October 31 marks the mid-point between the Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice in traditional, earth-honoring calendars. Known as Samhain, it is a major nature-based holiday for honoring our ancestors and inviting the dead to visit and advise us. As we move deeper into the season of darkness, which begins at the Fall Equinox, Samhain marks the moment when the veils between the living and the dead are at their thinnest. It is a time to sit quietly and listen carefully to the signs, words and vast experience of the sages that have passed before us, holding the place of the wisdom of death and the contemplation of what has been before the cycle of rebirth and life begin again. It is important to remember that, as we sit and request respectful counsel of our ancestors, so, too, one day will those who come after us sit and request our presence with them.
Living in western societies, which are governed by a primarily unconscious terror of the natural cycles of life, death and rebirth, it will serve us all well to revive and renew a relationship with a force and power that has always held sway over us and cannot be denied despite our best efforts to compartmentalize it in dark rooms hidden behind facelifts and iPods and our ceaseless pursuits of instant gratifications.
We have, indeed, depleted our spiritual selves in such pursuits. We have depleted our environment, our economies and our collective and individual integrity through our adolescent denials of our own mortality. With Pluto in Capricorn tearing down the artifices of the culture we have established, which has become completely disconnected from the true and sustaining rhythms of a good and simple life, now would be a useful time to immerse ourselves in quietude and actually listen carefully to our elders. There is nurturance and sustenance available to us there, behind those curtains. There is a wealth of information to be had if we are willing to reach out our hands to our ancestors and receive it willingly and gratefully.
October 31 is a perfect day for such rituals. Jupiter and Uranus continue in conjunction in the deeply spiritual and emotional realms of Pisces. This combination is one of opportunity to radically change our internal framework and external manifestations in short periods of time. Their retrograde direction is an excellent time for reviewing the direction we’ve been heading in and to reset our compass so that our deepest heart’s desire and our material world harmonize. Possessions and ambition have nothing to do with leading a fulfilling and contented life, and this is the lesson this conjunctions in this sign presents us with at this time. We have here two mental planets drawn down into an emotional sign and we have every opportunity to allow the whispers of the spirit to guide and direct the brilliance of our minds.
Neptune and Chiron in Aquarius semi-sextile Jupiter and Uranus underscore the opportunity for balance between the head and the heart. With Neptune, we have a deeply spiritual and emotional planet within a mental sign. Neptune infuses the creative brilliance of the Aquarian brain with beauty and softness. Neptune at this time is conjunct Chiron, the keeper and healer of wounds, as well as the asteroidal mediator between the inner personal planets and the outer epochal ones. Both are here to move and flow through the neural network of Aquarius, gently bringing greater depth and compassion to our thought patterns, which can significantly alter our direction at a generational level.
The patterns, influences and potential balances (if we use our awareness) between our yin and yang polarities through this semi-sextile/conjunction relationship between Neptune and Chiron and Jupiter and Uranus should be kept front and center in our consciousness as Pluto continues its square with Uranus/Jupiter, which portends more disruptive changes in our external, institutional structures. These upheavals are nothing more than cracks and fissures and eventual crumblings of the vessels we have constructed in which we function. It is very important to keep in mind that we are going to continue to function if we have protected and nurtured our internal resources. What will change is simply the institutional containers in which we will find ourselves. Time to go to the potter’s wheel and create those sacred vessels ourselves. Meditate long and deeply before you throw the clay and pay attention to both their functions and forms, as your spirit will be residing within them for a very long time.
Another important aspect to keep in mind as this season of darkness progresses is the United States’ meeting with its Saturn Return exact on December 3 in the 10th house. The consequences of our activities over the past 30 years will emerge at this time. Our leadership as a nation may well be challenged and undergo serious limiting factors at this time. Those who have blindly saluted and clung to the current superficial and misguided corporate/government/media-induced notions that our actions in other countries have been a patriotic war for democracy will face serious identity disorders, loss and depression when the truth pierces those veils of delusion. Such people will experience similar cataclysmic ruptures of their personality and functioning as the earth is in her various forms at this time. The revelations of the truth about ourselves are appearing, and will continue to, in alternative news sources at a quickening pace as Saturn approaches his date with a dead-reckoning of our public standing on the world stage.
Preparing for the limitations and challenges that await us by taking the time during Samhain to consult the non-material world of our ancestral domain shall hold us in good stead. Stay with the eternal and internal sources. External volcanic eruptions always leave behind new earth. Surround yourself with the pictures of your departed loved ones and allow their continuing love for you to fill your being. Light candles and allow them to enter into your home and sit amongst you, lending their support. Feed them good food and warm libations. They know things – many things – having already lived numerous lives and transitioned into and out of the physical body on a number of occasions. As have you. Their knotted hands and knees represent ancient wisdom from roads well-travelled and, like scouts on the wagon trains across our once pristine lands of America, they can tell us of the ruts and turns and easy and difficult roads ahead. They’ve got the lay of the land firmly in hand.
And, always set out an extra chair for any ancestor who may not be biologically related to you, but who desires a relationship with you. They may be strangers in visage, but not in spirit, and have journeyed far to you to gift you with good counsel. Before inviting any non-material entities into our physical realm, always remember to cast the sacred circle only allowing light beings into its center with you.
Reach out for the universal and unchanging truths that lie behind the veils of separation between the living and the dead on Samhain with awareness of the celestial influences that mark the ocassion. This action can teach us that our perceived separations from each other on the living plane are also mere illusions.