It's All Lies, Darling: The Scorpio New Moon 2017
Tis the season for shadow work, sex magic, & shaking all the old ghosts out of your soul!
For me, Scorpio season is deeply cathartic. It’s the season of purging & putrefaction: swirling up all the gloopy energies that have been congealing in my heart.
All the fucking rot.
And especially since Jupiter moved into Scorpio last month (where it will stay until Nov 2018!), shadow work is our primary magical operation. Lately, I’ve been feeling an intense psychic pressure, like a migraine headache throbbing through my astral body. When I try keeping it zipped up, I feel like I’m caving in; shutting down. When I let it rip, it’s goes OFF.
Inappropriate moments of catharsis abound!
So, I have ideas for your new moon ritual PLUS a Patron Goddess to help set your intentions off!
Btw--this Patron Goddess isn’t for the typical Goddess Girl. I’ve seen you over there, side-eyeing me. Not quite trolling, but not quite committed to what this column & Goddess magic is all about.
Well, she’s here. The Patron Goddess for that process you’re in.
Get ready for a stinking, mussed good time!
BABA YAGA: THE QUEEN OF ROT
Scorpio season is all about settling into the most unsettling parts of your soul… like sticking your foot into a musty, damp old slipper left overnight on the porch. You might not want to, but for whatever reason, you’re locked out & will have to go around the long way to get back inside. That soggy old shoe is all you have to shuttle where you need to go. You’ll have to be brave & keep the faith that you’ll get cleaned up on the other side.
The perfect Goddess for this process? Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga reigns in Scorpio season: the astrological time for shadow work, healing family karma, & learning to sympathize with the devil in you. Baba corresponds with the nocturnal energy of this time: the slow, ugly, & painful submersion into a suffocating mystery inside us…
...the primal sewer that mainlines our private psychic universe into the big-fat-o-fuck beyond.
Baba Yaga ain’t afraid of stirring up drama. She’s wearing a stretched-out black tank top & a sneer. Her body is taut, skin softened from spreading out under the desert sun & moon. Her eyes are creased & hell-black. She rarely smiles; instead she grins like a carnivore tonguing a piece of flesh out from behind an incisor. Greasy, ever-mussed self-administered pixie cut, sometimes bleached white blond, but every so often drenched in jet black.
Baba is like a piece of rock candy enjoyed with two fingers of cheap whiskey. She’s tatted up like Lisbeth Salandar, black ink whorling up & down bony limbs. She sucks all the energy out of the room, hoarding it until she’s ready to burst, which is when she’s suddenly nose to nose with you in a tearful confrontation. Moments later, she’s belly laughing with her arm slung over your shoulders.
For the rest of the night, you’ll smell like smoke & a wet rock.
Her signatures: a knowing smile (the carnivorous grin); a smoky scent, like autumnal bonfires, with a ripe, fleshy smell. Her two most obnoxious qualities: blaming her careening emotional extremes on PMS & non-disclosure. She’s painfully secretive. Why are you acting like this? What are you trying to prove? To who?
Her laugh is like a gunshot; almost like a snarl in your face.
Baba is the queen bee of Fuck It. She’s notorious for leaving the house in her pajamas & sweaty tank tops, looking like she just crawled out from under a rock. Her aura is a glowing red edged in gray-black: the color of cold, stagnant dish water.
If Scorpio season were a sensation, it would be an involuntary shudder; your body bucking against the pressure as you sink into black waters. Scorpio symbolizes the black abyss of our obsessions; it’s the blackened, gristled extremities of our soul--where the soul has chafed against the black magic of this holographic reality we grow into. It’s a Saturnine magic that Baba Yaga playfully bucks. Baba Yaga is disgusting, but hypnotic--a shitshow you creep closer to. You can’t predict whether she’ll end a bag lady on the streets or whether her biggest secret is that she’s a genius with diplomatic immunity.
Baba Yaga is a wizard among scared bunnies.
In the Tarot, Baba Yaga corresponds with The Hanged Man. Suspended upside down, tied by the ankle to a cross, arms clasped behind his back, a serene expression upon his face. Traditional interpretations say this is the card of Divine inspiration. The man is strung up, but it’s not impossible to undo himself. We can’t speak to the choices or outside forces that threw him on that cross, but it’s obvious the Hanged Man isn’t fighting for his life.
The Hanged Man symbolizes Renunciation. The sacred shrugging off of ordinary perception, routines, & go-go-go productivity; a yogic recombobulation that forces one to review her position in the universal scheme of things.
For Goddess Girls, Renunciation is essential to breaking free of the black magic of Patriarchy. Renunciation is a deliberate disordering of our psyche. Only once disordered can we deeply examine why that content is even there. Why am I so afraid of what this person thinks? Why do I feel guilty doing this nice thing? Why am I embarrassed to admit I need to take a sick day?
Renunciation is the state we end up in when we finally hit rock bottom; when the tether snaps & we’re floating in space. It’s the holy thud after we crash from the drug, when we’re wondering, Should I do more?
-- Dr. Carmen Boulter, Angels & Archetypes: An Evolutionary Map of Feminine Consciousness
Baba Yaga relishes that state of Renunciation. That moment where you decide, No, I’m not going to feel / think / do this anymore!
Whereas you might feel shame, guilt, or fear, where you might balk or tremble to shrug off those old ghosts, Baba strips naked & leaps right in--a lurid display of self-satisfaction meant to spook those ghosts off all on their own.
She’s just too much.
She’s also the state of magical sovereignty.
BABA YAGA AS A PATRON GODDESS
Goddess Girls who vibe with Baba Yaga as a Patron are babes who take pleasure in decay. Laziness. Disorder. The sludgy apathy of waking up from a long NyQuil coma at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
A part of them feels as though it’s rotting away while they breathe… & they don’t necessarily dislike the feeling. They powerfully identify with characters like Marla from Fight Club or Sally from American Horror Story: Hotel. They’re obsessed with melancholia, self-corruption, & don’t shy away from the blackness in other people’s hearts.
These Goddess Girls don’t identify with the girls Patroned by Aphrodite or Kuan Yin. They won’t take up your invitation to grab a green juice at Whole Foods or help you plan a bachelorette party at Disneyland.
They don’t hate those kind of girls; they’re simply bored to tears by them.
Those girls are just so obviously Goddess Girls. The Baba Yaga babe feels like the mean & ugly black sheep of the bunch. The painfully obvious odd one out.
Or so she thinks.
These are the girls chain-smoking alone in their crummy studio apartments, apathetically cyber-sexing with faceless strangers they found through the Craigslist personals. They might troll a few bloggers who write about self-love & get into Twitter debates about whether Elliott Smith’s death was suicide or murder.
These girls subsist on microwavable pizza, fizzy drinks, cigarettes, & pharmaceuticals. It’s not really a case of pointless self-destruction--these Goddess Girls are simply responding to an instinct to putrefy. All these self-killing practices are intentional; a tourniquet tied around a useless appendage in their soul-body they want to rot & drop away.
Not that any of that is very easy to debate.
But self-corruption, that urge to putrefy, is hella Alchemical. It’s Saturnine magic turned on its head: a disciplined intake of corrosive substances & ideas intended to snub that unwanted piece of ourselves into non-existence.
First of all: that instinct is not wrong. It’s not bad. You are not evil.
Let me fully hash out what the Baba Yaga archetype actually speaks to, & how that archetype can Patron your intentions & spiritual evolution.
-- Dr. Carmen Boulter, Angels & Archetypes
In the eastern European tales of Baba Yaga, she was the quintessential witch. Exactly what the film version of The Wizard of Oz ran with: long hooked nose, upturned chin, smoldering glower, greasy lank hair. She lived in a shitty little house that stalked the earth on giant bony chicken legs, the exterior festooned with human skeletons.
Baba Yaga is the anti-Stepford Wife. She is the woman who ages, deteriorates, consumes more than her fair share. (Which has already been unfairly rationed.) She’s lurking there in the part of ourselves we glimpse in our worst moments, the moments we cave in on ourselves; such as after a bad break-up, when we retreat into our dark bedroom, unwashed & simmering in our fetid juices; dozens of empty Cherry Coke cans piling up the bureau & the nightstand overflowing with unfiltered cigarette butts.
Baba Yaga characterizes the dankest regions of our soul. She has the greed & petulance of a child combined with a sense of entitlement more readily allowable for a refined matriarch--the kind of woman who takes special care in dignifying herself to us.
Baba Yaga bewilders us.
She’s fucking obnoxious.
Don’t let this archetype put you off, though. Age isn’t really what’s relevant here. Archetypes don’t embody an age, but symbolize a phase of development. Sometimes those phases last months; sometimes half a lifetime. I’ve known badass 13-year-old girls with crusty bedrooms & FUCK YOU attitudes, who definitely weren’t iconoclasts; the filth & caustic front didn’t reflect a particular stance they’ve taken up.
Those baby Baba Yagas were cocooning themselves; self-composting. Before they can truly debut into the world of higher sensation, higher consciousness, they have to dissolve away the leftover soul pain brought in from past incarnations.
They’re just burning some karma.
Those same girls who started off as old badass biddies will suddenly blossom into creatrix supremes, unstoppable in their quest to nourish others. A Goddess Girl who first identified with Baba Yaga can absolutely evolve into the women with sextuple eyebrow piercings, still scarred with badly administered homemade tattoos, who show up on your doorstep with chicken soup 2 hours after you announce on FB you’ve caught the flu.
Give them someone to love (a rescued dachshund, a pristine newborn baby), they suddenly become plucky maidens: power walking through Trader Joe’s in grumpy-cat printed leggings, cheeks glowing, flirting & giggling like pretty little witches with the stay at home dads at the park.
Baba Yaga reminds us that progress is a myth. We’re not evolving in a linear fashion, but interdimensionally. We individually emerge into this realm with sensations & feedback loops from past & future lives, which constantly reverberate back & forth between the galaxies.
All that nasty, dirty decomposition symbolized by Baba Yaga speaks to a magical process called putrefaction. It’s the Nigredo phase of Alchemical transformation.
Baba Yaga bucks the Saturnine magic that predominates our realm. That’s the oppressive Patriarchal vibe you’re feeling. It’s hierarchal. Materialist. Corporatist. Reductive & cruelly insensitive.
As I mentioned, the Goddess Girl who identifies with Baba Yaga will be she who turns Saturnine magic on its head: she’s practiced at malefica, even if she’s never done a spell before. She admires people who demonstrate personal responsibility, & she’s the first to admit the paradox in that. She’s the type of girl who might stumble on someone groaning in pain, in a nest behind a dumpster, coming down off a bad, bad drug trip, & fear is the last thing she would feel. She might fetch water & make an anonymous call to 911… just in case. Moralizing wouldn’t cross her mind, either.
Not necessarily because she’s versed in crashing off drugs, or botched suicide attempts, or other extremes in numbing self-destruction…
...but simply because the Baba Yaga babe respects the urge to self-compost.
We are all born into a cursed world. The True World is innocent & pure; a veritable Garden of Eden. This holographic reality projected against it, though; the world we leave childhood to enter, whether you call it the Matrix or Adulthood…
...that’s the curse. And it’s magic.
But it’s alright, because you are also magic.
And maybe you’ve got something to burn away. A soul pain you’re trying to numb. A phantom limb as useless & obstructive as having a door-knocker screwed to your chest.
If you identify with Baba Yaga, with the magical crone who symbolizes the overlapping sensations of incarnated experience, you’re entitled to your self-destruction as much as you are entitled to your self-creation.
There are risks to both. And you don’t have one without the other.
(Want to learn more about Saturnine Magic? Click here.)
NEW MOON MAGIC FOR SCORPIO
-- Rachel @ Aeolian Heart, read more here.
The Scorpio new moon is all about dirty work: digging into the funky pieces of our psyche & also caving into forbidden pleasures.
For this new moon, I’m focusing on one process: shadow integration. No statement of intent, just a process. When I’m in the presence of Baba Yaga, I will formally renounce one feeling, belief, or behavior that relates to my shadow world.
I’ll point you to other resources below where you can learn more about shadow integration (a.k.a. shadow work), so you can get a bird’s eye view on what’s happening in the process.
For now, lemme describe how I approach this sacred space & what I do once I'm there, so you can visualize the possibilities!
For this new moon ritual, build a ritual station in the place where you’ll feel comfortable getting weird… weirder than usual. Scorpio new moon magic isn’t pretty or whimsical magic, like you might find at the Libra new moon; this is magic that will make you feel exposed, awkward, & overwhelmed if the wrong sort of folk walked in on you.
For me, the ritual station is usually in the TV room, because I’ll stream a movie guaranteed to put me in a cathartic fit. Catharsis, if you’re unfamiliar, is basically the state of emotional purging. You’re gonna let it all out!
The altar I’ll use is the one I put up around Halloween: an ancestor altar, strewn with framed portraits, heirlooms, along with chunks of carnelian, black tourmaline, & jade. I’ll light black candles & place The Hanged Man on my altar.
The movie I turn to this time of year (which relates so well to the operetta of my own shadow-drama) is August: Osage County. Last week, I shared through email how I approach the concept & magic of ancestor altars. Ten years ago I wouldn’t laughed in your face if you told me I’d be doing magic rituals in front of fuzzy black & white photos of my great-grandma.
Building ancestor altars are the direct route for doing the sort of shadow work that helps heal family karma. Family karma? I hear you scoffing. I don’t even feel connected to my family! And lemme tell you about my sexually violent uncle & all about the horrible kind of woman my mother is…
Ya ya ya. Me too.
Although family dysfunction is ordinary, the stories we tell about our own family dysfunction makes us feel unique. We’re attached to those stories; they become little fetishes about our identity. Excuses for why we can’t function; points of debate for why we should be excused from even trying.
And as you can already guess: identity & attachment tamp down your pure psychic power. Your instinctual wisdom is scrambled by all the psychodrama you excuse in your day-to-day; blamed on inherited cruelty & compounding intergenerational moral ignorance.
To liberate the instinctual wisdom coiled up in your unconscious, you have to purge all the trapped psychic energy you insist on hoarding. All those icky, funky bad feelings from all those icky, funky bad experiences you had.
Of course, this is excruciatingly hard when you’re rather attached to those feelings. Icky, funky bad feelings are my normal, though! And woe as me, feeling bad feels normal for me because of…
You’re magicking the wrong thing! You don’t want to use your magic to perpetuate the funk. You want your magic to attract more of the sensationally delicious.
You need to purge. Let it all out. You need a ritual zone where you can sob or shriek or stab a couch pillow with a fork until stuffing flies out of it, where no one can interrupt to placate you or argue with or pathologize your process.
You’ve got to let that trapped energy out, so the sweet psychic juices can flow.
So, for the past few years, I’ve experimented with healing my own family karma. Around Halloween, I build a small altar, just a candle, a few family heirlooms, & family photographs I don’t normally keep out (because they evoke such… sigh… complicated feelings). I make a solo date where I can watch a cathartic dramatic movie, which will make me weepy & contemplative. And I give myself full permission to just let it fucking out. Sometimes I journal, sometimes I yell, & almost always I throw a photo.
As I mentioned, the cathartic film I choose is usually August: Osage County. (I deeply relate with Julia Roberts’ character. To a T. So spooky,)
For you, it may be Little Miss Sunshine or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It could be City of God or Hotel Rwanda.
It doesn’t have to be a film. You can choose a book, playlist, or any other mythic structure instead. My favorite astrologer, Aeolian Heart, recommends an opera: Wagner’s Tristan & Isolde. (Read her breakdown of the story & its relationship to Scorpio season here.) Whatever piece you choose just has to be something that deliberately moves you into those funky emotions--the ones you most relate with.
Once you’re in the funk, move to your altar. There’s no how-to for this part, except to let yourself feel all the way to through those feelings. Practice feeling entitled to those feelings. Yes, sexual shame & guilt about money may be your idea of normal, because of the trauma & drama you were subjected to. You have good reason.
Now go beyond the feeling. In a meta-perspective, who cares that you’re holding onto this trauma / drama? If an actual person comes to mind, I’d bet money they were one of your perpetrators. Also that you have a relationship with them, or that you expect to cross paths again.
You don’t have to ceremonially forgive that person, unless you’re quite ready to. (And just FYI: forgiving someone in no way condones their wrongdoing. You’re also not required to notify them that you forgive them. Read more about the forgiveness process here.)
The point of this exercise to fully feel what you’ve got to feel. Once you feel it all the way through, you’ll have perspective.
If you’re up for it, you can invoke Baba Yaga by calling to her. She’s really not interested in any formal offerings, aside from renunciations. What feelings, beliefs, & habits related to your shadow drama would you like to give up for good?
What could you give up that would altogether erase the story behind it? Like, you would never again feel the need to explain or justify yourself?
You might enter the ritual already knowing what you want to renounce or the cathartic experience will bring it to light. It’s a good renunciation if you feel instantly freer. Cleaner.
Purged & purified.
After the purge, draw yourself a hot salt bath. Burn a little lavender oil. Before & after the soak, drink lots & lots of h2o.
If you’re into an energy medicine (like tapping--I talk more about my favorite energy medicines for shadow work over here), this is a great time to bust it out!
If you’re exploring Scorpio season with the Baba Yaga archetype & are looking for a little cozy November reading, allow me to suggest Beautiful You: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk. While women everywhere are standing for hours in lines to buy mega-ultimo-vibrators & dildos, one misfit woman instead journeys into the Himalayan mountains to meet a guru, Baba Yaga, who retrains the protagonist’s sexual response system, paving the way for her personal enlightenment. It’s a silly, off-putting, but totally fascinating story about real & true sexual liberation, which doesn’t come from a political movement, a social attitude, or a big box retailer.
Fair warning: it’s crazy weird. I’d argue Beautiful You wants to do for women what Fight Club did for men, which is provide a mythic structure to pick apart how social programming warps our sense of self & relationship with our instincts.
Btw, skip the reviews--it’s not touted as a masterpiece & many femme reviewers are quick to get on a soapbox. It’s racy & purposefully criticizes the women’s movement.
If you pick it up, definitely let me know what you think over on Twitter!
If you’re totally new to the idea & practices of shadow work a.k.a. shadow integration, here are a few of my favorite resources (all from WITCH Magazine, because Dame Elliott is pretty much #HBIC on shadow integration):
Read this first: Shadow, Power, & World-Making, or why you always get exactly what you want ✨ The Shadow: Powerful Methods For Shadow Integration ✨ 10 Ways Shadow Work Sky-Rockets Your Manifestation Results ✨ 7 Notes On Amor Fati
And here are a few of my personal techniques for starting the good work of shadow integration:
I don’t care about helping you improve. I care about helping you evolve.
And I know… all the way to my bones… that shadow work is a mainline to cosmic creativity.
I hope you take the risk!
And if you do, email me about it!