Collage by Shawnie Hamer
Today is the full moon in Sagittarius. Today is the Strawberry moon, representing a time when berries ripen full & red. When we pick them from the vine & let the sweet juice drip onto our chins. When we are reminded of the aspects of life worth treasuring & protecting & fighting for. Today is also a penumbral eclipse encouraging us (with the help of Venus in retrograde) to treasure these aspects while exposing the deep shadows of our society, our relationships, & our self.
Today, the United States burns. & today, I am not going to make the same kind of full moon offering. Because today is the day for me to listen to my black brothers & sisters, to turn the volume up on their mics in any way I can.
Some of my favorite humans on this planet are Sagittarius. I am so inspired by the way they combine raw intensity, fire, creativity, adventure, & brutal honesty. They do not believe in adhering to rules, especially if those rules are wrong. They will lovingly tell you exactly what steps you need to take next to do & be better, if you are willing to put your ego aside & accept your path. Sag are perfect examples of (as Mairead Case once said) hearts that are also fists.
As Sagittarius queen & Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Ella Baker, said at the 1974 Puerto Rico solidarity rally, we have to “make the struggle and make the fight for freedom every day in the year every year until they win it.”
This fight includes acceptance of, & education about, our privileges. Understanding our role in perpetuating the same systems of oppression & violence that caused the death of George Floyd & so many others is hard & vulnerable work, & it is the only way that the putrid infection of hate & racism can be completely destroyed. As Chani Nicholas writes:
Unpacking our white privilege (and all our privileges) is meant to challenge every part of our lives that have been made unfairly easy. Solidarity means nothing if it doesn’t also dismantle our unjustly attained power. Peace is sometimes only possible when we are unified in disruption.
Sagittarius energy pushes us to embody this unified disruption, & the eclipse asks us to examine our shadows in the process. As my friend Sarah recently said in a conversation about activism, art, and disruption, we can do it afraid.
& here are some ways we can do it:
1. Educate yourself: the first step to becoming an ally is understanding how systemic racism works, and the parts that we ALL play in it. Education is one of the most powerful tools against the oppressors, because the more we know, the more we can identify and dismantle the rhetoric they use to turn us against one another. The Dismantle Collective has put together an amazing list of resources here: https://www.dismantlecollective.org/resources/
2. Listen: turn the mic up for People of Color, don’t take it away from them. Listen to what they tell you, listen to what they need, even if it makes you feel varying levels of shame or guilt. It is okay to feel these feelings. They are growing pains. The more you face them, the more mindful you’ll be in the future and the better ally you will be.
3. Have the tough conversations: change happens in big and small ways. By having tough conversations with family, friends, and colleagues about privilege, or about the importance of what is happening now, you are planting seeds that will hopefully make them (and yourself) more aware of the part we play in systemic racism.
White people: it is not the responsibility of People of Color to stop racism—that is our job.
We need to be having these conversations with other white people so that People of Color don’t have to. Here is a great list of resources for thinking about//talking with others about whiteness and white privilege: https://www.racialequitytools.org/…/whiteness-and-white-pri…
4. Say something: I think of this point very differently than a conversation. Sometimes racists aren’t interested in learning or talking. Sometimes they just want to perpetuate violence, period. In this case, you must act. Silence is one of the biggest reasons so much hate and racism still exists today. If you see a Person of Color being harassed or attacked, do something about it.
5. Exercise your rights: contact your local, state, and federal government officials and demand accountability. A very user-friendly way to do this is by using Resistbot: https://resist.bot/ which helps you locate and draft letters to your representatives. Also, don't forget to vote.
6. Donate: movements need a lot of support, especially financial support. Here is a list of great organizations you can donate to, as quoted by The Cut:
If you don’t have the financial means to donate, consider donating other resources, such as time or space. Cook meals for the protesters, create safe spaces for rest and reprieve, drop off a case of water bottles, check in on your friends, etc. The possibilities are endless.
7. Take care of yourself: Audre Lorde wrote, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” No matter how you are protesting, self-care is essential not only for stamina, but also to ensure you are well enough to truly show up as an ally. You are not doing any good for yourself or the movement if you are emotionally/mentally/physically fried. Self-care looks different to each person, but here are some examples:
Tarot Reading: 5 of Swords Reversed
The 5 of Swords is a card of conflict & tension. Swords represent the element of air, which is associated with knowledge & strategy. On this card we see Athena, goddess of wisdom, justice, & military victory. This card is asking you to work through suffering & grief with strategy. Not to be distracted or divided, but to come together (with your community, but also with the light & dark parts of the self) to persevere.
The card being reversed tells us that we need to be mindful of our intentions & balance, constantly checking in to ensure we are staying true to the movement. That we are checking our privilege & listening to black leadership. That we are constantly being mindful of how we are feeding ourselves & others so that we remain steadfast in unified disruption.
We can do it afraid. We can do it together. We are always with you.
Stay safe, comrades.
Poem Offering: "Riot" by Gwendolyn Brooks, read by Chris Slaughter
["Scorpion" | Sabine Remy]
In the deep fog of sleep, I dreamt of a bright green scorpion taking refuge in the flesh of my right calf. At first I was afraid, but when I looked closer, I saw that the scorpion was hurt. It was weak, and needed my energy to mend. It will leave when it is healed, I said to figure next to me, which is to say, myself. And when it was repaired, it stretched its limbs and stinger, and crawled away.
When I woke, I whispered her name: Kali. Something inside of me knew Kali had sent the creature to seek sanctuary in my body; she had sent the fear-inducing arachnid as a test of my will. I believe I passed her (first?) test, but it has not been without deep struggle.
For those unfamiliar, Kali is the Hindu goddess of creation and destruction. She is the destroyer of evil forces, and is seen as the Divine Mother or Mother Nature. She gives abundance in one breath, and obliterates in the next. She is the true definition of a bad bitch, and she reminds us that femininity can be both nurturing and fierce.
Etymologically, Kali’s name means the feminine form of time or "the fullness of time." The masculine noun "kāla” is seen as the "changing aspect of nature that bring things to life or death” (Coburn 111). Could there be a more perfect goddess to represent or oversee this period? When time in confinement expands, floods, spills over and around us: days full of death at the hands of a virus, death of our ways of life, death of fragile projections of the self we once believed unshakable.
And in the same moment—but a moment we cannot define—days are full of life. Natural life blooming in the dawn of spring and the much needed break from human activity. Days full of time at home to mend our relationships to success, work, and each other. Time to confront how we treat the planet, what roles we play in silencing others, and the ways we show up as allies.
In the midst of all the chaos and destruction, we have been gifted time as a tool to heal and recreate the dark parts of ourselves we have been burying under the guise of social construct and responsibilities.
May 7th marks the Full Super Moon in Scorpio, and is the last super moon of the year before we enter eclipse season. Scorpios are fixed water signs, but their elements are often mistaken. Their passion and sharp sting can seem fiery, but Scorpios are as emotional and dreamy as they are determined and probing. Scorpios have no interested in small talk or falseness. They are not afraid to burrow deep and rip open, and they want the same from you. While this seems really jarring at first, the beautiful thing about Scorpios is that they don’t scare easily. If you decide to truly open up to a Scorpio, you will usually be met with love and acceptance.
Personally, I have really been feeling this forceful push to examine the dark parts of myself. Things that I believed were long gone or buried have been resurfacing with a vengeance. My mental health has been in constant fluctuation—waking with stability and energy in the morning, and needing to breathe into a paper bag by lunch.
And this is why I am going to do something I don’t usually do in these offerings, and deviate from the desires of this moon. While Scorpio energy might be demanding us to split open and get to the heart of our traumas, shadows, and fears, we don’t have to do it as full-throttle as this moon (and the cosmos) might like. As Chani Nicholas explains:
Happening on the same day as Mercury sextiles Neptune, the Full Moon will help us lean a little more fully into our creative visions and idealism about the future, but be careful with it. Venus in Gemini is currently in a month-long square to Neptune as it stations retrograde, making hype, hope, boundarylessness, and fantasy run wild.
While this seems exciting, if you're like me (aka deep in the throes of individual and collective mental health struggles), this boundarylessness can be extremely harmful. Nicholas adds, “[This moon] cares not for reality, but I do.” The reality is we are in a very difficult, terrifying, and unique time of history, and we are all feeling it. This moon might not concern itself with the circumstance in which it arrives, but we all must, for ourselves and for our relationships.
This is not to say that we need to completely close our hearts and minds to what this moon offers. Scorpio’s ability to seek and hold the truth is a gift that we can glean from. However, we need healthy agreements with this moon; we need to make a pact with it. Just like the green scorpion that rested in my flesh, we can have a harmonious covenant.
What truth is this Scorpio Super Moon asking you to address or release? What trauma or shadow does this truth carry? How can we let this grief heal gently, in the folds and tendrils of the body/self, and how can we know when to let it scurry away?
Tarot Reading: 8 of Cups
The card for this moon is the 8 of Cups. Mary El Tarot creator Marie White depicts this card as a young Hercules—the son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus’ wife, Hera, was jealous of Zeus’ infidelity with Alcmene, and plagued Hercules over the course of his life. Because of his immense struggle, he was blinded with rage and killed his wife and three children. Afterwards, in his grief and guilt, he prayed to Apollo for atonement. His penance manifested in twelve tasks known as the Labors of Hercules. White writes of her painting:
Here Hercules' lion skin is draped over a young and innocent child to symbolize that Strength or Fortitude is due to an open heart and lack of bitterness. The 8 is a mirror and the outside world reflects the inside world. The best way to overcome obstacles at this junction is to keep your heart open, be true to yourself, and overcome the fear that would normally cause you to shut down.
Biddy Tarot describes this card slightly differently. They describe this message as one of release rather than openness, writing:
The Eight of Cups suggests you sense that something is missing, particularly on an emotional or spiritual level, and instead of waiting around for things to get better, you know you need to leave that unfulfilling situation. It may not make sense to others because on the face, it looks as if you have everything you had wished for – but, deep down, you know it’s not serving your Highest Good, and it’s time for you to let it go and move on.
Just like Hercules, we all have demons. We all hold guilt and trauma. And the truth is, we are being forced to acknowledge these shadows not only because of this Scorpio full moon, but because of confinement. These traumas can makes us feel unfilled, lost, unwell, or incomplete, even if we look fine on the surface.
But this does not mean we are powerless. We can decide how and when we face these things. We can decide how they manifest—as raging battles with nine-headed beasts, or as gentle interactions with wounded scorpions. Healing and mental health does not look the same for everyone, despite what many will try to tell you. I don’t know how many times I’ve sought help for my mental health only to be told, “Have you tried meditation? Are you drinking water? Getting enough rest?” Yes, these things are good for you, but the ways in which we face our grief and shadows are rarely to the tune of a gently guided meditation. These processes are messy, raw, bloody, and scary. And they are important. And we have to learn how to let them go when we are through with them.
My hope for you during this Super Scorpio Full Moon, dear ones, is to use your voice and your heart. Find your powerful stinger. Find your inner Kali. Name what you want to fight, face, destroy, or heal. Name what you want to create. Name what you are not ready to let surface. Name what you will not accept, from yourself and from others. Do not go anywhere you can’t come back from. And when you are finished, let it leave. Thank it for what it has done for you. Thank time for the possibility of both life and death. Give gratitude to your own vulnerability—because if Scorpios can teach us anything, it is that acting in true love and vulnerability is where true strength lies.
Sending love to you now and always.
Bibliomancy | Excerpt from “PART I: YOURSELF, IN WAITING ROOMS” in Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics by Selah Saterstrom, page 83:
Waiting rooms. Brother, they hold a certain allure. For
example, we skip through birthstone light and call it a
pilgrimage. Weightless inside amethyst light inside the
Republic of Suffering. Moist blackened spots on a slick
palm, someone again telling the story of the Occupation,
how, Brother, trenched in wide vacancies, everyone’s
eyelashes were sticky-tipped from war.
They put a dress on the woman propped in the chair.
A white dress. Blossom: lock of fur. To be continuously
on fire. As we are. Brother, as you were.
Coburn, Thomas B Devī-māhātmya: The Crystallization of the Goddess Tradition (1st ed). Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1988.
The Mary-El Tarot: Landscapes of the Abyss by Marie White
[Kiyoji Otsuji, Three Photographs from the Series, Saburo Murakami Performing “Passing Through”, (1956)]
When you dream of freedom, what do you see? My first thought is a younger, reckless, more naïve version of myself that used to think freedom was rooted in excess: the ability to do and be whatever it was I wanted in the moment I wanted it. Yes, I am a triple fire sign (Leo sun, Aries moon and rising) and have been known on many occasions to give into my impulses. But this belief was more than just my youth or tendency towards instant gratification. This belief is the lifeblood of dominant Western culture: to consume now is what makes us feel free and successful…for a moment.
But deep down we know that this isn’t freedom. This isn’t what truly makes us whole or happy. Instant gratification passes as quickly as it comes, and we are left once again feeling empty and longing. This cycle is the pulse of capitalism, and the root of so many people’s disconnect.
Now when I dream of true freedom, I dream of true balance. All people having the ability to live free of oppression and hate. All people able to live and provide and thrive with equity. All people feeling connected to themselves and each other and the earth, taking just what they need, sharing what they have, and loving themselves always.
To write of freedom now, in the midst of global lock down, seems ironic. Trust me when I say I recognize the laughable dichotomy of it all. Like you, I have been forced to stay inside the walls of my little home. In quarantine, in lack, in a world full of fear and sickness. Forced to look at myself, my (daily) practices, my privileges, and my expectations of this life in new and uncomfortable ways.
Before we talk about today’s full moon, I think it is important to be aware of the major changes happening in the planets. Chani Nicholas explains that 2020 began by Saturn and Pluto entering into a conjunction with one another. She writes with the help of Rick Tarnas:
Challenging aspects (like a conjunction) between Saturn and Pluto tend to intensify themes of repression, restraint, and the inadequacy of our overarching financial systems… the destruction of an earlier mode of life that in retrospect may seem to have been marked by widespread indulgence, naïveté, denial, and inflation. The last time these two made a conjunction (1981-84), the identification of AIDS was made.
Saturn (the planet of Karma, structure, discipline, and cycles) and Pluto (the great revealer planet; planet of exorcism of buried truth/power) are setting the stage for a new era. From my understanding of this conjunction, the tension being created by this challenging aspect is creative destruction: crumbling false structures and misuses of power in order to build anew.
This doesn’t sound very freeing. In fact, it sounds a bit terrifying. Even the sickest of structures can become a sense of comfort. To put it frankly, Saturn and Pluto don’t care about our fear in this process. They actually encourage it, because to fear means (at least to these planets) that there is something that needs to be shed. More importantly, fear means there is potential to ask yourself: how badly am I willing to fight for the things I want? Then they will test your resolve. But when you make it through (and you will make it through), you will know at your core that these things are what you value most.
I know what you’re thinking: this kind of harsh testing is sort of the last thing our psyches can take right now. I’m sorry to say it, but we are already in it, my friend. The good news is that there are ways to find balance here.
Enter the full moon in Libra. This big, bright, super moon is called the Pink Moon, named by Native American tribes after the wildflower known as "herb moss pink phlox," or "wild ground phlox," that grew during this time. It is also called the full Fish Moon because this is the time salmon swim upstream to spawn. This moon is a moon of birth, of creation, and is the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. But if we really look at these names, we can also see how this moon represents reaping reward after a long struggle. The salmon must swim against the raging currents, and the pink phlox must push through the bitterness of winter, in order create. As we all know, birth is not always pretty; it is painful and bloody, but what is made from that pain is something to be treasured.
This push and pull is where we find Libra. Libras are air signs represented through scales held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. Libras are charming, beautiful, and crave balance. They are as generous as they are self-indulgent. Ruled by Venus, they love as deeply as they want to be loved. Our dear Libras work hard to maintain peace and harmony. However, as cardinal air, they are catalysts in their own right. They forcefully initiate through new ideas and creativity, while still remaining a balancing force among people.
This full moon, along with the Saturn/Pluto conjunction, is asking us simply and straightforwardly to cut the shit.
There is no time left to be sitting in rotting structures, to be playing along with falsities, or turning blind eyes to misuse of power. The time is now to crumble these things that are not only no longer serving you, but also no longer serving this planet. As Nicholas writes, it is time to imagine how to "exchange status for sincerity, rugged individualism for interconnectedness, and corporate capitalism for communal care.”
We are not alone in this process. No, the cosmos are demanding realignment, balance, and authenticity from the collective. If we listen, if we destroy these harmful structures at the individual and communal levels, we might just birth a free world.
Tarot Reading: 2 of Cups Reversed
The 2 of Cups is a card of love. Upright, it is a card of romance, intimacy, and connection between people. This doesn’t always have to be a lover; the 2 of cups means you are in-sync—with a person, with your art, with your environment, etc. As Marie White writes, “This is the force of love which attracts and binds together, unites, coagulates, cooperates.”
Reversed this card is about self-love. This could mean to focus on self-love, or that the love that you have for yourself is out of whack. Biddy Tarot writes:
Here’s the thing: if you don’t love yourself, you’ll end up projecting that lack onto others, becoming clingy and attached, attracting the wrong kinds of relationships to you, or worse, ending up in harmful situations.
Our world is in a bad relationship with itself and, because of this, I truly believe that this card is telling us two things about our full super moon in Libra:
This entire process, the destruction, the emptying, the birth, and the renewal, is about balance. Finding true balance on our planet, and in ourselves, once more.
Just remember the charm, balance, and grace of Libras when you begin cutting out old cycles in your life—be as gentle as you are tough, be as creative as you are destructive, and be as loving as you are in longing love.
& again, remember that you are never alone.
Stay safe out there, dear ones.
Bibliomancy | Pages 45 & 46 from Field Theories by Samiya Bashir
Who was warned about these things:
the neverhush, the maddening chafe
sliding down a reddened bridge, print
Who was told how to brook it?
The houndstooth stench of olding.
That time just runs itself out. That
we Sipyphus ourselves to glasses,
hobble wreckage down stair
after bricky stair.
That once we leave home--its gaseous
oven--that once we walk the same slow
steps as our hide-and-seek sun that
once we face our anti-lovers' anti-gaze:
coats swept open to flash our own
scarred bellies our own hot hands
ablaze with spent matches with burnt-out
How it loosed its jaw to our kisses?
How it unhinged us? How it tried us
like so many keys like so many rusted
locks? How it missed its target despite its
kicking? How maybe its force could kill us?
Without it what's left day after day
to trundle our legs? What's left to push
breath ragged and torn from our lungs?
Who was warned
how these solar winds would leave us
brown and bruised as apples over-
-ripe host and blowsy seed dis-
[collage by Shawnie Hamer]
I write this today from the belly of a plane, which according to the news, is also the belly of the beast. I don’t think I need to tell you that it has been a trying cycle since the last full moon. Things have been...uncomfortable. Everything is churning, spreading— people, viruses, the first blossoms of spring. Watching the first stalks & branches pushing through the melting layers of earth can make us squirm as much as the thought of germs. Because this time symbolizes both death & life—a major dichotomy we are constantly (& arrogantly) trying to reckon.
That being said, we couldn’t have better name for this full moon than the Worm Moon. Named by the Algonquian tribes, this moon represents the time when the snow melts and the worm casings are visible in the soil. Fun fact about me: worms are my #1 phobia. Since I was a little girl I have hated worms, so much so that my parents had to carry me up rainy, worm-ridden paths as a child (for longer than I’d like to admit, I’m afraid). As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the importance of worms, & have developed immense respect for them. This is because they are symbols of (de)composition—they aerate the soil, helping new life to grow, & in the same breath, help breakdown the dead. But they still make me uneasy, & likely always will. They have a thankless job, I’ll give them that. They aren’t commonly loved or worshiped beings, but they push through, they dive deep, they help us sustain.
Which is why it is so serendipitous that today’s full Worm Moon is in Virgo. Virgos aren’t the most loved sign in astrology, & are often given a harsh wrap. Many folks say that Virgos are difficult to deal with, but like the hardworking worm, they are only difficult because they are steadfast. They stay true to their purpose; they get shit done & will call you out when you don’t.
While visiting my friend in Ireland this weekend, we talked about what a Virgo full moon means. We settled on the phrase, “To cut the fat.” But now that I think about it, a more accurate mantra for this moon would be “To burn the fat.” Virgo asks us to shine a bright, hot white light on our routines, habits, & work ethic, & fiercely shed the things that are holding us back. This moon is also a super moon, the first of three in 2020 & the second closest. Needless to say, this moon has BIG energy, & is demanding release. Like someone shining a flashlight in your eyes first thing in the morning, this request can be jarring (& a tad frustrating) but eventually our eyes focus, & we are able to tackle our purpose once more.
The illumination is heightened tenfold by Mercury stationing direct today after a stint in retrograde. As Gala Mukomolova writes:
Whether it's relief from feelings of political powerlessness or a chill that just won't leave your bones, there are messages coming to you on the tail end of a long gale. Messages from the stars, and messages you wrote down last month but misplaced, that mean to find you this month, just in time.
Like Virgos, people like to give Mercury Rx a lot of grief, blaming it for miscommunication & misunderstanding. But, as life often teaches us, we have to be careful what we wish for. Because the universe has a dark sense of humor, not only are we emerging from Mercury Rx in direct, no bullshit, pragmatic Virgo, but our tarot card for this full moon is the Queen of Swords reversed.
How do you deal with blunt, no holds barred honesty, dear reader? Some of us find it difficult to hear, but whether we like it or not, that is what is being given to us in this reading.
When she is upright, the Queen of Swords is the open-hearted intellectual. She is straightforward & direct, but also flexible & open. Like a firm but loving mother, she doesn’t let you get away with a thing. She asks you to see yourself truly, weaknesses & all, to devise a new plan, & to execute it without excuses.
Reversed, this card asks us to find the places where the balance between intellect & emotion are out of whack. While I would argue that emotions are a type of intellect, we can all admit that they get the best of us at times—as we have seen in this cycle of Mercury Rx during the beginning of watery, emotional Pisces season. I know I definitely had a few tears & hurt feelings over cancelled plans, miscommunications, & misdirected emotions the past couple of weeks. But we persevere. We push through the frozen soil. We grow anew.
Our Virgo super moon/ Queen of Swords reversed asks us to shine a light on how we have succeeded, and how we have failed. It’s okay to be tough & honest with yourself here, actually it is expected, but be mindful not to get carried away. Move towards constructive criticism rather than personal degradation. Just because you make mistakes or even fail at tasks doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you a human with the capacity to grow & change, while gaining wisdom in the process.
Which brings me to my last point: communication. The wisdom you gain from this cycle will be imperative to your relationships as move forward into Aries season—a season of action & fire. How can you burn the fat off of fluffy communication habits, both with yourself & with others, in order to honestly & lovingly ask for what you need? How can you translate this into fair delegation? How can you say “no” & mean it? How can you say “I will accomplish my goals” & really believe it?
It will not be without hard work, that is for sure. But just remember: Beyoncé is a Virgo, & if we have learned anything from the Queen Bey, it is that the kind of hard work being asked of us by this Virgo super full moon and Queen of Swords reversed disrupts harmful systems & beliefs with a flare & ferocity people can’t help but bow down to.
It is time for that big Queen energy, my friends, & while this kind of discipline might feel tough now, we will be so grateful to ourselves for getting trimmed & ready for the work to come.
Bibliomancy | excerpt from Page 18 of The Book of Frank by CA Conrad
Frank ate clear around
the sleeping worm
of the apple
"any life saved in this place
is magic" Frank said
"it's life coming back to you"
[Collage by Marina Molares]
Once upon a time, we were taught that to be undone is to be weak. To be undone, to open, to hold, is vulnerability; it is feminine, which is not as valued or as productive in the eyes of patriarchy. To be loving, intimate, & empathetic, to truly open your heart to the world, with all of its beauty & pain, is to remember our connection to all things.
To be undone is to know our wounds, & the wounds of our global family. It also allows us to see the ways we have wounded others, knowingly or unknowingly. How we have wielded or abused power. In the capitalist mindset of "self-promotion at all costs," this is not good for business. It interrupts the climb up the ladder; it forces energy horizontally.
While talking to my dear friend Marie yesterday, we laughed over the fact that some folks learn when they are children how to pretend that have their shit together. “I didn’t learn how to do it until I was at least 18,” she said. I am not sure when it happened for me, but I know it is a practice that I’ve long sustained. It is the hilarious inside joke of humanity, because no matter how much we want to pretend, none of us really know what we are doing.
But what we don’t realize is this practice of preservation, this facade we tediously construct, is actually quite harmful. It isn’t really preservation at all, but a practice in isolation. To be fully vulnerable, with yourself & others, is an act of bravery, one that society doesn’t prepare us for. We are not taught the language of admittance, how to say, “I need you to see me, & to love me, while understanding that I don’t have all the answers.”
I also want to say that preservation is sometimes necessary. There are times we need to go within, to hide our vulnerability, especially in the face of oppressors. But when this mode of survival becomes our automatic setting, we deprive ourselves. We cut ourselves off from of true love.
Don’t let Hollywood hang heavy on this term. True love isn’t just romantic or sexual. True love can take many shapes: friends, lovers, partners, mentors, family. But one of the most important forms—and arguably the most ignored—is that of true self-love.
Do you truly love yourself, reader?
I want to be honest with you: my answer to this question depends on the day, & sometimes even the hour. What I have realized over the last few years of working on my mental health & spirituality is that getting myself to a place where the answer to this question is a resounding “YES” is a lifelong practice. It requires constant nurturing, constant failure, & constant returning. Because we are all worth fighting for.
I have also learned that this is something we don’t have to do alone. By releasing facades & letting others truly see me, all of my scars & my flaws, all of my strengths & talents, I found true love in my community. People who hold me near the light in the darkest times, & who do not let me become complacent when I begin to slip back into old patterns. They encourage me to hold onto my manifestations, & to release unauthentic/harmful personas.
& this kind of love, of creation & action, is what Luna gives us today. Today’s full moon is in Leo, & as a Leo myself, I can tell you that we love fiercely. We want to protect, but also to push. Leo energy sees the best in you, & will do anything to help you see it too. The love of this full moon is big & bold, & demands your respect. Which is to say, it demands you to respect yourself.
This full moon also arrives in Aquarius season, which is very different energy, but one just as stubborn. As Gala Mukomolova writes, Aquarius and Leo are fixed signs that sustain their elements, air and fire, while “overseeing the house of collective wishes and the house of self-expression respectively.” Aquarius is the philosopher, re-imagining the world, theorizing how to achieve societal change. Leo often enacts those ideals, but through more of an individual or communal lens. Leo works from the loving heart, Aquarius works from the psychic third eye.
With these two fixed signs coming together, we are being asked to examine, evolve, & release the ways we dream up love & relationships, especially the one with ourselves. Where has disconnection festered between these theories/facades of the self & love? Where have we hardened or built walls? When did we decide that loving others meant that we have to be pillars of strength without any vulnerabilities of our own? How can we be okay, in both theory & practice, of becoming undone in order to find our true strength? How can we ditch notions of perfection in order to find true love?
This full moon is also called the Snow Moon or the Cleansing Moon. When I think of fresh, powdery snow, especially this time of year, I think of calming renewal. The peace & the silence. The balance of dark & light—moving out of introspective winter & into the creativity of spring. The last big snow of the season is one of purification, but also one of hope. It reminds us that the work we do now, in the quiet places of our soul, helps nurture all that will grow in just a few short weeks.
Chani Nicholas writes:
Love means little without care, consistency, and diverse ways of being. Love is freedom and needs room to express itself however it wants to. Love never conforms, contorts, or stays in the shapes that don’t mold themselves to it. Love needs our respect, reverence, and to be treated like the regal life-force that it is. Love needs to know that we have the courage to protect it, the roar to ward off any harm-doers to it, and the desire to be all in for it…Our creative energy needs our love, encouragement, and support to fully flourish.
Don’t be fooled. To allow ourselves to be undone, to give ourselves permission to be open, to be vulnerable, is a creative act. It is the most creative act, because it requires thinking outside of oppressive systems. It allows us release harmful notions of the self, to be authentic, & to manifest the changes we wish to see in ourselves & in the world. Most importantly, it allows us to create true love, for ourselves & for our community.
What beautiful art we can make together, in love.
Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come. –Rabindranath Tagore
Many people are afraid of the Death card in tarot, but what they don’t realize is that this card can sometimes be one of the most freeing. The Death card is a sign of ending, of release. The cycle is over & it is time to move on, to create anew.
The Death card in regards to this full moon is pretty straight forward: we must let these facades we have created of & for ourselves die. By releasing them with gratitude, by letting them be decomposed under the fresh snow, our true selves will have nutrients they need to grow & thrive in love.
Marie White writes:
To go into Death is to go into this dark place, be it in the water of oblivion or the water of your own subconscious. As you descend you shed your sins, your guilt, the pieces of clothing that make up your life until your reach the bottom. Naked, you can see yourself for what you really are…This dark night of the soul when there is nothing else, no lies, no delusions, just the clear beacon of truth… who you are, your purpose in life, your vehicle of redemption.
With this full moon, Aquarius asks us to suspend ourselves in this heady darkness, to truly see ourselves & the beacons of our souls. To let the old ways die so we can re-imagine the world. Leo asks us to rise from that darkness, full of fire & creativity, full of love for yourself & your pride. To move boldly towards the light to start anew.
To not just dream of true love, but to enact it, fiercely.
Bibliomancy | excerpt from Page 10 from Agua Viva by Clarice Lispector
A new era, this my own, and it announces me right away. Am I brave enough? For now I am: because I come from the suffering afar, I come from the hell of love but now I am free of you. I come from afar—from weighty ancestry. I who come from the pain of living. And I no longer want it. I want the vibration of happiness. I want the impartiality of Mozart. But I also want inconsistency. Freedom? it’s my final refuge, I forced myself to freedom and I bear it not like a talent but with heroism: I’m heroically free. And I want the flow.
Cherokee Billie Spiritual Advisor
The Mary-El Tarot: Landscapes of the Abyss by Marie White
"The Company of Wolves" by Chris Hagan
[Original collage illustration inspired by the popular short story and film by Angela Carter]
Happy New Year, collective.aporia! And what a year we have ahead of us. My name is Shawnie, and I am the founder of the collective. One of my resolutions this year is to give our global community full moon offerings. I am making these offerings to you with the intention that they might help us think about the lunar cycle through the lens of the collective. These writings are just one perspective, one translation/meditation, about how the cosmos could be working on us as individual artists and thinkers, as well as a community of creative social justice warriors.
Before we begin, I want to briefly explain how these offerings will be structured. Firstly, I will be using the term “artist” frequently. Even if you are not a professional artist, I am still talking to you. I truly believe that we, the collective working to re-imagine the world through creativity and community, are all artists. I also believe that every person is capable of art. Please check out our manifesto to read more about these philosophies.
I want to be transparent that I am not an expert in Astrology, and am still very much a student. These writings are my own meditations on information provided from various experts that I study and trust. I will give credit to those sources at the end of each writing for further exploration.
I will also offer you a tarot reading to accompany each full moon. I have been reading the cards for about five years, and have found them to be an extremely powerful tool for visualizing and translating energies that are already present in our lives. They often give language to the ineffable struggle of being a human in our world. I will be using the Mary-El Tarot deck for these readings.
Lastly, I will include a poem chosen through bibliomancy (randomly opening a page from a book as a divination practice) as an invocation of our larger artistic community. I will use different books and sources for this throughout the year. Please feel free to send poems or texts to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in this practice.
Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook to receive updates about full moon offerings, as well as our workshops.
Deep bow & well wishes to you in the New Year!
We begin 2020 with a Full Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse at 20 degrees of Cancer, opposing the Sun at 20 degrees Capricorn. Cancer, a Cardinal Water sign, is ruled by the Moon itself, and is deeply emotional, psychic, and imaginative. Cancer needs to be loved, needs to feel safe and wanted. This full moon in Cancer asks us to reflect on the wells from which we drink. Asks us to be aware of our sanctuaries, the spaces we make for ourselves, and our communities. Are we being fulfilled by this well? Are we thirsty for something more? What populations around us are unable to create spaces for safety and nourishment? How can the homes we build make room for those people to drink?
Capricorn, on the other hand, is all business; a Cardinal Earth sign ruled by Saturn. Capricorns are known for their logistics and practicality. They know how to get things done, and how to set forth a pragmatic and efficient plan to accomplish goals. As Café Astrology writes, “Cancer represents the origin, and Capricorn represents the goal.”
The lunar eclipse in Cancer is forcing us to take on Capricorn’s critical eye to identify the aspects of our home/emotional life that are unstable, inconsistent, or no longer serving us. What are we attaching ourselves to? What are we afraid to let go of?
Attachment is a very human and very natural sensation, especially when it comes to our nests. However, this lunar eclipse is asking us to dig deep, in the back of our closets and hearts and minds, in order to clear out the clutter. Imagine how much space you’ll create by doing so.
It is important to note here that certain attachments have often served us immensely in the past. Even if something is no longer useful, it can still be difficult to release because of the ways it has saved us. Don’t be upset with yourself for clutching onto these things, or be hard on yourself for wanting to keep the things that have begun to make you heavy. Honor how these attachments have served you in the past, and notice what sensations arise as you loosen, and eventually open, your grip on them.
Ultimately, this full moon is shedding her silver light on a deep conflict that is ever present in lives of many artists. It asks us to recognize our longing, lack, and attachments, as well as to restructure the balance between “the work” and the need for safety and love.
Cancer is an extremely empathetic sign; it feels the emotions and energies of others, something many artists can identify with. Let’s face it, this kind of deep, watery empathy can be overwhelming when we look at the state of the world. The earth is burning, war is ongoing, and systemic oppression is clawing to keep its place in history. And we all feel it. It breaks our hearts and crushes the light within us to create.
How can we continue to stay inspired under these conditions? How do we keep our light and love and empathy as we push forward as artists and allies?
The answer: care & balance.
Tarot Reading: 3 of Disks Reversed
The 3 of Disks reversed tells us that we need to use this lunar cycle to restructure where we are putting our energy, particularly when thinking about our roles as artists. Right now, you could be hiding out, wasting energy in the mundane as a distraction, or feeling like you are all alone. The 3 of Disks upright is about collaboration, and building something as a team. It is about mastery, craftsmanship, and getting back to the contemplative practice of making without being bogged down by external influences or pressures. This card reversed could be saying that our collaborative relationships are out of whack, or that we need to re-focus or restructure boundaries between self-care and community work.
As the Mary-El Tarot companion text states, the 3 of Disks is like digging for gold in the dark mountain of fear and hardship. Marie White writes, “This gold nugget alone in the dark compressed by tons of rock is a succinct and poignant symbol of our soul, our true self, not at the outskirts where our ego lies.”
But we cannot do it alone, and thankfully we don’t have to. Even in times of retreat and reflection, the collective, much like the mother and father pictured in the card, is wrapping us up. Holding us close to give us the unconditional love that this Cancer full moon so seeks.
THIS NOURISHMENT IS PART OF THE WORK.
Say it over and over again until you believe it. We must be nourished in order to charge ahead like the sure-footed Capricorn sea-goat. We must hold ourselves and our art like the child on the card in order for it to grow strong and safe.
This is also echoed by the fact that this is a Wolf Moon. The wolf is part of the pack. It works together to live and thrive. It knows that it has a duty to its individual self, and to the family it is a part of. However, wolves are still very independent creatures. They understand the primal wisdom of both being apart from, and being a part of, a unit. Both are necessary to flourish and to find one’s true path.
Lastly, this powerful full moon lands on the 10th, which has always been a number of great significance for me personally. In numerology, 10 is distilled to the 1, which in tarot is represented by the Magician. The Magician is the great alchemist. He creates by using divine instinct and mastery of the elements to forge a new life path.
So, tonight, on this Full Wolf Moon and lunar eclipse, I encourage you to howl. Release the pain you are feeling for the world and yourself. Let it echo and reverberate up to the empathetic Cancer moon. Let go of what no longer serves you in order to make room for the self and the community. Set intentions to balance energy given to the work and to the well. Remind yourself that it is okay to ask for help. Excavate the bright gold nugget of your creative practice, your spirit, so that you may accomplish all of your goals, and find your true path with the warmth of its light.
The collective wolf pack will be there with you.
Bibliomancy | Pg. 26 from There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other by Etel Adnan
When water and the sky meet space starts rolling back, coming to terms with its origin, waiting to be reduced to duration and later, following in that direction, to flesh, blood, skin and nails…where in my body is there any room for all this?
The sparrow says ‘perhaps,’ then it says ‘I’m listening in,’ the foghorn covers the ocean’s voice. I’m bringing tons of paper in my luggage and is America for real, I dream of it when I lose hold. Is there anybody walking its broad plains, for a change?
This cry doesn’t break like glass, doesn’t need an alphabet. Your heart trembles along the walls of the city which gave birth, oh yes, suddenly, under lightning, to light.
Transient is the bridge that will carry us to where the sun doesn’t set. In the air’s pink granite mountains unfold. We went up steep distances and energy was needed. We did not fear the night although obscurity was dense and didn’t assume that the clouds would be benevolent. The impossible dream visited our sleep. We did not awake to check on the dawn
Shawnie Hamer / founder of collective.aporia
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