Reprinted with permission from Mooncircles.

I've got my own dirty little secret. I did not out a CIA operative. Nor did I kill a cat and bury the body. My secret is the mess in my garage. I vowed when I moved that this time my garage would be immaculate. I would finally sort, box and label what was valuable and ruthlessly discard the rest-the still wearable but out-of-fashion shoes and skirts, the books I think I'll someday read, the journals written by a younger and no longer familiar me. But two years later, this clutter has multiplied and boldly sprawled outside my neat move-in piles. Each time I enter the garage, I am filled with a secret sense of shame. Why am I sharing this with you? Blame the Scorpio New Moon, when the pressure of hidden things can become so unbearable, exposure and transformation are the only solution.

Everyone is haunted by secrets like mine. Maybe it's the pack of cigarettes, the bottle of vodka, or the bag of chocolate chip cookies hidden in the kitchen. Maybe you don't read to your five-year-old every night. Maybe you spent $300 to join the gym and went just three times in the past six months. Whatever your secret, this is the cycle to stop carrying it around. Let go, fix what needs fixing, or grab the inner tormentor and choke her by the throat. Six months ago, at the Taurus New Moon, your task was to sustain yourself by gathering new resources. At the Scorpio New Moon, you must eliminate, letting go of what drains you or has simply outlived its usefulness.

This is a wise practice every year when the Sun enters Scorpio. But this New Moon, in particular, has three powerful supports for this work. First, there is a potent Grand Cross in fixed signs, between the Sun, Mars, Neptune and Saturn. This configuration brings great determination and inner fortitude, along with a masterful ability to plan and execute strategies. It also raises outer disharmony and internal pressure to such a level that matters must be addressed. In other words, you can no longer ignore what you need to do. This is a blessing, even though it may not feel like it at the time.

Second, Mars, Mercury and Saturn are retrograde this cycle. Mars has been retrograde since October 1, Mercury stations retrograde on November 12-13, and Saturn follows on November 22. To hear that a planet is retrograde generally makes us groan. It signals a time when forward movement is difficult. Cooperation isn't forthcoming, communications are garbled, plans and projects may dissolve. But all dark clouds have their silver lining. With retrogrades, this means that life slows down, giving you time to go back over what you've done with an eye toward improving it. Favored are any activities that begin with "re" (release, revise, rework, repair, reinvent, etc). Make these changes during Scorpio's cycle and your improvements will have a lasting effect.

Finally, this cycle begins with the energetic blessing of Samhain (pronounced "sow-wain"). This pagan holiday represents the beginning of the Celtic New Year, a traditional time for releasing the old, clearing a space for the new, and dreaming of what is to come. The Northern-living Celts knew at Samhain that the harsh winters were coming. They routinely thinned their herds at this time, slaughtering the old and weaker animals, knowing they would not be able to survive the coming months. And of course, salting and preserving the meat, helped the community itself to survive. Modern-day Wiccans have adapted this practice to a more internal one, seeing this as a time to rid oneself of weakness. A simple ritual is to write down your weaknesses, or whatever you want to release, on a piece of paper and cast this into a ritual fire. This is a way of thinning the herd of thoughts and ambitions that, if kept alive, will drain and distract you from your winter work

Witches believe that at Samhain, the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, so the departed, especially those recently departed, can easily go back and forth between the two worlds. Leave food as an offering to your ancestors and bring them into your meditations. Ask them important questions. As for me, I'll be baking a Romstrudel and inviting my German ancestors into my garage, especially my grandfather, a diesel mechanic whose garage was so clean, he used to say, "Look, you can eat off the floor." I am eager to use this cycle to clear new space and banish my guilt and shame. May you also find the conviction to confront whatever is haunting you. Remind yourself of what matters; release what no longer serves. Look at-be with--something you've been afraid to see. From such small acts of presence and release, your life will transform. You can, this cycle, acquire new power and strength. Like the promise of the phoenix rising from the ashes, regeneration is always Scorpio's gift.

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