Create a Grief Altar to get your ancestors’ help with processing deep feelings

Though she was sitting next to a lovely pond blooming with water lilies, Tama Kieves felt anything but tranquil. She’d come to the retreat center hoping to get a handle on her suffering. Despite years of therapy and spiritual practice, dark feelings still tormented her. Trying to focus her mind on something positive, Kieves acknowledged how much good was in her life – but that just made her feel worse. “I was sure I was creating a force field of negativity,” she recalls in her book Thriving Through Uncertainty, “like a calling card attracting – no, begging – the lowlife energy of the universe to find me.”

Finally, Kieves shared her dilemma with a healer, asking what she should do. The answer surprised her. “I guess there is nothing to do but feel the pain,” the healer replied. It was an epiphany for Kieves. For the first time in her life, she realized that it’s okay to feel sorrow. “I didn’t need to deny it or make it wrong or sweep it off my doorstep or scrub away its shadow. All I had to do was stop running from it.” As she began to sit with the pain instead of avoiding it, Kieves found she didn’t feel lonely or separate from her life anymore. She was able to be with pain of any sort, without needing it to go away. “I only wanted Spirit to sit with me while I felt the pain. In the end, pain opened my heart to myself.”

Dealing with pain is a timely activity for the Scorpio New Moon Solar Eclipse (Oct. 25, 3:48 a.m. PT). Emotions can be particularly raw and close to the surface when the Moon blocks the Sun, even at a partial eclipse like this one. Even more so because Sol joins Luna in deep, watery Scorpio, with all its shadowy depths. The New Moon conjuncts Venus at 2 degrees Scorpio, evoking the Dark Goddess and her theme of finding ways to love what feels unlovable. This is a South Node eclipse, which demands some kind of release or purge. And, Scorpio’s ruler Mars is stationary in mercurial Gemini as it prepares to turn retrograde on Oct. 30 (through Jan. 12). Mars is feeling frustrated, wanting to move yet restricted from doing so, and uncertain where he’s headed due to a square to Neptune through mid-Nov. During this period, it’s wise to pause before taking action and sit with your feelings, surrounding them with love and acceptance. There could be a ruthless element to this eclipse, yet much old baggage can be released.

This is a good time to dump old ways of dealing with pain. For generations, expressing dark thoughts and feelings has been strongly discouraged and even punished. “I’ll give you something to cry about,” was a frequent refrain at my house; perhaps it was at yours as well. To mark this powerful eclipse when the veil between worlds is permeable, we can create a Grief Altar. We can ask for our ancestors’ help with undoing harmful patterns as we honor our sadness, anger or whatever we’re feeling.

For your Grief Altar, you will need:

  • A black cloth
  • A black or dark blue bowl with water in it
  • Salt (table or sea salt)
  • Two light-colored candles
  • Pictures of beloved ancestors

At the time of the ritual:

  1. Place some salt in the bowl with water
  2. Open the ritual by lighting the candles
  3. Welcome your ancestors by name, and tell them what you feel sad or angry about
  4. Sit with your grief, whether personal or global. Give it time to express however it will
  5. Direct your anger and/or tears toward the bowl. Let the saltwater absorb the pain
  6. Ask your ancestors for any particular cleansing, blessing or help you need
  7. Breathe in the healing and love that’s been generated as you sit with the pain
  8. When you feel ready, blow out the candles, give thanks, and toss out the saltwater

Here’s to a powerful, transformative eclipse for us all! May we come into harmony with our deepest, darkest emotions. And, as we honor our grief, pain and anger, may it open our hearts and bless us.

4 thoughts on “Scorpio New Moon Eclipse: Feel the Pain

  • October 25, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    Thank you Simone! I had a 3 hour lunch (unexpectedly) with a younger cousin yesterday and we shared many stories about our family and our own experiences we never knew. It was truly a bonding and healing time. Seems like we were flowing with the stars!

    • October 25, 2022 at 10:50 pm

      It is certainly that time of year, isn’t it? Whether on this side of the veil or the other side, it’s about growing close to those we love. Hope you had a good eclipse…

  • October 27, 2022 at 12:54 am

    Hi Simone! Interesting to hear about your ‘witchy’ plans and all the Scorpio energy afoot. With 5 planets or points in Scorpio in the 1st, and Pluto my chart ruler (and all the other astrological activations), I am welcoming transformation & release of all that needs to go to make way for an unblocked, fully empowered life. It’s time!
    Am particularly appreciating my unexpected new relationship this summer of my elegant black spirit cat/teacher/gatekeeper who, as Samhain approaches, causes me to consider our possible previous lives and work together. Hmmm….. Speaking of… passing this link along in case it calls to you. Profound, awakening stuff!

    • October 27, 2022 at 2:11 am

      Oh how wonderful that you have a new black panther spirit animal! (I adore mine to the ends of the earth). And it sounds like you have the right attitude (and chart!) to make the most of this intense Scorpio eclipse season. Thanks for the link to the Witchy summit…just signed up!


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