Last month, we reaped the fruits of the year’s labor. We were graced with new awareness from another year of experience. We learned to identify and honor our boundaries and in so doing, we refined our intimate contacts no longer distracted by diversions and acquaintances, but rather focused on kindred spirits. We now are choosing to spend time with those people who share our values and help to inspire and energize our personal path towards alignment and our highest good.
What defines this month’s transition from the Harvest Moon to the Hunter’s Moon?
The Seven of Pentacles governs this movement from last month’s moon toward this month’s Hunter’s moon in Aries on October 13th. This card is the perfect way to receive last’s month’s harvest. It is about sitting back to take in the big picture. It reminds us to assess the harvest. What should we consume? What should we discard? What should we invest? What should we save? This card reminds us to take a long term view and in so doing, we should be strategic about where to invest our energy going forward. We have to honor our boundaries not just in relationships, but in all work. Where are we encountering discomfort? How can we work more efficiently to ensure we continue moving in an intentional direction.
What are we leaving behind?
The reversed Three of Swords directs us to let go of negative thought patterns that keep us from moving out of harmful cycles of behavior and relationships. We are called to become aware of the negative thoughts we inflict upon ourselves so that we can remove, or soften their influence as we invest energy going forward. In order to honor the boundaries we encounter, we must let go of the negative thoughts that would have us give way to activities or people that don’t serve that big picture view we’ve seen for ourselves. In order to best invest our energy, we need discernment. Discernment is only clouded when we self-sabotage through unconscious, negative self-talk. Sometimes this card indicates an external negativity, grief, or sadness. This card calls us to let that go as well. Letting go can be a complicated process, but likely involves shifting the narratives that keep that pain alive and trading them for more complex versions where we can bring peace to ourselves and forgiveness to others.
What are we moving towards?
Temperance is the card of equanimity. It tells us not to push or pull, but simply to be in the flow of our own lives by choosing faith in our path and purpose. It asks us to use patience and calm as our tools for remaining steadfast on the path we have seen for ourselves. Taking the long view requires commitment and this card shows us what will enable us to make that commitment. It encourages us to seek peace and moderation as we take our time to reach the goals and implement the vision we are now defining.
The Hunter knows what he is after and is defined by the focused act of going after that object. He is methodical and strategic. This full moon falls in the sign of Aries, bringing exuberance and energy to our purposeful work.
This year’s Harvest Moon falls in Pisces on September 14th. It is apropos that both the Harvest and the sign of Pisces mark a culmination, a reaping and a fulfillment.
What defines this month’s transition from the Sturgeon Moon to the Harvest Moon?
All full moons mark a culmination revealing what to let go of and what to moves towards. Last month, we were called to honor our boundaries. This new language of “honor” allowed a shift of perspective, a gentler, less arbitrary application of our values enabled by a true listening. This enabled us to move into a period of kindred spirits. Kindred spirits, unlike simple friendships, are not for our diversion or entertainment. Kindred spirits suggest the mutualism of highest goods because the ground for unity is shared values and shared, potentially co-created, narratives.
The Knight of Cups signifies the essence of the movement from boundaries and kindred spirits into the season of the harvest. This card marks this transition with the energy of intuition, emotion, imagination, a feminine energy. It even goes so far as suggesting a “calling.” In building upon the notion of kindred spirits, this calling has features of humanitarianism, altruism, compassion, and beauty. These ideas call on the notion of solidarity or shared vision for their full manifestation.
The energy of this card is one of peace, or more specifically the drive towards peace, which is a state that reverberates from the individual to the communal and vice versa. Much like the astrological evolution from Aries to Pisces, it is the individual’s evolution into the universal. This evolution does not leave behind the full incorporation of the body, just as Pisces is often associated with the Christ figure, this evolution depends on the humanity still present. Pisces also signifies death, arguably the essence of humanity.
What are we leaving behind?
It is interesting that last month we were moving away from patriarchal values and this month we moved into the feminine energy of the Knight of Cups. (This feminine energy also highlights communal insight, tapping into the energy of the whole as opposed to the energy of the individual. It is an energy that rejects the desires of the ego in favor of the collective; it recognizes the interconnection between personal peace and communal peace.)
The reversed World card signifies either personal closure and the completion of a goal or project, or that such closure or completion is near. This personal ending is necessary for spiritual evolution. The World is a card about incarnate cycles and calls us to look on what we’ve learned. This ties directly back to the harvest. In it’s reversed state, the World card is about taking stock of what the phase has yielded with the perspective of where you’ve come from. Just like Pisces is the evolution from Aries through the other astrological signs, the World reversed can only be fulfillment or closure through a full spectrum of experience.
What are we moving towards?
Harvest represents an awareness gleaned from a year of experience. This awareness doesn’t need to be characterized as positive or negative, it is simply, as it is. This harvest, or awareness, point in the cycle of moons allows us to come up against limiting patterns and therefore enables the release of those behaviors and beliefs that no longer serve us. This card is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Every month I research the moon. I keep expecting to “arrive” at some point, but the overall message is one of transition. Although we think of the Full Moon as a state of being, it is just part of all movement. Despite this, I was a bit frustrated when I drew the Six of Swords this month to describe the movement to the Sturgeon Moon on August 15th. It is the card of transition, of moving away from patterns, behaviors, and people that no longer serve our best interest. The transition signified by this card is more than just simple change, it often rises to the status of a rite of passage. It marks the end of a chapter, even a death, and the beginning of something new. Isn’t this in some way, the nature of all full moons?
What are we leaving behind this month?
We are leaving behind father figures and masculine authority: The Emperor. We are leaving behind patriarchy and it’s corresponding values. The patriarchy is a system of values more than it is men in power. The Emperor represents status, power, and recognition. These are all signposts of the Ego. These values exist internally to varying degrees in each of us, which enables them to manifest in larger cultural and political spheres.
These values often play out in the most intimate arenas of our lives: our relationships. The appearance of this card calls on us to examine they ways that patriarchal values operate in our relationships with other people.
What are we moving towards?
The reversed King of Cups suggests it’s not an easy road ahead. It is time to move towards balance in the emotions and unconscious. It is time to heal these elements in ourselves in order to move into a new system of values. This healing requires honoring of one’s boundaries. Boundaries reveal themselves in the form of turbulent emotion. When we lose our equilibrium or the ability to be our best selves in any given situation or relationship, that is a gift from our unconscious. It is the gift of revelation: here is a boundary. Honor it. This is not something that must be created, willed, or justified to others. Honoring boundaries is a path to spiritual health. This is the path to honoring the others’ boundaries and to regaining emotional equilibrium.
The reversed King of Cups warns us against repressing emotions and against withdrawal. It also warns agains abusive influences. Perhaps these are people who are vindictive, or who leave you with self-doubt or emotional instability. This card paves the way forward by releasing from these kinds of controlling influences. The answer is boundaries.
Last month’s Thunder Moon introduced the notion of boundaries as a refinement of solidarity (the concept from January’s corresponding full Wolf Moon.) This month pushes forward with this movement, replacing the idea of simple friendship in favor of the kindred spirit. The difference between the friend and the kindred spirit is one of values. Values is what creates unity in solidarity. When two are bound in relation because of their faith and love for a third thing. That third thing must be value, a structure, a God. (Read more on limits, boundaries, and commitments from Wendell Berry. This interview came out for last month’s Thunder moon, as part of the confluence of energy around these concepts.)
DREAMLIFE: A collection of women’s dreams, recorded and then translated here as part of the Female Background metabolism. A way in, a way out.
I didn’t remember the owl until he brought me the book about owls that he’d never shown interest in before.
I remembered that we discovered him by ripping up the old wood. It was rotted, but then we went too far, we ripped up the good wood, too. I didn’t rip it up, but I did stand by, not preventing it, and I watched the impulsive and hasty thrashing. I realized the baby owl was living inside, “Wait! Stop!” I implored. Perhaps the ripping-up was part of his birth. He flailed around panicked at the new freedom and in his haste to escape the careless freneticism. He behaved as if just learning to use his wings. He’d been trapped and now needed to exercise his strength. Frightened, he flew to a nearby tree and looked back at those who ripped up his home, eyes wide. I was next to them, but not with them. I, too, stood apart and looked back at them, eyes wide with fear. The owl’s feathers were brown and white, almost stripes, a most beautiful and unusual configuration.
I was having dinner at a restaurant I used to frequent. I thought you never went there any more out of a distaste born of shame. You decided to hate the place instead of yourself. Truly you hated both now. I was surprised to see you there, eating with some friends. (Including some old friends of mine. I don’t speak to them anymore, although I continued speaking with them too long after I discovered they were feral.) You were wearing an old baggy sweater, navy blue with some holes in it, and baggy jeans. Perhaps a hat. All slightly too large and dirty, but intentional none-the-less. You left the table to smoke a cigarette, which surprised me because you were never really a smoker before and now you had a baby. I figured if you smoked, he probably hadn’t quit. I had no feelings upon seeing you beyond my surprise at your presence and at your smoking. Perhaps satisfaction that you’d returned to the kind of filth in which you indulged before you’d ever met me. I was relieved to see you return to something truer, albeit less flattering.
I went outside into the snow and behind me the restaurant was the old house where my dead husband’s parents live. My friends left without me so I used my cell phone to call my father for a ride home although it was late and I worried about his driving in the snow and also wondered if he’d perhaps had one more glass of wine than prudent for driving dark, snowy roads. As I talked with him I saw one of your friends sledding down a hill and she hit a fence and screamed with pain. I saw her crash but didn’t imagine it too be so bad. She continued to writhe and scream, seemingly unable to get up. I ran over to her body in the snow, dropping my telephone with my father on the line. Dropping my way of getting home. She lay face down, a wound swelling and bleeding on the back of her skull. Other injuries to her abdomen; she tried to get up but could not. I told her not to move and went for a phone to dial an ambulance. I worried that she lay in the cold snow, but worried more about moving her. I thought to bring a blanket. I found a cell phone in the snow to call for help, but it wasn’t mine and I couldn’t unlock it. I found my phone. I felt tired and interpreted it as my reluctance to help anymore. Her friends were nowhere in sight.
You were going to travel to Greece and I saw the large, ancient stone walls rise at the coast, a dam holding back the sea. I pointed to the dark and churning waters lapping the top of the wall, hundreds of feet tall, and told you that this was the highest the sea had ever risen in history. The sky darkened grey and navy blue and the stone wall was dark and brown. People still populated the beach, they were too close to the wall to understand or see the threat. You would travel to Meteora.
I lived in a house on the coast. I was there with two men who used to come into the restaurant, someone my friend used to affectionately call “the mayor” because of his gregarious nature and his relationships with so many townspeople. The other was a real estate agent. We all stood on the second floor of the house and looking out of the window I saw the sea rise darkly, pushing against the paneless window. There were traces of clear silicone caulk sealing this fixed panel of glass into the wall; it was never meant to open, perhaps in prescience, but the sea had never risen this high before. The storm had not even begun and the water was already threatening the integrity of the house, testing the caulk.
“You live on the coast, too, just further up. Is the water rising around your windows?” I asked the so-called mayor. “No,” he responded, seemingly unfazed.
“I’ve been having dreams about floods,” I told you. You were in Los Angeles and I was on the East Coast, with dogs recovering from surgery. Preparing for a fireworks display that would terrify the animals, send them running for cover that they would never adequately find, shaking and panting. Years ago the fireworks were viewed as a celebration, but now, there was significant dissent among the population, who, like the dogs, found the bombast terrifying and corrupt. “I don’t think these floods are about me,” I continued. “It is a warning. A message for everyone.”
We continued our conversation, but your manner changed. You were alerted and concerned because your dog was pacing. He needed something, although the answer to his interrogative was unclear, it was not quite his usual behavior. You decided to take him outside and returned my call after a few moments.
As we talked your room began to move. It continued. The floor shook, the clothes swayed in your closet. You needed to sit down.
These earthquakes continued for the next days, opening a massive fissure in the earth. The large crack extended from an area that apparently held water before. The erosion patterns on the desert sand indicate that some of that water was sucked out. The giant crack isn’t the only evidence that the region’s topography has permanently changed.
You tried to hang yourself again. He had to take the belts and scarves rigged around the apartment. You screamed violence at him and he left shaking. Everyone wanted to call an ambulance, but we prevented that from happening. I don’t know if your physical safety is of most importance, but I continue behaving as if it were. Once people came to get you, to look after you, you remained often angry and secretive. This happened before. Six months ago, but before that too, and it would happen again. It is your shame. You’ve decided to hate things and to hate yourself, repeating the story over and over in prayer. It pulls you into the fissure that’s opened in the earth. I wish you were guilty instead. Alchemizing the sickening yellow of loathing into a charcoal lump of regret. After all, charcoal is useful.
I spoke to you yesterday and you said the same things you’ve always said, writhing in the snow, head bleeding. All the while insisting you’re fine.
The dog pulled out his stitches. Again. Reopening the wound that never healed.
The movement from last month’s Strawberry Moon though the July 2nd New Moon Eclipse in Cancer, culminating in another Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn, the Full Thunder Moon, on July 16th, could be described as transition, but this year, it is more like a wake up call, and a hard one at that.
Thunder is the voice of the Gods, perfecting those in heaven and devastating those in hell. There is a choice, a reckoning, to face the revelations that eclipses bring and choose to release old patterns in favor of our own health and spirit. The process of leaving patterns and structures that no longer serve is sustained and guided by trust. This trust knows we are headed in a more sustainable direction and that we must adhere to the mandates of our own metabolism.
Taking care of others before we take care of ourselves is not taking care of anyone. We can not be our most lucid and patient selves without the fortification of appropriate boundaries and physical health.
This period of time is an opportunity for change. We are still in the energy of the “blessing in disguise” from last month, to the extent that beginning on July 7th with Mercury, seven celestial bodes will turn retrograde. Although this may feel inconvenient, even painful to some, this is a gift of slowing down, of catching our breath. This is the time to surrender.
Thunder is a profound discharge of energy. This Full Moon brings that violence in order to liberate us from fruitless narratives cluttering our past and reminding us that we already know the way.
The upright Six of Swords reiterates and affirms the message of the Thunder Moon: this is a rite of passage. The psychological effect of the rite of passage is cognitive dissonance. This is an uncomfortable state triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence perceived by the person. When confronted with facts that contradict beliefs, ideals, and values, we try to find ways to resolve the contradiction, to reduce discomfort.
The wisdom of the cards, however, tells us that the highest human potential is a state in which we learn to live in the mystery. We do this through faith, surrender, hope, and curiosity. Use this as an opportunity for changing your beliefs about yourself, moving away from whom you used to be and towards whom you want to be. Do not prematurely fill this new space from a place of desperation.
The Six of Swords asks you to reflect on any emotional or mental baggage you may carry as you move from one phase to the next. Your ‘swords’ may be memories, relationships, habits, behaviors, thought patterns and beliefs that are no longer serving you. Decide what you need to take with you and what you can leave behind.
The Clod and the Pebble
by William Blake
Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”
So sung a little Clod of Clay
Trodden with the cattle’s feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:
“Love seeketh only self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite.”