Sunday, October 30, 2016

New Moon in Scorpio: The Alchemy of Death

No new life can arise, say the alchemists, without the death of the old.
They liken the art to the work of the sower, who buries the grain in the earth:
it dies only to waken to new life.
~ Carl Jung

Today, October 30, we have a New Moon in Scorpio, most potent water sign of transformation. Here we have our allies the great serpent eagle and the phoenix rising from the ashes. A perfect fit for this Halloween-Samhain and Dia de los Muertos honoring of death and rebirth. Wise witches, healers, and alchemists know it is far less painful to embrace an inevitable disintegration process, than to resist it.

At this autumnal dark of the new moon, we may observe and experience important things falling away: people, relationships, ways of life. And the more we can even ‘settle in’ with the death and dying process, the easier and – daresay – more relaxing it becomes. Maybe not enjoyable, but probably more full-filling or meaning-full. Satisfying. Ripe.

When something dies, it is often overly ripe, far past its sell-by date. The German word reife relates to ripe, meaning maturity. Extract to the English word rife, which means unchecked or in a widespread manner. If something is overly ripe, and resists the death process, it is putrid, rotting, uncontrolled. Rife can cause damage, like a virus or cancer. Pruning occurs to reduce the chance of overly ripe things running amok. Balance is restored. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we awaken again to everlasting life through the death process.

I know: All this is simple, on paper, but to remember it when someone we love is in the dying process, or when our cherished intimate relationship is ending, or our professional life is taking a walloping turn – well, that’s another story. It is at these times, that the ancient principles of alchemy can help, with its motto "solve et coagula (dissolve and coagulate)". Two of the key alchemical stages signified by our New Moon in Scorpio are putrefactio and mortifactio.

The Putrefactio

The process of putrefactio is a transition stage. A gate, a station of decomposition. The matter itself is literally rotting. We know not what lies on the other side of the door. It is a secret, a mystery. One senses power and potential energy on the other side, a garden of delights. But the transition through the portal requires a trust to endure great shadow, to not bolt during this stage when all is in decay. We rely on the ancients, the seers, and our contemporary mentors and guides. Even our selves-as-teachers, who have already lived through various forms of the death process before. These previous experiences remind us that we do live on. Yes, changed in form, and garnered with hard-earned wisdom.

Solve et Coagula: Dissolve and Coagulate
In the mortifactio, we are reminded that the final death knell can be mortifying, bringing us to our knees. We experience the mourning during the blackest and the bleakest. The sensation of grief, whether pre- or post-bereavement, can feel like the wind has been completely sucked out of us. We are empty, deflated, and the world is on hold. Close cousins with depression and anger – totally normal reactions, by the way – the mortificatio stage can last for months or even years.

It is a soul-driven process, and the rational mind does what it can to move it along. Alas, the extent of the enmeshment or identification with the person or situation that is no more, may require a good long work of disentangling to make sense of the matter. Meaning-making returns to reclaim the pieces of Self that were projected onto the lost object. Healthy grieving is invaluable, filled with power as the soul does what it must to clear the ground for what is to come.

Navigating the mourning, the mortifactio, is deep work requiring great courage. It may require a guide, a person who has gone before and is familiar with the terrain of the cremation grounds. But even without a helper or wise teacher, the miraculous force of Life itself will naturally lead a soul to new ground, to plant a seed, and start again. Fresh compost tops the soil, the ripeness is now a readiness to receive the seed and eventually bear new fruit. But first we must endure and respect the alchemical stages of putrefactio and mortifactio.

Honoring, even celebrating the transition – the transformation – is the secret magic and the message of this New Moon in Scorpio.

Erin Reese is an author, spiritual guide, astrologer, and modern psychic reader based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works with clients all over the world. For readings and spiritual counseling by Skype, phone or email, contact her directly. She can be reached at

Further Reading:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Full Moon in Aries: Peaceful Warriors

The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off
 ~ Gloria Steinem, Sun in Aries

This weekend, we have a Full Moon in Aries - our red-hot, Mars-ruled sign of the Warrior. We can use the fuel of the red planet Mars to get moving, correct imbalances and inequalities. The Sun is still shining in the sign of the Scales, Jupiter is fully in his Libra groove, and social justice is ever more highlighted on the personal and world stage. The U.S. Election, Black Lives Matter, Climate Change, Anti-Bullying awareness… people are talking, motivating, and speaking up right, left, and center.

Our Full Moon is tightly conjunct Uranus in Aries, revolutionary change agent. This is a social justician’s Moon. Do you have a boss or a politician, a system or an organization that is pushing you around? October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Just say NO to bullying in all its insidious forms. Take action. You can be smart about it. You can write an anonymous letter to the editor, take a concern to the HR department, to the CEO. Speak up and tell the truth. Now is the time.

You know that sickly feeling in the pit of your stomach, called disgust, that indicates you’re being used, abused, taken by a ruse? Well, that discomfort simply won’t let up until you get in gear, gather the details, compile the data. Are others feeling the same way? Encourage them to exhibit great self-care, and also speak up for themselves. Only when we are in it together will a larger difference be made.

Activists Need Rest, Too

Driving home on October 10, Columbus Day aka Indigenous Peoples' Day, I flipped on KPFA 94.1, a Berkeley, CA station just to see what was goin’ down in ‘community-powered’ radio land. It happened to be the hour of Hard Knock Radio – a hip-hop daily show. The host, Davey D., was interviewing artist and activist Karega Bailey, a leading voice of Black Lives Matter in Oakland. Just as I tuned in, Karega was saying, “You can’t be on the front lines 24/7. You take a break and you heal!” That got my attention.

Concerning teaching urban youth at an inner city school, Bailey wisely spoke of the importance of restoring the mind and body in order to make the most impact: “I have to be well enough to love [the kids]... I have to be well enough to go in there with an abundance of love...that’s what our young folks need – right? Before they get the theories and what’s goin’ on, they need to be filled with love. So being an educator, activist, artist I realized how important self-care was gonna be to my longevity of showing them that it’s worth it!”

Yes, it is worth it, my brother and sister. Staying in good shape ourselves, we can make a difference. Sleep well, rest up. Eat good food, share it with your loved ones. Watch a comedy show and laugh, lighten up. Smile at the trees and their changing colors, sing with the birds, feel the love in your tender, open heart. Take it easy, come out strong. Clear in mind, invigorated in body. That’s the Self-Care approach to healthy activism.

On the playground, at home, in the office, and on the world political stage, this Full Moon feel the fire and the fury of the peaceful warrior(ess). Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights. Don’t give up the fight.

APROPOS ~ This Just In!
Songwriter Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez
Come gather 'round people where ever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone,
For the times they are a' changin'.

Erin Reese is an author, spiritual guide, astrologer, and modern psychic reader based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works with clients all over the world. For readings and spiritual counseling by Skype, phone or email, contact her directly. She can be reached at