Thursday, 23 October 2014

Still waters run deep

Today, at 12.57 BST, the Sun moved (astrologically) from Libra into Scorpio.  

The leaves continue to change colour, but now they’re falling from branches, covering the earth in a blanket of gold, bronze, and orange.  The autumn winds lift them up; they whirl through the air, twisting and swirling in a vortex... Since the equinox, the nights are growing longer, giving us the opportunity to spend more time dreaming.   Here in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, people are planting bulbs – the ‘seed’ of life being sown underground where it will lie protected and nurtured until it’s ready to ‘spring’ forth in a few months’ time.  Is it any wonder that Scorpio, the scorpion, is the sign of transformation?  All around us, in nature, the world appears to be going to sleep; animals are starting to hibernate, the birds are gathering and forming their migratory v-shapes as they head for warmer climates.  

'Scorpio' ©Alison Coals
Before long it will be Samhain (“summer’s end”) the end and start of the Celtic New Year, the Day of the Dead – times of transformation and change, which is what we’ve come to associate with Scorpio.  In astrology, Scorpio is one of the three Water signs, along with Cancer and Pisces, as well as being one of the four Fixed signs.   It ends the second cycle of the elements (Cancer through to Scorpio), and opposes Taurus on the axis of resources.  While Taurus is interested in material resources, Scorpio – as a water sign – is more interested in emotional resources.  As a fixed sign, Scorpio wants to know what’s going on at a deeper level, not at the bubbly surface – “still waters run deep” is a good description of Scorpio’s focus.  Only by diving into the depths can Scorpio unearth the root of a problem and attempt to transform it – and it will probably take a crisis or something similar before Scorpio will take that plunge.  

‘Scorpio Totem’ ©Alison Coals
The traditional ruler of Scorpio is the planet Mars, providing passion and drive.  It also has a modern ruler, Pluto, named after the Lord of the Underworld, reflecting the cycle of life and death and the change involved.  Both planets are associated with power; “knowledge is power” is another good description. 

We’ve just left Libra, with its 7th-house focus on partnership, and the need for harmony and balance through negotiation and diplomacy. Now we’re about to move into 8th-house issues with Scorpio –shared resources; the fall-out, if you like, or follow-on, of the partnerships.    Emotions run deep, and power struggles within relationships can ensue.  Intensity.  Any transformation, under the auspices of Scorpio, will be intense!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Libra in the Minor Arcana: The Four of Swords

The last of the three minor Swords cards associated with Libra, the Four of Swords is linked to Jupiter in the cardinal Air sign. It also corresponds to the last ten days of Libra, from the 13th through to the 22nd October this year (see Elizabeth Hazel’s excellent Tarot Decoded, published by Weiser, 2004, for more on Planetary and Zodiacal dignities). 
So, what qualities does Jupiter bring to Libra? Well, Jupiter is associated with expansion, the broadening of horizons – and by association, optimism and faith.  Jupiter was a Roman god, also known as Jove, giving us the word ‘jovial’ – so we have humour, as well as benevolence to add to the Jupiterian or Jovian mix. But we also have the sense of fairness – Jupiter as the arbiter at the tribunal.

Add this to the cardinal airy-ness of Libra, the quest for harmony and balance within relationship, and what happens?  The quest expands!  The objectivity and fairness is still there, but now we can add diplomat as well as negotiator – the ability to see the ‘bigger picture’.  Not only fair-minded, but also broad-minded, Jupiter in Libra wants to see things grow and develop through co-operation, and encourages this.  One thing to be wary of might be the need to weigh everything up, which could perhaps inhibit the confidence and decisive thought!

Wildwood Tarot
How does this fit with the Four of Swords?  This card is often associated with themes of recuperation, rest, and convalescence. Four is a number of stability – think of a square: it rests solidly on four corners, and it takes a lot to shift it.  Taking time to stand still (or lie still, as often depicted in Four of Swords images) to recover or re-charge before facing the next challenge is definitely indicated.

Sharman-Caselli Tarot
Jupiter in Libra brings a sense of clarity, after the pain and sorrow of the Three.  With acceptance – the lesson from the Three – comes time to breathe, to take a deep breath, to expand the lungs, to expand our view of the situation.  To quote Gerd Ziegler (‘Tarot: Mirror of the Soul’, published by Weiser Books), what “has seemed hopeless until now actually carries within itself all the elements for a fortunate, prosperous solution.”  Through rest, the body, mind, spirit and emotions have all been brought together ready to face another day.

Sharman-Caselli Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections

Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections