We must go down into the dungeons of the heart,
To the dark places where modern mind imprisons
All that is not defined and thought apart.
We must let out the terrible creative visions.
Return to the most human, nothing less
Will teach the angry spirit, the bewildered heart,
The torn mind, to accept the whole of its duress,
And pierced with anguish, at last act for love.
Excerpt from “Santos: New Mexico” by May Sarton
On Tuesday, October 10, Jupiter will move into the astrological sign of Scorpio. Jupiter takes about one year to move through each sign, and during that period that sign’s themes receive the amplifying power of the biggest planet in our solar system. Jupiter’s keywords are abundance, expansion, exaggeration, and inflation. In other words, it makes things bigger. Whether you want them bigger or not.
Although usually viewed as a beneficial planet, Jupiter’s lessons in growth are not necessarily comfortable. For example, in the past year, the systemic racism of our country has grown to enormous prominence. White people have been forced to reckon with the reality of racism – an issue of justice and equality – as part of Jupiter’s journey through Libra, the sign of the scales, balance, and harmony/disharmony.
The election of an unapologetic racist misogynist billionaire, who campaigned with ever more outrageous and offensive language, was just a wake-up call at the beginning of Jupiter In Libra. Because white people have been largely shielded from having to deal with racism – or even notice that it exists – this was a very uncomfortable and even distressing transit for many throughout the USA.
Libra demands justice. Although the sign is notorious for smiling and putting up with a lot of shit instead of dealing with confrontations, this transit showed us the side of Libra that would no longer be put off by the platitudes of “good white folks” while so many people of color suffer. It also put the shadow of Libra on display, which is the fear and disdain of anyone seen as “the other.”
It’s been a painful time, full of grief, rage, distrust, misunderstanding, and disbelief. And here we are. At the end of this journey, but perched at the beginning of another. This one takes us deeper than we think it’s possible to go. It takes us into the “dungeons of the heart” to unmask the naked beauty or terrible visions within.
To get ready, look back on the past year and tend to any unfinished threads in your relationships. Where do you feel a lack of harmony or agreement in your life? Notice any places that you have perpetuated stories about “the other.” Those who are perceived of as different from oneself or the dominant culture are often viewed as “the other”; this can include entire groups of people, an individual, or psychologically speaking, hidden aspects of the self which provide a contrast to the dominant self or group. In the next year, we will be challenged not only to see “the other,” but to confront, transform, and integrate it.
It is interesting to consider that the last time we were on the threshold between Jupiter in Libra and Jupiter in Scorpio, back in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina brought the stark disparity between Black and white America into public view. As Black lives were left to suffer from the effects of that hurricane, consider how recently the citizens of Puerto Rico also faced racist attacks and a pitiful emergency response to the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
How do we move forward rather than backwards? How do we remember the lessons and carry them with us into the next phase?
There be monsters
Preparing for this next leg of the journey is complicated by the major themes Scorpio bring us. Scorpio is mysterious, tricky. Scorpio rules death and decay, just as plants at this time of year are pulling their energy underground. Scorpio is darkness and magic. Scorpio is magnetic and alluring, drawing us in even when we know it’s dangerous. (And really, life is dangerous. It was never about being safe. Who said it was safe?)
If we are to willingly go into the deep, intention is vital. Anyone who knows their myths knows that trips to the underworld never go as planned. It’s best to be prepared to be surprised. Yet we can start out with an intention that is clear enough to withstand the attacks and forgetting that occurs in the underworld. We will need to face the monsters without running away. And there will be monsters.
Here are some monsters I can think of off the top of my head: Medusa, the Minotaur, the Cyclops, dragons, vampires, werewolves, Cerberus, Frankenstein, Chupacabra, windiigo, banshees, ghosts.
Looking at this list, I see that there are monsters who:
1. Guard the gates of death/dying
2. Are misunderstood creatures
3. Have been transformed into monsters because of unmet needs
4. Have been transformed into monsters by another’s cruelty
You can think of your own monsters, perhaps by checking in with the stories that really freaked you out as a kid. The monster of childhood might be a clue waiting to unlock a deeper knowing within you. What made your monster a monster? What did they want? Why are they frightening to you? What happened to them? How could this monster be a guide to you for the coming year?
Faith in darkness
In Dante’s Inferno, these words are written above the gate to Hades: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Although I find Dante’s ideas to be quite dualistically toxic, I do think this instruction sounds like a fantastic idea. Because we don’t actually need hope. Hope is a feeling. It’s a good feeling, yes. But hope can sometimes be an obstacle, preventing us from perceiving the truth. As the dictionary reminds us, hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Expectation can be a barrier to real understanding and true presence. Jupiter in Scorpio invites us to find faith in darkness, to have trust even when we know it’s dangerous, to be optimistic without banking on the outcome.
I’m thinking this transit could be an incredibly magical time, if we use the resources that darkness provides. Darkness can hide us, concealing the truth in order to make a move. Darkness can provide us with time to rest, heal, and regenerate. Darkness as unknowing can unravel thought patterns that have stifled us. Darkness offers profound dreams. Physical vulnerability, nakedness, and sexual intimacy often occur in the dark, making it a place for passion, tenderness, and ecstasy. Darkness makes us stumble and grope around for the answer. Darkness opens the senses beyond sight, expanding the perceptual tools available to us. Darkness lets someone else worry about hope, and instead puts all its effort into becoming.
Radial Faerie Beat poet James Broughton writes:
“Be arsonists of the phoenix nest and glow!”
Set the nest on fire. It was made to burn anyway. Take risks. Life was never about being safe. Even though life is dangerous, we can create spaces for healing. We can participate in magic that binds and connects us to one another. We can summon our courage and face the monsters within and around us. But mostly within us, because those are the hardest ones to face. We can stumble around for the answers, never hoping to find them.
Jupiter in Scorpio is an invitation to unknowing. If you think you know the answers, better get ready to have some illusions shattered. The way forward includes a lot of destruction, decay, and death. And that’s life! All of those things are not against life; they are necessary components of life. Fling your old ideas onto the fire and let the flames burn all the more brightly as they devour your former self. This is how change happens. You were made for it. What is your intention now? Speak it into the night sky.
by Alma Luz Villanueva
Memory: You were fifteen in the mountains,
Your friends were going hunting,
You wanted to go.
Cold, autumn day-sky of steel
And rifles, the shade of bullets. We
Fought. I didn't want to let you go.
And you stood up to me, "My friends are
Going, their parents let them hunt, like
Am I some king of wimp or what, Mom…"
We walked into Thrifty's to buy the bullets,
You would use one of their rifles---I imagined
You being shot or shooting another eager boy/man.
"What you kill you eat, do you understand?"
I stared each word into your eyes. As you
Walked away, I said to the Spirits, "Guard
This human who goes
In search of
You brought home four small quail.
I took them saying, "Dinner." I stuffed
Them with rice, apples, baked them in garlic,
Onions, wine. "Tonight, Mom?" "Yes, tonight."
I plucked the softest tail feathers and as you
Showered, I placed them in your pillow case:
"May the thunder and
the prey be one.
May the hunter eat
And be eaten in
May the boy always
Be alive in the
We ate, mostly, in silence---
I felt you thinking, I just
Killed this, what I'm chewing…
On the highest peaks the first
Powder shines like the moon---
Winter comes so quickly.
On your face soft, blonde hair (yes, this
Son is a gringo) shines like manhood---
Childhood leaves so quickly.
The wonder for the hunt is on my tongue,
I taste it---wild, tangy, reluctant---
This flesh feeds me well.
I light the candles and thank the quail
In a clear voice---I thank them for their
Small bodies, their immense, winged souls.
"God, Mom, you're making me feel like a
killer." "Well, you are and so am I."
Swallowing, swallowing this delicious death.