It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.
~ Sir Edmund Hillary
For this week of the New Scorpio Moon, we receive a mixed blessing from the Tarot. Still, with great respect, let us welcome the insights of the Nine of Wands.
In the Tarot, the Nines traditionally are the culmination of the suit and show how the stories inherent in it may be resolved.
Since the Wands are ruled by the element of Fire and pertain to action, energy, and power, the ending comes as a threshold where dynamic activity gives way to exhaustion.
Here, we can see that this figure has fought his way through difficulty and bears the scars of his struggle. He has prevailed in adversity, but leaning on his staff, he appears tired and bruised.
Notice his defensive posture and his wary expression. He looks over his shoulder as if with the expectation that the fight may only have paused, and not yet be over. His bandaged head hints to us that his wounds may be not only physical, but mental or emotional.
Although there is a line of Wands that has his back, and he has evidently won the day, his expression is that of someone who fully expects more battles yet to come.
Because of the two parallel horizontal lines near his feet, this is an example of how the deck’s artist, Pamela Colman Smith, sometimes places the characters in the cards on what appears to be a theater stage. Behind him, the Wands even resemble a curtain. Is it possible that this is a drama enacted for our benefit, rather than a literal truth?
Thank You For Your Service
Every year on Nov. 11, we set aside a day to give thanks to the men and women who have served in the military.
Veteran’s Day is the official United States holiday that honors all who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It coincides with other similar holidays, such as Armistice Day (observed by New Zealand, France, Belgium, and Serbia) and Remembrance Day (most of the British Commonwealth countries).
It is timed to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I, which formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. In 1945, the United States expanded it to honor, not just those killed of WWI, but all the men and women, living and deceased, who have served their country in the military.
I am old enough to remember when every young man over 18 could expect to be drafted into military service, and would very likely be sent off to the brutal war in Vietnam.
Now, although all are required to register, military service in the U.S. is volunteer only. Nowadays, most people have little or no personal exposure to the women and men who put their health, their sanity, and their lives on the line in the Armed Forces.
Yet, anyone born after 1984 has seen America at war for at least half of his or her life. Anyone born in the last 13 years has never known a peacetime America. And one wonders if any of us ever will again.
Furthermore, as Washington Post reporter Philip Bump writes, “War today is distant, fought on our behalf…Young Americans have lived in a country at war for almost their whole lives, but they have to be reminded of it.”
As the daughter of a career Army officer, I have seen first hand the toll that deployment takes on soldiers and their families. Few can imagine what constant combat rotation for over a decade is doing to this tiny, nearly invisible segment of society, except that I live in North Carolina, which has the fourth largest active duty population in America.
On Veteran’s Day (and posthumously, on Memorial Day), we make a big deal of thanking our military for their service.
But despite the patriotic political rhetoric, the reality is that our men and women are coming home from unspeakable conditions in very rough shape, and with little help.
While it’s easy to occasionally shake hands and thank a vet for their service, the truth is that most of the time, few of us give them much thought.
So, their benefits are quietly cut, their follow-up care is bungled or ignored, they are made to jump through endless bureaucratic hoops to receive the support they’ve been promised, and they are even being completely betrayed. Betrayed in horrific ways.
There is no peace in the Nine of Wands, no disarmament, and no victory that brings resolution. This is the soldier with PTSD, who is forever on edge. This is our country, now geared to be permanently at war.
With this card, let us remember the sacrifices some in our society are making every day. Thanking them requires action, not just lip service.
Burn Brightly or Burnout
On a happier note, this New Moon in Scorpio is an opportunity to uncover whatever may be sapping your energy, so that you can now clear it away and start fresh.
But pay attention to the Nine’s potential for overload. “People and events that conspire to push too hard and too fast can create chaos and ruin a great deal of careful planning,” astrologer Diane Lang notes. “Tenacity and careful attention to detail are the keys to getting off to a fresh start on this Scorpio New Moon… There is no need to run over anyone in order to succeed, something that fiercely loyal Scorpio understands quite well.
This week, I would suggest you consider carefully how you compete in your world. Who or what do you strive against?
How do you accept and celebrate your victories? How do you concede to others when it is clear you must?
What drama is being enacted to influence you? Is it true that you must always be vigilant and never lower your guard? What does this attitude of defensiveness and fear cost you?
Beware of burnout and our culture’s veneration of drama, struggle, and combat. What alternative ending to the suit of Fire, change, magic, and passion would you prefer to create instead?
May peace and safety prevail. May our inner and outer wars be resolved.