in Cancer 16°21'
3:07 pm PT
Bodies as Vessels, Change Like Water
by Sarah Faith Gottesdiener
“I am a body: a living creature whose identity shifts like water, held in this changing vessel.”
— Rachel Blodgett of Serpent and Bow
“The human body is both an indicator of change and a vessel of memory.”
— Rachel Havrelock
The first Full Moon of the year rises on the first Friday of the year. In the sign of tropical Cancer, this is a Moon that will amplify all that is cared for and highlight what has been neglected. It’s a flashlight highlighting our various bodies: bodies that keep score, bodies that remember, pain bodies, dreaming bodies, bodies of creation, and collective bodies. This Full Moon will nourish all radical, positive changes that are en route—perhaps your body is the compass that moves you in a different direction, perhaps the solutions are simple and your body holds all the answers. In the Golden Dawn tradition, the Tarot card that correlates with Cancer is the Chariot, which is also our collective Tarot Card of the Year.
The Chariot is an illustration of the success that comes from knowing our strengths and knowing which resources and tools to use. This is an excellent time to consciously consider what you’re ready to heal and which modalities support that process. All modalities are a collaboration, our spiritual practice and tools included. If we aren’t using them mindfully, for generative purposes, then it may be time to put them down. If we do not know where they came from, or the lineage they came from, does it make sense to use them? If we don’t understand or agree with the cosmologies of the cultures from where they came, might it be time to leave them behind? The tools do not use us; we use them with the understanding they are on loan from the Universe. The tools do not use us, because we created them. All spirituality is made up by humans, and as we grow, our practices must as well.
Many of our spiritual practices include interpretations that decide, determine, or divine our decisions. They also reflect the way the interpreter sees the world. An interpretation is an explanation, an idea, a transmission, a longing, a search for meaning and a safe place to land. If your interpretation is a retread—if it separates or flattens, rather than connects or expands—perhaps it is time to get curious about it. If your interpretation does not spark imagination; create intimacy, movement, or excitement; provide a clear reflection when there is murkiness*; hold you in your grief; or isn’t a nudge that confronts certain biases: it might behoove you to consider one that does.
Do you really want to keep repeating certain stagnant patterns in the ever-changing vessel of your world?
What safety are you willing to sacrifice for long-held desires and dreams?
Where are you flowing, floating, feeling toward?
Myths make meaning, so be careful not to trap yourself in stories you didn’t author and narratives that don’t describe your reality. Myths must reflect the future we want, not one that was decided by empires thousands of years ago, or by our society hundreds of years ago, or by our family decades ago. Trauma traps meaning and stories. It also freezes emotions tight in our bodies. Trauma makes our brain loop: It imprisons our nervous systems, changes our vocabularies, and narrows our perspectives. Is this why we’ve been taught and tend to retell old myths of violence, colonization, and greed? Stories begat from empires—from the binary, from the need to control—only perpetuate more of the same. Stories about yourself that came from a cruel, sharp place—that weren’t even written by you—are actually lies. You don’t have to believe them. This year, change your story and create new interpretations and myths to help set yourself free. Channel these throughout all your bodies, until they vibrate with their own resonant energy.
The Chariot is an analogy for true alignment, the kind that is pure magic. Have you ever experienced long-term, committed, intimate relationships? Have you tried to create anything of value for a sustained period of time under chaotic, unknown circumstances? Have you ever had a vision, tapped into Source, and brought that murmur into form calmly and confidently? Even when everyone doubted you? These are the kinds of experiences the Chariot brings us. Practice spinning tension into momentum. Notice the paradoxes that propel wisdom forward. Focus your intention, will, energy, emotions, and actions on the same plane, united. Now, keep this focus while in movement. Keep moving forward while staying aligned, even through disruptions, distractions, and all kinds of derailments.
The Chariot and the Moon have the ability to express and hold multitudes in one container. These archetypes both have the capability to hold and experience contrasts simultaneously so that they transform.
So do you.
This is the year to go beyond your comfort zone. Go beyond what you think is possible for yourself. Go beyond societal rules about what you “should” do. Go beyond superficial criticisms and actually do something about the issues. The more you follow your intuition, the better. The Charioteer packs light and knows which way to go.
— To read the rest of Sarah Faith Gottesdiener's Full Moon in Cancer essay, along with her exclusive Full Moon Suggested Activities, order a copy of the 2023 Many Moons Lunar Planner!