Happy New Year, gentle readers! My time-honored tradition of casting this 13-card Tarot spread for myself as a forecast for the year ahead has continued unabated since 1989, I just realized. I was in high school at the time and used the Marseilles deck that was gifted to me by my now-late uncle Milan; it was my very first deck. If you’re familiar with that deck, you know how challenging it can be to study the meanings of Minor Arcana cards that aren’t Court cards; with little pictorial symbolism to go on, I went straight for memorizing the meanings of the numbers, wincing every time I would come to draw a Five card, irrespective of the Elemental suit, and rejoicing at the Aces, Sixes, and Eights. Continue reading
As an esoteric astrologer, I tend to see the first month of a new year as a tone-setting month for that year as a whole. January 2018, book-ended as it is by two full moons on the first and the last days of the month (and the second full moon is a total lunar eclipse–more on that in a bit), is a powerful month, indeed. True to its namesake of the liminal Roman god of doorways, Janus, the month will have us starting out facing the past (Cancer full moon on the 1st) in order to set our intentions for the future (Capricorn New Moon on the 16th and Leo total lunar eclipse full moon on the 31st). The fact that no less than 6 planets will be in Capricorn at the time of the New Moon on the 16th means that heavy Saturnian forces are at work to make sure that all of our aspirations firmly pass needed reality-checks before they can be set into motion. Personally, as a Virgo-Double-Aquarius, I’m loving what I see, as the end result will be liberation—from the debris of stagnant energies that clogged our progress in 2017, from falsehood, and from self-imposed limitations. If we play the energies right, the first month of the new year will have us learning to master the art of getting out of our own way!
“Saturn ascends / Choose one or ten / Hang on or be / Humbled again”
–TOOL “The Grudge” (Lateralus, 2001)
This is the planetary event I’ve been looking forward to all year—more than August’s dramatic total solar eclipse, more than Jupiter entering Scorpio in October. As of last night, the great karmic task-master esoterically embodied as the planet Saturn has entered His home sign of Capricorn—where transformative Pluto awaits Him! This glorious transit will last a whopping three years. Continue reading
From now until December 23, take $10 off your jewelry order of $40 or more on my Etsy site. Enter the coupon code JACKALMOONYULE2017 at checkout. Devotional necklaces added in the past week include ones that pay homage to Anubis, Ganesha, and Freyja! The latter was the most time-consuming one I’ve made to date: it’s a 29-inch-long cascade of gorgeous Baltic amber flanking a brass pendant that shows the Goddess astride one of Her cats. She can be yours at $10 off the regular price! Happy holiDAZE–and don’t forget to treat yourself amidst all your gift giving!
As the holiday shopping season gets underway in full force here in the States, I’d like to encourage people to please support small businesses and artisans, especially in esoteric/metaphysical communities. I’ve had my Etsy shop, Jackal Moon Designs, active for exactly half a year now and I love creating pieces that help support Polytheists, Pagans, Magicians, and Shamanic Practitioners in strengthening their connections to their Holy Powers.
I’ve recently ordered a slew of pendants depicting various Deities and Spirits and will be uploading new beaded gemstones pieces on a regular basis. I’m announcing three that are new to my shop as of yesterday and this morning, reflecting the work of my crafty little hands over the weekend. They’re long, texturally rich pieces and one is made to honor Sekhmet, one to honor Frigga (depicted in the featured image for this post), and one to honor Odin. I accept a variety of payments on my Etsy site and ship worldwide. My pieces make great one-of-a-kind gifts or you can keep them for yourself! (Do note that I take requests for custom pieces if you don’t see the Holy Power you serve represented in my shop!)
Editorial Note: This is the transcript of a talk I gave at the 24th Annual Fellowship of Isis Chicago Goddess Convention, October 28, 2017, at the North Shore Holiday Inn in Skokie, Illinois.
Good morning and thank you all for coming to our 24th Annual FOI Chicago Goddess Convention! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Anna and I’ve been proudly serving as legally ordained FOI clergy since 2012, though I have been active in Chicago’s Pagan community for 18 years and counting. I’m the executive editor of Isis-Seshat, a quarterly publication of the Fellowship of Isis, and I’m the founder of the chartered Iseum of the Rekhet Akhu, whose mission is to highlight the interrelatedness of the communities of the living and the dead and to cultivate transfigured spirits (akhu in ancient Egyptian) in human form.
So why did I choose this topic? We’re in the season of Samhain, the Celtic reckoning of the end of summer and the liminal time between one year and the next, and during this time our thoughts often turn to ones of our own mortality, as well as to remembrances of those who have gone before us. More than any other time of year, the honoring of the Deities and Spirits of Death is top of mind for most of us.
As a show of hands, who here honors a Death God or Goddess in their personal devotional practices? (Pause.)
I’m a Polytheist devoted to such Holy Powers, and I’d like to spend some time with you discussing three in particular: the Norse Goddess Hel, Mexico’s La Santa Muerte (the Holy Death), and the Nigerian Orisha, Yewa—Who They are, Why They matter, and how you can cultivate a devotional relationship with Them if you feel Their bony hands laying claim on you. What’s striking about these Death Deities of various cultures—northern European, North American, and West African—that I’m going to talk about is that They’re gendered female and They’re regarded as virgins, so we have a lot of intersectionality to examine when we focus on what we know about each Goddess historically and what we know about Them in contemporary worship.
But before we start discussing each of these three Cosmic Femmes Fatales, I’ve got a few thoughts I’d like to share on what significance gender bears as well as historical notions of the concept of “virginity” and how these impact the mythologies and the cultic practices surrounding the worship of Hel, La Santa Muerte, and Yewa.
Here we are in the United States, having another weekday Halloween experience. As much as I have absolute gratitude for my job and the manifold blessings it brings, I honestly wish I were at home now…daydreaming (in terms of the day’s planetary transits, the waxing Pisces Moon is squaring dour Saturn, making this an ideal day for daydreaming and otherwise not being “productive”), preparing for tonight’s great Samhain Sabbat ritual experience, greeting trick-or-treaters that may be diurnally marching around or pushed in strollers by their caregivers around my cul-de-sac…and just plain old nostalgically musing about the beloved Halloween experiences of my happy 1980s childhood. I wrote about the pleasures of Halloween nostalgia last year, and I find that once again, events in the here-and-now–even a frenzied morning commute into Chicago’s Loop that had my arms overburdened with Halloween treats to bring into the office and share with colleagues–invariably pluck the invisible strings of a mental tripwire, sending me smiling along for yet another journey down a pumpkin-laden Memory Lane.