This week begins with the New Moon in Cancer, which occurs early Monday morning. This lunation is followed by Mercury’s superior conjunction to the Sun on Wednesday. Deep within the tender center of Cancer, these seed configurations speak to the process of incubation and the importance of protective membranes, yet other alignments threaten to interfere with or disrupt this process.
This re-alignment of the Sun and the Moon takes place within the second decan, or face, of Cancer. Within this face is the secret garden of the philosophers. Indeed, Jupiter’s degree of exaltation can be found here, for it is only within the protective confines of the walled garden that the Work can be nurtured. Intimate and honest conversations require a protective vessel of trust and great work can only take place in the context of shared understanding and mutual respect. The alchemical child must be protected if it is to grow strong. This walled garden is thus greenhouse, womb and furnace and simultaneously.
Its design is two-fold, comprised of the sensitive process within and the protective, enclosing structure without. This lunation is thus a call to inspect the integrity of your walls, your shell. Walls are either effective or they aren’t. Half measures do not work. One gap destroys their purpose. Elements and entities contrary to our process may enter through these, interfering with and possibly corrupting our work. Aphids in a greenhouse. These gaps are also leaks. Even a tiny hole in your gas tank will soon empty it.
Yet seals and walls must be permeable under the right circumstances. A gas tank that cannot be refilled is of no use, and a greenhouse which does not permit the entry of light will produce no flowers.
The ability to seal is fundamental. There are few processes of creation or transformation which do not require it. Alchemical traditions around the world place a high value on sealing. It is so important, in fact, that the phase “Hermetically sealed” has become common parlance.
This lunation and Mercury’s subsequent conjunction with the Sun both take place in the quiet sky above this walled garden. They both ask what you are incubating, and what the status of your seal is.
Where are you leaking power? What thieves do you unintentionally allow entry? Or are you too tightly contained- is the light and air necessary for growth being kept out?
It is easy to imagine sealing or right containment on a physical level, such as with a leaking gas tank. But human life is considerably more complex than a gas tank. The inner alchemy of China emphasizes the importance of locating these leaks within both the body and the psyche. These traditions describe emotionally errant states of mind as thieves, because they steal from us. These burglars steal our attention and our energy- the inner resources required for our great work. In accordance with the five element model, there are five thieves. You have known them your whole life, and they have many names in many cultures- wrath, hatred, fear, sadness, etc.
These lessons on inner sealing from alchemical traditions are perhaps more relevant now than ever. Today Outrage and Polarization, thieves the size of giants, stride invincibly across our discourses and continents. Though they may not be subtle, they are thieves nonetheless, as they steal the collective energy we need to make a better world.
Do not let these thieves, great or small, into your walled garden. Do not invite them into your womb to grow strong. Protect the alchemical child you are incubating, because that child is not only your own life, but a vital cell in the body of the world we share.