Happy Halloween and Samhain

The Wheel of the Year is represented by a circle, the universal symbol of wholeness. Each year we move through the cycles of the four seasons of birth (Spring), growth (Summer), decline (Autumn), and death (Winter), to be greeted again the next year with a new cycle and another birth. The Wheel of the Year is a promise that all life moves inexorably from birth to death to rebirth. In addition to the year’s division into these four main quarters we also have four cross-quarter days which take place at the mid-way point of each season. We are now midway between the Autumn Equinox and the fast approaching Winter Solstice of 2012, the date the Mayan Calendar points to as our opportunity for planetary transformation. The message of the season of Samhain is very similar to the message of this Full Moon in Taurus – transformation and renewal.

The Full Moon in Taurus and Samhain both call for the end of the old and birth of the new.  Samhain means “summer’s end.”  It begins at sunset on Oct 31st and ends at sunset on Nov 1st. It is the Celtic root of Halloween (All Hallows Eve) and is associated with All Soul’s Day. Samhain divides the year between the light and dark halves. We feel the darkness gain on us from this point on. To prepare for the upcoming winter it is a time of “taking stock,” examining what you have and what you need to survive the cold that will soon arrive. It was decided which animals would get slaughtered, both to save feed and to provide meat.

For You: Not only does the day of Samhain divide the light and dark parts of the year, it also divides the dead from the living, the old from the new.  Bonfires were set this night, and people would jump over them or walk by them as a cleansing ritual. The veils between the worlds are thin during Samhain, and it is a time when it is easy to contact your ‘ghosts of the past’ and get in touch with the things that scare you and keep you stuck. Even if you don’t have a bonfire, you can still use this important day to ritually transform the old patterns in your life that keep you stuck, and release the people in your life who seem to haunt you. Write down on a piece of paper everything you want to release in your life – the patterns, people, behaviors, attitudes, opinions, and habits. Then with a prayer of cleansing and release, set them on fire. As they turn to ash, realize it is from the ashes of your past that the new growth will arise. Give a thanks for your transformation and renewal with deep breaths of gratitude for a new day, a new season, a new year, and a new life.

Journal: Dream of Me and my Shadow

Full Moon in Scorpio on May 17, 2011

The days have been cloudy and I have hardly seen the Moon in the night at all. Then last night I awoke at 2 am to discover the Full Moon shining in all her brilliance. I thought of my Shadow, which I had been pondering the last few days – my inner boogey man that keeps me in fear. As I looked at the Moon the thought came to incubate a dream that would help me understand my Shadow more. So I said to the Moon and myself: “I’d like a dream so that I can see my Shadow and understand its place in my life.”  I then went back to bed, and awoke an hour later, adrenaline rushing from a very scary dream. Here is what I dreamt:

It is night. I am part of a group being chased down by horrible people. These people are amazingly cruel and use blasts of fire to destroy everything. (note: I had just watched Lord of the Rings trilogy and the fierce war scenes). I am so frightened. I am hiding out, running from hiding place to hiding place in total fear. These horrible people completely destroy one place and then move on to the next place to annihilate. But they keep a few people behind to finally destroy anyone who comes out of hiding once they leave. There is no safety.  I run into my brother Tom who takes me into a house that just been raided and escaped destruction. He felt safe there since the destroyers had moved on. I am still fearful, knowing they leave single destroyers behind. I look out a window and I see a man outside on a large construction vehicle driving round and I suspect he is a destroyer. Tom does not seem concerned. But I decide to hide underneath a blanket so I can not be seen. My dog curled up around me.

Scene shifts:  I found my other brother Jack. I told him about these horrible people destroying everything but he didn’t believe me and wasn’t taking any precautions at all. I freaked out in fear and he pushed me aside and he almost struck me, stopping just in time. He seemed barely composed, full of unreleased anger. He handed me a note that was written by his Boss which said Jack had a terrible temper and needed to bring it under control or he’d lose his job. It was like Jack was proud he’d gotten his anger under control, even if just barely. He and another guy got in Jack’s car, I got in the back seat, which was only an unsecured lawn chair and we drove off. I was keeping an eye out for the destroyers since they could be anywhere (note: I had just seen the Matrix, where the agents can show up at any point). I saw a police car , which I suspected could be a destroyer, and warned Jack about that. But he was arrogant and had no concern. I could only hope he knew what he was doing. He said, “I hear you have a dog” and I said “Yes, If you want I’ll show it to you.” That is when I woke up and the dream ended.

I won’t try to interpret this dream now, but want to share the insights that came to me as I woke up through the rest of the night. I thought of how full of violence and fear this dream was. So, this is some indication of the intensity of my Shadow. I am currently studying Carl Jung’s Red Book and I think of Carl Jung and how some people think he was psychotic based on his fantasies like those he wrote about in his journals. Yet, someone like Tolkien who wrote Lord of the Rings and used his imagination to write arguably one of the most vicious and violent books ever written, is considered a great genius. Why is one person’s (Jung’s) violent fantasy considered psychotic and another’s (Tolkien) is a great expression of creativity? Is it because Tolkien projected his fantasies of violence onto the “other” while Jung kept his focus on himself? I thought of how many films are based on the Shadow. In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien even refers to the “shadow” in that Sauron, the Great Deceiver is covering the world in”shadow,”and the Sun is not seen any more. Harry Potter is all about facing the Shadow figure of Voldemort.

As I lay in bed after this dream I felt uneasy, almost afraid, as if this dream was true and I was in danger. But then I realized that the Shadow is not real, in the sense that it has no real substance. The Shadow is an interior creation built by the discarded garbage of the Ego – a conglomeration of all guilt, fear, rejection, and violence. It is not any one thing, but a combination of things. The Shadow is amorphous, shifting in form, hard to pin down. It is like a Kaleidoscope of dark fragments, bits and pieces of the rejected self. And like a Kaleidoscope it changes patterns and forms, never exactly the same way twice. This is why it is hard to get a handle on the Shadow, hard to really understand it. Because once you think you have it, it changes and slips away. This shape-shifting quality of the Shadow helps me understand it, and helps me get some perspective on it. It is not like a demon who lives inside of me, just waiting to be released. The Shadow has no substance. It is more like a wisp of fog, an ever moving darkness; hence the very appropriate name given to it by Jung — The Shadow.

Full Moon in Scorpio

by Bernie Lopez

The Moon represents our unconscious, feelings, and intuition. It is the part of ourselves that is in the dark and hidden from our conscious mind, which is represented by the bright and penetrating Sun. During a full moon the Sun and Moon are opposite each other in the sky, and the bright light of the Sun is reflected off the surface of the Moon, creating a luminous glow that is bright enough that it illuminates the depths of night so we can see what lies within our psyche and stirs within our soul.

With the Moon in Scorpio, (opposite the Sun in Taurus) we have the opportunity to illuminate the darkest and most hidden depths of ourselves, the part that Carl Jung called the Shadow. The Shadow is made up from the parts that we don’t want to acknowledge. It is our failure, our fears, our insecurities, our mistakes, injuries, illness. and pain. It is everything that the Ego doesn’t think belongs in the more perfect world of its creation. So, the unwanted garbage of the Ego gets buried, deep, hidden and out of sight; it becomes the Shadow. We can even forget the Shadow exists, just like the US did with Bin Laden. It was too damaging to acknowledge that he could still be out there, so we downgraded him to a symbolic threat, a powerless fugitive on the run. But the truth with Bin Laden, as the truth in us, is that just because we want to pretend the Shadow doesn’t exist and has no power, doesn’t mean it’s true. If we don’t acknowledge that the Shadow exists we tend to project it outward, and put our fear and shame onto other people. Instead of acknowledging our fear of the elusive Bin Laden, we put fear on Muslims in general, or dark skinned foreigners. But the fear really lives within ourselves, always under the surface, waiting.

This Full Moon in Scorpio on Tuesday May 17th at 7:09 am EDT is an opportunity to illuminate that which would normally be left unseen. This stark and powerful image represents to me the meaning of this Full Moon in Scorpio.  Striped bare, it hold just the essentials. Everything is clear in the light, the raven watches over a landscape of red, a color that eludes to the battles that have gone before. An intelligent scavenger and carrion bird, it senses where the bodies are buried. It is fearless in uncovering them. The pure truth of our hidden fears is exposed. It is brought up to the light, to be dealt with and healed. Our Shadow might even be sent into the watery depths of the ocean to be reabsorbed by the collective psyche for regeneration and renewal.

This Full Moon in Scorpio is a perfect time to face your fears and acknowledge your hidden Shadow. Take some time to really ponder what it is that you fear; what it is that you avoid; what do you hate; how do you hold yourself back; what inner messages keep you paralyzed; what makes your anger explode; what causes you to shut down and withdraw.  Ask yourself, or those close enough to you to tell you the truth, what part of yourself you have buried. Realize that those are the part of your Shadow that are holding you captive, keeping you from being fully free.

Often people don’t really want to discover their Shadow, and avoid dealing with it at all. But, that is really impossible, since it is always creeping around in the psyche, causing trouble in your life. This wonderful image is by Carl Jung as he was exploring his inner life and finding his Shadow. He used a process he called Active Imagination, which is like dreaming while awake. He would talk to the different parts of himself and try to understand the workings of his mind and soul. I often find my Shadow in dreams, sometimes as a figure clothed in a dark cape, just on the edge of darkness. You can work with your dreams to find out about your Shadow. I also love film, and so many good movies deal with facing and overcoming the Shadow, including Star Wars (Darth Vader) and Lord of the Rings (Sauron). Even just watching those movies can be cathartic and illuminating. Take time to journal and be honest with what is hidden within yourself. For in doing so, you will find a hidden jewel that can be acknowledged, brought into consciousness, and reintegrated.