This year the fall equinox is ushered in by the Virgo New Moon on September 20th (1:30 am EDT). The meticulous, earthy Maiden guides us into the second harvest and the official autumn season, when squirrels store up acorns, trees shed their old leaves and the veil between worlds begins to thin. For this month’s New Moon Oracle, I used the well-known Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.
The dreaminess of this, one of my favorite decks, perfectly captures the energy that is now shifting into the ethereal nighttime of the year – fall and winter. I also find Shadowscapes to be particularly effective for readings and meditations during the dark/new moon and for any kind of shadow or dream work.
I set up a simple altar that I find helpful for Tarot readings, which includes only a symbol or tool for each of the four elements and corresponding suits of the Tarot. I use a large smoky quartz (clear for a waxing/full moon) for Earth, a clear bowl of water for Water, a candle for Fire and a rattle for Air.
The single card for this reading actually leapt right out of the deck, flipping itself face up in my hands as I was all but finished shuffling. Pay special attention to any “jumpers” or cards that simply flip over while shuffling; that which is effortless or unplanned in magic is often the most effective or significant.
Eight of Cups – seeking deeper meaning, focusing more on spirituality, letting go, moving on, beginning a new journey, lacking energy & hope, being run-down and burnt out, needing a change
From the “Shadowscapes Companion” by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore,
“The Eight of Cups beckons you to follow and delve within for personal discovery and answers. Turn away and disengage from the material world for the spiritual. Leave the sharp lines and edges, the harsh sounds that pierce the dry air with a clarion call. The sea’s embrace is much softer and more sensual…the water softens the assaults on the senses, so that everything becomes fluid and smooth.”
The mermaid on this card takes but one cup with her and has discarded the rest to float away wherever they may. What did she decide was worth holding on to? What will help her on her journey into the depths of spirituality, of her truth, of dreams and possibilities?
This is what we all must decide for ourselves and this is what new moons and the fall equinox teach us – how to prioritize, what to prune and cull, what to harvest, what to keep and what to release, and what to plan for.
Kaypacha Lescher, in last week’s Pele Report (his weekly astrological forecast, which I never miss and highly recommend), discusses how much pressure there has been and how many different priorities and responsibilities everyone has had lately. “I encourage” he says, “if there is something that you are going to prioritize, make it your spiritual practice so that you don’t get ground down; so that you are not a piece of wheat on the millstone getting smooshed!”
This is a perfect time to take a deep breath, take stock and recognize that a cycle has ended and now it is time to let go and move into a new cycle. The mermaid in the Eight of Cups doesn’t go blindly into the abyss – her way is lit by her will, her strength, her experience, her discernment and her confidence in who she truly is.
This confidence allows her to delve deep…deep and far away from the cacophony and chaos of the busy, overwhelming world above. It takes courage to be silent and to be in silence. But that silence is necessary to hear our personal truths from the goddess, the universe, from our own hearts and souls.
This card and the idea of silent searching perfectly reflects a Virgo new moon as Gail Wood points out in her book “Sisters of the Dark Moon: 13 Rituals of the Dark Goddess”, a collection of rituals and meditations for each of the new moons of the year.
“The quality associated with Virgo is silence. It is part of the sayings in Wicca associated with the four directions. In the east, it is “to know”, in the south, “to will.” In the west, it is “to dare,” and in the north (the direction associated with Earth), “to be silent.”* To be silent is not to be silenced. To be silent is to choose to be silent. That is a powerful choice.”
“If we are comfortable in silence, we may find the wisdom of our own minds will speak to us. Since we live in a world filled with sound, being comfortable with silence is a hard lesson to learn.”
“Silence is valuable. Knowing when to speak and when to listen is a valuable skill. To be still and quiet while others search their heart and soul is an action of love and honor. Listening is an active part of the conversation. To still your own inner voice to hear what people have to say is an act of love and compassion. You can do this when you embrace your own silence.”
*Personal note on the Wiccan directional sayings: While I am not Wiccan (which is a very specific practice within witchcraft and Paganism; all Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccan) I, like most eclectic witches, often use certain aspects and ideas from Wicca & other traditions, and even adjust them a little to my practice or understanding if needed. For me, the saying “to dare” is better suited to the south and fire, and “to will” seems better applied to the west and water. Any thoughts? Discuss in comments below!
Featured image: Evening Magic by Eyvind Earle
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