In this series, author and artist Sarah Gottesdiener shares extracts from her Many Moons Workbook.
Happy Full Moon!
This one falls on a Monday, the day that according to ancient Greek and Roman culture and current Pagan traditions is ruled by the Moon. Themes that are highlighted on Mondays are the subconscious, emotions, the home, protection, relationship to the divine feminine or femme, and psychic activities, among others.
This April Full Moon is also known as the “pink moon” (referring to all the various flowers’ beginning blooms), the “fish moon,” and the “egg moon” (Source: Farmer’s Almanac). In China, this April Full Moon is called the Peony Moon.
For Jewish people, tonight is also Passover, or Pesach, taking place in the Jewish month of Nissan, which translates from Aramaic to Hebrew’s word “nitzan,” meaning “bud.” The egg on the Seder Plate is actually a symbol of mourning and of the lack of a traditional proper sacrifice of a ram or sheep. For practicing Catholics, yesterday was Palm Sunday, and next week will be Easter. (The word Easter comes from the Goddess Oestre, or Eastre; Pagans have generally used the name “Ostara.” The Pagan holiday of the same name took place last month at the Vernal Equinox.) Egg sales will spike across America. From a Pagan perspective, eggs are symbols of fertility, of birthing, new life, and nascent form. The idea of the beginning of creation and the world being birthed from a “cosmic egg” is a familiar creation myth across cultures. The pulsating green membrane victory wreath circling around the protagonist in the traditional Tarot card of the World is more oval than round. The Moon is shaped like an egg!
Once a month, the Moon grows to show us her full self – that glowing orb of light in the sky. She’s in direct alignment with the Earth and the Sun. The moonlight we perceive is a distorted mirrored image of the Sun’s emanating fire; the Moon reflects only about 12% of that light, according to NASA. It takes about eight minutes for the sunlight to reflect off her face, for the glow to make its way into our adoring gaze on a clear deep evening, for us to see more clearly.
The light of the Moon is a reflection.
Humankind’s first thoughts of the Moon emitting her own light was a projection. It appeared to be one way, but it wasn’t. Projecting in our own lives narrows our focus. Projections do not completely hinder us, but they can create self-blindness. Blinders of the self, of what truths we believe about ourselves, have grave consequences of our own creation.
Astrologically speaking, Full Moons are a good time to think about opposites, as 99% of the time the Full Moon is in the opposite sign as compared to what the Sun is in. We’ve got a Sun in Libra – highlighting individuality, fire, passion, creativity, energy, optimism, willpower, beginnings, belief; the horns and the honeysuckle; the little red Corvette flying around the corner, our hair waving in the wind. The Full Moon is in Libra – sign of equality, diplomacy, harmony, the self and the other integrated, and the relationships around us that define our own sense of self.
What motivates our work once we’ve stopped chaining it to addiction or achievement?
What shapes our individuality when we know it is inextricably linked to the great collective?
What changes for us about our identity once we can accept that our identity is always nebulous, always fantastically mutable?
Is it time to resurrect your innocence? Give back to the young child you were? Is it to ignite future generations? Is it time to reconcile your past, go back in time, soul retrieve that 11-year-old, that 8-year-old, that 2-year-old, that 22-year-old who deserves to be held, danced with, let out to play?
The Major Arcana card associated with the sign of Libra is the card of Justice, the middle of the middle.
Justice sits in the middle of the Major Arcana, in the middle of the second line; that line is associated with inner trails, inner growth, inner and outer shedding. Sometimes, when this card shows up in a reading, I can take it as an indicator that it is time for the querent to stop being hung up on if/then thinking, on the dreaded “shoulds,” on this idea of eye for an eye, tit for tat. It might be time to stop wasting precious mindspace and energy on waiting for revenge as much as expecting “just” reward for “good” behavior. (In my partner’s words: “Good behavior is its own reward.”) Justice asks us to behave in accordance with inner values, absolute personal truths – it does not ask us to punish others or the self in an archaic, binary structure of “right” and “wrong.” I sometimes ask the querent: Where do you need to let go of a time-sucking, punishing outcome?
Conversely, the Justice card is in invitation to act in accordance with your own authentic and truthful values, to put aside impartial or defensive modes of thinking. She’s Air, at her most holy; she’s higher visioning, outside of earth-bound patterns. She’s about realizing that to every important decision that must be made there will be a concrete outcome, so we should make those choices under the guidance of wisdom and balance.
Justice is a reflection of beauty and a reflection of the present moment, of who we are now.
The kind of visioning brings harmony, inspires best possible behaviors, and highlights our most knowing selves, outside of the noise of talking heads, peer pressures, Instagram feeds. She’s MLK and Malcolm X. Grace Lee Boggs and Harriet Tubman. Winona LaDuke and Billie Jean King. Of course not everyone has to be a revolutionary activist here on terra firma. We need the hairstylists, the preschool teachers, the dancers, the engineers, the public policy specialists. What the energy of the Justice card asks of you is to shine unabashedly in your personal and paramount truth. Shine brightly. Shine for all of us. Shine for no one but you. When the truth asks you to make painful decisions, make them. When the nitty-gritty of the matter is that you must take accountability in any arena, then by the love of the Goddess, do so.
The Major Arcana card that correlates with Aries (the sign the sun is in right now) is the Emperor.
Number four in order, the stable ruler of silent fortitude. This is authority and structure at the highest level. When the Major Arcana cards are laid out in rows of seven, the Emperor is right above Justice. There he is, Mr. Boss. He doesn’t crack a joke. Because this shit is not funny. This is a serious job, serious business. He’s here to protect you, protect the walls that he’s painstakingly built (or paid others to build for him). He’s been a page, a knight, a king and now rules his own land.
The Emperor is the bridge between the brick-by-brick building and the long-ranging visioning of the hawk. The fire was lit, snuffed out, then relit a thousand times. The stories he could tell could line a million bookshelves. Somehow, he isn’t completely wiped out and tired. Somehow, his experiences have strengthened him. Steadfast and certain, his strategy triumphs. And so it shall – by his sheer energy, by his sheer will.The Emperor has his empire, has his safety, has his identity. Check, check, check. The amazingness of the Emperor is his strength, his courage, his power. At times, his focus is the deficit. Sometimes there are blinders about the way he got there, or who he needed to be in order to get there. The tether of the rope to his identity as ruler is practically made of cement. He’s got a heavy crown on his head – he’s not open to new ways of being. The ways he needed to be to be safe served him JUST fine, thank you very much! Beyond him, his empire is literally bedrock, unmoving. At times, he can imply the old-school, hateful, damaging patriarchy.
We are talking some truths of identity.
The truth of identity is that it is always changing. That’s the glowing secret that drag queens and drag kings and in-betweeners and gender non-conforming folks and gender studies hardcore academics and little children wearing their parents’ clothing know. Identity isn’t bedrock. Identity is nebulous. This goes beyond gender, race, and religious affiliation into career, into ways of behavior, into planes of emotions. We morph into the crone, then the mother, then the maiden, and then back again. We go from being the searching knight to being the self-contained queen to being the tiny fish in the chalice in the Page of Cups card. And yet laws are passed in our country around identity. People are murdered every second over identity. People’s physical safety is threatened every minute by the idea that we get to be, name, claim any identity we wish. In some cases, the violence comes from a blind-sided projection of what we think the other to be. We’re allowed to be one thing but not the other. For some the “other” remains a core belief-shaking threat—a constant reminder that we can contain multitudes, identity is not fixed, there is no “right,” we can all swim in the same pond, the pond is an ocean, our ocean is swimming on the surface of a cosmic egg. That leaves the “other” is at times with extreme violence, rejection, ostracized, not invited in, no shoulder rubs. At this time, bless the other. At this time, bless others and bless the others that are in you. Know that the blessing is an affirmation and a reinvention.
Reinvention is the key to positive change.
Affirm your current self and give yourself permission to turn into anything you know you must be.
Where do your needs to be so deeply intertwined with others, and their perceived opinion of you, override your own needs?
Or where are the places within you that are so stubbornly tied to the idea that you are separate, that you are so very different from everyone around you, blocking you from connecting to greater community and positive connectivity?
Where are you sacrificing shifts in how you identity in service of the same old, same patterned safety?
Traditionally, when the Moon is in Libra, it is an exalted time for spell workings around love, balance, partnership, harmony, diplomacy, beauty, and legal matters in general.
You can work any of those kinds of spells or anything else you feel you need. You can spend time worshipping any neglected parts of self. Examine any archetypes you chafe up against in service of greater integration of the whole.
Tarot Spread for the Full Moon in Libra:
Examining our Identity, Expanding our Vision
During this Full Moon time, the suggested ritual is to do a check-in around your themes in April in the form of a Tarot spread. You might be tired. I know, sweet creature. Believe me, I know: you’ve been working quite hard. You’ll get there. You are getting there. Sometimes there’s nowhere to go. Sometimes the going is the there. Acknowledge all of your work on yourself and your goals thus far. Realize this doesn’t have to be a heavy crown, a tether. Lighten where called. Balance out the hard parts with the recognition of the beautiful truths that stay, that morph out into even more glittering pools.
Suggested Tools: Your favorite Tarot or Oracle deck, paper and pen, candles, and any crystals you feel called to. Maybe you feel called to decorate or change your altar. Put out your favorite crystals in the moonlight to charge overnight.
Get comfortable in your space with your favorite deck or decks. Light any candles, do any breathing exercises, call in any helpers.
Initially you will be going through your deck and picking out three different cards.
1. What card affirms for you most where you are right now? This card encapsulates your current identity, or the archetype you feel most illustrates your current state. Pick this card out and put it in the middle of your altar.
2. What card affirms for you most what you need to let go of right now? This card illustrates patterns or unhelpful habits, old selves that must be shed or discarded. Pick this card out and put it to the left of your first card.
3. What card affirms a major goal of what you are going after at this time? This card encapsulates feelings, desires, key ambitions, and huge victories that might be external or internal. Pick this card out and put it to the left of your first card.
Now, shuffle your cards. Spend time asking yourself, the universe, the Moon, your helpers for any guidance. The cards you pull will be added messages from the outside to help you. You will be pulling three additional cards for each of the three states above. They can act as “Mind, Body, Spirit” messages about each state. I.e.:
MIND: What does my mind want me to know about where I am right now? What mindset must I step into at this time?
BODY: How do I embody my current state right now? What behaviors must I take on at this time? How do I act in accordance with my vision?
SPIRIT: What does spirit and the universe want me to know about my current state? What are out-of-the-box messages that I can meditate on? What suggestions can come up that I might not yet be seeing in the physical realm that can help me move forward?
You can also view your three additional cards for each question as mini-subreadings. They are more information and feedback to utilize about your manifesting process, your awakening, your resurrections, reinventions, recalibration.
Happy Full Moon!
Tarot cards shown in this post are by Trung Nguyen.
Sarah Faith Gottesdiener is a designer, art director, artist and intuitive living in Los Angeles.
She got her undergraduate from Smith College and her MFA in Design from CalArts. She has worked for brands like Sephora, Nickelodeon, Ace Hotel, Wieden + Kennedy, and Nike.
Sarah’s teaching experience includes art, design, visual literacy, and more at Otis College, Scripps College, and (FIDM). Her Many Moons workbooks share insights in how to work with the main phases of the Moon. She teaches tarot and moon beaming workshops at various spaces, and gives intuitive Tarot readings to interested parties.