Into the Wilderness with Chiron and Building Bridges with Elatus
This guest article was written by Alison McGabe who lives in the UK. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contact her.
The essence of this journey begins a week before our Handfasting at Beltane when I experience for the first time a powerful form of healing with shells with my awesome friend Michele. In this healing there is a clear message that “it doesn’t matter what is happening at the surface of the ocean, its what’s happening in the deep currents that counts.” I have entered the healing with a wave of grief about the upcoming election in Britain but actually if I consider the teaching I have lived under the Apartheid regime in South Africa as a child and both Labour and Conservative in this country. It is financiers who really hold the power and darker forces within them but beyond that there are the winds of change even they cannot tamper with as civilisations rise and fall. These are the deep currents of change which are active now as earth enters the photon belt. In the shell healing my first African maid Violet appears; in my sensory memory it is her skin I remember and her smell of carbolic soap and her I bonded with as my mum returned to work just after I was born and Violet who adored me carried me with her all day on her back. She had no children of her own and fell in love with me. She was murdered by her boyfriend when I was 18 months old after she came on holiday with us to and he became very jealous. Here again a deep wound has erupted, a leaden guilt carried for so many years.
For our honeymoon we are moving our small yacht Simba from Whitehaven in Cumbria to the sacred Isle of Anglesey in Wales, which was the last stronghold of the Druids and has many wonderful Neolithic sites. I want to take this opportunity to ask the sea for a further teaching about the way it works and what teachings it has for humanity right now. Also my feeling is that this is to be a Chiron journey into “wilderness of spirit” which is a most fascinating section of astrologer Melanie Reinhard’s book about Chiron.
This week (20th May) and on 3rd July there is a very rare opposition of Chiron with another centaur body Elatus. These two asteroids orbit in the same field as each other and whilst the sabian symbol for the discovery point of Chiron is ‘A pot of gold at the end of a rainbow’ and is often connected with a ‘rainbow bridge’, the symbol for the discovery of Elatus in 1999 is “a cantilever bridge over a deep gorge“, in other words a bridge which must be intentionally built. ‘Building bridges’ is very much connected with guilt and forgiveness in our language. It feels these Centaurs will be guiding our journey.
Before we hit the high seas on this adventure there is one very important bit of information to share. In the 1940’s a brilliant but little know scientist Viktor Schauberger discovered that water moves in the same way as planetary bodies. Firstly it spins on its axis (rotates) and it also has an orbiting motion as water tends to travel in spiralling arcs pulled by gravity.
We leave Whitehaven, Cumbria 3 days later than expected as the wind is very high. Sleeping on a boat on dry dock we are well removed from our comfort zone. “Wilderness of Spirit” is a state of mind which anybody anywhere can attain however this first step of being outside our comfort zone in the Saturn state seems important to trigger the process. Chiron and Elatus cross the orbit of Saturn first in their strange wanderings across the heavens and Saturn represents both restrictions and obstacles but it also sharpens our survival instincts. My favourite Saturn phrase is ‘necessity is the Mother of all good fortune’.
Finally there is a drop in the wind and the huge crane lifts Simba into the harbour. I clap with glee as she touches water after so many months. Last summer when she was dragged out leaking I felt a huge sense of grief seeing her lifted out as if all my hopes and dreams were going with her. Jay spends a few minutes trying to get the spluttering engine to start and my heart is in my mouth, but finally she comes to life.
We set off at dawn the next morning with some trepidation. The engine is not great and the toilet is broken but we both feel that it is time to depart these fair shores of England for the Isle of Man. The sea state is terrible throwing the boat up and down and it’s like being in a washing machine. It is a confused sea state and the reality of spending the next 11 hours in it is just dawning on me! Amidst waves of nausea I have plenty of time to contemplate if this is how the new photon belt is, as nature tends to follow her own line of creation. As a solar flare hits earth and the electro magnetic field is blasted with photons it may be like being in this confused sea state.
In the distance the Isle of Man looks like a magical island we are moving like a slow dot towards with a big mountain in its centre. I recall the story from the Mabinogion the ancient Welsh folklore of Mannanan whom this island is name for. In this story the goddess Ariahnrod has her virginity tested to be the foot holder of King Math and as always with Celtic goddesses in matters of chastity fails the test, unexpectedly producing two sons Mannanan and Llew (light) . In her anger she rejects both of them and returns to her home in the Corona Borealis stars. Mannanan who is a Fish Man swims to this small island to make it his home. In the Mabonogion the ancient faery peoples appear to live simultaneously in the realm of the stars, the inner earth and when conditions allow them in the third dimension with humans. These faery people are not small with wings, rather they are tall and slim and are often reported as having violet eyes. They are called the Tuatha De Danann.
Finally after 11 hours we arrive at Douglas port with aches in my body I didn’t know were possible. Parts of the journey have been terrifying and I feel shaken but also exuberant that we made it. The Isle of Man is independent from Britain and it has a certain lightness about it, free from the greater political power struggles in the world. The people are proud of their island and very friendly, no doubt curious about these two tall woman wind swept in from the sea on their small, old yacht. We have both bonded with Simba deeply and are mightily impressed at how she managed the rough crossing and most importantly the engine has worked well. The symbol of Man is a striking three legs and these are said to be the three legs if Mannanan who could never fall. The island has a wonderfully quaint transport system of steam and old electric trains and horse drawn trams along the promenade. The first day we travel on the cranking electric train up the mountain we could see in the distance from sea called Snaefell. On a clear day it is said you can see the Seven Kingdoms of England (east), Scotland (north), Wales (south) and Ireland (west) and then heaven and earth. It is a howling gale when we reach the top with the swirling mists of Mannanan flying around us.
On the second day we visit the Mannanan museum which is an intriguing history of the island beginning with the Celtic peoples. A story describes how at Samhain winter solstice a maiden woman Brigit and a crone Mona appear from a crack in the earth. Described as ancestors they could equally be the Goddess of these islands. Brigit and Mona are both very ancient Goddesses, Mona often depicted as the sacred cow with many similarities to Hathor. Mona is very close to my heart and indeed we feel that it is her who has called us to Angelsey our next destination. A depiction of a female rider of a horse on a tombstone also catches my eye as there is one close to Whitehaven in the Roman museum depicting Rhiannon also known as Epona the Horse Goddess.
The boat moored next to us we discover is also a crew of woman sailors, two from America who have moved to live here. One of their number is a Manx meaning from the island. She shouts out as they sail off for the day that there is a very good folk singer called Vin Garbutt on tonight in Peel across the island. Following our visit to Mannanan’s house in Peel we wonder the streets looking for the small gift shop where tickets to the concert can be purchased. Syncronistically the only person we ask where the shop is IS Vin Garbutt walking along the cobbled streets. Later at the concert we find out Vin is not a Manx folk singer but from Teeside calling himself a troubadour, a singer of sacred songs. There is one song that stands out from all the others because it is so much about the Chiron journey and by the end of it the entire audience are in tears. The song is called Silver and Gold and it concerns a coal miner who at age 50 years (his Chiron return) lost his job with thousands of others as the mines closed. Whole communities collapsed and poverty engulfed people. This miner however followed his intuition and signed up in a local dressmaking class as the only man. One can imagine the kind of courage this took for a working class man used to being in a male environment. This is a very important Chiron theme, the crossing of gender identity boundaries. It turned out he was very talented at dressmaking and made his daughter’s wedding dress. Others noticed how beautiful it was and he subsequently became a very successful wedding dress designer. Silver of course is the metal of the Moon and Gold the Sun and the song also describes a beautiful alchemical journey from working with metal threads in the sooty mines to weaving them into dresses.
The wind is high and against our passage south and I’m vaguely wondering if there is something else for us to discover when I am amazed to find in a book I’m reading about Angelsey megalithic sites that there is a burial chamber on the Isle of Man. We hop on the steam train and intuitively get off at Glen Mona stop.
Glen Mona we notice with great excitement feels like a very sacred place with beautiful rivers, two fjord crossings which to the Celts are places one enters the otherworld. The stones are in a stunning location overlooking the sea and mountains.
There is a forecourt where the ceremony would have started and then the priests and priestesses would have entered the portal into the once covered chambers. Now exposed to the elements there are clearly 5 chambers one would have passed through in this rebirthing ceremony. The site is on an exact north south alignment and would align to the winter solstice but perhaps too like Bryn Celli Dhu on Angelsey and Maes Howe in the Orkneys also to the 8 year cycle of Venus where she forms a 5 pointed star as she journeys behind the sun in her ancient cycle of rebirth.
Conditions are perfect to depart to Angelsey the next day and we set off feeling a renewed confidence in Simba. The wind coming from the north is perfect and the waves are much more settled today. Its freezing cold despite the seven layers of clothes we have on but the sea is very hypnotic and I have trouble staying awake jolted every now again by a big wave or a splash in the face. For many hours the Irish sea seems strangely devoid of life and there is no view of land. The seas have been badly managed over the years and the great shoals of fish have all but gone now.
It was someway off the coast of Angelsey that the power of the outgoing tide starts to make itself known. Simba slows to 3 knots an hour even with the wind still in our favour and the engine now on and we make slow progress towards Puffin Island where will enter the narrow Menai straits between mainland Wales and Angelsey. When we enter the straits it is like a labyrinth of buoys and we can feel the cross currents beneath us and when I take the tiller for just a moment the boat starts to spin around. The Druids used this island as their last stronghold against the invading Romans with these dangerous tides and the shifting sands and rocks beneath and just as I am wondering how they managed to navigate it before buoy markers and navigation equipment a cormorant moves into the exact lines of passage twice and flies before us along the safe line to travel.
The sea feels rich with life here, too dangerous for fishing boats to plunder. A flock of Artic Terns cries exuberantly and dives for fish and a dolphin swims close by. However we are bruised from head to toe and battered by the cold and wind and after 14 hours and I’m feeling a kind of exhaustion I’ve never known. We moor up outside the Gazelle Hotel and have to row to shore in the dingy which feels like an epic journey. The wind is high and the sea choppy and the power of the rushing tide is very powerful and my nerves feel they are failing me. In the dingy I feel a compulsive need to moan even though I know we are in the same state. I feel as though the stoicism I generally carry has cracked to reveal a vulnerable Elatus saboteur beneath. All the failures of the crossing pile in on my mind awakening old wounds of helplessness. We decide to row the dingy straight to shore and walk along the beach to the Gazelle Hotel but as soon as I climb out the dingy I’m up to my knees in mud. Desperate to get on land I lurch forward but I can’t get my boots out and feel panic rising that I’m in sinking sand. I somehow release my legs from the mud and somersault back into the dingy bringing piles of stinky mud with me. Now I’ve really got something to complain about I let loose and feel my usual calm, controlled self has all but disintegrated.
Finally we enter the hotel looking like two crazy women with our multiple layers but they seem non plussed probably used to sailors arriving by sea. We eat a couple of packets of peanuts like a cave women. The tide is turning so this is a flash visit. Slavering over the menu in the pub but having to be content with peanuts is the final straw and I climb into bed back on board weeping . I fall asleep dreaming that a secret agency such as the Illuminati are trying to kill us but there is a dolphin helping us.
In the morning I awake and am soothed by my partner sharing with me that even Ellen McCartney who sailed around the world single handedly said she cried and felt afraid most of the time, but it spurred her on. My admiration for this brave woman has grown in the last week and I start to see the accomplishments I have made rather than the failures. I cry and cry about Violet my long lost African mother and somehow seem to eventually reach a place of peace that I am not to blame for her death because she loved me. It feels as though this African Mother of a little white baby is here so strong in my heart. I feel a breakthrough to the second orbital path of Chiron and Elatus of Uranus – Freedom.
I always think if you want to know what the meaning of a transit is see what happens on that day. Due to numerous delays we arrived in Angelsey on 20th May the first exact opposition if Chiron and Elatus on the Pisces Virgo axis. The second opposition is on the 3rd July and this seems a time we can discover how the guilt we carry stops us being the powerful, good beings we can be and turns our wounds to compassion for others and our gifts alchemise to higher levels. Let us weave a new story for the world from threads of silver and hold.
On the last evening we called the sacred Animals of Britain Cernunnos the Stag, Epona the White Horse, Mona the Cow and Artor the Bear and throw 2 small pieces of quartz from near the Chambered Tomb on the Isle of Man into the sea asking for peace and equality in the world. On entering the cabin Sam Cooke is croonin Change is Coming and we have another good cry, but our faith feels strong in the future. It feels like a very significant song.
On our return home we watch the Eurovision Song Contest the theme of which is ‘Building Bridges’ and Ireland votes a big YES for gay marriage which is a huge change in consciousness and shedding of religious guilt. Rainbows fill Dublin with joy.
I do Goddess Asteroid and Centaur charts and also this summer in July we are having a Cowgirl sleep out with Country and Western music, storytelling, astrology and horse healing in West Yorkshire. We will be sleeping in teepee under the stars and exploring our dreams as young girls. We have other Chiron days coming up in the autumn which are for men and women and a creative writing day with the horses called ‘Entering the Dreamtime’ in June. Please contact me at email@example.com for more information about chart readings which cost £65 for approximately an hour cd and for more information about the workshops visit www.inharmonywithhorses.co.uk.
We are also doing a whale watching and sacred sites tour of Tenerife and La Gomera in September 2015 on board a luxury yacht details of which are on the above web site.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbO2_077ixs Sam Cooke Change Is Coming
http://www.yourepeat.com/watch/?v=VCRdVUXBHvs A version of Silver and Gold…..A very Chiron song