I’m so moved and saddened by the lives taken in Ghost Ship fire Friday night. When I first heard the story, I understood exactly what it was, because myself and many of my friends have attended gatherings like these many times around the Bay Area. They are exuberant, liberating, creative, inspiring and energizing events for the underground artistic community. To me, they are the heartbeat of the Bay Area, and communities everywhere. I’ve personally been inspired musically by attending these events.
But I wasn’t ready to start seeing the faces and hearing the back stories of the people that perished. I feel rocked to my core this morning; helpless and grieving for the young lives lost. To me, the artists, writers, performers and musicians of this world are hugely important and VITAL – especially as the world is becoming more conservative and protectionist. The world desperately needed to hear more from these brilliant kids, who had their whole lives in front of them.
You can read some of their stories here.
What can be said? What can be done other than to grieve? There is something each of us can do for the ones we lost. We can speak up. We can get disciplined and get to work. We can express ourselves. And we can DO OUR ART. I’m picking up my guitar today in honor of them.
Article by Danielle Prohom Olson:
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about witches. Not just because top ten lists of hot tv witches and sexy Halloween selfies currently swamp my social media feeds, but because my tables and shelves are currently so laden with herbs, plants, berries, phials and bottles that if an inquisitor of old were to enter, I’d find myself quickly tied to the stake. And while this worry seems remote, it’s a plain fact that women in third world countries are still hunted down, tortured and set aflame for the crime of witchcraft.
Sure, the witch is emerging from the world of taboo and shadows onto the world stage. Sure, she’s being touted as a feminist icon – a “powerful feminine model free from male influence or ownership”. But I’m not so sure. Because how can it be that the witch, once associated with everything transgressive and beyond the realm of normative society, is now so trendy and positively mainstream? Is it really a feminist step forward that W magazine declared Fall 2016, the season of the witch, replete with pouting models in gothic dresses, chains and black lace underwear?
And while many believe the witch of the middle ages was a spectre created by the church, I believe she was real. Yes, many put to death were just ordinary women who practiced folk magic, herbalism and midwifery, but many were powerful spiritual leaders of the indigenous, animist faith traditions of the old world – and their magic was earned through a lifetime of spiritual discipline spent in communion with nature.
And I worry her make-over into nubile fashion siren not only obscures this history, but her true relevance as a role model to us today. One that if resurrected, would be just as subversive and dangerous to the powers that be.
Today the witches tall black hat and burbling cauldron have become icons of Halloween kitsch, but they were once hallowed items of the holy women and priestesses, the healers and herbalists, the oracles and diviners of old Europe. Their conical hats and cauldrons date back to the 2nd Millennium BCE and were connected to the female shamans of the Indo-European peoples.
Their cauldrons (as well as crystal balls and magical wands) were still being used thousands of years later by the “witte wieven” or wise women, the sibyls, seers, and female druids of Celtic, Anglo Saxon, and Norse traditions of the middle ages.
According to Max Dashu, author Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, these “dream-readers, sooth-sayers, and herb-chanters, fire-gazers in Switzerland, or water-gazers in France and Spain”, practiced “all the elements of shamanism: chants, prophecy, healing, weather-making powers, and shapeshifting”. Legends tell of their sacred cauldrons in which “they simmered mysterious herbs to produce a drink of immortality and resurrection.”
These women were the guardians of the earth, the protectors of the sacred groves, lakes and springs, from which they derived their magical power. And until the middle ages they were highly respected, sought out and consulted for healing and divination by common folk, nobility and clergy alike.
But according to Barbara G. Walker , it was during the 14th century that the Catholic Church, during its relentless expansion and appropriation of sacred land, began to distinguish between witchcraft, perpetrated by women, and sorcery, a legitimate pursuit of men.
While books on sorcery were condoned well into the enlightenment, female witches in contrast were said to “magically injure crops, domestic animals, and people, and in general “outrage the Divine Majesty”. And thus their religious practices (as described by Dashu) of “sitting-out” on the land “gazing, listening, gathering wisdom” were extinguished by a priesthood that sought to bring nature, magic, women (not to mention their land and property) under male control.
These women did not go easily, or take usurpation of their holy sites and old ways lightly – it took the Church hundreds of years to hunt them down. And so it seems likely, at least to me, that the stereotype of vengeful witch, casting curses and blighting crop, was real, at least for the church. She must have been the original eco-feminist, fighting the patriarchy with one of most powerful tools at her disposal, magic. And the Church took it pretty seriously indeed.”
Fall Equinox at 7:21am, Sun into Libra.
MERCURY DIRECT at 10:31pm last night, 9/21.
Libra: Love, Beauty, Harmony, Socializing, Parties, Negotiation, Friendship, Teamwork.
Welcome to Fall! The Autumnal Equinox marks the midpoint between Summer and Winter. Today we have equal day and equal night. Libra is about balance, harmony, justice, and partnerships of ALL kinds.
Today is referred to as the festival of Mabon. This is the second harvest festival of the year, the first being Lammas (August 1st) and the third being Halloween (October 31st). Whatever was started in March this year is now coming to fruition. It's harvest season, where we see the result of our labors. We reap what we have sown. It's the time to take stock of where you are in your life right now - what you've brought forth and what you still want to manifest.
Today we feel the turn of the wheel of the year. Standing in the middle of equal daylight to equal nighttime, we look at BALANCE. Are we out of balance in our lives? Are we taking care of ourselves? Are we working hard AND making time for our dreams and having fun too?
Mabon also relates to mid life; to our 40's and 50's when we have accomplished some things, but also might harbor regrets. The Equinox is a time to give yourself credit for all the wonderful things you've created and the positive difference you've made in the world. Honor your courage! And how much smarter you are now than when you were young.
This holiday was pivotal in ancient times, since a good final harvest was crucial to surviving the winter months ahead. Relationships are reassessed so we can decide who is best to take into the harsh winter with us. If someone is draining your energy, now might be the time to let go.
The Sun, Jupiter, and Venus are now in Libra, which is BIG energy. The Sun and Jupiter are the largest bodies in our system and radiate expanding, positive light. Jupiter will be in Libra for the next couple of years, giving new insights into the themes of relationships, teamwork, creativity, beauty and luxury.
Jupiter rules our beliefs, faith and truth. Now that Jupiter is in Libra, we will redefine our beliefs about partnerships. There will be a renewed interest to connect, make peace, and find balance. Meanwhile, Venus (ruler of Libra) is moving into Scorpio tomorrow giving a lot of intensity to the current themes in our lives. Avoid socially awkward situations and causing drama.
Aries: The Ram
Partnerships of all kinds will be significant in your life over the next month (and year, with Jupiter's influence). The Sun, Jupiter, and Venus are in your House of Partnerships, bringing a new shift in relationships, faith, healing, expansion and balance.
Taurus: The Bull
Your ruler, Venus, is about to enter Scorpio, the sign of relationships and your polarity. Tomorrow begins a foreshadowing of the lessons this season will have for you. They aren't bad or good, just themes for you to work on. You've had some tests in your House of Work, Health and Habits over the last year, but with the entrance of the Sun and Jupiter into this area, you should be able to gain some new traction in daily life matters.
Gemini: The Twins
The Sun is in Libra, putting focus on your Romantic and Creative Life. Jupiter is there for the next year giving you huge opportunities to attract romance! Be sure and get out and socialize a lot. Good luck also comes in the form of creative partnerships. Your ruler, Mercury just went Direct last night too, so you are in forward motion again.
Cancer: The Crab
Cancerians love their home environments, so you will be thrilled to know that the skies are sending you ample opportunities for home improvement and social gatherings.
The next year also supports you healing your ties with your family of origin, and increasing your self knowledge and faith. It's a time of digging into your roots and healing your soul.
Leo: The Lion
The Sun and Jupiter are shining in your House of Learning and Communication this month. You will love this because your self expression will get a huge boost. Speaking, creativity, visibility in your community will all be expanded for the next two years. Meanwhile Saturn brings maturity to how you communicate with important relationships and your neighborhood pals:)
Virgo: The Virgin
Your ruler, Mercury, is giving you a last birthday present by turning Direct in your sign last night, AND at an auspicious degree! New, positive, forward motion has begun. Meanwhile the Sun and Jupiter are in Libra, and the focus shifts to your financial world. For the next year ask yourself, what do you value most? And what is the truth about what you value?
Libra: The Scales
It's birthday season! The Sun and Jupiter have entered Libra and the spotlight is on YOU! It's the rebirth of your identity for the next solar year. Who are you now? It's time to set goals for where you'd like to be this time next year. Your ruler, Venus, is moving into Scorpio tomorrow giving some intensity to your relationships.
Scorpio: The Scorpion
All the action is in your 12th House of spiritual strength, solitude, artistry, universal connection and the soul. It's the place you retreat to for healing, safety and security. The inner planets will be visiting you there over the next month to assist you in clearing cobwebs and brightening up the place. You ruler, Mars is traveling with Saturn through Sagittarius, bringing focus to your TRUTH and faith.
Sagittarius: The Archer
Had some romance lately? Uranus (sudden events) and Jupiter (good fortune) are hosting a party in your House of Romance right now. Jupiter enlarges your social circle and Uranus brings unusual and revolutionary people into your love life and creative work! Jupiter is also your ruler, so wherever he travels brings focus. The theme of your life for the next year is a reality check with your personal truth, and an expansion of your friendships and social network.
Capricorn: The Goat
Saturn, your ruler, is still moving through Sagittarius in your House of Spiritual Connection. What's the reality of your ambitions, and are you including your spiritual life in your plans? Do they still suit you and do you need a change? Saturn isn't big on changes, but DOES support your climb up the steep mountain to reach your goal. Think about what that goal is and shift it if necessary. Remember you have Pluto in your sign right now, and that's a VERY powerful ally. He brings up toxic energy to be purged and healed. Also, you will see good luck regarding career and public image over the next two years.
Aquarius: The Water Bearer
The Sun and Jupiter are traversing your House of Life Perspective right now. The next two years is a time of education, training and travel. The transit of Jupiter in Libra expands your mind, faith, self knowledge and personal philosophy. Your ruler, Uranus, is still in Aries which lights a fire under you, and brings confidence, optimism and ambition to your peaceful and humanitarian perspectives.
Pisces: The Fishes
All the action is in your 8th house for the next year! This area of your chart represents Other People's Money - i.e. banks, loans, real estate, rentals and credit. Don't overspend. Kinda boring stuff for artistic Pisces, but with the Sun and Jupiter there it's a great time to negotiate with authority and solidify your relationships. You can attract helpful people to your life right now. This house also relates to SEX, so it could be a hot and steamy year for you!