Halloween

The clocks have gone back and in the northern hemisphere, come November, we winter has officially begun. The end of October/beginning of November is traditionally the time when many parts of the world celebrate Halloween or some form of day of the dead. For the Celts, November was considered to be the start of the year – a time when they celebrated Samhain and made offerings to the nature gods to ensure abundance and fertility for the following growing season. Indeed, the name ‘Samhain’ is derived from Gaelic, an ancient Celtic dialect which was spoken at this time, and is still used in modern Irish to refer to the name of this month. Halloween is thought to have its roots in a number of ancient festivals that commemorate dead ancestors and celebrate the death of important people, from the Mexican Day of the Dead (which makes an appearance in the new Bond movie, rather aptly named Spectre, given all it’s Scorpio-based themes) to Samhain and of course, the Christian feast of All Saint’s Day, which is the day on which the Mexican feast now takes place, although its roots probably date right back to more ancient local practices

Within the magical and pagan traditions, this has also come to be seen as the ideal window in which to practise divination because it is considered to be a liminal time when the “veil” between the human and spirit worlds is thought to become thin, allowing for clearer communication between the living and the dead, as well as gain knowledge or wisdom from supernatural or spiritual beings. It’s therefore not hard to see how this has traditionally become a good time to practice magic or divination – thought to have made up a significant element of Samhain – and to attempt to contact deceased loved ones via psychic or mediumistic means. Given this association between death and regeneration, otherworldly knowledge and the supernatural, one can understand why the sign of Scorpio, which is where the Sun is positioned in November, has taken on certain spooky and rather macabre attributes, and why Scorpios are so often described as scary but yet perceptive, secretive and able to root out hidden truths or access arcane knowledge.

With this in mind, I find it fascinating that on Halloween weekend, there is a Sun-Neptune trine and a lot of lunar aspects happening in water signs (you can read more about it on my Facebook page). Neptune is considered to be the planet par excellence for thinning barriers and enhancing our intuitive/imaginative abilities, whilst water is the element most associated with emotion, intuition and the wisdom of the heart, while the Sun adds a personal and conscious element to the mix. Astrologically, then, this Halloween should be the perfect time to practise divination or visualisation/mindfulness techniques such as meditation, lucid dreaming etc.,  – the trine seems to guarantee that those who genuinely seek answers should gain profound spiritual insights and access to otherworldly wisdom if they try. Neptune is currently retrograde – a condition that will end mid-November, so my guess is that any breakthroughs or realisations are likely to be about past issues or events, rather than future ones.

For more details of what to expect astrologically this November, read on…

Lunar Phases

NEW MOON IN SCORPIO – 11 Nov 2015, 17h47 GMT

In keeping with the themes mentioned above, this month’s New Moon will fall in Scorpio. At this time, both the Sun and Moon will be sandwiched between Mercury in Scorpio, on one hand; and Saturn in Sagittarius, on the other – quite a liminal situation in and of itself! What’s more, this stellium of planets across the cusps of Scorpio/Sagittarius will be in paran to Zuben Elschemali and Zuben Elgenubi – two stars associated with both the pans of the Scales of Libra, as well as the claws of the Scorpion (these two constellations overlap) – and were considered to be gatekeepers to the underworld  by the ancient Mesopotamians.

The Sun and Moon will be at 19 degrees Scorpio, four degrees BEYOND the via combusta (Latin for ‘burning way’ – perhaps a rather fitting epithet for the entrance to the underworld?) so, rather than this New Moon being about entering into the underworld, it seems instead to be about exiting from it, thereby perhaps signalling an exodus from darkness and emergence into light on an emotional or psychological level. If you have had a difficult time recently – perhaps had to wrestle with some inner demons – then perhaps you’ll consider this a positive sign that your ordeal is coming to an end.

Seen in this way, the Scorpio New Moon could herald the beginning of a month-long period of healing, recovery or revelation, during which we have the opportunity to experience emotional/bodily/psychological breakthroughs or move beyond unhealthy or troubling situations that might have been casting a dark cloud over our lives. And, if we consider last month’s New Moon Sabian Symbol, which revolved around themes of hiding, paranoia and fear of what may lie around the corner, (all quite Scorpionic themes, I might add!) this New Moon seems to take the idea one step further, so that we move from hiding to revealing/being revealed. In fact, James Burgess associates the decan between 16 and 20 Scorpio with ‘unveiling,’ saying:

As long as we are hiding something, then we are vulnerable. The final level of self-assurance is evidenced by the willingness to expose everything, allowing whatever comes to do its worst….Such a straightforward approach to life bestows spiritual authority and a mysterious power of insight into the secrets of other people and the affairs of the world.[1]

This suggests that this New Moon energy may bring opportunities to free ourselves of any potentially damaging secrets or hidden fears that may have been burdening us or holding us back. (In these words, we can hear the inhibiting influence of Saturn, can’t we?) My sense is that, given the influence of Mercury, this is most likely to happen within the context of taboo subjects, secrets or confidential information. Indeed, the Sabian symbol for 19 Scorpio is A PARROT LISTENING AND THEN TALKING, REPEATS A CONVERSATION HE HAS OVERHEARD. This suggests a possible event or catalyst that inadvertently causes important, confidential or hidden information to accidentally be made public, perhaps in the form of a press sting or written/recorded material that is passed on or lost. If you are at all worried about leaks, rumours or scandal at this time, you may therefor wish to exercise a little care and discretion.

Of course, you may have done nothing wrong – it could just be that you hold controversial or unpopular opinions about something. On this score, Burgess says:

The community, by its very nature, lacks depth and originality – it is designed to support parrot-like opinions. So we learn to hold alive two faces – essentially the public one that accepts, and the private one that often rejects. Yet the raw substance of our intelligence is gleaned from involvement with the community, so the private one must expand itself, to become sensitive to the continual reworking of reality, and find a way to perfect private ideals that tend to contradict current social values.

Finding a way to walk the line between what you let others see publicly, and how you think or behave behind closed doors, therefore seems to be a big part of what needs to be negotiated at this New Moon then. Although ideally, it is much more liberating not to have to put on an act and just be yourself, the reality is that sometimes life is much easier and less complicated if you do, and let’s face it, sometimes people prefer the lie to the truth anyway– the question is simply whether or not you can live with yourself if you do.

Of course, you may not be courting scandal, in which case, this interpretation may not apply to you. Taking a slightly different angle, this lunar event could well tie into more supernatural themes, including those I mentioned above in relation to Samhain/Halloween. Lynda Hill offers an alternative interpretation of this Sabian symbol:

This Symbol often infers some level of spiritual channelling, as thoughts and words can sometimes appear to course through a person, especially if the “messages” seem to come from somewhere else. It can show someone who is receptive to the thoughts and ideas that are around, or in the environment, and can process the information to the point where it becomes their own. The ability to convey the facts or a message accurately and responsibly will be very important to the outcome.

If you are a writer, artist or spirit medium, then you’ll probably identify quite strongly with this idea, in which case, it may be a good idea to heed the last line of Hill’s message. Being a conduit for information comes with its own sets of responsibilities – you’ve heard the saying ‘shoot the messenger’ and indeed, even if you weren’t its source, the onus is still on you to be as kind and truthful as you can when conveying it to the recipient. As well as being able to hurt us, the truth also has the potential to upset others if not relayed with compassion and care.

Lunar Phases

FULL MOON IN GEMINI – 25 Nov 2015, 22h45 GMT

In the last week of November, we can look forward to a Full Moon in Gemini, bringing to a close another four week lunar cycle. Taking place at 3 degrees of Gemini, this lunar event is ideal for finishing off written work, publishing projects, educational assignments and thank you speeches.

The Sabian symbol for this particular zodiacal degree is THE CHARMING COURT LIFE AT THE GARDEN OF THE TUILERIES IN PARIS. Hill associates this with luxury as well as rewards for one’s efforts and the enjoyment of order, symmetry and a sense of coherence and organisation, both personally and socially – a harmonious situation in which everyone has a role to play.

Burgess comments that beautiful things like gardens and great houses are often preserved (and enjoyed) by those who are wealthy or in prominent social positions, served by an underclass of those who are less wealthy, which can lead a certain degree of envy and resentment: “There is here an unpopular wisdom – certain types of people create, maintain and enjoy wealth and other types serve them.” He goes on to add:

“The exaltation of success in material benefits may well be criticized by the have-nots, yet it is an enduring practice throughout humanity’s history – and is even studied in the animal kingdom. A male showing off its energy-expensive rich and colourful qualities demonstrates to a potential mate his capacity to provide for her offspring.”

And indeed, this is the paradox of the British royal family – we are fascinated by them precisely because of their privileged and rarefied lifestyle, and yet if they put a foot out of place or appear ungrateful, we are very quick to remind them of their debt to the populace, who pay to maintain them and without whom they would have no role, and are the first to criticise what we see as an elitist, and possibly indulgent lifestyle. I do wonder if on a mundane level, there may be stories in the press about one of the royals around the tiem fo this New Moon. Gemini is certainly a sign that seems to be quite prevalent within the charts of many royals (Queen Victoria was a Sun Gemini, like her son, George V, as is Prince Phillip, whilst Prince William has it on an angle [Descendant], like his mother, Princess Diana, his great uncle, Edward VIII [rising] and great great grandfather, George VI [IC]. He was also born with Mercury in Gemini, a placement shared by his daughter, Princess Charlotte, who also has Venus in Gemini etc etc).

In general, though, this is likely to be a time when we may begin to question the whole notion of success and social mobility, as well as what exactly happiness means – is it really tied to wealth or prestige or could it have more to do with our sense of belonging to a particular group within which we are recognised for our contributions and loved by those close to us? Of course, in the UK, this is likely to see the class system rear its ugly head. However, as Burgess points out, although ‘[i]t may seem to some that we are constrained by accident of birth to suffer lack of opportunity…this interpretation of reality never promotes happiness. It is for each of us to bring our own capabilities and possibilities to a graceful, exquisite level of self-expression within our own world[2].’

Furthermore, he adds: Happiness does not relate to wealth – it arises out of making the best of what we have, and most assuredly is not given automatically to the rich. The truth is that, on a base level, we all like a pecking order – it acts as a ways of sifting the winners from the losers; it fuels aspiration and provides a modicum of stability and social organisation – something worth remembering at this Full Moon, when either you or someone else may be rewarded for their efforts. Although a somewhat unfashionable view in today’s world, Burgess reminds us that ‘Authority is a prerequisite for the smooth operation of any community – and it is given to those who can achieve. Thus it closely relates to self-confidence and the outer evidence of that in material tokens and rewards of ability.’

Solar Ingress

SUN INTO SAGITTARIUS – 22 November 2015, 15h25 GMT

This month, the Sun will remain in passionate, brooding and secretive Scorpio until 3:30pm GMT on the 22nd of November, when it will ingress into Sagittarius for a stay of four weeks. Its ingress will herald the beginning of the festive period that leads up to Christmas and the many pagan midwinter festivals designed to celebrate the winter solstice and the return of light to the world. As a result, the themes of mourning, death and sacrifice should slowly give way to celebrations and thanksgiving – an expression of hope, much like a dormant plant or seed, offering the promise of new life in the spring after a period of rest and regeneration. With less to do outside, mid-November and December are traditionally periods in which to rest from one’s labours, keep warm indoors and commune with family and loved ones, much as we do at Christmas time.

The fact that Sagittarius is considered to be a masculine sign – that is, a fire sign associated with the sect of day – much like the Sun – is therefore worth remembering. Perhaps because of this similarity in terms of temperament and element, the Sun appears to truly thrive in Sagittarius. This is therefore likely to be a jovial, hopeful time when celebrations of all kinds are welcomed and enjoyed wholeheartedly. Publishing projects, overseas travel/contacts as well as anything related to education, large animals, sports or vehicles designed for long distance travel are also favoured now.

As with the Scorpio New Moon, the Sun will be orbiting close to Mercury and Saturn at the time of this month’s solar ingress. This time, though, Mercury will be in the early degrees of Sagittarius. Both Mercury and Saturn are considered to be planets associated with intellectual thought and deep contemplation. Alchemists in particular thought of these planets as the key to the entire alchemical process, and in many ways, they represent the two forms of thought: the curious, collaborative and gadfly-like kind that flits from subject to subject and asks a lot of questions, on one hand; and the more reclusive, Hermit-like form that involves retreat from the world and the application of discipline/strict praxis designed to remove distractions/pare away delusions in order to arrive at deeper, more profound truths, on the other.

Paired with the Sun in Sagittarius, which in itself is a pretty philosophical sign, this should be a time in which you could therefore experience both a deepening and lightening of your outlook, when you could see something from a much broader and deeper perspective, or even perhaps help somebody else to do so, since this is a sign associated with both learning and teaching. It is therefore likely that over the next few weeks, you may become more philosophical about certain situations or people, that before may have caused you stress or obsessive worry.

As if to confirm this, the Sun will be in paran with the star called Toliman, which forms the right foot of the Centaur Chiron, a constellation associated with but hunting and sacrifice. According to Bernadette Brady, , ‘Chiron is a healer and a teacher, but he carries a wound. Toliman being on the foot of the great tutor…indicates that the star’s meaning is connected to matters of learning and education that expands one’s world view.’[3] Combined with the Sun and Mercury, this star can indicate a time of being dedicated to pursuing the truth/disseminating information.

Planetary Events & Energy Shifts throughout the month

Retrogrades & Stations

Neptune Direct: 18 Nov 2015

Neptune, planet of spirituality, dreams and the unconscious, will return to forward motion halfway through this month, so expect issues around boundaries, drug addiction and the state of the world’s oceans to return to the forefront of the agenda. Drug company policies, allergies and the use/misuse of psychic abilities, as well as the need for stronger psychological boundaries, may also come to your attention. This is especially true around the 25th and 29th of this month when squares involving Mercury and the Sun call for a clear head and precision in order to find a way of out of a tricky, even potentially murky situation.

Planetary Ingresses

Mercury into Scorpio: 2 Nov

During October’s first week, Mercury will ingress into sharp and canny Scorpio, making the next four weeks excellent for devising clever communication strategies, cunning plans or ways to assert your intellectual prowess. The academic world is rife with the undercurrents of rivalry and backstabbing, and a small taste of this may come to the fore during this period. More positively, Scorpio should provide added perceptiveness in discussions, allowing you to sense hidden agendas or emotional undercurrents, and give you the added focus and determination needed to root out missing details or obscure facts when it comes to research. Things to avoid now include rumour mongering, a sharp tongue or character assassination.

Venus into Libra: 8 Nov

As November opens, Venus will glide into her own sign – fair minded and collaborative Libra – from where she will shine a light on issues of equality as well as encourage us to seek a sense of equilibrium and harmony in whatever we do, but especially in one-to-one relationships and creative pursuits. Librans on the whole, don’t like to work alone, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself really valuing the opinions or input of loved ones now, as well as seeking out work partnerships or ways to collaborate with others. Relationships of all kinds will also become important again, which cause lead you to try and redress the problem of work-life balance, – if you’ve been working far too hard recently, then it may be time to reintroduce some pleasure and fun back into your life. Artifice and formality will also appeal now, especially if they make an environment (or person) look more attractive and ordered. Noisy, untidy or dirty conditions will really be difficult to tolerate under this transit. This placement will also urge us to develop or display Libran qualities such as charm, tact and compromise.

Mars into Libra: 12 Nov

Joining Venus in Libra this month will be Mars, planet of willpower, physical vitality and sex. Not traditionally the happiest of campers in this sign, Mars (compromise and cooperation do not come naturally to a driven, masculine planet!) here could lead to indecision, half-hearted efforts and a sense of powerlessness or impotence in key situations. Yet this may be precisely what is needed over the next few weeks, so if you can, put off important decisions until early next year, or else you come acropper next month as a result of rash behaviour or making ill-advised choices. This is a great placement for the metro-sexual, however, so don’t be surprised if beards and roughness go out the window in favour of pampering and enhanced grooming. For men, taking a more sensitive approach within relationships could get you much further in love now than the love ’em and leave ’em tactics.

Mercury into Sagittarius: 20 Nov

Mercury, the planet of education, travel, and self-expression, will ingress into Sagittarius on November the 20th from where it will boost foreign travel plans, overseas contacts and add an upbeat, possibly philosophical element to discussions or news reports. This placement should also encourage us to be more open-minded about certain topics, especially with regards to morality, and be more enthusiastic in the way we present ourselves. Religious and cultural tolerance, foreign policy and the link between parrot-learnt knowledge vs. experienced wisdom are also likely to be themes over the next few weeks, as will the culture or philosophy behind certain sports.

Key Aspects

For more details of key aspects and what to expect day by day during November, be sure to check out the Daily Astro-Insights on our Facebook page.

 REFERENCES

[1] James Burgess, Full Circle: Commentary on the Work of Dr Marc Edmund Jones as an Introduction to his Understanding Of Sabian Symbols, http://www.jamesburgess.com/

[2] James Burgess, Full Circle: Commentary on the Work of Dr Marc Edmund Jones as an Introduction to his Understanding Of Sabian Symbols, http://www.jamesburgess.com/

[3] Bernadette Brady, Star & Planet Combinations, p.241-2

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