Gateway to eclipse season is here! The first eclipse of the year is a Taurus Solar Eclipse, this Saturday April 30, at 1:28pm Pacific.
An aspect of Mystic Rapture, from the Divine Muses Oracle, reveals a message about eclipse season that is ripe for reflections. Eclipses bring change and can make us look at our shadow. It's a time to adapt & grow beyond our current perception of ourselves and that of the Universe.
My first unpacking of the USA's Pluto Return is in this post, which I wrote when it stationed retrograde (Rx) in April. I wanted to write more on Pluto Return since Pluto just stationed direct (October 6th) after being Rx for 6 months!
The synchronicity of this astro event is really interesting, considering it's on the heels of the Facebook whistleblower's testimony yesterday, and after FB shut down for part of the day!
In my opinion, much of the struggle the USA seems to be facing during its Pluto Return is the deepest divisiveness and polarization, which seems to have been fomented by the FB algorithm's preference for negative posts since they get the most engagement.
Tristan Harris, Founder of the Center for Humane Technology, recently stated after Frances Haugen's testimony that:
We are more profitable if we are addicted, outraged, irritable, disinformed, and polarized than if we're a human being.
The Lion's Gate, a celestial stargate, is when the 2nd brightest star in the heavens, fixed star Sirius (aka our "Spiritual Sun"), aligns with Earth; and it is “activated” with the New Moon this weekend.
As I continue to read and travel through 36 Secrets, A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot by T. Susan Chang, I keep finding fascinating connections between the cards and the stars.
For example: The Lion’s Gate happens during this Leo II time, the decan of the 6 of Wands “Lord of Victory” card (Jupiter in Leo).
We've entered Leo Season (Strength energies) today. I’m exploring the 1st decan of Leo in the Minor Arcana. Leo I is associated with the Five of Wands, which starts today and ends August 1st. Put the Five of Wands on your altar or reading table during this time to see how it shows up for you.
The Five of Wands can reflect anything from disputes to competition. Because this card is considered the “Lord of Strife” we can see struggle between two or more parties, but it does not necessarily have to be negative, as we can look at this as friendly competition and sportsmanship, if we come at it with a shift in perspective.
When we look at the astrology in the Five of Wands, Saturn in Leo is not harmonious, which is why we often see disputes with the Five of Wands, “Lord of Strife.” Saturn is restrictive & stern and Leo is creative & warm, but both can express control. >>>>>
Blessings to all on this Super Strawberry Moon in Capricorn! I'm about to go on a little vacation and I always pack a travel altar with me. I usually use a small metal box, which I store my little altar items in, but I'm going to try this out this time.
It had never occurred to me to use the Lua Tarot’s box as a small altar. It’s kind of like a diorama-ish shrine you could travel with. I'll pack the small items in a velvet bag, put the deck back in the box, and be ready to go.
I’m excited to say that the 2nd edition Lua Tarot will be available in the shop second week in July! (After I get back from vacation.) I'll post here when it is available, but if you don't want to miss it, you may want to subscribe to be notified.
Stay cool and hydrated this weekend, PNWers! I really hope it’s not going to be 113 here Sunday.
Shine bright like the sun. Happy Solstice! Happy Pride!
1970 1JJ Swiss Tarot on the Celestial Spheres Mat
We’re in the midst of eclipse season! I pulled the Mystic Rapture card reversed from the Divine Muses Oracle and one of its reversed/shadow messages is about eclipse season reflection. Eclipses can bring change and force us to look at our Shadow. We are being asked to adapt & grow beyond the current perception of ourselves and that of the world.
Eclipses are an obscuration of the sun or moon, and this phenomenon reflects the darker side of our nature—or Shadow. If you are sensitive to energy, this reversed card is suggesting that you take heed during this eclipse season. >>>>>
Full Moon is exact tonight at 8:31pm PT (11:31pm ET). This Moon’s influence is under Scorpio, which is associated with the Tarot’s Death card—the Child of the Great Transformers, and the Lord of the Gate of Death.
Scorpio’s ruling planet is Pluto and Pluto stations Retrograde tomorrow (1:03pm PDT) for 6 months.
ALSO: The USA has been in the thick of its first Pluto Return, currently 26° Capricorn (within 1° orb of US’s natal Pluto). >>>>>
Pluto stations Retrograde (Rx) on Tuesday, April 27th at 1:03pm (PDT). The Pluto energies have been so intense lately. Especially for the USA, as an immense astrology transit has been nudging ever slowly forth for the past year.
The USA has been approaching its first Pluto Return, currently 26° Capricorn (within 1° orb of USA’s natal Pluto). Many people have heard of their Saturn Return, but what's Pluto Return?
Pluto Return is a rare transit, it happens ONCE every 247 years. When astrologers talk about it, it’s often in reference to an event, or in this case, the USA’s founding (July 4, 1776).
The USA's Pluto Return will be exact on Feb 20, 2022 and will be exact until 2024!
When the Past Becomes Present
Pluto transits tend to reveal and magnify dark unconscious truths that undermine established orders. For a dwarf planet, demoted a few years back, he does not play small, no matter how we want to classify him! His archetype is as powerful a force to be reckoned with as ever.
Although his archetype is often considered malefic, the lessons that surface during his transits can be deeply transformational and evolutionary; IF we choose to be open for growth and change.
As a nation, the USA has been grappling with some heavy realizations, some too much to bear. Sometimes the pain is so overwhelming, that it’s just easier for people to ignore. But Pluto will not be disregarded! And, he favors those who are willing to work with his energies.
The USA is a country trying to come to terms, in so many ways, with its collective shadow. The unconscious shadows being faced to heal the fractures from its dark history.
The work that people do individually during this Pluto time will help the collective energies (as within, so without), but the work also has to be collaborative with self-responsibility and self-accountability. People have to come together to have productive conversations, to ask questions, and have social discourse. And, this sometimes feels impossible in these “United” States where every conversation has turned into a divisive political debate. The anger and righteousness is all quite Plutonic actually. Pluto's shadow thrives on power over/power under dynamics.
And, ideology cults seem to be springing up, reflecting the Pluto archetype's manipulative side that wants to guilt & shame people. The cultish mentality insists that there is a right and wrong way, which creates "us vs. them" and black & white thinking. There is no room for nuance, or gray area, no in-between or "meeting in the middle path", no questioning or space for open dialogue about the core beliefs of that particular group. If that is the case, we are likely observing group think, or worse, cultish behavior.
Echo chambers condemn any outside questions and seek to vilify those with a different opinion, as questions are threatening to the beliefs of the group. Their true opinion is the correct way of thinking and anything that veers from their ideology is wrong and therefore represents the enemy.
Pluto really turns up the knob of moral superiority.
I’ve been studying the USA’s chart for the past year with an eye on its Pluto Return. The USA’s Pluto is in the Second House Capricorn, which is really interesting, as this can show up in someone’s chart as being stubborn and power-hungry, and can reflect a desire for possessions and be caught up with financial success. There's a need to control and a fear of letting go of material possessions and relationships.
This Second House Pluto can also reflect possible trauma and a painful history. If there is awareness of this pain, and compassion for it, deep transformation is possible.
The positive side of Pluto reflects power and empowered self-reliance and ambition, but if not balanced can be at the detriment of the whole. Rugged individualism and the “every man for himself” attitude can only get us so far in the US. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, where progressiveness goes so far that it becomes regressive, isn't balanced or a productive way to move forward either.
I don't have the answers, but I believe that there is a lot of pain and anger and shame and guilt that really reflects the Pluto energies. His shadow is devouring and his energy is quite dark. And, Pluto times are ideal for catharsis.
Let me paint an image of the way I’m visualizing the Pluto archetype unfolding right now. Pluto is god of the underworld. With the USA’s Pluto Return, Pluto is pushing up all the shadow issues to the surface that have not been dealt with, or reconciled. And, I’m seeing an extensive fog rising from the earth. The ghosts of USA’s past have been resurfacing and we’re all wading through the haze now, trudging through that what has been lodged in the land. Pluto is here to reveal and clear what's been stuck.
It can become more intense if we choose to ignore it as we creep closer to exact Pluto Return on February 20th. And with Pluto Retrograde, we may see the collective regressing during these next six months. Pluto Retrograde lasts until October 6th when it stations Direct. Then hopefully, we'll begin seeing some forward momentum in the collective. As things stand now, it may feel like we are going backwards sometimes, when so many are just ready to move forward already! Hang in there.
Pluto Retrograde periods are good times to question the status quo. And they can be transformational, as we peel back the layers to reveal more and more of what’s at the core. Retrograde times, no matter the planet, allow us to reflect more deeply. Pluto Retrograde can offer, and indeed accelerate, evolutionary growth.
It can be emotional and intense times. Pluto may be destructive, but his archetype is about Death and Rebirth. Sometimes we have to break things down to break through. That's part of evolution!
Pluto's Return will not be easy, but Pluto transits rarely are. He is known as the Great Redeemer, and as god of the underworld, he helps force the death of outdated paradigms. Teaching us lessons of Death: to let die what must die, so something new in its place can be birthed.
While I was creating a Reels for my Instagram account, The High Priestess card came up to remind us of the Dark Moon energies we are entering.
The Dark Moon is the Moon for priestess magic. The time to tap into your mystical or spiritual discipline, to quiet down and hear / understand the teachings intuitively.
Moon entered Pisces early this morning and the New Moon in Pisces is Saturday at 2:21am PST! This is an invitation to recharge your mind and body if you've been feeling emotionally drained. May you be restored during this time.
If you have Instagram, I invite you to check out the Reels I made on how to super easily use the Lua Tarot box as a card stand! You can see in the photos above, but the Reels has music & movement! ;)
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Maree Bento is a collage artist and practitioner of the mystical & healing arts.
She’s a professional tarot reader and veteran deck creator born under a Sagittarius Sun with a Libra Rising & Capricorn Moon conjunct Pallas Athena. She's been stepping up her astrology studies the last few years, after a years-long hobby interest in the subject.
Maree has been a licensed massage therapist for 17 years practicing various holistic modalities for body, mind, and spiritual well-being & connection.
Her background in the healing arts deepened her intuitive abilities and inspires her present approach to tarot, creativity, ritual, and divination.
She loves to travel and enjoys connecting with family, friends, & animals. She lives in Pacific NW U.S.A. with her beloved, David, and their huggable hound, Dante where they hike rain or shine.
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