Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times


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Diotima

Diotima

Diotima Mantineia began studying astrology in 1968, taking classes from Zoltan Mason in New York City. For the next 22 years, she practiced astrology only for herself and her friends, continuing her studies while watching an increasingly humanistic, psychologically oriented, modern astrology blossom through the work of leading astrologers such as Noel Tyl, Liz Greene, Rob Hand, Marion March, Stephen Arroyo and Howard Sasportas. In 1986, Diotima began her study of Wicca and started reading Tarot, discovering that she is a gifted intuitive. In 1991, she began practicing both astrology and Tarot professionally. She majored in plant and soil science both in college and grad school, and grows much of her own food and "materia magica" on her land in the mountains of western North Carolina. Diotima’s personal spiritual path is rooted in the Western mystery traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world. Wicca gives structure to her spiritual journey, and she utilizes shamanic practices for healing and to live in harmony with Nature. Over 15 years of studying Chinese martial arts has given her a deep appreciation of Taoist thought which has strongly influenced her magical and personal philosophy. You can find her at www.uraniaswell.com

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Since most of you don’t live near me, and there’s a lot of interest in my upcoming“Dance in the Graveyard” class, I thought I’d offer those of you who aren’t local a brief ritual you can use to open lines of communication with your ancestors during this Samhain season. 

Samhain,
as many of you know, is the traditional Gaelic festival that spawned, first, the Catholic observances of All Saints Day (a.k.a. All Hallows Day), and then the very secular festival of Halloween. It is celebrated as a holy day by Wiccans, many Druids, and some Pagans of other traditions.

Traditionally celebrated on October 31/November 1 (Gaelic festivals run from sunset to sunset), the traditional date falls within a few days of the astronomical midpoint between the Sun stations of Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice, which happens on November 6 or 7 (changing slightly each year). This year, it falls a little after midnight on November 7th, here in the Eastern time zone. 

All four of the traditional cross-quarter festivals fall near solstice/equinox or equinox/solstice midpoints, which are always at 15 degrees of the Fixed signs of the Zodiac These are the powerful degrees that astrologer Dane Rudhyar called “the gates of the avatar” — another word for the Divine incarnate. The veils between the worlds are thin at these liminal times. At Samhain, the Sun is at 15 degrees of Scorpio. (The Zodiac of Western astrology is an astronomically-accurate celestial coordinate system. More about tha
t here.).

Like most planetary movements in astrology, the influence of these patterns is fluid and wavelike, peaking at the date of the exact midpoint. So it’s certainly appropriate to do this ritual anytime between the end of October to a couple of days after November 7th. Afterwards, you’ll want to consider how you will incorporate this ancestral work into your regular spiritual practices. 

Essentially all spiritual traditions offer some form of ritually honoring one’s ancestors. But if you don’t have an ancestor-honoring spiritual tradition you adhere to, or you don't feel your tradition goes deep enough, use this ritual as a beginning, then let ancestors themselves guide you into the best way for you to work with them on a regular basis. 

The Ancestor Altar 

What you’ll be doing in the ritual is setting up an ancestor altar, and calling on your ancestors to form an energetic vortex that connects them with you through the medium of this altar. Personally, I’m not big on ancestor “worship”. This work is about connecting and honoring, which is the purpose of the altar. 

For some of you, the altar may be items you keep in a box that you bring out only when you are actively working with them. Others might want to have a few framed photos and perhaps some heirloom items on a table in the living room that doesn’t look like an altar when you aren’t working with it. If you have space/privacy, you can set up an altar where offerings can be regularly maintained, even if that’s just a small space on a bookshelf. 

What goes on the altar (or in the box) is very individual. You'll definitely want some connection with your ancestors of blood — both parental lines. You can use old photos, heirloom items, or you can get some modeling clay and make a bowl (for your mother’s line) and an obelisk (for your father’s line). They can be quite small. You might want to put a drop of your blood on each one, because blood calls to blood through time, space, and dimensions. 

If you have ancestors of spirit, lineage, or friendship to whom you feel strongly connected, by all means, you can include items that represent them as well. Ancestors of the land you live on, of the arts you practice, of your spiritual background — all these folks can eventually be included on your altar.

But to begin, if you’ve never set up an ancestral altar before, call on the ancestors of your blood. Because healing in physical reality resonates back through the ancestral bloodline, these ancestors are invested in you and your healing, and will be protective of you.Yes, even the ones who were total jackasses in life gain some perspective once they reach the realm of the Ancestors. But note this — you do not have to, nor should you, include any ancestors you are not at peace with. You need not honor those who did not honor you. 

The only thing that must be true of all of them is that they are dead. Do NOT include photos or other representations of living people on the ancestor altar. This altar is the home of the dead.

If you are adopted, and uncertain of your birth parents and grandparents’ status, you must work only with those of your bloodline who are certainly already dead. You can be quite specific in naming them — for instance, “my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side”. You may not know her name, but she’ll know who you are when you call to her. 

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Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart … Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. 
~ Carl G. Jung

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Thank you. Wishing the same for you! Mine is part of a grand trine with Pluto and the Moon, so it usually is quite special.
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Very interesting and deeply thought out. As a Scorpio with Jupiter in that sign I am looking forward to my Jupiter return (in the
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Hi Tasha -- I have a 12th house Jupiter as well. It's an interesting placement. :-) Glad you enjoyed the post, and I hope your Jup

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No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

~John Donne

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Just a short update, because this solar eclipse/Mercury retrograde combo has been kicking ass and taking names, and it ain’t over yet.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_solar_eclipse_20170814-190244_1.jpgTraditional astrological lore holds that the influence of an eclipse is strongest on those who are in its path. The Leo solar (New Moon) eclipse of August 21, 2017 has been given the tag “The Great American Eclipse” because the path of totality for this eclipse runs from the west coast to the east coast through 14 contiguous states.

Additionally, the chart of the eclipse itself is remarkably tied in a variety of ways to the chart of Donald Trump. Given that traditional astrological lore also states that Leo eclipses portend the “fall of kings”, it seems that our country is in for some drama (a notable characteristic of Leo). Personally, I believe that Donald Trump, just like any other human being, can take the energy of the eclipse and use it for positive, helpful change, should he intend that. But someone who is so quick to blame others is unlikely to even attempt to work with the energy consciously, and so is more likely to be vulnerable to external events. The eclipse itself is also in opposition to the USA’s natal Moon, representing the people. Conflict is going to be hard to avoid.

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