Archive for November, 2016

The Game of Beheading


                 Gawain and the Green Knight

                              A New Moon in Sagittarius 2016


A New The new Moon in Sagittarius ushers in the season of the Winter Solstice. Perhaps it is the promise of the Sun’s Return, which makes the theme of keeping a promise, central to this tale!  The Sabian Symbol for this degree gives a clue as to the intention of of the tale:

‘Within the depths of the earth new elements are being formed.   Keynote: the alchemical fire which both purifies and transforms the very substance of man’s inner life.’. Gawain’s steadfast honor holds up for most of the story, until he becomes afraid of his promise. .

Gawain and the Green Knight is sometimes called ‘The Beheading Game,’ another reference to the Sun’s appearance and disappearance on the wheel of the year.



The tale give us a clue to some of the astrological and astronomical meaning of this event. The story takes place during two celebrations for Christmas and New Year.

A giant Green Knight appears on horseback (Sagittarius) in King Arthur’s Court during the extended feasting for Christmas (Solstice). In one hand is a Holly twig, a symbol for the story of the battle, which takes place between the Holly King and the Oak King at the Summer and Winter Solstices.

In the other hand he carries a huge axe!   He challenges any knight from the court to fight him; no one speaks up. Arthur steps forward to accept the invitation, but Gawain begs to take his place. The Giant steps off his horse and kneels with his neck exposed. Gawain cuts off his head, which rolls around the banquet hall.   As everyone looks on in horror, the Green Knight finds his head and claps it back on his neck. He challenges Gawain to find him next year at the Christmas season and receive a chop to his neck from the giant’s huge axe, which in this picture is decorated with images of Sagittarius!


The year flies swiftly by, and at Samhain, Gawain sets off to find the Green Giant and receive his return chop. He straps on his shield, marked with a gold Pentacle, a symbol called ‘the endless knot.’ But know that the pentacle is also the symbol for the path of Venus through the sky.


The giant refuses to give any location, except to look for a Green Chapel.   Gawain travels long and far to find to discover and meet the Green Knight. At last on a place on Christmas Eve, he discovers the castle of Lord Berilak, who  gives him shelter with a promise to take him to the Green Chapel in three days time.

He arrives at a castle where a friendly host, Lord Berilak  welcomes the weary traveler with feasting and music.   For the next three days the lord of the castle goes hunting, with the understanding that he will give Gawain whatever he receives that day, but Gawain must do the same with whatever he receives each day.

When the lord and his knights ride off hunting the beautiful lady of the castle comes into Gawain’s bed chamber, flirts with him and gives him a kiss. When the lord comes home he brings the deer he has killed on his hunt and receives a kiss from Gawain.   The third morning, the lady gives gives Gawain more kisses along with her silk and gem studded green belt, which she tells him will prevent injury. When the knight comes home with his hunting trophies, he receives from Gawain a kiss and a hug, but no belt, which he has hidden with hopes it will save his life from the Giant’s chop.

new-moon-in-sagittarius-2016This chart for the New Moon is a good representation of the hidden treasures in this story, as well as opportunities for the present moment.   The asteroid Juno sits at the exact degree of the Sun and Moon in Sagittarius. Juno speaks of the issues of marriage and the role of women in society, a hot issue in the United States during and after the election. This group in Sagittarius is ‘square’ the Virgo and Pisces Lunar Nodes. There is an issue of evolution here, which must be addressed. Women can take their power or fall back into martyrdom.

Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius) in Libra is a mark of the Justice, which must be met. Jupiter squares Venus and Pluto. There is great intensity around love, for whenever Venus and Pluto meet they reenact the Persephone and Hades story.  Gawain’s challenge comes in the form of his response to the Lady’s advances to him each day. Had he accepted more than a kiss from her, he would have breached the hospitality of his host, who disappears into the woods each morning.   There is a deep spiritual power (Jupiter) to the intensity and danger of love (Venus and Pluto) which the story and the chart illustrate.


Gawain sets off to find the Green Chapel and accept his neck chop from the Green Giant. In Medieval times, the neck was seen as the connection between the head (reason) and the heart (courage and will). In the astrology chart for this moment, Mercury (reason) and Venus (heart) are ‘inconjunct,’ the right symbol for a ‘beheading game.’ because they cannot communicate even though they are in close proximity.

When the Giant appears Gawain kneels and exposes his neck, his vulnerability to the axe!


The Giant brings down his great axe and Gawain trembles. The Giant laughs at him and calls him a coward. He swings again. This time Gawain is still, but no cut happens. Now Gawain is angry and challenges the Giant to get on with it. The Giant swings again, and this time nicks Gawain’s neck so that he bleeds. The Giant then explains that he is  Lord Berilak of the castle where Gawain stayed. Had his guest taken advantage of the Lady advances, he would have lost his head. He was honorable, but he did keep the Lady’s gift of the protective belt a secret, and for that reason he has received a small wound on his neck. Gawain is mortified by his own deception. He wears the Lady’s green belt across his chest as a symbol of his shame forever after. .


Gawain and the Green Knight is the story of the Sun’s disappearance and appearance at the Solstice, but there is a much older story, the story of the battle for the Sun (the Head) which Gawain represents.   He is the Oak King who dies at the Summer Solstice and the Green Giant is the Holly King who is vanquished at the Winter Solstice when the Sun returns to the Northern Hemisphere.When the Green Knight appears in Arthur’s Court he carries a holly twig in his hand..Yet both are spared death.  This is a time to celebrate the Wheel of the Year with feasting and friendship. Enjoy every moment of it as we move from the dark castle of Scorpio to the Green Chapel of Sagittarius.

Sarah Fuhro  sarahfuhro@gmail.com
Keeping our Ancient Wisdom Alive
The Wisdom Tradition evolved over the centuries to address our deepest human needs. Sarah Fuhro is a practitioner of its many forms; including Astrology, Tarot, Flower Essences and Druidry. In addition to personal consultations, Sarah teaches workshops and private classes, offering both clients and students knowledge powerfully rooted in the past, presented in the language of the present.  To learn more, please visit www.sarahfuhro.com.
Photo Credits:

Robert Fuhro  Heading: woodpecker

Bruce Lhuillier      Sword Hilt from the Philadelphia Museum

Bruce Lhuillier      The Snail

Battle Axe with Sagittarius images;   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/43/d9/66/43d966314d250a00718f8c30438886ec.jpg

Bruce Lhuillier   Green Chapel

Bruce Lhuillier Axe Blade

Sarah Fuhro  Oak Leaf and Holly  Twig

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The Headless One

Wanderings in the Labyrinth

Last year, lots of people in the magical community got hugely excited about Gordon White’s book The Chaos Protocols and the hugely relevant and powerful Star.Ships(which I reviewed here).  Gordon is of course the author of the moderately-successful chaos magic blog, Rune Soup. So did I, but due to events in my life it was impossible for me to write about my experiences with the Headless Rite.

And I kind of made what feels like a relevant discovery.

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Let me speak for the Star,
Let me speak for the Moon,
May I hear Mercury,
May I love with the passion of Venus,
And fight with the fire of Mars,
Jupiter, fill me with joy,
Saturn keep me in truth.

 This is the full Moon of Ngetal. Ngetal is the Reed, which grows in the place of the hidden yet powerful border between water and earth. Ngetal comes at the season of mystery, and dark renewal.

Ngetal is the Moon of chaos and yet Reed is the arrow, a highly directed weapon.  Ngetal bends, seems more grass than tree, but is still considered a tree in the lunar calendar and Ogham alphabet.

Reed is ancient, yet always new.  Ngetal grows in and by the water, swamps, places ignored and feared because they are impenetrable.

They are sharp, and wild, part of the Scorpio season of endings and beginnings, death and fertility

We are back to the powerful degree, which created so much energetic chaos at the last full Moon. This time Sun and Moon are at 22° degrees of Scorpio and Taurus. They are in contact with the Uranus/Eris/Demeter combination at 23° Aries of the October 15 full Moon. And to add a bit more to the mix, the Scorpio Sun is in close contact with Lilith who carries the long brewing anger of women.


The Moon is in Perigee, closer to the earth than she has been since 1948. Another time of great national transformation.   Huge tides can be expected because of this Super Moon, and these high tides are felt within our emotional bodies.


The combination of Reed (Ngetal) and Lilith as companion to the Scorpio Sun reminded me of the Japanese woman warrior weapon Naginata, which I heard about yesterday from my woman warrior friend, Catriona Hughes.

naginata The opposition of Scorpio and Taurus is a powerful urge to combine Death (Scorpio) and Fertility (Taurus). These signs contain within them two powerful Druid festivals: Samhain (Scorpio) as the Pleiades rise at Sundown and Beltain (Taurus) as the Pleiades rise at dawn.   Taurus is the sign where the Moon is most joyful.   Although the Moon passes through the constellation Taurus each month, only with Sun in Scorpio, is the Taurus Moon at her highest powers. This full Moon has so many connections to the interplay between male and female energies, and that brings us back to the election, and the powerful angers released. The ruler of Scorpio is Mars, The ruler of Taurus is Venus. The joyous outburst of spring in the sign of Taurus, and the great mystery of death and rebirth held by Scorpio are intertwined.

.Mars and Venus, rulers of the Scorpio/Taurus opposition have the Sabian Symbol degrees which best explain what is going on here.

Mars: ‘Two lovers strolling on a secluded walk.’

The progressive polarization of energies needed for fulfilling one’s life function

Venus: ‘A human soul, in its eagerness for new experiences, seeks embodiment.’

A powerful yearning for whatever will increase the scope and depth of one’s contacts with other living beings. 

 Journey by Water     Sarah Fuhro

At night I ride my coracle,

to the dark shore, silver Moon

of the tree filled island,

where I will meet my dreams.


The last notes of twilight

play out, as I approach,

push myself forward,

in my round leather boat,

into the tender reeds,

the dark water washed shore.

I put aside the slender pole

no further use for rudder, for oar.

First I lower my human foot

into the cold wet,

sharp fanged swamp,

in a moment,

pause to recollect:


I carry with me, fish shoes,

silver scaled, soft as silk.

With these I know myself

amphibious, and supple!


Both feet touch bottom,

and I push my coracle to shore.


Reeds and photographer     Bruce Lhuillier

Ocean Waves   Sarah Fuhro

Naginata women   http://www.naginata.org/ncnf/ncnfPhotos/senseisOutdoorDemo.jpg

Joyous birch     Bruce Lhuiller

Faces in beech   Bruce Lhuillier


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