Nothing can cure the soul, but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. Oscar Wilde
Make the universe your companion, always bearing in mind the true nature of things - mountains and rivers, trees and grasses, and humanity - and enjoy the falling blossoms and the scattering leaves. Matsuo Basho
November 14, 2016 Full Moon in Taurus, 22°37,’5:52 AM PST. Sun 22°37’ Scorpio, conjunct Black Moon Lilith 19°45’, Sun in a quincunx aspect to Eris, at Aries 22°48’ and Uranus, Aries 21°22’, Sun trine Chiron, 20°48’ Pisces (Moon in a sextile to Chiron), Mercury, 3° 1’ Sagittarius in a sextile to Mars, 3°55’ Aquarius. Jupiter, Libra 13°52,’ in a sextile aspect to Saturn, 15°51’Sagittarius.
American Thanksgiving, November 24th 6:00 PM PST: Jupiter 15°48’ Libra, Moon 15° 9’ Libra square Venus 15°19’, Pluto 15°47’ Capricorn.
There is a healing practice in Japan called Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing. The simple joys of letting nature calm the heart and soul, while being present in the woods. The art of simply being there. In a similar sense, the Japanese tea ceremony, or chanoyu, developed as a calming exercise under the turmoil of war and the political and social upheaval of 16th-century Japan. People sought comfort in the quiet, slow movements of the ceremony in the rustic simplicity of the teahouse amidst Japanese pavilions and gardens. I want to start by mentioning a few suggestions reminiscent of these subtle and simple Japanese cultural practices. I hope these insights may be helpful during the current Full Moon in Taurus. We all are entering a period of adjustment. How could we not? It does not matter how you voted or if you voted in the recent American presidential election, if you call United States your home or if you live abroad, this past week was a time of shock and disbelief as many realized our world will not be the same. The Full Moon in Taurus asks us to simplify. We find comfort in our routines, reflect upon what we have, what is real, our support system, and to recenter ourselves and take stock of our resources in order to process such a collective shift. A lot of us will be climbing out of a kind of psychological shell shock and facing our thoughts and feelings about what a Trump presidency will bring, disrupt or repeal. We all need moments of calm. We reclaim our soul out of the mayhem, honoring our bodies, our basic needs and comforts. Our Shinrin-yoku may literally be a place in nature, in the woods or at the beach, or a quiet tea ceremony in the soft, comforts of our home. Such periods allow us to regroup, reset, adjust and move forward. For those of us living in the northern hemisphere, the yearly passage of the Taurus Full Moon suggests the gathering of resources in a time of asking what are our fundamental, basic needs as the light of day dims and we prepare for winter solstice in December. The meaning of the Full Moon in Taurus, leading us gradually toward winter solstice, can offer solace and hope. The act of taking stock of what we have and can use, the time of adjustment and regrouping, can only make us stronger.
There are a few unusual traits of the Full Moon this month that seem to help manifest its energy as well as potential for emotional impact. The Moon will reach perigee – the Moon’s closest point to the Earth - within one and a half hour’s time of the Full Moon, 5:52 AM PST. A so-called “Supermoon” is not uncommon; we usually have several Supermoons a year, causing the larger than usual tides known as Spring tides. This particular perigean Moon, however, is unusually close to the Earth, the closest she has been since 1948. The Moon will not come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034. Those folks living near the coastline may enjoy viewing the particularly high tides in the days ahead. The energetic signature of Taurus will be felt strongly and it might be helpful to look to see where the sign of Taurus falls in your birth chart or if you have natal planets at 22° of the fixed signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius. The opposition of the Scorpio Sun and Taurus Moon will also be the last major aspect the Moon makes before moving into Gemini. Astrologers refer to the Moon at this time as being void of course. In general, when the Moon is void of course, it is best to wait before embarking on new paths, signing contracts or taking on new commitments. However, it is a productive time to let go and release what is not needed - in this case, the Taurus Moon gives us a time to drop the stress and tension of the past few months and let us return to the simplicity of the moment, of our bodies, of our souls. Tap into the wisdom of the body through touch and the senses (soak in that hot tub or bubble bath!), through healthy practices of yoga, hiking, and eating (in moderation!) good, honest foods. Take time to enjoy cuddling and loving the animals in our lives. And embracing silence when needed can go a long way. The sign Taurus is ruled by Venus and so aesthetic pleasure, the sensual and natural beauty in visual art, or the comfort of our favorite pieces of music, are especially powerful as a nurturing, healing expression under this Full Moon.
The picture I include to illustrate the Full Moon in Taurus is a photograph I took while traveling through Dogon country in rural Mali, West Africa. I chose this image, in part, because of the feeling of connection between child and animal and the tilling of the earth. The bull, of course, is a symbol for the sign, Taurus. But there are two stories behind this picture I feel capture the polarity between the energies of Scorpio (the Sun will be in Scorpio until November 21st) and that of Taurus. The Dogon people are traditional farmers. In some ways, I am hesitant to use my experiences in West Africa here because it is so easy for people who are from outside of the continent to simplify African peoples and cultural practices as “primitive” in comparison to communities in Europe, Asia or the Americas. But I believe these stories will help illustrate the two signs well. While staying in one of the villages along the Bandiagara Cliffs, a vast plateau and valley where Dogon communities are found, I witnessed the basic sense of connection with the land so clearly in the people I met. At night, I slept under a simple mosquito net on blankets under the stars. I was on top of one of the houses in the open air. One night, I slept well until I felt tiny drops of rain starting to fall some time in the middle of the night. I scrambled to pack up my things to scurry down below to seek shelter when my friend, Madou, came up to my sheer tent and whispered, “No, lie down…in a minute, it will pass.” The rain stopped then and I realized how deeply in tune Madou was to his cliffs, to his Dogon home, to the wind and rain, like a simple Taurean bodily response to knowledge and wisdom. The rain will stop and it did.
Earlier that night I felt the magick, some other realm of my own inner shadows, in the very same village before going to bed. I went out at dusk and started playing tag with a bunch of the Dogon children. I ran between and through the mud, adobe houses and felt their chase, all a game of fun and laughter. Night fell and the shadows loomed and gradually the energy changed. I felt some kind of fear rise up inside me, the children pressed on and after me and then I felt something raw, real and difficult to escape. These were just children. What was it that came through me? Scorpio makes the subconscious conscious, brings truth to the table and reveals forces underneath, either within us or around us (Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, planet of deep psychological transformation and work, along with Mars, the warrior planet). Was it some childhood fear of my own coming back into consciousness? The experience reminded me of the classic novel, Lord of the Flies, the group overtaking me. What was it that I felt? Was it my own inner prejudice of the other, fearful of a children from a different culture, world, than my own? Or was it the shamanic side of Scorpio (Scorpio is also associated with the sorcerer, with the occult) that allowed me to feel fear, but also see and feel something deeper, something more at play that night in the shadows. This is how I see Taurus and this is how I feel Scorpio. The two energies are so different; each so revealing, each in some way so human, so universal.
At the Full Moon, the Sun will make a quincunx (150°) aspect to the current conjunction of Uranus (Aries 21° 22) and Eris (Aries 22° 48). Although this is a fast-moving aspect (the Sun moves a degree a day), I feel it represents the culmination of what a lot of us are wrestling with at the moment. The Full Moon can be a time of fruition and then release, a natural time of fulfillment. Yet, for some of us, the recent presidential election in the United States does not leave us with a feeling of fulfillment. The period for me, and I believe probably for some of you, reflects the energy of “misstep,” irritation or a need for adjustment embodied in the energy of the quincunx. A quincunx (150°) is about reconciling or settling into two very different energies, in this case Scorpio and Aries. In astrology, we talk about the Ptolemaic aspects, such as a conjunction, sextile (60°), square (90°), trine (120°) or opposition (180°) based upon the division of a circle. They were named after the famous Greco-Egyptian writer, astrologer, mathematician and astronomer, Claudius Ptolemy, who used them in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD/CE. In earlier periods of Mesopotamian history, the Sumerians and Babylonians used a numeric system based upon a sexegesimal mathematics, a base of 60, and defined a circle as 360°. The Ptolemaic aspects are major aspects, and it makes sense to us how they operate. We can see the circular pie and the slices seem logical. But the quincunx, a 150°, is not a comfortable number for us to see when dividing a 360° circle and it is not as easy as the major aspects to recognize and to process.
Election day, November 8th, and the period right after, embodied the sudden, abrupt energy of Aries, shock and revolutionary nature of Uranus and the feeling of resentment, anger and retribution that is a potential manifestation of Eris. As I mentioned in my last post, Eris, a dwarf planet, has recently received critical attention by astrologers. In myth, she is the goddess who is not invited to the party and throws to Paris the apple of Discord he uses as a prize in his judgment of the goddesses, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, which leads to the Trojan War. The apple can be seen as a symbol of sustenance, what is needed and desired, and what leads to discord and conflict. The recent political upset in the United States, in part, stems from the feeling of rejection or lack of attention or recognition felt by of some in America. They do not feel heard by the mainstream factions of the two political parties. Black Moon Lilith is at 19° 45’ Scorpio in conjunction with the Sun as well and the Sun forms a trine to Chiron in Pisces, suggesting a potential for a collective wound and a need for healing. Black Moon Lilith marks the lunar apogee - the place in the lunar orbit farthest from the earth. An archetype of the Divine feminine, she also can symbolize the repression of the feminine at the expense of the patriarchy, another indicator of discord and upset in recent months as the respect for women and the right of a woman to lead have been called into question.
I do not wish to elaborate upon the election nor the astrological “politics” at play. Rather I mention the quincunx to help us best process the feeling nature of this Full Moon for us on a more personal or individual level. Following such a sudden, outer thrust of change, what surfaces for us? How do we balance the angry, impulsive reactions versus our deeper reflections upon the truth of why the upset happened? The quincunx, I believe, offers us a chance to dive deeper into what this election means for us, what it triggers in our psyches, what truth is behind this time of uncertainty for ourselves and perhaps we may ask what is really behind the current political forces for others. For ourselves, the Scorpionic energy can help reveal what lies under the surface that we need to wrestle with and combat for us to be successful activists, to support social justice and be better global citizens. Like the fear I faced in the shadows of the Dogon cliffs and houses, what fears arise in us?
The current passage of Mercury in Sagittarius opens our perceptions and understanding into this process. Time to free our preconceived notions of how politics work and brainstorm new ways to build bridges of rapport. During the Full Moon, Mercury, 3° 1’ Sagittarius, will form a sextile to Mars, 3°55’ Aquarius, supporting ideas and plans for action and change. At the same time, Jupiter, at Libra 13°52’, will be in a sextile aspect to Saturn, 15°51’Sagittarius. Saturn adds structure and reality to the enthusiasm of Jupiter. Mercury will eventually conjunct Saturn on November 23rd in Sagittarius helping to add clarity along with reality to our ideas and eventually Mercury will form a trine to Uranus, further supporting our insights for action and change. These last aspects mentioned can bring the abstract into reality and may help to reinforce the push for change in more concrete terms, whether in the new Trump administration or through efforts to revise and change the system.
I would like to end by transitioning into the weeks ahead and briefly mention the beginning of the holiday season and Thanksgiving, which in the United States occurs this year on November 24th. I find Thanksgiving a difficult holiday to embrace, especially this year when the indigenous community is continuing to face battles over access to clean water and sacred lands due to the ongoing struggle to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Let’s hope we can honor and hold in our hearts the movement and ask for justice, guidance and peace. Thanksgiving will involve the coming together of family and friends, giving us yet another opportunity to heal from the anger, tension and divisiveness of the election season. Venus moved into the sign of Capricorn on November 11th helping us find joy and comfort in the traditions of the holidays and structures of family life we cherish. Traditions can be so soothing and reassuring and none better than those at the holidays! On Thanksgiving, the Moon will join up with Jupiter in mid Libra, 15° 42,’ for a celebratory mood of love and connection. But both will also form a square aspect to Pluto and Venus in Capricorn. Conversations and arguments may be based upon deeper truths and issues hiding under the fray. Pay attention to the undercurrents of family dynamics; they can reveal a lot! Was that comment my sister made really about my political sentiments? Or is she still holding onto some deeply held grudge or past hurt? Awareness of these undercurrents can bring healing. Though we often feel them at play during the holidays, this particular year holds opportunities for psychological insights to surface. As a final note, avoid spending too much money on the holidays or indulging in too much merriment of food and drink just because Jupiter said it was ok. We may want to spend more as a psychological release. Instead perhaps it is better we ask, what really is at play in our desires to indulge?
Wishing everyone a beautiful Full Moon in Taurus and a joyful Thanksgiving!