This New Moon in Sagittarius is not one that has me clamoring to write about optimism, hope and faith. All Sagittarian keywords. If you need a dose of that medicine, or that’s the vibe that is truly for resonant for you right now, I encourage you to check out what I wrote last year right here. It’s still highly relevant.
When life gets hard and the world seems dismal (even in the midst of the blessings so many of us truly have), we need a guiding light to hold onto. That is very much what Sagittarius is about. But there’s more to this story.
I don’t want to sound ominous, but I do have somewhat of a responsibility to nudge you into acceptance: the world situation is not good, and it is very highly likely not going to get any better in the coming year. As an astrologer, it is my duty to figure out how to tenderly and realistically convey that message, based on what my eyes and intuition and science tell me, but also based on millenia of study of the cycles of the universe.
That does not mean you’re bound for drear and drudgery and pain on a permanent basis, nor do I mean to encourage you to hide in fear. It doesn’t even mean I’m attached to being right. Cuz, who knows?
It does mean, however, that we can look around and see power structures flailing and failing all around us. It does mean that we can look at hard science to see that ecosystems are collapsing, and that our way of life is absolutely unsustainable and requires radical, immediate change, and that we have not yet addressed that fact. Nor have we started mass preparations for this fact at the practical, tangible, emotional and spiritual levels — even just to deal with the changes that are already imminent.
Sagittarius reminds us not only of the bigger picture, but of the hope contained in a vision of better days, and the faith it takes to hold onto that hope and vision. The sign that follows Sagittarius, Capricorn, gives us the opportunity to take steps to make that vision real. Where Sagittarius and Capricorn merge, so does our ability to bring heaven down to earth.
In so many articles I’ve written, I’ve spoken to you about the theme of vision-as-medicine. I have taken you through guided visualizations where you visit yourself in the future or see and feel a better world, and had you bring that essence back into the present. These are great practices for the now as well.
If guided visualizations don’t work, you can always think of it in terms of legacy: what world are you leaving for your children or the young people you’re close to? You are connected to the future through them.
But another thing has been rising into my consciousness as of late — I’ve been getting reacquainted with the importance of grief. Grief as an antidote to despair, grief as a healing salve for the denial and overwhelm we swim around in so often. Grief — particularly having the courage to feel it and let it ripple out — as the medicine for our times.
I’ve also, through about ten acts of synchronicity, been reunited with one of my core creation stories — the myth of Sophia, or Divine Wisdom.
Creation stories and mythology in general give us a way to orient to our situation. Stories speak to the heart, connecting with our souls, and helping us to navigate our own rites of passage.
They’re hella powerful. And the gnostic creation myths, which include the story of the fall of Divine Wisdom (Sophia) are among the most powerful I know.
So I went ahead and took a look at where asteroid Sophia is for this New Moon, and sure enough: 4 degrees of Sagittarius. Exactly conjunct the Sun and Moon.
The myth of Sophia is one that is hard to find in any truly readable form, but it tells the story of a fall (you can email me for a version I’ve compiled in audio and written form if you’d like). It is a creation story, so it goes back to a time when nothing was differentiated and all was one.
It is a story of grief. The grief of loss. Of separation from source. Of separation from the known. It is a story where the protagonist (although, again, no version of the story reads as if there is a protagonist, that’s just a narrative function of modern culture) essentially follows her own heart and desires and creates something beautiful… and terrible. She becomes locked into her own creation.
An unintended consequence of her separation is the creation of a demi-god who sounds a whole lot like the wrathful god of old testament Christianity… and probably new testament as well.
But she had to fall in order to have direct knowledge of creation.
Direct knowing. Gnosis.
Direct knowing — the wisdom that comes through embodied experience, rather than from just reading a book or going to a religious authority — is a vital function of the Sagittarian archetype. It does not preclude learning from others and obtaining mental knowledge a la Gemini. But it requires a synthesis and eventual output of one’s own truth.
Sagittarian style grief is punctuated with existential despair. Sagittarian wounds arise from the times in our soul histories when we have believed — or just been automatically connected to the world around us in unquestioning ways — and then had that faith shattered. The square between Sagittarius and Pisces marks the conflict that arises when belief meets unqualified and absolute truth.
There is a certain depth of grief that comes from that feeling of being cut off from source, separation wounds run through us all. It is the primary metaphor, after all. The severing of the umbilical cord. You were once together and now are separate.
There is a loss of innocence and belief spoken of through so much of our history and even of our personal lives.
Think of the earth-based cultures of the world who are living in a post-apocalyptic landscape due to colonialism and imperialism.
Think of what it’s like to be connected to your own body only to be told that it is a vehicle for sin and should be hated. That your own inner knowing is wrong.
Think of what it’s like to be a good and well-intentioned human raised only to wake up to the fact that your culture is inherently racist and that you have benefited from that.
Think of what it’s like to become aware of the tremendous costs of using plastic, only to discover how difficult it is to go without.
Of course, the examples can go on and get much darker.
And they do get darker in worlds where inherent spirituality, or a fundamental recognition of the connection of all things, gets codified into rigid religion and ideology.
But here’s another take: the light of Sagittarius, the optimism, hope and faith it brings is not always one borne of innocence. Sagittarius comes after Scorpio, after all. It comes after a reunion with death and the dark, terrifying places of the world.
Sagittarius is the spark that is ignited after we reunite with our souls in that dark.
Perhaps the myth of the fall, in its various forms, is also speaking of a loss of soul, and the mourning and depression that come from that loss. The chaos that proceeds creation. And Sagittarius, as a fire sign, is indeed about creation and manifestation.
It also reminds us that the old Greek word for wisdom means dark knowledge. Wisdom comes by going into the dark, facing what is found there, and then reemerging.
I attended an event last week entitled “Chaos, Climate and Creation.” It was an evening of storytelling and lecture with Michael Meade, who has become one of my go-to elders for healing my own grief over the state of the world. I try to attend an event with him at least once a year.
As always, Mr. Meade ultimately referred to the crisis of our times as a crisis of truth and meaning and an initiatory rite of passage. A crisis in which we are tasked with witnessing the collapse of so many systems, including our earth system, and coming to terms with ways we have been contributors to that collapse — and will be contributors to the renewal and healing.
He also discussed the difficulty of living in a time when most people, at least most people in western culture, don’t recognize that they are in fact a unique being who has come into the world with something to offer — a unique gift and contribution.
Which is a bit strange, really, because western culture does revolve so much around being an individual.
But it’s not the same.
The cult of individuality has us constantly fixating on ways we’re different and special just so that we can say we’re unique and special (or rich). It’s a narcissistic process in which everything exists as an extension of ME.
What Michael Meade was talking about was a remembrance of genius. The spark of life that lies within each of us that, when followed and allowed to grow, will help us to bring some unique gift back to the collective in the spirit of healing and helping. Every culture except modern culture tells us that each child is a unique gift, and places that knowledge against a cosmological framework that can help the community raising the child to come into that power.
Inherent in this is the knowledge that you do not have to make something of yourself. You just have to be yourself.
You do not have to become a hero. You do not have to save the world. You just have to awaken your genius.
You are not separate from the world around you, and you are in fact special, just as every other being is.
Furthermore, indigenous cultures have traditions of ceremony and ritual, not just to help the tribe orient to personal, collective and earth-based changes, but to help those who are differentiating in needed and special ways still feel held and connected through the process.
There is a chaos that arises within a person as they shrug off conditioning that isn’t working, or challenge existing belief structures, or rise into their own path and genius. Non-modern cultures have been adept at helping folks to navigate those rites of passage as well.
Once knowledge has transformed into wisdom, you give it back to the world in some way. This is why Sagittarius is also the sign of the teacher, philosophy and higher learning.
The days leading up to this New Moon have seen some epic alignments of Venus and Jupiter with the black hole at the center of our solar system. I do believe we’re due for a stocking-up of the bright flame of Sagittarian truth (which is, if I’ve gotta break it down, that love is the ultimate law and that giving, sharing and connection are the bedrock for harmonious and sustainable life). But for some, that must mean that it’s time for another dose of pain and grief to spill out.
So for this New Moon, I have many recommendations.
In the hours leading up to it, if you’re able to let some grief go, do.
I encourage you to think about and lean into your own “source” stories. Whether that’s your birth story, a reflection on the sources that have informed your work and life, an inquiry into the creation myths that informed your childhood (be they religious, land or government based). I encourage you to make art as an act of synthesis. And I encourage you to remember who you are and what areas of life you might have above average wisdom or insight. Asteroid Sophia’s presence with this New Moon is, to me, a beacon of hope to to a world that is, in so many ways, still heading into deeper chaos and collapse. Tap into your inner voice. Remember the supports that you have. And remember what it is to feel union with your own soul.
If you’d like further guidance, my Patrons at the $5 level got some (this month and every month).
Big heart hugs to all.
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