Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Not all storms
come to disrupt your life,
some come to clear the path
The Aries Full Moon October 1st lights a fire in us and infuses us with the courage and impetus to take bold, decisive action. A Grand Trine in Fire (Venus, Mars and South Node) encourages us to trust our impulse and the enthusiasm for engaging life in the way we feel called to do. But other forces are making this difficult and caution us to take it slow.
The problem is that we are already heated up (Mars in Retrograde in Aries).
We may feel like we are at a traffic light revving the engine waiting for the light to turn green. Our passion for taking action is bottled up with no easy outlet, which can have us feeling frustrated, angry, or impotent.
Mars, in its orbit, has come as close to the earth as it can. It will not be this close to the earth again for another 15 years. So, its presence is making itself known. The planet of action, it will take charge and wage war in order to get its way. It is not well-suited for negotiation or contemplation. Mars is a fighter. Safe passage is found if we can identify day to day what we are fighting for and to choose the good fight. Fighting to put food on the table or the fight to maintain peace of mind, these are examples of the good fight. It is best if we can make our fight a small and manageable one and not something that has us fighting to save the world or some such thing. Even if we want to save the world, chances are there are small definable steps and ways in which we can take concrete and easily realizable actions each day.
This year’s story that is unfolding as Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn travel together is gathering steam as these three giants are each in the midst of turning direct after being retrograde since early summer, and thus moving closer and closer to each other. This means we are readying for the next stage of the project to deconstruct the shared agreements that make up reality and society to pave a way for something new. Momentum is building and will culminate in what promises to be a dramatic climax in October and November.
There is added tension and heat to this already intense dynamic as Mars has moved to square off with the planetary trio. Mars, representing the rights of the individual, is coming up against the wall of authority, Saturn. Life at home and in the world is not exactly going in the direction we hoped, and probably not doing moving forward at the pace we had hoped. We are feeling thwarted in some existential and profound way from moving in the way we want and at the pace we want.
Our revolutionary spirit is stirred
(Uranus quincunx Sun in Taurus and oppose Mercury in Libra)
The impulse for rebellion is fueled by the feeling that our freedom to act as we want has been obstructed. We feel the urge to release what has been repressed. We are looking for fairness and justice (Libra). Within this, our thinking can be erratic and unstable. Mercury turning Retrograde on October 13 will only serve to bring mischief to communications or have the outcome of decisions be unexpected. We can have insights of deep truth and innovative ideas, but it is difficult to stabilize or have them gain any traction. On the world stage we expect more disclosures, more information being released about what has been kept from the public, and increased volatility. But rather than be caught in the storm surging around, we can stay focused on the area of life we can effect.
The fire is building within us and within the collective, but the passion and desire for bold action is not given an easy path for release and resolution. We are in a big stew. it is up to each of us to keep the stew simmering and not reaching a boiling point. If the pressure is released through rash action or outburst, we lose what is cooking. The stew is necessary to produce a new beginning that is a departure from the habitual and former ways of doing things. It takes time. And patience.
If we hold the perspective that human society has entered an alchemical process that will change the very nature of how humanity organizes itself, we can better move with the increasing intensity. In the alchemical process, coal becomes a diamond through a intense process that requires the crucible, the container for the transformation, to reach a maximum point of heat where the crucible is at risk for cracking. Another way to look at it is to think of ourselves in a chrysalis experiencing the dying of the caterpillar so that we can grow wings. It is uncomfortable and requires deep trust. It is a time of surrender and requires lots of heat, intention and focus to bring to the transformative stew to fruition.
“There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift
that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on
to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart
and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into
the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads
above the water. And I say, see who is in there with you
and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing
personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do,
our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word ’struggle’ from your attitude
and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done
in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
--Hopi Elders' Prophecy
We can meet the fire rising within and find safe passage through this stormy time by first slowing down. And, when we can recognize that the heat, the pressure, and the passion we are feeling is beneficial and necessary, then we discover patience for the turbulent process. We can look to taking small, definitive steps. We may not be able to change how our leaders govern, but we can cast our vote on election day. We may not be able to land the big project we are dreaming will happen, but we can write an email. We may not able to shed that extra weight this week, but we can make a healthy meal. Small sure steps is the way through. Drastic action, big decisions or huge risks may only serve to intensify the fire and frustration.
“The doors to the world
of the wild Self are few but precious.
If you have a deep scar, that is a door,
if you have an old, old story, that is a door.
If you love the sky and the water so much
you almost cannot bear it, that is a door.
If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life,
that is a door.” Clarissa Pinkola Estés
The Wings of Pegasus - A Story For Our Times
The Full Moon is aligned with the fixed star Algenib
located in the tip of the wings of the constellation of Pegasus
The grace, elegance and gentleness of this winged horse has captured the imagination of peoples for millenia, and been a favorite animal of children worldwide.
The presence of Pegasus amplifies ambition, vanity, enthusiasm, caprice and bad judgment. It can indicate changes in weather and events concerning ships. But more than the key words associated with this fixed star, I found myself contemplating and finding a kind of crazy wisdom within the origin story of Pegasus.
Pondering Pegasus is to ponder our soul taking flight. It is to feel the freedom of soaring above the fray. Flying with Pegasus, the magical becomes possible. But what created Pegasus? The story of how Pegasus emerged is an example of “No Mud. No Lotus”. From chaos comes beauty. Something pure and refined can spring forth from a series of misdeeds and malice. No matter how convulated the circumstances are that had us arrive at this point in human history, something is possible that is a departure from what we have known. This what Pegasus shows us.
Pegasus is a Greek myth and part of mythology that emerged at the dawn of patriarchy. It is a story of how dominion became domination, and how power to rule became a belief that if I want it, I should have it in any way I can get it. It is a story of the injured feminine and the healing powers of the feminine. I found it worth contemplating at this Full Moon in the midst of the troubled times we are in to provide whispers that echo throughout time of the way to be with the storm.
The story of Pegasus begins with two sea gods who gave birth to three daughters, known as the Gorgon Sisters. As daughters of gods, it would be natural to assume they were also immortal. Yet one of these daughters was mortal. The mortal daughter was gifted with great beauty, while her two sisters were grotesque and ugly, and her thick flowing hair was the most beguiling of all her charms. Her beauty was so striking that it attracted the attention of the great sea god Poseidon.
One day, the mortal daughter was making offerings in the temple of Athena when Poseidon swept into the temple, ravished and impregnated her. Athena was enraged that her temple had been desecrated and wanted retribution. For Athena, it was the mortal daughter caused her offense. It was the beauty that could seduce and inflame a god that Athena found reprehensible.
The enraged Athena turned the mortal daughter’s hair into snakes that writhed and flowed from her head. And Athena changes her eyes so that anything she looked upon was immediately turned to stone. This beautiful mortal daughter of the sea gods was thus transformed into a monster and the most hideous of all her sisters.
The Greek people were so afraid of this monster that there was a collective desire to see her vanquished. And everyone across the Greek lands came to know her name: Medusa.
Medusa has forever since been known as the monster to be feared. The Medusa who was gifted with beauty and grace, the Medusa who was raped by a god and the victim of a goddess’ revenge, this Medusa was forgotten. And Medusa herself became the monster she was rumored to be as her bitterness and anger at the injustice of it all lashed out at any who would dare come near her. It didn’t matter who she was before or what caused her to be a monster, all that mattered was that her presence was a menace and put the people in danger.
There was a young and valiant hero named Perseus who has his own convoluted story. Before he was born his grandfather, King Acrisus of Argos, received a divination that told him his grandson would one day kill him. Wanting to thwart fate, he locked his only child and daughter, Danae in a bronze underground chamber that had no doors or windows. Closed off from the world, the king felt assured that his daughter could never bear a child. But of course, she did. It was the great sky God Zeus who became spellbound by the beauty of the imprisoned princess. Turning himself into a golden shower he slipped through a crack in the roof of her prison and rained down onto Danae's lap.
When the king next opened the chamber for one of his periodic inspections, he found his daughter holding an infant son. While he felt justified in trying to prevent the child’s birth, he could not murder him. Instead, he put both his daughter and Perseus, his grandson, in a chest and threw them out into the sea.
The chest was caught in a fishing net of Polydectes, a king from another kingdom, who gave Danae and her infant son Perseus sanctuary. However, Polydectes was quite taken by Danae to the point of asking her to marry him. When she refused, he decided to have her in any way he could. The problem was Perseus. The boy had grown and had become his mother's Protector, making sure that the king, or anyone for that matter, could have his way with Danae without her permission.
Polydectes devised a plan to deceive and get rid of Perseus. He announced he was marrying another woman. He then put out a royal decree that every citizen was obligated to give a horse as a bridal gift. Perseus was poor and had no way of giving a horse. So, he approached his benefactor, the king, and asked him to name another gift, saying, “I will bring you any gift you ask.” Polydectes had Perseus right where he wanted him, and responded, “Bring me the head of Medusa.” He believed that this errand would be fatal to Perseus and felt confident that one look from the snake-haired monster would turn the boy to into stone.
The gods came to Perseus' aid to help him with his mission. Visiting him, the Goddess Athena gave Perseus her shield and the god Mercury gave him his sickle. They gave him directions on where to find the Granae, sisters of the Gorgon sisters, who would be able to tell him how to find the Gorgons. After a bit of trickery on his part, the Granae told Perseus where to find the nymphs who would give him what he needed to slay Medusa. From the nypmhs, Perseus acquired Hades cap of invisibility and winged sandals. Putting the cap on his head and wearing the winged sandals he flew over the sea and arrived at the cave of the Gorgon sisters without being seen or heard.
He found the three sisters sleeping. Tiptoeing to where Medusa lay, he looked at her through Athena’s shield. He knew that he could be turned to stone if she opened an eye and he was looking directly at her. Looking at her through a mirror would ensure his safety. With Hermes sickle, he then sliced off her head.
He put her head in a sack. Later, he would pull the head from the sack so the eye of Medusa would turn his rivals into stone. The blood that spilled turned into snakes. Medusa's blood was delivered to the healer Aeslipus and with his skill he could poison, heal someone, or even bring someone back from the dead with her blood. Athena would put the image of Medusa’s head on her shield to help protect her in battle.
But the point of this long and winding story is about what happened and what was born the moment Medusa was beheaded. What emerged cannot be fully appreciated without also associating it with the domino effect of the events that led up to it. When her head was severed from her body, the child she had conceived with Poseidon sprung from her head. It was Pegasus, the winged horse. He was released and took flight.
This was a long and convoluted story to tell, yet it somehow reminds me of the story we are all living as humans in the 21st century. There are many transgressions that have been perpetrated by those in power, by our ancestors, and they committed them for all the wrong reasons. The number of misdeeds and missteps is staggering. It is so staggering that we have normalized brutality and deviousness, rewarded greed and avarice as good business. Those in power seize what they want through whatever means are available to them. Those who have been hurt become thugs, criminals, homeless or institutionalized. We wonder how any good will come of all this or if we are destined for more and more mayhem. And then there is Pegasus. From the mud and muck emerged the lotus blossom, the graceful and elegant horse with wings.
There are many adventures that Perseus and Pegasus would each go on after the moment of Medusa’s beheading. They are not relevant to the context of this Full Moon contemplation, except for two. Perseus did kill his grandfather quite by accident and in a freakish way. Perseus was competing in an athletic competition. He was about to hurl a discus but it slipped from his hand before he was ready, and the discuss hit and killed his grandfather, who was sitting in the stands as a spectator. The message here is: if something is fated, well then, it's fated. We can try to run from or outwit it, but in the end it will find us.
The second story centers around a youth named Bellephon who seized and mounted Pegasus, and riding on Pegasus he waged and won battles. But, in the end, he was too ambitious and headstrong (the shadow side of Aries). He decided one day he would ride Pegasus to the home of the gods on Mt. Olympus. Partway, he fell off the back of Pegasus and fell to his death.
We can remember Bellephon this month. We can wage our battles and fight the good fight. We can fight for kindness. We can fight for connection with the natural world. We can fight for our children to receive a better education. We cannot seize Pegasus for our own glory or self-serving purposes. We can appreciate the wings of Pegasus, the wings of hope, and the flight of imagination, but if our ambitions and desires have us flying too high or too fast, we may be risking losing all we have gained.
“We think that the point is to pass the test
or overcome the problem, but the truth is
that things don't really get solved. They come together
and they fall apart. Then they come together again
and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing
comes from letting there be room for all of this
to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
And just as Pegasus was born of events that came before him, we are all born of the events that came before us. We are the result of the longings, the misdeeds, and the fight of our ancestors that paved the way for us to live. We cannot separate the beauty from the ugliness, the honorable from the base. Somehow it is the ingredients that gave birth to this day and to the wings that have grown from our journey to renewal. By embracing it all, we can navigate a safe passage through the stormy and turbulent weeks ahead.
Something else I have thought about as I have contemplated this story. In depth psychology, Medusa is viewed as the shadow side of Athena, with Medusa and Athena being two sides of the same archetype. When Athena's temple was violated perhaps by a storm that brought Neptune's waters rushing into her temple, the violation and pain of it caused a trauma that brought forth the monstor side of Athena that sought to lash out and hurt others. It was only in slaying the monstor she had become, by resolving and releasing the trauma that the gift of the experience could be found. Pegasus could not be born until Medusa was beheaded. Perhaps we have traumas and injustices that have made us hideous. Our minds are twisted with thought and fear and anger. When we take off the mask, the head, of the wounded self, something else is possible. Pegasus is associated with imagination and creativity, and so perhaps symbolizes our own potentials that have been conceived and are gestating inside us waiting for the opening where they can come forth.
I hope we can take heart from what the story of Pegasus evokes with us. In some small way, I hope it deepens our trust in the knowing that something beautiful and unexpected will emerge from all the chaos and missteps that humanity has wrought. Every story passed down through millenia ends the same way. Balance is restored. It is always restored after it has been lost. We are living in a time where balance has been lost. Humanity has lost its moral compass, its North Star and shared purpose. For balance to be restored, change must happen. We are in these times of change. The Full Moon says we are to meet the change with courage and boldness, with patience and steadfastness. We are to take sure-footed steps and not get to carried away, trusting that the small steps we take will ultimately lead to a future where balance is found and humanity comes into its rightful place in the dance of creation.
Final Day for End of Summer Special
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