The season for sowing and planting has come. Our plows plunge into the earth and part it with the Sun’s gleam slender on the curved surface of the blade. We swerve to avoid rocks, like geological submarines in slow stasis, lifting and falling with the breath of frost heave, the summer-winter inhale-exhale; or maybe these dark and oblong giants are like petrified whales surrounded by soil, cool and wet as Venus is said to be, the cool wet of concrete, the cool wet of the ground beneath our feet held together in an embrace of dirt, rock, rhizome, root, water and worm, capable of fecundity, Bingen’s Veriditas, the green growing principle; a rope of vegetal fiber that keeps on growing, wrapping around the golden rod that pierces through time. We think of nature as the earth and that which grows upon it and banish time to abstract realms of physics, despite the fact that we swim through time’s medium each day. There is Chronological time with which we schedule our existence, Kairotic or mythological time which you must anticipate and seize by the forelock to actualize ritual, there are planetary days and hours with celestial angels and demons guarding each one, there are spirits stationed at each hour of the day by the position of the Sun regardless of which planetary hour falls there, there is season and there is cycle of which we get our Sabbats, all fully loaded with lore and packed with personae, there are Liturgical calendars with their mystic mysteries mostly managed by the Moon, heliocentric orbits with each celestial body the hand on a complex clock. In essence, each Sunday is of a continuum of Sunday-ness and in Western cultures is overseen by Helios, and has its Phoenixes and Lions waiting within as does other parts of the world have their own Animals or other Deities keeping constant the essence of rhythm in this ever manifesting dream that either cascades down from stepping spheres or rolls out of the breath of a divine being.
The Sun’s time in Taurus is a season of Venus, and one in which we turn to the earth and all matters of fertility, of falling into the manifest motions and memories of amassing material abundance, accumulation of pleasure or the means with which to afford it, of hopeful, happy or even ecstatic toil, like the turning of the soil in pursuit of future fruits or the churning of our hips in hope of culminating climax or of any other lovely labor. Relying on the land is hard work, but satisfying to both body and spirit as those of you know who have done some farming. Getting a feel for how we feed ourselves is part of Taurus’ trajectory, and acclimating to the slow and steady pace is pivotal to her lessons. We must work and we must wait. We must plan and prepare but also both play and pray while we pause; we can only go so fast, this is slow work, that of the craftsman’s hand whose plane and chisel kiss the wood and caress the grain rather than slash or hack. We haul loads under yoke as we cross the pasture but proceed at a pace in which we can pick berries as we walk. Between plowing, seeding and weeding there are gaps where we can sit to the side and please ourselves or else miss the chance to make our moves when the time is right when we become too occupied to keep watchful.
Watchful why? Because we wait for the serpent beneath to slither up to the surface with apple in its mouth like a roast pig and bear to us the fruit of our labor, and in that moment we might pick or preen it, bathe it with balms and wash it in tonics, clip its cracking tendrils or prune its unproductive twigs so that it is fit in time for the fair where it will bring in blue ribbons. This often requires reaching into the ground itself; slipping our hands into the soil and feeling for the snake, the very current, the green slithering daimon that swims in ink and like an eel of earth circulates black bile throughout the system. This is the serum itself that causes the catalyst and initiates bulbs of broccoli and bubbles of brassica. The serpent of our spines that quivers our loins and the serpent under cradles of grass seeps syrup so that we may swell and ripen, and so sap may pass into nests needing nectar, so hives may have jelly, so larvae are propelled by propolis, so pollination pops buds and the Elk and Moose bellow beyond or bellow, and with the resonating reed, the vibrating horn or the resounding drum, fruit that might be beats as living hearts in some fated destiny not very far away, but still we must wait, it is not today. The apple will someday again split and spill its golden guts but today we finish last years from the dusty barrel and with our fingers curled around the shaft we work our tools into the earth as invitation. Our tines touch a dress of green and other comely garments; we reach below and pull them up and put them on so that we are seen clear and bright by Fae and birds above, it is what we do we must.
(Ironic, as I write this in Maine it continues to snow.)
On the other end of the Earth spectrum Saturn now creeps backwards in Capricorn retrograde motion very slowly increasing the tempo of his dirge. As the stern schoolmaster that paces the isles of desks during a difficult test, he reaches the end of the row, pauses in contemplation, and over our shoulder pivots on his heal silently, looking over our shoulders at our work, his dry, cold breath like that of a desiccated tomb, then after an eternity seems to have passed he takes one slow step and continues down the course from which he has just come. In this process he looks back over a section of the zodiac which held his attention since January 10. You might want to dive back into your diaries and see what kinds of discipline you had to conjure, what kinds of restrictions held you back, what kinds of boundaries and barricades were necessary from then till now and begin considering where the weak points are in your fortifications before you build your tower on top of a foundation that might later fall. After turning direct in September he’ll come back across this territory once more, making sure all the renovations are up to spec. This all occurs in the first decan of Capricorn, and so it is the themes of that face which concern this whole end of the Saturn story timeline. Look around yourself. What have you got? What is there in raw form and what have you built up by hand or plan. What is the structure that holds it all together? How does the skeleton look out in the light? Does your desert suffer from frequent droughts? Does your forest hold enough timber with which to build? Is your hilltop difficult to defend? Are you positioned in the most appropriate place, or would you be better off at the other end of a caravan? If the former then level the ground to lay your cornerstone and construct from there step by step. If the latter then frame in mind where would be the best territory to take, set your sights and saddle up, or at least begin the long work of moving your entire life from point A to point B one day at a time. Sketch out your plan, and ask yourself each morning: what needs to be done ultimately as well as what can I do right now? The small steps still lead to the outcome and one foot falls before the other.
For many these may be ultimatums. The jig is officially up. What do we do about how we interface with our environment, and what are the repercussions of breaking the laws of nature? Despite living amongst the evidence of how naughty we’ve been, we’ve yet to be punished, but if ever were there to be a time in our lives astrologically, its the few years we are in right now. We can continue to say “we”, as this is clearly a human issue, and we are all involved, but those driving industries and production are clearly at fault, they leave us very little options and refuse to alter their course. It may be time to start recognizing who are committing crimes against nature and sentencing accordingly. A notion that highlights an aspect of what Chiron has to say newly in Aries: it is individuals’ actions that wound us, whole networks of Individuals, the individuals on top as well as each individual en mass.
Themes that are highlighted annually by Earth day, which falls on the 21st or 22nd of April, and inadvertently coincides with the Sun’s ingress into Taurus by a day or two. As the Sun has set its sights upon the Earth, so shall we.
Monday April 23rd
We may be waiting for our moment to deliver the knock out blow on Monday as Mars proceeds into Capricorn’s third decan, or drive the apparatus of the legal system through our plate glass targets, or simply check our watch and casually release the emergency break of some bureaucratic bulldozer and let it flatten our opponents who casually walk home through the park path down hill. We knew they’d be there. We’ve been watching. As Mars reaches his highest degree of exaltation in Capricorn’s third decan we may not attract much attention as we close in for our kill; long periods of inaction followed by a sudden strike. Or, everyone might see how we’ve so totally overwhelmed our opposition, really only by waiting until everything seemed against them to make our move. This is attacking through patience, discipline, endurance and observation, and usually requires no violence at all. We rise from our seats when we know the time has come and the bell rings, the referee holds up our hands and hands us the title belt. This sounds great, right? Well hopefully you already know what I’m talking about and you’re licking your lips saying, oh, yeah, they’ll have no idea what hit em’, as it could be just as easily you that is destined to receive the big surprise.
The third decan of Capricorn is very much about management; in the first face we receive or assess our property, in the second we build our fortresses and monuments and in the third we manage the hierarchies we have erected. Mars here focuses our actions and energy toward both defending our managerial systems as well as enacting imperial take overs of nearby kingdoms. Control and domination might not be your bag, but with a little reflection you can probably identify what in your life needs to be managed with stable strategy that could be disrupted by the influence of exterior agendas. It is here you want to tighten your game.
In all this it is not surprising that on the 23rd we find the traditional festival of Jupiter and Venus in Roman Paganism. Nigel Pennick reminds us that this is the day of St. George the dragonslayer in England, who was Bellerophon in ancient Greece as well as Siegfried in Wagner. Bellerophon defeat the Chimera most famously, but also was the monster slayer general par excellence in pre Herculean times. His feats though only fed his hubris which led him to attempt to reach Olympus riding Pegasus and establish his godliness. Zeus, obviously perturbed by this entitlement sent a gadfly to bite the Winged Horse and buck Bellerophon. He fell to the ground landing into a thorn bush becoming both crippled and blinded. The falling function of his tale has him on the list of candidates for mythological Lucifer. Is he then Ba’al Rephaim, the the God of healing? A serpent living in the Underworld where the fallen heroes that have gone before reach up to aid the living. Like Etana carried to heaven by a Horse-Eagle to find the “Plant Of Birth”, falling from high not back to the ground but plunging even further into the below where he becomes the Underworld Doorkeeper, as Baal'pharasein, means "the lord of breakings through”. Maybe, maybe not, but both the Shamanic Journey as well as the Hero’s Journey, the classic rise and Fall (and sometimes rise again) are coded into these aspects, as well as this time of year. All things to consider as we approach Walpurgis and the Maypole next week. As they say, our Dead Ancestors are spirits of fertility as they had collectively generations after generations of sex to produce us. What we do, how we act, what we strive for and what we initiate seem to spear head in the spring, and we step from the creaking armor of winter into floral felids naked, and are more than any other time susceptible to serpents and their apples (or as some contest, wheat, grapes, figs or citron).
Tuesday April 24th
Speaking of the Forbidden fruit and the Tree of Knowledge Venus ingress into Gemini at 1pm (EST) opening the aperture on a wide range of attractions and interests. Suddenly social scenes liven and begin to burble with chatter as peepers and frogs also now chirp the night away. We may swoon over the most intelligent or best communicator at the soiree. Generally this portends happy talk, even being sweet talked or sugar coating the reports as we flit from one aesthetic to the next, or quickly from one attraction to another. Creatively we might turn to the Media arts, cut and paste collages, calligraphy, graffiti or other script, word or message based forms.
As she makes her highly publicized entrance Venus conjoins Alcyone and the Pleiades on her way in. Hot off the press: Venus lends us oracular abilities, glimpses through the veil, psychic phenomena, and prophetic dreams. These classically broadcast as premonitions of tragedy and heavy omens— as Venus is the tastemaker expect psi aesthetics to follow, or perhaps precog the next trend and get ahead of the curve. Seeing ahead into the future of fashion may be a pleasure for some, while others may be more interested in getting down to some relationship divination— get in touch with the 7 Sisters and see if its meant to be. Common results of Venus passing this point is prominent spotlights on both theatre and the ritual arts, ceremony performed whether fictionalized or not, as we may be wanting to make enchantment a part of our lives.
As Venus soon sextile Chiron after entry at 8pm we see how her new orientation to Geminiic aesthetic value as well as her sudden oracular stellar situation puts her in position to help out Chiron newly in Aries via collaboration. What Venus does here might be of use to wounded individuality and impulses. Is this more mystical yang finding after weeks of Mercury in retrograde in Aries? Could his personal-action-logic update revealed some bugs that now need to be worked out? The new logic works well likely, its probably just not entirely compatible with the old system, and now we have to fix all the broken parts of the program so it can run painlessly. Venus being ready to use divinatory insight as well as being desirous and curious about everything going on around her is ready to offer artful or creative solutions. You might not need to worry about exactly who you are or what you want to say, you’ve got creative interests, just follow the signs.
Wednesday April 25th
Some mental discord clangs at 5pm on Wednesday as Mercury squares Saturn. This is actually a good aspect for mental work and discipline but difficult for all varieties of communication. Avoid mediations and negotiations and all important discussions if possible as negation, critical thinking, and pessimism reign. Critical thinking of course is a necessary and positive faculty, so utilize this for editing, planning and organization, as long as you don’t let a possible bad mood influence what you design. Simply tap into the exacting detail orientation, especially over procedures. Pair down fantasies and burst optimism bubbles but be careful to not get caught in general pessimism. For some context this likely will occur between the logic and communication of individual actions clashing against obligations and restrictions of nature and the system.
Interestingly, the Moon in Virgo opposes Neptune at 8pm, around the same time as the Mercury-Saturn Square the Moon waxing in Mercury’s earthy and practical sign Virgo gets flooded with irrational intuitions. Feelings or Moods tending toward hard work and process orientation are imbalanced by fantasies, fears, delusions and hallucinations, or alternately, disrupted or disturbed, most likely emotionally. You may be feeling like getting in a hard days work but get sidetracked by complications that may be imaginary, even though there is little way to tell.
Thursday April 26th
Even though we have likely been living stories leading up to Thursday morning’s conjunction of Mars and Pluto (7am), we likely will awaken to an overwhelming ambition, maybe beyond all previously conceptual limits, or unprecedented aggression, or mysterious violence, or psychological energy or extreme psychological stress, or intense occult activity, or some highly transformational actions, or a total revolution, or severe conflicts, or even foundational and strategic assaults carried out covertly, black ops in our own lives. There is no way to tell with Pluto, we only have the themes of mystery, power, fear, initiation and transformation and no measuring stick. But approached by an exalted Mars planning out his retrograde co-present with Capricorn’s ruler, cold Saturn, this is likely to be a deep and intense sucker punch in the gut to something or other, which could be just a nice metaphor synopsis for some movie you just watched, or all too literal; and this means both in our personal lives as well as in the World at large. Pluto stuff we must face, there is no looking away, no escape, we must pass through the night to reach the next day; but I’d try to avoid places and situations you know to be particularly sketchy dangerous anyway on the 26th, especially those of you who have this degree prominently in your chart. Some people, on the other hand might not be able to avoid their trial by fire for this conjunction; its the will of something much higher.
With this aspect still very much in affect Mercury proceeds back into the second face of Aries once more at 8pm and many struggle to find their unique voice and independent communication styles so they may express themselves from their own point of view. Two hours later the Moon in Libra opposite Chiron and the delicate needs of justice and social equilibrium come into sight of wounded individuality; a situation of self confidence vs. social comfort.
Friday April 27th
To follow along Thursday’s lines at 3am the Moon trine Venus and social equilibrium and justice become positive or attractive news, news about art and discourse about the aesthetic of social needs. Later than night (8pm) the Sun conjoins the fixed star Hamal, handing out the torches to follow ones own path with assertion and spearhead ones future.
Saturday April 28th
By midnight on Saturday the Moon enters the Via Combusta, the 15 degrees where The Moon is in Fall in Libra and the Sun is in Fall in Scorpio ( as zero Libra marks autumn equinox its likely the reason why we cal the late autumn “the Fall”.) In Libra The Moon thinks too much about other people’s needs, which can be problematic socially, making us to over-sensitive and hyper aware of others to just be ourselves, and instead do what we can to strive for constant social
harmony. The trine by sign to Venus in Gemini will help with this, but especially, it’ll find its harmonic resonance in chatty discourse and intellectual artfulness, likely spawning a wave of social media emotional expressions concerning social justice issues juxtaposed with the arts. On a more personal level, we might use this energy to cultivate or refine Air element, which aside from being the intellectual and mental faculties is also the Sanguine humor, which was seen in the pre-modern period and before as flush cheeked, loving wine and poetry and discourse, frequenting cabaret’s and theaters, cultural centers where artists converge to talk ideas and stimulate one another. It is the heart of the milieu and the zeitgeist, something that seems to be chained in digital binaries in our current age, so we might do well to flow some warm blood back into it whenever we get a chance, rather than let it dry out like a faded flag in the wind.
Moon of Hyldemoer Herbal Notes for Liminal Light
April 15-21, 2018
These notes are suggestions for herbal allies to assist with the effects of the cosmic influences of this week. Before imbibing any of the herbs recommended, research what is a recommended dosage, & ask yourself & research such questions as, Does this herb interfere with any medications I am taking?, Does this herb match with my constitution?, Do I really need to take this herb into my body? Be wise: listen to your own body, intuition, guiding spirits & the plants themselves.
Imbibing the herbs recommended is of course only one way of meeting the herbs. There are multitudinous manners of developing relationships with our herbal allies including sitting with the fresh or dry herbs, or a picture/drawing of the herb, making an amulet to wear or have on your altar (adhering to planetary hours/days is important here), visioning or meditating with the plant, & taking an herbal body or foot bath (In this case remember your skin is the largest organ of your body). Use your imagination & listen to the plants, they have been on this planet much longer than we have, are our Elders & have great wisdom to offer.
Monday, April 23 Today as Mars enters into the third decan of Capricorn, soon to be in its highest degree of exaltation, we are being faced with the need for stabilizing, readiness & being faced with that which is possibly not being managed properly in our lives. As we visit the Serpent God of Healing in the Underworld, Ba'al Rephaim, we may wish to call upon our toning & astringing herbs like Our Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis), Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) & Blackberry root (Rubus fruticosus) that will tighten any looseness & slacking of tissues & energies that are causing leaks of fluids, energies or strategies. Also having the cloak of Our Lady's Mantle, preferably with the alchemical morning dew, surrounding us as we traverse the Underworld & make our next chess move, will offer invisibility if needed. The Rubus genus, Raspberry & Blackberry in this case, offers us the Martian protection of thorns & brambles, even if they are not Mars ruled herbs. They can be burned for offerings, smudged, taken as tea, tincture, drawn on paper or skin, or whatever is your way if communing with such magical entities. Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), also called Black Snake Root, is also a great ally to offer or imbibe to work with Ba'al & healing any wounds, tears, cuts that are needing attending to. When working with our ancestors, Juniper (Juniperus ssp.) is wonderful to offer & if your ancestors are like mine, black coffee is always welcomed. Tuesday, April 24 Venus is ingressing into Gemini today at 1 pm, EST & she joins Alcyone of the Pleiades cluster of stars, often called the Seven Sisters of our sky. The oracular abilities bestowed here also assist us in understanding creative collaborations with the soon to be sextile with Chiron, our wounded healer in Aries. We can be made aware of Venus' & Pleiades' artistic, divinatory, & intuitive offerings here with the help of some traditional seven formulas. A few of these are: The seven traditional protective herbs of Ireland: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris), Mallow (Althaea officinalis), Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis), St. Joan's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), Vervain (Verbena officinalis), & Speedwell (Verinica ssp.). Te de siete azahares (Seven blossoms tea): Linden (Tillia Cordata), Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), Peppermint (Mentha peperita), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) & Orange oil. As well groups of conifers are often called seven sisters, so a stimulating, cosmic evergreen needle tea like Cedar (Thuja ssp.), Pine (Pinus strobus), & Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menzeisi) brings clairvoyance & deep communing. (Yew (Taxus baccata) is not be imbibedbecause of its toxic qualities.)
Placing Ivy (Hedera helix) leaves over ones eyes or wearing as a crown will also stimulate oracular vision. Wednesday, April 25 As Mercury in Aries squares Retrograde Saturn in Capricorn & we wish to utilize the critical thinking skills & not get bogged down in the pessimistic mire, we can all upon Lemon Balm to keep our spirits high, & Linden flower & Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) will keep our mental faculties sharp. Tingling, diffusive Kava (Piper methysticum) would also keep us alert & not fall prey to pessimism. Thursday, April 26 To delve into the Underworld's mysterious, transformative depths of Pluto as Mars conjoins Pluto at 7 am EST, two of my favorite Underworld guides are Angelica ( Angelica archangelica) & Black Cohosh taken as tea, tincture, fumigation or herb satchel. Both of these plants are able to traverse the depths of the Underworld, torch in hand, as well as offer strength needed all the realms, in a similar fashion to Hekate.
With the Moon in the last degrees of Libra opposite Chiron in Aries & self confidence issues can arise, a low dose botanical, Peony root (Paeonia lactiflora), can be taken 1-3 drops in tincture form, under the tongue for reminders of ones own strength & worth. Low dose botanicals are those herbs that are harmful in larger doses, but can affect great guidance & health in very small doses.
Friday, April 27
When I read that the Sun is conjoining fixed star Hamal in Aries at 8 pm EST, which will be "handing out the torches to follow ones path with assertion & spearhead ones future.", my attention is drawn. One way to work with this may be to literally alight the Mullein stalks (Verbascum thapsus) dipped in tallow & lead oneself to the highest hilltop around & listen for auditory visions.
Another would be to work with Aries & Sun ruled Rosemary through smudging, tea or bath. Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) branches can be used to physically sweep the body to allow visions to flow.
Saturday, April 28
As the Moon enters Via Combusta, in the last degrees of Libra & heading into its Fall in Scorpio, calling upon the element Air through the trine by sign to Venus in Gemini will guide one in transforming possible overly sensitive energy into intellectual & poetic socializing. A flower essence of Wind Anenome (Anenome hupehensis) will bring in the strength & flexibility of mind & spirit of Air. Adorning oneself with a crown of Bay leaves while burning Frankincense, brings a loquacious, bubbling spring of intellect & social grace.