If your world looks quite different than it did a couple of weeks ago, join the crowd. The November 1 New Moon in Scorpio, almost exactly square Saturn and opposed Mars, ignited a series of explosions around the world. Some of these were political bombshells. The month got off to a particularly bad start for the Bush administration, with the indictment of a senior staff member, the announcement of a controversial Supreme Court nomination, and news that the president's approval rating had reached an all-time low. Trouble followed Bush to Argentina, where demonstrations and riots erupted around the Summit of the Americas. And in France, simmering civil unrest turned into wide-scale rioting and fires. It seems everywhere you turn, things have been blowing up.
There were explosions in my home, as well--of less universal importance, of course, but fairly disconcerting for us. Our cat, Spike, fell ill with a mysterious malady. My husband's unhappiness with his job reached critical mass and he tendered his resignation. My hometown was hit by a devastating tornado. And I received news that my last surviving aunt--coincidentally, a Scorpio--is fading after a long battle with heart and liver disease.
Can a plague of locusts be far behind?
I felt terrific on October 31. But within a week of the New Moon, I was curled up on the couch in the fetal position. The volatile cocktail of the Scorpio New Moon and Saturn in Leo had left me feeling like a tender pea crushed in a vice grip of fear, worry, and guilt. Fear that my beloved pet would be lost. Worry that my husband and I would face financial ruin. Fear of saying goodbye to my dear relative and guilt that I haven't been as attentive to her as I should have been. It all seemed terribly bleak.
Saturn is a harsh taskmaster and gave a particularly cruel edge to the recent New Moon. But November is almost always a tough month. Each year, the sun's journey through Scorpio plunges us into deep self-examination. Where are we broken and weak? Scorpio is prepared to tell us, insisting that we face ourselves in all our wretchedness--to take the kind of "fearless moral inventory" that's part of the twelve-step creed--so that we may rebuild ourselves up, stronger than ever, from the scorched earth. The Scorpio season doesn't lend itself easily to light entertainment and simple pleasures; they offer little that might further our quest for self-improvement. Add Saturn to the mix, and this month the negativity threatens to overwhelm us. It sounds like a good moment to be reminded that perpetual dissatisfaction is no way to live.
Enter the Full Moon in Taurus, Scorpio's opposite sign. Where Scorpio can be dissatisfied and driven, Taurus is content, patient. While Scorpio searches within for the path to transformation, Taurus keeps his head pointed down to the earth, tasting the sweet grass in the meadow. "Life is to be enjoyed," Taurus reminds us, like a good, well-adjusted friend. "Why do you always want to be something else, somewhere else, someone else? Why not enjoy what you have? Look at this meadow here, it's gorgeous!"
Coincidentally, Mars--the ancient ruler of Scorpio--is currently moving retrograde through Taurus, and won't turn direct until December 9. I've read many fine descriptions of this transit, none of them particularly upbeat; it's a difficult one to spin in a positive direction. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune are locked in a tense configuration in fixed, intractable signs. It seems whichever way we turn we meet resistance, and the impulse is to dig in our heels and then charge, full speed, at the brick wall in our path. But with Mars moving backwards, the forceful approach is not working. The harder we push forward, the more resistance we encounter, and the angrier and more frustrated we become. So why not follow the Tao of Taurus, the cow standing in the pasture, mooing contentedly? Why not just let things be for awhile?
As the Full Moon approaches, Spike has recovered completely from his illness, and it's a joy just to watch him as he merrily chases his toys around the house. I've pledged to stop worrying about the money situation, to be grateful for what we have and to trust that all will be well. As for my aunt, well, there is no reprieve there. We're losing her, and there's not a thing that can be done about it. There's no saving her, and there's no going back in time to be a better niece. The best I can do is write a letter--she's too tired to talk on the phone--to remind her that I love her, in my own failed and inadequate way.
My friend Dana says that during this tense Mars retrograde period, with ferocious planets squaring off in intractable positions, she's been advising her clients to take up knitting or something and just ride it out. While I'm not sure we'll see our politicians wielding needles and yarn anytime soon, it sounds like excellent advice for human-scale problems like mine. I don't know how to knit, but fortunately I have a fertile imagination. So this Full Moon, I'll sit by the fireplace and imagine I'm knitting...not lengths of yarn, but strands of leftover pain, loss, and frustration. I'll knit them into something useful--say, a warm and wooly sweater, and cloak myself in its comforting scratchiness. Then I'll empty my head of all destructive thoughts, and--Taurus-like--pour a cup of tea, scratch the cat behind the ears, and hum a little tune while the fire burns.