This new moon, May 15, is a tap tapping at the heart of the spiritual warrior.
Which isn't necessarily a comfortable thing.
Spiritual warriorship is almost always about sacrifice, honesty, revelation and upheaval. This new moon is going to have a lot of that.
Taurus the earthy sweet, Venus tinged and spring laden, is all about stability. Taurus wants to give good solid ground, if not a home, if not deep intimacy and shelter to what and who she loves.
Taurus wants to adopt all the stray kittens and shelter puppies, mother everybody who's hurting, have confessional soul talks curled up on the couch. If Aries called up individuality, ideals, gumption and the capacity to speak to power from a deep sense of righteousness, Taurus wants to pull those ideas out of the sky and put our feet on the ground. Taurus is drawn to the beautiful and luxurious and is related to all things concerning our resources and finances; appreciation, fertility, romance. Taurus is about earthly pleasures, learning life lessons as the thing we are put on this earth to do, sexuality, money, and relationship.
Getting real is always hard. But there are some unique aspects to this year and this particular turn of the wheel. They’ll stoke sacrificial fire to a blaze by challenging some of our most precious identities and longstanding behaviors, which might make the first aspect of this lunar cycle feel destabilizing and chaotic. The latter phase of this moon cycle will deepen and mellow.
Of course, some people will find these elements exciting. Elements are like that: some people thrive where others struggle.
And here's why any of this is important: looking to moon cycles and stars is not a prescriptive; it's rummaging around in spiritual truths. Spiritual truths can be interpreted to fit whatever argument or point of view you want, or diluted to the merely ornamental. But they can also provoke deeper insight. It's a direct invocation of free will. We all have different aspects of self and a multitude of different areas in life; spiritual truths will show up and play out differently for everyone. These are stories of soul and questions of personhood happening in the actual world.
For example, the black and white, ruthless and headfirst nature of Aires is going to be challenged by and challenge the pacific, why-can't-we-all-just-get-along Taurus in us.
Life works like that, oscillating and shifting. Now this, now that. Given our individual nature, conditions, and circumstances, the 'energies' of the universe will be felt in radically different ways.
Don't worry: by the full moon these riotous aspects will have worked themselves to a clarity. Taurus is about stability, after all. Even if that process requires some dismantling of the old, it's result is always about living truth.
Taurus is ruled by Venus, expressing the interior or feminine qualities of pleasure, comfort, serenity, love, relationship, gathering and holding dear that which makes us happy. She's all fertility, wealth, and growth.
Taurus is symbolized by the Bull, which has always been a symbol for banking, commerce, stock (literally) exchanges, wealth and luxury. It speaks on archetypal levels to the development of humanity to a pastoral, agricultural species who learned to cultivate and work with the fertility of the earth. The bull's horns have always been associated with the crescent moon. As a species, we work well with seasons and cycles. We see our inner, emotive, psychological aspects reflected in the moon, the sea, and the earth. Indeed the moon is exalted in Taurus: the draw toward the emotional and happiness is steady, stubborn, unyeilding, loyal, persistent as a bull. As an earth sign, Taurus has one of the heaviest psychological pulls. The soul wants to evolve, and she'll keep fighting or coming up with stubbed toes and bruised hearts until she does.
This is where some of our inner conflict is born: Taurus craves emotional well being and security at all costs, so she can be resistant to change. She feels vulnerable in turmoil or the experiential and tends to compensate with attempts to maintain consistency and domestic security. Taurus can cling to form and situation, exhibiting a pretty unique blend of stubbornness and compromise. Think of how a mother or lover will forgive all shortcomings in the beloved. Once an idea, relationship, or reality is embraced as her own, she'll never wanna let it (or him, or it) go. But she's willing and quite able to endure emotional hardship in order to sustain what she loves. Taurus has a temper, but it's slow and deep. So, too, are her grudges. She's just as slow to forgive as she is to get mad. Her peace loving nature gives strong powers of compromise which, however, can be a barrier to positive change if Taurus aspects are kept in their lower stages; Taurus may keep doing the same old things long past the time they are fruitful. She’ll fight to preserve situations that would be better served by calling done done. Taurus will dig her heels in, flip up her nose, binge on the pleasurable while avoiding harsher realities.
Taurus is her own worst enemy. Which means she's also her own knight in shining armor, if she ever gets around to realizing it.
EVOLUTION OF TAURUS
The steadfast nature and downright emotive strength of Taurus means incredible spiritual transformation can happen when we learn to embrace emotional change as a creative force and not fear being alone. That transformation tends to have a lot of the ascetic to it - it can burn, feel cruel, take away, feel like loss. Transformation here means learning some spiritual lessons, and maybe some love lessons. Once we learn to give up our clingy, merging, security at all costs behaviors, the inherent power and loyal nature of Taurus can lead to remarkable spiritual insights and strengths, given her natural disposition to devotion. Learning to let our kids become individuals and to love our partners as individuals, or merit our own worth regardless of relationship, is some of the grittiest work we’ll ever do.
There's a difference between gratification and truth, I mean. The Taurus in us needs to learn that truth. The quest for pleasure can stand in the way of deeper wisdom. To thine own self be true is a good reflection for Taurus in us; we have to parse what we want in the moment from what we - and those around us - really need.
URANUS AND MARS - A SUMMER OF LIFE LESSONS, SEVEN YEARS OF RECLAMATION
So Aires to Taurus is always going to be a reality check. It's a working over of airy ideals to the grit of reality. A tempering of the individual will to the collective whole. It's tricky. Commitment and letting go always go together. Always.
But here's why this year and this transit is going to be particularly disruptive: on the very same day as the New Moon, Uranus enters Taurus for the first time since 1942.
Uranus is the planet of upheaval, breakdowns, breakthroughs, and awakenings. She spins sideways. She is loud, extreme, and liberating through wreckage. She's creative through disruption. Situated in Taurus for the next seven years, she's going to upset to things like finance, wealth, banking, and how we deal with the riches of the earth.
This isn't a bad thing. Nor is it a surprise. The exploitative ways we have been doing things to the planet and to its peoples has been engineering its own combustion for decades. It's fair to say that the way we use planetary resources, what we consider currency, and how we do business is going to be different in seven years’ time. Alternative currencies are already circulating, small and local and co-operative makers are using things like Etsy, Patreon, and crowd sourcing in radical ways. Social media and the internet – Uranus’ symbolic tools if she were to have them - are radicalizing everything. Everything: news to how movies and books are made, education is shared, relationships are found. Individually, this seven year cycle is going to prompt shift in some prominent area of your life. It may not be finance, for you. It may be relational, or how you're using your own body, or how you define success.
On global level, Uranus in Taurus will change the ways in which we do business, think of currencies, and how we work with natural resources. We're going to be radically revisioning how we live on the planet for the next seven years. There's going to be conflict. The old guard is going to change. But how change happens is a very open question. For some, this is going to feel righteous, exhilarating, like opportunity. For others it's going to feel terrifying.
But it's just change. It doesn't have to be feared. There's a wisdom to conscientiously watching and witnessing as these things conflict, fall apart, and break wide open. There’s a willed ignorance to believing it’s all going to settle down and go back to the way it’s always been.
As if that weren't enough, on May 16 Mars and Uranus will come into a unique relationship in the sky. That is, their energies will clash. As I said, Uranus is going to be in this cycle for the coming 7 years. Mars is going to pass through some charged places all summer long, making this a summer of love lessons, ultimate truths, and deep paradigm shifts.
Whenever Mars shows up, anger, injustice, the ways in which we humans tend to throw each other or parts of ourselves away, all the raging and explosive ways in which we haven't yet learned to work with anger or deal with suffering are going to flare up like holy fire. Or a bad rash. Mars is going to be around all summer long - so it's quite possible this will be a season of facing and healing some very old wounds. It will be heartfelt, personal, and societal.
Again, this isn't a bad thing. Nor is it a up out of nowhere thing. These are deep questions and imbalances that have been underground and repressed for generations. They're just coming to a hot and heavy boil, now.
The unsettling goes on: this New Moon happens in conjunction with the fixed star Algol. Algol is sometimes called the demon star, related to the blinking and still seeing eye of Medusa's severed head. She’s an archetype of raging against injustice.
Medusa was a priestess. She was raped by Poseidon and then blamed for her own rape, sold out by her guardian and sister and then decapitated. It's a horrible story. It holds patriarchy's violence up to the light. She tells the story of what happens when the oppressed are blamed, shamed, or silenced for their own suffering. That kind of rage is so powerful it’ll will turn hot blooded things to cold stone and incite terror in the powers that be. There's a truth to Medusa's rage, a deep surge of power in the long suppressed, it's hard but it has the ring of truth to it. There is a wildness to gazing from our wounds to oppressive structures. We see the truth of this is in the painful dialogue surrounding the #metoo movement, let alone the aching wounds of feminism and racism being both sold out and turned against one other at one and the same time. This is what happens when the values and language of the oppressed is stolen, denied, and used against them. This what happens when the rage of oppression is forced back into the victim's throat.
Of course none of this is new. None of these issues are new issues. But their time is here. Old wounds are some of the most painful to look at, the hardest to heal. We're in a cycle of speaking directly to power. Such a thing asks for deep vulnerability personally - you can't speak to power, otherwise - and it will tear former power structures to the ground.
All this to say that there is a lot happening. There are personal and social questions at play and they are not light ones. There are real changes happening that may feel threatening. There's a naked voltage to this moment in time and it should all be held with a lot of compassionate awareness.
There are going to be glitches and discomforts if these things are to be reckoned with, and they have to be reckoned with. There may be risings of your own medusa story and further revelations on the world stage.
We're directly involved in the questions of what it means to heal and find justice, how to fight and what we fight for, what we choose to protect and where we're going to place our values as a human community. These questions and fall outs are happening on the highest levels of society. But they're going to keep showing up in smaller, more intimate structures, including things like the yoga world and our personal lives.
The good news - and there is good news - is that the moon is absolutely exalted in Taurus. That means moon's qualities - psychology, emotion, feelings, movement, connection and relationship and interconnectivity - are strong now. If you're feeling rattled, if things feel unstable, recognize it's not you. It’s not you and it's not insane. We're in truth. These things have been waiting for answers, and we are the answers.
KRITTIKA - WHERE FIRE FALLS DOWN ON EARTH
According to Vedic astrology, this new moon opens in the lunar 'mansion' of Krittika before passing onto Rohini at 10 degrees of Taurus. Krittika is harsh, sharp, cruel feeling whereas Rohini is one of the most beloved and sweet places for the moon to go. I'm saying: things might feel a little prickly but they're headed toward a better place.
Krittika is the Pleiades in the sky. It's related to Agni, the god of fire. The word Krittika means 'knife' or blade or razor, and it has all the connotations of cutting away to reveal truth and excising the past. The blade is sharp enough to pierce ego's delusions, which might mean you see the bulk and weight of stories of baggage you’re still lugging around. People who are born during Krittika are often said to be cruelly blunt: they'll tell you what they see and be exacting. But the honesty of Krittika isn't personal or even antagonistic. It's criticism coming from truth and purity. While this cut may feel negative, it's only because we don't necessarily want to know the truth. Be gentle, feel the ground, you can handle it. And if and when we realize we can handle it, we end up in a place that actually feels a whole lot better.
The Pleiades are literally a conglomerate of hot, young stars. Krittika is related to Mars and his symbology of fire. It's the hinge where Aires becomes Taurus, where fire and gumption and passion meld with the connection, serenity, warmth, and beauty of Taurus. Krittika is analogous to the Vedic fire pit, where you burn offerings in an external display of offering your inner impurities to the fire of consciousness.
The god is Agni, fire eater and feet burner, god of transformation. When we offer something into the fire, Agni eats it and turns it to smoke. This smoke than drifts up to heaven. Agni is the god who takes our intentions up to heaven, internally. When we make internal sacrifices, it is the inner fire that rises up. Even if you turn fire upside down, the flame still rises. Fire - and the fire of consciousness - always rises. Always. This is why meditation is the interior practice of Vedic fire ceremony: we burn our karma in the fire pit of truth, and higher truth is the result.
THINGS CAN GET BETTER:
All of this shifting, deeply moving, hard to handle energy is good. This is good. It's like when you go to a therapist and then feel gutted, but end with real personal change. Or like when you admit alcoholism and start recovery. Or have a really hard ugly cry with a girlfriend or partner - it feels so ugly but when it's through you have incredible new levels of sincerity and bonding, you'll get hugs and comfort and you have permission to eat ice cream. While these themes are going to be hot and tender in the first stages of this lunar cycle, the full moon and next lunar mansion are all about stabilizing, soothing, finding balm. Ultimately, we're headed toward emotional connectivity and making really strong bonds, finding new depths. As the full moon approaches we'll be unearthing some serious emotional material and deep feelings. The kind that have a tinge of the sacred to them. We're verging in the turmoil toward a resolution of love and a swell of support. There will be brushes with the higher meaning and experience of love, identity, and relationship as some of these sharp conflicts and deep vulnerabilities play themselves out.
It's possible to emotionally metabolize and find the joy in these bigger changes and challenges. We're in the unanswered question of whether we can go on spiritual quest together, do deep work that is encased and enveloped in love, accept the kinds of things that give us depth. It's gonna feel real.
Depending on who you are and where you are, you'll probably feel these themes in different ways or different areas of life entirely unique to who you are. For some, this will be about career but for others it will show up in physical or health concerns. For still others it may have to do with spirituality or family. It might be about bottom lines but it could just as easily speak to soul. There's always invitation here to see where these speak to you and to craft your ceremonies to the personally relevant.
Wealth: focus on the collaborative, the innovative, the creative and generative. Keep the possessive in check. Give to a charity or support a local artist or cause that speaks to your heart. Host potlucks rather than throwing dinner parties. Look at where you may need to liberate yourself financially or deal with your own assets, gifts, and resources differently. Get a living plant, a green thing that grows, and put it where you work or somewhere else associated with your money. Pay off an old debt if you want to taste free. Feel the shifting awareness around global resources, planetary health, oil and water; there are thousands of ways to get involved or show support or make a change. Again, notice how directly even a small contribution changes you.
Wild: get outside, go barefoot, look for opportunities to be in the forests, by the water, in the deep parts of nature that shock you stupid. Lay on the grass and look at the sky. Lay on your belly and watch the dirt creatures. Frequent farmers markets and make it a summer of local decadence.
Interiority: set aside some time for the deeply beautiful, artistic, and aesthetic this month. Buy or pull out a book of poetry or devotional reading and give it some real time; set it near your morning coffee or tea or bedside table or bathroom. Take yourself on a date to a museum or a park or just a pretty coffee shop on your own. Meditate on or in nature a few times in upcoming weeks. Ritually take a 30 minutes or an hour to appreciate your own physical beauty: be naked, indulge your skin, wear lingerie or your feel good clothes for no reason other than that it feels good; sleep on your best sheets and eat really soulful treats. The gluttonous kind. The decadent ones.
Fire: The first element in the light of consciousness, fire burns away physical impurities and is said in vedic ceremonies (yagyas) to be a bridge to the spiritual. It might be a good time to offer some burnt offerings. Do some soul journaling and offer the pages to the fire, sit by a campfire and just gaze, consider what it is you're ready to sacrifice.
Sit with it. Take your heart, your butt, and your feelings to the meditation cushion. Let it all happen there. Take up the space you occupy; no more and no less. This is daunting as so many of us have been conditioned to not take up space, to disappear, to keep everybody happy. And at the same time your feelings and cravings and opinions are not everybody else's problem, or even a mere glimpse of reality. Take up the space you occupy, no more and no less. Wild growth and appreciation follow.
USE YOUR SCENTS
Rose is the essential oil for Taurus, with her love of luxury and earthly delights. It's a pricey one, and valuation is one of the key lessons of Taurus. The earthy, resilient nature of Taurus is reflected in the fact that roses are intensely hardy, adaptable, and tenacious, often passing through generations of human keepers and thriving in soil that other plants would only suffer in.
3 parts rose
1 part patchouli - spiritulizes the merely fleshy or material, including sexuality, toward the sacred rather than the profane or the clingy. Make it about soul rather than ego.
2 parts vanilla encourages a sense of fulfillment and safety.