As we move towards winter, life seems to retreat from the landscape. Autumn’s chill becomes crisper and begins to bite, paths are black and mulchy, and skeletal branches mark a grey sky.
Pre-patriarchal cultures were devoted observers of nature. Yet they didn’t equate these changes with demise. They considered sleep to be an awakening, death a rebirth, and release—not loss, but empowerment.
Among the shards of myth, this understanding lingers. For the ancient Mexicans, fall is the most important season. For the Celts, Samhain was the first day of the New Year, “the feminine personification of the November cross-quarter day… this goddess is an aspect of Calleach,” as Nigel Pennick points out in his Pagan Book of Days. Calleach, harbinger of winter, appears as a grey-haired woman whose hammer brings snow. She is ruler of both destruction and creation. Barbara Walker points out that she is also the maker of paradise (in whose memory the Spaniards named California).
Scorpio is the sign of this duality. Ruler Pluto is the planet of power, pulling us to the depths with or without our consent. Co-ruler Mars awakens our warrior spirit to collaborate with change, or tempts us to attach our ego.
Will this time of transmutation trample us down like mulch on the earth of an autumn pathway? Or will we join its dance and press the leaves with our own feet?