I didn't see Her at first. What I saw instead was a group of gigglers sitting around a beautifully ornamented table drinking from tiny cups consistently refilled by a slender man with a wizard beard that was just wizardly enough not to hide a smile that soundlessly invited me to sit and join the party. I would later discover that man was the genius visionary artist Eric Nez who has since become a great friend, inspiration, teacher, and brother, but before I could ask his name I had to ask the question required to protect my new way, "Um... what's IN it?"
"Just Tea?" I asked, trying not to reveal my suspicions regarding the early afternoon exuberance of my table-mates. Eric spoke words that calmed my sobriety fears. In fact, all of my fears were quickly quenched. I came to realize these folks simply choose to live a life of general exuberance and, over the course of a short weekend gathering, they would become true Family. Make friends without chemical assistance... check (depending on your classification of caffein, I suppose). A new word was born within my speech womb... Instimacy. See what I'm saying? Oh, and here's a thing about Nez... it's never "just tea" with a man who approaches Plant Spirit with intention and respect. Also, Eric keeps a library of incredible leaf. I'm not sure what variety he poured that day, but I do know it was my first dance with the sacred plant called Pu'er, a secret sauce that somehow simultaneously grounds and stimulates. Stay awake within the realms of my restrictions... check!
I am forever grateful to have been embraced by Tea Spirit. If I was asked to speak only one word to describe Her it would be "Family." Since She first held me at Blooming Heart, I have been honored to sit in circle with many festival Tea-Jays and to have learned from other modern masters such as Omar Riverstone, Elijah Parker of OneDoorLand, and especially the great TEAcher Po at Heaven's Tea. Her Spirit inspires my morning meditations and guides my astrological consultations by grounding my into the Below so I can securely receive information from the Above. And occasionally my Tea Boat is called to serve as the community craft. This year, in fact, I was invited to pour at Blooming Heart. What a gift to serve on the land where I had my first conscious sip.
Now, astrologically speaking, I find pouring Tea is quite an auspicious outlet, not only for my Virgo Venus who revels in the beauty of ceremony and sacred space, but also for Mars who was moving slowly in the Sign of Cancer at the time of my birth. Mars is Hot and Cancer is called to Nurture, you see. Though I have studied many Astrological Kung Fus, Daniel Giamario's Shamanic Astrology remains the stock of my starry stew and, on his branch of the cosmic tree, Mars represents the Sacred Masculine impulse and exploration. Daniel often invokes the great guide Carl Jung when speaking of Mars as Animus with this quote, "Masculinity is to know one's sword and to know how to use it." I've often wondered what the sword of Cancer could be. Shamanic Astrology allows a masculine expression of this Archetype typically associated with the Nurturing Mother by including Good Father, but still is its sword the Spatula? The Hug?? Perhaps the after-school carpool??? How can a single man who has not fathered children answer this Cancer nature of nurture? I recently rapped about these themes in a StarryTelling Podcast episode titled, Tears of the Sacred Masculine.
Age-old Astrological traditions suggest Cancer is the Sign of Mars' Fall. Technically, this is because Mars is Exalted across the chart in Capricorn, but psychologically speaking it's a reflection of cultures who could not find any sound reason for the Good of War to want to explore the essence of nurturing. I should say here that Shamanic Astrology has released these definitions of Rulership, Detriment, Exaltation, and Fall to honor the truth that every Archetype is a valid exploration and expression for each Planet. I find this to be beautiful and absolutely true, yet I have also found expansion through explorations of Planetary Dignity and Debility. Safe to say my Cancer Mars prefers another term that was used to describe a Sign "ruled" by a Planet... its Domicile.
The Sun Rules Leo because it is the hottest month (Northern Hemisphere) and the Moon is the Sun's neighbor in Cancer. From there, each Planet is placed in proximity to Sun and Moon according to its speed: Mercury is neighbor to Moon in Gemini and to Sun in Virgo, Venus is neighbor to Mercury in Taurus and Libra, Mars is neighbor to Venus in Aries and Scorpio, Jupiter is neighbor to Mars in Pisces and Sagittarius, and Saturn is neighbor to Jupiter in Aquarius and Capricorn. Unlimited astrological contemplations are available in this mystical map: in which Seasons do Planets thrive?, which Planet does another gaze upon across the Table of the Signs and how do Planets naturally aspect each other otherwise?, ...
For now, I'd like to explore the idea that each Planet has a Diurnal and Nocturnal Domicile. These are shown by the alchemical symbols for the Elements in the inner ring. Earth and Water belong to the Chalice (downward-pointing triangles), which designates Nocturnal (Yin) Signs while Air and Fire belong to the Blade (upward-pointing triangles), which designate Diurnal (Yang) Signs. For Example, Venus' Nocturnal (Yin) Domicile is Taurus (Earth/Chalice) and Diurnal (Yang) Domicile is Libra (Air/Blade). Study of these Domiciles has helped me understand why I've always felt more of a Yin essence in Libra though it is a Air (Yang) Sign and more of a Yang essence in Scorpio though it is a Water (Yin) Sign. Let's use trigger words of dignitary and gender (uh oh) to get this point across: Libra, though Masculine, is ruled by Venus and Scorpio, though Feminine, is ruled by Mars.
Astrological Gender tends to be one of the more challenging subjects to present in my StarryTelling workshops these days. I am a proud card-holding member of a conscious culture tending to human evolution through exploration of gender neutrality. Without a doubt, we each have our Yin and Yang halves, but I personally find we are meant to honor each without merging them into One. I love this term presented to me by cosmic colleague Adam Gainsburg in a recent interview for my 13th Flower Venus project: The Not-Two. How can we explore gender neutrality while honoring the human biological polarity necessary for reproduction? As my then-six-year-old niece Whitney once clearly pointed out while circling the Thanksgiving table, "Grandy has a penis, Nana has a giney, Daddy has a penis, Mommy has a giney, Unc B. has..." Don't kids just say the darndest things? Well what will we lose should this darnest thing be damned? It has become anything but PC to riddle the mysteries of Gender, has it not? Occasionally, I chose to speak "Yin" and "Yang" to avoid angering the crowd, but personally feel that "Feminine" and "Masculine" carry more inherent transmission, especially through triggered reaction, so I typically stick to my guns, as it were.
And now, slowly to the point of this prose. Isn't it interesting that this exploration of Astrological Domicile awards both Masculine and Feminine Signs to both Venus who Shamanic Astrology sees as the Divine Feminine Principle and Mars who Shamanic Astrology sees as the Sacred Masculine Principle? Now in recent times, the Scorpio Sign was stripped from Mars and awarded to Pluto. Shouldn't that have caused a fallout? And what will be put together from this tearing apart? Many of my associated contemplations can be heard in this StarryTelling Podcast also linked above. Regardless, even modern astrologers recognize Scorpio as at least a partial Domicile of Mars.
The two "Planets" who aren't awarded Domiciles of each Gender are Sun and Moon. Sun only rules Leo (Fire / Diurnal / Yang / Masculine) and Moon only rules Cancer (Water / Nocturnal / Yin / Feminine). What's up with that??? Ancient astrological teachings, in fact, presented Sun as Father and Moon as Mother. Indeed, even in the Emerald Tablets of HERmes, we read, "The Sun is its Father, the Moon its Mother, the Wind has carried it in its belly, the Earth is its Nurse." However, I find Sun as Masculine and Moon as Feminine is entirely limited. My study of Sacred Geometry has led me to a higher understanding of Sun as Spirit and Moon as Soul, a contemplation I've since found confirmed through mystical pursuits in many directions.
Surely, the compliment of the Solar Feminine is the Lunar Masculine. And just who is He if not a cool cup for Her hot tea? Can this Masculine possibly reflect and receive though He was trained to outshine and fight or be lost to Her sight? Yes, because He is courageous enough to redefine courage. In fact, the Lunar Masculine takes courage to the next level. He is courageous enough to be soft. He is courageous enough to admit He needs to heal. He is courageous enough to feel though He was taught such experience and expression is week. He is courageous enough to reverse perverse pop programming to remember the only V-word he truly must seek is Vulnerability. And He understands that as He is healed, He heals the world. He understands He is Man and Boy and Woman and Girl. And so is She. And We are They.
Now, we were cultured to believe father is structure and mother is embrace. Many of us have found this tale rather untrue, a strange gift that mysteriously empowers us to rewrite the rules. Why should the Feminine need to fight for Her Sacred Space? We have been invited to remember the visions received in Her Red Tent carry the very wisdom that brings balance. A forgotten role of the Sacred Masculine is to protect this dreamtime. Now gents, before you go reaching for your Sword, let's remember to protect is to serve. And to serve is to protect. The alchemy we seek is found through the service of the Heart. As the Masculine serves All through the creation of Nurturance for family and tribe, Feminine freedom is protected so She may ray forth Her dream with no need for epic destruction.
Here's the trick: we are each the dreamer and we are each the one who keeps the fire lit to protect the nest. We are the notes and we are the rests. We are the Not-Two. When we complete ourselves, our compliment appears. Only in the Space of Selfness, will we find our way back to the true father-mothership called Othership. Here, the Not-Two shine as equals, emitting their own and also reflecting each other's bright rays. It's a straight-up light show.
Well, I say it's time for us to recreate ancient mandalas for the Book of Balance we have been called to paint. And one such mandala expresses the Cure for Cancer by honoring this Sign as a natural domicile for the Not-Two. Yes, Cancer is home to the Moon, but why should the Sun not be most honored in this Sign that is born on the day of our daylight's highest height? As I write, perhaps the Sun IS home in Cancer and the Moon IS home in Leo. The reemerging reciprocals of Solar Feminine and Lunar Masculine show us that Spirit and Soul are Not-Two. One more Sabian Symbol then to stir the stew of this contemplation. This for the 26th degree of Pisces were we find the great centaur mentor Chiron who birthed empathy through initiation of the Sacred Wound: "Watching the very thin Moon crescent appearing at Sunset, different people realize that the time has come to go ahead with their different projects." Now, I just love it when a Sabian Symbol ties a pretty bow on a strange package of astrobabble. And let's take note that among the many intriguing alignments found on this 7.6.16 Mercury Cazimi chart, Pisces Chiron is in a very strong Grand Water Trine with Cancer Venus and Scorpio Mars. Yin and Yang, Spirit and Soul, the Two are Not-Two.
Love and Planets,
P.S. - here's an exercise for the fellas to open the invitation marked "Lunar Masculine." Get to know the Moon... play the Moon Game. Get to know YOUR MOON, not just by Sign, House and Aspect, but by PHASE and Cycle. I believe we Men also have a monthly cycle. It is more difficult for us to connect to because we will not be initiated into this awareness through the blood mysteries, but our Sisters can help guide us if we are open to receive. Start with the Phase of the Moon you were born into as this is a true symbol of relationship between Spirit and Soul. Every month, have a self-healing ceremony when the Moon finds Her way back to your Phase. Focus on your feelings. Now here's the trick... do this without words. Now you too are a Man in the Moon.