I have long been fascinated with the mythos around the fertile darkness, the dark feminine. For many many years, I have felt that our culture has been too light focused (we are developmentally stuck in an endless "summer" in how we approach the world as consumers and in the way we work). The cycles of going within, letting fallow have been harmfully ignored and this is where the truly fertile soul work and wisdom-making takes place. We can gain spiritual insight from the light, but the dark turns that insight into body-and-soul-level wisdom. And I think that part of reclaiming our relationship to the darkness is dismantling the pejorative we have assigned to the dark and dense as "bad/evil/wounded" which frankly is also a root of racism and spiritual bypassing.
I especially love the myths that share our ancestor's understanding of these cycles. There is a good book "the descent to the goddess" that talks about the Inanna myth as a guide for "initiation" (as into greater soul mastery) for women especially, which has similarities to persephone's descent to the underworld. And recently I learned that there are even myths where RA, the Egyptian sun god, descends to the underworld and merges with Osiris, the ruler of the underworld. In my own experience with the masculine principle of the fae there is a chthonic (dark/underworld) aspect and a solar aspect that dance with each other throughout the cycle of the solar year.
Just recently I was spending time with the myth about Gwyn Ap Nudd, the welsh faerie king, god of the wild, and keeper of the underworld who battles with Gwythyr, who is a solar deity, over the hand of the maiden Creiddylad who is the embodiment of sovereignty. Gwyn wins, interestingly - it is not the solar that wins. What has come in my meditations on this myth is that sovereignty is the equivalent to the sacred void and that both the dark aspects and light aspects vie for her attention, but she has a special affinity for the dark. This makes me think of the taoist principles of the emptiness that can flow through nature if unimpeded. When the dark and light forces are in right relationship with the void, the state of nature's sovereignty, then order is restored. It also makes sense that the dark and the void are associated with each other (thus Gwyn winning), because they both are void of light. Also with scientific principles of entropy... energy eventually dissipates (unless there is a new injection of energy). I think that some have interpreted this as "renewal always comes from above, the solar" but in the Innanna myth there is a map for how renewal can come from below, in the darkness. Chinese medicine also recognizes this and the work of Lorie Eve Dechar is especially powerful in showing that the lighter energies (Shen) are not the only sources for renewal, but it can come from the denser energies (the Po and Zhi)... and in some ways the work that is initiated from the dark/ground/dense up causes more foundational shifts than the more solar inputs. In the celtic wheel of the year the cycle of creation really is initiated at Imbolc (Feb 1st) and from a tantric astrology perspective this is the root of the root where the energy is at its deepest descent and then rises again through the chakras (peaking at Lammas in August).
I find it interesting that the new cycle of creation doesn’t start at the solstice, that there are 6 weeks of laying fallow - of deep rest - after the longest night of the year before the new cycle is initiated. That speaks to us about the nature of our own creativity in that when we enter what feels like darkness, we are actually just beginning a longer period of stillness before regeneration can take place.
Overall in my mind we need to better honor the dark, the chthonic, the underworld, as it is just as important part of the creative life force on this planet as the light, but we also need to come into deeper relationship with the void, which gets even less attention than sacred darkness (or gets mixed up and confused with darkness). I will also share that my own experience with bipolar - if I get too light or high vibe focused there is an equally dark polarity that forms in the world of my psyche that must be integrated. If I stay oriented more towards the void, a place of neutrality that favors neither light nor dark, I can interact with anything from the full ray of the spectrum from a place of equanimity. It just feels better to my mind, body and soul.
This is really why I felt called to offer "Wyrd" at the first new moon in January - as a way to tune into the deeper nature of reality and forces of sovereignty, the sacred void, in a way that is not tied to any particular tradition, but rather explores it as a mystic would, through first-hand experience. Learn more.
December Full Moon in Gemini
We are in Sagittarius season. Sagittarius is a fire sign and it marks the start of the alchemical cycle of the zodiac where the elements are taking an “elder” aspect of the element and “becoming” that element - as in Sagittarius has “become” fire, spirit, that thing that creatively moves through all life in an eagerness to explore and become… heart becoming more heart in a deep and creatively explosive way. It is fitting that we have eruptions on Mauna Loa and in Indonesia at this time. Aries, another fire sign, is the youthful, playful experimentation of the embodiment of fire and Leo’ fire is about developing a more masterful way of operating skillfully with the element, but Sagittarius is the wise embodiment of the element that an elder would show. I see sagittarius as the spiritual fire that enlivens us even when we are surrounded by darkness, even when everything else is stripped away. This would have been the time of the year where people huddled around their fires and told stories or the shaman would take mushrooms and journey to inner landscapes and outer realms. Sagittarius has this journeying quality to it. It gives me a sense of spiritual fire as something that is curious and seeks new insight that has meaning and depth - insight that in and of itself contributes something to the world. I recently attended a herbal workshop where they talked about the “fire in the head” as a way of expressing times where we get profound spiritual insight and sometimes find ourselves experiencing different layers of reality. I mentioned mushrooms, but other herbs like yarrow and mugwort (a moon herb) can also bring on these states. I’ve also been shown that this is a time when the solar aspect of reality has descended into the underworld or Otherworld and that with this descent is an enormous fertility/vitality that will re-emerge in the spring. This is the last push of inner activity before a period of lying fallow from the solstice to imbolc, when the next creative cycle activates on a quantum level. It may seem like the natural world sleeps at this time, but there is a lot working behind the scenes.
And then there is the Gemini full moon. Gemini has a similar explorative quality, but it is with the airy mind, not the fiery spirit. As an adolescent element, Gemini brings a playful quality to its explorations - trying out one idea and then disposing it for another or holding paradoxical ideas with ease. What if it is all true? What if none of it is true? Gemini holds these questions with a curious fascination and creativity. Sagittarius, on the other hand, is a little more serious, like life and death, about the Truth (with a capital “T”) it seeks, perhaps because this is a season where death is so close. There is a shared curiosity, but where Gemini is a bit more flippant, Sagittarius brings a gravitas to their explorations. What I have been surprised to learn is that the truest expression of an undistorted Gemini energy plays with these paradoxes from a deep sense of devotion, a heart and mind that is open to the world with a profound desire to touch the ineffable. At the heart of the matter is a dedication to the possibility that existence holds.
For this full moon, you may need to nourish yourself with some deeply embodying activities, because these fire and air energies can be ungrounding. Now is the time to soak in a hot bath or have some nourishing soup. But you can also move with the energies by journaling, dancing, making art that is explorative or meaningful. What piques your curiosity or calls to you for deeper exploration? What thoughts can be tended by the wisdom of your spiritual heart? Enjoy the openness to new mental and spiritual paradigms that this time can bring.
November full moon in Taurus
I love the lunar/solar oppositions… they remind us that wherever we are in our solar transit, that we have a bit of the energy of the year that has passed… and the year to come… with us.
At this moment of Scorpio sun where all around us is decaying, letting go, returning to the earth, we celebrate the Taurus full moon. Taurus, whose season peaks in May, brings her fecund, verdant glory. Taurus teaches us about being abundant with our creative energy, even when all around us life is turning to death and hibernating. Nature is not stingy in how it spends its resources. She is bold and oriented to an ostentatious beauty that tantalizes the senses (think of the red and golden leaves that are falling). Perhaps this is why we love richly spiced foods at this time of year… our abundance goes from the garden to the warmth of a kitchen on these long dark nights.
And Scorpio reminds us that blossoms wilt, not all mating calls are answered, and the energy put into each created thing eventually becomes compost for the next creative cycle.
To me, Scorpio, being a water sign, is like the deep deep waters where the detritus settles, full of silt, decaying mineral, plant and animal life. It is these places of death that provide the nutrients for new life. So many places in the world rely on the nutrients from annual floods to create the conditions for farming. Scorpio holds the fecund power of death and rebirth.
Scorpio is also connected to the deeper sexual animal instincts. This is the time when the Hawthorn berries are just edging past ripe, a plant whose flowers hold the same organic compounds as is found in human sexual and menstrual fluid… literally the life force and death process of our reproductive system. This tree is mythically known for connecting the human to the faerie realms. The faerie realm is also said to be opposite seasonally from the middle world we live in. So they are in Taurus season when we are in Scorpio. I also have been celebrating SO many birthdays in the last few weeks, so there is an abundance of new life that emerges even in this time of dying back to the roots. There is something hugely potent during this time around fertility, death and rebirth and nature spirits hold intimate knowledge of this wisdom.
This full moon is accompanied by a lunar eclipse at 2am on November 8th. This is of course the election day in the US and so we can expect some turbulence. Lunar eclipses reset us, emotionally, foundationally, at a deep level. This is a mirror eclipse as to the one that occurred in May (the only moon circle we had to cancel due to general chaos), so hold on tight for some dredging of the personal and collective Scorpio waters… in the name of the Taurus fertility goddess.
So on this full moon, think of things being stirred up and cleaned out. How do you need to tidy up your mental, emotional, spiritual houses? What deeper, maybe unconscious parts need to be incorporated in new ways in order for you to come into wholeness? And I feel we are invited to play with the creative cycles of death and rebirth. Where is my creative energy abundant and what is actively composting? What is hidden in the deep waters that wants to come to the surface in service to the larger creative force of my life?
October Full Moon in Aries
We are in Libra season and this time is a potent one for me, so I will start by honoring the sun that our full moon is reflecting. When I recently took some of the essence I am making for this zodiac, the sense of energy running down towards the roots was strong. This is the season where trees and plants are pulling their energy back from growth and returning it to their roots. This combined with Libra’s relational nature makes me think of the mycelial network that interweaves between so much of nature.
Like the energy in the roots descending, alchemically our energy is also descending at this time. In tantric astrology Libra continues the dropping of our life force in the chakras back towards our own roots from the crown (Leo) to brow (Virgo) to now the throat. Libra truly is the creative void of the throat chakra where possibilities abound and adapts find their truth and express it in the world. Libra is an air sign, which through her relational nature makes me think of ideas, desires, needs being communicated between people. She is a cardinal sign, which means even though she is air, she shapes and directs the currents of earthly life through her strong communications, communications which can often feel like they emerge from the intelligence of the void. Libra has come to me as a portal. She is officially opening us to the time where in the northern hemisphere the darkness is more abundant than light. At this time the veil between us and the otherworld (the ancestors, fey, and other spirits) is thinner and we are invited into deeper relationship with the unseen. And Libra brings a kind of beauty and harmony to these relationships with Venus as her ruling planet. She rules the seventh house, the house of relationships and brings the wisdom of the void, the emptiness that runs through all of life as a silent, quantum, force. Those who entrain and follow the force, like the Taoists so eloquently describe, find that the cycles of death and rebirth flow with ease.
And yet, we are not just relational beings, we have a sovereignty which the Aries full moon reminds us of. One of the lessons of my work with Aries has been that while it holds the energy of hope, courage, perseverance, and individuation, in its highest form it does so with a deep sense of interconnection, of connection to and partnership with the larger forces of creation. In some ways we are all portals for the forces of creation to act through us. The primal essence of sacred emptiness, of the void, which all emerges from and returns to, speaks through all of creation as the Tao or the Buddhist sense of the emptiness that is the true nature of all things. In this way the Aries sense of becoming “me” is rooted in a profound sense of my connection with the source that is all things. There is no final individuation, only a sense of becoming more of my part of the whole.
I’ve come to understand that when we start to entrain with the forces of nature, like the rotation of the earth around the sun and the seasonal patterns that are expressed through that rotation, then we start to come back into a more intimate relationship with the primal force that speaks through all things. It is a way to “remember” in a world of forgetting.
Aries can often play into the “forgetting” with its wild individualism and Libra brings us back into a sense of relationship.
So on this full moon it may be lovely to take some time to tune into the sacred void and appreciate how it inspires your unique being and life. Some find the void to be an uncomfortable place/being, so take some time to make friends with it, maybe make offerings to it. And do some digging into how the void is moving through your life. What is unfolding for you and how? Are there blocks that you need to engage your Aries will to address? Are there places where you are pushing too hard or not following the flow, which can equally impede your creative process? What is receding for you and how might this actually nourish your roots?
Wherever you are in your journey, may this coming time of sacred darkness be nourishing for you!
Allow your body to sink towards the earth, imagining your energy moving downward like the sap of the trees around us returning to the roots. We are in the time of returning to place of origins, the dark womb that life emerges from. As you breathe, notice the pause between breaths, this is a portal, the void, the place where the cycles inhale and exhale meet. And because it is the place where cycles meet, it is deeply relational, bringing a beautiful rhythm and harmony to all it touches. This is the essence of the Libra sun our full moon is reflecting.
Now notice the inner fire that enlivens your being. The warmth of your body. This is the fire of the Aries moon. Take a moment to feel the liveliness of your heartbeat. As it beats, inwardly whisper the phrase, “this is my heart”. Bring a sense of gratitude to the expression of heart that you uniquely bring to the world. What does your heart dream? What does your heart love? How does your heart love? And feel into those toughened places in your heart that life may have caused to constrict and bring some compassion to how even these places are a unique expression of the whole that is you.
And also bring attention to how your heart is formed from strands of DNA passed on from generations of lives, made of building blocks that are found in wild nature as well as the stars above. There is a way in which you are uniquely you, but you are also interwoven from all of creation. Take a moment of appreciation for your unique expression of life and its interconnection with the past, present and future of all things.
September Full Moon in Pisces
“Birthing” is the word that is coming through strongly for this full moon in Pisces. Pisces is a very watery gestational energy… the place where possibilities are abundant and the yet-to-be are not quite pinned down. It can hold paradox, its energy swimming seemingly in two directions at once. It is not good at decision-making, because it is in the place beyond decisions where the potential of everything exists. As the end of the zodiac cycle, it holds the culmination of everything that has come before. And yet it is the birthplace of the new cycle, of all that is yet to come.
This watery moon is reflecting the very practical, real, and down-to-earth Virgo sun. This is a sun that knows how to choose. It knows what to birth and when. It is both the adult who lives with practical groundedness and the child they bring into the world, coming fresh and new into incarnation, emerging from the watery womb into living, breathing, functional reality.
This is the season of the end of the harvest in the northern hemisphere. The last of the canning and preserving for the winter months would be taking place now. It is a practical time where one is not just basking in the abundance of the summer months, but there is a frugality, a planning for the times where this plenty will be needed for survival.
I feel like in some ways our culture is in this late-summer season… we have been overly abundant in our adolescent energy of consumption and are waking up to the reality that we must act to preserve the abundance that has been offered to us. Winter is coming.
I watch the drying effect of the long summer season on the plants around my home and I realize that the long summer season of our culture is having a similar effect on the earth. As the summers get hotter and drier do we adapt by planting more hardy native species or do we tap into the limited water resources available to us? These are the very practical considerations Virgo is prepared to help us make.
So what will we learn from this time of waking up to the cycles of earth’s fertility? Will we tap into our inner Virgo and make the wise discernments needed? Or are we still collectively in the watery womb of Pisces, still weaving in possibilities so that when we emerge it is with the wisdom of the depths? Or will we doom ourselves by not following the wisdom of the seasons, trapping ourselves in a blinded endless summer that can only mean our doom?
So as you tune into the wisdom this full moon has for you, think of the discernment you are making for your life and the life of this planet. What is still gestational in you and what is ready to be made real?
I have been working with plants as support for emotional and spiritual healing in different forms for almost a decade. I first ventured into this world through flower essences, working with Diana Pepper at Tree Frog Farm. I then started taking herbalism classes through Wildroot Botanicals and began exploring “micro-dosing” tinctures and working with plants as teas to support the system as it unwinds patterns. This led to an intensive on Plants and Planets by Sovereignty Herbs and Ritual Botanica where I started to bring my relationship with astrology to my relationship with plants. As above, so below. What I discovered in my explorations is that the wild intelligence of nature has profound abilities to support psycho-spiritual healing and the development of consciousness. They are our teachers, supporters, healers. And they do this through the relational field – the “this treats that” mindset about plants only goes so far… it is more about our opening ourselves to the relational intelligence of the plants and allowing that to change us.
Through all of this exploration I found the most profound way to relationally connect with plants is through essential oils. Through my training with Aromagnosis in aromatic shamanism I experienced how essential oils bypass the thinking brain and take us deep into the inner realms of our consciousness. The plants hold profound space for a depth of inner work that is possible when we have a wise intelligence that is holding us in our work. In my ancestral and spirit work we rely on supportive powers to hold ritual safety. Plant allies can play this part and essential oils are a very direct way to connect with their support.
The work I am trained in comes to the transformation of consciousness from a Jungian perspective meaning that we work with the alchemical forces of psychological transformation, shadow work and inner parts work (inner gender, inner child) to go through a process of evolution with the plant spirits as the allies and guides for this work. This work looks like dropping into a guided meditation with the essential oil as a support.
I usually work in-person for this work, because, well, smell-a-vision is not something that has been invented yet, but if you have access to essential oils or are open to purchasing some to partake in the work, I welcome working remotely as well. If you would like to learn more about working in this way, feel free to contact me or set up a free initial consultation.
Intentional Peer Support and Maastricht Interviews for hearing voices and paranoia
I hear the voices of nature, the ancestors, and other unseen beings. When these abilities first emerged along with visions at the age of 26 during an internship in India, they caused fear and confusion resulting in hospitalization. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I now leverage my experiences with altered mental states to support others to come into their own relationship with their own experiences of hearing voices or unusual beliefs.
I am certified in intentional peer support for mental health, which means that my approach is to understand the worldviews of the folks I work with, walk along side them as they find their own right relationship with their mental health experiences and share from my own experiences in ways that might be informative or inspiring. Peer support is not about having the answers, I do not have them, it is also not therapeutic, I'm not a licensed therapist, but it is about sharing our experiences in ways that open new levels of acceptance which can emerge into resilience, hope and possibility.
I am also trained in the Maastricht interview protocol by the National Paranoia Network, which is a process of understanding voice hearing and unusual beliefs that cause paranoia. These interviews result in the creation of a document that can be shared with other health professionals as a tool for self-advocacy within the mental health system. They often result in significant personal insight into these experiences and highlight approaches to gaining more resiliency.
I view my own experiences as "spirit contacts" but others may view their own experiences differently. Working with me does not require that we share the same worldview - I support each person in finding their own meaning and relationship to their unique experiences.
I work on a sliding scale basis to make this work accessible. Please contact me or set up a time for an initial consultation to start working with me in this way.
August Full Moon in Aquarius
I’ve been thinking about creative life cycles with this full moon. We have just passed the cross quarter Celtic/Pagan holiday of Lughnasadh or Lammas, which celebrates the harvest (especially of wheat). For those of you that remember way back to the cross quarter holiday of Imbolc in February, this was the “quantum activation” of the growth process that has become the harvest that we now pull in from the proverbial fields of our lives. And February is Aquarius season, so with this Aquarius full moon we are having a hint of new beginnings even as we harvest the fruits of this abundant season.
I’m reminded of the critical nature of the soil as birthplace of new plant life. There are some gardening techniques that really honor the biodynamic nature of the soil and some that even work to preserve the mycelial network in the soil. To me the microbiome and the mycelial network in soil are very Aquarian. They are like little neural networks of communication about the health and fertility of the soil and are critical for any new growth. Aquarius is an air sign, so not readily associated with earth, but I can see how it holds the communication aspect of air in how these networks of beings hold wisdom about the larger creative process of the larger whole of the land and its fertility.
Be prepared to work on grounding the energy of this air/ether and fire moon/sun combo! The full moon in Aquarius is bringing us the energy of something more than air, it is the energy of ether. Ether is the vibration of electrons flitting in and out of quantum reality. It is the quick exchange of information as knowingness flits between realities. We are living in what is called by some the Aquarian age and this describes the way that we are connected to each other and ideas through the electronics that weave through our lives. Aquarius energy lives at the root chakra and is the place of quantum activation of the new cycle of creation.
We are now seeing the fruits of what was planted during Aquarius season back in February. The sun in Leo brings the harvest of those seeds. Leo offers a maturing sense of fire, this is fire in a more adult form, energy moving to the crown chakra and our sense of spiritual connection or knowing. Leo is a flashy energy that demands attention, but also can be very connective, illuminating the beauty in all that beholds its fire. A mature Leo will have a clear sense of their sovereignty not as rampant individualism, but as in how they relationally interweave with the community around them, supporting all to emerge into their shining best selves.
This sun/moon combo is almost as if just as we start to take in the harvest, we start to glimpse the beginning of the next creative lifecycle. We have to simultaneously tend to the roots as we take in the fruits. Pay attention to what this moon is telling you about where your energies might turn to especially in 2023.
So this is a great time to reflect on what has been growing or fruiting in you. What are you harvesting in your life? What passions are burning in you? And what whispers on the wind are you hearing for your mid-range creative endeavors? And remember to bring these reflections into the body, perhaps using breath to move ideas and impressions down into your belly or doing this reflection while walking or hiking. Whatever you can do to remain earth-bound will be helpful for this full moon!
The initiatory power of the smalls
In a recent discussion with Daniel’s Foor’s Practical Animism cohort for Ancestral Medicine and guest speaker Siv Watkins (www.microanimism.com) we touched on an idea that illuminated some of my bipolar experiences from a microorganism perspective. I have heard for years that gut health and mental health are intimately related including claims that people have completely resolved their bipolarity by managing the flora in their gut along with taking certain micronutrients. But what was new for me in this recent animism discussion was to look at the initiatory aspect of the microorganism world from a consciousness-raising perspective. It is fairly commonly acknowledged that entheogens can be used to not only shift consciousness on a short-term basis, but that they can assist people in widening their conscious experience of the world even after the immediate effects wear off. What if instead of looking only at plant medicine for consciousness expansion we also looked at relationships with microorganisms as similar “medicine”?
This idea particularly intrigued me as my own psychotic episodes were directly after bouts of sickness from either a virus or a parasite. Part of my medical narrative has always been “my system was already weak from sickness and so that is why I think I responded so dramatically to xyz input from my life, which ended me up in the hospital.” What is shifting for me now is that I don’t think it was just a simple matter of weakened system, but I think there was a larger shift in my consciousness precipitated by becoming a host for a new entity. When I was in the hospital I was tested for drugs, but I was never tested for parasites (which in later years I did do and they showed up as prevalent in my system). I had always felt that my time in India (which was where my first bipolar episode took place) was psychologically intense, because of the culture, but what if a large contributing factor to my experience of psychosis was due to a microorganism?
I mention my psychosis in the flow of consciousness expansion, because my bipolar episodes have all resulted in a rebirth for me in how I perceive and understand the world. It was like filters I had on the world were reduced or taken away. I could perceive energy and eventually developed my animism practice out of my new found sensitivity as it allowed me to perceive things, including the “voices” and “perceptions” of other beings (putting on the mind of the other being), which wasn't part of my conscious experience before. I think these are all skills that anyone can develop, but that they often emerge suddenly in initiatory experiences and when we are not ready for that emergence it can be diagnosed as psychosis.
And I believe that my ability to perceive other beings definitely extended to my ability to perceive the consciousness of the smalls in ways that I have not been aware of until now. During one bipolar episode (also in India years after my first episode there) I remember trying to communicate with a consciousness which I perceived as causing the episode, but wasn’t sure who or what it was and the way the consciousness presented in our exchange would fit a virus or parasite. It felt alien to me at the time and I remember trying to speak to it of the feeling of love and it was very confused by this concept (a very mammalian one connected to our relationship with oxytocin among other things). That particular episode occurred when I was doing a homeopathic treatment that most likely from my symptoms was affecting my gut. I think that what I was taking was disturbing the symbiotic relationship I had with the smalls and it resulted in what felt like psychosis to me, but could have been a strong conscious reaction from the beings I was host to. I’ve had similar reactions to certain brands of my medication and I am curious as to if the fillers in certain medications affected the beings in my gut in a negative way. All I know is that I would have very persistent feelings of “I have got to stop taking this medication, it is poisoning me” until I found a brand that was “cleaner”.
There have been scientific studies that look at Toxoplasma gondii and schizophrenia and bipolar and have shown a link with this particular small’s effects on the central nervous system and immune dysregulation. There have also been studies that have shown recovery from bipolar linked to treatment of other parasites and this is becoming more studied in regions that have challenges with sanitation and diseases from flies and mosquitoes.
But from my experience I would say that if we looked at things from a pure scientific explanation that we would miss something that taking a more animist perspective of things provides. As I said before, I really feel that my bipolar episodes (and even ongoing navigation of this aspect of my psyche) was incredibly initiatory, as in it initiated me into a new perception of the world around me. I love Siv’s microanimism work, because it honors these entities as the oldest living consciousnesses on the planet. To “commune” with them (and becoming a host for them is certainly an intimate way to deeply commune with them) is to commune with a very direct lineage from the origins of all life… and death.
My bipolar experiences have brought me psychologically into deep relationship with the forces of death. I believe this is why the suicide rates are so high for bipolar, it is common with this diagnosis to feel life and death in the extreme. In fact, one of the medications I take simply helps me to narrow the range of shadow and light (life and death) that I feel in myself and the world around me, so that I can navigate reality in a way that feels comfortable and normal. I do dream of a day where I can handle those more extreme states of awareness without that narrowing, but am aware that it would take a higher level of conscious integration physically, mentally and emotionally than I am currently at.
Talking about the initiatory aspect of relating with the powers of life and death reminds me of the book “Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women.” In this book the initiatory experience is one of descending to the death realms, which is also the birthplace for all new life. It follows the myth of Inanna, a goddess of fertility, who descends to the underworld to visit Ereshkigal who rules there. When she returns from the underworld (after being killed and reborn), Inanna now has the power to not only give life, but she also has the power to send the soul of the first person she looks at to the underworld. This story of gaining new initiatory power through death and rebirth rings true from my own bipolar experiences.
And what if one way of initiation could be facilitated by microorganisms and the more conscious relationship with them as primordial intelligences of life and death? I have a curiosity that this may have been the case for me. I know that the death and rebirth process can take place in a multiplicity of ways (through entheogens, shamanic or spiritual techniques or life events including trauma, the loss of a loved one or illness), but the influence of the smalls might be a less explored source of initiation, one that could have therapeutic implications in how we assess and treat mental health issues.
July full moon in capricorn
This full moon is in Capricorn. Capricorn is the most fundamental of the earth signs, what I translate as metal or stone, the bones of the earth. It gives structure and form to the landscapes of our lives. When I first learned of dragon lines as places where you can often see stones emerge from an earthy landscape like a meadow and how they are known for the energy they bring to a place, it made me think of the fact that energy in the form of water and even dirt is directed by stone. These bones of the earth dictate the shape of the landscape and how the forces of life move through that landscape. Capricorn has a similar force in that it is very preoccupied with building the structures that shape our lives. It is deeply grounded, sometimes can get a little stuck in its groundedness without the ability to easily shift with changing currents. It can also be goat-headedly stubborn, literally dictating my way or the highway.
And yet the truly evolved Capricorns are also in touch with their oppositional sign, Cancer, which is the sun that this full moon is reflecting. Cancer is the womb-like waters that life emerges from and what we can truly call home. The cancerian energy is especially responsive to the shifting currents of the energetic makeup of the relationships in their lives. Cancerians are often very preoccupied by home not so much as a space, but as a place where the people within the space - family members, roommates, event house plants and pets - interact. They are very relationally oriented, seeking a sense of harmony that I think comes from an innate understanding that we all come from the same primordial waters.
So a really evolved Capricorn will be in touch with an understanding of where they come from and how they are relationally connected to others in what they build for their lives and the world.
This full moon can be a great opportunity to take stock in the structures that are supporting your life and take a look at how these are informed by and strengthened through the relationships that weave your sense of community, your sense of home.
My thoughts on the path of deep animist relationship