There may never be a better night to listen the album New Moon, by Swallow the Sun than tonight.  If you can handle the dark realms of your psyche that this bleak melodic doom metal opus will open up for you, I can’t think of a better reflection of tonight’s night sky, tonally speaking.

249883Tied on the bed by the hands of the past,
memories too painful to be opened.

My body crushed and burned from escaping life
the sleep will come with horrors of you.

New moon would you open the gates, 
and take me away from this night?
New moon between the curtains
walk me away on your silvery bridge.

New moon lay your mercy on me tonight.

The charts of traditional astrology tell you that tonight’s New Moon is planting adventurous Sagitarian seeds.   As astrologer Austin Coppock so eloquently wrote in his daily horoscope today: “Night is host to the New Moon in Sagittarius, which is tightly configured to Mars and Neptune in Pisces. Myths float about in the dark of night, dream-quests which might be plucked and planted. This is a lunation to consider what stories you want to live, and how hard you’re willing to fight to make the legend you choose a lived reality.”

If that horoscopes resonates with you and the energies of your situation, than “grab the rose by its thorns” by all means. It is inspiring and dreamy, optimistic and adventurous. Its exactly the seeds that I wish to plant right in my life right now.

But if you are in a similar boat as me, maybe you feel like there’s a few steps missing between where you are right now and “the story you want to live.” Maybe you’ve started to wonder why another moon cycle has come and gone while the manifestations you’ve been working hard to bring into reality still seem like they belong only to the dreamy realm of Neptune.

Over the years, astrology has been an excellent tool for me to re-calibrate my course through life. This is one of those moments where the traditional astrology, like any good map, shows me where the destination is.  But sometimes you need a little more information to know exactly where you are on that map, and how the heck you are going to get where you want to go.

I’m beginning to suspect that one of the keys to unlocking that process is found in the stars.  The actual stars in the sky. Like a wayward mariner, you need the entire combination of map, compass and the stars over your head to discern which direction to point the bow of your vessel. (Or sometimes the stars that have dipped down under the horizon line…)

Using the True Sidereal zodiac and the Tarot in moments like this help to add a depth to my divination practice. When I look to the position of the planets among the stars, I find that this new moon is nestled in between the constellations of Scorpio and Ophiuchus in a cluster with the Sun and Jupiter. Venus is at home beside the Virgin and Mercury is stationed motionless in the sign of Libra, tipping the scales towards the serpent. Neptune and Mars are being cleansed by the water bearer, Aquarius, in a square with the buried Sun and darkened Moon.

For whatever reason, this gives me a clearer picture of what’s been going on in my life, and the lives of people close to me than the traditional tropical zodiac.

There is a lot of buried stuff coming to surface right now…things that are uncomfortable and threatening and embarrassing to look at. Deeper relationships and new living situations are manifesting into earthly reality, sometimes at a breakneck pace, faster than our carefully designed plans can be re-envisioned or adapted. For the person who is willing to dig deep and reveal the uncomfortable truths, transmutation is occurring and it can look nothing like what we imagined our embodied transformation would look like. But does the caterpillar know what it will become when it goes into it’s chrysalis stage of metamorphosis, or is it submitting to its instinct? If we could fully imagine our own transformation and complete it under our own power, wouldn’t we be there by now? Instead we are called paradoxically to both rise up and submit…

I think that all those Neptunian dreams that Mars is calling on us to act upon are relying on our fully integrated shadow to come to fruition. We must grasp for them through a murky darkness of our own making. Like Ophiuchus grappling the serpent. This is the alchemical method. To deconstruct and refine. To use every element to subject the soul to the rigorous processes of evolution. To both surrender and control. To be both fearfully aware and yet boldly unafraid. To be the wiseman and the fool.

To me, the position of these celestial bodies reflect this season even better than the astrologer’s ephemeris. Sagittarius is watching nearby with Saturn looking over his shoulder, but our New Moon sits at the base of the healer’s caduceus, gathering the potential energy from the the cold and frozen earth like a tightly coiled snake in brumation under the ground. As we move towards the solstice, the nights get longer and the dark gets darker, and our eyes begin to adjust to less light. We start to get used to the cold again. Our metabolism slows like a bear going into hibernation and our circadian rhythms shift to the winter schedule. Night is winning. We are in the Kingdom of Darkness.

This New Moon opens a gateway to the darkest aspects of our self. There are keys there for the alchemist who isn’t afraid to grope in the darkness for them. Release your fear and dive in, because when you resurface on the other side of this moon cycle, you will be bringing those keys up into the light of the returning Sun. Winter’s icy grip will still be at your throat, but the days will be slowly getting longer as the world tilts again to the Light.

Now is the time to face what you’ve been afraid to face. Examine intimately those parts of yourself that you despise. Wallow, if you must. Look without the intent to change or judge this shadow self, but to silently observe. Embrace the part of you that you’ve long neglected, whether from shame or regret, and say to it, “I accept you as you are”.

Forgive yourself. Be free.

New moon, lay your mercy on me tonight

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