Thursday, July 07, 2005


The sun is in Cancer and the moon is in Leo. When the moon is brand-new, as it is tonight, we tend inward. Gazing within during a Leo moon calls to mind the tarot card called Strength, traditionally pictured as a woman stroking a lion. The idea is one of inner strength. Since the sun is in Cancer, that most maternal of signs, we can ask ourselves about the relationship between mothers, lions, and strength. Here is one story:

At the solstice two weeks ago, when the Sun entered Cancer, a remarkable tale about nurture came out of Africa. It is a reminder, perhaps, of how fierce Cancer must sometimes be. A 12-year-old Ethiopian girl was kidnapped, then beaten, by seven men trying to force her into a marriage she didn’t want. That’s not unusual; a majority of Ethiopian marriages begin this way. Yet surely the Moon Goddess had a hand in what happened next. Three lions appeared. Fierce lions. They chased off the men. They guarded the girl for half a day until she was found by family and police. "Like a miracle," said a local police sergeant. "They just left her like a gift," he continued, "and went back into the forest."

(Dana Gerhardt, from Mooncircles)

Tonight my women's moon circle constructed an altar on a low table decked with an orange silk scarf, stone lions, stuffed-animal lions, Strength chosen from various decks, a crystal, a Goddess-rosary, cedar smudge-stick, a statue of the moon Goddess as maiden, and, at its center, a candle burning in a red glass bowl. Our intention was to call on leonine inner strength as a response to this morning's bombings in London. We want our leaders to pause, to breathe, to use the space created by that breath to imagine a different kind of response, one grounded in Strength rather than brute and brutal power. We sat around the altar holding hands, and we breathed together, holding our breath on the inhalation, creating space in our bodies and energy fields, and exhaling to speak 0ur wishes for a different response to terror. What response promotes peace, wisdom, compassion, foresight, deeper understanding, joy? We chanted to Tara, bodhisattva of compassion, improvising harmonies, singing into silence. Thus we conspired and prayed, honoring and giving voice to the ferocity of the Mother, the Goddess as lioness.

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