The Wheel Turns. At the Spring Equinox we entered Aries season – the First sign of the Zodiac that explores the question of identity and individuality with the phrase “I AM”, and we meet the Tarot card The Emperor. Next, the sun travels through the sign of Taurus, and we learn all the pleasures and pains of physical embodiment, and thus learn that our identity is shaped by what “I HAVE” and what we value – even building structures and systems like The Hierophant to try and save or maintain these things we find beautiful. Yet- all of these ideas about identity and value don’t get us very far without deeper thought and communication – and Gemini season begins to teach us about how we present ourselves in more refined ways, echoing “I THINK” (therefore I Am?”) out into the universe. With our thoughts come counter-points presented by others and thus we begin to enter into the realm of partnerships and duality with the tarot card The Lovers.
Then at the Summer Solstice – the first quarter of the year has ended and we come across Cancer energy. Cancer is the nurturing, affectionate, emotional force of the Zodiac. Through Cancer energy we learn about intuition, loyalty, sympathy, and imagination. Cancer nature is also dualistic and sometimes contradictory, much like Gemini energy which is always changing based on who they are around… Cancer energy transforms within itself. On one side it wants to be nurturing and helpful, but on the other side it is self-centered and brooding. It longs for adventure yet craves security. The tarot card related to Cancer is The Chariot, and you can see the opposing forces present on this card. But the one thing about Cancer energy is that it is tenacious. Once a crab grabs hold of something, it won’t let go. The Chariot teaches us that once our choices have been made, a commitment is made. (This is the realm of Consequences – very fitting to first really face this lesson through the soft mothering sign of Cancer – in direct opposition from the more strict sign of Capricorn where this lesson is taken to the next level) For now, no matter what, whatever choices you made have set the wheels in motion and you have started down this path. The Chariot and Cancer teach us about responsibility, about having strength of resolve. We might not know exactly what lies on the path ahead of us, or how many turns onto new paths we might take. But once we take hold of the reigns and make the choice, the journey has begun! Don’t let go of the reins, don’t loosen your grip, keep your head up and accept responsibility for whatever choices you have made. Once you accept responsibility, you will find that you can channel your emotions more clearly, use your intuition to your advantage, and you will find yourself seeing creative answers to whatever problems and roadblocks you may face. We first encounter these lessons of responsibility and consequences at home in our early childhood – often from our mothers. The sign of Cancer is deeply associated with Home, Early Childhood, and the type of nurturing stability we seek as a home environment in our adult lives.
From the book; “The Everything Tarot Book” by M.J. Abadie;” The Chariot is related to the sign of Cancer, which symbolizes the sheer tenacity of the life force. It’s image, the Crab, is known for the ability to hold on, just as the Charioteer holds firmly to his steeds. Cancer is the first water sign, and it represents relatedness, whether with others or with the opposing forces within one’s self. Cancer represents the process of the growth of the soul through the sustaining efforts of the life forces, which are by nature dual. Thus, Cancer’s primary characteristic is Tenacity. The Crab is known to never let go. Also representative of motherhood and family, Cancer is an extremely powerful sign, for the pulsating life force within it is extremely strong. Cancer’s relation to the moon and the High Priestess identifies this connection to The Great Mother and the strong inner force represented by this energy.”
In the Great Wheel, Cancer is the first Water sign that is encountered in the Zodiac year – bringing in a new layer of intuitiveness and nurturing to the Fire, Earth, and Air already experienced. It is the second Cardinal sign of the zodiac – so we’re revisiting the Cardinal energy first introduced with Aries, but it takes a totally new approach with water as it’s guide. Cardinal Fire can be pushy in a way that burns quick and bright – while the Cardinal Water energy has a more patient pressure, like the water of a river carving out a canyon. The symbolism of The Chariot can provide more clues to these elements of responsibility, drive, and tenacity of the astrological sign of Cancer.
The main figure sits beneath a canopy of stars – both 5 pointed and 6 pointed stars adorn this canopy – representing the celestial influences or a connection to some kind of deeper intuition beyond body and mind.
Alchemical symbols on the man’s cloak represent the transformative power of mankind,while the cresent moons on the shoulders represent a receptiveness to collecting and holding space for the world around him.
The laurel and 7-pointed star of his crown represent a higher level of spiritual awareness has been attained, while the square on his chest represents Earth – a certain groundedness and strength or stability has been obtained.
The wings on the chariot represent inspiration and the ability to seek new heights or elevate ourselves. The wings also represent the union of opposite forces – perhaps the union of the duality that we experienced in Gemini.
The black and white sphynxes also represent this cohesion or union of duality – much like the yin-yang of Buddhist philosophies. Balance is gained through the mastery of both positive and negative forces.
The driver holds no reins – only a wand like that seen in the tarot card The Magician. This suggests that his control over the chariot comes not from physical power or force – but from a more refined willpower and focus.
The city is behind the chariot – the driver has already learned as much as he can from the structures of the city (the first quarter of the zodiac year) and has now struck out to create his own life, his own path, and create a new home for himself. There is also water behind him – indicating he has made a journey across water – often a metaphor for a transformational and spiritual experience.
Take some time to notice how you feel the influence of The Chariot in your life during Cancer season. You can intentionally sit with this card and some of the lessons of it in meditation, or place it on your altar to see it frequently and try to activate it’s energy in your life. Ask yourself how you can be more like the chariot driver. Or, if you ARE the chariot driver – what is it that is behind you ?(your city and water that you have already passed through) Where is it that you are going? Are you trying to use force (reins) when you could just be using your willpower and magick? Have you mastered balance over duality well enough that your sphynxes (horses) will both go in the same direction when you give the command?
These are some great questions to explore as we approach the New Moon in Cancer coming up on July 13, 2018.
Ever since I started studying Astrology more in depth, my way of seeing the world and interacting in it has changed.
I mean, as a witch* I generally knew what phase the moon was in and what sign it was in. Just knowing the phases or sign of the moon helped me plan out my life (mundane and magickal) and helped me recognize certain energies in myself and others. Example: My kids used to fight with eachother A LOT more aggressively when the moon was in Aries. A is a Leo and K is a an Aries (both fire signs). Something about an Aries moon would set them off and they would be at eachother’s throats the whole time. Once I saw the pattern, instead of saying “OHMYGODWHATISWRONGWITHYOUKIDSTODAY?” , I would check to confirm the moon phase and then just try to find seperate activities for them to do. Rather than punishing them for acting out under the influence of a fiery moon, I would find ways to calm the fires – or at least not stoke them! This didn’t always work, but I began to see the power behind the simple awareness of the moon’s sign.
I began to notice subtle things about myself. As a generalization, the element of the moon sign has a great correspondence with how my day will go. If the moon is in an Earth sign (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) I might be more motivated to do practical things like house work, paying bills, etc. I also might be drawn to just staying home instead of going out on those days. When the moon is in a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) my emotions are more intense. This can result in my depression or anxiety being worse on those days as I feel my trauma triggered in ways that feel overwhelming. Now I don’t always get depressed when the moon is in a water sign – sometimes I might have a really great day! Those days I feel happy it is an amplified happy – though not generally a “stable” happiness – as anything can burst that bubble pretty easily. It’s a delicate balance on those days. I have my mental illness every day, and there are other influences on how I might experience my mental illness day to day besides astrology, but knowing the moon sign has helped me bring another level of awareness to living with Borderline Personality Disorder.
To be clear, I don’t really use this awareness as a predictive tool. Meaning; I don’t wake up and think “Ohno the moon is in a water sign today I am gonna be so moody today!”. I still have power over what kind of day I am going to have. It’s like knowing the weather. Weather might influence how we prepare for our day… if it might snow we probably bring a warmer jacket when we leave the house and make sure to double check that pipes don’t get frozen or that we have emergency supplies in case of a power outage. Astrology can be the same way! When we know about what astrological influences may be beaming into us unseen, we can “dress for the weather” So I woke up today and saw the moon is in Cancer. I just said to myself, “Okay, I am giving myself space to feel emotions fully and deeply today. I’ll be patient with myself and try not to take things personally.” Instead of fighting it, I can let it unfold in harmonious ways. Having a heightened emotional state isn’t a bad thing… wow that’s when my intuition is working in high gear, my compassion runs deep, and I can even allow myself to go into the deep sadness or trauma and allow more healing to happen. I allow myself to see that somehow the energy of the moon is being tinted with a slight watery vibration today, so how can I use that energy for the best? Whatcan I learnfromit?
This awareness came from simply tracking the moon sign regularly. I often keep a journal to keep track of my physical health symptoms, as well as just keep a record of my life. I started marking the moon sign at the top of journal pages and began noticing themes in my writing that corresponded with certain moon signs. This was how I first noticed the Aries moon seeming to be relevant to my kids fighting. I had vented several times in a journal about the kids having a bad day and just arguing with eachother non stop. Looking back through my journal I realized that all of these journal entries occured with the moon in Aries. ( I also noted my own irritability increased at this time, which was part of why I would feel the need to vent in my journal in the first place!) I noticed a trend of to–dolists and a focus on household projects during moon in earth sign days. I saw the more emotional type journal entries coming out when the moon was in water signs. I noticed I didn’t make as many journal entries on days when the moon was in fire or air signs. Perhaps I was just too busy being fiery and airy on those days? 😉
Everyone will have different responses to the energy of the moon sign. Some people may be more or less influenced by certain moon signs than others, and in different ways. Understanding my own natal chart helped me understand why these energies affected me the way they did. My natal moon is in Scorpio (A water sign) So I already have the tendency to have more of the watery traits of high emotion, intuition, etc. My Sun and Mercury are in the 12th House, which is the house ruled by mutable water sign Pisces. So I’m already (again) influenced by water, even though I am an Earth Sign (my sun and ascendant are Capricorn).
As I have ventured deeper into understanding Astrology, I’ve started seeing more layers to this awareness. All these energies of the archetypes are dancing around the cosmos and the way they pass by each other adds depth to the vibration that is unique for everyone. Sure, today the moon has been in Cancer. I found myself wanting to be alone, quietly reflecting on whatever crossed my mind. I felt like I needed to be doing something but had no idea what I should do. I was sort of stuck, directionless feeling. A little depressed about what I should be doing, but having major Executive Dysfunction. I checked the Chart of the Moment just to see what was going on with this energy today. Yes, moon in Cancer but it was also square Mercury (in retrograde), Venus, and Uranus (in Aries) while in exact opposition to Pluto in Capricorn.** Knowing the lessons and energies of these planets and signs gave me a quick yet detailed glance at the vibratory energy being filtered in by the moon and the sun. I felt a little less guilty for not getting things done and realized I actually HAD done some important things. I had just been focused on some failures in specific areas of my life. But today was a good day.
And I realized just how theraputic it has been for me to learn astrology.
It can be for you too. Just start by tracking the moon.
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*Referring to my personal practice of witchcraft – in which I focus a lot on the wheel of the year and signs/phases of the moon. For clarity, not all witches follow the same path – for some witches knowing the phase of the moon may not be relevant. (And they are still witches if that’s how they choose to identify their path)
** I apologize for not going into detail on these planetary aspects, but didn’t want to get too wrapped up in details that I lost the main point!