There is a Lakota story that tells of an ancient Grandmother sitting within a hidden cave weaving a panel of Porcupine quills into a great Buffalo Blanket. She has been working on this robe for thousands of years and, at her side, licking his paws and watching her all the time, is Shunka Sapa, the black dog who is her companion. The cave is lit and they are warmed by a great fire above which a cauldron hangs in which wojapi, sweet berry soup, has been slowly cooking since the fire was first lit.
Every now and then Grandmother rises from her work to stir the soup and feed the fire, but, as she does so Shunka Sapa grabs the end of a quill in his teeth and sets about undoing her precious work…..you know how dogs can be! On returning to her blanket the ancient Grandmother comes to a stop infront of her unravelled work, sighs and, after pondering a moment, sits down once more to begin again her sacred work with the great medicine blanket.
There is an understanding amongst the people that, while the sacred work is made never-ending by the mischevious hound, should the Grandmother ever complete the robe, the moment she weaves the last Porcupine quill into the blanket, the world as we know it will come to an end……
When the tsunami hit Fukushima Daiichi at 3.36pm local time on March 11th 2011 Uranus was just three minutes of arc from crossing the Aries equinox point in the tropical zodiac. Jupiter was in the 11th degree of Aries and Saturn, retrograde in the 16th degree of Libra, was conjunct the fixed star Merga in the constellation of Bootes, the Bear-warden. Slow moving Neptune too was on a cusp and would enter Pisces twenty three days later, just as the Sun and Moon met at new Moon in 14 Aries.
In the myth Bootes, having been given a flask of wine by Dionysus, was murdered by a group of shepherds after they had become insanely drunk on the potent sacred wine he had shared with them. In consideration for the grief of Bootes daughter Erigone and their faithful companion, the hound Maera, the Bear-warden was immortalised by Jupiter as a constellation in the skies.
Some say that Erigone, whose name means ‘She Who Knows’, became the constellation Virgo and that Maera was placed in the constellation Canis Major where the great dog star Sirius resides, but, the name Merga is derived from Marra, meaning a hoe or rake. In starlore the fixed star Merga marks the reaping hook held in the reaper’s left hand, Merga also having been known for millenia as Marrha. Saturn’s sickle bites likes the dogs teeth…..
When the new Moon eclipses the Sun on 20th March 2015 they too will be occupying the ultimate degree of tropical Pisces their orb covering the exact place of Uranus in the Fukushima tsunami chart. As the ultimate point of transition in the zodiac this degree is a place symbolic of unravelling as the necessary precursor to the sacred task of a re-weaving of the blanket of Life, begun with entry into Aries. In the Lakota story that moment is also marked by the Grandmother’s pause as she stops and ponders Shunka Sapa’s crucial if destructive intervention and, understanding what must be done, opens herself to re-envisioning of the sacred robe.
At eclipse Uranus will be exactly opposite Saturn’s place in the Fukushima chart, squaring Pluto for the seventh and last time in this part of their current cycle. Many things come to a head in this immediate time and culminate in an unresolved state, such is the of nature the waxing square belonging to this part of the cycle. This square marks the point at which Uranus finally begins to break free of the Plutonic undertow and sets out to sow new seeds of divine intiatic power within the matrix beyond the midpoint of Aries. If we look to the degree of the eclipse and the Sabian symbols associated with the last degree of Pisces for insight we find this aspect of the moment deepened through their gnostic wisdom.
They speak of the “power of clearly visualized ideals to mold the life of the visualizer” . They tell us this is a “most fitting symbol for the last phase of the cyclic process. Within the end of the cycle the seed of a new beginning exists in potency — unless the entire cycle has proven to be a failure.“
The last phrase is highlighted, not to invoke such a sense of failure, but to emphasise the crucial significance of recognising where failure is present. It is hugely important to us now to not only look for the re-envisioning which will renew our world, but, to realise that the unravelling, while it may seem contrary to our vision for the future and may not have been our own intended or conscious doing, is itself both a catalyst for the work in hand and a reminder of a greater cycle of change. Three decades will pass before we begin to see Uranus oppose Pluto from Virgo.
Many indigenous traditions carry stories that speak across great time of this crucial necessity, the relationship between our unconscious motivations and our highest wisdom, as well as between our ancestors and ourselves. They also tell us of the ‘worlds’ that have gone before ours, our cyclical re-emergence into the world following catastrophe, each time of unravelling different from the one before, but, all carrying the underlying thread of renewal, their seed potential. They show us how the way we live in our world, the pattern woven into the blanket of Life carrying the vision of our sacred relationship with our Earth, differs from those preceding and help us to understand how what comes of this is up to the ‘people’.
Grandmother’s vision for the future is writ in the stars and given the most powerful poigiancy through this solar eclipse and the beginning of a new cycle. Like Shunka Sapa’s disruptive work, undertaken behind her back, the ultimate fate of our planet stares us in the face. The destruction of the blanket of Life we are witnessing began while our backs were turned, many years before we were born, but, the Grandmother shows us our task. The full import of this is emphasised at the following full Moon.
At the full Moon on April 4th 2015 the Sun will be close on Uranus and Mercury will be close on the lunar south node, now on the same degree that Jupiter occupied in the Fukushima chart. The message here is clear ~ we cannot risk repeating the errors of the past without increasing consequence, and opening to the reality around us, as well as the power of the vision it demands of us, requires presence of mind and powerful intent. The ancestral fire must be tended beneath the cauldron of sweet medicine, but, as the story of the Bear-warden also reminds us, the gifts of the gods can easily be over-estimated in their strength and we are required to be wise to the consequences of their misuse. As wise as Saturn? The poigniancy of this is brought home as the April full Moon will transit Saturn’s degree in the Fukushima chart in mid Libra. Libra reminds us of the importance of right relationship, so central to all that is sacred, and the foundation of meaning this brings to all sustainable work we undertake.
At the April full Moon the Sun will be at the same degree as the new Moon that followed Fukushima, just as Neptune was then entering tropical Pisces. Neptune has been highlighting the dangers of intoxication under the inflationary influence of the ‘archetypal’ since entering Pisces, itself a powerful reminder of how an excess of the Dionysian wine has gone to our ‘heads’ inducing the global consequences of a destructive stupour that infects the world. Pluto and Uranus too have engaged us very tangibly in the field of their archetypal struggle since Fukushima, one equally wrought with the Neptunian signature. The Fukushima disaster is shot through with hubris, deception and dissemination of falsehood masking the thirst for power and control. Hubris as much as fundamentalism are human failings, but, who can deny where the ultimate responsibility lies in correcting this.
These connections between the Fukushima chart and the March solar eclipse are deepened further as the eclipse precedes equinox by just hours. Perhaps Venus presence in her home sign of Taurus will bring us down to earth and help our hearts to balance our heads as she is exactly quincunx Saturn, retrograde in Sagittarius at equinox. Saturn can also be the redeemer, if we have the ability to listen, accept the truth and, stepping across the threshold he keeps the keys to, undertake the work.
The stories from the past which address such archetypal themes have been passed down to us with good reason. They are ancestral reminders of times in which we have faced the need to undertake the ‘great work’. And, as in many medicine stories such as that of the Grandmother and Shunka Sapa, the understanding of its deeper message rests not upon explanation, but, on our own ability to allow the spirit of the story to speak to us within, so that we might see our own place within it and how each part of it sits within us.
May the opportunity brought for renewal by the eclipse open us to hearing them, allowing their medicine to work within, and may the blessings of the equinox enable us to grow in our understanding so that we may yet continue the sacred work with an ever more powerful intent…..