Poem: The Caves

Feb 23  /// Pisces New Moon Poem

 

There are no boundaries here.  The tide rises
to permeate these caves and I welcome the drowning,
like mountain honey on a starved tongue.


Salted ocean is a cold and wet woman, awake
to the billions of stars in her waters. She:
an expanse, cosmic and unknowable, charged
with the holding of things,
people, memory. I breathe her in
like a ship resigned to wreckage
and revealed treasure.


There are no boundaries with Her.
When the cave is full I can see
through time, like the cuckoo who eats by the sun
but calls out in the night, everything is
attainable.


Below, I see the distant glow of Atlantis.
High above, I see Her hellbent on erosion
reaching for and crashing against cliffs.
And there, on the rocks – the lamb of God-
dess


Brigantia, Laima, Hera –        No. My own Mother;
divine and dressed, as she always is, in black and white;
planting flowers, as she always is, in her garden by the water.


There are no boundaries here. The tide rises
to permeate these caves and I welcome my drowning
with offerings of honeysuckle and violets.


I don’t believe in death or in poison.


 

There is
only Her, only the tide. The cosmic mother,
my own mother, memory.


 

 

The infinite.

Passion Path Ritual for Sagittarius Season 2019

Winter is beginning to bite at the forests. This morning, I watched as the sun lifted the fog from the valley, and revealed the glitter of the first frost. That was the indication I needed that it was time, right there in the haze of sunrise, to read the Tarot for Sagittarius season. 

Typically I draw and place cards on intuition, and this was no different. It was easy to connect with the Archer. I saw in my mind’s eye a hunter pressed against a birch tree and hidden by ferns, his breath a cloud in the cold air, waiting for the moment to strike. I drew a simple two card spread for the Archer: 9 of Cups and The World. 

The Archer Sagittarius has us cradled in his rough, calloused hands. We are being held in a scared magnetic space between two polarities, and where we fall will determine the work we must do in the season of Capricorn. As we dance between the polarities we can appeal to the deep wisdom and experience of Sagittarius, and have the added benefit of our own wisdom peering back at us. 

What polarities are guiding us? 

Each of us have years of experience of life on Earth. We have danced, cried, hidden, been seen, felt heartbreak and loss, dreamed, and worked. This experiential intelligence, gained from our perseverance, is guiding us each towards something unique and special to our self development. Meanwhile, the other end offers comfort, familiarity, and risks stagnation of our growth. 

Sagittarius has a sense of humor, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the area in which we are being challenged to apply our experiential intelligence and grow is actually the exact same part of our lives where we are, indeed, the most comfortable. Perhaps it’s our relationship with a partner, a steady job, a daily routine, or a lifestyle choice. Maybe it’s how we communicate, make excuses, or self-soothe. Wherever it may be, Sagittarius is asking us to think bigger. 

A ritual for working with Sagittarius Season 2019 

This is my Passion Path ritual; it helps me understand my inner desires and what excites me most about my life and future endeavors. Feel free to adapt as you see fit: you may want to call the quarters, craft sacred space, or cleanse your space. Anointment with oil is recommended, though not necessary. 

You will need: 

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Colors, optional
  • A candle, preferably red 
  • Cedar, optional 

Draw 9 cups or chalices on a sheet of paper. In each, write an aspect of your life in which you find the most comfort and happiness. Challenge yourself to consider unhealthy or destructive behaviors that you may be latching on to for escape and ease. 

Then ideate around each cup. How could this area of your life be even more extravagant, rewarding, fulfilling, or exciting? What more do you want to learn? Are there any challenges you would like to tackle? Or is there a characteristic, trait, or habit that you desire to develop?  

Each cup offers you a secret door to a garden of even more abundant and renewed bounties. Visualize what might be found there. 

When you’re ready, light the candle. Appeal to Sagittarius for the Archer’s wisdom; you may want to offer cedar or cedar incense. State any amount of your cups – one, two, maybe all nine – and your vision for enriching each. Close your eyes and listen for the Archer. 

You may want to enlist the help of Goddess in order to see and visualize your path. Some Goddesses who are appropriate for this ritual working include: 

Parvati, Isis, Inanna, Psyche, Cerridwen, Juno, Frigga, Lakshmi, Artemis, Bronwen, and Kali Ma. 

A short word of Jupiterian caution 

Though Sagittarius can bring us to a place where the path to abundance is illuminated, its ruling planet Jupiter has a reputation for promising more than it can deliver. For this reason, any manifestation of the visions acquired with the help of Sagittarius or spellwork to achieve your ends should be put on hold until Capricorn season.

Journal Prompts for the Aquarius Full Moon, August 2019

Though not often given credit for her emotional depth, Aquarius has a remarkable talent for inspiring others to look within at their own inner ocean. Much like the image of the water bearer herself, Aquarius is like a therapist; she asks the right questions, guides you with gentle grace, listens carefully – but she never reveals her own emotional sea.

Leo/Aquarius eclipses defined much of the stellar activity in 2016 and 2017. That energy has lingered like mist on our skin, testing our egos and our individuality, while occasionally being enhanced and impacted by other celestial movements. Today that energetic frequency sent by Aquarius, a wise and quixotic cosmic guide, has completed its mission. We’ve had the opportunity to explore new versions of “I.”

Now we enter a new phase of Aquarian guidance.

As we sit down for our therapy session with Aquarius, we need to accept and prepare for its harsh tone. Saturn, Aquarius’ traditional ruler, can be seen in the night sky hovering just above the Moon. Together they aren’t leaving us much space for laziness in our decision making, nor in offering forgiveness. Sometimes, Saturn teaches, forgiveness enables poor behavior more than it releases one from baggage. Sometimes forgiveness is really just being a doormat – especially when the person we need to forgive is ourselves, and our own self destructive behaviors.

Aquarius and Saturn are asking us to be honest about personal integrity. Do we lie? Do we bend the rules? Are we playing fair? Do we gossip, cheat, procrastinate, or speak unwisely? These are the first questions to ask under the Full Moon, and you may find them coming up in your dreamtime if not dealt with while awake. But the culmination is this:

Are you displaying integrity of self in your interactions with others?

The shadow of ego is the desire to please. Our egos and personalities are here to protect us from pain, guide us through life’s struggles, and help us define our goals, wants, and needs. But we are social creatures under the ever-powerful influence of a larger social collective consciousness. The ideas and opinions of others can cloud our minds, resulting in an “I” – an ego – that is more a conglomeration of the surrounding world than an authentic expression of one’s unique, individual soul. 

Defiance of these norms is exactly what Aquarius is famous for, and exactly what Aquarius is here to teach us with the Full Moon. Dress how you want, regardless of what’s in season. Play with makeup. Cut your hair or don’t. Be proud of your eccentric hobbies and nerding out. Be unafraid of your inner self, and unafraid of how the collective may view and judge it. Aquarius knows it’s a waste of Life Energy to do anything else.

Journal Prompts for the Aquarius Full Moon

  1. What choices have I made based on how others might feel, react, or praise me? What was the result of those choices? Am I making similar choices now?
  2. When I imagine a fully actualized version of myself, what is s/he like? What traits does that version of Me have that I don’t currently exemplify? How can I change this?
  3. In what ways do I rely on the feedback of other people? Are any of these unhealthy?

Under the Full Moon, I encourage you to release the need for other’s approval and determine what is most valuable to YOU in your life.

 

How to Honor the Fierce Energy of Lion’s Gate

With the Lion’s Gate today, each of us will receive information regarding the situations around these avatars we occupy. This is a time of Divine and ruthless guidance; it is clarity in the roadmap for the events we have set up for ourselves in this lifetime. Whether or not we listen is up to us.

A few days ago, I was walking to the supermarket down the road from my home and out of nowhere felt lifted off the ground. That particular afternoon, I left my headphones at home. I opted to listen to traffic and the rumbling of the river, now quite full from typhoon season. On my right was the great blue expanse of Osaka Bay, and on my left was the towering green of Mt. Rokko. A warm breeze came off the mountains and twisted around my legs and arms. As I walked, I felt as if it were holding me.

Summer is such a sacred season to me because I can feel the Sun, our beautiful star, generating something tangible. There’s an energy, as thick as a pool to swim in, of leading up to something. And every year, I’m convinced that moment – that special anticipated thing – is the Lion’s Gate.

The Lammas Energy Flow of Lion’s Gate

Like many modern pagans, I utilize the Wheel of the Year to honor and sanctify these times of the year. It’s convenient for anyone living in a standard climate of four seasons. As I’m in Japan at this time, it works – but it’s also a little tricky. My practice is Kemetic, which means I’m honoring gods born of the desert landscape. And, though my spiritual life is a blend of Ancient Egyptian gods, Canaanite imagery, and South Asian transcendental methods and philosophy, I’m also Jewish. Often, sacred days or Beings can feel a little at odds with one another. But this specific day invites all to the table: all traditions, all Beings, all practices, all ancestors; occultists, your yoga instructor, kitchen witches, pagans, and crystal healers. 

Lion’s Gate is a crux of harmonious energy that seeks to uplift, renew, and shift what is within us. Though it’s an astrological time of year that tends to usher in great change, it is also a celebration of a syncretic life – and lives. We are given an opportunity to connect directly with our Higher Selves and evaluate our avatar, our current incarnation, from the lens of our soul’s infinite existence. Our mistakes are valid, our shortcomings planned, our successes honored, and the work to be done is celebrated as more opportunities for deep learning.

Lions are a near-universal symbol. The spirit of Lion lies in the Torah, in Sekhmet, in Vishnu, in Celtic faiths, and is standing guard in front of the shrines of Japan.

Over the years, I’ve adapted the Wheel of the Year to my needs. I want my experience of time and the seasons to represent not only my spiritual practice, but my ancestral background and active experience of climate, ecology, and local wildlife. In Hebrew, Lammas could be referred to as “Et ha-Katsir,” meaning the time of harvest. Lion’s Gate opens during this time. Harvest season is more than reaping the rewards of our hard work; it’s also a deeply metaphysical, honored experience of life eating life. Just as the lion works with her pride to capture, kill, and harvest their prey, we come together to eat of the Earth. 

By eating of life, we create an absence. The fields are empty. Our minds and hearts are filled to their peak while we go with the Earth into a slow descent into the Underworld, to winter, to darkness and hibernation. 

Chapter 57 of the Tehillim, or Psalms, reads:

” 5 My soul is among lions; I lie among men who are aflame; their teeth are [like] spears and arrows, and their tongue is [like] a sharp sword.”

The chapter deals with David’s steadfast trust in the Divine, that all adversity, pain, and suffering has – at its core – purpose. Lion’s Gate is exactly this. It is an astrological and magikal opening through which we eat of our successes and failures, and are presented with a new set of challenges.

As we go into the Underworld over these next months, we will sit with what Lion’s Gate brings us. We will wrestle with it as if we were among flames. And, when spring and the time for planting seeds comes around, we will know exactly what our garden should contain in the following year.

I’ve written a piece before about descent into the Underworld with Inanna and Ereshkigal. Now is no better time to sit with the energies of these Goddesses and explore the Lion’s Gate – preferably with berry pie, cornbread, or some butternut squash.