By Sylvia Plath (1956)
“It is a chilly god, a god of shades,
Rises to the glass from his black fathoms.
At the window, those unborn, those undone
Assemble with the frail paleness of moths,
An envious phosphorescence in their wings. . .”
On May 10th, 2017 the Moon will be Full in the dark waters of Scorpio, where all that is obscured by the unconscious mind will rise to the surface for examination. In a waking dream, vaporous visions of sorcery, sex, and death will summon both fear and desire.
It is a chilly god,
a god of shades.
A Full Moon occurs when the waxing Moon finally reaches a perfect opposition with the Sun, creating a dynamic tension between the polarities of solar/lunar; rational/intuitive; masculine/feminine. This month’s polarity between the Sun in Taurus and the Moon in Scorpio will lead you to balance your acute physical senses with your delicate intuitive perceptions, summoning the light and shadows of revelation and mystery.
Rises to the glass from his black fathoms.
Lunar energy is at its heaviest and darkest within Scorpio, where a howling daemonic storm may drive you into the into the throes of passion or the depths of despair. Either way, expect to feel overwhelmed by intensity and possessed by a desire for catharsis.
Upon the path of catharsis, Scorpio operates mechanistically upon the cycle of sex, death, and transmutation. This describes the process of internal alchemy that is forever churning within, transforming pain into joy and fear into courage. In the realm of Scorpio, hunger is the driving force behind all motion: the snake eats its own tail to demonstrate that hunger precedes satiety and death precedes resurrection.
This Full Moon represents a climactic point of awareness that will urge you to let some of your desires die. If you have been haunted by unfulfilled desires that have never been laid to rest, this Full Moon in Scorpio will increase the strength of these apparitions, pushing you past the brink of apathy and into a sincere longing for release. No matter how painful it may be, you will be given a chance to successfully release your clinging attachments to the past: to the way things used to be and to the way things should have been.
“Imagine their deep hunger, deep as the dark
For the blood-heat that would ruddle or reclaim.
The glass mouth sucks blood-heat from my forefinger.
The old god dribbles, in return, his words…”
This Full Moon brings with it a ravenous hunger for transformation, for a liberation from the deadweight of habits and attachments. This hunger is inherent to the sign of Scorpio, but will be greatly amplified at this particular Full Moon because of a heavy influence from Pluto in Capricorn: the aeonic death god of astrology.
Thankfully, both the Sun in Taurus and the Moon in Scorpio will be in harmonious aspects to Pluto. Thus, whatever cycle of transformation that this Full Moon in Scorpio heralds will be imbued with a natural grace that helps you to get into the rhythm of change. With the power of Pluto’s cathartic tides, an overflow of emotions can be used to great effect in your arts and in your healing.
“The old god, too, writes aureate poetry
In tarnished modes, maundering among the wastes,
Fair chronicler of every foul declension.
Age, and ages of prose, have uncoiled…”
To become fully immersed in the wave of this Plutonian Full Moon in Scorpio, let’s take a closer look at the unusual poem, Ouija, by the tragic Scorpionic poet, Sylvia Plath.
Sylvia Plath was a poet of the mid-twentieth century, an awkward period where poetry as an artform was beginning to wane in cultural impact. Though many were in denial, literature was beginning to crumble under the weight of cinema and television.
Many of Plath’s works contend with the feeling that prophetic vision has been lost in the modern world. As the ancient Oracle at Delphi once died under the weight of Christianity, so too was the spirit of literary poetry dying under the weight of mass media and modernity.
Sylvia Plath is most famous for her suicide at the age of thirty, a heartbreaking and infamous apostrophe. The meaning of her suicide has been debated by many scholars, historians and psychologists and has been routinely exploited to sell books and movies. But no matter what the interpretation, it seems that the mid-twentieth century was not a nurturing time and place for poets.
It should be known that Plath’s life was occupied by a voracious interest in the occult which was interwoven in all of her work. From a young age, Plath was curious about exploring spirituality, outside of the Christian paradigm. She found her biggest inspiration in the life and work of William Butler Yeats, who lived as a poet, mystic and occultist.
Plath’s fascination with Yeats turned into an obsession, and she sought to replicate many of his occult experiments in order to learn to possess his poetic genius. (It should be noted that the house where she committed suicide was in fact a house where Yeats had once lived.)
With Yeats as her idealized poetic father, Plath used the tarot as a frequent symbolic framework and she was especially fond of using the Ouija board to talk to spirits that would inspire her poetry.
The Ouija board was a past-time Plath had begun with her husband, the poet Ted Hughes. The name of the spirit guide that Plath contacted often called himself, Prince Otto, who claimed to have great power in the underworld. (It should be noted that Plath’s late father’s name was Otto)
It is not clear what Plath truly believed about this occult phenomena. She may have vacillated back and forth between believing she was truly summoning ancient spirits and then alternately believing that it was her subconscious mind playing tricks on her. (Both explanations are equally mired in Scorpionic wisdom.)
As Plath says in her journal entry from July 4, 1958:
“Even if our own hot subconscious pushes it, (It says, when asked, that it is “like us”) we had more fun than a movie.”
Either way, as a poet in the mid-twentieth century, it is clear that Plath felt haunted by the past and exiled from a time when the gods and their visionary prophets were fully awake and alive.
The old god, too, writes aureate poetry
In tarnished modes, maundering among the wastes,
In Plath’s time, the art of poetry had begun to diminish in importance along with the literary tradition as a whole. Much like how the art of necromancy had been turned into a parlor game called Ouija, the face of poetry was also changing its context and purpose. It was slowly disintegrating into a hobby for a relatively small and isolated group of people. The aureate spirit of prophesy and poetry had both been tarnished by dogmatism, industry and skepticism.
Throughout history, the poetic genius was always described as something angelic or daemonic: as an inspired possession from a higher realm. But in Sylvia Plath’s time and place, the experience of poetic genius was filled with death and decay. The gods of poetry were dying and thus their priests and priestesses were filled with grief and despair.
His talking whirlwind, abated his excessive temper
When words, like locusts, drummed the darkening air
And left the cobs to rattle, bitten clean.
Skies once wearing a blue, divine hauteur
Ravel above us, mistily descend,
Thickening with motes, to a marriage with the mire.
Plath’s god of shades is not like the great god Apollo or the lyrical Hermes. The genius that flowed through her is thus not heir to the hymns of Lesbos nor the legends of the Celts. Instead, Sylvia Plath was born as a poet of a world that was destroying its own soul. She was born to sing songs of a world that was rich in resources, yet increasingly poor in spirit.
When historians wish to understand why an American dream girl with a genius talent for poetry would harbor a suicidal depression her whole life, this may be why. Like the tragic story of the Oracle at Delphi’s final days, Sylvia Plath was born as a medium for a lineage of wisdom, beauty and art that was dead and dying.
He hymns the rotten queen with saffron hair
Who has saltier aphrodisiacs
Than virgins’ tears. That bawdy queen of death,
Her wormy couriers are at his bones.
This Full Moon in Scorpio arrives with a heavy cloud of death and loss. And yet, you must remember that with the arrival of death, no matter how brief or protracted, an erosion of decay will follow. Purification is only possible in the wake of death, and thus death is necessary to strengthen your mental clarity and give momentum to your spiritual evolution.
Still he hymns juice of her, hot nectarine.
I see him, horny-skinned and tough, construe
What flinty pebbles the ploughblade upturns
As it was once practiced, recited and appreciated, poetry is now a mere anachronism. But the art of poetry has had many transformations throughout the ages. Thus, its spirit is guaranteed to re-emerge from the depths once again with aureate luster, as potent and vibrant as ever! This is the message of Scorpio. Let things die so they may be reborn.
As ponderable tokens of her love.
He, godly, doddering, spells
No succinct Gabriel from the letters here
But floridly, his amorous nostalgias.
Despite the tragedy that Sylvia Plath lived out, her work is still resonant because of how many layers of myth and magic she uprooted from her subconscious to weave into eternal words. Even if the gods were dying in her time, she still summoned the strength to capture vivid images of their requiem.
Use this Full Moon in Scorpio to create a beautiful requiem for something that you must release. Even in the throes of a great ending in your life, find a way to appreciate this moment for being a great crescendo in your own personal mythology. In this transient darkness, may you find an ineffable truth and a strength that can endure all cycles of transformation.
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