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.)
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.”
I’m tracing the movement from last month’s full moon, through the Gemini New Moon on June 3rd in preparation for the upcoming Strawberry Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 17th.
Follow Your Own Clock
Last month’s Full Milk Moon taught us to anchor the ecstatic birth energy of April into committed and disciplined action, with a view toward service and the greater good. We looked at how our behaviors and activities succeeded or fell short of our intentions when we examined our priorities. The lesson that emerged became about listening to our own body-clock and our own metabolism and resisting the pull, the undertow, of other people’s expectations, status, and the illusions of progress and productivity instilled by a capitalist economy. The message came in a vision of motion: RISE. This was contrasted to the image of moving forward.
Bring Order to Chaos
This month, we moved through a confusion-generating New Moon in Gemini. This New Moon brought intellectual and mental activity as well as multiple opportunities or possible paths forward. This activity generated enthusiasm perhaps bordering on anxiety. Thankfully the Full Moon in Sagittarius anchors that multiplicity and gives us the opportunity to refocus our minds and actions. The Sagittarius symbols, the arrow and the archer, help keep us aligned with our original birth-purpose associated with the Full Egg Moon back in April. This Moon brings reassessment, re-evaluation. It considers the commitments and actions of this new life we’ve been given, as well as the earthly temptations that form the shadow-side of those engagements. It considers the many paths the intellect generates and offers. Yet the Sagittarius arrow reminds us of our sure course, our purpose. This arrow is the intuition that connects us back to our birth-decision. This original decision is called by various names: God, Holy Spirit, Inner Voice, Soul, Conscience, even Confidence. This arrow directs the many decisions we must face in the spirit of our origin.
Receive (or surrender to) the Fruits of your Labor
The symbols of this month’s Full Moon, Honey, Strawberries, and the Rose, are all symbols of a kind of bounty. In the Catholic mythology, Strawberries represent good fruits of the righteous man. A rose bush was said to have grown at the site of Christ’s death. The rose also symbolizes hope, new beginnings and balance. Honey suggests the sweet reward of unified work and communal focus (this image harkens way back to the divination from April: the Three of Pentacles). Last month we focused our commitments through disciplined action and we are starting to see the fruits.
The divination for this month, The Star, reversed, can be summed up simply as the “blessing in disguise.” The card suggests that there is a collective feeling of overwhelm, perhaps because of that Gemini New Moon. Our faith is being tested by “fruits” that we do not see as the sweet strawberries or honey promised as a return for our disciplined actions. We are questioning our path and our confidence in our intuition because we can’t find the “evidence” we want, the confirmations are not coming at the pace of our expectations. The lesson of the Star is to view the “fruits” we are granted as the gifts that keep us on course. Things do not always appear as we expect. It is a call to shift perspective.
Finally, the Star reversed calls us to re-connect with our intuition through meditation, rest, and our connection with nature. This is essential to ensure we are aligned with our purpose. This divination illuminates our relationship at this time with the Sagittarius Archer: we must nurture ourselves so that our arrows can be swift and sure.
Faith is the True Perspective
Implicit in the New Moon in Gemini is a restlessness of mind that needs to be relieved by a renewed clarity of the Sagittarius arrow. As we move through life we accomplish goals and we create new ones. This Moon reminds us to align those new goals with our highest purpose illuminated by our intuitive voice. The Star reversed encourages us to keep the faith.
This time calls us to move forward in earthly action, committed to and guided by our higher calling, defined through April’s decisive, full moon. There will be the temptations of the ego, selfishness, and overly analytical thinking pulling us back as we attempt to commit the ecstatic energy of rebirth into focused practice. Fear and lack of clarity cling to the self that died in order to be reborn under last month’s powerful Egg Moon. The antidote comes in this Flower Moon, this Milky abundance: self-discipline and service.
The Tarot revelation for the preparation of this month’s Full Moon Gathering, while at first a surprise, soon settled into sense on multiple levels and relevance for many close to me. The primary card, the Two of Swords depicts a woman, blindfolded, under the moon, in front of the water. Her choices are weighing equally upon her. On what grounds should she decide? She requires light, the removal of the blindfold. This light can be interpreted as intellect and clarity. She will also need to marshal her intuition, represented by the moon, prominent above her.
April’s Egg Moon symbolizes renewal and rejuvenation. It is important to reflect on where we are coming from in this transition from one moon to the next, in order to embody and contextualize the change. Last month’s Worm Moon thaw prepared for the coming of the egg. It readied the ground. The theme of the Worm Moon was chaos, a primordial and undifferentiated state. Like the ancient cosmic egg, this moon signifies the imminence of light, not yet manifest. It is the first movement out of the chaos, but still a sort of suspension, a period of interiority before fully entering the world. We are in SUPERPOSITION. Possibilities abound. This is the image of the Two of Swords.
Sometimes we intentionally choose not to see aspects of the decisions we face, or perhaps we don’t have all of the information. Sometimes, information is kept from us through deceit. Alternately, there is only one force that changes the egg from potential to actual: Consciousness. Consciousness, or awareness, is the spiritual catalyst that paradoxically separates and connects us to the external world. The superposition collapses into one or another of the possible definite states.
The indecision reflected in the Two of Swords is resolved only with awareness. It is the moon – intuition – that makes way for birth.
There are two cards which further define the poles, or swords, considered by the Two of Swords. The two forces that must unite or yield for the hatching of the egg.
On the one hand, the Six of Wands reversed suggests having reached a significant development in personal growth, but this is a private success, not ready for sharing with the world. To move towards the Full Moon, we must ask, “Why am I resistant to share at this time?”
This is a card about developing your own definition of success, not comparing yourself to others or seeking approval from outside of yourself. To move forward, we must ask, “What does success look like for me?”
At times, the reversed Six of Wands suggests that you did not receive the public recognition you were seeking. There may be disappointment, discouragement, or expectations that were in some other way not met. This discouragement may have affected you more deeply, wounding your confidence or feelings of worthiness. If a particular project has not been as successful as you had hoped, you may be better off moving to a new environment so you can rebuild your personal brand rather than trying to fix something already broken.
Beware of EGO, the shadow side of this card.
The other sword, balanced in contemplation, is illuminated in the Three of Pentacles. This card represents collaboration and the first steps towards implementation. It is about manifesting that vision of success (provided in the contemplation of the Six of Wands) with the help of others who may be more experienced, but more importantly, who offer different and complementary skills.
This card suggests there is a long road ahead toward the building of a timeless and ambitious structure, but it encourages you along the path by affirming the personal growth and developments present in the Six of Wands. The image of the Cathedral in the card suggests the goal, structure, or purpose aimed for is aligned with one’s highest purpose, and beyond the individual good. This card encourages patience, planning, and collaboration, but the assurance that you have an indispensable role, which you are already underway in playing.
The work of this month is a navigation between the self and others in service of a both deeply personal, yet higher cause. It is the very call to be born, an integration that resolves the tension between the one and the many. The consciousness that cracks the cosmic egg.