Some reflections on the Solstice, the meaning of the Sun in Cancer, and our approaching eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn:
* As the Sun passes through the cosmic gateway of the Crab, the ascending portion of the year culminates and we begin the long, slow journey downward.
* Ancient astrologers associated the sign of Cancer with the descent of the spirit or soul into matter. The sign of Cancer was also linked with the creation of the Cosmos in the famous “thema mundi” chart (the chart of the birth of the cosmos).
* Cancer’s opposite sign, Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, was thus associated with the death of the body and the departure of the soul back to the spiritual realm at the gateway of winter.
* Interestingly, just like crabs scuttle sideways, and backward to move forward, the Sun at the Summer Solstice begins to move backward for the first time in the solar year, heading toward the south after its turn-around at the gateway of the Crab.
* The etymological roots of the word for “Crab” in Greek also relate to the idea of “scratching, drawing, and writing.” And of course in many ancient traditions, the descent of heavenly knowledge, like the descent of the spirit into a material form also associated with Cancer, finds its form in revealed teachings, mantras, mathematics, numbers, glyphs, graphs, etc.
* Some say that the claw marks of the crab as seen in the sand resemble the writing of the Gods and that its claws represent nature’s pencils or pens.
* Not surprisingly, the ruling planet of Cancer, the Moon, was related to Hermes/Thoth, who was a sacred translator, scribe, and teacher of heavenly knowledge. The Moon is a reflective light, carrying the knowledge of the original, knowledge of divinity, knowledge of spirit, and the remembrance of our origins.
* One of the main archetypal callings of those born under the sign of the crab, or with prominently placed planets in the Crab, is thus to remember. Memory is often related to things like nation or state, to remember the flag, to remember those who died, to remember those who serve, or to family, to remember our ancestors, to remember our family bonds, to serve those we share roots with, or to one community or another, my friends, my tribe, my people. However, insofar as our remembering is only ever tied to temporary material designations, like the body, state, nation, family, political parties we belong to, hashtags we love, twitter handles we grow famous by, identity categories we cling to with our steely white pincers, then we are creatures shelling ourselves off from the world, ironically hardened by the endless requirements of culture, made Saturnine and crusty, hardened like barnacles by the grip of the body on the soul.
* To remember our source, the great ocean of love from which we come, we are required to keep in touch with the fact the descent into this material world also leads to forgetfulness. We remember the wrong things and forget the most important. By doing so, eventually, we are led back through the porthole of Saturn and Capricorn, the winter solstice, where we leave the body and are given the same timeless chance to return to the spiritual world. If we do not remember our true nature, as so many mystical and even shamanic traditions tell us, then we do not make it beyond the sphere of the Moon, and thus we return through the porthole of the Crab to take another body, another chance to remember our true nature.
* For example, the Egyptians associated Cancer with the scarab beetle, who carries a ball of dung, of recycled materiality, to make its home with. In fact, new research has shown that certain species of dung beetles will literally stand atop a sphere of poop and look up at the stars to help them roll their dung ball in the correct direction. They will actually use the stars and the milky way to orient themselves because it’s also difficult to roll a ball in a straight line.
* Similarly, we are born into recycled materiality, born into a sphere of recycling stuff, and the best chance we have to find our way back home is to stand atop our ball of poop in order to gain some guidance from the stars before attempting to roll our ball of shit homeward!
* One of the words for scarab in the Egyptian language is “Khprr,” which is also loosely related to the word “keeper,” and may indicate the idea of the scarab being a “keeper” of what it grabs onto. Similarly, the Crab has long been associated with collecting, hoarding, and keeping things.
* It’s also fascinating to think that ancient mystics believed that we are “kept” by the gods, who literally compromise our bodies (Zeus is the liver, Cronus the bones, etc.). In a sense, even though the spirit/soul occupies a body, the spirit/soul is also clutched, gripped, kept, by a body. Hence, like the hero Heracles, whose heal is grasped and pinched by Karkinos, the crab (who becomes the constellation of Cancer), we are told to dominate, crush, or kill that egoic character who would attempt to usurp the throne of the higher self.
* After Heracles killed the crab, by crushing it with his foot, Hera placed the Karkinos into the stars for its service, and this is the constellation of Cancer.
* After all, our egos serve a purpose. Our bodies serve a purpose. The material world serves a purpose. And hence there is nothing trying to hold, cling, or clutch us in this world that is not ultimately, if not mysteriously, in service to the soul, and in service to divinity.
* Beetles and Crabs both live by the Moon, as well. Some beetles live six months underground and six months above, in relation to the dark and light halves of the year. Certain dung beetles also give birth in relation to the Moon. Crabs similarly live in close relation to the Moon and its control over the tides.
* Similarly, we humans are born through mothers whose bodily cycles wax and wane like the Moon, in rhythm with the Moon.
* So, as we pass through the gateway of incarnation, it’s a good time to remember our source. To remember the heavenly script. It’s also a good time to take note of all that grips us, of all that we have hoarded and collected in a ball of recycled illusions. Can we loosen our grasp enough to remember the soul, and the soul of our soul, our source?
* With eclipses coming in Cancer and Capricorn next month, a series of powerful lessons are approaching.
* On the one hand, the solar eclipse in Cancer on July 2nd points to a powerful moment of birthing. This is a solar eclipse happening in the cosmic and watery gateway of birth. However, what kind of birth will it be, and will this birth entangle us further, or will we find a way to re-orient ourselves by the stars and by means of the milky way?
* What do we use to create the feeling of “at-homeness” in the world? Is it real, or is it something we are clinging to out of fear? Is it real milk, real nourishment, real nectar, or is it just another artificial sweetener?
* Then, when the lunar eclipse of July 16th comes through, we will be visited by the shadow of the Moon, the dark side of the Moon, the hard rock without its reflected light side of the Moon…Saturn, planetary lord of death, ruler of Capricorn, the sign of the winter solstice.
* Are we using force upon necessity? Are we trying to create separation artificially or with too much force? Have we opened ourselves to “let the soft animal of our bodies love what they love?”
* When endings come, and they always do, can we let go gracefully, filled with the soft and distant light of other worlds? Can the distant mystic, Saturn, call us to a deeper inwardness, a solitude that is filled with subtle, quiet lights?
* Birth and death are constant in this world, a revolving door built into the stars themselves, and yet these eclipses will bring especially potent birth and death experiences because they bring to mind the hardest or most stable structures of our lives, as well as the delicate, pink life held within.
Prayer: May we read the writing, follow the stars, and remember our pathway home. Shape us and reform us so that all of our collected mementos start to shine and sing with your love.