse, nor is it able to hold therapeutic space for individual women beyond the possibilities of group sharing. It is a course for women who would like to work with other women in a safe and respectful group exploring what it means to reclaim themselves in a time of change. The course invites the symbolic and mythic worlds as an imaginal aid to help see the bigger picture both personally and collectively. It is for women who are largely unsatisfied with the current narrative and who are therefore seeking a new way forward even while that may necessitate major change in their lives.

Personal astrology and therapeutic sessions may be arranged in addition to the course.

We begin our journey with the Descent of Ishtar, exploring the rich symbolism contained within this myth.

This is a 7-week course, open to all women who would like to be supported through this time as we cross the threshold. The course may also be beneficial for women who are experiencing personal change such as menopause, pregnancy, career change, death of a loved one, or a major new life circumstance.

The cost of the 7 weeks  is £105 (if paid before 1st August); Thereafter it’s £126.

The group will be limited to 13 participants to ensure a level of intimacy, safety & support.

I am a qualified counsellor/shamanic councillor, a professional astrologer and shamanic practitioner. I hold an MA in Myth, Cosmology & the Sacred.

Please contact me for ffi about payment and booking.

Serpent Rising: Feminine Wisdom in a Time of Bio-Medical Control.

 

priestess of delphi John Collier

“The Priestess of Delphi” by John Collier

Delphi is connected with the womb as a portal of cosmic consciousness and  is a bridge between heaven and earth- the place where spirit enters the material world and the mysteries of renewal symbolised by the serpent. The word (πίθος pithos) is thought to mean large jar, which may also have connotations to the womb. Although some believe that the Pythia Priestesses were in a half mad state of intoxication caused by putrid fumes from the earth, other scholars claim that far from gibberish their prophecies were intelligible and clear. Divine wisdom uttered by the Pythia was sought by the great and good of the time who were influenced by their prophecies (including Socrates) up until the 4th century AD.

The word uterus is connected to the word utterance and when the Pythia- again from the word pithos- womb- opened themselves to the divine inspiration it was the voice of the Great Mother that spoke.

Hygeia is involved with the serpent mysteries; as the daughter of the Greco-Roman demigod Asclepius who was born of Apollo and Coronis, (which may have a shared root with the word crone) the birth of Asclepius echoes the usurping and assimilation of feminine power.

When Coronis is pregnant she falls in love with a mortal man, this enrages Apollo who kills both her and her lover. As she lay burning on her funeral pyre, Apollo performs the first caesarean section by cutting baby Asclepius from her womb thus saving him from certain death- he becomes the god of medicine.

Robert Graves suggests that the myth of Coronis represents the suppression of medical practice by women and its transference into the hands of the patriarchy. For Graves, the death of Coronis heralds a point when wisdom originally carried by the wise woman was now passed only from father to son. The Rod of Asclepius- a serpent entwined staff is still the symbol of medicine and healing today.

By now I am sure you have realised the uncanny link between the name Coronis and the Corona Virus… could it be that the virus is directing us to conscious self-care and the innate intelligence of our own bodies? Is it time for the return of the shamanic wise woman and… realistically can we continue to live without her?

On the other hand the fear surrounding the Corona virus may legitimise further pharmaceutical and medical intervention ( we have now seen this happen). Afterall, we are dealing with the serpent mysteries that can either heal or destroy.

In the Oracle of Delphi, carved above the door is the phrase “Know thyself”. Today it is information that has reached pandemic levels, there is so much information and misinformation out there causing mass confusion and panic. How do we know ourselves in the midst of so much conflicting information? We go within, to nature, and to the land.  

The serpent has the power to heal or destroy. When Athena gives Asclepius the blood from the severed head of Medusa, he separates it into two vials- one that has the power to kill and the other to restore life.

“Pharmakon”, a Greek word which means both medicine and poison is linked with the serpent mysteries of resurrection and healing- as is Asclepius. A “Pharmakeus” is a magician or sorcerer who works with this magic, and the ‘Pharmakos’ is the scapegoat who may be sacrificed in the process.

As we advance further into scientific knowledge, technology, biomedicine, and genetics, worthy of consideration are the consequences of this Promethean power and the implications on our relationship with the natural world including our own bodies. In a culture that appears to esteem mastery over nature,  and where it seems that the natural world and the natural human are endangered species, perhaps now is the time to reclaim the wise woman and the serpent mysteries of renewal.

Calling the Pythia Priestesses- the ones who are able to deeply connect with the chthonic and telluric energies of the land, the ones who open their bodies as receptacles of cosmic wisdom and the secrets of heaven and earth, the ones who listen to their own truth through shamanic awareness and abilities. To those who embrace the wisdom of renewal, the integration of the dark and light, life and death and the art of resurrection, we call you.

 

Thoughts on Britney Spears, the Commodification of Feminine Sexuality, and Finding the Dark Continent.

 
britnayBritnay 2
 
This morning I gave a talk on Vesta, during our discussion topics included women’s sexuality, control of women’s sexuality, the monetisation of women’s bodies, prostitution, and sacred sexuality. It was a rich exploration.
 
I presented a few charts of famous people with a prominent Vesta signature including Marilyn Monroe who had Vesta conjunct her North node in the 12 house- a hidden and unconscious Vesta. We talked about the gap between the image of Marilyn that was presented to the world- sex goddess-the epitome of feminine allure- the somewhat child like quality, and the reality that was being played out behind the curtain of the silver screen where she was handled, controlled, abused, and exploited.
 
Not long after finishing the talk I saw a post on the Britney Spears court hearing about conservatorship that took place on Wednesday (23 June). Britney who has been under conservatorship for the past 13 years said, “I am not happy, I can’t sleep. I’m so angry, it’s insane. And I’m depressed,”.
 
“The last time I spoke to you [the judge] … made me feel like I was dead. I am telling you again because I am not lying … so maybe you can understand the depth and the degree and the damages … I deserve changes.”
 
Britney’s Vesta is a 3 Sagittarius closely conjunct Uranus at 2 Sagittarius, her very public breakdown in 2007 was in fact a Uranian breakthrough, a Kaliesque rage against her controllers, and an absolute expression of the fierce feminine who has been too long stuffed in a gilded cage… all with the utter focus and single pointed energy of Vesta. It was a holy act. It passed, she was drugged, incarcerated, and put under conservatorship… but Uranus will not be tamed (even while Vesta might be at least temporarily)… once sacred sexual priestesses, the Vestas were finally owned by the chief priest (pontifex maximus) in ancient Rome. Vesta energy may be repressed but Uranus will not be.
 
At the time of Britney’s court hearing-transiting Vesta was conjunct and activating Britney’s Mars… “I’m so angry it’s insane”.
 
In Rome, the Vestal Virgins were afforded many privileges unknown to other women of the time such as owning their own property upon retirement. During service, their every need was catered for… but they were not free, and any transgression of their vows could lead to a horrific death such as being buried alive.
 
Until her breakdown/breakthrough Britney appeared to have it all, fame fortune, youth, beauty… but none of these things belonged to her. Every aspect of her body and mind was controlled and owned and like Marilyn before her she was denied access to her own money while generating a fortune for the industry.
 
Under conservatorship Britney is denied motherhood and marriage; while it was not widely reported Marilyn Monroe likewise was forbidden to have any children and there is a rumour that she did in fact give birth to a child but that it was taken from her, as well as having miscarriages. The Virgin and the whore shall ever be separate in the hands of the shadow patriarchy who have a vested interested in keeping it so because to integrate sexuality and spirituality (especially female sexulaity), the sacred and profane is a dangerous and threatening cocktail to those who prefer their woman compliant, subservient, easily manipulated, child-like, and with limited power.
 
I have been feeling the rise of Vesta in the collective for some time- one of the things that will be unveiled, revealed, and strongly challenged I feel is around issue of women’s sexuality, control of women’s bodies and minds, financial exploitation of women, and well, a whole manner of things pertaining to the sexual life of adult women a territory which the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud refers to as a ‘dark continent’.

Team Vesta & the Creation of a Spiritually Embodied Culture.

a-girls-basketball-team_1_orig

I have recently been working with Vesta both the asteroid in astrology charts and the mythology. One of the most fascinating things about Vesta- and why I think she is an important archetype for this time- is that by probing her meaning and connecting with her energy she may help us to heal the false split (and shame) in women’s sexuality that was created by patriarchy, as well as aligning us with our true vocation.

In the original zodiacal belt outlined by the Assyrian and Babylonian cultures, Scorpio which was depicted by a serpent was directly followed by Virgo hence there was no Libra as such. Libra was contained within the constellation of Scorpio as the “Chelae” the claws of the scorpion. Only with the rise of patriarchal cultures was Libra- the sign of marriage- placed between Virgo and Scorpio. From then on women were either chaste before marriage or sexual consort after marriage. The recent discovery of Vesta which rules both Virgo and Scorpio can heal this artificial split thus restoring the sacredness of sexuality and allowing expressions of sexuality outside of marriage.

The glyph for Virgo and Scorpio are similar with the M of matter (Mother) turned inward for Virgo ♍ and outward for Scorpio These different depictions point to energy (particularly sexual energy) being either contained within (Virgo) as in the virgin archetype or directed outward and shared (Scorpio). The Vestal virgins in their original expression were sacred sexual priestesses who practiced the sacred rites by transmitting the fertilising and transformative powers of the Great Mother through their bodies. This facilitated healing, community harmony, and allowed for the possibility of human divine connection. The Vestals would periodically remove themselves from contact with others in order to rejuvenate themselves- become whole unto themselves- before placing themselves in sexual service again. Later, once patriarchy was established, divine lineage through the priestess line was usurped by the kings and it became an offence for the Vestals to practice their sacred rites. Instead their main duty was ensuring the burning of the sacred flame in Rome.

In the natal astrology chart Vesta can tell us much about how we use our sexual energy or libido and also points to our sacred vocation. For those with a strong Vesta signature, depending on house, sign and aspect, sexual energy may be expressed freely and even promiscuously, or else be repressed. Similarly in terms of our calling and vocation, we may be fiercely focused or else scattered and destabilised. Exploring Vesta in the natal chart can convey much of this meaning. Vesta shines a light into the essence of each of us, men, and women.

In todays full moon Vesta is at 20 Virgo.

The sabian Symbol for 21 Virgo is-

SECOND LEVEL: EMOTIONAL/CULTURAL

PHASE 171 (VIRGO 21°): A GIRL’S BASKETBALL TEAM.

KEYNOTE: Physical training as a means to inculcate the feeling of participation in a collective culture.

RECEPTIVITY TO COLLECTIVE FORCES
​Putting aside competitive, individual goals we can tune into higher forces that focus on the bigger picture and collective aspirations

Basketball presents an interesting symbol. The ball must be thrown into a narrow opening high above the head of the player. The ego-consciousness (the ball) must be driven upward to a focal point or circle that is ready to receive it. Here the players operate as a team; what should be stressed here is the formation of a group acting as an organic whole and training itself to operate in a social context.

I love the idea of Team Vesta where each member is aligned with their unique essence and sacred vocation for the purpose of directing the ego consciousness toward a more liberated and connected human experience. To my mind this speaks of collective healing where those of us who feel called to participate in the forming of a spiritually embodied human experience and new Earth, come together as a team to support each other in our individual and collective visions.

If you would like an astrology consultation to explore Vesta in your chart, I am offering a 20% discount form now until the end of July. I am also offering an online workshop on Vesta in the astrology chart on Monday 5th July for those who are interested. Please PM me for details.

Information about the origins of the Vestal Virgins is found in Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine, by Demetra George and Douglas Bloch.