2018 Samhain New Moon Oracle of the Waters

October 31st may be Halloween, but it is not Samhain. It is but an arbitrary date and day like any other in a modern, man-contrived and Vatican-imposed calendar. The cross-quarter days – the days halfway between the Solstices and Equinoxes – astronomically and astrologically occur at 15° of the sign of the season. Tomorrow, November 7, is when the real Samhain energy wells and flows, and when the floodgates between this world and the Other are truly open.

Water is the element that has all dominion over this powerful time. On this true Samhain day, the Sun reaches 15° of Scorpio and is joined by the Moon; the invisible, submerged New Moon. It is also Jupiter’s final moment at the critical degree of Scorpio before moving into its second home of Sagittarius.

The Moon forms a favorable, creative trine to Neptune, that supreme ocean lord whose power is currently enhanced by retrograde motion his own home, shared with Jupiter, of Pisces. This Moon also creates opportunities being sextile to the chthonic water-dweller, and younger ruler of Scorpio, Pluto.

Water is my path and my deity. My way is the flow of the Daughter River to the Mother Sea, where the sweet, fresh waters that quench us mingle with the salty womb that bore us; the way of the falling rain, the fleeting morning dew and mists. I listen to the Water and I speak for Her.

This Samhain’s message and lesson comes from both the sweet waters and the salted.

The energy and power of Water reaches its darkest, deepest fathoms in the fixed water sign, the sign of upheaval and transformation, secrecy, deception and death. The salt of the benthic womb of She who is both Mother and Destroyer – Tiamat, Thalassa, Yemaya, Ran – gathers into eerie brine pools at the bottom of the oceans, into the most intense concentration of that essential substance.

These dense pools are like submerged salt lakes, existing at the edge of comprehension where underwater shores form one of the most mind-bending between spaces on Earth.

 

brine_pool_1.still006

Life at brine pool, image courtesy of the EV Nautilus

It is from this realm that the first message comes, from the primeval matrix best represented by the dragon goddess and coiled serpent, Tiamat, the Sea Herself.

In the somewhat Lovecraftian, so-named Grimoire of Tiamat, Asenath Masen states that “…the salty waters of seas and oceans can hardly be considered a nourishing substance. They do not quench the thirst of living beings and they do not make the crops grow. The waters of Tiamat are dissolving, corroding, poisonous and deadly.”

While an understandable point in context, to an extent, this is not altogether true. There are some living things that do not have thirst to quench. There are some living things that are indeed nourished by the deep salt of the sea. The waters of Tiamat are not poisonous and deadly to everything.

Much life is to be found at the sweltering mouths of hydrothermal vents, as well as at the shores of the staggeringly saline brine pools, even though they can be toxic to some marine animals. These few creatures to whom they are not toxic, however, exist and are called extremophiles. It is from these submarine shores and these extreme creatures that we receive a powerful message…

You are all living in extreme times. Many of you are living in extreme conditions, be they literal, physical surroundings and circumstances, or intense, extreme emotional states. These are likely the most burdensome and noxious emotions that are running highest and burning you out – fear, anger, hatred, depression, anxiety, regret, sorrow, loneliness, and all manner of loss that is the result of unwanted change.

But not all that is corroded and dissolved by change need be mourned or missed. There is much to be learned and to be gained from extreme states. Some of you will be poisoned and defeated by them and others will grow through them.

You must learn to adapt and to navigate the harshest conditions with confidence and self-control. Be present in all that you are experiencing and feeling, and find the balance between embracing and understanding those feelings – even the most painful and uncomfortable ones – and thriving in spite of them. Or because of them.

Rise above and beyond what you think simple society or any pretender is expecting of you. Look at yourself and ask what you expect of yourself, and why, and learn to be true no matter who may end up judging or shunning you. Know that those who do so are not worth your time as long as you stand in truth.

Transformation has nothing to do pleasing others, or with lowering or weakening yourself. It is for, by, through and because of the Self. Transformation is a choice, but one that may be made for you if you don’t find that balance.

the-depths-of-the-sea.jpg!Large

The Depths of the Sea by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

 

But there is a light overhead. There is peace and passionate renewal to be found after enduring and rising above the turmoil. In the second part of the message, the fresh rivers, lakes and the falling autumn rains ask us to then surrender, to simply…

Rise up.
Let go.
Breathe.
Flow. 

You have been like the monkey who got his open, slender hand into the narrow trap but will not release the petty prize in his closed fist which is now too large to let him escape. It is time to release your death grip on all that is trapping you in your pain, your sorrow, your anger, your illusion, your delusion. Give up the game. Relax and let go.

Sometimes your best laid plans and intentions are simply not meant to be. It is time to drift with the currents of life and trust that the cosmic rivers will carry you to safer, sweeter shores.

Perhaps you have been obsessing over everyone else and what they are doing. You may be worrying about everyone but yourself. You cannot control them. You can only control yourself, your reactions and your choices.

Soon you will heal and you will dwell by the waters of life that glisten in the Sun, no longer toiling or sorrowing deep in the stinging, extreme crucibles of Fire and Water that are forming you into the diamond you are meant to become.

Thekelpie_large

“The Kelpie” by Herbert James Draper

May you bravely dive down deep into the sea of transformation during this Samhain time, and in so doing rise up and connect to your higher self and the higher truths that are ever reflected in and carried by the primordial, cosmic waters that flow all around us here on Earth.

 

© 2018  Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

Mermaid Medicine: The Sacred Conch Mudra

In recent months I have revisited my interest in mudras, spiritual hand gestures within the practice of yoga. Of the mudras I was researching, one in particular caught my eye and made me laugh with surprise and delight when I read about its meaning and use.

It is called the Shankh Mudra; Shankha meaning “divine conch”. I was soon after only more delighted to get to the lesson in Michelle Hanson’s Ocean Oracle which included the Indian Chank shell (Turbinella pyrum).

The mudra is made by encircling your left thumb with the four fingers of your right hand, and touching the tip of your right thumb to the tip of your left middle finger.

shankh-mudra2.jpg

This shape resembles a conch shell, which is very sacred within Hinduism and Buddhism, and is one of the Ashtamangala – eight sacred symbols and teaching tools of enlightenment. The conch represents the sound of dharma, the “right way of living”.

The Shankh Mudra benefits the throat chakra and is intended to drive away all problems associated with the throat. This, combined with its association with a shell, is what made me laugh and associate it with mermaids and what then presented itself to me specifically as “Mermaid Medicine” – methods of spiritual and emotional (and physical) healing that resonate with watery, mermaid energies.

mermaid-circle-graphic-sheet-1-5-in.jpg

Mermaids are famous for their beautiful voices and songs. At some point in our lives, we may experience pains and challenges that rob us of our ability to communicate effectively, to speak our truths, or to use our creativity to express ourselves. These hindrances are likely to manifest as blocks or illnesses of the throat or the throat chakra.

Practicing the Shankh Mudra regularly, especially while chanting “OM”, is said to improve the voice, as well as heal and strengthen the throat chakra.

throat chakra

Visualizing and/or evoking mermaid energies or even a specific mermaid goddess while practicing this mudra can further enhance its effectiveness and give it a personalized focus and intention, if mermaid energy resonates with you as it does with me.

In the Ocean Oracle, the Indian Chank shell represents “Something or someone held sacred or dear”, drawing from the shell’s intense spiritual significance to Hinduism (and other Eastern practices).

I think, in the context of using this mudra, this meaning can be extended to valuing your own voice and expression, holding your personal truth as sacred and dear as any deity or other spiritual belief. Meditating on this shell and its meaning while performing the mudra can also enhance its power and give it further personal meaning, as well as teach you to be true to yourself and to have the courage to speak your truth, and to speak it righteously.

The Hindu god Vishnu is often depicted holding the Shankha, and is therefore another appropriate evocation.

Vishnu

Here is an affirmation that you may use, or customize, before or during use of the Shankh Mudra…

My voice is sacred as the holy shell.
Shankha Mudra, heal and clear my throat
So that I may speak and share it well!

Namaste!


© 2018 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

Resources: Ocean Oracle by Michelle Hanson
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashtamangala
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbinella_pyrum

A Misty Autumn Morning

While lying in a sadness deep
I was awoken from that sleep
by sweetest purrs and softest fur
She gently bade me rise and see
the magical mist that called to me

With all haste I made my way
out into the newborn day
And to my heavy eyes it seemed
that still I wandered in the veil of dreams
where trees whispered within their shrouds
as I walked along in forested clouds.

Am I lost in this foggy Fall?
Is there no one to hear my heart’s call?
So much is now past, I know it well
Now long gone, simple memories
in countless tears that fell and fell.
Still they fall, still they fall…

 

 

Deirdre of the Sorrows by John Duncan

Deirdre of the Sorrows by John Duncan

 


“Celtic people, at their very core, are a water people. Within the various expressions of Celtic culture and spirituality there are hill people, shore people, and island people, but in each expression there is a deep and abiding orientation to the holiness of water. Something of the spirit of water has gotten right down into our souls, into our bones. Water has shaped us….In contemplating my own ancestors, I have arrived at the conclusion that Celtic people are not only a people of the water but also, and even more so, we are the consummate children of the mist.” – Frank MacEowen, “The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers and Seekers” New World Library 2002


© 2018 Meredith Everwhite (poem and featured image) All Rights Reserved

Welcome, Blessed and Watery Autumn!

Now we have entered autumn, the latter, darker half of the year. The Western Quarter, the Quarter of Water where endings begin. Days grow chillier, nights grow longer, and deep, aqueous contemplation pulls us into reflective silence. Or so it should. Don’t fight it. It is time to slow down, to breathe deep and to float and drift along the cycling currents of the seasons. The Western setting sun glows in the turning and falling leaves, reminding us all things end and transform. So sacred and vital is the West, to which wise ones from Paracelsus to Native American tribes assign the element of water. There dwells the Thunderbird, sending rains and thunder, indeed all water, from this darkening direction. Water reminds us that the only constant is change, and water itself, though ever welling and flowing, rising and falling, never dies but only continually moves and transforms. We are water, we are change, we are growth and transformation. We evolve, we grow, we must always learn to let go.

the-autumn-1896 Mucha

The Autumn by Alphonse Mucha 1896

The sacred trees into hues of golden fire now turn
past tears to dry, old woes and dross to burn.
While the wise Tiger of the West
Leads us into well-deserved rest
With his long-awaited and joyous return.

The cool and crisp air awakens and stirs,
The Goddess reminding me that we are all hers.
Even with thoughts of ends and death
I take in all nature with a hopeful breath,
As the line ‘tween this world and the Other steadily blurs…

 

 

see also last year’s: The White Tiger of the West: Autumn Equinox Oracle


featured image: Autumn Effect at Argenteuil by Claude Monet, 1873

© 2018 Meredith Everwhite (all original material including poem) – All Rights Reserved

Conchomancy: Janthina, the Blind Mystic

Janthina janthina is one of my favorite shells and, to my great delight, not only did I receive an actual Janthina shell from my friend and teacher Michelle Hanson, but other representations of the Janthina keep finding their way to me. This, combined with the natural attraction I have always felt to the shell and how much I relate to various aspects of it, reinforces it as at least one past & current (and perhaps mainly transitionally) personal shell partner for me.

janthina trinket box

A few years before I started studying the Ocean Oracle and received the actual shell, I inherited from my grandmother a lovely little porcelain trinket box in the shape of a Janthina. At the time I just thought it was a purple seashell but was so happy to later discover exactly what shell it represented.

My life has been filled with painful personal challenges for several months now, and it has been nigh impossible for me to apply myself to almost any spiritual or creative endeavors. Indeed, any endeavor more complicated than getting out of bed and through the day has been a battle. Especially throughout these struggles and changes, the meanings and messages of Janthina have been all the more profound and have revealed themselves to be somewhat more varied and intricate than I thought, at least in ways and for me personally, which I can’t emphasize enough.

In Michelle’s guidebook Ocean Oracle: What Seashells Reveal About Our True Nature, the meaning attributed to the Janthina is as follows…

“Living in a fantasy world, clinging to the clouds with no desire to be shown anything different; a state of denial.”

She continues with a more detailed explanation…

“Although it is unable to swim, the Janthina lives on the surface of the ocean far from shore. It accomplishes this by attaching itself to a homemade raft of mucus-cemented air bubbles. Its survival depends on clinging to these air bubbles, which is equivalent to the desire to live in fantasy, for if it becomes dislodged from the raft it will drown. In addition, the animal is blind, indicating a preference to not see the reality”.

Janthina is indeed very unique among mollusks in the way that it lives in the ocean. Frankly, I found it to be of a more admirable, daring nature than one of just denial and being willfully blind to reality. But this isn’t entirely what Michelle Hanson means to imply, as the meaning of the shells can be complicated and their ultimate interpretation depends strongly on the reaction or attraction of the one choosing the shell in a reading.

I take that to be perhaps the more “negative” or shadowy side of its meanings, rather like a reversed Tarot card or upside-down rune, but again this “negative or positive” interpretation or influence is more determined by whether someone likes the shell or not.

Researching the mollusk and how it grows and lives left me in awe of its very magical ways, and inspired this little poem, which I would like to confess I actually still took some artistic license with and in no way meant to change or disparage its meaning within the Ocean Oracle

Fair little Janthina,
lilac fairy of the sea –
you are no clinging coward
lost in vain fantasy.

You are a treasure rare and brave
for your raft is your life,
or the depths are your grave

The very depth you gaze upon
from your lofty sea-ceiling,
where you see all that I’m feeling,
little empath floating In-Between.

You need not eyes to see
For still you feel and dare
and feast on most dangerous fare!

Your glistening, highest abode
is shared by none other pelagic
And though so delicate and small
You are filled with transformative magic!

Life is so precarious and unpredictable and I feel that, to some extent, we are all barely holding on to whatever we create to keep ourselves afloat. We sometimes have to be very resourceful and creative and I feel that this can be beautifully reflected in the Janthina.

Of course, sometimes we create or think we have created something that may end up not being what we believed, or that we shouldn’t hold on to anymore, as I personally learned in my life recently. It can be bad enough that perhaps we are or can come across as something of a “clinging coward lost in a vain fantasy”.

But Janthina can also further teach us to adapt and to make the best of what we have, especially when it is not what we planned, wanted or is uncomfortable.

Here are some helpful associations and correspondences that presented themselves to me as I studied and meditated upon all aspects of the Janthina shell and the miraculous mollusk that creates it. I admit I may have, in my enthusiasm, dug for a few a little more than they may have presented themselves! But not much.

 

Janthina correspondence graphic

© 2018 Meredith Everwhite

To elaborate on all these, let us begin with gender, which I have assigned as feminine. This is due not only to its small, delicate nature and coloring and how passively it lives (apart from its predation!), but almost entirely to the fact that all Janthinas are born as males and turn into females as they grow.

While this is not the only mollusk to have unique sexual features, including undergoing sex change in its life, I still find at least some of the following to be relevant and helpful. But I also want to clarify that there are other shells that may still, while having some of this in common with Janthina, illustrate these points and energies better and more directly.

It is also because of this feature that I find it can assist men with developing and honoring their feminine side, as well as those who undergo male-to-female sex change, or biological males who simply identify as female. Even those, male or female, who discover they are not heterosexual can benefit from Janthina’s peaceful, accepting energy, I believr.

Additionally, it can be beneficial for healing (or can represent the need to heal) sexual abuse as there is no direct contact between males and females when it comes to reproducing, and males do not even possess a penis.

Obviously the first element I would associate with any seashell is water. However, some have certain characteristics which may align it with other elements. In the case of Janthina, I associate the secondary element of air, as it resides permanently between Air and Water, a powerful “in-between” place. It can therefore represent balance between logic and emotion, which are represented by Air and Water, respectively.

This helps us see different ways to interpret its attachment to its raft, and when we use that as a metaphor for our own lives and habits, we can ask ourselves many revealing questions. Are we balanced between logic and emotion, staying afloat? Or are we losing our grip and sinking, being controlled by emotion alone?

What is it that keeps you afloat in this world, and how do you view it? Is it something you could let go of if you had to, allowing you to move on in a healthy way? Or is it something that you have made so weighty and important that you feel like you would die if you lost it?

 

janthina on bubble raft

© 2016 Jackie Sones – Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute

 

I find Janthina to be most closely related to and representative of the astrological sign of Pisces, being not only watery, but a color associated with both Pisces and its planetary rulers of Jupiter and Neptune (as well as with other correspondences). Hence, I also consider the shell’s “planetary rulers” to be not only Neptune but the Moon.

Pisces is also the sign that is most likely to become severely emotionally crippled and afflicted if out of balance or bereft of nurturing. The Moon, apart from its marine associations, also has much to do with illusion, a shadow side of the shell’s meanings.

Janthina carries energies that are appropriate to the Third Eye chakra, which has to do with spiritual Sight, intuition and higher spiritual understanding. I also relate it to the Crown chakra, the highest, as it too dwells high on top of the sea.

Its color, again, is related to both of these chakras, as its hue can vary from pale violet to indigo.

The fact that Janthina is eyeless further attests to its associations with intuition, in my mind. I was reminded of the advice of Obi-Wan Kenobi to young Luke as he began his Jedi training…

“Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them!”

Janthina seems to do just fine without eyes! Being small, fragile, unable to swim and blind does not stop it from feeding on dangerous velellas and Portuguese Man-O’-War jellyfish! (velellas are technically hydrozoans, Portuguese Man-O’-War is technically a siphonophore, closely related to jellyfish)

I personally am not sure that a natural lack of physical eyes is necessarily a fair metaphor for a conscious choice that would be a “preference to not see the reality”, but it can remind us that it is all the more important to use our intuition and be honest with ourselves about what we are perceiving and clinging to. As long as you sense the truth and reality one way or another!

 

janthina eating velella aphotomarine

Janthina janthina eating a velella, image courtesy of David Fenwick – Aphotomarine Photography

 

Seashells and crystals have wonderful similarities and make great partners in healing, meditation, ritual work, etc. No prizes for guessing my reasons for partnering Janthina with amethyst! Not only for the obvious color similarities, but the energies and uses attached to amethyst (dream work, meditation, intuition, mysticism, high vibrations) make these a perfect pair.

Remember, many energies and uses attributed to natural substances often begin with their very deliberate color. It is not a purely coincidental visual aesthetic, and this is the case with many of my Janthina correspondences.

 

janthina and amethyst

 

There is a good handful of Tarot cards in which I can see the energy, messages and variations there of of the Janthina, the main three being the Hanged Man, the Queen of Cups, and the Seven of Cups.

 

shadowscapes-hanged-man.jpg

The Hanged Man is suspended in a rather precarious but enlightening position, much like Janthina is. Again, the fact that the Janthina has no eyes means that it must rely on other ways of perceiving, just as the Hanged Man teaches us is sometimes necessary, and that a simple shift in perspective can make all the difference.

 

shadowscapes queen of cups large

The feminine Queen of Cups also dances most gracefully and fearlessly upon the surface of the waters she knows so well. She has mastered her emotions and the realm of intuition and is the Lady of the first and most magical element.

As you can see, Stephanie Law’s representation of the Queen of Cups and the Seven of Cups in her Shadowscapes Tarot are especially appropriate for the correspondence of this shell.

The Seven of Cups is probably the most fitting card for the Janthina, as it reflects the duality of her fragile and somewhat illusory nature.

Many consider the Seven of Cups to automatically represent illusions and getting lost in fantasy but, somewhat like Janthina, it is more complex than that.

The reversed Seven of Cups can certainly indicate temptations, indulgence, being blinded by fantasies and futile pie in the sky, or poorly guided choices, i.e. an excess or sort of perverse or twisted version of its potential energy.

However, upright, it represents imagination, possibilities, choices and visions. Seven is the number of understanding, magical forces, esoteric knowledge, imagination and mystery – all relevant key-words for the Janthina, again at least in accordance with my personal experience of additional energies of the shell.

Though all those aspects and energies can indeed have a lot to do with the Ocean Oracle’s meaning of Janthina, and are powerful tools that can help one understand and see clearly and wisely choose what to build a life on and hold onto.

shadowscapes 7 of cups

Just as seashells can and do have helpful crystal partners, they also share similarities with herbs and flowers. All the magical tools & treasures of nature have various  correspondences, connections and allies!

I relate Janthina to lavender, violets and periwinkle. Again, color and its natural attributions and energies play a part in my perhaps obvious and predictable choices!

lavender

The beautiful, floral lavender has long been associated with calming, healing energies and high vibrations. Janthina, as we have seen, also has very peaceful energy and a naturally high vibration which is reflected in its mystical color and the literal height at which in lives. Lavender is also associated with the Air element.

Violets, apart from being violet, also have watery associations in Greek legend to link them to Janthina. The playwright Aristophanes referred to Athens as the “Violet-Crowned City,” because the name of Ion, the legendary founder of Athens who was crowned there, is identical to “ion,” the Greek word for violet. According to legend, Ion was leading his people to Attica and was welcomed by water nymphs, who gave him violets as signs of their good wishes.

 

The periwinkle flower I associate with Janthina because of its color, its five, slightly spiraling petals that echo the shell’s spiral and give it a magical, pentacle-like appearance, and the fact that its name derives from the Latin vincire, meaning “to bind”, or “fetter”, and the Janthina is surely bound to its airy raft as a matter of life-or-death.

Infact, periwinkle is associated with death, as it was frequently grown in graveyards (both intentionally and naturally as it is invasive and thrives on undisturbed land) and the Welsh believed that one would be haunted for a year should they pick periwinkle from a grave.

 

In conclusion, most of the energies I attribute to the Janthina, including the shadow meanings and conditions it may assist in healing, should be more or less self-explanatory. And while “feelings of separation from Source or of divine abandonment” may also be especially obvious, let me expound on this notion.

Much of the following explanation of this notion is very personal for me, to be fair, and is somewhat my own unique extrapolation though I don’t believe it to be too excessive or off the mark.

The Janthina, as has become thoroughly illustrated by now, depends entirely upon its bubble raft to survive in a vast ocean in which it cannot swim. Do you ever feel like this? Like you live in a world in which you barely know how to get by as the unique spirit that you are?

As I asked earlier on, what is your personal raft? Your spirituality? A relationship? Your career? Sometimes, no matter what we do or consider the center of our world, we can find ourselves becoming tempest-tossed and sinking into the depths of despair, losing what we so loved.

When something we have been clinging to with all our strength and determination turns out to not be what we thought – or even to be our very undoing – it is so easy to feel like we’ve been abandoned or betrayed by whatever higher power we believe in.

Itis easy to believe in, to trust, or to love something or someone when everything is going your way. Our convictions are put to the test when we lose what we held nearest and dearest.

Janthina teaches us that sometimes we have to let go. Letting go of what does not serve you does not have to result in the very literal end that Janthina experiences when she loses her raft, though it can feel just like that’s what is happening.

From this little shell that lives in constant danger, we also learn that we must continue to trust and to remain true to ourselves no matter what we lose. Whatever is at the center of your spiritual beliefs – Goddess, God, multiple deities, Nature, Buddha, elemental beings, ancestors, etc – it is still always there for you and you are never truly cut off or abandoned unless you cut yourself off.

Find the thing in your life that, no matter what you have to lose or let go of, you will never really lose. Something that you carry in your heart, mind and soul, and that reminds you of your own worth and divinity, and you will never be lost to an abyss of hopelessness.

To quote another wise, magical teacher, Gandalf the Grey…

“Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt.”

queen of cups detail purple tint


© 2018 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

Featured Image: Janthina on bubble raft, courtesy David Fenwick – Aphotomarine Photography

Resources:
Ocean Oracle by Michelle Hanson
https://comenius-legends.blogspot.com/2010/07/legend-of-violet.html