Posts Tagged ‘moon’
Isis may be the more famous “witch-deity” of ancient Egypt, and Thoth is viewed in later mythology as her assistant, but Thoth is actually the older of the two; and perhaps: the more subtly powerful. Indeed, in the Old Kingdom, at a period when the city of Hermopolis/Khmun ruled over the Egyptian landscape: Thoth was a leader of the main pantheon of gods, known as the Ogdoad, where he represented the moon. The curve of the crescent moon, so closely resembling the beak of the ibis bird earned Thoth his name and totem animal. The name “Thoth” is the anglicized version of the Greco-Roman Tehuti, from the hieratic “dhwty” (believed to be pronounced something along the lines of ‘dee-how-ti’ or ‘do-out’), which means “he who is (or is like) the ibis.” The association with the ibis is also a reference to early creation myths where Thoth took the form of an ibis during the formation of the world. In some of the earlier creation myths, it was believed that it was Thoth who technically created the world, sometimes in his own capacity, and sometimes acting as the force behind the creative thought of another, higher god, typically the god Ra.
Thoth was believed to be the philosophical power or force of thought (hence his wife Maat’s specific role as the idea of good and pure thought). He was the action which turns thought into being. Thus he is also attributed with the creation of both speech and writing: those two arts, so taken for granted in the modern world, but which allow mankind to communicate their thoughts to one another. Thoth therefore represented the idea of translated knowledge; and when knowledge is power, the person or deity responsible for it and its communication holds the proverbial key to the Upper and Lower Kingdom.
The idea of Thoth and the importance of speech and writing were so important and well recognized in ancient Egypt that most prayers thank Thoth for the ability to communicate with the divine, even if they are actually trying to communicate with a different god more specifically. One of Thoth’s many attributed epithets is “He who listens to prayers,” which is a sort of ancient joke: if Thoth is invoked in every prayer, he therefore gets to hear every prayer and can eavesdrop on the conversations of the other gods and their parishioners. Even in death, funerary prayers were not addressed just to the more direct gods of the dead, but also to Thoth.
The written and spoken word were both considered powerful magicks. Spoken magick relied not just on everyday speech, but on using the correct pronunciation, tone, and cadence when speaking; and these were facets of what was taught in the texts and temples of Thoth. Most, if not all writing, was initially considered magickal. For: in being able to read and write, one was literally channeling the power of Thoth into a concrete and physical form. And it involved a high degree of controllable training in order to both read the symbols and recreate them as writing. Thoth was therefore the god of scribes and palace administrators; and he was invoked in almost all forms of written communication, including that between the ruling powers and foreign dignitaries. Though not the patron deity of many of the Pharaonic dynasties, he was powerful enough to be integral to their rule.
The written word gave the power of Thoth a corporeal form which could be physically used in magickal rituals. Eating words was supposedly a way in which the magickal power of the texts and the heka of Thoth could be channeled directly into the consumer.
He could also grant the deceased further gifts for the Underworld if he felt so inclined. And if, in reading the ib, he encountered a powerful mage or witch to his liking, he might employ their soul further to do his bidding. The ancient Egyptians believed there were many aspects to the soul, and this is partially responsible for the complex and unique funerary arrangements for which they are so famous. But other than the ib, the other aspect of the soul which specifically intrigued Thoth was called akh. The akh was the ‘effective intellect’ or magickal knowledge which the person may have possessed. If the tomb was disturbed, thereby disrupting the ability of the various aspects of the soul to unite: it was the akh which would come back and, for lack of a better word: haunt the tomb or the robbers who desecrated its final resting place. In this sense, the akh might be considered a type of ghost. If, when Thoth assessed the soul, he found the akh of the deceased particularly powerful, he would offer them a role as one of his or Isis’ magickal companions (or in some instances enslave them). These elite groups of akh spirits existed as a semi-divine co-hort of minions which the two sunnu or priests of the gods, Isis and Thoth could call upon to enhance the strength of their own heka or send out on individual missions.
For more on Thoth and other witch deities of the ancient world, look forward to the College of the Sacred Mists upcoming class History of Witches in the Western World, taught by yours truly.
In one of those rare confluences of the natural world, the cusp between December 20th, 2010 and December 21st, 2010 will hold special magickal significance.
Tomorrow, as many of you may well know, is the Winter Solstice. It is the shortest day of the year and its longest night. Traditionally it is a time of celebration, of rebirth; as winter fully begins within the grand circle of life, we honor the transition between the seasons. From time immemorial, man and womankind has commemorated both the astronomical event it represents and the symbolism inherent of the occasion. Life and Death, Spring and Winter: the turning of the clock and the changing of the season are inevitabilities we have charted and attempted to understand. We have built stone clocks and viewing points to witness the transition. Neolithic monuments like Newgrange, Ireland and the infamous Stonehenge; as well as modern viewing points like the Sunstones atop the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley display the actual moment of the Solstice as the sun reaches its lowest yearly high in the sky. The parties and festivals to celebrate the Solstice have traditionally lasted much longer than that single moment in time: anywhere from a night of partying to several weeks of merriment. Often several festivals would take place at the same time. In ancient Rome, the Saturnalia, the Festival of Invictus Sol (itself an accumulation of several festivals to many sun deities), and the more ancient Brumalia were celebrated all together. Today the Germanic Yule and the Celtic Midwinter Grianstadh an Gheimhridh still compete alongside the more mainstream Christmas and Hannukah, when really, they too are celebrating that same winter solstice in disguise. At the time of the world’s greatest darkness, we are all working together to celebrate the light.
Most of the Pagan or magickally themed wall or desk calendars, like the Llewellyn Witches’ Calendar, will tell you what phase the moon is in, astrologically speaking, on a daily basis. It does this by placing the symbol of the phase next to the little moon icon, along with the time that the moon enters this sign. Having a calendar that shows these little icons can help you to know at a glance what sign the moon is in on a specific day helping to make planning certain spells or rituals quite easy.
Void Of Course
The time when the moon is actually moving from one sign to another is called Void Of Course. Each month the moon moves through all twelve signs of the zodiac and usually stays in a single sign for at least two days but never more than three days. While the moon is orbiting and it comes to the point of being near the end of a sign, it will transition out of the last aspect of a sign and will have a period of not being connected to an aspect of any planet. When this happens we call this a Void Of Course Moon. The amount of time that the moon can be in a Void state can be a few seconds or minutes to a few days depending things like the location of the planets. This can be a time of feeling generally disconnected and some people really can feel that the moon isn’t “attached”, as it were, to a sign. This can be a good time to work on centering and focusing yourself so that we don’t feel that sense of disconnectedness in our personal lives.
The other reading that the Void Of Course Moon is important is in spellwork. When the moon is in this Void phase and unconnected to a sign and planetary aspect it’s better to focus on the self than try and work with other energies that we might wish to aid our magick. So if you really wanted to work on a love spell but the moon is Void of Course, rather than in the sign of Leo which connects with the elements of love, you might find that either nothing happens or you have a lot of stagnation or problems as a result. The energy of having the moon in Leo would certainly aid your spell whereas with the moon being Void it isn’t lending any of that other energy to your work.
Can you do spells when the moon is Void? Absolutely! But if you’re looking to start working with magickal timing, this is one of the times you would want to plan around and you’ll find that working with the moon in specific signs will add some great energy to your work.
The Moon and the Signs
First, you’ll want to make yourself familiar with the signs of the zodiac as far as visual symbols go. If you’re going to be looking at a quick glance calendar to see what phase the moon is in, this will be important.
Moon In Aquarius
The sign of Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus which often brings with it a desire for freedom and the unconventional. When the moon comes into this sign we might notice that there is more of an interest from people to care for others and to pay attention to things happening within the community. There can be a general sense of wanting to ensure that others, in a social sense, are cared for. People might seem friendlier, but in a somewhat generic way; someone in your office building who normally never notices you coming around the corner to the elevator every day at the same time to leave the building might suddenly look up and see you and stop to hold the door for you. It’s not anything personal toward you specifically but just a general tendency to want to be nicer. People will seem more intellectual than emotional making this a good time to deal with issues that could become heated and makes it a great time for expressing your own personal and unique views on an issue or project since your sense of freedom will be more accepted.
Keywords for the Moon in Aquarius – humanitarian, stubborn
Moon in Aries
When the moon is in the sign of Aries people tend to much more enthusiastic and energetic. But with that also comes some of the usual Aries traits of selfishness and forcefulness. The sign of Aries is ruled by Mars and this can be a time of progress on projects and work but it can also become a time of a lot of head-butting. Being careful not to do or say things strictly on impulse during a time when the moon is in Aries can help to cut back on some of the heated debates and flare-ups that can happen between people at this time. Aries is very much a ruler of the head, the ego and the persona, so now is a time to be aware of how something you do or say can effect someone in that way.
Keywords for the Moon in Aries – temperamental, energetic
Moon in Cancer
The sign of Cancer is ruled by the Moon itself which means that this is a time when lunar influences and energy will be the strongest. You’ll find that this is a time of very strong emotions and high sensitivity for most people. This is not the best time to deal with issues that could get over emotional; this is a time when people will express and deal with things specifically through their emotions. Being really careful to pick your words and be aware of how you handle other’s emotions is important now. Most people will be very passive during this phase; they’ll be easy going, loving and very sentimental. This can be an especially good time to work with that extra lunar and emotional energy through spells and meditations aimed at nurturing loving elements of relationships as well as nurturing one’s psychic abilities.
Keywords for the Moon in Cancer – warm, sensitive
Moon in Capricorn
Capricorn is influenced by the planet Saturn, and here we find that material interests and things like work and responsibility become important at the forsaking of the spiritual. There is a feeling here of wanting to gain and develop status and financial security, so people often find that this is a time that concentrating on moving up in their career is important, or it the urge to ask for a raise may happen. This can also be a time when those around us, especially colleagues, might seem to be a little cruel, cold and callous, but it’s because they’re focused on looking out for number one; themselves. It’s not uncommon to find people feeling somewhat pessimistic and negative during this time and for there to be an overall feeling of low energy.
Keyword for the Moon in Capricorn – self-interests, ambition
Moon in Gemini
When the Moon comes into Gemini people will often find that their decision making skills completely elude them. Gemini, which is the sign of the twins, often gives us a great ability to see both sides of every situation. While this is a wonderful thing in some regards it comes with this inability to pick between two different courses of action. Ruled by Mercury, this is a good time for focusing on communication, which is also enhanced by this ability to see things from all sides. Issues that at other times seem so one-sided will have greater depth now. This is also a good time to have any heart to heart discussions or important conversations with others because there is a good dose of rationality during this phase and people will be more likely to think a little before they speak or take action.
Keywords for the Moon in Gemini – quick wit, adaptable
Moon in Leo
At the time when the Moon comes into Sun ruled Leo, a desire to love, passion and romance is often felt. It’s not uncommon for people to feel a desire to do or say thing very dramatic with regards to their feelings about another at this time. Sudden confessions of love, sending and receiving flowers, even a surprise proposal are never out of the question during the Moon’s time in Leo. The power of the Sun through Leo often helps put a sunny outlook on things and a desire for warmth and enjoyment is felt along with the sort of slow, laziness that is typical on a hot, late summer day. It’s a time to show gentleness and kindness to those around you.
Keywords for the Moon in Leo – ambitious, enthusiastic
Moon in Libra
Libra, ruled by Venus, gives us an energy of tolerance, friendliness and beauty. When the Moon comes into Libra people will often find themselves feeling strong attractions to others around them, especially when it means that this person will help bring some balance into their lives. This is a time focused on marriage, partnerships, friendships and union. Teamwork is the emphasis and balance is the goal. This is a great time for socializing since people will feel naturally more open to those around them but there will still be a sense of wanting to use these connections to benefit the self. So it might not be uncommon to find that someone attends a dinner party at this time and spend most of the night chatting up an individual that is there who happens to be part of the same line of work. This is also a great time for working on spells or work related to art as an expression of beauty, as well as working on the idea of beauty of the self.
Keywords for the Moon in Libra – courteous, humble
Moon in Pisces
Neptune rules the sign of Pisces and creates a strong psychic current, especially when the Moon comes into this phase. Imaginations will be high and sensitivity to creative expressions such as music, movies and art are also found now. This can be a time of high emotions and intuition as well as a time of feeling somewhat self-sacrificing. Some people can find that this is a time where they feel very emotionally and spiritually vulnerable and they may decide to withdraw into themselves instead of being out connecting with others. Yet there are those who crave this kind of interaction and will find that they wish to use this time of heightened awareness as a way to express themselves to others. For those that are more obviously psychic it’s not uncommon to experience more profound visions or have more vivid dreams during this time. This is a great time for working magick related to psychic development, dream magick and doing past life work.
Keywords for the Moon in Pisces – psychic, artistic
Moon in Sagittarius
When the Moon is in Sagittarius there is a feeling of restlessness and a need for change. Some people might find they have a sudden urge to get in the car and drive off into the mountains and go hiking for no reason while others might find themselves getting on a plane and traveling when they had no previous plans to do so. This is a time for adventure, taking changes and doing things spontaneously. There is also a sense of working off one’s intuition and letting that be their only guide. During this time some people may find that it’s an ideal point to start work aimed at self-improvement. The influencing of ruling Jupiter can make some people feel very enthusiastic and this can something come in the form of wanting to start new educational pursuits ranging from reading new books to wanting to take a self-improvement course.
Keywords for the Moon in Sagittarius – optimistic, traditional
Moon in Scorpio
Scorpio is ruled by both Mars and Pluto, but with Pluto not being considered a planet anymore, some might debate what is the real ruling force of Scorpio. These two planets lend some very strong energies to this sign; Mars brings passion and Pluto brings desire. This can be a time when people can be particularly aggressive in order to get what they want as well as being somewhat argumentative and critical. Impatience and moodiness are common traits during the Moon in Scorpio. This can be a really tough time for interacting with others since people can be quick to insult and quick to anger. Jealousy can pop up easily around this time as well. Starting relationships now is really tricky but if you’re in one and you’re both looking to really strengthen it, this can be a great time for working together to do that.
Keywords for the Moon in Scorpio – self-confident, psychic
Moon in Taurus
Taurus is a known as the sign of the bull, so it’s not that big of a surprise to know that a “bull-headed” nature is highly likely during this time. People can become overprotective, especially of themselves, during this time and the need to ensure job security can be high. This is a good time to wrap up loose ends on any projects that you might be working on. Since people can get a bit stubborn during this phase, now is a good time to take a step back and enjoy a few days of personal quiet time so that if someone is getting a bit “bull-headed” they can ram their way through whatever they’re dealing with without hitting you in the process.
Keywords for the Moon in Taurus – Stolid, hardworking
Moon in Virgo
Virgo is ruled by Mercury, much like Gemini, and has some common qualities. Much like Gemini it’s also a good time for intellectual and educational projects but this is more of a time to work on the details of those projects rather than the creative part. When the Moon was in Gemini we might have conceived our new idea, like to write a book, but when the Moon hits Virgo, now is the time to start to hammer out the specifics or to start doing serious research into our subject matter. People can get a little shy or quiet during this time and others might find that they are overly critical of others. This is a really good time to focus on matters in the home as well.
Keywords for the Moon in Virgo – clever, meticulous
These keywords and understanding the influences of days and times when the Moon happens to be influenced by a specific sign of the zodiac can help you add some extra energy to your magickal work and meditations by using these traits to draw some focus. For example, work love magick when the Moon is in Leo, work to increase your psychic ability during the Moon’s visits to Pisces and Scorpio, or try working magick to open yourself up to being more empathic with others when the Moon is in Cancer. With the use of a calendar that displaces astrological information, like the Llewellyn calendar, it’s a snap to bring this little bit of magickal timing into your ritual work.