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.
Alchemy attempts to transform base metals into gold. The three prime elements that it works with are Sulfur, Sodium and Mercury. But before you say, ah- I’m not interested in metals- realize that we are not just talking about metals. We are talking chemical changes that occur everywhere in nature. We are talking about our bodies as well as our psyches. Astrology and Alchemy are very intertwined in their symbolic language and we can learn a lot about ourselves and the world we live in by realizing these parallels.
Okay so let’s bring these three alchemical elements into their planetary forms, starting with Sulfur.
Of all of our planets what does this photo most remind you of? The Sun right? Bold and yellow like our Father Sun.
Sulfur is also known for it’s pungent smell. Think rotten eggs. This is another shade of it’s boldness- it’s “isness”. Sulfur is akin to the SOUL, like the word “SOL” which is latin for Sun. The Sun is the “I am” principle. Our “being”. In french “I am” is “Je suis”. Jesus is the “Son of god” (Sun?) and “walks on water”.
Father Sun is that part in us that is the “inner king”, like a lion. Leo the lion is the sign associated with the Sun. We all need this masculine roaring “isness” in order to know what we want and where we are trying to go in life. This is the essential vital principle within us, the Qi that flows through the body.
Moving on to Sodium.
The familiar iridescent glow of the Moon is found in rock salt, one of the most common compounds of Sodium. The Moon, as we have discussed in other posts has been associated with the word MUNDANE, meaning “of the earthly world”, with Monday being it’s symbolic day. Sodium is akin to the BODY. Remember the Sodium is the ASHES of the stick, falling back to the earthly ground when the other two substances are gone, it remains.
Of course the Moon is associated with the past, which can take on a dreamy tint.
In fact, everything about the Moon is elusive, and just beyond reach. Mystery surrounds all things with the Moon, which is funny because the Moon is supposed to be connected with mundane Mondays! What is going on?
Let’s take a look at the metal that is associated with the Moon, beautiful shiny and perfectly reflective Silver.
We wake up on a mundane Monday to go out and make some MONEY? And then we all turn into ASHES at the end of it?? Is the Moon all about this bleakness?? I don’t think so..
There are 7 metals in Alchemy, with Silver being the 7th yet containing the previous 6 in “spiritual form”. I’m not saying I know what that means but I think it is safe to say that even though Silver is MUNDANE it is also MAGICAL.
Silver (Moon) is also the best conductor of electricity of all the metals. Sodium (Moon) is key in the operation of all electrical signals to and from the brain in the human body.
Okay, so to review, the Sun is associated with Sulfur and the “spark of life”. It is the Soul of a person (aka SOL which is latin for Sun). In other words it is a person’s vital essence. The Moon is associated with Sodium and the body, and all it’s many mysteries. What about Mercury? What about the smoke?
Mercury is thus symbolically associated with the SPIRIT, a.k.a “RESPIRE”. It is the ANIMATING principle of the soul within the body. InSPIRation is an animating word that puts the SPIRIT back in someone’s heart and mind, thus motivating them, ANIMATING them. Where does this root word “SPIR” come from?
Spirals emphasize CHANGE which paradoxically is the only thing that is consistent in the Universe.
I find it helpful as an astrologer to view the birth chart as a spiral AS WELL as a circle. Embracing changes of the spiral, yet finding peace within the circle of wholeness.
Anyway- before I go off in too different a direction here (thanks to Mercury and his bag of tricks) I will sign off. I look forward to learning more about the principles of Alchemy and how they tie into Astrology and the natural world.