It is deep twilight. The altar is decorated with a hot red cloth, and a dozen red roses fan out brightly against the blue gray light at the windows. Just under the roses is a stag’s head whose branching antlers hold two silver candles that are anointed with rose oil. To his left is a round silver hand mirror, and to his right, a red dish filled with blackberries. Five goblets of red wine ring the altar, five more candles ring the circumference of the circle.
I wear only a long wedding veil, for the Summer Solstice is a time for the Alchemical Marriage as the Goddess and God join in the love that is death, for darkness encroaches on the threshold of Summer, as the strength of the sun begins to fade at the very height of his glory.
I cast the Circle round, pointing with a sharpened bone wound with a red ribbon, and charged with a white swan’s feather.
As I light the candles, I call the God to come through the Stag, and ask that the Goddess’s face shine in the Mirror. The berries are for the Faeries, who love brambles and black wine. I lay at the foot of the altar a plate of crescent shaped white cakes. All of this is for them, my gifts of gratitude for my good fortune and fulfillment of my dreams.
Shaking a deer-toed rattle, I go into the North where the God waits for me under an oak. My journey begins at the door in the Oak, the hollow in the tree that leads to the Green Land in the Hollow Hills. As the way of the North is before me, with its old moon like a hook of silver in the sky, the energy of the South comes through me, bringing the brightness of the Sun to illuminate the darkness.
Between the worlds, I fall into heavy trance where I dance with the Horned One, on a floor of thorns and roses, the spiral dance that erases all duality.
The Goddess of the Moon and the Sacrificed God
This Summer Solstice is most powerful. I am writing this on June 22, the day after the Solstice proper, and the night of the New Moon.
New Moons are excellent for new beginnings, for as the Moon grows, your desires will manifest in much the same way that flowers will bloom and the tides come into the shore.
I love to explore symbols and see where they take me.
The year of this Summer Solstice is 2009. Nine is the Qabbalistic Number of the Moon. It correlates to the dewy atmosphere between the Moon and the Earth where life is created and sustained. Mistakenly referred to as the ‘astral plane’ by Theosophists, the ancients described this sphere, more accurately, as the Sub-Lunar Realm.
2+9 = 11 a master number of psychic potency. Eleven is a bridge between the divine and mortal worlds. The Moon is called the Treasure House of Images, the dispenser of dreams. She is the Goddess of Romance, for is it not the illusion of true love that compels us to regenerate our species? And is not the Moon the force of fertility, of the Mother and Child, in nature, of which we are a part?
The Illusion fostered by the Moon as 9, and the psychic perception of the 11, which is the two ones in relationship, conjures an image of the Stag God, Acteon, who dared to gaze upon the naked form of the Moon Goddess, Diana in her bath. It is the energy of the Quester lost in the dark forest with only the moon to guide him. The moonlight shimmers and makes one thing seem like another until he is, not guided at all, but lost, confused, prey to madness as he is stalked by unseen creatures of the night.
The Moon as Virgin
After the sexual awakening of Beltane, Summer Solstice is meant to be a time of consummation, the joyous celebration of the marriage of the Goddess and the God. Bonfires are lit, the marriage rite is enacted, but it always ends in death.
At one time the sacrificial victim was placed in a Wicker Man and burned. Over time this ritual killing was replaced by the making of bread figures representing the Sacrificial Victim. They were often hung in trees, and eaten at the conclusion of the Rites. Always, there is this theme of love and death. After the marriage with the Goddess, who is the land, the God’s representative is sacrificed so that his now divinely illuminated blood, source of life and power, is spilled upon the earth, charging the land to make it bear and bloom.
This year, the Solstice moon is an old moon, in the sign of Capricorn. Capricorn is the sign of the Horned God. On this night, he barely appears. Like an old antler, he is soon shed into the darkness. Cancer, sign of the Moon, of the Great Mother Goddess, is now in the place of the Sun. She has become the Sun. Moon and Sun combine within Her in an Inner Marriage. Now She is One Unto Herself, Virgin, no longer in need of an Other to complete her.
The Moon/ Sun in the sign of Cancer strengthens this idea, for Cancer is the crab living in its shell under the sea, isolated, hidden, moving sideways over land, to slip away under the waves, back to the safety of its dark, enclosed little world of tides and currents moved by the pull of the Moon.
No longer needed, indeed internalized, the Old God, Capricorn, retreats into the abyss of stars.
Capricorn, the Sacrificed God
But Capricorn is traditionally symbolized by the mountain goat with a fishes tail. He reaches the stars with His horns, and plunges into the depths of the sea with His tail, where Cancer, the Moon Goddess hides…He won’t allow Her to forget Him!
This Summer Solstice, the Virgin Moon waits for a fortnight for the Full Moon to arrive in the sign of Capricorn, the Horned God in all His splendor, reflecting the brilliance of the Goddess of Moon and Sun in the Mirror of Himself. But this Summer Moon will be eclipsed; He will not be able to meet the Goddess full on, for the Earth shall cast its shadow over the him, casting him out beyond the pale.
As Moon, reflecting the potentized lunar Sun, Capricorn continues to follow the cycle of the Sun, but does it as the Moon. Another kind of Inner Marriage thus takes place.
There should be no surprise that the planet Pluto, God the Underworld Kingdom of the Dead, should be waiting at the star gate of Capricorn to receive the God into His dark kingdom. Yet in the darkness of the Underworld, the God shall gain the great power of Pluto, planet of transformation, transmutation, and transcendence through cycles of death and rebirth.
The Goat is one the most commonly sacrificed animals in the ancient world. It where the term ‘scapegoat’ comes from. The sins of the tribe were placed on the goat, and he was turned loose to wander alone in the desert to die, and take the sins away with him…Perhaps the universe is playing out this scapegoat theme, for the sins of humanity have been very great as, in our refusal to sacrifice even the simplest of things, we come close to destroying the earth.
But It’s All Right…
While all this drama, this Greek Tragedy, is going on between the Sun and Moon, all this Inner Marriage and Virginity and Sacrifice, good old Venus and Mars are getting it on together in the most earthy of signs, Taurus!
The fertility of the earth shall continue in its creative, fertile duality with these two opposites attracting, magnetically, electrically, and in every other way. Add the sextile of Uranus in Pisces for thunder and forked lightening, a charged meeting of serpent power rising in the midst of the more earthy marriage!
This is a most powerful Summer Solstice! I am glad I took the effort to celebrate it!
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