You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2008.
Dark Moon in Scorpio, October 28, 5:15 pm
Best evening for ritual: October 28 (Tuesday)
Theme: Into the Churning Passions
This Dark Moon finds the five other planets in a strong and strangely symmetric aspect pattern, focused on Mars in Scorpio. Mars is in close sextile with the powerful trine planets Jupiter (in Capricorn) and Saturn (in Virgo). Each of these in turn is in a lose square with one of the remaining planets: Saturn with Venus in Sagittarius, and Jupiter with Mercury in Libra. The Sun and Moon are not connected with the pattern directly, but their presence together in Scorpio brings them into indirect communion with Mars and his retinue. (And, in fact, the Moon will be conjunct with Mars shortly after noon on the 29th.)
Mars is the classical ruler of Scorpio, so he is strongly placed now, expressing his intensity and drive with great determination, either physically or emotionally. Jupiter and Saturn offer pragmatic support. This is a time when our passions can manifest very real change, remaking our personal environment and the interpersonal landscape we travel in. The lightness of Venus and Mercury at this time just causes friction and irritation, as the juggernaut of the three outer planets presses its agenda.
Scorpio energy can sometimes have a destructive intensity, as common sense and others’ feelings fall victim to the quest for drama and the need to obtain one’s desires. Saturn and Jupiter, however, hold some considerable promise of channeling that passion into something productive and practical. This Moon is a valuable opportunity to learn how to use your deeper passions. It’s not a trivial task – those passions are likely to have lots of roots and tentacles reaching into other issues.
But if you take up the challenge to do some emotional excavation work this Moon, it will repay you well.
Questions for this Moon:
What powers my anger?
What do I hunger for?
How does my passion change the world around me?
Shall I give shape to what is hidden?
The Sun enters Scorpio this evening, so I’m offering my commentary on the sign. I was born under a Scorpio sun myself, so I may be a bit biased. 😉
The basic energy of Scorpio is intense, penetrating, brooding, and passionate. Scorpio gets into things and people in a deep way, as though always trying to get to the bottom of things.
Scorpio, along with Virgo, seems to attract a lot of negative publicity. Scorpio is seen as obsessed with sex and death, as secretive and suspicious, and prone to going off the deep end emotionally.
All this has some truth in it, of course: Scorpio’s intensity can cause it to get very serious about things others would just let go. Being a fixed water sign means that Scorpio is always trying to secure and maintain its identity through emotion. The problem is that emotions are by nature fluid things, but Scorpio needs to hang onto them and secure them. This is why Scorpio dives deep – it’s seeking something unchanging at the bottom of its emotional life.
A good friend of mine likes to point out that Scorpio’s interest in death and sex is not something intrinsic to the sign. Rather, it is a product of our society’s taboos surrounding these subjects. Scorpio explores whatever is taboo, off-limits, or unacknowledged in a society. Scorpio dislikes superficiality, euphemism, and evasion. Scorpio is drawn to what others fear to look at.
Scorpio is noted for jealousy or even vindictiveness. This tendency comes from Scorpio’s need for emotional anchors. If one’s emotional life is destabilized in some way, Scorpio will try to pull it back under control. For an immature person, this need to control one’s emotional life can manifest as attempting to control the people one is close to.
Scorpio’s desire for depth makes it suitable for a variety of roles. Scorpio can be an investigator (which includes scientists and other research roles), a taboo-breaker (this can be a valuable, if not always welcome, social function), a hermit, or a shaman. These last two are natural spiritual roles for someone with a lot of Scorpio energy, as both involve stepping away from society and plumbing the depths of private experience.
Although Scorpio’s modern ruler is the planet Pluto, god of the underworld, the ancients assigned Scorpio to Mars. This may be a puzzle at first, as we think of Mars as very outgoing and physical. In classical astrology, each planet (except the Sun and Moon) presided over both a masculine sign and a feminine sign. In the feminine sign, the planet’s energy is usually directed inward. In Scorpio, Mars wages war on the internal battlefield of the soul.
It is important to remember that every sign of the zodiac has its traps – unhealthy modes of expression. People who emphasize Scorpio’s traps while touting the virtues of the other signs are not getting a balanced picture of things. Whether the energy of a sign expresses in healthy or unhealthy ways is a function of the maturity of the personality, not the sign itself. Usually, unhealthy manifestations are the result of projecting the issues of the sign outward onto other people. Thus, an immature Scorpio may express the need for emotional security by being suspicious or jealous of a lover, but a mature Scorpio understands that they are responsible for their own emotional security, which can only be won by going deep and facing one’s own fears.
A person born under a Scorpio Sun has a life journey that leads to uncovering the deep truths beneath the surface of things. The truths can be intellectual, metaphysical, psychological, or mystical. Uncovering things is a great passion, but if this is concealed or complicated by a more superficial or pragmatic rising sign or upbringing, then the Scorpio Sun may be an unacknowledged “time bomb” in the person’s character. This is especially true because Scorpio is one of the most private of the signs. The hidden intensity of a Scorpio Sun may come as a shock to those outside the person’s inner circle. A person with a Scorpio Sun can be thought of as living a life-long shamanic journey, exploring the chthonic reaches of reality, and returning as a healer.
With a Scorpio Moon, the effect on the personality is somewhat different. Rather than seeking depth as a life goal, the person with a Scorpio Moon needs depth for comfort and security, to satisfy the emotional needs of the moment. A Scorpio Moon is perhaps even more prone to suspicion, jealousy, and neediness than a Scorpio Sun is. Such people may have powerful fantasy lives, and the challenge is to balance themselves with “reality checks” about their relationships and dreams. A Scorpio Moon feels very deeply, and this can be a gift, especially if the energy is channeled into a creative form, such as poetry or art.
Scorpio as a rising sign projects a deep, serious persona to the world. Such a person may be the one who seems to be quietly studying others, rather than participating in conversations and socializing. This can be a positive quality, if one gravitates toward a profession or social circle where a more introverted, thoughtful persona is valued. Scorpio rising can support a Sun in any of the more serious, focused signs, such as Capricorn, Virgo, Taurus, or Cancer. With the Sun in a more carefree, active sign, however, the person runs the risk of disappointing others when the serious demeanor does not translate into depth of knowledge or accomplishment.
I suppose it goes back to a childhood passion for science fiction. I spent hours soaking up Star Trek, The Outer Limits, Lost in Space, and all those good old movies. I grew up in a very science-positive household, and it was taken for granted that the future of humanity involved exploring outer space, and that was bound to be very exciting stuff.
As a teen, I moved on to reading it: Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Ursula K. LeGuin – well, just about anything I could get my hands on really. I found the fantasy genre at this time too. Tolkien changed my world forever. I became immersed in the depth and beauty of his creation.
This stuff is still like comfort food for me. (When we need to put on a movie at the end of a hard day, Karen goes for old Katharine Hepburn, I go for anything with elves, spaceships, or quests through an enchanted forest.)
The sobering thing about resolving to write an actual book is that you realize simply reliving the books that excited you as an adolescent is not a good recipe for success. You learn that publishable novels have things like character development, theme, and plot. And the more you get into thinking about the qualities of a satisfying story, the less relevant genre starts to seem. The story I’m working on now, for example, could be set in present consensus reality without really losing much.
So why does it still have to be fantasy? One reason is unabashedly personal: I like the stuff, so I’ve spent years thinking about it. I love creating alternate worlds – all the invention in languages, geography, culture. So it’s kind of an ironic twist on the advice to “write what you know”. And I’m not alone, either. Maybe the essential qualities of an interesting story cut across all genres, but there are those of us who just find fantasy worlds much more interesting to read about than a “realistic” setting. In fact, for some of us, a good fantasy or sf setting goes a long way in enhancing the entertainment value of a book or movie.
But that’s all about personal preference. Does the genre have any intrinsic redeeming value? I think it probably does, although that seems less obvious than it did to me when I was younger. Fantasy, it seems, has the potential of touching us on a more archetypal level, like a myth or a dream or a genetic memory. When you loosen the reigns of verisimilitude, you don’t just get random images. Rather, you start to pull from the store of the collective unconscious: the stuff that won’t go away, even though it’s not “real”.
The potential is not universally realized, of course. In fact, it’s probably the exception rather than the rule. It’s easy to substitute stereotypes for archetypes, clichés for human universals, and plot devices for meaningful storytelling. It can become simply escapism for the sort of people who enjoy it, relying on atmosphere to distract from the meaninglessness of the events described.
At its best, fantasy uses its freedom to distort and reinvent reality to view basic human truths from an unexpected angle. It can give physical shape to the forces at work beneath the surface of our thoughts, it can disarm of us of our assumptions about the world we live in, and replace them with a learning experience we have to work at. It’s a kind of primal clay that can be used in the service of the imagination, with less inhibition and with greater vitality than more conventional media.
Or maybe I just like it.
Full Moon in Aries
October 14, 2:03 pm
Best evening for ritual: October 13 (Monday) or 14 (Tuesday)
Theme: Affirming Your Uniqueness
Like the Dark Moon at the end of September, this Aries Full Moon is basically free of planetary energies, allowing us to work with the simplest expression of the Aries-Libra axis: Being an individual or giving oneself to another.
This Moon offers the opportunity to affirm one’s individuality and uniqueness, the special energies, passions, and drives that make each of us who we are. This would be a good Moon for magic to reassert your own identity after a stifling relationship or experience. Conversely, it can be used to strengthen the individual personal energies at work within a relationship, to make them more vigorous and collaborative. This is also a good Moon for fresh starts, new endeavors, and initiating change of any sort.
Affirmations for this Moon:
I am unique.
I act from my own center.
My will is pure and strong.
I stride forward toward my future.
Mars entered Scorpio on Friday, where he remains until November 16. This is a time of power for him: Mars is the classical ruler of Scorpio, and he is much more in his element here than he was trying to navigate the gentle banter and airy affability of Libra. In Scorpio, Mars is free to be intense, passionate, physical, and serious.
Mars is fiery and warlike, but in Scorpio he turns his drive inward, stirring up a heady cauldron of smoldering emotions. His power and virility build beneath the surface. Instead of competing on the field of battle, he internalizes his energies and struggles to secure the emotional landscape. Here, the sexual nature of Mars expresses itself most strongly. For Mars in Scorpio, sex is not about love or relationship building; it is lust, drive, and vigorous physicality.
Mars’s energy in Scorpio can also manifest in unpleasant forms: brooding resentments, dramatic scenes, jealousies, rivalries, and destructive manipulation. Mars is never very aware of the needs of others, and in Scorpio he can become completely absorbed in the world of his own emotions.
How can these powerful energies be harnessed productively? One way is to focus them onto a creative project or other similar outlet. Although Mars in Scorpio can fuel interpersonal conflict, that is an effect of the energy, not its goal. What the energy is about is focused emotion, passion, the life-force intensified to the edge of obsession. Any creative project that can benefit from emotional depth and power can use Mars’s attention in the coming weeks.
This is a time when we can more easily tap into the primal experiences: desire, passion, power. Although these things can sometimes make us uncomfortable, tugging at us to cast off the veneer of civility and convention, they are driving forces in human life, and we cannot avoid engaging them in some form.