Samhain is the ancient Celtic celebration of the mid-point between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice that is traditionally celebrated on the night of October 31 or dawn of November 1, our traditional Halloween holiday in Western culture, similar to how Beltane is traditionally celebrated on May 1. If you want to get all Virgo on this Pisces astrologer, you could also look at the time when the Scorpio Sun reaches 15 degrees of Scorpio (which will not be until next week around November 6th), but since we continue today to celebrate Halloween on October 31 and the Day of the Dead or All Saint’s Day on November 1, we have already entered the time to focus with our Samhain intentions. Samhain traditionally is the night in which the veils between our material dimension and the “other” dimensions become more thin and open, a threshold that is more easily crossed at this time than any other:
Samhain (prounounced sow-en), the Celtic New Year, now celebrated as Halloween, is a night that falls in neither the old year nor the new one. It is a “time outside of time,” when the veils between the worlds are lifted and much trafficking takes place between spirits and mortals. Boundaries are eliminated, spirits are afoot. In Scotland it is called a “night of mischief and confusion” . . . Property can be damaged, food and treats can be demanded, hospitality overrules the locked door and gated fence, boundaries between what is mine and yours are temporarily repealed. Tricksters seek admittance to others’ homes, even as spirits from the Otherworld seek entry into this world. On Samhain we are reminded that doorways are open, thresholds are bridgeable, and the ordinary and nonordinary intermingle . . . Traditionally Samhain is a night for divination . . . The reason divinatory practices are so successful on this night is that the boundaries between time are lifted. On November’s Eve the present and the future merge, and what lies ahead can be foreseen on the present moment.
–Tom Cowan, Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, p. 55
On Halloween the Washington Post published an excellent and concise article on the past and present meaning of Samhain by Starhawk in which she writes, “The time of death is also the year’s rebirth,” “Halloween tells us to connect, to forge bonds of love that death cannot sever, to support one another as we face those things that are hard to face alone,” and “Know that you are an ancestor of the future, and your choices, your actions, your human hands can turn the wheel of fate.”
In astrology, the times of eclipses are also considered threshold experiences, as well as Mercury retrograde time periods, particularly when Mercury has it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun. Dark Moons in general also have an association with threshold experiences such as disorientation and Great Mystery that can source a rebirth for our being while in reception with otherworldy transmissions. Amazingly, all of these occurrences are happening simultaneously on Samhain this year, at the same time as an exact square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, the fourth of the current cycle of seven squares ending in 2015.
Recent news events have continued to be intense and cataclysmic, even reaching to the apocalyptic such as the Japances plans to clear radioactive used fuel assemblies that could trigger unprecedented radiation explosion and exposure if mishandled. On a personal level, we may have been receiving invitations from our environment to enter into drama by impulsively reacting to triggers on our emotions. The more we can release, clear, and let go of at this time, the better we will be able to navigate through the portal of astrological intensity and use the upcoming Solar Eclipse to help birth a new vision for ourselves rather than drown inside currents of past despair. Of course advising someone to let go, or even saying to yourself that you are letting go, are all much easier said than done as most of us human beings grasp to our personal status quo or comfort zones with all of our might. Indeed, many astrologers have taken a cautionary stance of trepidation toward the energy symbolized within the chart of the November 3 Solar Eclipse you can see below, which does indeed contain many signs of intensity:
However, although in the outer world there may indeed be some tragic tales we will hear about, on a personal level this need not be a doom and gloom time. The Great Awakener Uranus is shaking things up, but if we can clear the space to receive, channel, and direct this energy, we could catalyze ourselves forward into unprecedented dimensions from our previous experiences. Our consensus reality is shifting into the unknown, and part of the great fear and paranoia visible in commercial media and social media could be tied to the inability of many to fully reckon with the changes set in motion. If we are resisting the implications of our changing reality, if we have been fixated on an entrenched belief system or thought pattern from our past, if we have become overly attached to possessions or people against all signs that a letting go aligns with our actual growth, then the square to Uranus from Pluto could bring some cataclysmic crisis that could force us to lose what we have been resisting releasing. Yet if we can move into a space to let go of and release aspects of our past identity, relationships, and beliefs, branches of our tree of life that are ready to be blown off by the impending ecliptic storm, then we will be able to integrate the regenerative aspect of Pluto into our life and find the gem inside of what could otherwise feel like a disruptive and rocky experience.
If you have planets in between seven and fourteen degrees of Scorpio you will need to pay particular attention to how this solar eclipse is impacting your chart, but in general it is helpful to pinpoint where in your chart this eclipse at twelve degrees of Scorpio is occurring and any aspects it is making. Combined with the other transits of this time, you will be especially impacted if you have any planets in between seven and fourteen degrees of fixed or cardinal signs, but people with planets between seven and fourteen degrees of mutable signs will also be impacted by the role of Mars in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces in this witches brew of celestial spheres.
At a recent talk my astrology teacher Rosie Finn described the square between Uranus and Pluto during this Dark Moon as being about the fourth chakra and giving us the opportunity between now and the next square between Uranus and Pluto to work on bridging the work of our lower chakras with the transmissions from the upper chakras we could potentially integrate from Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. To do this lower chakra work means working on our personal issues represented by the personal planets of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, all of which will be extremely active in the upcoming time period: the Moon with these eclipses, Mercury with its current retrograde and rebirth, Mars being sextile to Mercury retrograde and the solar eclipse, and Venus as a bright evening star that will eventually station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013. At this time of a Dark Moon leading into a Solar Eclipse, I want to focus on the lunar aspect of our personal clearing, and the synchronicity that two of the most powerful Goddesses of myth, Hekate and Artemis, are both active at the time of the Solar Eclipse through their manifestations as asteroids in astrology.
Hekate Dark Moon
. . . Hecate, crow black and with a shining crown . . . No woman knew the paths that linked earth and underworld better than she.
— Roberto Calasso The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, page 221
It is during this final waning phase [of the Moon] that the Goddess manifests as the crone or wise old woman. Hecate, the so-called goddess of the witches, represents this phase. She had knowledge of herbs and magic elixirs, folk healing and the control of weather . . . Hecate was also the goddess of the crossroads (where witches were believed to perform their rituals), and this is reminiscent of the neolithic, for the cross of the four directions was a lunar symbol in those days.
–Ariel Guttman & Kenneth Johnson, Mythic Astrology, page 68
The synchronicity of asteroid transits with their mythic meaning within the larger context of celestial patterns continues to astound me anytime I begin to question whether or not paying attention to the asteroids is important. A perfect example at the moment is that the Libra Dark Moon that occured on the night of Halloween in the Pacific time zone where I live was conjunct the asteroid Hecate (#100) at the exact time it was opposite Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn. The exact square between Uranus and Pluto occured exactly five hours later after they were each triggered by this Hekate Dark Moon. At the time of the Solar Eclipse on November 3, the Hecate asteroid will still be in opposition to Uranus and in square to Pluto.
Hekate is a goddess of the Moon and crossroads who is associated chiefly with the Dark Moon phase by modern astrologer and mythologists. Some of us may be obviously facing an important decision between different paths at this time, whereas for others the fact that you are at a crossroads may feel more subtle on the surface. Yet the deep Scorpio and Plutonic transits at this time means that all of us are going to be experiencing core shifts of our circumstances in the upcoming time. A sense of divination, the feeling that one can intuit the path into the future at this time of crossroads is fitting for Hekate, as she is one of the most ancient goddesses with a myth saturated in Mystery. If you are interested in reading more of an analysis of Hekate’s mythic meaning, please check the following link to a recent article written by Monika of the Symbol Reader blog: http://symbolreader.net/2013/10/27/hekate-the-goddess-of-the-crossroads/
As Monika pointed out in the blog article linked above, there is a clear affinity that both Hekate and Hermes share for navigating between the upper and underworlds and to transmit messages divinated from signs, symbols, and omens. This is especially the case now, as Mercury is invisible and in the underworld phase of its retrograde journey, reaching its conception point for rebirth (or inferior conjunction with the Sun) on November 1 about ten hours after the exact square between Uranus and Pluto. In order to rebirth our Mercury function and vision at this time we need to effectively do the dark moon clearing and releasing of Hekate, and in case you are having trouble figuring out what to release make sure you are opening your mind to what sorts of symbols, signs, synchronicity, and omens are pointing you toward in your environment. Change is extremely difficult for most people, but there are most likely significant shifts occurring under the surface of your reality even if on the surface it may seem in the moment like your normal routine. The more we let go of who or what needs releasing now, the more we open to ourselves to the potential of a profound and catalytic growth we can seed at the Solar Eclipse on November 3.
Artemis Guides through the Dark
In contrast to Hekate, Artemis aka Diana is often associated with the Maiden or New Moon phase instead of the Crone or Dark Moon phase, with her bow symbolizing the early stage waxing of a Crescent Moon. The Solar Eclipse of November 3 will be one of the most intense New Moons imaginable, and it’s waxing into a Crescent phase will correspond with the last week of the current Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio, with the Sun becoming conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, and Jupiter stationing retrograde in Cancer. Artemis is further linked into this time through her asteroid #105 at the time of the Solar Eclipse being tightly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio at 13°44′, only nine minutes away from Saturn. Almost exactly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio by minutes, the Artemis asteroid is also conjunct the Solar Eclipse, only two degrees away, and also in range of being conjunct Mercury and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio.
Artemis being conjunct Saturn, the Solar Eclipse, Mercury retrograde, and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio carries the meaning of us re-connecting with our true instinctual Self, our inner Artemis who runs free through the forests of the night with a pure heart and her animal companions. In Mythic Astrology Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson describe the new and crescent phase of the Lunar Goddess as being “complete unto herself,” “apart from committed relationships,” “sexually active (the nymph) or virginal (the maiden), but in either case she is still pure, innocent, hopeful” (p. 67). Thus, the timing of us re-conceiving our Mercury into rebirth through the Scorpio conjunction of the Sun with Mercury retrograde is coinciding with us taking the responsibility to release the weight of our past in order to return to our pure instinctual Artemis Self, corresponding with the conjunction between the Artemis asteroid and Saturn in Scorpio. I certainly do not mean by this that you should feel hopeful about life because of the trauma or oppression you have experienced, but instead mean the visceral and vital state of mind we can reach when we are fully done with a past issue that has weighed us down heavily, or maybe sometimes the tragedies just somehow make us feel more alive and in love with the future potential of the moment than ever before. Instead of cynically rebuking life and refusing to live, through Artemis we courageously charge forward with an equine grace to our stride, like a deer effortlessly surmounting an obstacle. Perhaps our rebirth necessitates us facing the End, or at least feeling like we are approaching Death; perhaps it is easier for us at times of chaos or crisis to access the kundalini current inside us and actualize our full creative, instinctual Self. What may feel at first like the leaden weight of Saturn at this time may ultimately be what centers and opens us to the Artemis inside.
Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson in Mythic Astrology further analyze the mythic associations of Artemis by explaining that her link with the Moon came from the Romans connecting Diana with the Moon, as to the Greeks she was known more as the “Lady of Wild Beasts,” a mythic archetype that further links her with the astrological sign of Sagitarius (p. 63). Linking Artemis with Sagitarius further connects Artemis with Venus at this time, shining bright in the night as an Evening Star in Sagitarius. At the time of the Solar Eclipse, Venus will be near the end of her journey through Sagitarius and conjunct the Galactic Center.
Venus in Sagitarius burning so bright and so beautiful to behold in the night sky is a fitting guide through the darkness of this time. In connection with Artemis, we can sense how returning to nature at this time, making sure we make time to re-connect with the woods and the Earth perhaps on a solitary walk or run that Artemis herself would adore, could be an opportune way for us to clear and recharge our being. A fierce protector of wildlife and nature, the archetype of Artemis emerging at this time is a further sign of the importance of taking direct action to protect our natural environment during a time of great pollution and environmental degradation. Artemis is a sign that we have the instinctual nature inside of us to make the choice at the crossroads to embark upon the path we are meant to take.