“When priests are more in word than matter;
When brewers mar their malt with water;
When nobles are their tailors’ tutors,
No heretics burn’d, but wenches’ suitors;
When every case in law is right,
No squire in debt nor no poor knight;
When slanders do not live in tongues,
Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
When usurers tell their gold i’ th’ field,
And bawds and whores do churches build:
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion.
Then comes the time, who lives to see’t,
That going shall be us’d with feet.
This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time.”
….and with this line King Lear’s Fool makes of himself Merlin’s prophet, one foot in and one outside of Time, as he and Lear cower amidst the storm battered heath. A curious thing to begin with here perhaps, but, a fools wisdom were ever the more curious for its anomolous madness……..
This Taurus Moon just before Samhain is a curious one, no mistaking – and yet, this full moon dynamic, the madness thing…well, there is something here we are all familiar with, no matter our mental state, predilictions or upbringing. It is a dynamic that draws deeply on inherited memories and on a folkloric quality associated with a kind of infectious madness and heightened sensitivity, an energy that pushes our buttons and drives us towards extreme behaviour and emotional outbursts.
Folklore it may have become, but, experience bears out the truth of this – full moons are well documented as the time at which more people check in at A&E than any other, policing is on alert as crime is at an hightened level, particularly that involving ‘disturbance of the peace’ and intoxication – such is the manifestation of this energy at an unconscious level, even, and perhaps especially, within an ostensibly a-spiritual culture.
Yet, even now there are people, in circles and small off-grid communities, arranging regular celebrations and gatherings on the full moon simply to throw off the shackles of everyday concerns, to let their hair down and let loose. Here, if allowed to follow its natural course without hindrance or cencorship, embracing the full moon can inculcate the ecstatic almost orgiastic quality of its energy, an energy with a transformational edge that speaks of an ancient power of anarchic and tribal origins. I came across such a gathering on the cycladic island of Naxos where one of its crescents of sand was home and host to celebrations under the full moon of its bamboo hut dwelling inhabitants – Naxos itself is largely mountainous and much of its interior and eastern coast accessible only by foot and donkey, or all terrain vehicles, where the earthen rough tracks allow. The island retains a memory, the hidden aura of Dionysus, secluded in vestiges of sylvan valleys and groves, and in a root of ‘knowing’ amongst people…..
…..the Moons power has never sat easily with the clergy or the Church, for obvious reasons, but, the ‘religion’ of Dionysus has been compared to that of Jesus, most often through the ‘wine’ connection – if spiritual ecstacy has become castrated within the western tradition of organised religion, religion itself nevertheless is not immune to its Dionysian shadow……there are traditions yet alive capable of holding the energies of this antagonistic meeting in balance…..
……these too are archaic and ancestral in their origins, carrying a pagan charge of meaningfulness and benefiting an artistic expression drawn on a long continuous thread through time. One of the most memorable of these that I have witnessed was a community ritualistic parade through the streets of a mountain village in the Basque in northern Spain. It was a celebration of Easter that brought the whole village out and coincided with the Full Moon; the night was torchlit, the air shimmering with cold and the smell of woodsmoke, the people conspiring with tradition to weave together a wry and virile mix of pagan and christian symbolism. The Moon’s spirit was represented by the Maiden, enthroned in an open egg, carried in a boat mounted on a cart, the boat being the vessel of the Moon herself – she was birthed on this night, initiated into womanhood and the fulling power of the womens mysteries, her essence infusing the whole community and raising a spirit of earthy independance and archaic anarchy. The clergy were lambasted, their role played by villagers dressed in the black robes of the priest whose poius pomposity became the target of virulant egg, rotten fruit and cake throwing, and, meanwhile, little angels, cherubim, devils and magical folk intermingled with the people, goading them on, sanctioning and inviting them to cross the usual boundaries of propriety and break with the religious dictates of the social mores. These rooted traditions hold, balance and awaken the moon’s power within an informed cultural structure of ritual, both healing, celebratory of lifes fecundity, enabling the integration of the lunar energy. The Moons energy becomes liberating, transformative, giving the festivities a numinous quality that connects the people with their deep roots. In these rites the pregnant moon lives through the essence of living memory, alive with a powerful bonding agent of creativity, and this energy carries an intensity that has truly magical qualities.
And the birth death cycle of the moon is in so deep a harmonic with the cycles of ovulation, of fertility and blood wisdom, of Maiden, Mother, Crone, it is no surprise that the dogmatic Church patriarchy appears so fearful, making of the mother lode of tradition the object of its own shadow projections. With this lunation and the Full Moon’s proximity to Samhain that shadow is, equal with its luminousity, deeply manifest and, equally, open to redressing – perhaps we should take the opportunity…..we might not be able to resist….
I’ve written before at Owlmirror about the Moon Mother, the ancient spirit who cares for and mentors incoming souls, whose vessel is the pre-time antichamber to incarnation – this was in relation to eclipses, of which two will be coming up within the next lunation. The soul Moon connection has a special significance at such times, but, this is not the time to go into the nodal aspects of the Moon, this post being more in train with the spirit of the fulling moon than an analysis of its chart through the ecliptic. We will revisit this at next new moon with an exploration of its own story, the tone it is setting for the upcoming times.
For the astrologer working the craft as a medicine path and practice within the spirit traditions, the full moon can reveal a spirit of its own, the energy mixed and manifest within a dionysian cauldron of psycho-active planetary elixir that has the power to bring great healing and re-membering, bringing back together. There is a dynamic at play that affects the magnetic fields of our emotional spectrum, a swelling energy within the ocean of archetypes, a tidal force that arcs between the poles of the Moon/Sun opposition with numinous luminousity – one feels connected with the cosmos through the symbolic valencies of its energetic matrix at full moon perhaps more than at any other time. It is no accident that astrological readings of the Moon’s phases are so prevelant and popular. While pagan and magical traditions have found a rich vein via this marraige of paths and practices, through this revival we have also begun to tangibly re-integrate our knowledge of the extent to which we are naturally endowed with an innate sense of these energies and their values. At root everyone is pagan, of the Earth.
This sense has a resonance in which the full moon’s effects are a medicine, a power that opens gateways to spirit. To the esoterically minded, this is also where the Full Moon’s etheric catalyst induces shape-shifting metamorphosis. Equally a stimulous to the skin walker’s and shape-shifter’s medicine, that can drive us beyond the bounds of conscious volition and containment and also liberate us from the yoke of logic and rationality, if we trace the folkloric root from this perspective we come to familiar territory……..the wilde forest and moon bleached moor. The full moon is no less the druid’s than the witches celestial heartbeat and field generator in magical workings.
These are also the environs of the ancient traditions of hunting which are deeply connected into the fulling moon, as are the poachers wiley pathways, both of which have their roots in the same magical realms. And, in the fairy realms the fulling Moon is also the nocturnal celebrants steed and the lunar light a talismanic key that opens doorways to other worlds, into enchantment, across the thinly veiled boundaries of other times and orders of time, truly magical…..and, with a Taurean Moon, luminous with earth magic, perhaps this is how it should be, the perfect expression of the energies of Samhain…….
……which brings us back to the moment and its astrological values and qualities, for, as with all Full Moons, its lunar light has its source and complimentary aspect rooted in its opposite sign, also known as the shadow sign – to the Taurus moon this sign is Scorpio. Every sign has its shadow, but, if ever there was a sign worthy of association with the ‘shadow’…….
….when the sign occupied by the Sun at Full Moon is Scorpio it is possible that we can become tossed about on some very stormy waters and feel the need for having our feet on solid ground with more intensity – there is a felt need here to stop the motion of the ocean of our emotions, to yearn the solid ground and safe harbour, to be still, be supported, cared for and embraced by love. And, Love, as we know, has many faces, and wears a tragi-comic mask that symbolises the polarity of this drama very well.
Scorpio is enigmatic in this……..a point of opposition in which the light source is submerged within a symbolic field which itself carries deep valencies of numinousity. We might think that a Taurus Full Moon was very earth oriented, but, this year its gifts are in the seed carried by its shadow. It is always so when the Sun is in Scorpio, that the qualities of the sign are given an injection of virile life force, but, this time the source of light has been given a gravitas and depth charge from the presence in Scorpio of Saturn, close to the Sun and still reverberating with the Saturn/Sun conjunction of the 25th. With this conjunction Scorpio became the deep well whose waters are rich with truth and memory. With this alignment at work, in this sector, whatever emerges from within its submersive environs speaks in the tongue of the Grandmother lode, becomes cut and crafted with primal symbolism into a mirror of our innermost soul secrets – as a precursor to Samhain, Saturn’s meeting with the Sun has called forth ‘presence’ and germinated the Scorpionic shadow, congealing it in seed form, a living germ of penetrating intensity carried within the womb of the Moon’s belly as it journeys towards full-ness. We can expect a powerful presence of the otherworlds this coming All Hallows.
That journey sees the Moon transit Uranus, thunderbolts at the ready, before reaching fullness. We should be careful with our own fire and not let it inflame our hearts into lightning strikes of rage – Mars also opposes Jupiter, just as Venus is coming into opposition with Uranus – the T square with Pluto looming. This heady cocktail of incendiary luminaries conjures a hair-trigger sensitivity in a matrix already loaded with tensions.
I stepped outside on the night of the 25th to taste the air and see if I could find an answer on the wind to working with this energy. I heard drums on the turbulent air, very deep and pulsed with subterranean power, and voices in the rising wind. I asked how to proceed….’with awareness’ was all the answer that I heard, or rather felt, somewhere in the solar plexus and at the back of the skull. This may well be the only answer…..why would we expect otherwise on such a full moon. There may be an astrological answer to this too…..
…..as with all magical workings, astrology carries the potential to change our perceptions, and, consequently, our drives and the course we plot for them. I am of the opinion that every astrologer has a responsibility to consider around this. Words carry power. And, when these words are sourced in the archetypal, that power has the numinous edge that allows them, or a the transformative potential they embody, to slip beneath the rational radar and past the eye of discernment. Astrology too can cast an enchantment upon us. Perhaps this is why there is a preponderance of certificating and authorising facilities, training establishments and professional bodies within the craft. Orthodoxy can serve to contain the magic – the Church has given example enough of this. But, it does not kill it off….it never will, which makes of that imperative to respond wisely to the council of the planets and the stars a necessity. Here, the diviners ability to respond becomes a point of regular appraisal and discernement. There is an uncanny echo in this of the Saturn Sun conjunction in Scorpio – and with the zodiac primed to deliver its potential energy through a network of hard aspects at Full Moon, if I were to relay any council of value in relation to this it too would be to ‘be aware’…..the rest is largely down to the individual.
If the shadow is emergent, the same phonemes might re-organise themselves to become ‘beware’, which also means ‘get real’, and which could well be the positive upside of the same potential energies. Taurus assists us in getting real, lending its natural appreciation for beauty and value to us in the measure of reality, its weighing in the balance; the Moon at its height of luminousity pulls this into the human perspective, the shadow side becomes a guide to where the emotive power behind our experiences is most in need of integration and the Suns presence in Scorpio tells us that we have the quality of deeply penetrative awareness at our service to sharpen our senses and flex our discerning muscles. We need the Basque example to bring out Venusian creativity and healing of relationships, to raise the spirits and cleanse us of the stigmas that hold us back from recieving Uranus unconventionality – we need to break the social mores and allow the subversive humour of the moment to carry the charge, and trust – trust in the ancestral inherited wealth of our deeper selves and in the irrepressible creativity innate to human nature. And Chiron is the bridge-maker between Saturn and Uranus’ realms.
Chiron trines the Sun from Pisces this full Moon. Extending that trust into the trauma of seperation from spirit itself, funding the Moon in sextile with the energy of the mentor who says ‘this is why you came here’, and this is very healing. As a mentor once said of healing, ‘the juice is in the tragedy’…..all healing that is lasting comes from getting real, from being prepared to enter the arena, as well as the drama, knowing the part we are playing. We have to get to the truth of it. Uranus forms a quincunx with the Sun on full Moon – the truth may out at any moment, liberation is at hand, never more than an eye blink away, ‘be aware’….but, also be ready to play the fool – its all a game of comedy and tragedy….
….and then theres Mercury, ready to play the fool as he stands in the wings of Sagittarius stage, sextiling Venus, squaring Neptune and closing to trine Uranus – if ever that gave the lad a cloak of mysterious beauty speckled with spectral light, looking for all the world the weird-master of the lunatic fringe – his absurd wand in hand, made of human funny bone crowned with an inflated pigs bladder, bells and owl feathers, ready to sneak up on us and do Uranus bidding with a healthy bash over the head…….
‘lunacy, lunacy, the worlds on fire, dance and dance for all your worth,
the kings a fool, the fools a king, the priest is drunk and the people laugh,
the Moon is full and the buns in the oven, lunacy, lunacy, come to the coven,
‘break a leg’ and throw of the yolk, for we are all stars in this Cosmic Joke’…..