I know, the title could be anything from the name of a horror slasher film that takes place in and around a very rural, abandoned farmhouse to that of a workshop given by one of those fraudulent, often caucasian, new age, shaman/guru wannabes.
It is, in fact, however, a very mundane, though richly nourishing experience that takes place out in nature, far from the madding crowds and without accompaniment of vacuous devotees.
Out here in the real, this is high season for wildcrafting the herbs and medicinal plants that root themselves under the guidance of nature in our fields and ditches. Those who lead the fast-paced urban-based tourista sort of life behind the wheels of expensive and usually debt-procured speeding cars never notice the abundance passing by their windows along the roadways and byways taking them to their final destinations.
There is an entirely different journey to be had out here and, at it’s core, brings the traveler into intimate contact with the flora and fauna along the winding path.
Wild oats jangle under the brush of a passing hand and the red stalks and deep greens of wild spinach are pulled and picked by grateful fingers to be served at the evening meal. Crows perch in branches and loudly harass the passerby, whether it be a bi-pedal human strolling along on the silent carpet of pine needles or a raptor that has strayed too far into the corvids’ nesting area.
Astrology, at it’s finest and most original, is all about the understanding of the turning of the cosmos and fluid changing of the seasons. As we should know, it’s practice was developed during a time of humanity when the whirlings of the stars and the rhythms of nature were viscerally understood as one and the same. The measuring of the constellations took place with a simple compass under a darkened sky. Planting and tending and harvesting held center stage in the activities of every household. Astrology was conceived and birthed during an epoch where humans realized themselves fully as being in relationship to an intangible life force whose meaning might be perceived in the touch of a leaf, tasted in root soups, seen and heard in the singing of the wind in boughs that wept and swayed on high.
They were times in which to seek the counsel of an astrologer was to engage in a dynamic and ongoing conversation regarding the metaphysical meanings of the physical world. They did not involve transient, individual “readings,” a lazy and hierarchical habit now employed by most astrologers in which they simply sit and “talk at” the client. Such astrologers merely reflect the larger cultural environment in which we now live, one where “civilization” has diminished our abilities to engage in real relationship, one where the subtleties of actual relating have been lost to a two-dimensional, authoritarian style of making pronouncements about the client. Those are the astrologers that prefer the speeding car to the walk in the woods. Most of those live in urban environments, shuttered inside walls and blocks of concrete and smog that block their view of the heavens. They spend their time at their computers, attempting to glean some meaning of the world around them from glowing screens amidst fearful street lamps the obscure the shining and darkness of the moon.
Ah, well, Lao Tze has always said that civilization destroys the true essence of the human being and, in my years of experience now, I have come to agree with him.
Yarrow harvesting is the name of the season here at the moment. And, indeed, they are tall plants on narrow stalks, their leaves feathery and light, all culminating in a cluster of white flowers so identifiable, even at a distance. This is the time where those of us who know, see them out of the corner of our eyes even as we traverse winding, rural roads and stop the car, gather our gathering bags and scissors, and traipse out past the lined highways and gather, gather gather this amazing medicinal plant. And then there comes the washing and hanging and drying and then, on the New Moon in Cancer, immersing them in their healing oils to sit and infuse that oil with their profoundly healing essences.
New Moon in Cancer – aahh, the great mother, ruler of the breasts and giving of her abundant, nourishing milk. And she will bestow those juices when the time is right. Patience is her virtue and that which she teaches to those willing to surrender to her guidance. She takes unto herself the primary ingredients and, over time, just like a gestating woman, transforms them into complex life. All others must wait and honor the time and place of her transmutation of those simple things. She has her own rhythm and it is ours to develop the subtle perceptions to know when her delivery is right and full and imminent. And then, to minister to the birthing of her progeny. We know that she, and they, will bestow their gifts for a long time to come, shall heal our illnesses even in the muted and grey days of winter and hold us steady until spring comes again. Her oils, salves and tinctures are rich beyond belief and ours is to trust that she does, indeed, have the power to guide us through the uncertainties of the darkness.
My writing this comes at a time when we, as a collective, both conscious and unconscious, face an uncertain and precarious future. That is true.
I also write this just 6 weeks after Venus has crossed the Sun, a once in a lifetime event for all of us alive right now. That influence is not just generationally epochal, but belongs to the larger anals of centuries of recorded human history. This era, for many reasons, shall be studied by many, from anthropologists to paleontologists to astrologers alike for a very long time to come. Though many in western civilization simply say, “oh, yeah, I was there and did that,” before they turn their attention to the next, newest headline on the tv screen, our duty here is to pause and contemplate the deeper meanings of Venus’ appearance at this time and this place.
My next entry will, indeed, be devoted to that very topic, though I am still reflecting on it and will, indeed, wait until she moves me to speak. She does herald a very important message in amongst our doom and gloom.
As all psychotherapists ask when any new event or appearance makes itself known, the question is: “why here, why now?” Therein lies the rub.
In the meantime, I wish for all of us to step outside and smell the smells of green and abundance, to lie down and listen to the soft, story-telling murmurs of the feminine as we lay our heads upon her chest and drift into sleep.
She is there, always has been. We have simply forgotten her.
Venus returns now to remind us of her power and her beauty.