If the season of the witch has yet to cast its spell on you, this week’s Full Moon Eclipse in earth-magic Taurus might just do the trick. The longest lasting partial eclipse of the century will captivate its audience in the predawn hours of Friday, November 19th. The earth’s shadow will slowly cast over the Moon for a duration of nearly 3 and half hours, with its peak coverage around 4am Eastern Time. The cast of this shadow will likely display a deep red hue and be visible across the Americas, much of Asia, parts of Europe and West Africa.
If you happen to sleep through this wondrous event, let’s hope that your dreams may connect with this widespread magic. There is another kind of sleep however, non-rejuvenating and devoid of dreams. This sleep is one to be wary of. It is the ‘sleep of the senses’ that the Earth spirit warns Faust about. It is a closing off to the expressiveness of the natural world.
In his book, “The Spell of the Sensuous”, David Abram describes the human experience of magic as “our ancestral animistic awareness of the world as alive and expressive.” He says that everything ‘speaks’, and it is only through our creation of the written word that ‘the stones fall silent.’ What once was some grooves on a rock expressing meaning to us has become a paragraph in the New York Times. The alphabet and the written word is entirely human-constructed, not even the spirit of breath shapes it, the way the spoken word does. Far from saying that the written word is ‘bad’ he simply emphasizes what the written word really is: magic. This is why one can ‘cast a spell’ and ‘spell a word’. He says, “As non-human animals, plants, and even ‘inanimate’ rivers once spoke to our oral ancestors, so the ostensibly ‘inert’ letters o n the page now speak to us! This is a form of animism that we take for granted, but it is animism nonetheless- as mysterious as a talking stone.”
Even if you sleep through the Full Moon eclipse, be sure to rouse your senses enough to realize something important; the world is magical and we have the capacity to be magicians!
As always, happy astro pondering!
For more on David Abram, here is a wonderful interview where he talks about animism, magic and the senses.
“O Sole Mio”, the beloved Neapolitan song written by Giovanni Capurro, translates as “My Sunshine.” The first verse salutes a sunny day with the freshest air that follows a storm. But the chorus, the dramatic turn, the part that really gets us, speaks of a different sun.
“But another sun,
even more beauteous, oh my sweetheart,
my own sun, shines from your face!
This sun, my own sun,
shines from your face!
It shines from your face!
A Full Moon finds us this week in the sign of Aries, the primordial spark of life, the mystery that motivates, in other words, that other sun. When it shines it is ‘even more beauteous’ and larger than life.
It should come as no surprise that Luciano Pavarotti, who won a grammy for this song in 1980, was born under a Full Aries Moon. His lunar substance of soul is made up of this other sun, one’s own sun.
O sole mio! Such a beautiful and private light. It rises like an epiphany when it sees its own brightness reflected back from others, reflected back from the otherness of the world.
As most operas show, it is love that moves the atmosphere; obscuring or revealing these brilliant and more beauteous rays. Grab your earphones, or hear it with your heart! O Sole Mio! Your own sun and its spark!
From where will it shine, this spark so divine?
Mars will oppose this Moon, expect emotional crescendos! Pluto squaring from the depths adds alluring innuendos! The drama of this full moon reminds us to be in touch with what lies beneath the surface; a powerful swirl of lava that animates the soul and determines what really matters.
Such a reminder will come in handy as we transition into beneath-the-surface Scorpio season on Saturday!
Maybe you remember where you were, and even who you were when your eyes met these wondrous sky events. Were you a werewolf taking a breather on a back porch? A unicorn handing out chocolates from your doorstep? Reaching back into this memory it becomes clear how this unique event (a special moon on a special night) became a part of you.
It is the last week of Leo Season and there is another Blue Moon headed our way, on Sunday August 22, the same day that the Season will shift into Virgo. This Blue Moon is of a different kind than last year’s; it is a Seasonal Blue Moon, the third full moon in a Season of 4 full moons. A Season (from equinox to solstice) usually has 3 full moons. But just like clovers, sometimes there is a 4th, making it special, unusual, set apart from the norm.
Think back again, do you have any memories of finding a four leaf clover? Or seeing a shooting star? A ball of lightning? A double rainbow? You likely, once again remember where you were, and also, in a sense, who you were. Maybe not as clear cut a memory as a werewolf taking a breather on a back porch, but something is most likely still preserved of your surroundings and your inner life at that moment.
This is how humans are all natural artists. Special things and events that are set apart from the norm, somehow trigger us to become a part of them.
A special day is set apart from the calendar year, so we can choose to be a part of it by cooking a big feast and hanging mistletoes.
In stories a special thing is searched for, be it a grail, a blue flower or a ring with magic powers. That special thing, set apart from the norm, becomes a part of the hero the minute he embarks on the quest.
At the beginning of this week Venus will go into Libra, the artist, the one who seeks to be a part of those special things that are set apart from the norm.
Picasso was born when Venus was travelling through Libra. He famously said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Children have no trouble spotting those special things set apart from the norm. Most things are special in fact, and the norm is but a vague abstraction. For children, most things are special enough to want to be a part of, most things are interesting enough to join in on the fun; a stick, a pile of leaves, a bouncing ball, a sign post.
As adults it becomes harder to get enthusiastic about these things and for good reason. Our sense of significance, just like our bodies, has grown. It reaches and reaches and continues to reach. A satisfying feeling of meaning now needs more space- more width- a wider field to establish more and more relations. We only encounter problems when we forget to reach.
Lucky for us both seasonal and calendar blue moons find us every 2 or 3 years, not to mention holidays, regular full moons, birthdays and rainbows. Blessed be these special things, set apart from the norm, triggering the artist that lives deep inside all of human nature, to join in on the fun and be a part of it.
There is a Full Thunder Moon headed our way this week, on Friday, July 23rd. As the season shifts from the mysterious electricity of Cancer to the bright and obvious light of Leo, it seems a perfect time to ponder the phenomenon of thunder: the electric rumble born out of light itself.
The sound of light comes in two distinct forms: the long low rumble and the sudden loud crack.
The long and low rumble is heard when the light is far away. Rumbling like the grumbling of hunger. But this hunger is a spiritual appetite, a “hero’s call” for adventure. The farther away the light the more the blood stirs.
The sudden loud crack is when light is astonishingly nearby. It’s what propelled Archimedes to jump out of the bathwater yelling “eureka”, which is Greek for “I found it!”. Finding such a light can seemingly stop the flow of time. It’s the nature of a peak experience; a bubbling over of sheer delight.
In both instances, light is making sound, and in special cases, it is recorded to allow the sound to become a second birth of light.
A record player is a perfect example: the light of Louis Armstrong is expressed through sound, which is captured on record, to be played for someone who enjoys it. The record is like thunder, the sound of light, it may come again as a loud crack or distant rumble to the right set of ears. One of those sets of ears belonged to the 12 year old Billie Holiday who, in between scrubbing the halls and kitchens of some neighborhood apartments, first heard Armstrong’s “West End Blues”. Whether it was a low rumble or a sudden crack we may not know, but as her nickname Lady Day suggests, she rebirthed the light.
Rebirthing the light is a virgin birth. As Joseph Campbell explains it, “The virgin birth has nothing to do with a biological accident,”. It symbolizes instead “the awakening of spiritual life in the human animal.”
Our job then, is to tune in to those low frequencies of rumbling thunder that are so often unheard so that we can give attention to a faraway light that “calls”. We must also be ready to seize the light if we are lucky enough to hear the sudden loud crack and yell Eureka, I have it! I have in my possession the light that found me.
Just like a record player, one can learn to get into the habit of recording light; paying attention in those times of rich warmth and bright meaning, then committing them to a precious bank of memory within. Letting these instances of warmth, meaning and light fill up a personal account. Drawing from an inner currency that answers to the highest of gold standards; that of light itself.
Nikola Tesla famously said “Everything is the light.”
He said “I am part of a light, and it is the music.”
When asked by the journalist interviewing him whether he heard this music he replied, “I hear it all the time. My spiritual ear is as big as the sky we see above us.”
It is the first week of Summer with a Full Moon headed our way. Though the Sun is at it’s height, it is the sign of the Moon that welcomes Summer; Cancer, the mysterious realm of inner life.
Just as the Moon can expand and contract, so can inner life. Expanding to meet something of significance, and contracting when bored.
Full Moons have a way of jump-starting this feeling of expansion. They catch your eye on a normal night and make you say- ooh, look at that!
A Full Moon in the Season of the Moon always falls in the sign of Capricorn, which represents reality. If it is true what philosopher Gaston Bachelard said, that we are all born poets, then reality would find us better when our inner life is expanded, and things are taken less for granted. The poet always is saying- ohh look at that! Just as a child does.
More kids are around too as Summer has begun. They will help us remember this great gift of expansion.
Mercury in Gemini moves direct on Tuesday after being retrograde for about 3 weeks. Something heady likely has been untangled a bit and now it’s time to stride forward with a bit more knowledge.
Venus in her last week of Cancer, finding beauty in things that anchor you in a place of home. Trining Neptune, don’t forget to enlarge your reality of home to a comfortable cosmic coziness.
Mars in the early degrees of Leo and approaching an opposition to Saturn. There is a stirring up of sunshine, that is a stirring up of pure being that will help answer all of these serious existential questions that linger with Saturn in Aquarius. What stirs up your pure being? What puts you in touch with your own sunshine?
Squaring both of those planets is Uranus in Taurus, a slow and steady reawakening of something substantial. Something certain. Something to count on. Something to build on. What is this for you?
Jupiter in Pisces just went retrograde on Sunday the 20th. This week the planet of faith pivots and turns back in the early waters of dreams. It found something here, something to put faith in, and is now turning back to secure it. Even if you don’t know what this is it doesn’t matter. Pisces is vague, but strong with emotional power. Maybe it is a feeling that’s been found. Whatever it is, it’s special, and worthy of spirited protection.
The Moon will begin the week waxing gibbous in Scorpio, the sign of the profound. During moon season this is the ability of the shell to amplify it’s ambient sound, and heighten feelings to a richer intensity. Not your ordinary Monday!
Tuesday and Wednesday host a very big Sagittarius Moon, and this sign loves bigness. Go big or go home, but in the Season of the Moon the two need not cancel each other out! The galaxy within is of an adequate immensity.
Thursday is our glorious Full Strawberry Moon, as the Algonquins named it, to signify the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in the northeastern U.S. It also often appears reddish, as it shines through more atmosphere now than other times of the year.
As mentioned before, this Capricorn Full Moon represents the reality that comes forth with an expanded inner life. The Beatles sing about Strawberry fields where nothing is real, but there is something very real in this non reality. John Lennon’s childhood had some tragedy, most of all the death of his mother by a speeding car when he was only 17. Strawberry Field was a girls orphanage with a foreboding feel to it on the outside. But the young Lennon would climb the wall to find that on the inside it was full of wildflowers and secretive gardens. Through the poetic expanse of this reality came one of the best songs ever recorded. This is how an expanded inner life makes reality more real. If nothing else on this night, give that song a listen, maybe with a ripe box of strawberries!
The day after the Full Moon, Neptune will go retrograde for 5 months! Dreams and ideals will be retracing their proverbial swim tracks until the beginning of December, in search of targets that are realer than real.
An Aquarius Moon begins to wane gibbous throughout the weekend. Aquarius is the water bearer, in other words, one who is aware of having an inner life. Aquarius is evolution, a process that strives and grows through striving. Cast a wide net this weekend-see what significance your inner life wants to explore. Summer is here with quantum fireflies galore!
The first Spring Full Moon comes Sunday, March 28th , in the romantic sign of Libra. Opposed by the Sun with lady Venus, both in the seasonal sign of lively Aries, let’s wake up our senses and engage in a romantic pondering!
When Libra illuminates the night there is a growing awareness of the reality of relations. As it turns out, the reality of relations is the reality of ourselves. This is the interesting viewpoint of neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio.
In his book The Feeling of What Happens, he talks about the relational nature of consciousness itself. The two players of consciousness are the organism and the object. The organism relates to an object and the object changes the organism.
The organism is our body, our brain. The objects are sensory (out there in the world) or mental (thoughts, memories). What emerges from this relationship, is what he calls core-consciousness, and from that, the core-self.
“Because of the permanent availability of provoking objects, it is continuously generated, and thus appears continuous in time.”
He also speaks of two other forms of self: the proto self, which we are unconscious of, and the autobiographical self, which is constructed from memories and future anticipations. But the core self emerges as a “transient entity, ceaselessly re-created for each and every object with which the brain interacts.”
When the object changes the organism, the organism then brings the object into better focus. It is “set out” from other, less important objects.
“Attention is driven to focus an object and the result is saliency of the images of that object in mind.”
The objects hold half of the deck. Who knew! When it comes to a sense of self, we are as much other as we are not other. Things, people, scenery, thoughts, smells, memories all cause changes in us. And these changes are what construct our senses of self!
Watch a child delight at what he/she sees. It becomes obvious that there is no end to stimulus. As we get older, a lot of the stimulus is more under wraps, in streams of thought, and private feelings. But it is amazing to think that any object causes a change. Opening a window, tilting your head to see the blue sky for a moment, indulging in a nice memory or a plan for the future. Changes. Re-creation of self!
Though this is a Full Worm Moon, it speaks to the most human part of us. If we can know that objects change us, and that we constantly re-create ourselves from these changes, we can attempt to navigate a bit, and make the most out of this relationship. We can learn to listen to our changes and respect that they are trying to keep us on track, and towards a place of balance. We can seek out stimuli that treat us well, like a glorious Full Moon in Spring.
It’s the romantic story of the organism and the object. Aren’t they cute!
Happy changes and as always, Happy Astro Pondering!
A Full Snow Moon comes our way, reaching it’s peak around 3 am on Saturday, February 27th EST, so look to the sky on Friday evening.
Falling in the detail-loving sign of Virgo, lets zoom in close to the phenomenon of snow.
Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley captured more than 5000 snow crystals on film. He was born in 1865 on a farm in Jericho, VT. His mother took note of his curiosity for nature and managed to pull enough money together to buy him a microscope. Just before his twentieth birthday, Wilson took his first photograph of a snowflake. He called these snow crystals “miracles of beauty”.
Snowflakes are (for the most part) hexagons, with each one being completely unique. Hexagons have 6 sides, and can be created with the interlacing of an upward and a downward triangle. Virgo is the 6th and most humble sign of the zodiac. Humility to look closer at common things (like young Bentley did) is a doorway to the miraculous.
This Full Snow Moon in Virgo is an invitation to, in the words of my favorite astrologer, Alice O. Howell,
“be humble enough to study the obvious“.
In her book, “The Web and the Sea”, O. Howell draws attention to the fact that a triangle is the first way that space can be enclosed. She goes on to muse about how angles of triangles always add up to 180 degrees, so if two triangles were to get together, as they do in a hexagram, we would have the full 360 degrees of a circle.
The triangle, as the first possible enclosed space, opens up the whole concept of inhabited space, something that Philosopher Gaston Bachelard delights in writing about. He says,
“Inhabited space transcends geometrical space”
Inhabited space can be intensified. When a snow storm rages outside, the intensity of inhabiting your own house is likely increased. Add a cup of hot cocoa and a good book and it increases ever the more!
Bringing more awareness to how space is inhabited does wonders to soothe the soul. Gaston writes:
“Our soul is an abode. And by remembering ‘houses’ and ‘rooms,’ we learn to ‘abide’ within ourselves.”
The sight of a Full Moon can evoke the satisfaction of well-inhabited space; a feeling that there’s no place we’d rather be.
Maybe it is the inhabited space of a Full Moon, or someone you love, or a blooming flower that serve as that that second triangle. In hexagonal bliss, the full totality of the circle is experienced. Virgo’s humility to look closer and deeper into her everyday world unlocks the wellspring of wholeness from her opposite sign, Pisces.
The first Full Moon of the year will be here on Thursday the 28th. The January Full Moon is known as the Wolf Moon, as it was traditionally believed that wolves howled more at this time because of winter hunger. The Wolf Moon will paradoxically be in the sign of Leo, making it a breed of dog and cat. An archetypal mix of belonging and spontaneity.
Many good dogs eagerly anticipate the arrival of their person after a long day of work- and the sight of a sparkly ball sends the average cat into a multiverse of possible spontaneous reactions. What does this Moon speak of in combining these two themes?
Could it be that we, as humans, are curious creatures whose belonging becomes more clear in moments of spontaneity?
Is this why we laugh with those we feel most at home with? Is this evolution itself making sure that we stay supple and moveable, like a good flame?
Opposite this Moon will be a trinity of Aquarius, with Sun Jupiter and Saturn. The sign of freedom, lit up and made expansive by Jupiter, yet with it’s own laws of Saturn. The age-old debate on Free Will. Is it ours or is it not?
Squaring all of this is Mars in Taurus near the Great Awakener, Uranus. Taurus is wonderful magic of homeostasis, always at work in our physiology.
And maybe herein lies a clue. We are free, but our body knows things that are good for us, and ‘good for us’ speaks on so many different levels (emotionally, physically, morally, for example).
William James said, “the question of free will is insoluble on strictly psychological grounds”. Is he referring to the mysterious balancing act of our physiology, as well as hinting at some greater mystery?
Is to be truly free to surrender to your true being?
Scorpio, Taurus’ opposite, knows that to some extent, the Will must surrender itself to the mystery of inner balance.
Free Will is embedded in the word spontaneity comes from the latin root sponte, “of one’s own will.” The spontaneous delights of children are likely the best reminder of how good it is to grab a joy where it can be found. “Kiss it as it flies” as William Blake would say.
Maybe this Full Moon can inspire us to do this. And in a moment of free-willed joy feel a solid place of belonging.
Bound to be unbound, and unbound you are bound to come back around, to where you are bound?
Anyway, a howl-roar to the first Full Moon of 2021!
A Full Moon eclipse crowns the last day of November, dazzling in Gemini before the start of December.
Gemini sparkles with reflection of thought. The flint of the fire, and all we’ve been taught. Sparkling and glittering for centuries back- sensing a freedom and enlarging the crack, so more creativity can leak in, and keep us on track.
The archer pulls back the string of his bow. The arrow in flight shows the way life likes to grow.
From his book, The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard de Chardin says this of Man’s true place in evolution: “Man is not the center of the universe as we once thought in our simplicity, but something much more wonderful- the arrow pointing the way to the final unification of the world in terms of life. Man alone constitutes the last-born, the freshest, the most complicated, the most subtle of all the successive layers of life.”
Sagittarius, the Season we are in right now, is that very arrow. The life of life itself, and it’s direction of growth.
With love, the future sets us free! The distant future, and the one of immediacy. In a world where nothing is static- the question does become, in which direction are you moving, and from where have you come? This is a question that can be asked at any given moment.
Sagittarius Season is bubbling with an effervescense, spreading with delightful incandescense, to remind us of our truest essence. Outward on streets, lights spring up as expected, inward a fire glows warm with direction.
Mercury will be in the deepest degrees of Scorpio on Monday, for the Gemini Full Moon eclipse. Gemini rules the hands. Teilhard de Chardin says that our arms became free, so we could hold our hands to our face, with narrower eyes, we could percieve what we hold in front of us- and thus, reflective thought was born. He says “Man came silently into this world”.
The next day, as December begins, the trickster goes into Sagittarius, with a growing confidence. The trickster realizes he holds the keys, his hands are free, like the sky and the sea.
Venus, the love goddess stirs in Scorpio. She overhears the trickster’s epiphany, and creates a stormy, passionate symphony. Seeing her gifts of art and love, as the fire that holds everything together from above. She breathes in the sweetness of a vibrant red rose, from her delicate hands, the whole world she does hold.
Mars moving onward in Aries in an epic voyage that’s lasted half a year! His lovers tune seducing his soul, freeing his vibrations to a place that is bold. As Robert Frost said, “Freedom lies in being bold.”
Jupiter moving away from Pluto and into a tighter conjunction with Saturn, in Capricorn, in tension with Aries’ fire. The strategy of caution serving hope in a most noble of ways. We’ve learned so much in these past few hundred days.
Uranus in Taurus- the evolution of nature, becoming more natural, to reflect on
Neptune in Pisces- the dream in the Seasonal archer’s heart- As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “we aim above the mark to hit the mark.”
The Moon as mentioned will be Full in Gemini at the beginning of the week, the sign of the hands, Aristotle’s “tool of tools”. Evidence of Sagittarian spirit shimmer in the stone carvings of the ancient world, at the skill of ancient hands.
Full Moons are nights of illumination.
As Langston Hughes said
“I look at my own body With eyes no longer blind-
And see that my own hands
The world that’s in my mind.”
In the later hours of Tuesday night she wanes gibbous in Cancer, her true habitat of Moon. Bears are beginnng to head to their caves, light is dwindling in the days. In the flourescence of the Horse’s Season, a Cancer Moon is a perfect reason, to find some Hooga with dimmed down lights. Store some power in the soul’s delight!
Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday host a Leo Moon, and the atmosphere is full of fire. The fire of expression! The radiant life of love. In our upward flight that moves to the right, who can push aside this Eternal delight. As Venus comes into trine with all encompassing Neptune, echoes of the Four Tops ring out into the ether- Reach out..
By Sunday afternoon, a Virgo Moon wanes on- in the spirit of learning, and the ever-in-motion weaving of the imagination with experience.
In which direction are you going, and where are you coming from?