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.
What happens if I make myself a hot cup of tea and then leave it on the counter and forget about it? A couple hours later is it still a hot cup of tea? No it’s not. It’s a cold cup of tea. The question is: at what EXACT point did it change from hot to cold?
Notice I didn’t even include the description of “warm”. This is because we are talking about opposites, for example, hot and cold, light and dark, old and young. So what are opposites then if not two extremes of the SAME thing.
What turns the hot tea into cold tea is it’s DEGREE, like the paragraph above states. The tea is “identical in nature, but different in degree”.
Big and small, old and young, hot and cold, these are all examples of opposite ends of the same CONNECTED POLE (like a North and South Pole), and they meet somewhere in the middle where they are indeed the EXACT SAME.
And what’s more interesting is that these opposite forces WANT to meet in the middle! They WANT to discover their SAMENESS.
Beauty and the Beast is a tale that will continue grace the public eye because it illustrates this timeless and perfect truth of opposites needing to meet in the middle and know their sameness.
King Kong is another tale that will never get old. This principle is hard-wired into our human souls.
In the zodiac there are twelve signs. Applying what we have just learned we can break these twelve down into six poles, each having opposite ends. Understanding these six poles will give you a much deeper grasp on the zodiac then you would get by merely memorizing the the twelve various traits.
Let’s start at the beginning with Aries. But now, we will not consider Aries without it’s opposite, Libra. How can we deny it’s opposite? They are the same.
John Lennon is in fact a Libra (with Aries rising) and his quote above summarizes the bond that Aries and Libra share. Aries FIGHTS for peace (what else do people really fight for if not to restore some form of equilibrium?) and Libra needs JUSTICE so bad that it will fight for it (as displayed by the sword in the Lady Justice’s hand).
Moving on to Taurus, and that includes it’s opposite, Scorpio.
Taurus wants to celebrate physicality, relishing in it’s beauty and comforts because it knows that death is out there (Scorpio). Scorpio seeks to destroy the physicality that has become too stagnant (Taurus) so that new life can emerge (as in the example above of the Berlin Wall). That is why Scorpio is esoterically represented by the Phoenix, who is reborn through fire. Da Vinci (a master in the depiction of physical beauty) is in fact a Taurus.
Bob Dylan isn’t the only Gemini in that photo thanks to Allen Ginsberg’s cameo. Both are icons in Gemini’s style of collecting words, moments, and fragments and putting them together to form thoughts, stories, songs and poems. From the various FACTS that Gemini gathers comes the broader structures of meaning (Sagittarius), which encourage us to take leaps of FAITH (Sagittarius), like the little dog to the right. And vice versa sometimes we need leaps of faith, and a broader perspective in order to establish new facts. E didn’t always equal MC squared!
Early life brings on impressionable emotional reactions that stay deep within us (the realm of Cancer), often acting unconsciously and have a profound connection to what it is we decide to do in life (Capricorn), or better described, how we choose to master our physical worlds. And on the other side, our mastery of our physical worlds bring us into a deeper emotional center, a true “home” deep within our souls. Elvis, a true Capricorn (the King!) had a famous devotion to his mother Gladys, and is an excellent example of this polarity.
Leo KNOWS his radiance because he also knows that it is in EVERYONE ELSE (Aquarius). Fire is meant to be shared. It is the only substance that GROWS the more you give it away. Celebrating our differences (Aquarius) and understanding this connection of the eternal flame (Leo) is key to a harmonious culture of life.
Virgo seeks to attain PURITY so that it can let all it’s cares and worries resolve by means of FORGIVENESS (Pisces). The ever-renewing stream of Pisces washes away our perceived imperfections, restoring us with lasting peace. If Virgo doesn’t forgive him/herself enough the result is emotional suffering (Pisces), and vice versa, if Pisces doesn’t apply enough earthy discipline to life’s details it will get swamped in a mire of pesky tasks to deal with (Virgo).
So there we have it! All six polarities to ponder and reflect upon. Remember, the goal is that they WANT TO KNOW THEIR SAMENESS. An imbalance on one side is CRAVING a better understanding of the opposite.
One fantastic way to reflect upon this is to seize the next opportunity in which you find yourself in a bad mood! Look at the placement of the Moon (any astro-site). Try to understand the sign in it’s WHOLENESS, meaning it’s whole polarity. I guarantee it to be an interesting and helpful thing to do.
Venus has surprisingly been one of the hardest subjects for me to start writing about. That is until I figured out WHY. It could be very easy to begin with Venus being about harmony and relationships and all things pleasurable, but I wanted to go a little deeper than that. Then, the other night I was staring at the images of the Cardinal Cross and I realized what I wanted to write about. Venus is beauty most assuredly, but it is also NOT beauty because it is about opposites. It is about paradox. “Not beauty” can easily also be beauty. It is the concept of AND as well as OR.
Since this is a post about Venus, let’s start with the scales.
What thoughts come to mind when you see the scales? Perhaps concepts of balance? Fairness? Isn’t it interesting that the word “fair” implies both beauty and justice? When I was looking at the scales the thought that came to me was symmetry. It was a quick next thought to consider how things that are symmetrical are often beautiful. Taurus, the sign of nature, is also ruled by Venus. We find symmetry all over the place in nature.
Libra brings balance and equality. Harmony through symmetry. Our eyes become relaxed as they would when viewing a sunset. The sign of Libra looks like a setting Sun. It also looks like the diaphragm when it is relaxed. The diaphragm relaxes when we exhale. This is the spirit of Libra. Now let’s look to the opposite sign, the Ram, for Aries, the spirit of independence and conflict!
The Ram is similar to Libra because it still celebrates symmetrical beauty. But we all know what the rams like to do…
They like to fight! They need to engage in combat. They need to prove themselves to be BETTER than their opponent. It is hard wired into their natures. Their balance is found in conflict.
Onward to the other branch of the Cardinal Cross. Cancer is the Crab, who’s spirit is that of home and protection. In the alchemical picture at the top of the page we see Cancer depicted as a LOBSTER instead of a crab and that’s when I realized another key component to that symbol. The lobster and the crab are often ASYMMETRICAL. Not only that they are some of the only examples of this in the animal kingdom.
To further tie this theme back to our original exploration of Venus, it’s hard not to notice how these proportions are still beautiful.
Perhaps it is a certain boldness in asymmetry that adds to it’s beauty. It wakes us up a little from the slumber of too much balance. Marketing agencies play with these tricks too.
Okay, back to the rest of the Cardinal Cross. The last sign to discuss is the sign of Capricorn, which is the Sea Goat. The Sea Goat is an entirely fictitious creature. It is half goat and half fish. It represents mastery of the physical world. I find it funny that the only sign of the zodiac that is an imaginary creature is the one that pertains to Saturn, the planet of concrete reality.
But wait, did we say half GOAT half FISH? Sounds a bit like a MARRIAGE (Venus) between Aries the Ram and Cancer the Crab! Libra is the only sign on this cross that is not an animal (all air signs are inanimate). It seems that the action of Libra is to marry the previous signs- Aries and Cancer. And from that magical union comes our Sea Goat. The master of the physical world. And the final Venusian joke is that this creature doesn’t exist. Reality (Saturn) is represented by unreality (the Sea Goat). Venus as paradox. Venus as beauty. Where would we be without her?