Unfold in starry skies
Look up tonight to our bright lights
And listen with your eyes
How fascinating that Mars and Saturn have chosen the 2014 Virgo New Moon to meet in Scorpio for the planetary handshake we call Conjunction. Scorpio, you say? I guess the boys must be meeting in secret again. No way! I jest… I play. Look to the West after Sunset and you’ll see this show displayed. That’s right, their meeting will be held in public and I encourage you to listen in.
When the dust of dusk settles into night, you’ll find the radiant red beacon of Mars shining just below Saturn’s yellow light. Their exact conjunction during the Virgo New Moon afternoon (8.25.14) was held within the 18th Degree of Scorpio, just east of Zubenelgenubi. Now, Zubenelgenubi is much more than the perennial winner of the best-named star award. Zubenelgenubi is the brightest star of The Scales. Zubenelgenubi is the fulcrum of The Scales. And, yes, Zubenelgenubi is a fabulously fun word to speak. Everyone say it with me… Zubenelgenubi!
How is it possible that Zubenelgenubi shines at this time from the Scorpio Sign when we’ve been taught to associate The Scales with Libra? Good question and one that is dauntingly difficult to answer without images so I invite you to view Shamanic Astrology Mystery School cofounder Cayelin Castell’s Youtube video “The Difference Between Signs and Constellations” which explains how the astronomical phenomena known as the Precession of the Equinoxes slowly shifts the Zodiacal Constellations around the Seasonal Signs.
Before I share the words I’ve recently heard through cosmic conversation with Mars and Saturn, I should speak to the venue of their previous meeting as well as to that of their next. These Planets last rubbed elbows on August 15th, 2012 in the 25th Degree of Libra right at the brightest star of the Priestess Constellation, Spica, which is typically drawn on celestial maps as the shaft of wheat held by The Virgin. Their next Conjunction will occur on August 24th, 2016 in the 10th Degree of Sagittarius exactly where Antares, the beaming Heart of the Scorpion now resides. All this to say Saturn and Mars now spotlight the stage for an ancient celestial play STARing Spica, Zubenelgenubi, and Antares. Act One: Death. Act Two: an Afterlife of Eternal Bliss… if you play your cards right, that is. Let us shuffle now through the pages of the so-called “Egyptian Book of the Dead,” which describes the trials our souls must traverse as we transition away from this play we call Earth.
We read in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which is rightfully translated, the “Book of Coming Forth by Day” that the heart is also imperative for the final trial of our soul’s transition. Only the worthy will earn admittance to this trial held in the Halls of Osiris. We must first defend ourselves against attack by evil spirits and pass the tests of the Forty-Two Negative Confessions. Each confession is spoken to its associated Neter, which Egyptologists promote as Gods and Goddesses though a more accurate description is the Spiritual Essence and Principles within all things. Here are a few examples of the negative confessions from what is said to be the best-preserved Egyptian funerary text, “the Papyrus of Ani:”
“Hail Utu-nesert, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have not uttered curses.”
“Hail Her-f-ha-f, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have made none to weep.”
“Hail, Kenemti, who comest forth from Kenmet, I have not blasphemed.”
“Hail, Ahi, who comest forth from Nu, I have never raised my voice.”
Yikes! Raise your hand if you’re not already 0-for-4. And there are 38 more. If we pass the tests of the 42 negative confessions, we will achieve entry into the Halls of Osiris. Here, the jackal-headed guardian of the Underworld, Anubis, will reward our achievement by cutting our hearts out of our chests to weight them on The Scales against the feather of Ma’at, the Goddess of Truth and Wisdom. Um... thanks? Osiris will look on from his throne and Thoth will be there to take notes. Who’s been naughty or nice? If our heart is as light as the feather, it’s eternal bliss in the afterlife. If our heart is heavier than the feather, the Lion-Crocodile-Hippopotamus beast Ammit will tear us apart and consume us. In some versions of the story, we are then composted and recycled into another round of the Earth Game. In others, it’s lights out.
Or perhaps can we buy a stairway to heaven? “Robert Plant, Robert Plant, Robert Plant.” Indeed, Egyptologists tell us the scribe Ani spent everything he earned on the Book of the Dead papyrus because it contained spells to protect him through the Underworld journey. They also say Ani purchased a magical amulet to take the place of his heart on the Scales because it would do a much better job of fibbing its way through the negative confessions and that he purchased shakti dolls to do his work in the afterworld. Something here doesn’t seem to compute. It feels to me this telling reflects a misunderstanding or priest class twisting of the old starry story.
I sing this song of the Scales often to Scorpio because the highest intent of that Archetype is becoming fully alive in the ways of the authentic human heart through the investigation of the entire emotional spectrum. I have found in my own experience that the key to a lighter heart is not avoiding its trappings but through fully entering and releasing ourselves from them. When we honor our traumas and regrets for the sake of soul growth they brought to us, we alchemize the lead into gold, the poison into medicine. When we realize things are not done to us, but for us, we find the heart is lighter after the trauma than it was before it took place. This realization comes through the art of forgiving our trespassers and, especially, through forgiving ourselves of our trespasses.
Shortly after recording this tale in a reading for a client a few months back in Joshua Tree, California, I looked up at Scorpio Saturn spinning in the Scales to get the Ringed One’s heavenly stamp of approval. Expecting a Celestial high five, I instead heard these words, “’you’re good at math.” What the hell was that? I asked for clarity, but heard nothing save for static from the other side of the line. I sat on the desert sands under the light of the stars and meditated upon the message received. When I opened my eyes, I found myself gazing directly at Mars, who at that time was hanging out in Libra with Spica. I instantly realized I had only been working with half of this equation to eternity. Bad math indeed!
You see, Saturn was highlighting the Scales and, to the East, the Heart of the Scorpion Antares was putting on a serious light show. I looked further to my left to take in the light of the Galactic Bulge where the Ouroboros of the Milky Way snake swallows its tail. Astronomers now know this place of Galactic Center to be the black hole that all Milky Ways stars circle, including our own Sun, Sol. The Mayans called it Hunab Ku, the great mother who created us all and the Zodiacal Constellations naturally draw our attention there for their only two pointers (the stinger of the Scorpion and the arrow of the Archer) are each aimed in that direction. Is this a coincidence? I think not. In fact, the mysteries called this space of Space the Golden Gate and state that our souls journey there when we have fulfilled our Earthly fate.
Along the way to this magical place where the Milky Way and Zodiac intersect, we find Antares (the Heart of the Scorpion), Zubenelgenubi (the Fulcrum of the Scales), and Spica. Well you may have already jumped to my conclusion… I now see this bright, blue star Spica, not as the shaft of wheat the Greeks drew, nor as the ear of corn some Ancient Americans knew, nor as Kuan Yin’s rice paddy as seen by the Chinese, but as Ma’at’s Feather of Truth and Wisdom. The Heart and the Feather, each to one side of the The Scales they must level if we're to make our way on through to the other side of the Golden Gate! And so, I now know we're meant to even The Scales, not only by lightening the Heart, but also by increasing the Feather’s weight. This we accomplish through seeking Truth and Wisdom.
Perhaps this is why Saturn and Mars align at this Virgo New Moon time for Shamanic Astrology teaches us that, in its highest light, our Virgo Archetype is Service to Spirit through devotion to Sacred Work. But just what is our Sacred Work? Well, it’s different for each of us. It is our unique practice. Our individual “chop wood, carry water.” We’re all here to manifest our own independent miracle through our own independent connection to Spirit. Is the circuit of this connection charged through utter renunciation? Well, I forgot to mention the story tells us an eternal afterlife of bliss will not be given to those whose heart is lighter than the feather either. In other words, the ash-covered sage chanting to Shiva through all nights and days while avoiding the calls of the heart will also be consumed by crocoliopotamus Ammit in the Halls of Osiris. Those who chant to Alan Watts or, especially to Robert Plant, are most likely composted more quickly.
The Heart and the Feather. Balance in every way is the key to ascension. We are encouraged to make our Feather heavier by seeking Truth and Wisdom, but not at the expense of our Heart’s function of Feeling. Scorpio Saturn is giving us the opportunity to recode the commandments of emotional limitation that have been so deeply chiseled within our consciousness by cultural conditioning. Perhaps Mars has brought his fiery blade to the party to help us cut through the cords of emotional suppression so that we may truly honor all that we are, in our light and our shadow, in our yin and our yang, in our heart and our feather, to create more Love in this life. As the great Guru named Kool from the Gang so graciously stated, "Love the life you live and you will live the life you love." Scorpio reminds us that the authenticity achieved through truly allowing all experience and expression of our deepest feelings, passions, and desires connects us to the voice of our Hearts, which consistently beats the rhythm of our most beautiful song, the very symphony that we have chosen to guide us home to our Sacred Work. We will only hear all of its notes, nuances, and wonderful rests when we release ourselves from the limitations of living so that we may always follow the Truth of our Highest Excitement with no restrictions and no expectations.
My Highest Excitement and greatest honor is to help others remember theirs by clearing the clutter of cultural conditioning to channel Cosmic Conversation. May I allow myself always to do so in such a way that serves Spirit and also serves Me by balancing the Feather and the Heart. How to start? Let’s simply hum the hues of heartfelt heavenly harmony. Meet me in Space! Let’s embrace at the Scales of Balance. There we can also contemplate why the balanced heart and feather rest at the tail of the constellational Snake who stretches towards the Northern Crown in the heavenly skies. But clearly, the starry story of sister snake is a tale for another time.
Love and Planets, Hearts and Feathers,