Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ember Days: time for intention

As I mentioned in my last post to this blog, after the Winter Solstice is good time to slow down and go within. Shown by the New Year’s Eve resolutions that many of us set at this time of year, there is something about the energy after Winter Solstice that calls for reflection and new intention. The ancestors knew this too. Kenneth Johnson in his book, "North Star Road: Shamanism, Witchcraft, and the Otherworld Journey," writes that folk tradition of central and northern Europe called the time between Christmas and the Epiphany (January 6) the Ember Days. It was thought that at this time the ancestors were more accessible to the living. Just like at Samhain, the veils between the worlds are thinner at this time. This is a good time to seek insights about our lives using astrology and other forms of divination.

My own divination practice at this time
I look at my progressions and transits of the past year and the next. Astrology helps me to set the context of my life — what is really important for me to pay attention to right now. I think about my goals. Then I do a tarot and rune reading for the year. From all this exploration, I set an intention. It is helpful to put my visions, emotions, and yearnings into clear words, simple words, which I can use as an anchor of intention when the ebb and flow of the year begins again after Epiphany.

The Full Moon of January 3rd will occur during the Ember Days. The Winter Full Moon is one of the most beautiful moons of the year. This Full Moon in Cancer should be particularly potent. Who are the planetary allies of this moment — the ones who will help us with our visions and intentions? Saturn is the ally of intention and manifestation. Saturn in Leo is trining both Pluto and Mars in the Full Moon chart. In this alignment there is strength and power for putting creative action behind our intentions. What does Saturn ask in return for this help? Focus, paring down distractions, responsibility. The visionary allies of this chart are Uranus, Neptune, and the Moon itself. Here, there is more struggle and potential danger. Uranus is squared Jupiter. This paints a picture of big ideals meeting big visions for change. Notice whether the goals you set for yourself are realistic. Perhaps it is appropriate to dream big right now, but how will you feel later when you encounter reality? There is a learning curve here to pay attention to. Neptune is quiet in this chart but will oppose Saturn two more times this year. The opposition between Saturn and Neptune will challenge us all to dream the dreams that we can make real. Our paradigms are shifting this year. It may be harder this year to distinguish reality from dream and that may be the point. The Moon becomes an anchor for me as I realize that it may be hard to navigate the Neptune/Saturn territory. The Cancer Full Moon reminds me to set intention that includes compassion for self and others. The glyph for Cancer reminds me of the arms of the Mother holding her Child. I can also hold my own heart this way. What does my heart want to dare to dream into reality this year? What intention can I set that will honor the nurturing compassion of this Full Moon?

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