Part of a series of Full Moon posts for the LA/OC Pagan Pride newsletter. Rather than zero in on the uniqueness of this particular Full Moon, my interest is in the cyclical sameness of the Taurus Full Moon that recurs ever year in October/ November, when the Sun is in Scorpio. The Taurus Full Moon for 2018 occurs on October 24 at 9:45 AM. See previous post in this series.
It has taken me over twenty years as an astrologer and pagan to grasp the power of the Taurus Full Moon that recurs every year in October/ November, when the Sun is in Scorpio. It happened last year, in a solitary ritual. I’m fond of admonishing my astrology clients that reading a blog about the Full Moon no more clues you into its mystery than reading an article about sex turns you into a hot lover. “You’ve got to go there to know there,” in the words of the divine Zora Neale Huston. So this year, grab your athame and go outside, or, at the very least, light a candle on October 24th.
Taurus represents the majesty of this material world. Its ruler is Venus, signifier of the Green Earth and growing things in the Hermetic tradition. Taurus is slow. You don’t rush the Earth. Its wisdom appears to those who are unhurried and secure in the knowledge that the right things will come to them. There’s no need to wage war over limited resources. Abundance is your birthright. Taurus is the fat of the land.
Contrary to popular belief, astrology peacefully co-existed with the church through the Enlightenment era. While “judicial” or predictive astrology was expressly verboten as horning in on God’s dominion, “natural” astrology was commonplace. Natural astrology was concerned foremost with the Moon and its impact on the microcosm (man) and the macrocosm (the land). Or, to put it more plainly, the shifting Moon phases and signs were an integral part of early modern medicine and farming.
The Moon grows large and full every month, resembling a woman’s pregnant belly. The Moon burgeons things in her waxing phase. Taurus is the fertile field and fecund womb. No wonder, then, that we say the Moon is exalted in the sign of Taurus. The nurturing and growing power of the Moon meets pay dirt in the rich black earth of Taurus, as many generations of our farming ancestors, clutching dog-eared almanacs, could tell you.
Long years as a practicing astrologer have given me reason to doubt the ancient doctrine of dignities that assigns a “best” place to the heavenly bodies. If the Moon is so exalted in Taurus, I mused, wouldn’t it follow that natives with the Moon in Taurus would have rosy family lives? Or robust physical health? Fat pocket-books? But after meeting no Taurus Moon native as rich in lunar power as I expected him to be, I grew suspicious. I’ll come right out and say it, I know a lot of Taurus Moon jerks. They have an acquisitive idea of human relationships and a smug sense of self-satisfaction. Which is not to say that they’re not also lovely and flawed human beings like the rest of us, mucking their way through life as best they can. But exalted? That’s a hard sell.
I maintained this jaded stance until last year, when I conducted a ritual on the Taurus Full Moon with the intent of communing with my ancestors. I had traveled to Wisconsin the previous summer to lay flowers and herbs on the graves of my mother’s line. Some of my deceased relatives were very communicative, and gave me the energetic equivalent of an embrace as I kept company with their head-stones. My maternal great-grandmother and her mother, however, were quiet. Buried side by side, they revealed nothing. I was co-leading a class to heal ancestral womb trauma, and yet I could gain no access to my own grandmothers with my prayers and importuning.
On the Taurus Full Moon, I invoked Hathor, ancient Egyptian goddess of mothers and children and music and joy, all good thick fructifying stuff to heal a heart with. This word is overused, but the presence of the Goddess was palpable, Taurean. Hylic pluralism, the theory that only matter exists and that it thins out into a continuum with spiritual substance, is relevant here – the Hathor stuff was incorporeal and yet warm and engulfing.
Out of the shadows, like a knife penetrating a curtain, came my great-great-grandmother. It seemed as if she was trying with all her might, that she had exerted herself to appear to me. She uttered a single phrase: “Me too.” It was the autumn of 2017.
I still cry when I think about this moment. The legacy of self-hate in my mother’s line pierced through the veil to be healed. My Czech great-great-grandmother’s deep pride and deeper shame revealed itself, and beyond that was love, a bottomless well of love that yet felt as if it was reaching across a bramble patch to make contact.
This moment reoriented my understanding of the Taurus Moon. Now I experience this Moon as the love of the Goddess, the love of the ancestors, and the solicitude of Mother Earth. Taurus, the sign most representative of the Earth element as the densest layer of matter, fosters manifestation. It is getting what you want. It is your dream made flesh.
At this time of year when the Sun is in Scorpio and pagans celebrate their beloved dead, the Taurus Full Moon reminds us that the ancestors are not simply immaterial ghosts. Their bodies engendered our bodies, and they used their hands and legs and mouths to touch and walk and taste this enchanted Earth in all the same ways that we do. The ancestors exist as much in the foods we cook and the songs we sing as in our memories. This year, invite them in with the joy you take in your sensory life à la Taurus. Offer your beloved dead the sun on your back, the vista in your eyes, and the smell of incense in your nose, and watch as these familiar bonds to earthly life build bridges to your forebears.