The Chariot

When I see the Chariot in the upright position, it makes me think of smooth sailing. It can mean literal travel, or accomplishing a goal. It signifies transitions.

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The Chariot in the Celtic Deck is drawn by creepy horses. Maybe that’s a good thing, though. They scare everything out of the way. The Questioner here is very driven to accomplish the task at hand, or they will soon be inspired. There may be a scary intensity to the Questioner. Anger may be a motivator. The Questioner may also feel very restless and reckless. They may be craving an adventure.
Sometimes, there is a hint of caution in the Chariot–don’t go too fast, don’t make your turns too sharp. Stay in control.

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In contrast, Barbara G. Walker’s Chariot shows a calm, elegant rider. He isn’t even holding on to any reins, just trusting the horses to carry him down the red carpet. However, he has to stay alert, otherwise, the horses will just wander off in opposite directions. These two steeds, one black, the other white, may symbolize opposing forces working on the Questioner. These may be internal, or external. However, depending on the spread and the question, the Questioner may be successfully moving forward while holding these contradictions in balance.
The symbol on the front of the chariot is the glyph for Hermes, messenger of the gods, god of words. Maybe a message will be delivered for the Questioner.

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Rhiannon, Celtic goddess, is the goddess for the Chariot in the Goddess deck. She rides an ethereal white horse. Kris Waldherr writes that she “symbolizes the unceasing force of movement that pulls all of life along with it” (The Goddess Tarot, p. 29). Her three birds sing songs that can carry the dead to life, and the living into death (p. 30).
A horse carries people to Tir na Nog, the Otherworld of youth, beauty, and joy.

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Black is mystery, the unknown, the nighttime and dreams. Silver is feminine magic, and the Moon. White is knowledge. Gold is masculine power, and the warm sun that lights the day. They are in perfect balance, just like the yin/yang symbol on the chariot. The rider is not only confident, but joyous. The sun shines upon him and his horses. Things are going really well–either he’s got such strong control that he doesn’t need reins, or he is much beloved by his horses, so he can rest in the happiness of trust, in himself and in his surroundings. He’s taken the first steps and is now on a roll (Get it?). The Questioner may do the same, depending on the reading.
His canopy is clear night sky, which makes me think of “traversing across the stars,” and the purple is for royalty, and also the color for Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer. It’s also the color of the crown chakra, the chakra that connects us to higher powers and our greatest possible selves. Forging this connection and reaching our potential can and has been compared to a journey.

I’ve been interested in the Chariot from an astrological point of view, in particular because it is associated with Luna, my sun sign. I never really understood the connection between the Chariot and Luna, but this site was very helpful: Check it! Aeclectic is a great site to browsed, and now the Chariot and Luna make a lot more sense. The Chariot is full of contradictions, like sun/moon, black/white, taking risks/being cautious. Luna is like that too. Lunas crave affection, but can push people away with moods as welcoming as barbed wire when they need affection the most. We’re homebodies, but also crave adventure and recognition.

When reversed, the Chariot usually symbolizes two things, frustration and stagnation, and/or recklessness and losing control. In this case, it serves as a heads-up. Once, I got the Chariot during a reading and was told to be careful for any car issues.

Cold, Hard Ground: The Four of Pentacles

The Four of Pentacles reminds me that the gifts of the zodiac signs can also be burdens.  The Earth signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are known for their conscientiousness, frugality, and practicality.    The Shadow side of these are grasping, miserliness, and stubbornness.  The rich soil freezes and becomes rocky.

 

The Four of Pentacles illustrates this Earthy problem.  Four, a number of stability and luck, turns sour with both Cups and Coins.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

 

Pre-transformation Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the archetypes for this card, as well as King Midas.  In Robin Wood’s deck, this man is crowned with money;  he has conquered money (it’s under his feet) and yet, he is not happy.  He looks like a gargoyle, existing only to display that one coin over his chest. But, for whom is he displaying it?  He’s barricaded himself behind a stone wall, heedless of the celebration in the sunshine going on behind him, indicated by the banners.  The Four of Cups could indicate sacrificing friendship, family, and joy to the cult of work.  This is also a card that can indicate conspicuous consumption, as well as miserliness.  Conspicuous consumption rarely has the desired effect, and people quickly lose interest in the new toys of others.  Eventually, the objects cease to be fulfilling.  It looks like the temperature in that little gray box is twenty degrees lower than the temperature outside.

 

 

The symbolism of Barbara G. Walker’s Four of Pentacles also includes high, gray walls.  The door to the fortress is tiny.  This is an exclusive club.  There are no windows, except for the tiny holes lining the top.  The warm, giving nurturing of earth has turned into fallow stoniness and infertility–the grass is brown and the trees are dead.  It’s ironic that this fortress was built to protect the green leaves of money, and yet, how does someone living in that fortress eat?  The person carrying the golden sack is bent under his burden, struggling up the well-worn, sharp-angled path to the tiny door.

As seen on this card, the Four of Pentacles can signify being overworked and under loved.  It can indicate sleepless nights and crappy food while slaving in a cubicle.  The imagination and senses starve.

To be fair, that fort would be the safest place to be during the zombie apocalypse.

 

Here, in Mary Guinan’s illustration for the Celtic Tarot, we have a bit of a separation from the more typically Earth behavior of hoarding and hiding, and the Four of Pentacles becomes bullying and threatening, wanting to add more to the wealth under his feet.  If violence is associated with the Four of Pentacles, it will be subtle and involve an attack on someone’s financial security.  The Four of Pentacles can warn a questioner of someone whose motives are not in his best interest, or that the person they are dealing with is unethical.

 

Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, is pensive here.  Kris Waldherr’s deck is the only deck of mine that has a Four of Pentacles that is a sign of luck, financial stability, and wealth.  This is very interesting to me, as all my other decks use the Four of Pentacles that money should be handled with care.  Go with your intuition with the Four of Cups, and use the surrounding cards to figure out whether the meaning is positive or negative.

 

Reversed, the Four of Cups can indicate that the questioner is being a little too free with her money. The Four of Pentacles may not necessarily apply to money–it may mean that a person is being too stingy (or too free, as the case may be) with his or her time, talents, and goodwill.   There is a feeling of boundaries in this card.  It calls on the questioner to ask which boundaries are too open, which are too closed, and find a balance, like the perfect square the four represents.

 

Archetypes:

Ebenezer Scrooge

the workaholic

the conspicuous consumer

Aesop’s Dog in the Manger

corrupt CEO types

Moon Signs

When people think of astrology and personality, they most often think of the Sun sign.  This is the sign people mean when they ask “What’s your sign?”  However, a person has a Sun sign, a Moon sign, a Rising sign, a Venus sign, a Mercury sign,  a Mars sign, a Jupiter sign,  a Saturn sign,  a Uranus sign, a Neptune sign, and a Pluto sign. My hope is we will talk about all of these.

The Sun sign is the sign of the outward personality.  Jung called it the “persona.” It is the personality traits that people see, and that we are most comfortable showing to the world. That is not to say that this personality is fake. It is a part of us; its energy is the energy that most of the time feels most natural to us. It is also the most “social” energy of ourselves.

However, we have other types of energy that we are born with, and other energies that we can develop.    This energy is closely related to the archetypes that Caroline Myss speaks of in her book Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. Caroline Myss takes Jung’s work with archetypes and expands upon it, but keeps many of the original archetypes Jung worked with.  One of these archetypes is that of the Shadow.

The Shadow can be seen as being an opposite of the persona.  It is the part of ourselves that we may not be very comfortable with, energy we are not sure what to do with, or energy we are not even consciously aware of possessing. Just as the persona is associated with the Sun and the energy of that sign, the Shadow can be associated with the Sun’s opposite–the Moon.

The Moon has long been associated, in astrology, with emotions and the subconscious. The Moon sign, or the sign the Moon was in when you were born,  thus tells how you handle your emotions. It tells about the personality that you may not show outwardly, and that you yourself may not be very familiar with, as the Moon, in traditional astrology, rules that particular realm.  The Moon is also the ruler of the five senses, and your instincts. The energy with which you react to your environment is ruled by your Moon sign, according to astrology.

I myself am a Moon in Aries, which is interesting, since here a physical, fiery sign is in the watery realm of emotions and the subconscious.  My sun is in a sign aligned with water–Luna (the sign formally known as Cancer and also known as Fegerri or Selene. We’re still working this out. At least here at Turtlephoenix).

First, let’s discuss the Shadow as I feel it, in my Moon placement. As a Moon in Aries, I am ashamed of my anger, which sometimes feels consuming.  I am also very competitive, but, because I am insecure and frightened of displeasing others (a common complaint of people in my Sun sign), it tends to show up in self-destructive tendencies when I am feeling off balance–I constantly compare myself to others and never quite measure up.

As a Moon in Aries, however, I feel I have a certain passion for pursuing matters relating to the subconscious, the emotions, and the instinctual.  When I am balanced, this competitive spirit helps me push myself. Also, when I am emotionally committed, I am in it for the long haul. This can be a double edged sword, as I don’t take rejection easily. Going into the more personal realm, I see my exes, both erotic and platonic, as competition in the imaginary contest for whoever is more lovable, desirable, successful, etc.  They usually have no idea they’re running against me. Sometimes, I’m not even aware I’m in the race until my emotional legs give out.

Raven Kaldera chose Macha, an Irish goddess who was faster than anything on earth, including the King’s horses. Her mortal husband bet she could outrun the King’s horses, and the heavily pregnant Macha won the race. When she reached the finish line, she gave birth to twins, and then cursed all the men of Ulster.  This is the Arien anger magnified by the intensity of the Moon.

Arien Moons are always quite open in the expression of their emotions, even if they try to hide them. As a weepy Luna, I have many a time bruised my Arien Moon pride by sobbing in front of people. That is the peril of this fire sign in the Moon, though. It’s too strong to stifle.

Currently, the Moon is in Libra, and tomorrow it will enter Scorpio.  Libra, being an air sign, is an uncomfortable place for the emotional moon, and the Shadow side is charm, flattery, and manipulation–as well as a tendency to play favorites–but it lends a romanticism, and an instinct for harmony and peacemaking that can’t be beat. Raven Kaldera chose Isis for this placement, a goddess whose love and devotion brought her husband back from the dead, but marked her son as a tool for vengeance.

The Moon in Scorpio is powerful, indeed. The emotions here tend to be taboo–the sign of Scorpio rules sex, death, and rebirth–and the subconscious mind can be full of disturbing images that can peek out as disquieting thoughts. On the other hand, a placement here leads to a richness in imagination, fertile dreams, and a deep compassion.  Raven Kaldera chose Hecate for Moon in Scorpio, the Greek goddess of death, crossroads, and the underworld, but also the goddess of midwives. As matriarchal medicine fell out of favor, the midwife became synonymous with witchcraft.  This misunderstanding is very familiar to anyone with a lot of Scorpio energy, who understands that decay brings fertilization.

You can find your Moon sign here, at the Lunarium. Knowing the time of your birth is important, as the moon can stay in a sign for only a day.

Your Moon sign is not alone. All the archetypal energies of the signs and the planets interact with one another, and manifest in similar, but not identical, ways with each person. The fact that watery Luna is my sun affects how my firey moon expresses itself.

I want to take a moment here before we close to remind us that these signs are energy that is accessible by anyone. For example, if you are having relationship difficulties, call on Libra energies to help you balance your emotions.  If you are preparing to do psychological work, either for yourself or for another, bring in Scorpio energy. Here is a quick visualization to help you.

Imagine that you are lying on your back in water of a comfortable temperature. You are completely safe in this water. Breathe smoothly and naturally. As you lie on your back, you are gazing up at the moon.  This moon is a new moon, just a thin slice of silver in the sky.

As you gaze at it, the moon begins to swell into a full moon. As if swells, it fills with the color associated with the energy you want to access–if you need the strength and power of Aries, it shines red and orange.  For Libra’s peace, harmony, and charm, soft pink and blue, and for Scorpio’s courage and insight, scarlet and black.

This light flows down on you, and pours into every cell. It lights up the chakras, the energy centers that form a path from the coccyx to the top of the head.  Absorb this light. You may want to chant a mantra, repeating the quality you most want to draw into yourself–such as “peace,” “courage,” or “strength.”

Soak in this power as long as you need. When the moon is full, bask in it, and feel the water supporting you. Then, let the moon wane until it is again a simple crescent in the sky. Afterwards, say thank you, and go about your day.

Archetypes associated with the Moon:

Virgin/Mother/Crone

The Heart

The Inner Child

The Moody One

Kindness

The Inner Parent

A lion with the sun for a mane

Leo energy is associated with the lion, which is very apropos.  Leos are loyal, royal, and confident.  This energy is proud and bright, just like the sun that rules the sign.  Leo energy can be happy, whimsical,  and childlike (the sign traditionally rules children), like a marmalade- colored kitten, or noble and majestic, like the lion.

Leo is the sign of the Performer, of those who shine out from the crowd with personalities larger than life.  This energy instills a self-esteem that makes the bearer feel like a typical house cat, preening and luxurious.  After all, the sun is the center of the solar system, and that is where Leo feels most comfortable.  The sun is the spring board of creation, of life on this planet.  Leos are the lives of the party, the stars of the show, flamboyant and exuberant.  If out of balance, they are demanding and pouty, and throw colossal temper tantrums, just like Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love and war.  Ishtar was so angry that the hero Gilgamesh turned down her sexual favors that she had a wild bull sent to kill him.  When Gilgamesh’s companion, Enkidu, slays the bull and tosses the bloody hide into Ishtar’s temple, she kills Enkidu (MythAstrology 152-153).  The pride of this placement, and of those who have this energy, is not to be trifled with.

As the Performer, Leo brings joy to people by changing himself to fit his audience. His creativity is expressed by making people laugh, and by creating characters and scenarios. He is born for the stage, for the arts, for the microphone.  If Leo energy does not call its owner to act, it will push him to express his exuberance in some other way that enables him to interact with people. This can be as simple as being known for his friendliness and openness.

Balanced Leo energy loves an audience, but unbalanced Leo energy cannot live without one.  The unbalanced Leo energy causes its bearer to keep a mask on continuously, a mask that attempts to portray its wearer as perfect.  Underneath the cultured regality, and/or the perpetually sunny exterior, there may lurk a deep insecurity (MythAstrology 22).  The person may actually adopt Leo energy as a defense against these feelings of inferiority. This insecurity, instead of being handled in a healthy way, is a catalyst for an intense need to be the center of attention and narcissism.

When out of balance, the warmth of the Leo energy can be too encompassing. It can engulf and burn.  It can turn into rage–not the berserker rage of an Aries, but the sly, “catty” anger that can sneak up on its victim and slice him to ribbons.  It becomes a sense of entitlement, born from that hidden sense of insecurity.

On the other hand, when out of balance, the Leo energy can become cold.  Laughter fades, and creativity becomes fallow. Curiosity vanishes. The flip side of the Sun is, as we all know, the Shadow. Leo sadness is as cold and dark as Leo happiness is warm and bright.

Leo energy, when it comes to love, is pure and childlike. Since Leo is aligned with fire, the energy is passionate and active. Arien energy, also aligned with fire, is physical, competitive, courageous, and adventurous.  Sagittarius, also a fire energy, is philosophical, itinerant, blunt, and independent. Leo is glamourous, cultured, urbane, and charming.

A person with balanced Leo energy is friendly and inclusive, like the sun itself.  Its energy puts a spring or a slink in a step.  It seems to radiate from the person. Leos are full of curiosity and amusement.  The Leo, in allowing herself to be vulnerable, finds that her insecurity goes down.  In being open about her love for others, she will find that this wonderful Leo energy will grow and shine effortlessly, and she will find herself in her natural habitat–the spotlight.

Archetypes, People, and Animals associated with Leo:

Cats (especially Lions)

Actors, Comedians, Dramatists, and other Performers

The Diva

Sun gods and goddesses, especially Apollo, god of the Sun and Performance

Cybele–an Anatolian Mother Goddess who became the Greek “Mistress of Animals”, a Goddess whose worship included wild music, dancing, and performance

Ishtar

Colette–the 1920s French author and actress. Though she is an Aquarius (and has that archetype and energy) she is also very strongly a Leo.

How to bring in Leo energy:

1) Visualize yourself surrounded by the light of the sun. Imagine this sunlight pooling into your body, pouring into the top of your head (your crown chakra) and traveling down your spine into your heart. Feel your heart pump that warm brightness through your body. Let it relax your muscles. Feel your face muscles relax as you smile. Stretch like a cat.

2) Take a step toward being in the spotlight–tell a joke to a group of trusted friends.  Tell a story about an adventure you had.  If you ever had a craving to act, write, or make art, take a class.

3) If you are used to being in the spotlight, the next time you are with a group, encourage someone else to speak, and really listen.

4) Think about your favorite things to do as a child–fly a kite, run through the sprinkler, water color, put on shows.  Do one of those things soon. Note how you feel afterward.  Leo is the energy of children, and it will bring sunny joy into your life if you return to your roots.

5) Put on sunscreen and walk outside on a sunny day.

6) Meditate on your favorite animal.  What qualities of the animal would you like to assimilate into your own personality?  Carry a small charm or picture of the animal as your totem.  Leo is a strong animal energy–very pure and noble, like the energy of children. Think of the lion’s strength, the cat’s contentment, the grace of the deer.  How can you adopt these qualities?

By the way, MythAstrology is pretty much amazing and you should buy it.

Luna

I think it’s time to change Cancer’s name.  Please don’t take this to mean I’m arrogant enough to suppose a name thousands of years old can be changed because I want it to. It’s more that I personally feel uncomfortable referring to myself and my brethren as a disease. Let’s face it, we don’t think of the constellation; we think of the illness.  I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel kind of shitty.

Just for fun, what could Moon Children call themselves? Here are some ideas:

1) Selene. Selene is the goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. This name is easy to remember, and sounds as lovely as the goddess herself.

2) Fegarri. Fegarri is the Greek word for moon. I think it sounds harmonious with Sagittarius and Virgo. The bad part is that it sounds like an alien race from Star Trek. 


3) Huitaco (pronounced we-tah-co) (thanks to my awesome soul sister and colleague, Whitney. Check out her blog, wheresmytower.wordpress.com). Huitaco is the Columbian goddess of the Moon and protector of women. She was also the goddess of pleasure and happiness. The frequently tangled with her consort, Bochica, the god of hard work and sorrow. Bochica reminds me of Saturn, the planet that rules Capricorn, the sign of hard work and hard lessons. Moon Children oppose Capricorn (not OPPOSE oppose, but are opposite each other on the zodiac wheel).  There’s some nice synchronicity there, but the name sounds like “Wheat Taco” which is what we will forever be known as to people who don’t know about the myth.

4) Luna. Italian for Moon, and the Roman parallel to Selene.  Yes, it’s a Harry Potter character (and a character with very Piscean energy, at that, but Leo is a DiCaprio).

I think, for this article, I will refer to this energy as Luna/Lunar. It is the name of our Moon.

I myself am a Luna, and far from perfectly balanced.  I tend to focus on what is difficult about this energy. Luna is a water sign, and Lunar energy is highly emotional. I mean, EXTREMELY so.  It is difficult to separate this energy from these emotions and look at things rationally and impersonally. Also, this is an intense energy. Irritation quickly becomes raging frustration.  The blues and everyday disappointments can lead to sogginess from copious weeping.  On the other hand, contentment becomes joy, happiness is euphoria, and love turns into rapture. We are also literally quite watery; we tend to weep a lot.

The stomach and the breasts are the organs ruled by Luna.  It’s fitting that the breasts would be the organ for Luna–these are the mothers of the zodiac, after all, and the stomach keeps us alive through nourishment, another forte of Lunar energy. The stomach is also full of associations of being loved and mothered with food.

Lunar energy also helps you think with your gut, and aligns you with the third chakra, the bright, sunshine yellow spot of energy located behind your navel.  This spot in your body corresponds to your personal power.  While Capricorn’s lesson is that of mastering perfectionism, and to release the need for external validation, and Scorpio’s lesson is to learn to accept the dark parts of the Self, identify the dark parts that are useful, transmute the useful and let go of what’s not, and eventually rise above the dark parts as a new Self-creation, the energy of Luna is to discover power.  Notoriously timid, this energy’s lesson is to develop a belief in one’s Self, and in the Self’s worthiness.

 Luna rules the stomach, just as Capricorn rules the knees (the work horses of the body) and Scorpio rules the genitals (the seat of birth and death–“Le Petit Mort”).  This is the location of the third chakra. The third chakra is the seat of self-esteem, responsibility, and courage.  Out of balance, this is the seat of low self-esteem and fear, especially fear of rejection and failure (Myss 167-168).

The dark side of Lunar energy is a mess of insecurity. Luna energy that is out of balance give themselves impossible standards, standards so high the person becomes frozen out of fear of failure. It is the same kind of fear that keeps people lonely, because they aren’t willing to approach others.  Lunas are extremely hard on themselves, and tend to say “I’m sorry” a lot.

Lunar love is intense and maternal. It is so intense, in fact, that it hurts. The goddess Raven Kaldera associates with the sun in Luna is Demeter.  Demeter, the goddess of the grain, deeply loves her daughter, Persephone, and when Persephone is taken away by Hades, it sends her into a tailspin, a tailspin that takes the whole world down with it. Crops stop growing, and the earth becomes a cold wasteland. When a Luna feels hurt or abandoned, the psyche becomes a wasteland. A Luna attaches herself to a loved one, not in a creepy stalker way, but a Luna opens her heart to any one she loves, and  gives freely of it.  When the person they love goes away, there is a definite ripping sensation in the heart.

Perhaps this is because Luna is self-protective. When they do trust and love someone, they have to remove layers of their hard, protective shields, the “shell” of the crab. When that trust feels violated, Luna rebuilds the shell again, and reinforces it.

This metaphorical shell is also like a turtle’s shell.  If a Luna is in balance, he can feel at home anywhere  he goes. He will be grounded and secure, and he will help others feel secure as well.

Lunas are all about the love. A Luna will give her all to her loved ones, and will feel guilty if she feels she comes up short.  They are warm, comforting, and sensitive, when in balance. However, when out of balance, Luna becomes clingy and possessive. Unable to express “negative” emotions (and thus possibly anger a loved one) Luna becomes passive-aggressive and as brackish and bitter as a polluted ocean. Alternately, if the Luna is not secure enough to set boundaries, the roiling anger builds up until the dam breaks, and the Luna drowns the world in her rage.

Like the Moon, and the tides the Moon makes, Lunar emotions ebb and flow. This is very feminine; the word “month” comes from the same root as Moon, as do the words menses and menstruation.  I have found that my physical energy, creativity, and motivation also ebb and flow, and I wonder if perhaps other Lunas feel like this. I actually find it rather comforting–I know that when I feel low or dry, the tide will rise and I will be nourished again. Meanwhile, I have spare energies that I can tap.

The Moon is a symbol of illusion. Lunas must be careful to see past illusion. They must be especially careful not to fall into the all-or-nothing thinking common with the shadow aspect of this energy.  When they feel unloved, they must ask themselves if it is really true. They must exercise their minds to see the opposites of their negative thoughts. Can a Luna think of three people that like her? Then, the negative thought is not true. If you feel abandoned by a friend, is it true? Did this friend abandon you? Or are you abandoning yourself by letting this event change how you perceive yourself and your own innate goodness? Did this friend really abandon you? Did a friend abandon you, or just an acquaintance? Or, worse yet, someone who was using you?

Lunas are blessed with great intuition and imagination. Even an out-of-sorts Luna can intuit for her loved ones, even if she can’t intuit for herself. Even if the Luna is suffering from depression or garden variety writer’s block, they have a rich inner life. Sometimes, they must sit down and let the ink flow freely, like water, without any censorship. This helps them access that powerful Moon energy. Since the tummy is the provence of the Lunas, many would do nicely to just think with their “guts” and not overanalyze a decision.

It must be remembered that the energy of the signs is not just for the people born in the sign alone. You may feel you have more energy associated with one zodiac archetype than another, but you can access the archetypal energy of any sign.

Questions for Reflection, and Tips to Bring Lunar Energy in:

1) When making a decision, pay attention to how your body feels, instead of endlessly reasoning yourself through it.

2) Keep a dream journal. Lunar energy, like the other watery energies of Pisces and Scorpio, works with the subconscious.

3) When you nurture others, do you also nurture yourself?

4) What illusions do you maintain? How do they benefit you? How would your life be without these illusions? How can you let go of them?

Archetypes, People, and Animals for Luna

1) Mothers

2) Nurses

3) Family Historians/Museum Keepers

4) Demeter

5) Kwan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion

6) Turtles and Crabs

7) Wolves and Dogs,, symbols of loyalty, family, and friendship

Book recommendations:

MythAstrology: Exploring Planets and Pantheons by Raven Kaldera (You still haven’t bought it yet? It’s awesome!)

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss (I cannot recommend her books highly enough. Expect more discussion of the chakras!)

Loving What Is, by Byron Katie (This is what inspired the suggestions for working with illusions. I’ve worked with Byron Katie not only through her books but on a stage in front of hundreds of people. It changed my life!)

Link

Geminis are a blessed crew.  Natalie Portman and Sean Yseult from White Zombie are both Geminis [note: this is probably the first time Natalie Portman and any member of White Zombie have been mentioned in the same sentence], and they both have things in common–they are both talented and charming. They both have traveled the world. They both have exuberant demeanors. They both seem to be great at absolutely everything they try.  My Gemini friend is the same way, reading books voraciously, studying everything from baboons to co-ops, and traveling around the world.

Aligned with the element of Air, and ruled by Mercury, Geminis are quick and adventurous.  Hermes, the Greek messenger god, could go anywhere on Earth, even the places other gods couldn’t go to or get out of.  Hermes could travel into Hades if he wanted to, but he preferred to travel in more luxurious places, like Elysium or Olympus. He also wasn’t a fan of the bottom of the ocean.

Let’s look at this from a symbolic perspective.  Gemini, being ruled by air, prefers the linear smoothness of the intellect, and the realms of Poseidon and Hades, being of Water and Earth, respectively, are metaphors for the leaky, soggy emotions and the deep, dark, messy subconscious.  Of course, being human beings, Geminis have just as much subconscious and emotions as everybody else, no matter how hard they may try to look cool, breezy, and effortless. In fact, it is vitally important that Geminis accept and integrate these parts of themselves, not only for their mental health, but to improve their communication skills and affect real change in people’s lives.

Gemini is the sign of the twins. Ideally, each twin would be a mix of dark and light, neither one banished to the darkness, or Hades, while the other one is allowed to shine on Olympus. Such was the case with Castor and Pollux, the twins of constellation fame.  Castor was mortal, and Pollux was a god. This is a very fitting metaphor for a Gemini. Often, a Gemini wants to maintain an image of near-perfection. Actually, just an image may not be good enough. The Gemini will want perfection, period. One of the things I observe in Natalie Portman is that there are absolutely no cracks. She is perfect. I cannot imagine her having any flaws, or any pain, and, being a very flawed human being,  I cannot relate to her.  Now, just because I can’t relate to her doesn’t mean nobody can (I doubt any Geminis are losing any sleep over me not relating to them, that’s for sure), but a risk of perfection is loneliness and perhaps alienation.  More than that, repression of the watery side, those negative emotions, or the darkness or crudeness of the earthy side, leads to emotional upheaval. Eventually, madness ensues.

Let’s look at the story of Helen of Troy and her twin sister, Clytemnestra.  Helen of Troy was the beauty whose face launched a thousand ships. Clytemnestra, her twin sister, was married off at age 12, a mother at 13, watched Agememnon kill her baby before he raped her, then forced her to marry him. Agememnon then had their daughter, Iphegenia, sacrificed, so Clytemnestra had Agememnon killed, only to be married by her daughter Electra and her son Laertes. Basically, if there was a suckiest life contest, Clytemnestra would probably win.

Next to a Gemini Helen of Troy, with her charm, free spirit, and never ending luck, it is easy to feel like a Clytemnestra–plain, unglamorous, and long-suffering.  However,  a Gemini is not only Helen of Troy, but Clytemnestra. Geminis are just really, really good at splitting off their Clytemnestras, and drowning her, or burying her deep.  But Clytemnestra has a nasty habit of bursting out of whatever cage she is put in and beginning a reign of slaughter against her oppressors. Eventually, the dark messy watery emotions just can’t take any more of the abuse.  Geminis, and all of us, if we are to have healthy Gemini energy, must take good care of our Clytemnestras. We must treat her kindly. We must talk soothingly to ourselves when we are depressed, or anxious, or furiously angry.  Also, we must remember what happened to Castor and Pollux, the twin brothers of Helen and Clytemnestra. Castor, the humble half of the Dioscuri, was killed, however,  his nobility and love elevated him to near immortal status. At the end of his legend, he and his immortal half-brother, Pollux, spend half their time in glorious Olympus, and half their time in humble Hades.  The humble human can be exalted.

Gemini energy, when fully integrated and balanced, creates a fun and friendly temperament.  Also, the Geminis have extremely active minds, with many interests, and a surplus of talent.  They are also willing to go through uncomfortable adventures. One of the best examples of a balanced Gemini is Sean Yseult.

Sean Yseult was the bass player for White Zombie, but that’s not all. Growing up, she was also a dancer and a straight-A student, and has been a visual artist and pianist since she was a little girl. She is now not only a musician, but a fashion designer. Reading her memoir I’m in the Band is a treat because not only is her writing well crafted and honest, it is also classy and restrained (Geminis are hardly ever crude. They are very eloquent). She is not above talking about the uncomfortable parts of her life, the mortal, messy incidences.  Sean Yseult also does not seem to be crafting any false persona; what you see is what you get with her. I may sound like a gushing fan girl, but, drawing the parallel to the Dioscuri, Sean Yseult has been mistaken for being just a Castor (just hanging out in Rob’s shadow–don’t worry, I talk about him in the Capricorn entry, “The Seagoat”, all the bad connotations that go with women in music in general and metal in particular), when she was a nicely balanced Castor and Pollux, Earth and Olympus.

Archetypes and People associated with Gemini

Good Twin/Bad Twin

The Dioscuri–Castor and Pollux, Clytemnestra and Helen

Hermes/Mercury

Journalists

Travel writers

Eros/Cupid with his little wings, and his relationship with Psyche–he kept her in the dark because, on a psycho-symbolic level, he was afraid of his persona disintegrating

Linguists

Bringing in Gemini Energy: Questions for Reflection

1) How do you treat your Clytemnestra? Do you resolve your negative feelings in a healthy way, or do you repress them out of fear? If so, why are you afraid of these feelings? How else can you handle them?

2) Do you tend to divide people into Castors and Polluxes? Do you treat the janitor the same way you treat the CEO? The plain woman the same as the supermodel? This may be completely unconscious on your part, and not be done out of maliciousness, but as a shield for your own reputation. Pay close attention. Also, are there any parts of yourself that you have deemed unworthy? If not sure, pay attention to your guilty pleasures, and the secret dreams that you don’t want others to know about. Why not? Admit these things. Celebrate them.

3) Gemini rules communication and travel.  Exercise your words to bring a quick burst of energy–write in a journal, play with poetry, write someone a letter (As a Venus in Gemini, I can tell you that words have a lot of power–sexy, sexy power).

Raven Kaldera helped me fill in the gaps of the Dioscuri story–buy his book, MythAstrology: Exploring Planets and Pantheonshere. It is amazing and will melt your face clean off. Your face will heal.

Gentle, Luxurious Taurus

Taurus calls, to my mind, absolute luxury and beauty. It is ruled by Venus, planet of not only beauty and luxury, but also love.  Taurus loves deep and warm, but since its energy is that of the element Earth, they have a practicality and steadiness. While Libra is also ruled by the planet of love, the energy of love in this placement is, in keeping with the air element, more intellectual, more abstract, and, when the Libra is out of balance, fickle.  Taurus is steady as a rock, and while the swift lyricism and charm associated with Libra is not normally associated with Taurus, Venus gives this earthy placement a nice boost in that department. The Taurus has exquisite taste, and a poetic mind.

The Earth energy aligned with Taurus is the energy of the lush rain forests, succulent flower gardens, fecund fruit orchards, and fertile fields.  Taurus energy is not just vibrant green and rich brown, but the brilliant pinks, reds, blues, purples, and aquamarines of all the flowers and gem stones the Earth gives to us as gifts.  If Taurus were fabrics, it would be velvet and silk.  It is a musical energy, and music is a gift for Taurus–even if they can’t sing or play, they are deeply affected by and resonate to music.

I have a friend who is a Taurus, and a friend who has the Moon in Taurus.  They are both very dear and they are both fabulous huggers.  You can seriously melt into their arms.  Raven Kaldera (buy his book!)  describes Hathor, the cow goddess of Egypt that he has assigned to the Taurus Moon, as having “restful arms” (64).  This is certainly true. There’s just something so comforting about a Taurus presence. This is a soft-spoken, gentle energy.  They also tend to smell nice, like a lawn after a soft rain.

It is fitting that the animal for Taurus is the Cow. Cows are known for being sweet and wide-eyed, and nurturing toward their young. A calf is open and trusting. Someone with the gift of Taurus energy has a talent for making people feel loved.  If a Taurus loves you, you feel amazing and deserving. They open up to you and trust you.

Naturally, their is a Shadow to the Taurus, and that is the Rampaging Bull.  Bull-rage is not something to mess with. This is a very physical, visceral anger, that is slow to build and then explodes and flows over anything in its path like lava or scalding steam.  Taurus does not intellectualize his or her anger, and the ability to reason oneself out of one’s emotions is not one of the gifts this energy gives to the people who tap it.  Another good analogy is thunder and lightning. Thunder may begin as a tiny rumble, but then it increases into the darts of the gods.

Another aspect of the Shadow of Taurus is gluttony. This is the sign of the Gourmand, but it can easily devolve into having no standards, and, with the natural exquisite taste and aesthetics of this sign, that is a waste of potential.

Another Shadow of this energy is that of the Indolent.  An unbalanced Taurus has no curiosity. This may not be due to a boring personality, though that may be the case, but to an aversion to change. The Taurus, as we all, must remember that even the Grand Canyon was created through a process of change. If it must be taken slowly, that is all right, but steps must be taken, because the purpose of the motionless is to deaden and decay, making room for and feeding growing things.

Taurus has a gift for creation. This is a creative energy, and, just as important, a sustaining one. Taurus is strong and resilient, and willing to get their hands dirty and put their backs into it.  If this dirtying of the hands and straining of the back is done for the people they love, this could be as much a pleasure as lounging on a satin divan, listening to a sunset concert while sipping ice-wine and letting chocolates melt in their mouths. For many Taurus people, or those who are in the stream of Taurus energy, giving is as effortless as the giving of the Earth herself.

Archetypes, people and animals associated with Taurus

The Cow

Hathor, the Cow Goddess of Egypt

Thor, Norse God of Thunder

The Gardener/Nature Child

Gaea, Tara, and other Earth Goddesses

The Sensualist

The Artist/Musician

The Poet Rumi (read his poetry, it’s down to Earth and yet has that warm, ruby center that the Earth itself possesses

Elephants–for their quiet intelligence (Kaldera 224-225)

Ganesha–for his lust for the finer things in life, as well as his earthy intelligence and loving nature (Kaldera 224-227)

Hints for bringing Taurus energy into your life–

Go to a lush, green, growing place. Surround yourself with flowers, vegetables, and fruit, which are not only lovely but symbolize Earth’s fertility

What do your eyes find beautiful? Your ears? Your nose? Your mouth? Your fingertips? Feast on these things at least three times a day.

Give and receive more hugs. Most mammals die without physical contact. This is quite true for Taurus. Get massages.

Are there any rumblings of thunder in your life? Any irritations or angers threatening to explode into a fire storm from the sky? How can you solve these problems?

Carry a little elephant around, to remind you of Ganesha’s relaxed wisdom, to bring luck, or just to make you smile.

Aries: the Beginning in the Middle

This was originally written on turtlephoenix.blogspot.com in early April.

Aries is the first sign in the Zodiac wheel.  As such, it is the energy of pioneers, progenitors, and paters (fathers).  It is an intensely masculine energy, and intensely fiery. It is no accident that Aries, the sign, and Ares, the Greek god of war, are homonyms, and that the name of the ruling planet, Mars, is the Roman form of Ares.

Aries energy, like its animal, the ram, butts through any obstacles. When something is wanted, and Aries energy is called upon (remember, Aries energy, like the energies of all the other signs, is archetypal, and thus is available to all, not just natives),  the one who accesses it becomes almost frenzied, yet with a sharp focus.  It compels those who have it to fling themselves at the obstacle, or toward the goal, with dedication and ferocity. Very physical, Aries is strong and active. This is a sign and an energy  that loves adventure, and is willing to put itself at risk, just as the rutting rams who pound each other into the ground, sometimes on steep stones over sheer cliff drops, are willing to put themselves at risk to prove who is the most worthy male.

Aries, like these rams, is quite competitive. This is taken to the logical conclusion with Ares/Mars, god of war; war being, of course, an extremely large-scale and deadly competition. Aries energy, if out of balance, becomes dependent on external validation–whether that is mates, accolades, trophies, or others’ fear.  Like fire, the element that rules this sign, Aries can be creative or destructive, and when it is destructive, it is the berserker of the Zodiac.

Before anyone comes to the conclusion that this energy is the energy of the meatheaded jerk, keep in mind that the body part ruled by Aries is the head, the top of the body, the first part of us to enter the world. Aries is innovative and pioneering, but is different from the spirit that rules say, Aquarius.  Aries is the energy of the courageous trailblazer in the wilderness, settling towns.  It is the excitement of the navigator as he sails across the ocean to lands unknown, perfectly willing to sail off the edge of the earth, or venture into the boiling sea, where “there be monsters.” Aries wants to fly to the moon, not only so he can be the first to do it (though that is a big ego boost), but to prove to others that it can be done. Aries trusts that it will survive, with at least a great story to tell, if not a world changing discovery.

Ruled by the head, the seat of the ego, Aries key phrase is “I am.” When out of balance, this can lead to selfishness, and fiery childish temper tantrums, and a “me first” entitlement attitude. When balanced, Aries is warm and welcoming, like a finely tempered hearth. It is open to new adventures, both large and small, including interpersonal adventures.  People with this energy are unprejudiced and inclusive.  They become like The Emperor Tarot card, representing all the positive masculine attributes: energetic, active, wise. They are secure in who they are, and know themselves. The mind and the body are not caught in any dualistic schism (I like using big words, sometimes); they are working together.  It is easy for the physical, competitive Aries to forget that his or her own mind is a vast place to explore. It is easy to shun the quieter, gentler emotions, but Aries energy needs precisely these emotions to stay in balance and in control.

As an Aries moon, I know about the intensity of the emotions that can come with an Aries temperament. Aries rage can eat a person alive.  However,  like any fire, it will burn itself out, if it is not fed. That is the important point, here. It must not be fed.

Aries is quick to lash out, but is also quick to laugh. In balance, Aries can be great fun to be around–there’s always something new to explore, and boredom is not tolerated. Aries is also one hell of a lover. I mean, come on, Rams. Horns. Ruled by the head. Get it?

Bringing Aries energy to you:
Physical activity. If you haven’t worked out in a while, start by walking briskly, then work your way up.  This will bring blood flow to your head and get those endorphins going. If you can do more, do so.

What adventure do you want to have? What kind of scary thing do you want to do before you die? Mine are gallop on a horse, bungee jump, parasail, and go on an upside down roller coaster.  I’ve done all of these so far except gallop on a horse. Yours may be to skydive, swim with sharks, or scale a mountain. Crossing these things off a list feels awesome. What can you do to go on these adventures?

What small risks can you take? Call on Aries energy to audition for a play, invite someone out for coffee, or send out that manuscript.

If you feel out-of-control angry, close your eyes and visualize a fire. Make the fire the same size as your anger. Imagine it slowly burning out until you can fit it in a fire place. Sit and visualize the flames. Can you make it the size of a candle flame? Then, imagine it turning into softly glowing embers.

 

Pisces the Poet

For those of you who have not heard of the myth of Orpheus, let me give you the abridged version.
Orpheus was a bard in ancient Greece. He had such talent that his playing could tame a lion or make a tree bow. He was madly in love with a woman named Eurydice. One day, Eurydice was bitten by a snake and taken to the underworld. To get her back, Orpheus traveled to Hell and demanded an audience with Hades. He played for Hades, and Hades was so moved that he agreed to let Eurydice go back to the land of the living, on one condition: she must follow behind Orpheus, and he must not look back at her until they were both in the light.
They almost made it. Orpheus looked back, and Eurydice was sucked back into Tartarus. Afterwards, Orpheus wandered about in despair, before the Maenads (or the Bacchae), followers of Dionysus, in one of their cannibalistic sex frenzies.Pisces energy is the energy of spiritual secrets, of the mysteries with clues hidden in dreams. Tartarus, and any other underground place, is symbolic of the Feminine, the Great Mother, the womb, and the subconscious. Pisceans are dreamers, both literally and figuratively. This energy is artistic and creative. It has a transcendence to it.

Pisceans, like all water signs, are gifted with intuition (however, if you are not a water sign, do not let this stop you from developing your intuition. This is energy that is available to everybody).  They can think symbolically, and may be more comfortable with the abstract than the concrete, with illusion rather than reality. It is this preference for the romance and beauty of the dream time that can lead the Pisces to self-destruction through addiction.

Pisces is also a sign of sacrifice. Christ himself was symbolized by Ichthus, the Fish. Guess what animal Pisces is? For noble feelings, a creative dream, for love, or for answers to life’s great questions, Pisces is willing to dive deep down into scary darkness. Pisces can forsake its health and even life for union with God, the Great Spirit, the Goddess, you name it. This is the sign of spirituality, but it is also the sign of addiction. A well balanced Pisces will use its gifts to empathize with other people, to be a warm house in the middle of the pouring rain for a friend in need, a nice hot cup of hot chocolate and a gooey cookie after a snowball fight. Well-balanced Pisces energy is compassionate and empathetic, and a person with this energy will go out of his or her way to not only comfort but also to understand someone in pain, even when the person in question is repulsive or performed an evil deed. Because Pisces thinks in the abstract, nothing is black or white. Forgiveness comes easily. A balanced Pisces is also great at dream interpretation, and can help people access and understand their own subconscious minds.

An out of balance Pisces, however, is prone to addiction and self-destruction.  Unbalanced Piscean energy turns someone into a doormat at best and an overdose statistic at worst. Pisces wants to experience altered states, and will try to find it by any means necessary. This can lead to promiscuous sex (not necessarily a bad thing, but it honestly depends on the motive and whether the person genuinely enjoys it), hard drugs, and joining cults.  Self-sacrifice may be performed to get accolades as an artiste, not for any other’s good.  To prevent this, Pisces must learn to assess themselves–what are their motives? Are there any other ways to achieve enlightenment that is constructive, and not destructive?

One wonderful example, from Raven Kaldera’s  wonderful book,MythAstrology (have you bought it yet? Why in God’s name haven’t you? Go here.) is the story of Obalata. Obalata is an orisha, or Caribbean deity, with roots in Africa. He created human beings with clay, and was very gentle, soft spoken, and modest, just like Pisces energy. His talent to create was only surpassed by the love and care he felt for his creations, again, like Pisces.

However, Obalata was an alcoholic (an addiction, something which Pisces can be prone to), and it is said that human birth defects are caused by a batch of clay molded by him when he was wasted. Obalata felt so guilty about this that he quit drinking. One must wonder if he would have stopped drinking if it was only himself he was hurting, and not his precious creations. Given what I know, I doubt it. Pisces can be selfish in their selflessness.

Pisces can rush into madness. They may at first mistake it for deepness of feeling or creativity, and be reluctant to part with it, even for the sake of their happiness. They may go deep, deep down into the abyss and never come back, and that would truly be a tragedy, as Pisces has such soulful beauty to share with the world. How would Orpheus’ story have been different if he had sought healing from his grief?

Archetypal Pisces:
Odin, who sacrificed himself on a tree for the knowledge of the Runes.
Kurt Cobain
Orpheus
Obalata

Questions:
What do you see as being worthy of sacrifice? What would you sacrifice for it?
Keep a dream journal. What are your dreams telling you? Put yourself as a character in the dream. For example, let’s see you dream about a river. Answer these questions, in first person, as the river:
How do you feel?
Why do you feel that way?
What do you want?
Who are you?
When are you?
Where are you?
How much intensity of feeling are you comfortable with? How do you handle your “intense feelings”?
How do you create? What can you do, everyday, to be creative?

Aquarius

Aquarius. The name itself is a mix of liquid and airy vowels and consonants.  It sounds like a charm, and the power of Aquarians is charm.

Aquarians have a grasp of the abstract, the big picture. Like Gemini, the sign of the Twins, and Virgo, the sign of the Virgin (both ruled by airy, quicksilver Mercury), Aquarius is also symbolized by a human being, the Water Bearer.  They are humanist and secular.  Full of intelligence and idealism, Aquarians want to change the world, and they can, with the power of Uranus, the planet of change, revolution, and innovation.

Aquarius is a surprising energy. As an air sign, it is logical and mental, but citizens of the earth born in this sign are very caring for their fellow man, and are willing to follow the most illogical flights to improve the world.  From airplanes to iPods, Aquarian energy, with its willingness to entertain unconventional approaches to solving problems, determination, and mental agility, embraces technology and moves it along (and remember, this is a form of energy, like all the other signs–a person does not need to necessarily have a planet in Aquarius to enjoy this energy).  This is the energy of Athena, goddess of war and craftmanship. Aquarian creativity is mostly practical, but it can also be wonderfully off-the-wall–think of pop art and post-modernism.

Aquarians want to make the world a perfect place. Equality and justice for all are very important to Aquarians. However, Aquarian energy, when it is unbalanced, wants to save the world, but forget about the loved ones who populate an individual’s world. An unbalanced Aquarian will leave her children home alone for weeks while she floats down the Amazon trying to save the rainforest. This is because unbalanced Aquarian energy becomes too airy and mental. Emotions can frighten the unbalanced Aquarian. Saving a world full of strangers is easier for him than talking to his wife. An Aquarian can also be irritated by other peoples’ messy emotions. Look at Athena–this was no comforting goddess. She wasn’t carried under a woman’s heart; she was born fully clad in armor from her father’s forehead. Emotion isn’t practical, and keeps one from taking action.

Another thing that can unbalance Aquarius is holding onto ideas so tightly they become fodder for arrogance. When this happens, the energy of their ruling planet, Uranus, cannot reach them. Uranus prefers the flexible, the unconventional, and the open. This does not mean that Aquarius should be wishy-washy, not at all, but they must strike a balance between their love of their Utopian ideals and their wonderful curiosity. Arrogance cannot be open to new ideas. I mean, how could it?

While Gemini energy is aligned with the Masculine, and Virgo energy is aligned with the Feminine, Aquarius is androgynous. It is too inclusive and unconventional to change one gender over the other. And it is that welcoming inclusivity, along with their lightning minds and idealism, that is so beautiful about Aquarius.

Aquarius archetypes:
Athena
Prometheus, the titan who gave fire to human beings to advance our progress, and died for it.
Tiresias, the blind man who could see into the future, and who lived both as a man and a woman
(please see Raven Kaldera’s book!)

Questions for consideration:
1) are your Feminine and Masculine sides balanced?  Are you more comfortable with one over the other? Remember, Feminine/Masculine alignment is not about genitals. It’s about certain qualities.
2) How can you become more inclusive? How can you share your generosity and caring with more people? On the other side of the coin, how can you share more with your loved ones?
3) What are your ideals? What is important to you–easing the plight of the homeless, caring for animals, preventing the abuse of the elderly, teaching children? What tiny actions can you take to help your cause?
4) What prejudices do you hold? What will it take for you to release them?