Equinox · Wheel of the Year · Cycles · Shamanism · Astrology · Mythology

Autumn Equinox 2021: Reflections, Crossings & Thresholds (with special guests Lilith & Medusa).

Leaf
Image by the author

The point of the autumn equinox happens this evening at 20.21 BST when the Sun enters 0° Libra. Looking at the equinox chart what stands out for me is the Moon, asteroid Lilith conjunction in Aries, and the Mars, Medusa conjunction in Libra… but that’s hardly surprising given that myself and a group of other women are completing a journey with the Dark Goddess. Both Lilith and Medusa have played a significant role in our enquiry.

Although this is a personal journey for the women in the group and myself, one thing that has surfaced in our explorations is the interface between the personal and the collective. I work with myth, archetype, the seasons, and planetary influences- or another way of saying this is, in my work which has its roots in shamanism, I like to weave the personal, collective, and the cosmic into tapestries for personal and collective reflection. Working with myths brings them alive, they function as doorways to access archetypal energy as it moves in and through us. We also have an opportunity to sense and feel how these influences operate in the wider culture. Reviewing how we are affected by and affect the collective allows the possibility of transcending our individual life scripts and place those scripts within a larger narrative framework. It didn’t start with you…

Never have I been so aware of the collision between inner and outer realities as during the past two years under the spectre of a global pandemic. Throughout this time we have collectively encountered events that have profoundly affected our lived experiences and in some cases shifted our reality paradigm. Individual trauma that may have been buried or kept at bay by workable structures began to surface in the crumbling of those structure. As the fabric of our perceived reality frayed at the seams under the pressure of eruptions from unconscious forces, confusion set in, and many began to review their personal beliefs which in turn initiated a closer look at the reflections of society as a whole. The personal is political read the slogan  used in the era of second wave feminism, but it is only now that this statement hits home beyond the women’s movement and into all areas of our lives from employment, socialisation, freedom of speech, and even the inside of our bodies. It doesn’t get much closer to home than that.

In our post Freudian world there has been an intensive focus on the causes, symptoms, and effects of trauma; teachers like Gabor Mate, Bessel Van Der Kolk, and Peter Levine enlightened us in the workings of trauma on the individual psyche. Less studied are the implications of collective trauma, though this is now changing and as I write there is a ten-day global online summit taking place on that very topic.

There is potentially a lot that could be said here though I want to offer a short intuitive perspective of the equinox chart, and the energy/medicine available in relation to the archetypes Lilith and Medusa, and the concept of crossing the threshold.

Asteroid Lilith being the only actual physical body of all astrological Liliths is the rawest, most manifest expression of the archetype in our physical lives. She is the voice that rises when we witness and experience injustice; she motivates us to protest, to speak out, to say “no,” and to say “enough,” when necessary. Lilith in this assertion is the rising fire in our bellies that will not be extinguished by manipulation nor the expectations and demands of the super ego. People with a strong asteroid Lilith are often overt in voicing their beliefs and in their rejection of what they perceive to be unacceptable.

With asteroid Lilith conjunct the Moon, the influence is working on our unconscious, habituated self, our emotional patterns, and our need for comfort. The Moon is where unconscious forces play out, giving expression to our primal needs; it shows what makes us we feel safe and cared for in our environments and in our relationships. The Moon represents “Mother” and all that she stands for, it indicates how we were nurtured and cared for as babies, or not, as well as any lack we felt at this stage in our development. As we mature, any unmet need will continue to manifest, unconsciously driving us to devise strategies in order to have those needs met. This is why we often repeat dysfunctional patterns or why we are constantly drawn into the same unhealthy dynamics. Attempting to get our rejected needs met by others is often futile, perpetuating a belief that our needs are never met, or that we are unlovable or faulty.

Until we heal our Moon wounds the danger is that we are unconsciously driven by our inner child whose sole purpose is to finally have those needs met. This is an arrested development of the unhappy child which prohibits the happy, creative child in flourishing. In a sense, the Moon wounds prevent us from actualising and expressing our Sun- our essence. This infantilised complex renders us vulnerable in our personal relationships and also in society more broadly as we look to others to make important decisions on our behalf. In this state we have not yet learned personal autonomy or responsibly. Of course mostly this operates below the veil of consciousness and our well adapted persona, though it can be more obvious in certain cases.

Here’s a question, one that I am not going to attempt to answer now even if I could:

Do you consider there is a vested interest to keep humanity in a regressed or childlike state?

Yes, I know that question immediately alerts our “conspiracy theory” antennae, and I have no wish to enter the fray, though it interests me. Recently I was wondering about the law which allows doctors to prescribe puberty blockers to children under the age of sixteen without parental consent- coincidentally this occurred on the same day that the UK government released official guidance about the vaccination of children in schools programme, which again disregards parental consent. Puberty blockers? I asked myself, what is puberty and what does it initiate in a human being. Looking to indigenous cultures it would appear that puberty is a rite of passage that facilitates the crossing of the threshold from childhood to adulthood… what is this if not power?

On another note when we consider that nowhere is our instinctual nature more activated than when it comes to the protection of our children, what are the implications of parental authority being hi-jacked by government in the most intimate of their child’s reality? As Medusa comes out of her frozen state she is keen to know.

Lilith’s role is to show us where we have either been robbed of power or handed our power over as well as showing us where we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated by outside interests. She also draws our attention to our unmet needs (Moon) and shows how susceptible to manipulation we can be when these unconscious drives take over. Lilith, essentially and intimately involved in the relationship between the Earth and Moon, brings our unconscious impulses to the surface and shows how they influence our living reality. As the mediator between the unconscious and the conscious mind, she exists as the subconscious mind, the place where all of our beliefs and ideations dwell and are shaped. Lilith allows us to see how our minds have been moulded and formed. As the grand mistress of the conditioned and therefore the unconditioned mind; Lilith can unravel programmes and learned behaviour like a pro if we are willing to see the truth. She is the ultimate deprogrammer.

The world has an unmet Mother need-

I was talking with a friend recently about the upper-class public-school system where children, especially boys are separated from their mother at a tender age thus disrupting natural attachment. In our conversation we also observed that a similar dynamic exists on the other side of the spectrum within working class families where both parents need to earn a wage to survive, or where single mothers need to work, and children are sent to preschool as early as 0 years. This is a huge subject with complex ramifications that I won’t get into now except to say that under the systems of patriarchy (I am still looking for a better term) many of us are unmothered… we are the unmothered children of patriarchy. Our connection with the Earth herself, the Great Mother, is also in decline, weakened at an alarming rate as we are sucked further into artificial matrices of the machine age.

Moving onto the Mars Medusa conjunction in Libra, the frozen instincts of Medusa (serpent energy), is being thawed in the fires of Mars; sexuality (libido), primal drives, vitality, and masculine assertion are coming back online. Mars takes action and in his higher aspect is the sacred warrior ready to fight for what he believes in. He is ready to protect. As with aspects of the feminine principle, the masculine principle is also thwarted and restricted. Many of us are asking the question, “who’s the daddy… and where is he?”. At least that’s my question though I am talking with others who are acutely aware of the lack of a strong benevolent fatherly holding and strong masculine containers.

Medusa’s frozen stare turns those who attempt to approach her to stone; when our own feeling, instinctual self is closed down we are no longer operating from the heart centre and are motivated instead by fear and defensiveness. In this state we are capable of turning those around us to stone… look at how divisive and attacking things have become on social media.

Mars gives Medusa the energy to act instead of being stuck in depression and stasis, unable to engage because it’s too painful to feel. In the Myth of Medusa it is the solar hero Perseus (a Mars-like figure) who slays her head off thus liberating Pegasus, the winged horse who represents creativity, and Chrysaor the warrior of the golden sword. It is the masculine principle who sets the frozen feminine free and it is the feminine who roots and births the masculine, an eternal cycle of creativity and evolving consciousness birthed through the dance of polarity.

What the implications of a society embracing a more gender-neutral model where it is not only gender but biological sex that is affected, remains to be seen. Dare I say, and I am well aware that I am now holding a very hot potato, the erasure of biological sex not only affects the material level of physical body but has weighty ramifications through all levels of human experience as well as the possibilities of natural evolution through differentiation and polarity.

Today, on the threshold of equinox, I am embracing balance, reciprocity, equality, and mutuality of masculine and feminine toward the sacred marriage and the birth of the divine child. Masculinity is intimately bound with the archetypal Father as femininity is bound with the archetypal Mother; how these images are expressed and understood in our living and consensual realities is crucially important. Archetypally Mother is mature femininity (not that it’s the only expression of mature feminine though it is only the mature feminine that can give birth), just as Father is mature masculinity.

I am considering rites of passage and initiation into adulthood; most of us, if not all of us, did not cross these thresholds consciously or with any ritual containers. It is not too late to recapitulate our conditioned mind, to take an inventory of what has influenced and moulded us into the person we are today, and to discover where the gaps are. When the powers to whom we have assigned authority, our governments, and leaders, are proving to be unworthy parental figures, it is time to reparent ourselves.

If you are interested in the work I do and would like to find out how I incorporate enquiries like this into experiential groups, courses, and 1-1 therapy; or if you would like to be added to my mailing list you can contact me at-

karen@redpsiral.co.uk

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Demeter & Perspehone: What Can the Eleusinian Mysteries Teach Us Today?

The Eleusinian Mysteries was the main religious festival in Greece for 2’000 years before the birth of Christianity.

The city of Eleusis, 15 miles (25 km) west of Athens, hosted the Greater Mysteries of the Eleusinian rites between c. 1600 BCE – 392 CE. During the previous springtime the Lesser Mysteries, were held at Agrae as an enactment of Persephone’s return from Hades. The initiation rite of Eleusis may have originated as an earlier harvest festival possibly originating within a Minoan (Cretan) cult.

It is no coincidence that in September when the rites were enacted the Sun was in the sign of the Earth goddess Virgo who is often depicted holding a sheaf of corn.

The Greater Mysteries took place in September and October of the Greek Attic Calendar and lasted for 10 days; in our present-day Gregorian calendar the festival began on 14th September.

The mythology of Demeter, the Great Mother, and her daughter Kore’s descent to the underworld (Hades) is a tale of death, renewal, and rebirth. When Kore finally ascends from Hades to be reunited with her mother, she is no longer the innocent maiden but has been transformed into Queen of the Underworld.

Persephone’s initiation may be insightful in helping modern women to journey to the underworld (unconscious) in a conscious way, and like a good shamanic journey facilitate connection between the seen and the unseen worlds. The descent, initiation, and ascent of Persephone is a symbolic journey that can help repair the body/mind/spirit connection. It may be viewed as a shamanic journey that has the potential to traverse all three worlds: the lower world- the middle world- and the upper world.

This event is part power-point presentation with plenty of time for discussion; I will also facilitate a short visualization for you to connect with the imagery in your own way.

Please note I am not a scholar of the ancient mysteries nor of ancient Greece, my interest is of a symbolic, imaginal, and shamanic nature though I do research my subjects and any information given in a factual way is derived from within scholarly interpretation… the rest may have wings and that’s the fun part!

https://www.meetup.com/red-spiral-shamanism-for-women/events/280638290/

 

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Chiron in Aries: Reclaiming the Self in a Time of Awakening

Chiron by Allan Lathwell

Chiron in Aries: Reclaiming the Self in a Time of Awakening is a group for the Chiron in Aries generation- born between 2 April 1968 – 29th March 1977

Chiron entered into Aries in April 2018 and will stay there until April 2027. This means that some of the Chiron in Aries group will already have had their Chiron return while many others will be having theirs now or within the next 6 years.

Even if you have just had your Chiron return it would be wonderful if you could share your insights with the group. Being part of the group will also help you integrate and make sense of your personal experience.

Chiron in Aries people can be very spirited and pioneering… often referred to as trailblazers. Chiron teaches us how to work creatively with our Mars energy.

Known as ‘The Wounded Healer’ on account of being shot in the leg by a poisonous arrow, Chiron’s attempts to heal himself led him on a journey where he in fact becomes a master healer, teaching the art of healing to Asclepius, god of medicine.

Chiron’s original wound however happened at birth when upon seeing that he was half human half horse, his mother Philyra rejected him. When Chiron is in Aries the search for identity predominates as we attempt to find and reclaim the parts of ourselves that were, or that we perceived as having been rejected.

When Chiron returns to his natal point in our horoscope at age 49- 51, we receive a powerful opportunity to heal those early wounds and step into our authenticity and wholeness.

Chiron is attuned to the qualities of Mars as Warrior and Initiator and shows us how to cross the bridge between the personal and the transpersonal realms to connect with our higher selves.

Chiron can awaken us to our purpose in the world and help us to express our unique gifts… Chiron’s healing is both for and beyond ourselves.

Collectively we are at a critical juncture and the return of the Sacred Warrior is much needed in these changing times.

The Chironian journey is not an easy one however if we are to become the fullest most integrated version of ourselves and express that in the world it is a crossing we must make.

Working with the support, wisdom, and knowledge of fellow travellers can help greatly during this time.

This 7-week course begins on Monday 12 April on the new moon in Aries and will run until Monday 24 May.

Sessions take place every Monday evening at 6.30 PM – 8.30 GMT.

Additional reading is encouraged though not obligatory.
Notes will be provided.

Natal Charts can be sent to participants.

Cost is £80

Payment may be made to the following PayPal account-

https://paypal.me/karensmith1732?locale.x=en_GB

Meeting are via Zoom-

You can join this group through Meetup, or you can contact me through this website on the contact form, or email karen@redspiral.co.uk

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Medusa as Shamanic Guide to Feminine Serpent Wisdom

Medusa – Serpent Goddess of female wisdom whose name means “I come from myself” may have a lot to teach us in reclaiming feminine wisdom and our connection to the divine but to access it we must first reach behind the mask. The masks we wear enabled us to survive in cultures of patriarchy where our essence and instincts are severed at the root.

We wore bright lipstick smiles and spoke politely while beneath the make-up our traumatised bodies seethed with hissing serpents waiting to be released and lead us back to the Earth, into the roots and the black fertile soil of renewal. We turned the poison inward, and sometimes we cast it at each other. We petrified the men who tried to get close to us as we flinched under their entitled touch and careless treatment.

In the beginning, the mask of Medusa was a protection to guard the feminine mysteries from those who had no ‘rite’ to know them, or who would misuse, damage, or destroy the sacred knowledge. As women became less sourced in their feminine power, the mask of stone that looked outward or inward replaced the true face of feminine power.

Medusa- serpent headed monster, once priestess, primordial sea nymph, stony-eyed death giver, cave dweller on the edge of the world.

What meaning does the myth of Medusa hold for modern women?

Like all myths the myth of Medusa is a moving living entity, shifting, morphing, and revealing layers in the unfolding and awakening of human consciousness.

The most commonly known version of the myth is that Medusa was a priestess in the temple of Athena, goddess of wisdom, before her cursed transformation. In this version of the myth we witness Medusa as victim similar to Persephone whose journey also portrays the feminine in a passive state. In both cases these myths can instead be read as journeys of initiation to claim or reclaim power by accepting and living our true essence.

Originally a sea nymph, her beauty was beyond compare and men travelled far and wide just to catch a glimpse of her however through her vows of chastity necessary in Athena’s temple Medusa would give herself to no man. The mighty sea god Poseidon however had other ideas… so enraptured was he by Medusa’s beauty that he vowed to have her by hook or by crook. Poseidon raped Medusa in the temple precincts thus enraging the chaste and virtuous Athena who, rather than avenge Poseidon, instead punishes Medusa by changing her beautiful tresses into hissing serpents and banishing her from the temple,

Medusa, dejected, takes up residence with her two gorgon sisters, Sthenno and Euryale, in a cave on the edge of the world, on the ocean’s edge near to the border of night and death. So horrifying was Medusa’s monstrous appearance that any mortal who dared to look upon her was immediately turned to stone. Stories spread far and wide about the lands and caverns in the area being strewn with the corpses of petrified men.

Of the three gorgon sisters Medusa was the only one who could die; Perseus the solar hero on a mission contrived by King Polydectes set out to slay the head of Medusa. The gods were on his side… donning a mirrored shield given by Athena, golden winged sandals from Hermes, a sword forges by Hephaestus, and a helmet of invisibility from Pluto, the young demi-god son of Zeus and the mortal Danaë was invincible.

Taking care not to look Medusa directly in the eye, Perseus instead captures her reflection in his mirror as he slowly steps backwards approaching her. With one fell swoop he cuts off her head. From her severed body springs the winged horse Pegasus and the golden sword wielding giant Chrysaor. The other two gorgon sisters arrive on the scene, but Perseus escapes their grasp wearing the helmet of invisibility and the winged sandals. Some say he flew away on the back of Pegasus holding in his hand the grotesque head of Medusa and that wherever the drops of blood fell to the earth, flowers, plants, and other verdant life sprung forth.

Forever after goddess of wisdom Athena wore a breast plate of Medusa’s head on her tunic as a symbol of protection. She gifted the blood of Medusa to the great healer Asclepius who separated it into two vials- the right vial it was said had great healing properties- even the power to bring back the dead- while the blood of the left vial was said to destroy and kill.

The myth of Medusa is immensely rich with its origins rooted in north Africa and the Egyptian goddess Neith, who was known as Anatha in Libya, and Athena in Greece. In her book, ‘Mysteries of the Dark Moon’, Demetra George tells us that Neith emerged from the primeval floodwaters, and her name means, “I have come from myself”. As part of a triple goddess figure with Neith/Anatha, and Metis, Medusa embodies the third dark aspect of the destroyer/crone and was revered as the Queen of the Libyan Amazons, the Serpent Goddess of female wisdom.

Feminist and Jungian scholars have made much of the layers of symbolism encoded within the story. Demetra George says,

“Medusa in her association with the serpent and the menstrual blood that could both heal and destroy, embodies the dark moon mysteries of the goddess. In her red-faced gorgon mask mounted by a crown of snakes, Medusa in women signifies a source of feminine wisdom that is connected to sexuality.”

Kundalini serpent power is the life-force, prana or chi that lays dormant at the base of the spine until such time that it is activated and begins its journey up the spine, passing through and activating the chakras before arriving at the crown chakra, awakening cosmic consciousness. This force can then be used for regenerative healing and renewal, open doors of creativity, oracular wisdom, and spiritual power.

I see the hissing crown of the Medusa as feminine serpent power that once activated moves one beyond the constrictions of duality and the separation between human and divine, into a cosmic consciousness. In other words the human body becomes the earthen vessel able to be penetrated by and hold divine energy.

This power has long been repressed by centuries of patriarchal culture that has feared it and demonised it. Women have been cut off from the root of their feminine grounding. The monstrous aspect of Medusa is the mask we wear to protect ourselves from the vulnerability that we feel in being split from our essential nature and power. We turn the mask outward to those we feel we must protect ourselves from. If we turn the mask inward on ourselves, we despise all that makes us powerful and feminine- our menstruation- shamanic birthing- sexuality- magic, and Dark Goddess wisdom. This power has been so feared and rejected in our culture that we have learned to reject it in ourselves and punish it in others.

Rather than see the myth of Medusa as another story of female disempowerment and victimisation, I see Medusa as a shamanic guide who can lead us to the places where we have repressed the Dark Goddess power in ourselves. One way to do this is acknowledge the masks we wear, and the situations in which we petrify ourselves and others in our stony rigidity.

The tale of Medusa tale comes with a huge caution however- these mysteries must be approached carefully, with great respect and at the right time. Like a kundalini awakening the serpent power must not be unleashed prematurely or in ways that are dangerous, for then it can harm ourselves and others.

The clue to approaching the feminine mysteries lies in Perseus’ backward reflective approach through the mirror; we cannot look directly at Medusa.

This tells us that the feminine mysteries cannot be approached in a rational way, and that we must seek the help of the gods to contact the divine. That is why we need ritual, ceremony, initiation, rites of passage and prayer, and return to bio-mystical processes.

It is said that at one time Athena and Medusa, along with the sea goddess Metis were all part of the triple goddess archetype- from Athena we receive wisdom, intellect, valour, and courage, from Metis intuition and creative expression, and from Medusa sexual power, magic, and psychic abilities. Before patriarchal consciousness separated these aspects of femininity, this trilogy of power and attributes was the bedrock of the feminine wisdom and essence.

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Shamanic Mask Work for Personal Liberation.

Using masks as a shamanic practice is deeply powerful and healing. In last night’s Sun & Moon lodge, wearing a mask gave me permission to be more theatrical, more confident, and removed from my usual persona so that I was able to open and channel an energy that is both me and at the same time is the point where I meet the gods. Mask wearing as a shamanic practice grants us access into the transpersonal realms where we are liberated from the burden of our conditioning.

In shamanic mask work the ego is silenced, our normal persona falls away and something else comes in- latent parts of ourselves, shadow parts, gifts, sacred insights… we become a transmission for something much larger than our ego identified self and beliefs about who we and others think we are.

Wearing a mask also has a strong effect on those around us… their preconceptions of us drop away, they can no longer hold onto who they think we are- which in turn challenges them to also redefine who they are. They are brought in that moment into a new space of knowing nothing about us or who we might become. And they are not sure who they will become in this new dynamic.

Last night we worked with the mask of Medusa which as a symbol is more than the myth of the terrifying gorgon abandoned in the cave at the edge of the western world. The mask of Medusa was donned by priestesses who worked with dark moon magic and wished to keep their workings secret from the uninitiated. The serpent headed crowns and monstrous masks were an emblem of the serpent rites and mysteries.

When considering the mask in a modern context and working with it for collective and psychological healing, it is interesting to consider the many masks we wear in our lives and the expectations that we fulfil for others. By refusing to accept the masks, by refusing to wear them, and instead explore hidden parts of ourselves by dropping our persona and stepping into something new is so liberating!

In ‘Mysteries of the Dark Moon’, Demetra George says that in order to transform the mask, we must recognise and acknowledge the wrathful face that we present to others. In working with Medusa, we must recall her from her banishment and reclaim the serpent headed Queen by honouring the dark moon wisdom that arises from our sexuality. Medusa is the source of our deep, regenerative healing power. The menstrual blood of the Serpent Goddess that could heal or kill, and even raise the dead is reflected in the twin serpents of Life and Death twinning about the winged staff of the caduceus- today the emblem of the medical profession.

Finding the point where asteroid Medusa is placed in our natal birth chart offers clues to understanding how this power may be activated in our lives and the ways in which we wear masks to deny and supress this power in ourselves, or project it on to others.

Please contact me if you would like an astro-shamanic consultation.

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Samhain and the Stars of Secret Knowledge

Image by Annelie Solis

October is a time when the veils between the worlds are thinnest, gifting us an opportunity to merge the world of matter and spirit, life and death. At the threshold of Samhain, we may transition more easily beyond the usual restrictions of duality.

For the ancient Celts, Samhain marked the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year, holding for a moment the past and present in one eternal continuum.

It is traditionally a time to honour our ancestors, the ones who walked before us, and all our relations in the cycle of life. As embodied expressions of our lineage, we walk with, and sow the seeds of their consciousness.

This year, the October new moon happens on 28th, 3 days before Samhain. This adds double availability in accessing liminal states as dark of the moon is also a time when the veils are thin… a time when the workings of the goddess are being woven within the mystery of Her darkness. At the balsamic moon, in the void of creation, the old is being released, returned to the womb of creation while the new, not yet known, is being dreamed, or birthed, into being.

At this time we also have an opportunity to release that which has served its purpose and dream a new version of ourselves into being.

At the end of October, we stand before the threshold of the old and the new not just as a spiritual ideal but also as a natural phenomenon. All around nature is retreating into herself, into her centre, deep within the earth, releasing the harvest of the old year, composting the energy in order to fertilize the seeds of the new… seeds that are not yet realised on the physical level for they are transiting from the world of spirit to the world of matter.

And this is the secret of Samhain.

What is it that we need to compost from our past to fertilise our future? As a sacred substance compost cannot just be disregarded, forgotten or disposed of in a vacuum, for it contains the essence and power of all that has gone before. This is our lessons learned, our wisdom gained, and our evolving consciousness.

We cannot forget our ancestors; they have learned much and have much to teach us. They have a seed intention and in spite of the wounds that may have afflicted them, the essence of that intention wants to be realised.

The process of transformation is not only witnessed in the world of matter it is also reflected in the dance of the cosmos in the stars… ‘As above so below’.

On October 27th, just before Samhain the fixed star Symra joins the Sun at 4 degrees of Scorpio, one day before the sun/moon conjunction of the new moon on the 28th. Three days later, and one day before Samhain, fixed star Khambalia joins the Sun.

Both stars are within the constellation of Virgo, the Virgin, whose esoteric knowledge has to do with the mysterious secrets of life-death, and renewal, and spirit in matter.

The configuration of Symra and Khambalia conjunct the sun and moon just before the threshold of Samhain reflects the occult workings that take place behind the scenes- ‘beneath the skirts of the virgin’, or the mysterious processes of nature that the alchemists have long attempted to know and master.

Symra, which means the ‘train of the skirt of the goddess’ relates to the 3rd tarot, the Empress who is the gateway to source, and keeper of a secret knowledge, available to us if we know how to access it.

Other archetypes that hold the key to this wisdom are the Virgin Mary, Inanna, Ishtar, Demeter, Persephone, Kali/Shakti and Gaia.

While Symra is located at the left shine of the Virgo constellation, Khambalia is located on the left foot and is an old Coptic word meaning ‘crooked claw’.

Khambalia has connections with the swastika, which far from the corrupted meaning imposed upon it by the Third Reich, is in truth an ancient symbol of life, power and the sun. It is a visual depiction of the harmony and equilibrium of the changing seasons and the innate wisdom of nature.

The word ‘Shambala’ has a similar root to Khambalia, as has the pentagram and the Arabic word for five, ‘Khamsa’. For the ancient Arabs these were the most auspicious of stars.

The pentagram has associations with Venus and again points to the mysteries of merging spirit and matter. It is no coincidence that ‘crossing into the dark’ time of year is presided over by the goddess, the crone and her feminine mysteries of renewal. This myth is an analogy of the cycle of Venus in the sky from Morning Star to Evening Star.

The solar gods having expressed their energy and brought forth the harvest, like Dumuzi, now descend into the underworld for 6 months of the year where he will be transformed ready to take up his sovereignty again with the return of the light.

While the Empress wears a starry crown her throne is placed firmly in the material world- in a field of corn. Traditionally associated with matter, the Empress has dominion over all growing things. Manifesting spirit in the material world is the deep mystery known to the Empress, Virgo, the Virgin Mary, and many of the feminine archetypes who operate in the occult knowledge of renewal.

The birth of Christ, birthing Christ consciousness are the processes that happen in the mystery of the goddess. It is She who births solar consciousness by an occult process that is beyond the bounds of rationality. It is magic.

Women have the capacity to experience something of this wisdom every lunar cycle in the process of menstruation.

As women we can connect to this wisdom through our womb, the alembic from which we create our lives, and affect the lives of those around us, and in the world. The womb is the living chalice that when cleared and opened has the potential to connect us with the  divine and empower us to be creators and leaders of our world.

If we are cut off from our womb – the seat of our power- the portal, or doorway, to source is blocked and our ability to create and manifest is lost or weakened.

Samhain, the teachings of the dark moon, the secret wisdom of the goddess, the bio-mystical experience of menstruation and birthing, and the womb as cosmic portal between spirit and matter are the teaching that are open us- as men and women- as we enter into the dark of the year.

The teachings are below our feet in the earth and above our heads in the stars, and we, conduits of spirit and matter are creators far beyond what many of us have been led to believe.

We are part of the same cycle of renewal and in this process we have potential to grow and evolve, carrying the most sacred seed of our ancestors forward so that it flowers and blooms in us.

Samhain teaches us that while everything changes, everything is circulated in the great cosmic womb, returned to the earth as primordial matter and recycled as energy to rebirth the new. By honouring and accepting the past, and by understanding that it is all part of one eternal continuum, we too free ourselves to be renewed in the cycle of life.

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October Full Moon: The Mother’s Body

Sacred-Relationship Inner Ecology

As the moon reaches her fullness at 20° Aries, somewhere in the region of 30 000 people are actively protesting what many feel is our extinction crisis.

Extinction rebellion, or XR as it is known is a socio-political movement actively engaged in civil disobedience, and non- violent disruption to confront the potential, if not likely, social and ecological collapse.

An article in last Thursday’s Guardian revealed the 20 firms behind a third of all global carbon emissions. Not surprisingly they were oil, petroleum, gas, energy and other mining companies. Some were listed as ‘state owned’, while most are shareholder owned with CEOs reaping yearly salaries in the region of $20 million plus.

Mining deep into the earth’s body the mantra of corporate growth is “more” and, not content with trawling the depths of her flesh we have created ever more sophisticated technologies to suck the marrow from her bones.

And what is it for? A breakdown of world spending reveals total military expenditure by all 29 NATO members was $963 billion in 2018, accounting for 53 percent of world spending, while the global market for pharmaceuticals reached $1.2 trillion in 2018. These figures were taken from a quick google search and may not be entirely accurate, however it is clear that many of the earth resources are fueling these giants.

In the full moon chart, the sun- what is conscious- is at 20° Libra. The sabian symbol for this degree is:

“A revivifying contact with the Mother-force of nature and of social togetherness”

It continues:

“It is very good and healthful to become revitalized by collective experiences and deep feelings of undifferentiated unity as they merge in the vast refreshment of the planetary “Mother” where “she” is most dynamic, unlimited and unconfined by boundaries.”

This is the deep longing of the soul, to merge with the Mother, and yet, in the age of shareholder led corporatocracy, military-pharma-culture, and the unlimited harvesting of the earth’s resources where do we witness the “Mother” in her unlimited and unconfined boundaries?

It seems that every part of her body is cut up, fenced off, mined, or built upon.

As the hermetic principle states: “As within, so without; as without, so within”. We might ask ourselves where can we witness the Mother in ourselves? Where can we merge with the vast refreshment of our inner planet? And are not the two inextricably linked so as to be one in the same?

With asteroid Bacchus exactly conjunct the Sun, we may find illuminated pathways to the wild places within ourselves.

A T-square with Pluto at 20° Capricorn, moon at 20° Aries, and sun at 20° Libra- points to the great transformation underway reflected in the Saturn/Pluto conjunction culminating in January 2020.

Pluto, the great revealer has left his calling card, Saturn lord of karma, time and structure is ready to do his books- the collective checks and balances, and an appraisal of how on or off track we are for the next step of our evolution.

It might be said that the Pluto Saturn conjunction is a collective Saturn return.

Pluto associated with the resources and riches of the earth, squaring the sun and moon reveals a truth about both our conscious reality- the story we tell ourselves- and the unseen workings of the situation.

Asteroid Gaea in a trine with expansive Jupiter and the full moon illuminates the bigger picture coming into focus, binging us a step closer to genuine insight beyond the polarisation and splintering of surface level distraction, inward to the divine cells of our body and the wise guidance of the heart.

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‘As Above So Below’- October 2019 News.

artwork by Jarah Tree
artwork by Jarah Tree

“That which is above is like to that which is below, and that which is below is like to that which is above, to accomplish the miracles of the one thing.”

-Hermes Trismegistus

Wheel of the Year Celebrations and Gatherings

Red Spiral offers Wheel of the Year ceremonies 8 times a year to celebrate the ‘sabbats’- the 4 cross quarter days, the 2 solstices, and the 2 equinoxes.

The next community celebration is on Thursday 31st October from 7-9 PM in Concorde House to celebrate Samhain. In the Celtic calendar Samhain marks both the end and the beginning of the yearly cycle. It is the Celtic new year marking a time when all of nature is withdrawing inside itself to release the old and prepare for the new.

It is a time to honour our ancestors as we pay homage to those who walked before us, giving thanks for their lives and remembering them in their death. The veils between the world of matter and the world of spirit is now at its thinnest, offering connection with realms beyond the everyday world, dreaming the future into being and letting go of attachments to the past.

Wheel of the Year festivals are an opportunity to mark points of transition within the sacred circle of our community and the natural world. It is an invitation to be witnessed… to voice your gratitude, hopes, and intentions in a ceremonial space… to let go of the old and invite in the new.

Our ancestors and many indigenous people across the world possessed a greater awareness of the need to mark the passing the time and the cycles of nature. In this way they were embedded into a matrix of a cosmic consciousness, in the knowledge they were part of something bigger than the personal dramas and minutiae of everyday life.

The sense of interconnectedness to an infinite creative intelligence allowed for the possibility of renewal, rites of passage, growth, and development through the natural phases of life. To belong to something larger than oneself offered power and life force through recognizing oneself as an expression of spirit in material form.

Transpersonal psychology and ideas may go some way in exploring and describing the potential for expanded awareness, however there is something magical in experiencing rituals and ceremonies that embody and express divine energies.

In times such as ours when more and more of our energy is spent in virtual worlds, disconnected form the cycles of the moon, the movements of the planets, and the natural rhythms of harvest, life and decay, it is important to pause, reflect and connect with the wider expressions of life and death.

Sun & Moon Lodge-

October also see the birth of a new monthly venture taking place on the on the full moon- the ‘Sun & Moon Lodge’ is a mixed circle that incorporates shamanism, astrology, mythology, and story- telling. The first one happens on Friday 11th October in Canterbury and will be hosted by Karen and Simão Cortes – astrologer, mythologist, and facilitator of astrodrama circles.

The theme of the first circle is Dionysus/Bacchus and the wild gods as on that evening the Sun is conjunct asteroid Bacchus. In ancient Greece, the two main mystery traditions were the Eleusinian mysteries – enacting the descent and return of Persephone – and the Dionysian Mysteries, to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state.

Women’s Moon Lodge-

Continues to meet every new moon and is facilitated by Karen for an exploration of how working with the lunar cycles, archetypes, mythology and shamanism can facilitate greater depth of awareness and connection to our feminine inner wisdom and authority.

Moon Lodge is an opportunity to deeply honor ourselves as we take our place in the community of women to be witnessed, supported and inspired, and to offer our presence as our unique gift to the circle.

This is the way Red Spiral works… an endless weaving of the material, emotional, spiritual, mental and cosmic realms to bridge spirit and matter, or heaven and earth if you like.

It is embodied practice and awareness of the interconnectedness of all things, and upholds the hermetic aphorism-

 “As within so without, as above, so below”.