Star Stories: July 2020

Ceremony and Ritual

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strology for July 2020

Note for June: Mercury turns direct and a trio of Sun oppositions give us the flavor for July which is festive, forward-facing, and overall moving in a positive direction despite a few snags here and there. This month also holds a few moments where truly deep healing can occur.

7/1: Saturn retrogrades out of Aquarius and back into Capricorn. This is Saturn’s last hurrah in its home turf of Capricorn until it returns in about 30 years. Any final lessons that you have been working on under the guidance of Saturn for the past two years come home to you in the deepest way between now and December 17th.
Ask: What disciplines do I need to review?

7/4: Full Moon + Lunar Eclipse at 13 degrees Capricorn, 11:55 PM. Some ideas for how to work with the Full Moon can be found here: https://brianasaussy.com/how-to-honor-the-full-moon/ and here: https://brianasaussy.com/six-months-of-magic-every-full-moon/
Ask: What mastery should be celebrated?

7/4: Lunar Eclipse at 13 degrees Capricorn at 11:44 PM
Ask: Where am I resistant to developing mastery?

7/8: Mercury square Mars. This aspect reminds all of us – if you cannot say something nice then don’t say anything at all!
Ask: Where do I need to remain quiet?

7/12: Waning Quarter Moon at 3 degrees Aries, 10:24 PM. A reminder that this is a great time to banish: https://brianasaussy.com/what-are-you-really-banishing/
Ask: What weapons am I ready to put down?

7/12: Mercury Direct!!!

7/12: Sun trine Neptune. This is a lovely and gentle aspect that makes us all feel kinder towards each other. You may find that this day feels like everything is aligning just as it should and it is an especially auspicious day to donate to a charitable cause.

7/14: Sun opposed to Jupiter. New opportunities beckon but staying realistic about chances and probabilities is key.
Ask: What previously unseen opportunity is asking for my attention?

7/15: Sun opposed to Pluto. This opposition highlights the places where you have knowingly or unknowingly restricted yourself when it comes to healing and personal power. At its best these places are illuminated and freed up so that you can work with them in a healthy manner.
Ask: What old wound is ready to be fully seen?

7/20: New Moon at 28 degrees Cancer, 12:33 PM. Here are Four Ways to Honor the New Moon just in case you missed them: https://brianasaussy.com/4-ways-honor-new-moon/
Ask: What home am I ready to create?

7/20: Sun opposed to Saturn. This opposition can leave us feeling like no matter how hard we try, we are never going to really get what we want. Take a breath and acknowledge that this is a moment in the story, not the entire story.
Ask: What would happen if I let go?

7/22: Sun enters Leo 3:37 AM
Ask: What do I roar for?

7/27: Waxing Quarter at 14 degrees Scorpio, 12:31 PM. This is the perfect time to brush up on your divination practice! https://brianasaussy.com/teaching/20-question-tarot/
Ask: What mystery am I ready to explore? July 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

On the Holy Helper Saturn

Learning and Community

M

iracles, holy helper

He has a bad reputation as one might imagine, given the whole devouring children because he is afraid to lose his title thing. That is the thin story about the God and his namesake celestial sphere.

However, that was not the original understanding of this Holy Helper. Much older tellings show us that Saturn was the land itself – preserved, cared for, abundant, and full of wealth both on the surface and beneath. This is why for ages he has been petitioned to help us discover HIDDEN WEALTH and I would suggest that this is a powerful point to pause and ask ourselves:
What wealth is hidden in our own lives?
Saturn is one of the best Holy Helpers to help answer that question.

He is the patriarch of his Divine Family and as we know Fathers, just as Mothers, have their luminous and shadow sides. So Saturn is the one who stands with us when we work to make sense of our relationship with our Fathers – the ones in our lives who have shown up in fatherly ways, our biological fathers, our spirit dads, AND the inner Father that we all, regardless of gender, carry within. Saturn is the Holy Helper who patiently looks on as we ask: What does right relationship with Father look like?

Holy Helper Saturn is also the one married to not one but TWO Goddesses. Ops – better known as the Greek Rhea. Mountain-making and mountain loving Goddess of vast, unfurling resource and abundance. AND before her, Lua – Goddess whose stories have been mostly lost but who collected all bloodied weapons after battle. Some have the radical idea that the Goddesses were the same, two sides of the same Holy Helper – one who provides the inspiration for creation, one who tends to the weapons that have been used to destroy.

This part of his tale gives us a clear set of guidelines for what right relationship with Saturn might look like:

1.) Identify the weapons that have been used to destroy. The dripping and dried blood tells you exactly where to look. You will discover that some of the weapons have been used against you and others have been wielded by YOU.

2.) Gather up the weapons. We do this by naming them.

3.) Clean them and purify them in the ways you know to do. Simply ask: what medicine can return this to a state of wholeness?

4.) Give the weapons new names, for they are no longer weapons, they are tools.

5.) Create with them, make abundance, make resources, make wealth.

Stories of Saturn make this Holy Helper planet out to be malefic, bad luck, bad juju, but Saturn is one of the Holy Helpers most able to walk with us when we are alone, wounded, in pain, and ready to make lasting change.

I would add that in alchemy, Saturn is associated with lead. And lead is precisely the element we cloak ourselves in whenever we need protection from radiation.

And this too: after we worth Saturn we FEAST! His festival, Saturnalia, like the later festival at the same time, Christmas, is a celebration – not because there is no struggle and life is always good and easy but PRECISELY because there IS struggle and we have made it through to the other side.

xo,
Bri          holy helper holy helper 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to Work With a Planet As It Changes Signs

Learning and Community

M

iracles, changes 

When a planet changes signs it is *always* an opportunity to create and participate in deep magic. The planets of our solar system each hold world making/ world destroying energy and it is not coincidental that they were named for some of the greatest Gods in our classical lineage.

It is easy to lose sight of this in the day to day grind of things and also in the irreverent trivializing that many of these Gods have experienced throughout time. Nevertheless, that GIANT energy is still there.

In old school Astrology as in old school magic (coming mainly out of a European with some Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian influences), the planets, like all Holy Helpers were to be controlled and mastered and made do one’s bidding.

Which hopefully by now we can all agree is beyond ludicrous.

In other, older systems the understanding is different. It is one of relationship, RIGHT relationship, and alignment. And every celestial event is an opportunity to LEARN something about not only ourselves but the greater world and to TRANSFORM an aspect of our lives and also how we show up in the world. (Because THAT is also the best and most direct route to transforming the world itself, yes?)

Now the inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Sun, and Moon – which are considered planets in most star stories world over) are fast-moving and change signs very quickly.

The understanding here is that in many ways we too change quickly and these planets are excellent to become friends with and get to know when we are in need of SWIFT intervention/aid/transformation.

The outer planets do not move so fast. Jupiter stays in a single sign for about a year. Saturn stays in a sign for over 2 years. The outer planets are understood as cosmic forces that do their work SLOWLY and THOROUGHLY. They prefer long-term commitments and relationships where we show up consistently. And as we know, showing upstarts with PAYING ATTENTION.

So…I am telling you now that Saturn is going to change signs this month.

On March 21st it moves from Capricorn – where it has been hanging out for over 2 years, to Aquarius. This first move is akin to dipping our toes into the pool. Saturn will retrograde out of Aquarius in the Summer and then return for good to this sign in the Winter of 2020.

I am telling you because I would very much like you to think about Saturn and think about Aquarius BEFORE you read a bunch of things that tell you what to think.

This is because, as always the best medicine and magic comes from WITHIN and you will have associations and ideas for this event and its meaning for you personally that NO ONE else will.

My recommendation is to take your journal and jot down your associations in a first thought/right thought kind of way. I often do this with my students and clients, I’ll tell them: “I say Saturn, you say:” And then write whatever comes to mind. Even if what comes to mind is: I don’t freaking know anything about Saturn! That too is fine and can be worked with.

You can then use these notes as a jumping off point for writing a petition or voicing specific magical desires BUT, and more importantly, these notes start to outline what a relationship with these Holy Helpers can be and look like. They give you a starting place.

But before that, we will talk more about the Holy Helpers that are Saturn and Aquarius.

xo,
Bri   changes changes changes 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Protected: Saturn in Capricorn

Learning and Community

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Capricorn the Sea Goat

Divination and Dreams

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inter Solstice is nigh and it is time to both dive deep and ascend the mountain with the one and only Capricorn, sometimes mistaken as a goat only but in reality a brilliant Sea Goat!

Capricorn is the 10th sign in the zodiacal wheel, attuned to the element of Earth, and is a cardinal sign ruled by Saturn. The Sun is in Capricorn from December 21st(Winter Solstice) through January 19th. Cardinal signs always represent leadership and the purest expression of certain virtues; for Capricorn and all of the Earth signs, this is symbolized by its arrival in the depths of Winter (in the Northern hemisphere) and Summer(in the Southern).

CapricornSea Goat as Animal by: Sara Magnuson

What in the world is a Sea-Goat?! A mythical creature, like the Centaur we discussed in Sagittarius, the Sea-Goat is a combination of two very real animals – Goat and Fish – and we will visit the lives of both creatures as we continue with Capricorn. The combination of Goat and Fish initially speaks to us about adeptness on land and in water. The Sea-Goat will also show us its intelligence and ways of mischief, confidence, and creation.

Let’s begin on the land, with Goat. Closely related to Sheep, Goat is one of the oldest domesticated animals. They are herbivores, ruminant animals with a four-chambered stomach, and both sexes typically have two horns of varying sizes. The goat has an excellent vision with the ability to detect a range of colors, levels of light and dark, and fantastic night vision. With eyes on either side of their head, they have a large field of view, but what stands out most about Goat’s eyes are their horizontal pupils. This makes their eyes look totally crazy to us, but many animals have pupils like this – sheep, horses, octopus, and toad for example. The difference is that Goats often have light colored eyes, so the shape of the pupil stands out more than, say, the dark eyes of Horse. The advantage of horizontal pupils adds many degrees to their field of view and, as prey animals, they need to be able to see as much as possible.

As we perceive Goats, however, their crazy looking eyes often bring forth a negative connotation, but that isn’t the case at all. What seems to others as something weird and different and possibly bad actually serves a great purpose for Goat and its survival. Goat goes about its business not caring that it looks all crazy because what it has going for it is working. As Capricorn, this exemplifies the ways you may appear to others that aren’t necessarily true and asks you to listen to the inner part of yourself that doesn’t care what other people think.

There is a myth that Goats will eat anything and everything, which is plainly false. Goat is not a grazer as many believe, but rather a forager and browser. They are extraordinarily curious creatures and, since they don’t have hands, they “touch” things with their lips. It may appear that Goat is eating a box or a tin can, but it’s really just checking it out – like a baby that puts everything in its mouth to not only feel it but to taste and smell it, feel its texture. As far as what they actually eat, it turns out they are quite picky, preferring woody bits from specific vines, shrubs, and low-growing trees.

The agile curiosity of Goat gives Capricorn an ability to explore without fear. Curiosity outweighs guidelines and rules every time in the world of Goat. This adventurous nature means that Capricorn can do things that others don’t expect you to be able to do and your unseen talents can give an advantage in many situations.

The world of Goat is ruled by the seasons and their time of breeding is determined by the length of daylight. Most Goats breed in the Spring and Summer, but in equatorial areas, where there are long and consistent hours of daylight, they can breed year-round. Male Goats are called bucks, females are called does, and both exhibit distinct behaviors when it’s the breeding season. The dogs wag their tails constantly and stay near the bucks, while the males will curl their lips and show an obsessive interest in the females. Births are almost always twins and the mother often eats the placenta afterward. For Goat, and many animals, this is an instinct that avoids attracting predators with the scent of birth and provides much-needed nutrients after all the energy expended.

The sexual and birthing behaviors of Goat bring out the creator aspect of Capricorn. For the Sea-Goat, creating is a sensual experience felt with the mind, body, and emotions. This inclination means you can become obsessive in romance and in things/projects you love. Be mindful of how much you are trying to control or how much energy you are expending. As Goat’s breeding season is related to the duration of light, so does Capricorn’s work best in the liminal times and spaces, like the winter solstice it begins with.

Lastly, we must acknowledge Goat’s long relationship with humans and the impact we have had on each other. Evidence suggests that Goats were domesticated over 9000 years ago and they also have a fairly long lifespan (up to 18 years). This means that Goat’s connection with humans has evolved over millennia of generations; so much so that domesticated Goats will seek out a human when faced with a problem they cannot solve, much as a Dog would do. Goats are loosely-based herd animals, in that they prefer the company of other creatures.

When out on their own, however (and much like humans), they tend to act more independently of each other and only stay close enough to communicate danger. To most peoples of the world, Goat is seen as a renewable resource. They are used to clear the land of weeds and undergrowth; as a farm, labor to pull things; as a sacrifice to Gods and Spirits; as a source of meat, milk, hair, hide, and horns; even their dung, bones, and muscle sinew have been used throughout history for fuel, tools, and clothing, respectively. Every part of Goat is used for something and in this way, it is seen as a “clean” animal in many cultures and religions. Although there is a deep and strong relationship with humans, Goat’s curiosity is constantly calling back to its wild nature. Goat is one of few domesticated animals that, if given the chance, will easily revert to a feral life.

The relationship between Goat and people evokes its mysterious nature. The Sea-Goat is smart, can follow directions, and make decisions based on witnessed or personal experience, while also maintaining a wild, instinctual, freedom-oriented attitude.

We cannot end our discussion here without, of course, addressing Fish, the other half of Capricorn. It is the tail part of the Sea-Goat that is represented by Fish and speaks to the part of Capricorn that is adept in the realm of emotions and undercurrents.

First of all, what is a Fish? In the most basic sense, they are animals that live in the water, have gills, a skull, and lack limbs with digits (fingers and toes). We’ll talk about Fish in much more detail when we get to Pisces, but for now, let’s talk tails. The sole purpose of a Fish’s tail is to help it swim. It is an appendage that has become uniquely adapted to its life in the realm of water, providing propulsion, mobility, and directionality.

Fish as the tail portion of the Sea-Goat reminds us of the relationship between water and earth and is what keeps Capricorn from getting swept away by its curiosity. The tail provides the power needed not only to move in a particular direction but in a purposeful way. There is also a sexual aspect to water, as it arouses the idea of creativity and reminds us that life formed from water and earth. Water can be tamed and fenced in, but can also eventually overpower and go where it wants to go. Thus Capricorn is not about aggression, but rather a diligence, being unrelenting, pushing at the edges until it breaks away.

The tail of Capricorn in the water speaks about our base, our history, where we come from. In melding with Goat on the land, Capricorn represents the evolution of imagination, practical desire, and ingenuity from the primordial waters to the vibrant, leaping terrain.

CapricornSea Goat as Capricorn by: Briana Saussy

Represented by the Sea Goat – a mythic creature depicted as having the torso and upper body of a goat and from the waist down the tail of a fish – Capricorn borrows its iconic form from very old Gods with very old stories, appropriate for the sign that is ruled by Saturn is also known as the Lord of Time.

Unlike other modern star signs, the tale of Capricorn begins not in Ancient Greece but much earlier in the Middle Bronze age. Although it is one of the smallest and dimmest constellations it has been consistently observed and honored throughout the Middle East and it was only later that its lore and significance moved into Greece and after that Rome. We know this in part because this sign was recorded in the Babylonian star catalogs as the “goatfish” before 1000 BCE in connection with the great Sumerian God Enki, known as Ea in Babylon.

Enki is the God who brought magic, culture, art, healing, and fertility to all of the lands and was likened to a rushing river or spring gushing out from the earth – both images that researchers believe speak to his sexual virility and procreative instincts. As a major God, Enki had many symbols and images attached to his name but one of the oldest is the half goat and half fish symbol that has long been associated with Capricorn.

In this, Capricorn mirrors the sign before it, Sagittarius, where the two animals that are fused together are man and horse in the form of the Centaur. There is a mystery to this oldest of old fusion of goat and fish that scholars and experts in the fields of ancient Sumer and Babylon still do not fully understand. The best guess is that the goat and fish are both animals that have long been associated with sexuality, fertility, and mystery.

Let’s pause here and take stock of some of the themes we see emerging already in the earliest stories of this sign. As noted, there is an ancient quality to Capricorn and often people who have a strong Capricorn presence in their chart are described as “old souls.” At the very least Capricorns often look older than they really are (especially as children) and they have a mature presence from an earlier point in their lives. Because it is Saturn-ruled (Chronos in the Greek stories), Capricorn is very aware of the passing of time. This awareness can lead to intense pressure to do/be more – especially in the areas of work and career – but/and what it is really focused on is legacy-building; Capricorn speaks to the part of us that wants to create something that can last through time.

Although some astrologers incorrectly identify Capricorn as only a goat instead of a sea-goat or present it as though one has a choice: to be a goat or a sea-goat, the mythic tales surrounding the zodiac sign are very clear that Capricorn has always been the Sea Goat. This mysterious symbol and fusion of two unlikely animals speak to another essential aspect of Capricorn: what you see on the surface is often not the best indication of what is going on inside. The inner life of Capricorn (like the inner life of all of the Earth signs) is often more vivid, dreamlike, and magical than their outer, practically directed actions would let on.

The most well-known attributes of Capricorn deal with its ability to go through struggle or competition and come out a winner, endure through tough times, and find incredible success in their work and professional lives; to understand where these qualities come from we need to learn the stories from a different set of characters.

Turning to the Greek version of the tale, it is like most of our star stories, one born out of immortal struggle. In this case, the struggle is between a great beast known as Typhon and the God Pan. Typhon was a monster born from the union of Gaia (Earth) and Tartarus (the Underworld) according to Hesiod. Later tales claim that Typhon was born from Hera as a result of a rage she felt towards Zeus when he gave birth to Athena by himself. Both versions agree that Typhon was a creature born to wreak havoc on the younger Olympian Gods with a specific eye towards destroying Zeus. Typhon’s birth, therefore, can be interpreted as the vengeance of Chronos, Father Time, who devoured all of his children but Zeus and was later overthrown by his lone surviving son.

Typhon is described in ancient sources as having the body of a man but having hundreds of snakes emerging from his head and in some cases his thighs and/or feet as well. The snakes were all poisonous vipers, of course, who not only could kill by striking but actually spit their venom out onto their victims. Typhon was said to be able to breathe fire and also possess wings that allowed for flight. He was incredibly strong and powerful and had God-like powers over various elements.

As the story goes, Typhon challenged Zeus for power over the entire Cosmos and the struggle was epic. During that struggle, Zeus enlisted the aid of the God Pan to play his panpipes (or in some versions have one of his devotees play his pipes) and lull Typhon to calmness. Pan did this and Typhon was so pleased that he offered Pan any Goddess he might want (besides Hera) for a wife. Pan tricked Typhon into returning the leg sinews he had taken from Zeus (thus crippling the God) by telling him that he would play even sweeter music on the lyre if only he could string it with said sinews. Once Typhon brought the sinews to Pan, Pan gave them back to Zeus, restoring him to health and allowing Zeus to ultimately defeat Typhon. In a rage Typhon attacked Pan who was able to transform the lower half of his body into a fish and swim away from the ravening beast, becoming the constellation Capricorn as he did so.

In the Greek story, we see the elements of struggle, competition, and victory that are so commonly attributed to this sign. While the struggle for Capricorn is often described as one of “getting ahead,” looking at the tale we see something different: the struggle is against a foe that would bring death and destruction to the entire natural world; the struggle is against a chaotic disorder. Capricorn is willing to engage in struggle and competition, with Saturn/Chronos as their ruling planet they have no expectations that things are going to be easy but that they have to work for whatever it is that they want. The loss and then return of Zeus’ leg ligaments is interesting because Capricorn has long been associated with the legs and specifically knees of the physical body with the mythic understanding that they utilize this part of the body to climb up their proverbial mountain.

Goats stand their ground, they do not go with the herd nearly as easily as say, sheep, they are notorious for being stubborn, and they are decidedly masculine in mythic representation. Goats are also one of the first animals that humans domesticated and yet they will revert back to a feral state more easily and quickly than any other modern domesticated animal — this may be where the wild attributes that are given to goats and the goat-god Pan come from.

Fish, on the other hand, are mysterious, dwelling in a world apart from our own, they are most often aligned with the feminine, and stories from ancient India to Wales give fishes a starring role when it comes to acquiring wisdom. The goatfish combination we see with Capricorn gives tell to the sign’s ability to win victories in unexpected and unpredictable ways, to transcend by bringing the most unlikely parts of themselves together in unison. The goat-fish is Capricorn as the wise visionary who sees far beyond and ahead what is usually expected; it is the brilliant strategist who knows not just how to win but why winning matters.

Finally, Capricorn is the sign of the craftsman, it is the sign to call on wherever and whenever there is a need for mastery. Where is this depicted in the story? Think back to the way that Pan captured Typhon in the first place. He did so by applying his craft (music) in a most excellent way. Pan’s playing was so beautiful and entrancing that it stopped a force of chaos, disorder, and destruction right in its tracks. This gives us a final clue about the mystery of Capricorn: while struggle and competition are part of the story, the ultimate win comes from doing one’s work and calling upon one’s talent to create beauty and mastery that, in turn, lead to success.

Call on Capricorn When:

  • You want more mature, wise, insight into a situation.
  • You are working with the theme of legacy: what you will do now that outlasts you once you have died.
  • You need to focus on your career or professional path, including finding the right job and excelling in your profession.
  • You are looking to gain mastery in a specific area.
  • You need to develop a solid strategy for dealing with a difficult situation/person.
  • You are entering into any kind of competition – from sports to business to affairs of the heart.
  • You want to win.
  • You need to be 10-20 steps ahead of your competitors for a given project.
  • You are ready to get real and deal with reality.
  • You need to be able to keep going and endure through a difficult time.
  • You want a more solid structure and organization.
  • You are ready to ascend to the heights of the mountain and dive into the depths of the sea.

Be Wary Of:

  • Bossiness – From one cardinal sign to another let’s just put it out there – Capricorn can be bossy and dominating AND intimidating.
  • Being a hammer – When all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. The Capricorn version of this is that everything can start to look like a struggle, everything can start to look harder and difficult – even when it’s really not.
  • Being too competitive – When Capricorn’s competitive nature gets in the way of the ability to collaborate; when MY win becomes more important than OUR win, then it is time to reassess.
  • Being under pressure – Saturn-ruled Capricorn brings intensity to any situation but most especially to themselves, often putting themselves under immense pressure and usually more than is needed.
  • Work-a-holism – Work is a way of life for Capricorn and a Cappy who has work they love is happy; but it is very easy for this sign to work, work, and work some more and forget to have fun and play.

Questions to Ponder for Capricorn:

  • What ancient wisdom do I have immediate and natural access to?
  • What am I competing for?
  • What signifies victory to me?
  • Where in my life am I most seeking excellence and mastery?
  • What would happen if I struggled less?
  • What domesticated part of me would like to be wild once more?
  • What wild part of me needs a bit more domestication?
  • What am I willing to make time for?
  • What legacy am I creating?

Active Imagination Journey:

Cultivate Calmness.

Ground, Center, and Anchor in the ways that feel good and right to you.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that you are standing at the base of a great mountain.

Affirm and acknowledge that you have come to this place at this time to learn a new teaching about your life, one that is gifted to you from the stars, you have come to encounter the Sea Goat.

Acknowledge that it does not matter where Capricorn occurs in your chart or whether you were born under this Sun sign or not – we all have this constellation present in some portion of our natal chart.

As you are ready, look straight up at the great peak before you.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that a path of ascent has been illuminated for you, and at the pinnacle of the peak is a dim but intense glow. This glow comes from the small but mighty constellation of Capricorn, which waits for you at the top of the peak. If you are ready to learn what it has to teach then begin your ascent. Climb up.

Climb up. Climb up. Climb up.

You are ascending higher now and the air grows cooler and thinner and so you continue to climb.

Climb up. Climb up. Climb up.

At this point, your legs and arms begin to tremble with effort and your knees are sore. And still, the glow is brighter now and the peak is within your grasp so you continue your ascent.

Climb up. Climb up. Climb up.

Up, higher and higher until you reach the peak of the mountain.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that you are now standing directly underneath the starry constellation and it covers the mountain top in soft light. Standing up here, acknowledge that the wind is cold but your vision is sharper and you can see the lay of the land.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that the lay of the land you look upon has a special message to give you regarding your legacy, the work you have created, and are creating that will last once you have gone.

Witness what there is, listen, and feel into what there could yet be.

As you are ready, turn around so that you are looking over the opposite side of the peak. See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel soft steam rising up from its crevices. Approach the steam and as you do affirm and acknowledge that you have actually found a hidden hot spring, one that would feel so good and soothing to your sore and tired muscles.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that there is a figure within the spring, one that at first appears to be a goat but, that, right underneath the bubbling waters has the opalescent fins of a fish. This guardian of Capricorn holds out a cornucopia to you filled with the sweetest fruits and savories.

Affirm and acknowledge that these gifts are here for you, partake in them, and as you do so ask what they tell you of your legacy.

Give yourself time to truly listen and enjoy.

When you are ready to depart allow yourself a few final moments to say goodbye and to agree to any promises, oaths, or exchanges that you can in good faith make.

Breathe in a blessing on your body and as you exhale bring your awareness back to the room that you are in. Feel the weight of the air upon your skin and allow yourself to stretch and move in ways that feel good and nourishing to you.

As a final act, note what the teaching from Capricorn was to and for you.

Now, choose three PRACTICAL actions to bring that teaching fully into your life here and now.

Altar and Ritual:

In this series, Animalia Stellarium, the active imagination journey/meditation, and the altar/ritual work are not usually dependent on each other; that is, you could do one, or the other, or both, and in any order. For Capricorn, however, I advise that you do the above active imagination journey before beginning this altar and ritual work.

You will need:

3 pieces of paper
a pen
a white candle
a small bowl of water
a small bowl of earth/dirt
optional – oils and herbs

Visit with the Sea Goat first (see above).

Note what teachings Capricorn has for you.

Choose three practical actions to bring that teaching fully into your life here and now.

Immediately following this meditation, go bathe yourself. It can be a stand-up shower or a sit-down bath; whatever you prefer. You don’t need any special washes or ingredients. Just bathe yourself as you normally would.

As the steam fills the room and you feel the water on your skin, close your eyes and remember your visit with the Sea Goat. Imagine that you are in the same beautiful hot spring, bathing in its splendor. Reflect on all that you learned there. When you are done, dry off like you normally would and put on clean clothing.

Next, get three pieces of paper, whatever kind feels right to you. On each paper write down one of the practical actions you arrived at from the active imagination journey. Fold up each paper until you can’t hold it anymore. If you use anointing oils or powders, now would be the time to dab each paper with the appropriate mixture. You can also fold herbs that support your goal into the center of each paper, creating a packet.

At your altar or sacred space, place a bowl of water, a bowl of earth/dirt, and a white candle. Arrange them however you see fit. Light the white candle and place the three folded papers around it. Close your eyes and remember your visit with Sea Goat. Honor its presence in your life and focus on achieving the three practical actions. Ask Sea Goat to help you see the way.

Take as long as you need to. You can sit with the candle or you can leave when you feel ready, but let the candle burn completely. If you leave the candle alone, please observe the common sense of fire safety. After the candle has burned down, collect the papers, the bowls of earth and water, and any remnants of the candle. Wrap them in a cloth, put them in a box, but keep them all together.

As soon as you are able to after doing this altar work, bring the items from your altar and go to a place where the water meets the land. It should also be a body of water that is safe to step into. The ocean, a lake, a river, a creek, or a small stream.

Holding the items from your altar, sit on the edge or wade in a bit as you feel comfortable, not going deeper than your thighs. If it is absolutely impossible for you to get to a clean, natural body of water, go to a pool or fill your bathtub and sit on the edge with just your feet/legs in the water.

Make sure that you are comfortable. Make sure you feel stable standing in the water or sitting at its edge.

Feel your feet in the water and think about the ancient wisdom accessible to you through these currents. Think about where this water came from and where it may go next, creating life all along the way. (Even the water from a pool or bathtub has come from someplace and will flow to another.)

Feel your torso in the air or your rear end sitting on the surface, grounded by the land. Feel your connection to the sky, the mountains, and all that exists above the water.

Allow the soft and gentle movements of the water to ripple through your body. Allow the vibrations of the water to transform as they pass through your core and move up and out of your arms, hands, and head onto the land.

Focus on your three practical actions and allow the currents of water and land to become one within your spirit. When you feel ready, release the items from your altar into the water* – pour out the bowls of water and earth, let the papers float away, watch the candle remnants drift toward the bottom.

*if you have completed this water/land ritual at the edge of a pool or bathtub, take the items from your altar outside and bury them in the ground, just as you would let them go in the water.

Offer your deepest gratitude to the Spirit of the Sea Goat and head home feeling invigorated and inspired. Over the next several days or weeks, note your progress on the practical actions you set forth in this ritual.

About My Co-Author:

Sara Magnuson was the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel, a purveyor of spiritual supplies and provider of various spiritual services that were in business from 2009-2019. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, ancestral, and based in the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Scorpio the Scorpion

Divination and Dreams

M

iracles,

I am so delighted to bring a new astrology series to Canto. As my students can attest to, when I teach astrology I always begin with what I call “naked eye” astrology – just looking at the stars and tracking the moon and sun to begin to orient oneself to celestial happenings.

But in our astrological considerations as in all else, the ancient tenet of “As Above, So Below” does apply. For star stories are not only inspired by the heavens; they are at least as much (and perhaps more) inspired by the living creatures, plants, animals, and mythic beings, that each Zodiac sign is based on.

I have always wanted to write a series here that explores the various zodiac signs in-depth, but I wanted to give you all something that was not the norm or the boilerplate Astro babble you can find so easily in various places.

So I was really delighted when the opportunity arrived to partner with Sara Magnuson of Candlesmoke Chapel who has been incorporating an animist and animal-loving approach into her sacred arts practice for many years. This is the first in what will grow to be a 12 part series, and I hope you enjoy each one of them. It is a long read but worth your time, so sit back with a cup of coffee (or what have you) and sink into all that is of Scorpion. As always you can get more Astro goodness in the Free Resources area.

Scorpion brings us into the full power of the autumnal season and exemplifies the balance between the fading harsh Summer Sun and the emergence of the Dark Moon of Winter. For their relatively small size, Scorpion evokes fear and signals danger to most other creatures. Just as those that fall under the sign of Scorpio are often more deep and intense than we realize, Scorpions are surprisingly complex and diverse in their behavior and lifestyle.

scorpions scorpioScorpion As Animal: By Sara Magnuson

Belonging to the class of Arachnids (meaning they have eight legs and are related to Spiders), Scorpions are ancient creatures with fossils dating back 430 million years ago. They are found on all continents but Antarctica and can live in all kinds of places, from deserts to jungles. Their ability to adapt is quite incredible. Scorpions can survive many months without food or water by purposefully controlling their metabolism (kind of like a hibernating Bear). The only constant in Scorpion’s environment is the need for soil or sand. It is their nature to dig and hide under the earth, although they can often be found under rocks and in small crevices. Some Scorpions tunnel elaborate burrows complete with a front porch and various rooms.

They are nocturnal creatures and must have a place to hide during daylight hours. Unlike other nocturnal creatures, such as Owls or Raccoons, Scorpions exhibit photophobia, a physical reaction to light. They don’t choose to be active at night because it fits their lifestyle habits, but rather because it causes physical discomfort to be in the presence of the Sun. It is believed that their sensitivity to the UV spectrum, in particular, enables them to sense when it is safe to emerge from their lairs and begin hunting or searching for a mate.

Scorpion’s ability to acclimate to its environment as long as it has soil/sand teaches us to focus on the essentials and to understand that everything else can be adapted to. Scorpion’s sensitivity to the Sun teaches us about our relationship to light and dark, what is safe and unsafe. These are the basics of survival, of existing – is their food nearby, and am I safe from harm.

The behavior of Scorpion is aggressive and predatory. They have two large front claws that are used to easily crush their prey and this brute force is often their preferred method of killing. Primarily hunting insects and other arachnids, they can also take down small reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and birds. They are most well known, however, for their venomous tail. Scorpion’s venom is made up of neurotoxins and enzyme inhibitors that cause paralysis and internal decay of the victim. Not all Scorpion venom is created equal and the poison of each species is tailored to their environment and preferred type of prey. They will wait in hiding, stalking and ambushing their mark, but they are also known to fearlessly march right into another creature’s living quarters and attack. Whichever method Scorpion uses to kill its prey (force or venom), its lack of teeth means that it is not capable of consuming any solid food. Once its meal is acquired, Scorpion must inject it with venom in order to liquefy its insides and then drinks its feast straight from the source. This is a brutal description but speaks to the primal nature of Scorpion.

It is these behaviors that teach us to look at our defensive mechanisms, our venom, our poisons. Are our defenses strong enough? As Scorpion has the strength of its claws combined with its venom, do we have more than one defensive option? Scorpion’s aggressive nature also teaches us about bravery and power. They enter a combative situation with surety and confidence, knowing they have the appropriate weapons. Just as Scorpion’s venom is highly specialized to its prey, how can we tailor our defensive actions to the situation at hand? When do we need to be on guard and when do we need to take the kill shot with our poisonous tail?

There also exists a healing nature to Scorpion, however counter-intuitive that may seem. The highly poisonous venom of many creatures, including Scorpions, is often used in creating pharmaceutical medication. Scorpion venom is currently being studied as a treatment for all kinds of human ailments – arthritis, lupus, cancer, and non-addictive pain medication. In their natural behavior, Scorpion uses its poison for purposes other than death and knows just the right amount of venom needed to kill or to simply soothe. Those in control of this type of personal spiritual medicine are fully aware of its potency and in the best of cases, they use it with purpose and in just the right way; in the worst of cases, they use it with malicious and manipulative intent. As we will see, Scorpion uses its powerful poison with a great deal of mindfulness.

The unexpectedly complex nature of Scorpion comes through the strongest in its courtship, mating, and parental behaviors. These seemingly vicious creatures exhibit an unusually gentle and beautiful coupling ritual that can take as little as one hour to over a day to complete. Using pheromones and vibrations of the body (called juddering), the male lures the female into a long slow dance aptly named promenade à deux. The male tenderly takes the female’s front claws into his own and guides her around as they search for the perfect spot to mate. During this dance the female often becomes impatient and agitated, to which the male responds by placing a small amount of venom in her mouth to calm her. They mate without touching their bodies together and, once they have found a satisfactory spot, the male deposits his sperm on the surface and guides the female over it. When the dance is complete the pair separates and each goes on their way. This curious act of civility and politeness betrays their outward nature and speaks to us about the importance of discerning when to be hostile and when to be compassionate.

The most exceptional behavior of Scorpion, however, is displayed by the Scorpion Mother. Unlike most arachnids, Scorpion embryos develop inside the mother’s body until hatching rather than laying eggs and leaving them to develop and hatch on their own. The young scorplings (yes, they are really called scorplings!) are carried on the mother’s back to regulate their temperature and moisture levels until their first molting. Mother Scorpion shows a devotion to her young that is practically unheard of in the world of invertebrate animals.

It is quite amazing that this small, hard-shelled, apparently simple-minded creature contains an extraordinary depth of character that is hidden in their smallest actions. The world of Scorpion is about ensuring that our most basic needs are met – food, safety, sex, nurturing – and defending them with the force of a giant.

Scorpio

Scorpion as Scorpio: By Briana Saussy

In looking at the tale of Scorpios from ancient Greek myth, what we find is a story that in some ways feels a bit of a letdown, especially to those with some astrological knowledge about this sign and those born under its influence. However, as is the case with many myths we must dig a little deeper and move past the obvious in order to find the real medicine that Scorpio carries and this is especially appropriate to the star sign that in many ways is most at home in the darkest depths.

The story of Scorpios and the story of the zodiac sign Scorpio is one of struggle and snags. It is in some ways a cautionary tale in the same style as that of Icharos – beware, for this is what happens when you fly too close to the sun when you try to move from your mortal coil into mysteries fit only for Gods. However, in deeper ways Scorpio is a story of the soul and how the very snags we encounter and the struggles that seem the most drenched in agony are the same that show us beyond all doubt what kind of mettle we are made of.

The tale begins as most tales do with people who were watching the skies and sharing stories of what they saw. In this case, the phenomena describe a pursuit during the summer months of the constellation Orion by the constellation Scorpio which is then followed by a waxing of Orion’s strength during the winter months. Across the sky writ large was the story of a chase, conquering, and then apparent resurrection of the one who is conquered. But why is the Scorpion chasing the god-like and beloved giant Orion? What has happened to cause this celestial struggle?

Some say the battle began when Scorpio was called forth by angry Artemis who had heard Orion’s proud boast that he was so powerful and so mighty that he could – and would – destroy all life, all living creatures in order to prove his greatness. Since he wished to prove himself through destruction, so the story goes, Artemis – lover of all wild places, peoples, and creatures, decided that destruction was what he would indeed have, and sent her ally Scorpios to battle with Orion on behalf of all life everywhere.

Here we see one of the primary strengths and weaknesses of the star sign Scorpio and those born under its influence which is the ability to conquer and destroy. There is a martial element to this sign which can be clearly seen when we remember that two planets long associated with the sign are Mars, Saturn, (and, since its discovery, Pluto which is now considered the primary ruling planet of the Scorpion). The Mars influence in Scorpio can be seen in its ability to seek out and destroy whatever threatens its security, safety, and stability. In the first version of the tale, this ability is put to profound use as Scorpio’s seek and destroy style is more than a match for the intensity of Orion’s power. (Sun-sign Scorpios and those with strong Scorpio or 8th house tendencies are often labeled as “intense” right out the gate). According to the tale, Scorpios is called on as the protector of life itself which can be translated into Scorpio as the protector of those who cannot adequately protect themselves and also Scorpio as the protector of creativity, sex, and fertility — all of the things that lead to and give literal life.

One of the signature qualities of those born under this sign and those who are deeply influenced by it is a desire to protect what is theirs and what is dear to them at all costs. They will go to war, and win, against impossible odds if they feel threatened or if someone they love is threatened. This ability to go to battle is found in the actual animal’s fierce devotion to its young.

At the same time, each of us knows that sometimes we are tempted to say “peace, peace, where there is no peace” and deny that certain habits, behaviors, thoughts, and relationships create the stability that is hollow and false. The Scorpio influence shows a more negative side in its ability to encourage one to say stuck in toxic situations because doing otherwise — calling a spade and spade and getting out of dodge — feels like a move that would threaten what is stable and known.

Some say that it was not destruction but its opposite, procreation that caused Orion’s downfall. In this tale the Goddess Artemis appears again but this time in rare form as a lover who has fallen under the spell of handsome and powerful Orion. Artemis’ brother Apollo becomes enraged at his sister’s behavior and so calls the Scorpion to come forward out of the black depths to kill the hero out of malice and revenge.

In this version of the tale, we see the association between the Scorpion and eros, love and erotic desire. When you read a horoscope about the sign Scorpio you will often see their sexual prowess and intensity remarked upon. But for a Scorpio sex is never just sex. Sex is the doorway into deeper mysteries, into an ecstasy that often does have a religious or spiritual element (remember that to be in ecstasy is literally to be “standing outside of oneself), and also to deep healing. For the ancient understanding of erotics was not one of mere bed play but of asking and daring to answer the question, what is it you most want and where is it you most lack?

In this “lovers thwarted version” of the tale, we also see the flip side of the Scorpio way of love – when they love they love fully and completely and most of the time deeply loyal. However, if Scorpio feels wronged in areas of love then they will seek out revenge on whoever wronged them with their typical and formidable intensity.

A third telling of the tale moves away from the relatively young Olympian Gods Artemis and Apollo into a much older time when Gaia, the earth herself, cried out under the weight of Orion’s hunger and ambition. He wanted…all of it, all of the time; he was ever-famished, and no matter how much abundance she provided it was never enough. Sounds familiar, yes? And so, in a desperate bid to save her offspring, creation itself,  she called forth the Scorpion to sting the Giant into submission and stop the ravishing of all the lands once and for all.

Scorpio can wield the energies that are capable of going deeper than deep and preventing destruction on a massive level but that ability also means that Scorpio must in some way understand and relate to the experience of being always hungry and never fully satisfied. (Some of you have heard the saying that the sign Cancer is simply Scorpio in a housecoat – consider the above in light of that). One interpretation of Scorpio is that this is the area of the chart and this is the sign that is most willing to traffic in the occult, to show up and work the corner in the red light district, to run the illegal business, and to transgress in every possible way. But the teaching is more straightforward: Scorpio supports us in dealing with all of the taboos, the third-rail subjects, the unmentionable motivations that everyone has a relationship to money, power, death, sex, the interior spiritual life.

Each of the tales tells of the struggle, a battle royal that went on for ages, season after season, year after year, as the cosmos continued to spin out more stars and planets and celestial bodies. On one side we have the giant Orion, doomed to lose, for the first time, this struggle against an enemy.

Astrologically wherever Scorpio shows up in the chart is traditionally understood as a place of struggle, a place that carries both wound and medicine, an area that is broken and spilling forth with unique blessing also. Scorpio, as the 8th sign, occurs after the sun has been in Libra, the 7th sign. Tradition teaches that the first 6 signs in the Zodiac wheel are concerned with Self while Libra, the point of balance, encourages a turn towards the relationship between ourselves and others. Scorpio IS interested in relationships – the deeper and more real the better, so let us consider his partner in the tale – Orion.

Orion has his own set of tales and stories and his greatness must be understood for the fullness of Scorpio’s own teachings to take root. For here is a giant among giants – a hunter and a shaman complete with his ritual belt and club whose very name can mean “light from heaven”. Orion could walk on water, speak to Gods, and he became ritually blinded and then upon making the proper amends at the right time, was able to regain his sight once more. He is huge, more powerful and vast than all of the seas and all of the mountains and all of the deserts combined. And yet. The Scorpion ushers forth out of the blacker than the black sky and after many years of struggling so that at one point it seems Orion will vanquish the enemy and at another point, he will be vanquished, it all comes to a point. That specific point is the star Rigel, which can still be found today in the constellation of Orion marking his heal, and where all of the tales agree Orion was mortally wounded by Scorpios who was, in turn, declared the victor.

Scorpio is one of the signs most at home with depth psychology and analysis. Highly psychic, Scorpios are often drawn to the sacred arts because they feel a natural resonance to things like magic, ceremony, alchemy, and ritual. This is also the area of the chart that deals with lineage – your ancestry and your inheritances be they financial and otherwise and many a good investor has serious Scorpio influence in their charts. Scorpio is interested in the ways that severity and punishment are the flip sides of generosity and mercy so it is no surprise that all fields dealing with criminals and justice are aligned with the sign as is the field of law.

Each of us carries an inner Orion, the ability to be great coupled with the ability to be overly proud and overly ambitious. And each of us also, no matter what your sun sign might be, carries the gifts of Scorpio – the ability to stun that ambitious overreach, the wisdom to understand that your personal power is in a direct relationship with your willingness to be of service to others. The Scorpion also reminds us, as it did Orion, that it is often the most humble, overlooked, of creatures that at the end of the day carry real power.

The story does not end with the struggle. As it is told, the Gods were so impressed with Orion’s endurance and inability to admit defeat, that they blessed him by removing him from the painful sting of death and placing him up into the heavens where his honor could shine out among the stars.

But the story I know is a bit different. In facing the Scorpion, Orion learned that his true power was not found in his ability to demolish and remove all obstacles standing in his way nor was it his ability to satisfy every craving and hunger. No, rather his true power was demonstrated in his refusal to turn away from struggle, to engage in the battle no matter the cost and in his wisdom to apprehend that the true enemy was not the Scorpion but rather his own inflated and misplaced pride.

This is the teaching of Scorpio, one that applies to and can be of benefit to all.

Call on Scorpion When:

  • You need to be brave in the face of great odds.
  • A situation or relationship calls for deep devotion and loyalty.
  • The least of things need to be seen and protected.
  • You are ready to come into right relationship to personal power and service.
  • The superficial and surface no longer persuade and you wish to deepen your understanding in any area.
  • Creative endeavors of all kinds need to be strengthened and given better boundaries.
  • You wish to deepen an erotic relationship and/or take sex seriously.
  • You want to come into right relationship with wealth, money, and your lineage.
  • You want to master your own poison and learn to discern when and how to take action.
  • It is time to get to know your own potential to poison as well as to heal the places that have been poisoned.

Be Wary Of:

  • Acting from a place of revenge or malice or any desire to “get back at someone.”
  • Hidden motivations that place your welfare before that of your loved ones.
  • A tendency to invite conflict and drama.
  • Over seriousness and intensity.
  • Addictive behaviors that are hard to address because doing so threatens your sense of “peace and ease.”
  • Selfishness and protectionism.

Questions to Ponder:

Scorpio shows up in everyone’s chart – there is no such thing as “I don’t have Scorpio” because it is a cluster of stars in the sky and it is always there. Wherever Scorpio occurs in your chart these questions will help you get to know it better.

  • Where am I naturally willing to go deeper and look harder?
  • What has been the greatest struggle of my life – what has it taught/continues to teach me?
  • What does power mean to me? Where do I feel powerful? Where do I feel powerless?
  • What is my relationship with light and dark, figuratively and literally?
  • How can I be more powerful in each of these aspects?
  • What can I do in the light that I never thought I could?
  • What abilities do I have in the darkness?

Active Imagination Journey:

Cultivate Calmness.

Ground, Center, and Anchor in the ways that feel good and right to you.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that you are standing in a dry desert in deepest night. There is no moon and the stars shine out all around you, more than you have ever seen in your life. Although it seems that no life can thrive in this inhospitable climate; see, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that there is life. The yipping bark of Coyote, the papery rattle of a Rattlesnake, the scurry scuffle of a burrowing Owl sinking back into its nest inside of a cactus.

Affirm and acknowledge that you have come to this place at this time to learn a new teaching about your life, one that is gifted to you from the stars, you have come to encounter the Scorpion. Acknowledge that it does not matter where Scorpio occurs in your chart or whether you were born under this Sun sign or not – we all have this constellation present in some portion of our natal chart.

As you are ready to look straight ahead.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that a path has been illuminated for you and down a bit on that path is a beautiful stellar glow. This glow comes from the vast constellation Scorpio, come down to the horizon line for you at this moment. If you are ready to learn what it has to teach then walk forward.

Walk forward. Walk forward. Walk forward.

You grow closer now and so, walk forward, walk forward, walk forward.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that you are now standing before the starry constellation, and on the desert floor moving all around you are scorpions running every which way, and you are not afraid. As you are ready to bend down and place one hand on the desert floor.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel like one of the tiny Arachnids crawl across the palm of your hand.

Looking at it here under the stars high above you and illuminated by the light pulsing out from the constellation of Scorpio, see how complicated and beautiful the creature is. Put aside the surface feelings of disgust and fear, resting certain in the knowledge than in this place and in this time the Scorpion will not harm you.

As you are ready, ask it what it’s teaching for you is.

Give yourself time to truly listen.

When you are ready to depart allow yourself a few final moments to say goodbye and to agree to any promises, oaths, or exchanges that you can in good faith make.

Breathe in a blessing on your body and as you exhale bring your awareness back to the room that you are in. Feel the weight of the air upon your skin and allow yourself to stretch and move in any way that feels good and nourishing to you.

As a final act, note what the teaching from Scorpio was to and for you.

Now, choose three PRACTICAL actions to bring that teaching fully into your life here and now.

Altar and Ritual:

Our altars are generally used for positive purposes – to draw success, money, love, peace, and harmony. For this work, Scorpion asks us to look at the interconnectedness of positive and negative, the balance of using your poison for good or bad (and sometimes “bad” is what’s needed).

The idea behind this ritual is to see where there is light in the darkness and, in the reverse, where the shadows live among the light. It involves approaching your desires from the other side, the opposite angle, in a way that is counter to our natural tendencies.

To this end, Scorpion asks for a separate space, an altar all to its own, a dedicated place to focus on very specific intentions that are not to be mixed in with everything else. Find a place, big or small, that you can dedicate to communing with Scorpion and its astral counterpart.

Think of two major issues in your life right now that you would like change – one positive and one negative. For example, you want your sick mother to get better and you want your noisy neighbors to move out. The way these issues are often approached is to call on positive, healing energy for your mother and to focus on negative things that will drive away your noisy neighbors. But Scorpion asks us to flip this around – to see where we can take positive action in the dark places and where the shadows have influence in the bright places.

Cover or leave bare your altar surface in whatever way feels right to you.

Obtain two white candles and two black candles. They can be of any height that you prefer, but be mindful of how long they will take to burn. The duration is up to you and this ritual can be completed in one sitting or tended to a little bit at a time.*

Divide your altar in half with a light side and dark side, either in your mind or with a physical delineation. It can be divided horizontally or vertically, as you see fit.

Set up one white candle in the side that you associate with lightness, white, and positivity, but don’t light the candle.

Set up one black candle in the side that you associate with darkness, black, and negativity, and don’t light it.

Sit for a moment and take a deep breath. Call in the medicine of Scorpion. (as we continue, it is important to keep track of the white and black candles as instructed)

Light the white candle on the white side of your altar first and acknowledge the positive, bright side of yourself.

Light the black candle on the dark side of your altar next and acknowledge the negative, dark side of yourself.

Take a deep breath and feel that Scorpion is with you, asking you to be not afraid of its dangerous elegance.

Think of the negative issue in your life that you would like to change (i.e. your noisy neighbors). Gather up all your angry feelings and focus on the black shadow candle you have just lit in the dark side of your altar. Envision all the negative thoughts and feelings you have about this issue in the flame of the black candle as it sits on the dark side of your altar.

Take the second white candle and hold it in your hands. Focus on the situation or person(s) that make you angry and frustrated. Hold it/them in your mind and ask Scorpion to show you how to use your poison for good. For example, rather than wishing that bad things happen to your neighbors as payback for bothering you, wish that they win the lottery and move away because they want to. If you are in competition for something, wish that your adversary “loves to lose.” Use the flame from the black candle on the dark side of your altar to light the white candle you hold in your hands. As the white candle takes flame, feel all those negative desires burning into the pure white-hot fire, illuminating the sea of darkness with a beacon of kindness. Set this white candle on the dark side of your altar.

Take a deep breath and know that Scorpion is guiding you to use your powerful energy with mindfulness and civility.

Now, think of the positive issue in your life that you would like to change (i.e. that your sick mother will get better). Gather up all your tender-hearted feelings and focus on the glowing white candle you have already lit on the bright side of your altar. Envision all the positive thoughts and desires you have about this issue in the flame of the white candle as it sits on the light side of your altar.

Take the second black candle and hold it in your hands. Focus on the situation or person(s) that you want to send healing energy to. Hold it/them in your mind and ask Scorpion to show you how to use your poison in a malicious way. For example, rather than wishing for your mother to heal, curse the disease that plagues her. Ask Scorpion to show you the root of the matter, the thing that is causing the need for healing in the first place, and how to destroy it. Use the flame from the white candle on the bright side of your altar to light the black candle you hold in your hands. As the black candle takes flame, feel all those positive desires lighting the black coals that will annihilate the source of this malady or discomfort. Set this black candle on the light side of your altar.

Take a deep breath and know that Scorpion is guiding you to wield the power of your venom in the proper direction.

Spend some time sitting at your altar while these candles burn; a white candle and black candle burning together on each side of your altar. Meditate on each of the two issues at hand and allow Scorpion to show you how to regulate and redirect your energy.

You may sit with the candles until they burn out or snuff them out when you are finished. You can revisit and relight these candles, in the same order, over several days. One way is not better or worse than the other and you should continue to work this dedicated Scorpion altar as you feel called.

*always use common sense fire safety when burning candles indoors.

About my Co-Author:

sara-magnusonSara Magnuson was the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel, a purveyor of spiritual supplies and provider of various spiritual services that were in business from 2009-2019. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, ancestral, and based in the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

New Moon Notes – Sagittarius Edition

Lunar Letter

W

hoosh! That is the sound that I always hear when December begins. Though this year it was more crackle and pop because we have been enjoying weekly fires at our hearth.

Although December is one of my busiest months out of the year, I have gone into this month with a clear and solid intention to Slow Down and Enjoy. So far, so good! And lucky for us, the gorgeous New Moon in easy, breezy Sagittarius on December 11th supports exactly that vibe.

Sagittarius moons, whether New or Full, tend to bring out the inner free spirit in all of us. This is a wonderful time to plan a mid-winter adventure (and if you can do it outside all the better) or have a rousing philosophical/theological conversation with someone near and dear to you – after all, Sagittarius is the sign of philosophy and religion among other things or travel to a new and distant land or to a familiar face and friend.

There is a bit of Astro inspired tension brewing in the squaring off of dreamy, sensitive Neptune in Pisces and strict and stringent Saturn in Sagittarius. These two powerhouse planets have already had one exact square at the end of November and are headed into two more over the course of 2016.

Different astrologers talk about this tense face-off in different ways but the phrase I use is: Dreamtime (Neptune) meets real-time (Saturn). This is the best time to bring any dreams that are really speaking and calling you into clear and present physicality. Find what is of use in your meditations, visions, art-making, and dreaming and bring it into the waking world so that all may benefit. Saturn, if you work with its energy, will inspire you with the discipline and structures needed to accomplish this fear, and Neptune will call in the juicy inspiration that keeps you moving.

At the same time, IF you have been supporting any illusion or delusion that is keeping you back and not allowing for liberation, prepare for that to be blown to bits by this celestial event. You have time to align yourself with the changes ahead and the following questions to consider on this bright, dark, new moon might help:

Where do I hold myself back and why?

What story/event/encounter from my past am I stuck in and how might I release it?

What do I need to know about my deepest dream right now?

How can I bring my art more fully into my community, my local place, and my world?

What do I need to know about my relationship with time and time management?

As you consider these questions you may discover that as the year comes to a close you are ready to release one, or one hundred ideas, habits, notions, and beliefs that are not only no longer useful but maybe positively harmful. I find this is true for me and that I am always especially aware of it at the end of the year. That’s why several years ago I created a Banish and Burn community ceremony. This annual tradition is open for registration once again. Last year we have over 300 participants – won’t you join us in creating more space for deep grace? Register HERE.

Adventures in Soulful Seeking

I wrote a Litany for Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose Feast Day is on December 12th. I’m also hosting a free community altar open to all petitions, prayer requests, and blessings, go HERE to send in your words, thoughts, and heart deep desires. Here is a wee bit of the post:

“Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico City in 1531 to an indigenous man known to Spanish and English speakers as Juan Diego but known in his own tribal tongue as Cuauhtlatoatzin – which translates to something like “Talking Eagle”. Guadalupe is variously understood as the New World Blessed Virgin Mary, as a Catholic overlay of Tonantzin, the Nuahatl Goddess of life, fertility, and mothers, and as the patron Saint of Mexico. I understand her to be all of this and more. Having lived almost all of my life in “Guadalupe country” here is what I can tell you about Her.

Wherever there is a need for nurturing, mothering, calming, nourishment – there She is.
Wherever there is a need for healing, soothing, anointing and blessing – there She is.
Wherever new mothers, new fathers, and children of all ages need care and support – there She is.”

Read the full post HERE.

In other news, for those of you enrolled in an online class and wondering how to get the most out of said class without living your life online, I’ve got some tips for you.

In my family when we gather for Thanksgiving and Yule we always say a blessing before we break bread. Here is one that I wrote for Thanksgiving this year – feel free to use it yourself whenever you have need.

Speaking of prayer, November’s Full Moon letter asked a tough question: Where Do Our Prayers Go?

Out and About

‘Tis the season for awesome gift-giving, and I have some great recommendations for you:

First of all, the good things in life CAN be free. If you are receiving this letter you are already one of my beautiful subscribers, but did you know that you can encourage a friend to subscribe and they will receive a very special Wonderment reading from me? It is a little gift I give to all new subscribers and (so I’ve been told) delivers amazing clarity, insight, and inspiration exactly where they are most needed. Simply direct your people to my site and click on the “lunar letters” tab to subscribe. Share sacred arts and share the love.

Desiring something extra special? A year of candles lit each and every month on the Full Moon, followed by personal reports and plans of actions might be the perfect thing.
Snag that here (and save an extra $100 in the process – this is the only “sale” I ever do and it happens once a year, through the month of December).

Have an inquiring mind in your life who cannot get enough of all things sacred arts? Consider gifting then with one of my self-study courses on the sacred arts.

For the people in your life who love all creatures great and small, check out Sara Magnusson’s course Animalia. Spaces are very limited and Sara’s work is always superb. While hanging at her site, do yourself a favor and peruse the other delightful offerings at Candlesmoke Chapel, the shop she runs with her husband Joseph.

Then again, there may be a few on your list who are more interested in what’s happening in the heavens as opposed to down on earth. A gift certificate from the radiant Heidi Rose Robbins makes is an excellent choice.

Speaking of gift certificates, my wonderful friend and co-conspirator Theresa Reed has gift certificates for her tarot readings and she is giving away all kinds of swag this month on her Facebook page.

Everyone likes a little sparkle from time to time, and if you are going to give jewelry why not give something that has truly been customized by someone with both talent and mojo. Check out Aidan’s work (I’m partial to the Sacred Heart for obvious reasons).

Have a friend who is into the tarot? Camelia Elias is offering a class that sounds fun and fabulous for all of those who want to make the cards their own.

If you have loved ones who love to smell good (and really, who doesn’t) then get thee to Shelley Henry’s beautiful site and shop her catalog of scents.

Another gifted herbalist and potion make, Jen Rue of Three Cats and a Broom has something in the store that is sure to delight.

And, if you know people who need help with their boundaries, Randi Buckley’s course on Healthy Boundaries for Kind People might be just what you are looking for.

Although Advent has technically started, you can still snag a seat in Deb Smouse’s Advent Series (I did it last year and truly enjoyed myself).

Words and Wonderings

Some of my favorite quotes over the last few weeks:

And for adults, the world of fantasy books return to us the great words of power that, in order to be tamed, have been excised from our adult vocabularies. These words are the pornography of innocence, words that adults no longer dare to use with other adults, and so we laugh at them and consign them to the nursery, fear masking as cynicism. These are the words that were forged in the earth, air, fire, and water of human existence. And the words are:
Good.
Evil.
Courage.
Honor.
Truth.
Hate.
Love.

–From Touch Magic by Jane Yolen

All human beings by nature stretch out towards knowing.” Aristotle, from the Metaphysics

Folklore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels.” – G. K. Chesterton from The Dragon’s Grandmother (You can read the entire piece here).

We all have the same kind of dragons in our psyche, just as we all have the same kind of hearts and lungs in our body.” –Ursula Le Guin

Really interesting article on Believing What Isn’t True by Richard Feynman. This might tick some folks in our community off, because Feynman, who is a scientist, calls out subjects like astrology and magic as prime examples of gullibility. However, I encourage each and every one of you to THINK for yourselves and that includes questioning certain suppositions found in the sacred arts AND in modern science too. Enjoy!

Feast your eyes on this gorgeous book art by early 20th century Czech artists.

Lovely and thought-provoking essay on the Heroine’s Journey by Theodora Gross – this will be of especial interest to all Spinning Gold students!

Was one source of early feminism found in various Native American tribes and their societal structures? This article makes exactly that claim.

I’ll be back closer to the full moon (which falls ON Christmas) but for now, we are all wishing you beautiful new moon blessings!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.