We walk the perimeter of the camp, and wander out between wide slats in the fencing where the mauve clouds hung softly in hue defy their weight over the slouching horizon at dusk, the brimstone smell lacing the lavender pigment of the picture. Focused on words that stamp the pages in tattoo paragraph, assembled neatly into columns that disperse as the paper pulp itself disappears, leaving only the phrase pieces which float away like fruit flies dying in mid air. As if passed through this flutter of distracting text out into marshes and reeds rippling the outlaying lands around the territory we squat; below or above the hill, as if we are between floors where Alfred Jarry once lived, or mid staircase before Shakespeare coined the terms upstairs and downstairs, the north facing or south facing flanks of earth obscure our view, and out here we are truly lost; what we once depended on might have been a ghost.
We pull the scroll from our robe and burn it, feathers of death-birds fight for their incineration rites. Panicked, we take our radio’s and smash them into pathetic insects, inert in their plastic or silicone diode scramble. We call down a rope from the sky, but we cannot ascend, it is frayed and prickly to the touch. We look into a nearby hole for escape, but it is a narrowing shaft that wishes to masticate our ankles. There is only horizontal movement available with slight inclines and declines to frustrate us or variate our pace; and in fact, with our eyes squinted it is clear that they shift, breathing like a sleeping beast; what if this beast awoke? Would the hillside rise into a summit? Or, would a valley invert into a rise? Would stone wells flip out into stone stacks, and would those columns be stable or liable to topple? Out here in the uncharted edges of the painting, somewhere beyond the frame, folded under the white wall and beneath the plaster out of sight of voyeur or viewer, nothing can be predicted, all is likely to change, nothing can be depended on. Should we go back then, to the safety of the compound cradle, sit beside the cast iron stove on stone benches inside balustrades surrounded by sentinels where everything is predictable? No, the idea wrenches our guts. There may be only pennies to pick up out of the gravel out here in the fringe but at least we do so at our own volition, and not mechanically, responding to stimuli like rats or salivating at the sounds of bells. Some clever bastard takes a hot knife to the flat white surface within the museum wall and peels the skin away revealing us standing out in the extension of the landscape where the broad strokes feather into chaos and happenstance like hair mussed by hours spent dreaming, the colors hanging off garments in slipping threads. They see us! We hiss and shrink away behind the remains of rocks that outcrop the dry bed lakes, skulking into seclusion where they would have to remove the painting from the wall and turn the frame around, find us wrapped beneath the canvas on its spine, and to do that would trip lasers and sound alarms, and they would be removed from the gallery, or worse, arrested and charged for the damages. Between bared teeth we spit venom into the winds which cradle the bird of prey we engender and hurl it like a dart toward the camp we quit but it falls short and scuttles the dirt outside the worn walls of curled grey wood, desiccated by the sun rendered in red setting below the leaves of a forgotten autumn, incinerating dross that smolders like trash in a ring miles wide around the compound. Seen from above it would form a giant, irritated eye, a blood wrenched and spider veined ocular organ disembodied from its source; the astute gallery goer knows this; a demon which you can never engage in conversation, as they look always away into a sky whose thin horizon does little to nothing to prevent them from penetrating the aeons with their stare. Out on the frontiers we know this well, we have distance, and space around us to grasp the whole picture, and it rumbles in our stomachs like gravel eating grit in a churning pumice of poison. We hold our stomachs and laugh, the turpitude! The primal wisdom of human flocks and herds, intercourse and consort.
There is something that we seek off camera, something in the air, waves that massage the ethers, certain potentials in the collective consciousness, the yet-formed seeds of action, the ‘what ifs?’, those pearls of the avant garde, those things found only in trance, the antithesis of grey teeth cut to regular dimension clamping down on our meter and measured libidos, like clamps and valves on secretions, endocrine stints contracting via remote control, vital life on presets. Out here under open sky in the smeared colors and mingled hues we breath pure oxygen and our blood thins to dizzy us awake; we fall to dream and lucid swat through sortilege as we swim in airy abandon. The knuckle bones and dry reads trickle and pour possible pathways that slither eight-ways or twelve-ways in the dirt like salubrious snakes. We could go somewhere else, somewhere where the picture is perfect again, do it how we know it should be done, and enter the center once more with a renewed sense of refinement, but to do this we must escape, go out so we can go in; its a different house we return to than that we had left; we are different shapes so that which contains us is forced to scour around us in accommodation to the spikes and horns we’ve grown while we were wild, we scrape its interior and clean it of build up; this should be the way; but we walk a weird path, and sudden retreats can be dashes into disaster. We don’t want to tear the canvas open with our burgeoning nubs and fall as freaks onto the floor where we’ll be scrutinized like laboratory specimens in an alien abduction. No. Nothing premature. We must wait in inverted postures as Austin Osman Spare and wild Woden both taught us to, where we find the sigils and runes that were always there and screaming pick them up. Its then, after we know what we must lose that we disentangle from our purge and return renewed to the tent of city cement and screen-glare with old skins shed and even older ones, ancient ones, that we found in our retreats newly donned. This is wild work, and wild work is careful work, it must be approached with respect, as you would when talking to a tiger, flailing will only get your jugular jabbed, but instincts will help, and that is really all there is out in the undefined: instinct and chance. So in our retreats and inversions we dowse, and with sensitive fingers and listening minds we may come to find our futures, while our feet tread the coals and the poison works its way through our systems.
Eventually, alphabets chain anew, and we come to find our words, and the pages we once held slip back into our hands and bind themselves into a book. Its an account of where we went, composed while we were gone, and also an allegory that conceals directions to the treasures we now quest for.
Venus moves into the third decan of Leo and the Sun into Cancer’s second face as July opens. Attracted to the aesthetics of courage, finding beauty in the Lion-like and prepared to stand in defense of our homes, that which nurtures us, the place where our lives and loved ones and creative concepts grow. We have visions that require quiet and privacy, but let it be known that we love to project our banners brightly so that it can be seen we live and grow within our greenhouses, even if the pale plastic prevents prying eyes to see what preciousness thrives within.
Mercury passes over the North Node in Leo on the 3rd, and is spoken to of increase, of how our voices may be amplified if only we had microphones, how the truth we speak would ring in even greater earnest if only our voices were louder, and more people could hear and appreciate our sentiments. Then we could easily say what we wish into the apparatus and whisper what we want to keep secret directly into the ears of our accomplices.
The Sun trines Jupiter on the 5th, and this vision of incubation harmonizes with wisdom of intense and primal engagement, the philosophy of flowers which blossom at the bottom of the spine, thorns alongside blooms. Incubation is a delicate but persistent battle to keep what is susceptible safe from pollution; and the knowledge of poisons in close proximity relations highlights how we pass back and forth what we need in a kiss but must spit our venom with heads swiveled away from our partners. The incubator and the incubated are often engaged in an intense and primal affair.
This aspect sets the stage for retrograde Mercury’s opposition with retrograde Mars later that day: expression and logic of mental performance opposed to turbulent energy and action in the abstract or exiled zones. In both aspects of the day there is a noted inside and outside, a tension of energies and a need to perform in delicate operations even if situations present more heat and wind than is wanted. This is a theme of the summer, being like the surgeons of M*A*S*H*, able to operate effectively amongst mortar pressure, and even or especially, to keep your sense of humor and sexual expression in tact throughout.
The Sun then trines Neptune on July 8th, and identification with safety, comfort and nurture harmonizes with intuition, compassion and universal love; although there is no voltage control on the outer planets, so fantasy, delusion and hallucination may also pass into our visions. Expect all that comes with psychic empathy here, both positive and negative.
The following day Mercury squares Jupiter and Venus ingresses Virgo on July 9th. The purification of poisons and deep understanding of primal human nature clash with communications in public affairs. City councils are not therapy groups, so deeper emotional issues and spiritual pain might make it hard to speak the truth. That night Venus enters her fall, where she focus’ on aesthetic details and finds beauty only in perceived perfection. Love can become a clinical process, there can be frustration felt around parameters of moderation and indulgence, and creativity can be reduced to nit picking. Virgo Venus can make a great creative director, like a film maker or the head of a fashion house, but outside specific sanctioned roles her action can get her in trouble, coldly criticizing everyones outfits and haircuts.
Jupiter stations direct on July 10th, turning the tides of growth cycles, marking the readiness of philosophical expansion and the insurgence of opportunity proliferation; we can take the wisdom and coherence we’ve gained over the past four months and begin again to get bigger. As this occurs in Scorpio it will come with themes of internal alchemical filtering and processing of pain and poison. Corrosive occurrences in our life exfoliate and ready us for enduring and being guided by a purer and more polished wisdom.
Venus trines Uranus on the 11th, strict detailed aesthetic processes harmonize with volatile creative substances and chaotic pace, which might make us very experimental with details and micro procedures. This is just a trine, but it is a trine between Uranus in Taurus and Taurus’ sign ruler in another earth sign. Uranus can always throw curve balls, but on this day it might be just what is needed. If Mars is operating in an eccentric and radical manner then this might be an opportunity to hit some sort of groove and sync up to the disjointed rhythm. Bust out the Peter Brötzmann and Albert Ayler to see what I might mean; when improvising with free jazz musicians you make subtle and powerful music while following rhythms that might never return, and maybe even more than in conventional composition, the Devil is still in the details.
Speaking of the sinister, there occurs a New Moon in Cancer opposite Pluto in Capricorn on Thursday the 12th, raw power of the unknown or the mysterious in nature’s laws and society’s structure opposed to vision, awareness and orientation to the spectrum of abundance and scarcity. Like, the fear of not knowing if nature or society can supply enough food to live comfortably, or an utter obsession with having everything so that you never end up having nothing, or the experience of having it all taken away. As this is a New Moon it is the seed-form of a story line that unfolds over the course of time leading up to the next lunation, which is the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, encoding its own purge of substance via Ketu, or the Dragon’s Tail. There is an eery symmetry here, that the feelings stirred by looking into the void nestled within the machine, or the black hole lurking in the wood, set off a tangent that leads to a cathartic bonfire where possessions are hurled into incineration. The fact that all can be consumed leads to a feeding of oblivion and a celebration of destruction. This is something to sit quietly with on the 12th and contemplate; council with ancestors and familiar spirits while the veil is thin and the void is visible, and prepare Hekate’s supper, as the Hedge stands ready to cross and in fact its gnarl and knurl open like a gate, a time truly betwixt, between ages and between lunation and eclipse, between light and shadow, on this end black and on that end red, darkness and then blood. Witchcraft is implicit. This is a hard lunation, as the last one also was and that they will be for most of the Summer. This is not the popular Witchcraft of pagan roleplaying, but the real Witchcraft of embodied trial and transformation.
To follow up the foreboding foreshadowing of the New Moon in Cancer, Venus trines Saturn on July 14th, detailed aesthetic processes in harmony with limits of nature, society or structure in particular territory: forced to work creatively with what’s available or within set parameters. This sounds like the kind of getting real which is required. Nature has limits and its time we begin to respect them. On the flip side, Venus’ previous trine to Uranus showed us how we can auger precious details out of ecstatic states. The extreme wax and extreme wane of the upcoming eclipse season put into context. Our world is now one of extremes, and Mars going rogue in retrograde helps us to understand how we need to be more radical to navigate it. We can no longer depend on the central structure; that is abundantly clear; we have to stand for ourselves at all costs.
Venus next sextiles Jupiter on July 22nd, the day that the Sun enter’s his domicile Leo which sets the stage for the upcoming eclipse. Methodical creative process working hand in hand with coherence of intense engagement and primal emotional wisdom. Uranus in Venus’ sign volatizes and surges destabilizing energy into the fertility of craft, meanwhile Venus focuses her attention to the beauty of details mid process, knee deep in the minutia of doing it, Jupiter understands how the hands on process here can help work it out and transmit hidden layers of gnosis that could not be found from contemplation or study alone. Meanwhile the Sun begins to help us realize that we may know when and how to orient ourselves to how and when to shine, to step out of the cave and into light as the moment calls, to become who we truly are knowing what we know from doing what we’ve done.
Only two days later Venus opposes Neptune in Pisces; Venus in fall opposed by Neptune in the sign of her exaltation. Hallucinatory fantasy smears all the precious details before her and perfection fights to stay defined in a maelstrom of imagination and psychic sensitivity. The next day, on July 25th the Sun squares Uranus, Orientation and vision of visibility clashing against sudden shifts in pace and upsetting of materials, resources and creativity. We are shoved into spotlight without a script and forced to improvise. Venus’ horror or delusion about cohering details or loss there of is a fitting precursor to the leadership roles we must here accept on the fly. Only a few hours later, and not surprisingly, Mercury stations retrograde, argumentative logic and speaking on others behalf has us beginning to rethink and reorganize ideas, retract statements and reinvestigate certain characters as well as their motives, as we struggle to figure out who is telling the truth and who are what they seem to be or claim that they are. When we are forced to grab the horns and improvise with materials that haven’t yet been fully processed on shifting terrain where the limits are hard and obvious the players in the game become hyper important and we must know acutely who we’re dealing with.
Then it happens, we receive a Lunar Eclipse on the South Node conjunct Retrograde Mars in Aquarius on July 27th. The sequence will go like this: At 1am the Sun opposes Mars, orientation to visibility opposed to shifting gears in energy or action of decentralization and needs to evacuate or act out on the frontiers without formula. At 2:45pm the Moon conjoins Mars and feeling a desperate need to act in an unconventional manner, highly irritated and fed up. The main event takes place at 4:20pm when the eclipse occurs as the Sun and Moon oppose on the nodes, a violent or vigorous purge of substance, stuff, in the abstract or far outer reaches. Actions amongst exiles liquidate in an impulsive, aggressive manner. Intense purification of stuff out of disgust or ascetic necessity outside of conventional limits. Unbalanced cutting out of things from life that need to go but its very possible to go too far and blow up your house simply to rearrange the furniture. On this day and around this eclipse in general its important to keep an eye on yourself and observe when you’re acting in the extreme. Taking old clothes to the thrift store is probably a good idea, but might not be as cathartic an expression as yearned for, but this doesn’t mean you should burn all your family photo albums. The energy necessary to enact considerable change is available, but we should use it like a potent and dangerous tool rather than falling into the trance of the spinning saw blade or allowing the flaming tongue or the blowtorch dictate what we do; we’ve got to maintain control when the energies around us are hazardous so that their impact is beneficial after the smoke clears and dust settles.
Success this summer requires extensive experimentation rather than critical decision. We must use the abstracting and escaping intentioned Mars to make space in which we can ritually work, like defining the magic circle around our operations, and then we must manage the turbulent energy presented by Uranus, perhaps the addition of an entheogenic substance or particularly unpredictable spirits to the rite; the way then is to not go crazy but to proceed with care. After the process plays out we will have discovered different ways of doing things that will be valuable to the new circumstances we meet when more stable times arrive allowing us to more safely make our moves. Now is the initiation rite which makes the path possible, not necessarily the path itself.
Appropriately, Venus trines Pluto at 9pm, methodical creative process harmonizes to intense power and fear of the unknown elements of nature, society and hierarchy. The process contains the void in reflection, it occurs in the creative darkness inherent in nature from which all things unfurl, and with our hands in the work they wash in Her emergent current.
Moon of Hyldemoer Herbal Forecast for Liminal Light
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.
As we venture into the hottest month of Summer, there are many herbs that can help us to find shade, take oceanic dips & guide us into gardens as we continue our travels through the harsh, challenging landscape of Mars in Retrograde in Capricorn & Aquarius. This Retrograde is the backdrop of the Summer upon which the other planets converse. There are herbal themes that can help to carry us through this month with out burning up, losing our tempers unnecessarily & also ourselves.
The beginning of the month with Venus in the third decan of Leo & the Sun in the second decan of Cancer, we are shown the beginning theme of the strength of a lion guarding their home & privacy, but also wishing to show their greatness. Motherwort can be called upon here, as well as in other times of the month, the botanical name being Leonurus cardiaca, the lion-hearted. Motherwort is one of our heart strengthening herbs that allows us to have open hearts with necessary boundaries. The first leaves of the Motherwort plant are soft & welcoming to touch, as well as the first flowers, but then as Motherwort forms seedpods, they are prickly. Motherwort in this way reminds us to welcome & give love, but once a healthy boundary has been crossed, bring out the sharp edges as a warning to those crossing.
By July 5th, when the Sun in Cancer trines Jupiter in Scorpio, & then later in the day as Mercury Retrograde opposes Mars Retrograde, calling upon our heart protecting herbs as well as our nerviness will be crucial, in fact during the whole Summer of confronting our Martian energy, allowing the strengths to come out instead of being ruled by the weaknesses. Motherwort, as stated before, as well as some of our other thorny heart protecting herbs like Rose (Rosa sp.) & Hawthorn (Crataegus sp.), can allow us to lead with the heart that has strong boundaries, when confronting the heat of a Martian landscape. Taken as daily hot or iced teas, tinctures, elixirs, carried on our bodies, placed as bouquets in our spaces, & used in our magical workings, these heart warrior allies can help us to welcome the teachings of Mars & deep underworld Scorpian Jupiter. Motherwort is a strong bitter, so join this ally with others when making a tea, or add honey for extra sweetness & moistening.
As well, calling upon our cooling, grounding nervines will be necessary during this time. Oats (Avena sativa) in the form of Oatstraw or Milky Oat Tops is one of our top vitamin & mineral rich, grounding, calming & life force enhancing allies. Taking Oats as a part of ones daily tea (highly recommended), taking Oat baths (Place a handful of rolled Oats in a small muslin bag, let the hot water run over this while running the bathwater & then moisten & squeeze the milky liquid from the bag over ones whole body, exquisite & renewing), or running ones hands over the Oat grasses as they grown will bring the strength of inner calm & knowing.
The Linden tree (Tilia cordata) has been the central tree people have met under for centuries for calming guidance in talks of business, justice & finding solutions to conflicts. The ‘village Linden’, or Dorflinde, in 18th & 19th Century Germany was the center of village life, often having dances, the Tazlinde, (dance Linden), celebrations & gatherings. The Linden tree is about to bloom in early July & if one is nearby, go sit under this tree & feel the tranquility felt from the blossoming fragrance. Linden flowers have been called on since the ancient times to calm convulsion & epilepsy. Linden flower soothes the nervous system, allaying tension, anxiety & irritability. Taken as a warm tea, Linden soothes the nervous system, calms the muscles of the body & allows the mind to relax. It is a wonderful tea for children, sweetened with honey, to calm a fretful child & allow for peaceful sleep. Linden tea before bed will also stop the spasm of the legs while sleeping, called charley horses. Delicious Linden tea allows ones mind to focus on the task at hand. Linden flower & leaf under ones pillow or bed will allow for restful sleep during this time when we need to be well-rested & ready.
Wood Betony (Betonica officinalis) is another excellent nervine that strengthens while it relaxes. One is able to deal with stress better as the nervous system is reinforced. In earlier times, Wood Betony was called upon for headaches, loss of memory, vertigo, & facial neuralgia. Wood Betony helps us to be rooted, feel connected to the Earth & to be grounded. Call upon Wood Betony in tea, tincture, flower essence & for magical workings.
As Jupiter stations direct in Scorpio on July 10th, call upon Jupiter herbs such as Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) & Comfrey (Symphytum officinalis) that are dynamic accumulators, those herbs with deep tap roots that access the Underworld’s messages internally & externally & transform them into fervent & vital growth. Carry some of these roots, place them on your altars, drink the tea of roasted Dandelion root or Comfrey leaf & flower or take tinctures of these transformative allies.
As the New Moon in Cancer opposes Pluto in Capricorn on Thursday, July 12, offerings to Hekate are imperative including the burning of Juniper (Juniperus sp.) branches to call upon our ancestors, & laying out Garlic & Aconite (Aconitum napellus) as offerings at the cross roads to help us delve into the unknown darkness of the New Moon & the Hedge. For allaying the fear of change that we may be experiencing, call upon Our Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) in flower essence form, drink the dew from the leaves, gather this dew into ones magical workings, or carry the mantle leaves in ones pouch. “The little Alchemist”, as this plant is called in the botanical name, will guide in our necessary transformation, as well, the Mantle of Our Lady will hold us so that we remember our strength.
As Venus in Cancer trines Saturn in Capricorn, go to a place of natural beauty & feel the desires of this place. Set your own desires aside for a moment & hear the limits & wishes of this place. Bring along a root of Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum), also called John the Conqueror’s Root, so to feel the necessary structure of an entity to be, expand, contract, be still & grow. Take the messages received into ones own life & call upon this Saturnine root as a reminder of the Justice in Nature & the strength of a breathing structure.
On July 24, as Venus in her fall in Virgo opposes Neptune in exaltation in Pisces, calling upon a combination of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Poppy (Papaver somniferum), & Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) will help to maneuver this hallucinatory state. Poppy & Mugwort easily roam these realms & Yarrow is ones psychic guide through this state. Taken as a tea, tincture or placed on ones altar, these allies will assist one in walking through with courage & panache.
The next day, as the Sun squares Uranus & Mercury stations retrograde, some clear Mercurial herbs are necessary to steer us through. Mercury ruled herbs such as Dill, Lavender, Marjoram & Caraway can be used to spice our foods, taken as teas, placed in bouquets & honored as braille messages & strong fragrances for us, the blind.
All this leads us to the Lunar Eclipse on the South Node conjunct Retrograde Mars in Aquarius on July 27th. As we are called to purge that which is not needed during this eclipse, we are needing clarity to assure we are not throwing in that which is needed. Once again, Linden, Yarrow & also Sage (Salvia officinalis) will guide this purging with wise judgment. Yet we do not only need clarity, we need to be about to lose ourselves in the darkness of initiation & can call upon Wormwood (Artemesia absinthum), Mugwort, Poppy & Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) as Venus trines Pluto at 9 pm EST as we allow the healing snakes to slither over our bodies in the Ascelpian Dream Temples.