When I was a kid I went to a lot of funerals. It’s no big deal really, that’s just the way things were. I grew up in a big, Irish, Catholic family, we had lots of older relatives, and I was one of the last of my generation to come around, so by the time I was old enough to be aware of anything, I was standing in front of coffins, watching palls be carried up the church center to the altar, and singing “Harrigan” at graveside. Through this I came to understand cemeteries and churches as special places, sacred places where the dead could be mourned and the survivors comforted. I noticed that the church and cemetery were places where all manner of special occasions occurred and care was given to their upkeep. This idea was projected out to sanctify other spaces as sacred: the backyard, the woods down the street, Fenway Park, the pub..these were places where there was either regular, considerate time spent at sincere task or special pilgrimages made. The astrology of the moment made me think an awful lot about sacred spaces, the need to find and cultivate them, and ways that we can universalize the idea towards a better world.
There's really 2 big occasions occurring in the sky Friday morning, the new moon and the sun's ingress into Aries. I suppose it's three if you count the eclipse that this new moon performs.
The New Moon early Friday morning, in the latest degree of Pisces, and just before the Sun enters Aries (representing a new cycle of the zodiac), feels urgently still. It feels as if there’s a sense of necessity to finish something up before moving on or remembering something that you’ve neglected, with the caveat that in order to find/remember, you must be still. Winter into spring can feel a lot like that: there’s the clear sense that the light is getting greater every day but we’re still watching from inside the warm, winter hideaway. There's an urgency to burst into spring but the winter chill still calls you to the fireside. There’s still time to reach that inner space of sorrow? Frustration? Exaltation? Rejoice? And prepare to move on, sparked once again by the spring and the thrust of Sol into Aries..
That this New Moon is also an eclipse, which makes the urgency more pronounced (the stillness as well strangely enough), suggests that, one way or another, this moment can have an impact on personal growth and evolution if we pay attention to the signs around and/or within us. This of course is a very subjective experience. Only the individual knows (or thinks they know) what it is they need to grow and evolve, and only the individual can give (personal) meaning to events and mark them as omens. An oracular event to me may be just bird poop on the head to you. We are indeed in the purely subjective realm here.
This is one of the ways astrology is so beautiful though: it’s not at all about the meaning in the stars or of the stars but about the meaning to me (or you) that we attach to them in relation to our experience. This is why it’s so important to accentuate the positive as much as possible in order to create the most positive experience of 3-D reality. Too often one can fall into patterns of determinism and negativity, while at the same time decrying those modes of thought.
The Sun enters Aries on the 20th of March marking a new zodiacal year (oh so many New Year’s to celebrate!) in a chart with a lot of fire, balanced earth and water and no air. The water and earth elements are containing one another, keeping each other occupied, while the fire is raging but still without the air element. There’s a stillness with this, a necessary stillness perhaps that allows for time to pick up or put down what’s necessary. The image I have is the burning bush, the hearth fire, the sacred fire tended by the Vestal Virgins, or sacred groves in general….sacred spaces.
The combination of the eclipse and ingress and with Jupiter highlighted in Leo, suggests the need and utilization of sacred spaces for necessary contemplation, meditation, and catharsis. These charts seem to be highlighting the need for finding, cultivating, and caring for these places in order for the ability to self-realize to bloom. Where is your safe and sacred place?How often have you been to them? How have you been caring for them? ... all are legitimate considerations with the astrology of this moment.
This chart and dynamic reminded me of a dream I had back in 2009 and the gift of a sacred space that I found. It was one of those life-defining dreams, if you know the kind, that moved me and has stayed with me. Now it’s a dream, so don’t ask for any of this to make sense (although it makes great sense to me!). In the dream, I was among a group of Irish warriors in the Northeastern United States at some time before time was kept. We were scouting out this land when we crossed paths with an Algonquin party and a standoff ensued. With such a barrier in languages we attempted sign language to communicate intentions. The tension lead to an intense fight and when a calm was resorted, 8 were dead, 4 from each side.
A peace was understood among the survivors and each of the dead were buried with the help of all. After some time, the Irish became part of this tribe and regular time was given by the community to tend to the trees growing from the graves. However, the trees/grave were eternally burning trees in a forest of wildflowers. As this scene was unfolding in my dream, I heard a voice say that I was Oneida and that this was a place that I could come to find peace, and that I could come here any time I wanted. This is one of my sacred Spaces.
Obviously, this is a place I travel to through visioning or image-making. It’s not the only place like this, but it’s a personal favorite due to the introduction. I’ve also enjoyed other visionary states and places through the works of R.J. Stewart, particularly his underworld and faery realm journeys and of course there are 3-D reality places that I like to go to for ceremony, contemplation, healing, and rejuvenation. I don’t go to any of them enough.
What if we transformed our current landscape into sacred spaces? Are you thinking the idea of a sacred grove of eternally burning trees growing out of the graves of fallen warriors is an outrageous idea? Well, maybe it is, the burning tree part at least, but an Italian couple, Anna Citelli and Raul Bretzel, are imagining and working on the forest aspect of this. Their Capsula Mundi Project is a re-imaging of death and cemeteries through organic, bio-degradable burial pods that will turn one’s remains into nutrients to a tree growing above. Good-bye cold, gray stone markers and hello to sacred, living forest groves and walking among our ancestors.
What about the living? What if we made our living spaces more sacred? Or cared for them in a more sacred way? Again in Italy, designer Luciano Pia has created a 5 story, 63 unit apartment building in Turin, Italy that is nestled among trees, potted plants, and steel beams in the shape of tree trunks. The floral arrangement is intended to cut down on noise and air pollution from the city street, add and subtract light and warmth along with the seasons, and beautifying the city street and landscape. The 150 trees and plants in this complex are cooled and shaded in the hotter summer months when the trees are in full bloom and provide extra light and heat in the winter when the leaves shed.
How about making sacred the space that we use for food production? In Wyoming, one of the very first a 3 story vertical farm’s was constructed by a group called Vertical Harvest with the intention of providing Jackson residents with micro-greens and tomatoes to local residents, groceries and restaurants. This over 13,000 square foot structure is the equivalent of 5 acres of traditional farm land, which according to it’s website, will require 90% less water than traditional farming, no soil, and no chemical pesticides. If this is what it says it is (I am in no position to verify right now), a radical new way of producing needed food is on it’s way. Bonus points: they’re committed to hiring people with disabilities (a particular love of mine as a special education teacher) to offer them the chance to, “achieve happiness, success, and independence.” Beautiful. Sacred.
The chart that I am looking at for the Sun’s ingress into Aries features Leo rising, Jupiter in the first house and a packed 9th House. This is a powerful statement about the need for personal embodiment of the sacred through journeys to special places. The new zodiacal year begins with this thrust! The chart seems to urge us to seek personal self-realization through intentional time in any sacred place and a sacred place can be anyplace you deem sacred. If nothing else, this is a great opportunity to find a sit spot, an idea I learned about through the Wilderness Awareness School and the great tracker, wilderness teacher, and mentor John Young. The sit spot is a dedicated place in nature where you go and sit. That’s it, just sit. For a designated time and on a regular committed schedule in order to be alone and in nature and allow for a connection with the wild, the earth, and the cosmos we travel.
Below is an invitation to subscribe to my mailing list. I promise to send you only valuable and interesting information (like my horoscopes!) and only, at most, once a week. Please sign up! I'd love to know who's a part of the community.
The State of