"A farewell to my shadow is not my death; it's my rebirth in darkness." -Munia Khan
We begin this month's moon cycle with the New Moon in Scorpio. We entered into Scorpio season on October 23rd and we will remain here until November 21st. Scorpio is a fixed water sign, meaning it asks us to go deep into our dreams and our primal desires. When we tap into this energy, it's like tapping into 250 million-year-old groundwater. We can drink from the energy that has always been present, and in so doing, we are replenished. Death is the 13th Major Arcana card in the Tarot and is aligned with the Zodiac sign of Scorpio.
In this card, we see the figure of death as a skeleton astride a white horse in full armor carrying a flag with a white rose. Like death, the color black absorbs all and like death, the color white as a prism includes all. Life and death are both eternal, and so it is only the ego that fears death. The ego imagines itself as a personality, somehow separate from all of life, and in that way, superior to the order of the universe. The Death card does not represent the moment of transformation and rebirth, but rather, the moment we surrender to change and give up the ego's fidelity at all costs to the "I" in our personas. It is true that transformation of the self at this stage will mean an egoic death, and will also mean rebirth into a greater fulfillment of our soul's true purpose. The biggest challenge is that the outcome of the rebirth is unseen. We see in The Light Seer's deck that Major 13 is renamed Death ∞ Rebirth.
It is not possible for any birth or rebirth to take place without death and it is not possible for any death to take place without a rebirth. When a baby is born, there is the death of a pregnancy and a post-partum experience of grief. Transformation and growth take place when what is ready to die away has long since been ready to go. After this recognition, the transformation can begin. I experienced the death of my father when I was 10 years old. At that age, I wasn't capable of contextualizing that loss. Unfortunately, our culture offers little to no space to talk about loss and grief at any age, and so I made sense of the loss without really processing it. I just moved on. It wasn't until I was in college that I got any insight as to what his death meant for me. One of my professors had a young daughter whose pet rabbit, the very symbol of rebirth, died.
She was just old enough to put together that if her rabbit died, then someday her parents would die, and someday she herself would die. We all experience this revelation at some point, but it was her father's retelling of his response that struck me so. He had her imagine all the things that she loved, from flowers to her bunny to her friends and family. He then invited her to feel that love as fully as possible. He then said to her, "If every living thing in creation that has been born into life will eventually die, can it be possible that death is an unloving part of creation?" I don't expect that many of you will be struck by the retelling of this simple revelation. It wasn't the content of the idea that helped me personally, but rather the fact that he was a father and that she had him alive to help her with this lesson, that touched me so profoundly. It was not my relationship to the physical death of my father that had been haunting me. It was my limited conception of what a father-daughter relationship was that had blocked my own rebirth. At that moment, I was able to recognize that my old understanding of love was only tied to grief and loss. Once I recognized that love includes death, I was reborn into a new story about what it meant to be a daughter.
You certainly don't need to have experienced the physical death of a family member to feel stuck in time as a child, sibling, or parent. No matter what the shape of your family looks like, you no doubt have an image in your mind of what your place in that dynamic is. I know that for many of us, heading into the holiday season can produce a lot of anxiety around family. With that in mind, I want to invite you to shake up what that story is under this New Moon. Because the New Moon is at the stage of rebirth, this is a good time to begin this exercise, but it is by no means the only time. Participate when it feels right for you.
TO BEGIN: You will be using a pen and paper, twine, a candle, and the outdoors. It is always advisable to begin your soul work and manifestations by cleansing and then briefly meditating. If white sage or incense are a part of your practice, great. If not, a simple hand washing is perfectly fine. If you are someone who cringes at the practice of meditation, just go ahead and close your eyes, breath deeply and slowly, and allow yourself to become grounded in the present moment. Once you've quieted the thinking mind, go ahead and light your candle. Next, begin to journal about who you are in your family. That can be both daughter and mother, sibling and wife. Then go ahead and expand on your beliefs and labels. For example, you might identify as "the eldest, and most responsible" or "the baby of the family". While it may be true that you found yourself in a specific role growing up, and while it may feel like that role still applies to you, especially when the family is reunited as adults during the holidays, the truth is that your story of who you are in your family does not encompass all of you. It also doesn't allow you to see the other members of your family in their whole capacity. Give yourself at least 3 pages on this subject. Don't allow yourself to stop writing or go back and edit. This is just for you. When you are finished, take a breath and scan your body to see, how do you feel? Where in your body do you feel it? As you conduct this exercise, you are already aware that it is in preparation to let go of one or more of your identities. This will inevitably bring up resistance. Try to stay observant if comments like, "I wouldn't have had to have been so responsible if X wasn't such a trouble maker" or, "Why should I have tried to get better grades, nobody paid attention anyhow." Of course, we have good reasons for why we began to pattern ourselves in whatever ways we have. There is no fault to be found here, only limitations to be released. The stories we tell ourselves about who we are and who we were in the family are powerful, and almost never accurate. These stories are useful for a time, but for all of us, the past is over. It is already dead. Each breath we exhale is the past, and so with a deep breath, go ahead and begin your rebirth. When you are ready, at the top of the pages, write down: Here lies (your name) and then a brief epitaph to the old story of your family identity. For example, "Here lies Meredyth, orphaned by her father at 10, a rambunctious only child, responsible as a daughter for her mother's happiness." Then, take your pages and wrap them in twine or cloth. Next, take your candle and safely drip the wax around the wrapped pages. Finally, bring your old identity, which was perfectly fine but limiting, and bury it into the ground. Sometimes at the New Moon, we bury our intentions so that they will grow, but tonight we bury our dead beliefs so that they can rest forever in peace. This is the season to honor the work of the underworld. Know that you can get support from the Death card by releasing what is complete. This is the time of year and of the Moon cycle when we experience more darkness. That we can't see in the dark does not mean that there is nothing beyond the unseen. Everything, including your concept of self, is more than it appears to be.