[Image credit: Original photography- "Cadena" by Enric Gener & "Underwater Dance" by Marta Syrko | Collage by Shawnie Hamer ]
I once knew a man who, by all appearances, was ‘doing well’. He was sweet, good looking, popular…you get the drift. Despite this fact, each and every time he would get drunk, he would call his estranged father who had abandoned him as a young boy to cry, cuss, and pick fights. It was like clockwork; some people call their ex’s when they’re drunk, he called his biological father.
One time, chatting with his partner about this routine, she said, “I wish his father could look past his age now and acknowledge the little boy crying out for him.” Hearing this was like a punch in the gut, because aren’t we all little ones when it comes to old wounds, and more importantly, needing to feel loved?
I think many of us can identify how we’ve hidden our inner child--with all their strength, imagination, and vulnerability-- under masks. And man oh man, do we put effort into constructing those masks. We carefully carve, paint, and plaster so people can look at us and say without doubt, “They really have it together.”
But is that really what we should strive for? Is simply driving forward with a stoic face worth anything if deep underneath the surface part of us is suffering? And if that foundational part of us, the part of us that first loved purely, is grieving, how are our current relationships being impacted? What power are we giving away to these ancient (and valid) wounds?
I am mesmerized by today’s Full Worm Moon in Libra, because above all else it's about love. Not just love in a romantic sense, but a deep fulfilling love of both self and other. Libra is represented by the balance, and this cardinal air sign is all about finding justice, peace, and compromise. For this reason, and the fact it is ruled by Venus (the relationship planet), Libra is about how we nurture our connections with others.
What makes this Full Moon so special is that it arrives directly opposite its home planet of Venus, as well as the wounded healer Chiron. Both Venus and Chiron join the sun in Aries, the sign of the warrior. This alignment takes Libra past its usual lovey, peaceful, beauty-driven motives and asks us to go deep into the self to do some serious love maintenance on the old breaks and tears we’ve endured.
This isn’t to say that we should abandon our relationships with others and just focus on the self. In fact, the work we do in this moment will likely bring to light harmful cycles being mirrored in partnerships. This is why the Aries (self) and Libra (other) balance is integral. As Café Astrology explains:
The Aries-Libra polarity is a relationship axis, where Aries represents “self,” and Libra represents “other.” Where Aries is about self-assertion, Libra is about compromise. With the Libra Moon, we’re especially aware of our need for relationships and all that comes with maintaining them — compromising, negotiating, graciousness, and balancing. The Aries Sun, on the other hand, is self-assertive, leading, and personally courageous.
We cannot fully love others if we do not give the same love, forgiveness, compassion, and time to ourselves. I’ll say that again for the folks in the back (and for myself): We cannot fully love others if we do not give the same love, forgiveness, compassion, and time to ourselves.
Much like my friend calling his estranged father in uninhibited states, when we bury traumas and wounds, when we force stagnancy, we unknowingly give power and energy away, power that can be directed towards healing and growth. And make no mistake, it takes the courage and fierceness of Aries to change these patterns.
Which makes me think of our dear friends, the worms. If they did not dive deep into the earth, to the dark and damp places, many plants could not receive the nutrients and water needed to thrive. And, let’s not forget, worms help old things pass away—an especially fitting metaphor for our wounded Chiron.
At the communal level, this moon is also asking us to look within and break down the toxic, rotting things we inherit—such as racism—to nurture spaces where all beings can equally flourish. Libra is, after all, a symbol of balance and justice. And every day we see just how imbalanced we are; our Asian and BIPOC families are suffering at the hands of white supremacy, our planet is still dying at an unprecedented pace...the list goes on. To correct this imbalance, we as a collective must do the work within to fight these dark forces, and then fight like the Aries warrior outward in the world. And above all else, we must lead these internal and external battles with love.
Tarot Reading | The Chariot Reversed & King of Cups
Because of the self/other duality of this Full Moon, I decided to pull two cards. For the self, we pull the Chariot Reversed. The Chariot is a card of maturity, understanding that the world and the self operate within certain rules and forces that we must balance. This is most commonly depicted as the worldly urges and desires of the self (the dark horse/wolf) and the civilized, high-minded goals of the enlightened (the white horse/wolf). They are driven by reason, who must learn to control both beasts so they do not crash or split in two.
Rachel Pollack describes this card reversed in 78 Degrees of Wisdom:
The Chariot upside down implies that the approach of will-power has proven unsuccessful, and the situation has got out of control. Unless the person can find some other approach to the difficulties, he or she faces disaster. Will-power alone cannot always sustain us. Like Oedipus we must sometimes learn to give way to the gods. (69)
Which leads us to our card for the other, the King of Cups. Marie White describes her artwork and the meaning for this card in the Mary El Tarot:
This is Poseidon and the blue flowers are the blue lotus. They are intoxicating and speak of this king’s precedence over sleep and altered states, the subconscious, the active subconscious. Where he is there is not time like we know it, there is no reality or gravity like we know it. It is the home of our imagination of dreams of fiction of mythology of the Moon. Usually it stays beneath the surface but occasionally it rises up and wipes out whole civilizations.
The King of Cups is mastery over your own subconscious, your black horse your animal nature and desires. This is incredibly difficult and powerful…it is so difficult to control this horse that even the greatest…can only do it for a short time before they crash to the ground. Even so, just a glimpse of eternity is enough to transform your soul completely and change you forever.
The message, again, is one of balance. I've never been a fan of binaries, especially ones like good/evil. I believe this, in itself, is not balanced. And I believe we can learn to let go of these imposed rules, binaries, and dualities in order to find our truth. We can let go of this desire for absolute control (to have it together) to open ourselves up to our destinies.
This isn't a green light to give into every whim and desire, or to relieve ourselves of all responsibilities. On the contrary, the King of Cups shows us that we can implement our mastery of imagination and creativity, and dream up new spaces outside of these suffocating limitations to explore and implement lasting, meaningful change—both in the self, and in our relationships.
And when we crash and burn, because we will, we can allow the healing waters of love to help us continue forward with forgiveness.
What a liberating and tender task.
Bibliomancy | Page 51 from Bluets by Maggie Nelson
"129. I don’t know how the jacarandas will make me feel next year. I don’t know if I will be alive to see them, of if I will be here to see them, or if I will ever be able to see them as blue, even as a type blue.
130. We cannot read the darkness. We cannot read it. It is a form of madness, albeit a common one, that we try.
131. “I just don’t feel like you’re trying hard enough,” one friend says to me. How can I tell her that not trying has become the whole point, the whole plan?
132. That is to say: I have been trying to go limp in the face of my heartache, as another friend says he does in the face of his anxiety. Think of it as an act of civil disobedience, he says. Let the police peel you up.
133. I have been trying to place myself in a land of great sunshine, and abandon my will therewith."
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