Time Out: The Astrology of December 2018

Overview

December highlights Elemental opposition between Fire and Water, and that translates, astrologically, into a severe square between between Sagittarian Fire planets (at the time of this writing, I’m referring to the Sun and Jupiter) and Piscean Water (Mars, Neptune—Pisces’ ruler—and Retrograde Chiron) that will serve as the dominant energetic pattern for most of the month. We also have the cosmic paradox of fiery, ego-identified and assertive Mars, the ruler of Aries, unhappily slogging His way through the Neptune-ruled Piscean star-soup every day this month until the night of New Year’s Eve, when fireworks truly begin to ring in the New Year with a bang as Mars will be entering His home sign of Aries. But for the first 30 days of the month, alas, Mars is skewered by Neptune’s trident, floundering in confusion, low energy levels (possibly even low libido), and even physical sickness. (I’m actually combatting pneumonia as I type these words; I was diagnosed with it on Thursday and am now in Major Arcana Hermit mode at home.) Mars in Pisces loses impulse and direction.

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Adding to the Watery Elemental force is the fact that the month begins with Retrograde Mercury having backed into Scorpio’s harsh currents on December 1, and on December 2, the first night of Hanukkah, beguiling Venus also dips back into the familiar waters of Scorpio. So much of the energy will feel exactly like it did during Venus’ protracted Retrograde period in Scorpio (October 5-November 16), and now with Mercury’s analytical focus shining a spotlight on these dark waters, we’re going to be given remedial lessons on power dynamics in relationships, the abuse of power, sexual abuse and trauma, obsessiveness and jealousy/possessiveness, and what it means to assert one’s (sexual) autonomy. This is Underworld terrain, and its concerns very much go against the grain of the commercially enforced cheerfulness marketed to us this time of year for the holidays.

And, one more prominent note on the Fire-Water opposition, this month will bring us a Fiery New Moon (in Sagittarius, early in the morning on December 7) and a Watery Full Moon (on December 22 in Cancer, the Sign ruled by the Moon). So much of this push-pull dynamic and the Sagittarian desire for real-world expansion and adventure contrasted with the Piscean pull towards cultivating a rich inner life translates into moving. Very. Slowly. It’s deliberate. The Cosmos is asking us to sit quietly with what we perceive to be setbacks in the “real world.” For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere getting ready to welcome the official start of Winter at the Winter Solstice on the 21st, our task, as much as we may not like it, is to follow the pattern of Nature and take a cosmic Time Out. Slow down. Reflect. Dream. Build your emotional foundation. Hibernate. Act slowly and steadily. Set your intentions/do your goal-setting at the time of the Sagittarius New Moon, but allow your intentions to germinate in the garden of your soul. Don’t put plans into action until the very last day of the month, when Mars breaks free from His Piscean prison and announces it’s all systems GO as He bursts headlong into the Cardinal Fire of Aries and is home again. It will be an amazing way to welcome 2019!

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Eastern Currents for Western Magicians: Taoism and the Five Elements

“Eastern Currents for Western Magicians: Taoism and the Five Elements”

A Talk I Gave at the 19th Annual Fellowship of Isis Annual Gathering, Chicago,

September 29, 2012, at the Latvian Cultural Center of Chicago

Introduction

Hello and welcome to this year’s annual Goddess Festival sponsored by the Lyceum of Alexandria. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Katakhánas and I’ve been involved with the Lyceum of Alexandria rather intensively for the past 6 years, though I joined the Fellowship of Isis 4 years prior to that. Earlier this month, on September 9, I became an ordained priestess in the lineage of Lady Loreon Vigné of the Temple of Isis and Le’ema Kathleen Graham of the Lyceum of Isis Serpentarium in California; if you’re curious, I’ve pledged myself to lifelong service of the Goddesses Nebet-Het (Nephthys to the Greeks), Bast-Sekhmet, and Hekate. I’m also a Theosophist, which means I really enjoy comparative religious studies, which is why I wanted to give this talk today.

So, thank you for coming and making the decision to spend your weekend creating conscious spiritual community, honoring the Goddess Nu Kua and learning more about the metaphysical aspects of China’s rich cultural heritage to get us attuned to the energies of this evening’s ritual.

Given that theme, what I’d like to talk about with you for the next 20 or so minutes is the amazing series of ancient Chinese teachings that fall under the religious, philosophical, and magical rubric of what we call Taoism, or “the Understanding of THE WAY and its Virtue” as the underlying force that governs the workings of the Universe.

My agenda is threefold: (1) give an overview of the belief system, discussing its historical context in what’s been called the “Axis Age” of the 6th century Before Common Era, looking at Taoism’s parallels and sharp differences with the philosophy of the ancient Greek philosophers of that time period; (2) outline Taoism’s contrast to Confucianism, and, (3) critical for our purposes, examine Taoism’s tremendous appeal for modern Western Pagans and practitioners of Western magical traditions, given its “Mother Goddess” overtones and the intriguing application of the Chinese notion of the Five Elements or Five Phases, especially when we look at astrology. Continue reading