Entering the Underworld:: Scorpio New Moon

The Scorpio New Moon falls on Saturday, November 18th at 3:42am PST and at 6:42am EST. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere have crossed the threshold into the darker months of the year, and Scorpio beckons us into this darker space within ourselves — to explore, uncover, and integrate. This diving into the shadows isn’t so we can live there all the time, but so that we’re made into more integrated, whole beings; beings who are lighter and more aware in body, mind, and spirit. With Jupiter having entered the sign of Scorpio for just over a year in October, and Venus sitting beside him for a few weeks to come yet, this is a bit of a Scorpionic symphony in the Cosmos, and one that is powerful in many ways, especially for people with planets in this sign, or its opposite Taurus, or the squared signs Leo and Aquarius. And interestingly enough, where the Scorpionic New Moon takes place this month is just 2 degrees off the mark of where the Leonine Solar Eclipse in August took place. Coincidence? Not likely! The word “synchronicity” is more accurate, and this intelligence abounds when it comes to Cosmic events.

So what is the sign of Scorpio really about, and what is this New Moon inviting us to? Scorpio is a water sign, and as such, it has a powerful connection to the emotional realm. Yet Scorpionic energy isn’t just about feeling emotions in a “normal” way. It’s about feeling emotions, and indeed, life itself, with such intensity that the emotion becomes so real that it can’t not be felt. The emotion comes to life in the viscera, the fascia, and the whole of one’s being so fully that its experience can overwhelm the body, mind, and thoughts, expressing itself in an intensified way as possible. And this is just the point of Scorpio — it needs to feel with this kind of intensity to make known what isn’t. For, evolutionarily, Scorpio is all about making what is unconscious conscious.

To do so this seemingly impossible task, it draws us into the deep, dark interiors of both the psyche and the body. Scorpio is represented by the shaman, or the one who leads people to places within themselves that they haven’t yet uncovered or integrated. For those of you who’ve ever experienced any kind of shamanic journeying, you know that it’s not always the most comfortable experience. Yet it’s a necessary part of life for those of us who are here to become more of ourselves and less of the pain and wounds that we once thought defined us. Or even more so, those of us who are committed to growth and transformation, which includes the traumas and wounds that our families or ancestors have experienced. Epigenetics reminds us that it’s not just possible, but likely, that we humans pass down traits from one generation to another. And these traits aren’t just about hair or eye color — they’re also about tendencies toward depression, alcoholism, the Protestant work ethic — you name it! When we choose to participate in the work that we do in yoga, especially when it’s shamanic in nature, ie., work that has to do with shifting patterns and transforming more challenging aspects of ourselves into positive ways of being, we are embodying the energy of Scorpio as the shaman, or shamaness. This is no small feat, for anytime we choose to participate in this powerful healing work within ourselves, it is said that we are shifting patterns for the seven generations who came before us, and for the seven generations who will come after us.

The story of Shiva comes to mind when he, in his blue-throated, or Neelakantha aspect, somewhat miraculously transforms poison into nectar. After an unfortunate incident, the demons had taken control of the celestial realm from the devas, or the gods and goddesses, and they were wreaking havoc in what used to be a delightful and beautiful place. The devas called on Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe, to help them come back into power and thus create harmony in the heavenly domain once again. He came up with an activity called “the churning of the ocean of milk,” in which the demons, or asuras, came together with the devas, using a large mountain called Mount Mandara as a churning rod. Since the ocean was just beside the mountain, it would be churned in order to create the nectar of immortality for the devas to drink. The naga king, or serpent king, Vasuki, volunteered to be the churning rope, so the asuras and devas worked together with each other, the asuras being at Vasuki’s head and the devas at his tail. What a plan, indeed! The churning got to be so intense that as the ocean moved, not only nectar was emerging, but so was a toxic poison. This poison was threatening to destroy all of the Universe, so Vishnu decided to call upon his homie, Shiva. Shiva and Parvati, the yogis of the Hindu pantheon, came to the scene at once, and Shiva had just the plan. With a quick wink at Parvati, Shiva drank the poison that the churning process had brought up, but he didn’t swallow it. In fact, Parvati held his throat so that not even a drop of it would be spilled into Shiva’s inner universes! While he held the poison in his throat for hours in an alchemical event that turned his throat blue, many devotees came to chant to Shiva, to meditate with him, and to bear witness to his amazing accomplishment. And indeed, he transformed the poison to nectar, thereby saving all of creation and reminding yogis in the process of their own capacity for transformation of what is heavy, burdensome, and narrow, to what is light, inspiring, and expansive in its perspective. Of course, the story ends with the devas restoring harmony to the heavens, after Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty, abundance, and nourishment, arose from the ocean, as well as many other gems. 

Lakshmi’s appearance at the end of the story, as well as the story itself, reminds us that when we go into the dark, we become capable of transforming things that once weighed on us heavily into gold. Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it’s only transformed. Going into the dark gives us the ability to become more aware of the tendencies we’ve been carrying around, perhaps without even knowing it. The tendency to project negativity and blame onto others is diminished, for in going within, we become empowered to embody our innermost nature of wisdom and unconditional love, no longer held captive by the wound that once ate us alive, or perhaps even guided us unknowingly in decision-making. The Ocean of Consciousness represented by the ocean of milk in the story is held within each of us. We have the ability to spew poison on ourselves and those around us, or to transform the toxic energies that we carry, and perhaps have been passed on for generations, into nectar. And I know you know what I mean! How have you chosen to transform toxic patterns or behaviors in your life into positive stories of purpose and wisdom?

I often liken Scorpionic energy to a hurricane, an eddy pool, or a washing machine. The water in each of these examples has the ability to pull us into deep and dark, sometimes even deadly, places. Yet what is made known from the depths of these scenarios is valuable and necessary for our growth and inner alchemy. During a hurricane, what was deep in the ocean is thrown upon the beach, out in the open for all to see. Yet if the alchemical event hadn’t happened, one may have never known what was there in the first place. Sometimes diving into the depths gives us abilities and awareness we never thought were possible. And perhaps a small death happens — the death of who we once thought we were and identified with in order to be the more conscious and intact person we become.

Psychotherapy is often a wonderful tool of a Scorpionic nature, as moving into the shadow and understanding what it has to reveal is a Jungian concept. But more than just a concept, it may provide amazing results that echo for years or lifetimes to come. Practices like memory cuing or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) have the ability to unlock potential in ways that heal trauma and give people a sense of soul-reclamation. And this is Scorpionic, indeed. When I walked into my amazing psychotherapist’s office one day, ready to confront the suicidal depression I’d carried into this lifetime with me as a result of my grandfather’s “successful" attempt before I was born, life would never be the same. All the work I’d done up to that point had led into a place of being completely ready to confront Pluto — Scorpio’s ruling planet, considered both the Lord of the Underworld AND the Lord of the Riches. My therapist ushered me into this Scorpionic underworld —not hell, but the unconscious realm — walking me through traumas I’d carried around in my body for years but could never access, and she helped give me the ability to unlock and integrate what felt like lifetimes of pain and suffering. My story was never the same again. The person I once identified with no longer even exists. Yet she was key to unlocking this autobiographical tale and healing old wounds that seemed like my only reality for years. 

As well, the meaningful rituals that we can create for ourselves, calling on our ancestors and/or guides, invite us into a similar space of empowerment, healing, and alchemy. During times like these it can be key to create a space where we can be vulnerable, open, and raw; a place for shifting our own consciousness, opening completely to the transformative process. There’s almost a Durga-like quality to this process, a personal claiming of our own capacities to be the shamaness and choose to step fully into a place of healing and wholeness. When we surrender ourselves to whatever emotion or sensation needs to be experienced in a healthy and empowering way, we open ourselves to the process of transformation. We can allow the power of the emotion to move through us, and to eventually unwind from our systems, leaving us with a glimmer of insight, a revelation, or a sense of living more in our skin than we did before. How can you call upon your own inherent nature as the alchemist in this powerful time?

We are talking about Scorpio here, so the primal, erotic self must certainly be mentioned. This part of ourselves has for too long been relegated to the shadows, and so often in an unhealthy way. Scorpionic energy is an invitation to embrace the passionate, divine feminine side of ourselves, embodying this energy healthily and empoweringly. This isn’t about pleasing others, but about truly knowing what we need to be fulfilled in a sensual way. Not that our partners can’t be involved, of course! But we as women claiming our sexuality as our own, as a gift to experience and a gift to celebrate with our beloved, is revolutionary. Entering into and trusting this space of primal energy and vulnerability is an important part of this reclamation of the spirit and the self. And this process, too, might unlock more awareness than we can anticipate!

Kali, one of my favorite Scorpionic deities, is generally seen naked, clothed only in a necklace of severed heads and a skirt of severed arms. Tongue sticking out to lick up demon blood, she is truly a sight for sore eyes! Yet she is the primal, raw, empowered version of the divine feminine, erupting from Durga’s third eye center when she needs it most. Kali’s ferocity seems to shock those who aren’t used to her intense ways, but she’s also as soft and loving as she is ferocious…you just have to get her on the right day! When we call on her to guide us into the dark, she answers, serving as a beacon of steadiness even when our hearts feel like they might collapse under the pressure of exploring the shadow. Yet she reminds us that rather than carrying around dead energy, stories that no longer serve, and heaviness in our hearts, we can choose to move through what once limited us, letting go of all ideas and concepts of who we thought we were, instead making space for what was there all along: our innermost nature of wisdom, truth, and unconditional love.  

The need for truth, for raw and real honesty no matter what, is nigh. What unfinished business is calling you toward it, inviting you into the shadow to investigate, reveal, and alchemize? What kind(s) of ritual might serve you best during this transformative time? Which ancestors or guides might you call upon? Trust yourself and your own inherent capacity to embody the being you came here to be. You are always supported!