The weather has been glorious, nothing but a wonderment, truly fabulous we all say. A spell of dry weather has given a light reprieve from the sodden squelch of winter and out in the bog, the finian grass whispers of better things in the spring breeze. Hearts quicken at the sweet smell of myrtle and gorse on the mountains, and there is a relief that the Winter must surely now be ended and that the promise of warmth lies ahead.
In the ancient traditions of this land as it is in many others, the beginning of summer heralds an important time, the drab non-color of winter’s end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates us on so many levels still to this day. The ancient festival of Beltane marked that the winter’s journey had passed and summer had begun, a festival of rapturous gaiety that joyfully heralded the arrival of summer in her full garb.
As was the way of ancient thought, the Wheel would not turn without human intervention, and people did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the Suns light, for they knew that the Earth would not produce anything without the warmth of the Sun. Fires, celebration and rituals were an important part of the Beltane festivities, so as to insure that the warmth of the Sun’s light would promote the fecundity of the earth.
Generally celebrated at the end of April, on Beltane eve the Celts would build two large fires, Bel Fires, lit from the nine sacred woods. The Bel Fire is an invocation to Bel (Sun God) to bring His blessings and protection to the tribe. The herds were ritually driven between two needfires (fein cigin), built on a knoll. The herds were driven through to purify, bring luck and protect them as well as to insure their fertility before they were taken to summer grazing lands. An old Gaelic adage: “Eadar da theine Bhealltuinn” – “Between two Beltane fires”.
The Bel fire is a sacred fire with healing and purifying powers., which further celebrate the return of life, fruitfulness to the earth and the burning away of winter. The ashes of the Beltane fires were smudged on faces and scattered in the fields. Household fires would be extinguished and re-lit with fresh fire from the Bel Fires.
In previous years, with the lengthening of the days, I have watched the dusk fall, hypnotised by the mystical lines of the gorse fires that glowed ever brighter on the charcoal hills… Regardless of the destruction wrought, there seems still to be something primeval about the sight, the magnetic attraction of an ancient power with its roots in a time that predates any written or painted history. Fire was a gift that was stolen from the Gods, a power that allowed ancient man to walk away from his place as just another mammal on this earth, and to separate his path from one of mere survival, to one that sought an ever wider understanding, and eventually exploitation of the universe around him.
This year however, the gorse fires lost control, and after an extremely long dry spell and with a strong easterly wind, two thousand hectares of my local national park have burned, the mountains blackened and the wildlife destroyed. The fires burned on through three nights, huge palls of smoke attending the dark mountains like revenants. Sometimes tiny figures could be seen darting across the lines of fire, lower down the mountains, whilst on the tops, the flames raged, a place where no man or woman could do anything in the face of such an omnipotent conflagration.
The Full Moon in Scorpio perfects on April 27th in the first decan of the sign and is the culmination of a cycle that started with the New Moon in Scorpio on November 17th last year. One of the main lessons for Scorpio is that of flow, to allow the peaceful flow of the emotions. As one of the four fixed signs, Scorpio can be prone to stagnation, it is renowned for “holding on” long after others may have given up, and is consequently prone to stagnation and eventually, the poisoning the psyche by unexpressed emotions that it may fear are totally unacceptable to others. Fearing vulnerability above all else, the scorpion will kill itself if it feels overtly threatened and is forced into a corner from which it cannot escape. This month I am sharing “Healer” from the Quareia Magicians Deck, bringing the healing power of water not only into the intense Scorpionic energy of this Full Moon, but also as a gift to the lands close to me, as I think of them, lying scorched, burned and full of death in the spring sunshine.
As we reach this Full Moon, the culmination of this six month cycle, I find myself studying the card associated with this decan, different images of which I have given below. The Five of Cups, or Water 5 as it is called in The Oracle of Change is always about a change in emotional situations that have outgrown their usefulness. Gone is the cosy comfortable feeling of yesterday that offered safety and calm, to reveal a new world where uncertainty and discomfort prevail. On the surface it looks as if all is lost, that things will never be the same again. On further inspection however, one is able to see that what seemed comfortable, may have actually become mundane, suffocating or imprisoning. Often we do not like to be pushed out of our comfort zone, which is what this card is often about; an inability to settle and also the tendency to rush after a mirage and the hope that the “magic” person or substance, if we just could obtain it, would make everything perfect again.
The challenges of this Full Moon bring us to accepting that stepping outside the circle that we have become accustomed to, and seeking new or different pastures, could open up whole new worlds to us and to learn that out of discomfort can come new growth, in places that we never believed possible, rather than constantly hanging on to the cycles that have served us so well in the past.
To see more images from Thoth Journey-The Oracle of Change and to find out more about the book and deck click HERE
A Blessed Full Moon to You All & May The Goddess Watch Over You
Joanna Grant is an astrologer of some 30 years and was awarded the Diploma at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in 2012. Weaving her knowledge of the stars together with intuitive tarot techniques, she crafts highly personalised guidance for clients who are often navigating difficult life transitions. She has lately been very excited to breathe new life into her astrological practice through her study of Horary.
Joanna holds the STA’s Practitioners Level Certification in Horary and is currently completing the STA’s Advanced Level Horary Diploma. You can read more about her here.