Sunbathing at the Little River, photo by John Rottet

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Ace of SwordsDark of the Moon

New beginnings

Dark of the Moon

Plant a seed tonight

Dark of the Moon

What we envision

Will come to be
By the Full Moon’s light.

With the return of a card that more often than not chooses New Moons for its visits, this week we welcome the Ace of Swords.

New Moons bring us new beginnings, as do the Aces in the Tarot. Each Ace depicts the essential energy of its suit. Since the Swords relate to the intellect, ideas, choices, and the mind, the Ace of Swords points to new possibilities in the realms of communication, understanding, and judgment.

I love that this is the card that appeared for the first day of school in our part of North Carolina. This morning, even from deep in our woods, I could hear the rumble of the big yellow buses, picking up all those children for their first day in a new classroom.

With backpacks ready to receive stacks of new books, laden with new tablets, notebooks, and pencils, the Ace of Swords is a guidepost for how important the skillful sharpening of their minds will be, if we are to someday see a peaceful and fair future for all.

There could hardly be a more auspicious symbol for their new beginnings as students than this Ace. May their every teacher be committed to the vision of the Ace of Swords: teaching discernment and how to think, not just how to regurgitate lessons or pass tests.

The Ace and the New Moon

I also find it very magical that this Ace returns again for a New Moon, this time in the sign of Virgo. While Virgo is an Earth sign, it is also associated with taking painstaking care, thorough organizing, and insists on the highest standards for excellence. Right up the Ace of Swords’ alley.

However, although Virgo New Moons are characteristically peaceful times for starting new health regimens, or making new plans for the coming change of seasons, this one is unusually intense.

This week, we are enduring what Lorna Bevan calls “one of the most intense times of 2014, hugely challenging for some or bringing radical breakthroughs for others, depending on how you personally refract the planetary rays.

“In the last few days three large Solar M flares have disrupted the Earth’s magnetic field, pumping up emotional and physical instability and volatility. Saturn is under siege by Mars — the Master Teacher attempting to restrain the ruthless Scorpio warrior in you, to teach you how to move from Strong Will to Skillful Will.

“The Messenger in cahoots with the Great Awakener is rattling the cage, pushing, pushing for personal freedom and release. This is nothing less than an insistent, relentless physical upgrade channeled through the New Moon in Virgo,  aligned with Neptune, to start the shift in your operating system way beyond the usual head to heart paradigm, to integrated consciousness.”

How much more Ace of Swords-y can you get?

She also notes, “The seismic window remains open until Thursday as the planet reacts with upheaval to the harsh imperatives of Saturn, Mars and Uranus, bringing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This lunation is seeding a two week window of Uranian vibration–shocking, enlightening, dramatic.”

Elisabeth Grace also writes of this New Moon, “On Monday — on the New Moon at 2 Virgo — Mars, which is currently ruthlessly and effectively placed in Scorpio, for better or for worse, will catch up with Saturn at 17 degrees of Scorpio…

“In traditional astrology, Mars and Saturn have an unsavory reputation; in modern astrology, they certainly have their strengths, but they can also be difficult to manage. With the two of them together we see the potential for an ambitious outburst of expression, for better or for worse.

“Sometimes if the energy of the transit is not expressed by the person, it is acted upon that person. In the case of Mars, it can be reflected as an accident or an angry attack. In the case of Saturn, it may be experienced as a loss — sometimes as a death or illness in the extended family — or a health issue for the person concerned.”

Again – the Ace urges us to speak up, but with skill, truth, and virtue, as the yods (the golden droplet shapes) surrounding the blade portray. Yods are symbols of divine blessings and in astrological charts, sometimes referred to as the Finger of God.

Astrologer Lynn Hayes’ perspective of this New Moon especially resonates with the Ace of Swords. She explains how, if we will integrate the clarity and intelligence of Mercury into the mix, these potentially challenging planetary powers can be used for deep healing and harmony.

“The chart for the New Moon,” she explains, “is packed with harmonious aspects that help us to feel more at home in our bodies and in our lives. The mind (Mercury) is energized by Mars and stabilized by Saturn, and a harmonious trine from Venus to Uranus lifts us out of the practical and causes our imagination to soar and create. The combination of this creativity with a grounding conjunction of Mars to Saturn makes this a wonderful time of self-reflection and balance.”

Where Do We Need This Ace Now?

As the tragic current events from Missouri, to Ukraine, to Gaza point out, the dissemination of  information can be a two-edged sword, and its power can be wielded for good or ill. The facts themselves simply are what they are. But how they are used, and by whom, makes all the difference. Intention is everything, although it is also true that intentions alone will not suffice. Expert discernment is vital.

As Pontius Pilate famously asked, “What is the truth?” This question rings down through the centuries and is the one to ask now.

In a culture of spin, artifice, and carefully crafted image, few seem to be scrupulous with their word, or value forthrightness. But the Ace of Swords reminds us that clear, direct truth is our most powerful ally, and as such is crowned with victory.

How might this Ace now serve you?

What new ideas or attitude could shape a more successful future for you? What knowledge or new studies can you begin now that would lead to blessings? What confusion and conflict might need to be untangled, cut through, or even scrapped? What inspiration can you now receive?

We are being called upon to stand for clear vision, rigorous honesty, and intellectual courage. A system that rewards lies, half-truths, and omissions is poisoned from the inside. Even if others can’t or won’t, it is our duty to educate ourselves so that we can separate fact from fiction, and see clearly what is genuine, and what is counterfeit.

Pay attention. Know what you know. Envision with clarity and honesty that which you intend to create in this magical lunation.

Emotional pleas and dramatic posturing will not serve; cooler heads will prevail.

Indeed, they absolutely must.

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