We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

The Moon

Written By: Charles - Dec• 04•18

Samain                                                                             Thanksgiving Moon

moon sickleReading some astrology material on the luminaries: the Moon and the Sun. Focused on the moon right now. The author, Liz Greene, has poked my own sensibilities, made me feel oh, yeah, this is me. I’m a lunar guy, more than a sun guy.

The first clue for me is my focus on the Winter Solstice. My favorite holiday. It celebrates darkness, fecundity that comes from fallowness, from decay. And inner quiet, a time alone with one’s Self. It celebrates, too, the fallow season, balancing as it does, the Sun’s eventual victory remembered, and experienced, on the Summer Solstice. The new moon, the black moon as Liz Greene calls it, had an ancient association with death, gestation, sorcery, and the Greek goddess Hekate who presided over birth and black magic. With the winter solstice and the new moon we encounter the pre-modern fear that light will not return, that we will be stuck in the blackness, cold and alone.

The second, and much more fraught clue came from this sentence: “If mother goes away, then the dark of the Moon has come, and we are overcome with terror of the abyss of extinction.” My mother died in October of 1964. Suddenly. Over a period of seven days after a brutal brain hemorrhage. None of us coped well. One night, some time after her death, maybe a week or so, I got into an argument with Dad and ran out of the house, across the bricks of Canal Street and up an alley that ran away from our house.

My inner experience. A black maw had opened in front of me. Instead of running away from it, I ran into it. Maybe I wanted to dissolve into it. Maybe I felt I would come out into another world. Maybe I was overcome with terror from the abyss yawning as I sprinted into it. This is an experience as fresh today as it was then, yet less emotionally charged now. In this mythic language it was a run into the black of the new moon, into Hekate’s realm.

abyssThe alcoholism which engulfed me the next year as a freshman in college could be a reprise, drink after drink, of this, this what? An anti-mystical experience? Or, a mystical experience like the one on the quad without the warmth and the light? It took years for me to come out of that dark other world; it literally consumed me until the old me no longer had a home.

I woke up, was spit out, emerged from the Holy Well about 20 years later when I opened my car door on a cold March evening and saw a $20 bill on the parking lot. That was the first night of treatment at Hazelden’s outpatient program. At this point I’d finished off one marriage, ended up in Seminary, bought a farm in northern Minnesota. I was working at Community Involvement Programs as director of Independent Living. (ha, realized right now-director of independent living-a major theme of my life)

After treatment, marriage to Raeone (with whom I was living at the time of treatment), adopting Joseph and the run up to my second divorce, Jungian analysis began to prise apart the man and the grieving boy. In a climactic dream I was in an auditorium, a bluish light pervaded the scene. I was in front, a brilliant light shone above me and a sword came down. I grasped it, held it up toward the light. The folks seated in the auditorium (I don’t know who they were.) began to chant, first softly, then with more volume, “He has the power. He has the power.”

tarot ace-of-swordsElisa, my astrologer, when I recounted this dream, went to her phone, searched a bit and showed me this tarot card, the ace of swords. This was a new way of thinking about that dream. In my case I think the sword came out of the abyss into which I ran all those years ago in 1964. I felt the raw power running down from the sky, through the sword and into my body, straight into my soul.

The blue light felt like moonlight, perhaps on a full moon, carrying energy harvested from the dark fallow time in which I had numbed myself with alcohol, moonlight with an edge, a jolt.

The moon, its feminine power, the anima, the mother and the matriarch got seared into my Self, darkening my soul, creating a space of mystery and magic. Not sure I’ve ever moved much beyond that.

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