WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2019

Archive for December 23rd, 2016

Tarot for December 23rd, 2016: Death

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Today’s Tarot card is (XIII) Death, a card that often causes fear in those who do not understand Tarot, but which actually is meant to help us face the necessary transitions in our lives.

We live in a death-averse society, one which worships a youthful ideal and has serious difficulties facing mortality and all of its attendant messiness.  This makes it harder for us to let go of our loved ones as they pass from this world, of our youth as we age and move closer to our own deaths, and also of all of the myriad things that we must let go of in order to embrace change and growth along the way.  But letting go is a necessary part of the process of transition and transformation.  We need to be able to let go of what we no longer need or want in our lives in order to bring in what we do want and need, in order to become the people we truly want to be.  In order to have the capability for action, we need to start from stillness.  In order to be filled, we need first to be empty.  If we never let go of anything, we have no room for new things in our lives.  If we are eternally frightened of change, how can we ever make our lives into what we want them to be?

Let me give you an example from my own life:  In October I moved across the North American continent from Rhode Island to Washington state.  I was born in Washington, but moved out to New England to go to college in the late 1980s and stayed there for nearly 30 years.  I’d built multiple businesses there and a sizable social circle, but I’d also been feeling the pull back to the Pacific Northwest, and my stepmother’s terminal illness and the declining health of the woman who’d been managing her affairs dictated that 2016 would be the year I’d return home.  This meant hastily packing up the contents of my apartment and studio within the month following TempleCon 2016, after a grueling convention planning season, putting much of my prior duties at The Temple Games into the hands of my business partner, saying goodbye to my friends and driving approximately 3,000 miles in a U-Haul truck with my car in tow, and leaving an incredibly busy urban life in Providence to move myself and all of my crazy assortment of art and fashion-creation supplies into an already-lived-in house with its own strange ecosystem of people in a quiet, wooded area on a small island in the Puget Sound.  It also meant that I needed to decide to either give up the path I’d already embarked on of turning my divinatory arts into a business and get a “real” job, or plunge into the terrifying depths of trying to build a highly socially-dependent business in a place where I have very few social connections, most of whom live across the water.

I chose the latter.

The work that I have done since then has coincided with a severe breakdown in my health as the years of 60-90 hour work weeks, constant sleep-deprivation, and high-pressure working conditions in my former life finally caught up with me.  There have been far too many times in this past year when I have felt the specter of an actual, physical death looming over me, and these two months since I arrived in Washington have forced me to come to grips with that.  I’ve struggled with pain and exhaustion, depression and anxiety, and my normally problematic DSPS/N24 sleep cycle going completely haywire, to the point that normal day-to-day functions have been completely disrupted.  And I’ve slowly been putting myself back together again (an ongoing process), recognizing that the way that I’ve done things in the past simply won’t do in this new paradigm.  In holistic healing terms, I’ve been experiencing a “health crisis,” a necessary part of the process of healing where things get worse before they get better.  The body that I’ve previously held in such rigid control in order to achieve on an often crazy level of activity has finally been let loose from that grip, and once out of it has been free to express its displeasure at ever having been so confined in the first place.

This process that I’ve been experiencing corresponds to the alchemical maxim “Solve et Coagula,” referring to the process of breaking things down into their components and then bringing them back together again in a coherent whole.  This is a necessary part of transformation – not simply putting a new coat of paint on the caterpillar but putting it into a chrysalis and dissolving it inside that warm, dark space in order to completely reconstruct it into a butterfly.  And this is profoundly frightening to those going through such processes.

For many of us, the past few years of multiple exact square transiting aspects between the outer planets Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn have been leading us through such a transformative process.  For myself, those squares hit hard against my natal Moon in Aries opposite my natal Uranus in Libra, and soon I am likely to be hit even harder with transiting Pluto heading into a fateful conjunction with my natal Venus, Sun, and Mercury starting in January of 2017 and affecting all three of these natal positions for the next several years until the end of February 2021.  This leads up to the Pluto return for the United States as a whole country, which begins during the tail end of the Pluto transit to my natal Venus/Sun/Mercury stellium, at which time Pluto returns to the position it was in at the time of the American Revolution, and the power of our national institutions undergoes a time of serious re-assessment and potential transformation.

That is what Pluto is about at its core:  power and transformation.  Pluto is the transcendental (nocturnal) ruler of Scorpio, a sign which is intensely concerned with power and transformation and death, ruling the 8th house which governs sex, death, and legacy and is one of the three Houses of Ending.  Transformation is linked to death precisely because we must die to our old way of being when we are transformed, and death is the ultimate transformation.  All of us who have been wrestling with the changes brought on during the Uranus/Pluto squares – deaths, divorces, job losses, life-changing illnesses – have been becoming deeply familiar with this relationship between death and transformation, and pretty soon the entire United States as a country is going to experience it too.  I’m going to be intimately familiar with it just in time to watch my country go through it, and I suspect that it is part of my karmic path to do so just so that I can help others through that transformation (assuming that I survive my own process!).  And with all of the upheaval that we’ve been experiencing in 2016 in particular, the fear of facing further upheaval and the intensity of deep transformation on such a grand scale might seem too much to bear.

Why is the Death card showing up now on a day with relatively benign astrological aspects, leading into a weekend that is arguably an astrological bright spot at the end of a bleak year?  Well, first the obvious link:  We’ve got a Scorpio Moon for today and most of the weekend, and the Death card is ruled by Scorpio.  But more importantly, when we are facing intense transitions, taking the time afforded by a Mercury retrograde during a Scorpio Moon at the end of this difficult year is crucial for helping us to understand this transformative process and be prepared to meet it with courage, glad for the opportunities for change and growth that are afforded to us even when (and sometimes most especially when) those opportunities are cloaked in situations that terrify us.  The Death card shows us that theses situations, these changes, these transformations are all part of larger cycles that we must embrace whether we want to or not, for surely they will embrace us.  Once we dive down deep into that inevitability, there is a certain kind of freedom that emerges.  Once we surrender to the will of the Universe, once we recognize that our control is an illusion and that Death comes for us all, we are free to open ourselves up to the possibilities that change and transformation present to us.  We can develop the strength to face that deathly portal, walk through it, and meet what is on the other side free of the chains from the past that previously kept us from the revelations that our souls need and the growth that gives us purpose and fulfillment.

Death is the perfect card to face the impending end of the year with, and during this weekend, we have the chance to safely explore our emotions and instinctual responses to the prospect of deep transformation, as well as our relationship with change and limitations.  Now we can face our discoveries in these realm while cradled in the light of benevolent celestial and earthly activity that help us to align with our most loving, spiritual, and socially uplifting intentions, and become really clear on our goals for the upcoming year.

Change is the one true constant of the Universe.  Let’s embrace it.

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Astrology of December 23rd, 2016: Support from the Skies

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The Moon entered Scorpio this morning and now our emotions and instincts turn from a light balancing act in search of social harmony to something more focused and intense.  Our reactions to our world are now not so interested in accepting what’s on the surface, nor in contorting what we feel in order to keep that surface pretty.  This doesn’t mean that we’ll do an about-face and let it all hang out though – Scorpio likes its secrets, and prefers to keep them.  But it prefers to do so while ferreting out the secrets of others, because who holds the key to a mystery holds the key to its power, and Scorpio likes power.  Now is the time to delve into the deeper realms of our world, and the depths within ourselves as well.  

This deep-dive process is supported beautifully today by two Lunar aspects, the first being a mid-day sextile to a practical Sun in Capricorn and the second being an afternoon trine to Mars in Pisces with its gentle, spiritual energy.  This is a nice way to lead up to the weekend, especially for those who celebrate Christmas or Hannukah.  For those of us who don’t, this still is a great energy to help us enjoy the season and wrap up the week in preparation for a quiet weekend at home or at the local Chinese restaurant.  😉

That Moon/Sun sextile gives us quiet, steady support between our focused reactions and the pursuit of our goals.  Both Scorpio and Capricorn can be highly driven and not particularly given to idle chatter, two of the many reasons these signs tend to get along well.  With both our unconscious and conscious selves working well together in these signs today, we have the capacity to tackle the hidden factors that influence our potential success or failure without becoming discouraged, and for those wrapping up last-minute shopping or simply wrapping up the remnants of 2016 in preparation for the New Year, this alignment can give us that extra push we need to get things done without burning out along the way.  Both luminaries operating across these two signs together create a recipe for sustained energy and the persistence to use it well.

The Moon in Scorpio trining Mars in Pisces continues the theme of sustaining energy, with Scorpionic focus lending consistency to the Piscean tendency to embrace opposites.  Mars in Pisces can sometimes feel distracted by its placement in this mutable water sign, and the Moon also governs patterns of fluctuations in tides and other natural cycles, so this alignment is not likely to feel as stable as the Moon/Sun sextile, especially since Scorpio’s classical ruler is Mars, tipping the balance of the trine more in Pisces’ favor.  Nonetheless, once we’ve got our sea legs, this alignment can help us to flow through the afternoon while still maintaining a sense of purpose and drive.

These two lovely alignments lead us into a weekend dominated by harmonious celestial activity, with the Scorpio Moon shining over most of it, so we have the opportunity to experience deep feelings and greater understanding via the ongoing Mercury retrograde while receiving an unusual amount of support from the skies.  2016 has a spark of kindness left in it after all.  😉

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider becoming one of my supporters on Patreon.  Not only will you get an inside look into my divinatory art, but you will also help keep this blog alive and me writing and creating art daily.  I am incredibly grateful for my supporters!

(All aspect times are calculated for Pacific Standard Time.  I tend to speak in broad terms when I reference time on this blog, referring to time-frames like “morning” or “afternoon” rather than specific times, since I still have a lot of friends on the East Coast who read these posts and I’d like them to be pertinent to those friends as well as folks here on the West Coast.  Readers from further abroad will need to adjust time-frames accordingly.)