Goddess Magic for Belonging, Devotion, & The #HBIC: Cancer New Moon 2017
Cancer season is HERE!
The Cancer moon illuminates home, heart, & family. Cancer is also the zodiac flavor of true devotion. Not to be confused with infatuation or desire, Cancer devotion is the kind of open-hearted surrender that leaves you defenseless & vulnerable to the ones you adore. Truly belonging in the world means having someone or something in it that belongs to us... & us to it.
Who do you belong to? Who belongs to you?
Naturally, Demeter, the ancient Goddess of fertility & harvest, is the perfect patron for Cancer season! The Great Mother, a.k.a. Supreme Creatrix, her most popular myth is the one tied to her daughter Persephone. (Revisit last month’s Goddess Moon Magic post for a refresher.) It’s definitely not the only tale of Demeter (we’ll actually never know how many Great Mother tales were lost), but it’s the one that prevails. Mother-Daughter bonds were sacred in the ancient world, as that was how how insight into the Mysteries of sex & birth were transmitted between generations.
With the fraying of that intergenerational bond, the Sacred Feminine Mysteries have become more obscure...
...& the emotional damage in human life more obvious.
What I’ve learned from Demeter: devotion is a force of reckoning. Demeter stalled THE WORLD with her grief. What we belong to... what belongs to us... can make or break the world as we know it.
This season, I hope you explore what belonging & devotion really mean. Not in a meta- or Ivory Tower sense, but understanding how it feels in your body to be corded to the world. To be willing to admit your defenseless against the object of your true love.
And of course, I’ve got some actionable ritual inspo to help you make it real.
DEMETER: CREATRIX SUPREME & HEAD BITCH IN CHARGE
Demeter is the Great Mother. Our sustenance by her is a gift, not an entitlement. She is the ultimate paradox. Terrifying beauty. Nurturing destroyer. She gives everything, reaching into her unfathomably deep heart, until she's tapped out. Then she disappears, like a semi-reclusive dependable housewife who spontaneously jets away for 2-weeks at a spa in New Mexico.
What we can guarantee by Demeter: she is as devoted to us as we are dependent upon her.
Sometimes, we're just too macho to admit that, though.
Even though Demeter is the kind of grown woman who loves Disney movies, she has gravitas: a bone-crushing depth that could suck you in. It's as if her core center is somewhere else, even though she's standing right in front you, cooing as if you're 3 years old & serving funfetti-topped cupcakes from an antique porcelain platter inherited from her mother.
Demeter glides in graceful slow-mo, as if drifting underwater, & she glimmers like abalone: from the highlighter cream on her cheeks & brows, & the spooky glow of her pearly pink skin beneath it. Her fashion sense intimidates the other moms: she's known to pair a satin bustier with a kimono & Goddess sandals, or a pleather jacket with a toga-like floor-length silk dress. She's a MILF no one could really imagine themselves F'ing.
Her house is decorated like a hipster Bed & Breakfast with a nostalgic twist. Twinkle lights hang in the bathrooms, which are also stuffed with decorative baskets displaying half a dozen varieties of guest soaps, toothbrushes, & mineral-based deodorants. (Just in case.) The china cabinet is bulging with collectible porcelain plates painted with scenes from classic children's stories: Charlotte's Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Wizard of Oz. Her couch & chairs are piled high with pillows & momentos are strewn on the bookcase shelves, blocking some of the books from view.
Tuesday evenings are Open House nights: D sets out boardgames, sparkling fruit punch, & platters of Pinterest-worthy snacks all around her living room. She lets her kids DJ while friends & neighbors enter & leave in shifts. There is nonstop chatter, side-hugs, & plenty of goodies to take home. It's like a birthday party every week.
Though D loves homemaking & hosting, she works full-time. She's an executive & negotiated a good salary; it was important to her to own her own home, so she makes sure she'll pay it off. It's larger than she technically needs, which is why she's got pamphlets for a few local fostering agencies taped to the fridge--something she's been exploring, now that her own kids are getting older & readying to leave the nest.
Demeter's one vice: Pinterest. She also plays a little fast & loose with gift baskets: every occasion calls for one, from finally paying off your car to adopting a new dog. She's addicted to stationary--buying extra Papyrus birthday cards & designing her own planner inserts from InDesign tutorials on YouTube. D is organized & never forgets a birthday.
Needless to add, Demeter is cray-cray for family. The walls of her home are encrusted with framed family photographs--including glamour shots & school photos from distant cousins & second cousins no one has ever visited. She hangs their pictures to honor the fact that these people's stories spiral out from common origins. In her quiet moments, she'll stand in front of her wall of photos & look into the eyes of these strangers. The ritual reminds her that we are all one family. Every stranger is really only a distant cousin.
In the Tarot, Demeter corresponds with The Tower. Not everyone's favorite card to see. The Tower is being struck by lightning & its message conveys calamity along with an ensuing paradigm shift. Demeter & The Tower signify that no matter what you are stricken with, no matter the depths you may descend to or the emotional damage caused, it only leads in one direction: re-creation. Devastation tills the earth for new beginnings.
Learn to absorb the impact. Allow yourself to truly feel the pain as it moves through you... cleanly through. Don't clutch at despair or happiness.
DEMETER AS A PATRON GODDESS
Demeter favors Goddess Girls who lead with their hearts, who go the extra mile (or two) to set things right, & who treat themselves kindly. They tend to keep the Big Picture in mind: that we are all human beings trying to work something out. These are the Goddess Girls with soft edges & unfathomable depths. They tend to be the kinds of babes who won't bat an eyelash when someone else's shadow-drama sloshes all over themselves & who can be counted on to remember to pack an extra energy bar in case someone forgot to bring a lunch.
Demeter is the perfect Patron Goddess for emotionally-driven girlbosses; whether CEOs or homemakers, these babes aren't frivolous with their time, attention, or energy. They're ravenous for making an emotional connection. They see the world as an emotional landscape, requiring certain structures in place to protect the feelings of the status quo.
In classical times, Demeter was associated with food, pleasure, & wealth. Her symbol was often a stalk of grain. Agriculture revolutionized how human beings interacted with the world, which some historians view as important progress; others see agriculture as the decimation of a humanity's harmony with our planet. Planting grain planted people. Once location was stabilized & humans no longer migrated with the seasons or wildlife, Patriarchy was able to bubble up & froth over. The rules of the world were no longer inspired by the natural cycles & interaction between the earth & sky, but by human groups who controlled the food supply. That’s when respect of the archetypal Great Mother & for the delicate balance of the earth was shit-canned.
The Great Mother's gifts were now considered entitlements. Agricultural humans (specifically, the power brokers therein) believed they could now wrench the Great Mother's gifts from her.
In Demeter’s most well-known myth, her daughter Persephone skips town with Hades, lord of the underworld. Demeter retreats inward to grieve. Without Demeter mediating the flow of abundance, winter crashes in.
It’s not her daughter’s absence that so violently disturbs Demeter, but that Demeter knows Persephone is suffering & can’t provide her with the sustenance she needs. It's a coming of age tale for both Persephone & Demeter. (Click here to visit my post on Persephone.)
So, Demeter’s withholding of her vital creative energies isn't a punishment or a woman acting hysterically, but a logical result. While devastated, D’s lost the bandwidth to give, give, give the way she can when she is happy & all is well. No one should be expecting the love & nourishment that flows from the Great Mother. It's a gift, not an entitlement.
Make no mistake: Demeter is still #HBIC. She could rush into Hades’ lair astride Cerberus & march her daughter back home. She totally could--she's a fucking Goddess.
But she doesn’t, because she honors her child’s choice. And honoring that choice entails reorienting her emotional perspective of the world. This wasn't a direct consequence of anything Demeter did, per se; like The Tower card conveys, it's an external circumstance that forces Demeter to re-cultivate her relationship to the world.
And a true #HBIC isn't embarrassed to admit that.
Frankly, everyone else is going to have to deal with it.
CANCER NEW MOON RITUAL
Create a ritual space that makes you feel happy, sweet, & safe. A Cancer new moon ritual should be weave evocative sensations with ephemerality. Blend fantasy & nostalgia.
For instance, gather the fragrances, textures, & images from your favorite memories: ones bonding you for life with friends (even if you've lost touch over the years) or family (even if, for the most part, you avoid family get-togethers). You could spritz a little Body Fantasies cotton candy fragrance, which you kept in your middle school locker & shared with your BFF. (Just me?) You could play the Dolly Parton CD that was always playing in the background at your aunt & uncle's famous 4th of July BBQs. Be imaginative & evocative!
As for capturing the ephemeral, add touches of fantasy here or there. Light a dozen white votive candles around the room. Dress in your teenage self's fantasy of a Goddess, whether that means wearing 6-inch patent leather pumps or nothing at all but a smattering of body glitter. If you vibe with the mermaid aesthetic, now is the time to go full hilt! Score yourself something deep-sea & dreamy from Lime Crime's Mermaid collection.
Make your altar space shimmer & flash. Cover your altar in a satiny scarf & scatter the surface with amethyst, rose quartz, moonstone, or true opal. Arrange a small bouquet of fresh pink roses or gardenias. Hang twinkle lights overhead. If you're bustin' out with the mermaid theme, burn incense in a glimmery sea shell, like abalone & drape puka shell jewelry over your ritual gear.
Set aside a few moments before the ritual to simply bask in the environment you create. Do a heart-chakra opening meditation at your altar. Crack open a few old diaries or stream part of an old movie you loved as a teenager. Do what stirs up your emotions; makes you awww at yourself like you're watching a little puppy tripping over its own ears.
Traditionally, Demeter was offered fresh-harvested grains or veggies during rituals. If you want, take a more symbolic approach by offering D a precious memory. In your devotional bowl, set movie ticket stubs & friendship bracelets, or an almost forgotten love note. For every item you offer Demeter, remember that you must be ready to release it. That could mean burying the object in your backyard or throwing it into the sea. It might only mean calling up the person who shares the memory with you after the ceremony.
Remember that in all magic ritual, it's not about the objects themselves, but the meaning behind them. However you create your Cancer new moon ritual, the actions & words mean more than the objects you move around the altar.
(If you go the traditional route, just ingest the grains / veggies after invoking the Goddess.)
Your magical intention for the Cancer new moon should center on matters of the heart: healing some family karma, cleaning out some festering emotional wounds, asking Demeter to help you discover your depth for true devotion.
I think a Cancer new moon ritual is actually a good occasion to arrive without a prepared magical intention, so you can simply ask your invoked Goddess for answers in the ritual space.
Once the ritual space is set & the Goddess invoked, ask: What does the world need from me?
And also, What do I have to start feeling to be able to give the world what it needs?
What you're asking for is a message about the type of experiences or people you should invite into your life in order to become the kind of creatrix who can give the world what it needs.
This isn't a question about skillset or life purpose.. This is the kind of Q that sets people off on their Wild or Eat, Pray, Love journeys. This is the kind of Q that transmits the therapeutic answer a babe needs to hear who feels broken or emotionally scarred beyond repair.
Keep pen & paper nearby. Or spread a deck of Tarot cards over the carpet, then draw cards after asking. If you're artistic, have a playlist prepared ahead of time, then curl up with a sketch pad. Doing all this in the ritual itself widens your reception to any messages astral insight about what your magical intention for this cycle should be & what you should do to make it resound so powerfully, you're able to transform the circumstances surrounding it.
After the ritual, while you're still riding the vibe, call or post a letter to a relative you’ve lost touch with: a cousin who was your BFF in elementary school, but now lives on the other side of the country; an eccentric auntie you lived with during college. Don’t fall back on Facebook messaging or a text. Actually speaking with or writing out a letter by hand will cause good vibes to flutter throughout your entire body—it will resound! If you’re like me & have a little anxiety about connecting with family, just post a little note on a piece of cute stationary. It can be a story about something recent in your life or an anecdote from your shared past.
What this will do: Seed a little synchronicity. By performing this deceptively mundane task, you will magnify the vibe you've created in your ritual. It puts that vibe out in the universe, so it ripples back to you when the magical intention you've set in the ritual needs traction.
Some other activities that are perfect for Cancer season & grounding your magical intention:
❤︎ Reconnect with your roots. Where & who do you come from? One of my aunt’s had actually been adopted out as an infant. When she found us as an adult, she went on a researching rampage: she found out everything she could about our Cherokee / Irish ancestry. She compiled all the photos & ledgers she’d dug out of archives onto a DVD—the main menu was even translated into Cherokee! Even if you don’t want to take on a project like this, try sprinkling some heritage items around your house or building an ancestor altar. You won't believe how much ancestry can re-contextualize what's going on in your life.
❤︎ Plan a moonlit beach picnic. Make it into an occasion where "full-circle moments" abound! Invite old friends & dance to a nostalgia playlist: maybe a compilation of your favorite Disney songs or a recreation of what would play on the radio when you drove to girls' nights outs. Flip through old journals & albums, & take pics with your phone to pass around. If possible, see if anyone wants to wear deconstructed versions of your old prom dresses--something you all remember seeing each other in.
❤︎ DIY a soothing salt bath. Bath magic is a must for all water-sign moon rituals. Salt, especially epsom, detoxifies while also nourishing our body so many crucial minerals we aren't getting from our diet. Here’s my own recipe: While the tub is filling, throw in 3-5 handfuls of pink Himalayan salt. Dribble about 20-25 drops of lavender essential oil. Sprinkle dried rose hips over the water, then slip in & steep. (Check out this post for 15 other DIY salt bath recipes!)
❤︎ Donate to charity: water or to helping kids in foster care. (That link will take you to a page with 5 different charities to consider.) Home & water are so elemental to life. We can strengthen humanity's collective emotional foundations by giving a little.
❤︎ Binge-watch reruns of Gilmore Girls or Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. (Psst. Season 6, where Rory quits Yale & moves out of Stars Hollow—you know, that whole debacle where she & Lorelei weren’t speaking? TOTAL Demeter / Persephone dynamic. I love re-discovering Goddess-tropes on Netflix. ❤︎)
❤︎ Heal your family karma. In the Big Picture, family karma is the spiritual drama you & your family are participating in together. Evolutionary lessons to be learned therein. On the individual level, family karma requires cutting old psychic cords that may be cluttering up your feelings & perspective on old family issues. The AstroTwins actually recommend the book “Health, Happiness and the Family Constellation: How Ancestors, Family Systems, and Hidden Loyalties Shape Your Life–And What YOU Can Do About It”, which is part of my summer reading.
Mothering doesn't mean you make babies. Mothering means living in the world as though you have a stake in its thriving. Something or someone here belongs to you. Your destinies are intertwined, though you may be miles & years apart from each other. Though you may belong to others as well.
What an awe-some, vulnerable position to be in.
I hope Demeter helps you dig deep & cultivate the emotional landscape of your life. I hope you have more than a few moments in your new moon ritual where your heart drops into your belly & you remember how umbilically connected you are to the human family.
Welcome to Cancer season!