Originally published on Heretical Oracles under the pen name Artemis.
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.” – C.G. Jung
Effective Date- August 30th- December 9th 2016 (Shadow until February 23rd, 2017)
Yay, we made it to The Heights with Saturn turning direct. And now that we are at the top of the mountain, it is time to make our descent. Before I sat down to write this article, I went to visit some old co-workers at one of my favorite spots in Denver (The Mercury Cafe, check it out). One of my friends ushered me into the back to show me something special, and she was giddy with excitement as she pulled out her new knife from her bag. It was shaped like a crescent moon, like Death’s scythe, and my mind immediately went to the goddess Ceres. Here she was, letting me know that everything we grow must also be reaped. It is time to reap again, my friends, the announcement has been made.
High Priestess. As we prepare to descend into the darkness of Autumn and Winter, we are dragged down by a particularly long Ceres Retrograde. Don’t go kicking and screaming, my friends, open your arms wide to this energy no matter how threatening it may be. You should have learned how to shake hands with your shadow side back at the split Capricorn/Saggo full moon. We are about to go on another adventure with our darker half, and this could mean a number of things for all of you. You will each have a unique way of dealing with this energy – a personal, intuitive way that is specific to your own path. What will be consistent is the push for all of us to dive deep in. Some of us have a healthier relationship with our shadow than others, so this period will be rougher on some of us than others. If you do not fight your shadow and only realize that it is a direct reflection of you, you can learn to USE it to cleanse and grow your “light” self as well.
So Ceres will be moving backward in the sky from August all the way until December, bringing back the shadow work of last late Summer / Autumn. When planets move into retrograde, it is almost like a re-working of the things you went through while it was progressing directly through the sky. Here is the reason we need to descend: The brighter a source of light, the darker the shadow. As Jung said, the closer a tree grows to heaven, the deeper into hell it’s roots must go. Everything works in cycles. Nothing can stop us; we are perpetual motion. We whirl and twirl and spiral through time, space, whatever it may be – on all levels – and we must work our way through old karma as it cycles back around.
“… there are shadows because there are hills.” – E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
The Star. We work through things, and then we come back and we re-work those things in a different way. You will notice you are going through a cycle when you receive symbols in your life that correlate to a past cycle. For example, last Ceres retrograde, golden apples were a very important symbol for what was going on in my life. They appeared in various ways during that period, and the fact that I recently saw golden apples in a significant way appear in my life, I know I am re-entering that cycle again – but in a new way (because I am a different person with new perspectives since that last cycle happened).
Ceres in Aries pushed us to stand up for our personal beliefs and to bring the torch of our inner enlightenment as a source of light for others. Ceres will now retrograde back into Aries so that we can make sure that we learn this important lesson. We must go deep down into the shadow realm again and retrieve the torch from the depths of Hell. What is the one thing, when you dig deeply into the material plane, that still casts an eternal light? What is the thing that inspires all (Aries) to learn, to push, to live at all? It is time to find it.
The 5 of Cups. Be careful, my friends, this could get rough. Make sure that you pace yourself and cleanse and check up on yourself often. As we dive deeper into the shadow realm, it is good to bring reminders of the light. Pick an anchor – be it yoga or rock climbing or a meditative practice. Choose something that grounds you and brings you physical strength, because when the mind starts going insane it is good to have a solidity in the body that holds us present. Listen to me because this part is very important; you must not let the “horrible” things that happen to you under this transit effect your outlook. You must keep your eye on the prize and keep hope alive (The Star) for this period is very important for our fine tuning. If we do not learn what the eternal flame at the core is that keeps all of us going, even in the darkest winter, the light and happiness we manifest in our lives will be meaningless.
These trials that we face are so that we know exactly what the Truth even IS when we receive it. Everything that spins around the core is madness – arranged in various ways depending on what filter (programming) we have running at the time. If we can find the core, the rotating cycles wont matter. Don’t cry over the shadows. They are not solid. They are not real. They are temporary and change as the light fluctuates. The closer we get to the light, the larger they will get – so beware. When you confront these shadows, process them in a non-judgmental way. The harder you are on yourself, the worse this can get. Perceive, my friends, perceive and take a lot of fucking notes and let the shadows trickle in slowly, chew on them a bit, and then trickle in some more. And remember, the more you learn here, the greater your light will grow.
“This explosive psychological ‘sneaking’ occurs when a woman suppresses large parts of self into the shadows of the psyche. In the view of analytical psychology, the repression of both negative and positive instincts, urges, and feelings into the unconscious causes them to inhabit a shadow realm. While the ego and superego attempt to continue to censor the shadow impulses, the very pressure that repression causes is rather like a bubble in the sidewall of a tire. Eventually, as the tire revolves and heats up, the pressure behind the bubble intensifies, causing it to explode outward, releasing all the inner content.
The shadow acts similarly We find that by opening the door to the shadow realm a little, and letting out various elements a few at a time, relating to them, finding use for them, negotiating, we can reduce being surprised by shadow sneak attacks and unexpected explosions.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype