First Quarter Moon: Into the Ancient & Future Now

Today's 1st Quarter Moon brings the halfway point between last week's New Moon in Virgo and next week's Full Moon in Pisces -- and a crucial, critical juncture.

Today’s 1st Quarter Moon brings the halfway point between last week’s New Moon in Virgo and next week’s Full Moon in Pisces — and a crucial, critical juncture.

Today’s first quarter moon brings a note of crisis to the energetic mix. You’ve probably heard that there are two Chinese characters for the word “crisis,” one of them meaning “danger” and the other, “opportunity.”  The translation we’ve heard for years, though, is not accurate. One of the two characters does indeed mean “danger.”  The other one is actually a bit more ambiguous than “opportunity.”  It’s a “crucial, critical point.”

Astrologically, today’s crucial, critical juncture is described by the 1st Quarter Moon, half way between a New and Full Moon in two of the zodiac’s most misunderstood signs – Virgo and Pisces. Virgo carries the energy that’s sacred to the ancient goddesses who live in the very depths of our shared memory. When we tap that energy, we begin again to mend a thousands-of-years-old break between the sacred and the profane, the right brain and the left, feeling and thinking, being and doing.  Eventually, we reach Pisces, the zodiac’s final sign. This is the omega point, the cosmic sea into which the currents of all the other signs flow.  In these creative, intuitive, empathetic, and visionary waters, we experience our essential and ultimate oneness with the Source. We renew our spirits, and prepare to begin a new of Life.

To get from one to the other, we pass through the free-spirited, questing energies of Sagittarius, where Luna challenges the Virgo Sun at 1:08 p.m. (EDT) today. Right there, in the restless, fiery vibrations of Jupiter’s optimistic and generous sign, full of faith in the basic goodness of life — that’s where the seed energy of last week’s New Moon is beginning to push its way through to the surface.  The location of this Sagittarian Moon’s ruler — the deeply feeling, creative waters of Cancer, the ancient sign of the Divine Mother — tells us something very important about the nature of today’s crucial juncture.

Ruins of the Temple of Isis on the Greek island of Delos. In the ancient world, Virgo was the sacred sign of goddesses from Isis to Ishtar, Inanna to the Virgin Mary.

Ruins of the Temple of Isis on the Greek island of Delos. In the ancient world, Virgo was the sacred sign of goddesses from Isis to Ishtar, Inanna to the Virgin Mary.

That Virgo New Moon : Setting the Stage for a Feminine Comeback

The seed energy that’s pushing through the surface and bringing us to a critical juncture carries an essence we’d almost lost touch with, after millennia of abuse and suppression of the Cosmic Feminine. Over the centuries, Virgo — the sign of Inannana and Ishtar, Isis and  Persephone, and the Virgin Mary — acquired a bad rep.  She came to be associated with feminine shadow qualities — nagging, obsessive compulsive attention to detail, martyrdom, and sexual repression.

And then, late in 2012, something happened that signaled a game change.  The great star Regulus,one of the four stars the ancient Persian astrologers called the Royal Stars, believed to be the Keepers of the Four Directions, changed signs.  After over 2,000 years in Leo, the Star of Kings moved into the sign of the ancient goddesses.  As astrologer Michael Lutin said at the time, the Universe was telling us that “the King is dead.  Long live the Queen!”  

The great star Regulus, now in the ancient sign of the Virgin Goddess.

The great star Regulus, now in the ancient sign of the Virgin Goddess.

We’re living now in a cosmic changing of the guard — the return of the Cosmic Feminine to human consciousness that has been long foretold, by sages, seers, and almost all of the world’s sacred traditions.  No matter our Sun signs, we all have Virgo somewhere in our birth charts, and that’s where we all felt this. Each time a planet enters the first degree of Virgo, it’s illuminated by the energy of this brilliant, blue-white binary star. In Virgo, we feel it a little more consciously.  Transit by transit, the Goddess is reclaiming her cosmic territory — within us and around us.

In the Japanese art of kintsurukoi, something becomes more beautiful for having been broken.

In the Japanese art of kintsurukoi, something becomes more beautiful for having been broken.

Virgo: Cosmic Mender of the Broken Reality

Virgo is the place where we mend the broken world, within us and around us. The Japanese technique of  kintsukuroi  creates art from brokenness in a way that evokes this Virgo energy.  The kintsurkuroi artists repair the broken shards with gold or silver lacquer,  not only mending but transforming the piece.  The kintsurukoi  piece becomes something more beautiful for having been broken.

Last week’s Virgo New Moon planted the seed energy for a kind of kuntsukuroi.  Today’s 1st Quarter Moon, squaring the Sagittarian Sun, brings us to a critical juncture.  Do we understand what we’re questing for? Do we know which blessing we most need to ask for?

Much of today’s action involves Jupiter, the ruler of the 1st Quarter Moon, and  Mercury, ruler of the Virgo Sun  that it squares. Two days ago, the Cosmic Messenger entered Libra, another of the Goddess’ sacred signs.  He’s already triggering the Uranus-Pluto square. Forming a volatile cardinal cross with Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter, the Mercury is about to grapple with the tensions dividing the world within us and around us. The Messenger is joining the fray. As he dives deep into turmoil and tumult, it’s time for us to clear the decks for breakthrough.  Pushed on all sides by Pluto’s pressure to shed dead skin, Uranus’ imperative to birth a new cycle, and Jupiter’s cascade of intuitive awareness, Mercury will take a leap of perception over the next 10 days — deep into the heart of the Now.  

Mending Broken Lives and a Broken World, Virgo New Moon-Style

A look back at last week’s New Moon, and the seed energy it created, will shed some light on the leaps that are our next step:

* The Sun and Moon were almost exactly across the sky from, Chiron, the ancient Wounded Healer.  Chiron carries our broken place — the sacred wound within each of us, that comes from our perception that we are separate from the Cosmic Matrix.  He also is our access point to our sacred gift, which we access once we reconnect with Source.  Confronting both the Sun and Moon, we become conscious of our brokenness and our need of mending.  In the Chironic journey, this moment of conscious awareness is always the critical step.

*  Venus was almost exactly across the sky from Eris, one of the energies who carries the cast-off feminine shadow. Eris represents the discord and strife created by the feminine energy who didn’t get invited to the party of patriarchy.  She moves so slowly that everyone alive now has Eris in Aries – the pathbreaking, ground-breaking sign where everything begins. That’s the side of the feminine we’ve cast outside the circle.  

As Venus becomes aware of this outcast, exiled part of the feminine self, we can move beyond the dominator culture’s strategy of cutting off what’s problematic in ourselves or others.  We can begin to relate instead to the outcast energy — within us and around us — and reclaim its gifts of daring and vibrance.  

Tsultrim Allione’s re-working of an 11th-century spiritual practice created by a Tibetan Buddhist tantric yogini shows us one way to do this as our inner work.  In her remarkable book, Feeding Your Demons, Allione discusses the practice of imagining the demons who plague us (whether depression, rage, resentment, or sorrow) as literal beings.  Sitting with our demons, we invite them to tell us what it is they’re so hungry for.  And then, in an act of true daring, we offer our own selves to them as food. Allione gives example after example of demons turning into fierce allies after this practice has allowed the heart to open to the energies we have cast into the wilderness.

* Pluto was also involved in a breakthrough opposition — exactly across the sky from Black Moon Lilith, who carries more of the shadow energies, and squared by Uranus. 

British Sufi mystic Lewellyn Vaughn-Lee explores the fundamental importance of the shadow wisdom in his book, The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul.

 “If life does not change, it dies, and yet paradoxically we are so frightened of death that we try to hold back the flow of life. Without knowing it, we are caught in a masculine idealized image, a longing for perfection that denies the feminine with its understanding of darkness, decay, and destruction. Without darkness there can be no birth; nothing creative can take place. Without destruction there can be no cycle of life, only a sterile environment in which nothing grows. If we do not accept the darkness, life will lose whatever meaning it has left. If we do not allow ourself to live in the darkness, the doors of revelation will remain closed” (italics and boldface mine).

The streets of Old Damascus, the world's oldest continually inhabited city.

The streets of Old Damascus, the world’s oldest continually inhabited city.

At the Appraoch of the 1st Quarter Moon:  The Bombing that Wasn’t, or,  Were Those the Goddess’ Fingerprints?

Less than 48 hours before today’s 1st Quarter Moon, something utterly unprecedented happened. An American president took off the table his plans to bomb the ancient nation of Syria in retribution for an attack of chemical weapons  — plans supported by contested evidence and overwhelming opposed not only by the American people but by countless others around the globe. The move was made in response to an offer from the “enemy” to remove all chemical weapons from Syria.

On the same day, New Yorkers went to the primaries to select each party’s candidates for mayor.  New York City’s Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio, won the Democratic nomination after campaigning on behalf of the city’s 99%.  Journalist Peter Beinart called de Blasio’s victory “an omen of what may become the defining story in America’s next political era: the challenge, to both parties, from the left.”

On that day, Mercury had just moved into Libra.  Venus was in the last, urgent degree of her own sign.  Libra rules all forms of relatedness, in art, and relationships — and in politics and diplomacy.  Saturn and the Moon’s North Node were in the same degree of Scorpio, squared by a dramatic Mars in Leo.

 If the events of recent days are any indication, it would seem that Venus – empowered and confident in her own energy – indeed recognized what Eris brought to the table at the Virgo New Moon.  The magnetic Venus power that’s charged this week’s events has been something very different than the compliant, docile energy of the patriarchy’s “good girl.”  All around us we see the turn to a new energy. Still in seed form, it’s enlivened with spunk, daring, and a freedom from the stifling constraints of an increasingly intolerable status quo.

The Temple of Isis at Philae, in Egypt, was the ancient center of the Cult of isis.

The Temple of Isis at Philae, in Egypt, was the ancient center of the Cult of isis.

The Messenger Takes On Uranus and Pluto

Mercury was in Virgo at the New Moon.  Sharing space with the Sun and Moon, the Messenger perceived reality through the energy of the ancient goddess. A week later, at the 1st Quarter Moon,  the Messenger is the lone planet in Libra.  There, he forms an opportunity-creating sextile with Mars — and a confrontational opposition with Uranus, whose energy is famously unpredictable.

Between now and the Full Moon, Mercury will trigger the life-changing, world-changing power of the Uranus Pluto square.  This 33-month clash between our solar system’s mightiest change agents can only be called a global initiation.  We’ve now gone through three of the seven energetic gateways being created by the vibrational collisions of Uranus the Awakener and Pluto the Transformer. As Mercury engages the volatile energies, we begin to understand more clearly what it is that’s happening within us and around us.  It’s truly a critical juncture in our initiatory passage from one era to another.

The first three squares – which took place on June 26, 2012, September 19, 2012, and May 20, 2013 – broke open the dry and crusty ground within us and among us so that the most potent change-agents in the solar system could begin to stir us into action.  Now, with the fourth square less than six weeks away, Mercury is helping us begin to perceive the future unfolding within us and around us.

The Babylonian and Assyrian goddess Ishtar was a later version of the Sumerian queen of heaven and earth, Inanna.

The Babylonian and Assyrian goddess Ishtar was a later version of the Sumerian queen of heaven and earth, Inanna.

The Great Shift: The Ancient & Future Now

It’s become increasingly clear that the Cosmic Feminine isn’t just a key part of the great shift – her return is the great shift.  Reality cannot function without the full power of its suppressed half.  We can’t heal the world with only half our wisdom.

Today’s first quarter moon comes the day  after Venus has plunged into the depths of Scorpio.  Throughout the Deep Time, from prehistory to the present moment, this is a part of the sky that figures prominently in the eternal story of the ancient feminine.  Scorpio’s transformative depths are the home of Persephone. This is where the daughter of the Earth Goddess became queen of the Underworld and its mysteries of death and renewal — a transformation that was celebrated in the Eleusinian Mysteries, perhaps the most fabled rites in the ancient world.  Even earlier, the oldest story on earth told the story of a divine being’s descent into the underworld.

The Sumerian queen of heaven and earth, the great Inanna (which was the Sumerians’ name for the planet Venus) journeyed there to meet her dark sister Erishkegal. As Venus journeys through Scorpio in the weeks ahead, we follow her into the depths,  shedding dead skin, receiving the renewing breath of Life, and taking our place in the never-before and never-again Now Moment. Welcome to the ancient future unfolding within you.