After the celebrations and festivities, the parties and the presents, this quiet month is like a refuge. January invites us to slow down, recover and most important to come back to ourselves. There is something profoundly private and dignified about this month; the long nights, the bare trees, the silence of the snow as it falls on the frozen landscape. During winter nature is at rest; the real work is silent and unseen.
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bones structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. –Andrew Wyeth
Imagine an enchanting old town somewhere in the far north. It is late afternoon on this winter day; the sun has just begun to set, streaking the pale blue sky with shades of apricot, gold and mauve. Smoke rises from the chimneys and disappears above the gently sloping roofs and church steeples of our little hamlet. Sleigh bells ring out as the horses make their way over a thick layer of fresh snow and down in the meadow skaters glide gracefully across the frozen pond. In the village people hurry home laden down with packages, past busy shops and brightly lit taverns. At the edge of the village there’s a lane that leads to a little cul-de-sac and here behind a big iron gate is an old house and there you will find the Astrology Café. Lights blaze from the windows and music can be heard. Inside the fire roars and glasses are raised in toasts. Candlelight flickers and friendships unfold. Welcome back dear friend, you have been missed.
If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…If you are a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in! –Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends)
Come in from the cold and make yourself comfortable. There’s Celtic music playing on the stereo, a fire blazing in the old stone fireplace and friends both old and new. The café is decorated with vases of spruce and fir branches. The air is fragrant with the aroma of vanilla, butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom. There are thick, creamy soups (Butternut Bisque, Green Pea with Cheddar-Scallion Panini, and Minestrone with Collard Greens and White Beans) as well as hearty stews and quiches. We have a variety of goat and sheep cheese along with freshly baked bread still warm from the oven. For dessert there’s Warm Gingerbread with Fresh Whipped Cream, Chocolate Pudding Cake, Macaroons (Chocolate Mint, Chai, and Raspberry), Pistachio Cardamom Butter Cookies, Shortbread, and Salted Carmel Chocolate Tarts. Perhaps you’d like some Hot Buttered Rum, warm Apple Cider, a glass of Malbec, or maybe a big mug of tea; Earl Grey with Rose Petals, Chamomile with Citrus, or Pomegranate White.
Take your time my friend and when you’re ready, follow me up the stairs, through the library (watch out for the cats), down a narrow corridor, under an arch, then up a few steps to the tower room where our friend, the crone, the wise woman waits for us. She has been waiting all along.
Our friend is sitting at her round wood table wrapped in her midnight blue velvet cloak. The Full Snow Goose Moon shines through the bay window, candles illuminate the sacred statues and Kwan Yins that are placed around the room and the air is perfumed with the scent of jasmine and rose. Outside the wind howls but in here it is warm and safe; time seems to stand still. Can you feel it? Our friend smiles warmly and gestures for us to join her at the table. Let the conversation begin. We are at the beginning of the year; an ideal time to consult the Oracle. On the table before us are Runes, cards, crystals and sacred stones. She reaches into her velvet pouch and picks a Rune. It is Hagalaz. Listen closely; perhaps she has a message just for you.
The urge for change, freedom, invention and liberation invest this Rune. Drawing it indicates a pressing need within the psyche to break free from constricting identification with the material reality and experience the world of the archetypal mind.
Hagalaz is the Rune of elemental disruption, of events totally beyond your control. Although it has only an Upright position, and yet it always operates through reversal. When you draw this Rune, expect disruption, for it is the Great Awakener, although the form of the awakening may vary. Perhaps you will experience a gradual feeling of coming to your senses, as though you were emerging from a long sleep. Then again, the onset of power may be such as to rip the fabric of what you previously knew as your reality, your security your understanding of yourself, your work, your relationships and beliefs.
Be aware however, that what operates here is not untimely and an outside force, not a situation of you-at-the-mercy-of externals. Your own nature is creating what’s happening, and you are not without power. The inner strength you have funded until now is your support and guide at a time when everything you’ve taken for granted is being challenged. -The Book of Runes (Ralph Blume)
The Cancer Full Moon – January 1-2, 2018
According to the Cherokee this is called the Snow Goose Full Moon and it is a time of creative expression, expansion and tangible blessings to those who align with its energy. It is also known as Old Moon, Wolf Moon.
The Sun, in ambitious and earthy Capricorn, the archetype of the father, represents responsibility, authority, and worldly power; he values action in the outer world. Moon ruled Cancer, a sensitive water sign, is the Great Mother and healer; she honors intuition and inner work. This Full Moon reminds us that the ability to manifest authentic power in the world is not separate from our inner life. In fact, our greatest creations and accomplishments originate from within; our deepest feelings are our greatest strength.
Full Moons are emotionally intense and Cancer is a vulnerable sign which is why the crab requires a protective shell. Opposite the Cancer Moon is the Sun, Venus, Saturn and Pluto all in tough-love Capricorn. Venus conjunct the Sun can bring the need for love and affection; Saturn and Pluto (opposite the Moon) can expose old wounds and threaten our security. A supportive grand trine in water (Moon in Cancer, Mars in Scorpio, and Neptune in Pisces) gives us the faith to feel our fears but not act on them. As Georgia O’Keeffe said, “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
When you combine the wisdom, maturity, and strong boundaries of Capricorn with the compassion and nurturing of Cancer you will discover the wise and caring crone. Get in touch with your Inner Wise Crone – no matter what your age. She represents the best of both Cancer and Capricorn. Listen to the wise one inside you. Allow her into your life and let her guide you during this year and beyond. With demanding Saturn now in its home sign of Capricorn (until December, 2020) she will be a valuable ally and kindhearted companion.
Enter Uranus Stage Right
After being retrograde since August 3, change-at-all-cost Uranus in assertive Aries stations direct on January 2, just a few hours after the Full Moon. For the past five months questions, concerns, and ideas have been marinating beneath the surface. Now rebellious Uranus is awakening and so are we! Whatever has been brewing is ready to manifest on an outer level. This maverick has places to go and people to see; his seven year tour of Aries is coming to an end and he will enter Taurus on May 15, a major event. Except for a brief stint back into Aries November 6, 2018 until March 7, 2019, Uranus will remain in Taurus until 2026. Early January can be an exciting and innovative time but an edgy one and combined with the emotional Full Moon the energy can feel unstable and uncertain at times as Uranus picks up speed.
Astrologer Anne Ortelee advises the following: “Which House does 24 Aries land in for you? Time to take big action THERE with the wind at your back. Which House does your natal Uranus live in? That’s where the changes will be made. What House does Aquarius rule? That’s where you’ll carry the Uranus-station changes out into the world.”
The Good News
Once Uranus turns direct on January 2, then all the planets will be moving forward; no retrogrades (until March 8), a rare occurrence and the perfect opportunity to move our plans and projects forward. There’s a refined Capricorn New Moon on January 16; the sun and moon plus Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Pluto all in motivated Capricorn. What is your vision for 2018? Give yourself time the first two weeks of the month to dream and visualize then put something in motion at this potent New Moon. You don’t have to have it all figured out; just start where you are and do what you can. Capricorn is committed to excellence and hard work; you can’t get away with “magical thinking” but if put the effort in, results will follow. The month ends with a Lunar (Full Moon) eclipse in Leo. The year is off to a lively start!
January 6 is Epiphany
The word “Epiphany” comes from the Greek, meaning to manifest. In Old England it was said of the eve of Epiphany, “On the charms of this night will the harvest depend.” What do you want to manifest this year, what is calling you? There is no better time to focus on this. Create your own ritual for this hallowed time.
What is your special word for 2017?
Ceremonies, rites, and rituals are important; they bless events, make them sacred as well as anchor them in the world. One of my favorite January rituals is finding a word (or phrase) that will be my talisman or mantra for the year. I don’t like resolutions; they feel too militant and never seem to last. But a simple word or phrase has magic and meaning; it doesn’t demand; it inspires. Over the years I’ve chosen words like Manifest, Joy, and Forgiveness. Consider phrases like Letting Go, Daring Greatly, Radical Good Health, Outrageous Abundance, or Big Magic. There are no rules; you can change it any time or have more than one. Play with it, have fun, create a collage or painting with your word or phrase; make it your own.
Another ritual is simply taking time to review the past year and acknowledge what we’re grateful for. This year has been challenging for so many people and for the world in general and yet through it all we’ve seen examples of great courage and compassion. There is still so much goodness in this beautiful but broken world of ours.
On the first page of her book, Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach writes, “Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to help you make your dreams come true.”
Dear Friend, It is getting late here in the tower above the Astrology Café. The old owl has appeared on the Alder tree outside. The candles have all burned down. The room is filled with your divine presence. Thank you for visiting. Go gently into this New Year. Let it unfold naturally. Find your own rhythm. Above all, have patience with yourself and with the world. Beginnings are fragile and life is not about perfection; it’s about wholeness. All is well, you are loved, Virginia
From A Morning Offering, by John O’Donohue
May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fears no more.