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Embodied Ecliptic: Lunar Memory Palace

A mnemonic (/nəˈmɒnɪk/,[1] the first "m" is not pronounced) device, or memory device, is any learning technique that aids information retention or retrieval (remembering) in the human memory.

from a Latinized form of Greekmnēmonikos"of or pertaining to memory," frommnēmōn(genitivemnēmonos) "remembering, mindful," frommnēmē"memory, a remembrance, record, an epitaph; memory as a mental faculty," from base ofmnasthai"remember," from PIE root*men-(1) "to think."

Imagine yourself walking into a vast circle where the space retains the impressions of everything that ever was. You enter this space of primordial knowing through your body which is the vehicle for your senses. Ancestors and spirits caught in perpetual dialogues rise to greet you as you cross the boundary of night (illuminated). You can hear their chatter informing you on the landscape and colours of the past and future. Unresolved needs and demands at the conjuncture of significant points in time imprinted into the space; things must be sacrificed and others sanctified. Promises were made and broken. Land conquered while lust, love, power, and death dictates the memories of generations beyond the grave and into the gold of eternity.

A flicker of light trick your eyes into seeing dancing shadows reflected in the watery expanse that stretch beyond your vision and into sensation. The sounds and smells inside the circle initiate your body into saturated convulsions coupling you to the space illuminated by time. Inside your eye, a glimpse of fur from an unbound animal caught in its own seasonal dance as you merge with it. The land inhabited by secrets witnesses the motions in and out of the void; A garland of life, death, and everything that exists in-between.

Sections of the circle feel intimate. You recognize the relief and acknowledge the familiarity. You can somehow fit your body perfectly in the space like it was made for you or you were born from it. Like a tide that conforms to the polished hollow inside a rock where she has crashed a million times before. Pressing on the edges with your hands you leave an imprint for future reference. You recall a memory through a sensation and birth it into a shape that will inform your future. You move around the circle guided by a knowing that has its own erotic logic. Headless, you find your way into the space with the inner pull of your instinctive sight. 

In the familiar space, you meet others born of the same places at different times. What allows you to communicate is what binds you to particular sections. You cross paths in a complex network of dialogues like parts of the same sky embodied and weaving parallel stories into shapes. 

Locating yourself in the various sections contained within, other impressions washes over you and the original narrative is lost. The knowing is empty and full - bright and dark - familiar and unknown. Reason escapes you as you enter the night that breathes all the knowing into the rhythmic pulse of your blood; a direct access to what came from and before you from the womb of inception that animates the night sky.

The past like water carries a charge. It changes vessels while remaining essentially the same. Shifting, you move in and out of darkness night after night where you have been and always will be. Dreamtime is a place where the future emerges out of memories. A mnemonic oracle at your disposition. The Lunar Zodiac works in similar ways. The ever changing light of the Moon reveals information drawing from your personal well of sensations. While this information exists outside of you, it gets clarified through your personal modalities and translated back to you.

Opening the space, getting a hold of a thread triggers synchronicities that allows for the making of your life. Receptivity is your ability and willingness to take in the information.

-Elodie St-Onge Aubut

As we stand and face the eastern horizon we direct ourselves toward the Ascendant angle. Turn around and face the west and you look towards the Descendant. Facing north and up at the top of the Sun’s path you point toward the Midheaven, and turning to the South and down at the opposite angle through the earth would be the Imum Coeli, above which, in the Northern Hemisphere, is Polaris, around which circles Draco snaking about the axis of the heavens like a serpent wrapped around a pole. There we find other beasts, Bears and Wolves in the primordial and eternal non-human section of the sky. To the South the zodiacal constellations scroll and tell their stories, so many dead songs echo through our ears lacing through our minds and our skulls like beads upon the necklace of time, fingered in remembrance by the Moon who rolls around shifting in shape, a push ad pull like breath, for bodies of light pulsing like fireflies drifting through the night.

In day the Sun takes his place high in the sky resplendent, blinding, radiant warming vitalizing life giving life heart-center offered to the earth. At night, as Apollo the Sun rolls below the western lands and journeys through the Underworld, projecting up into his place, the expanse above, what he witnesses with clear his clear and rational eye in the lands of the dead, and the realms of spirits. Heroes, ancestors and Chthonic beings alike light up and flash polychromatic above our grounds, the stellar bodies of Nix and Astera arching over lands ends.

The Chaldean Oracles tells us that Hekate is primary and original darkness, the black blank out of which any light emerges, especially as epiphany, delivered as lightening from the void. She holds dominion over the Tripart world with Zeus and IAO, similar to the Theban Triad of the pre-Hellenic Egyptian old world, Amun, Mut and Khonsu— the Sun, the Primordial Mother and their child the Moon. Indeed Khonsu was sometimes called Iah, like IAO, which was sometimes considered the adult version of Khonsu, Iah-Djehuty, meaning "god of the new moon— which was also assimilated with Osiris as God of the Dead as the monthly renewal of the lunar cycle— Khonsu means “Traveller”, as it is the Moon that travels across the sky. Interesting as Hekate was considered, probably due to her pre-Greek origins, to also be a foreigner travelled from distant lands. We find this motif with most of the Chthonic deities: Dionysus, Inanna, Shiva; they are Other, liminal beings. Khonsu was also considered to breathe and distributed life into all living creatures, exactly as Hekate is said to do in the Prayer to Mene in the PGM, a text composed in Thebes, Khonsu’s cult center, and both deities are associated directly with the New Moon.

When we look up to the sky we may receive in this richness and epiphany as Stellar intelligences speak to us directly simply by laying our sight upon a star and feeding from its visual voice. The Moon glides through the firmament and gives us access to these Spirits turned light as she accepts them into her body, and as she herself governs bodies, waters, dreams, imagination, stream of conscious thought and memory here on earth, the sublunar realm swims in the ripples emanating from these sky territories, pouring into us, both in waking and asleep. But there are more than just stars where she roams. As the the Sun visits the Solstitial and Equinox points once each year, the places of most, least and equal light in the cycle of day and night, of which the Sun rules the latter and the Moon the former, the Moon visits these same places every 28 days, reminding us of the primary story that divides our time and experience on earth and in life. This subtle, ideal and invisible circle of sky space is the Tropical ecliptic, which in the Sun’s perspective is divided into 12 Zoidon, or Animals, and for the Moon 28. The most ancient calendars of tracking of this 28 day cycle we have also mark the places by animals, often carved into the bones of birds and beasts. These two layers, the Stellar and the Tropical, the visible and invisible, the apparent and the subtle, the obvious and the esoteric, the seen and the felt, the known and the mysterious, exist simultaneously above our heads as the curtained roof of the sky.

Luminaries and planets revolve around this great ring, a wheel within a wheel, sometimes below and sometimes above the predictable line, the path, the zodiac, the ecliptic, each in their own orbit relative to Earth, to us, to where we are centered. There are predictable places where the paths cross and intersect like a set of bands or bracelets within one another. It is here, in the case of the Sun and Moon that eclipses occur; the potential of shadow to grab the luminaries, darken them, bloody them, and in the process open the gates of fate so that what is to come rushes forth and what is to leave drains out— The North Node where the Moon’s path moves above the Sun’s, increasing, and the South Node where the Moon’s path moves below the Sun’s, decreasing. The Luminaries together or in a polar relationship flanked by the potentials of Shadow, by Hekate’s primordial darkness from which epiphany first came, The Child Khonsu born from Mut, over which Hekate might have been midwife to the child bearing mother, and also the gate keeper and key holder and torchbearer to the Gate of Death, assisting souls passage through the architecture of afterlife. This is remembered in the cults of Mithras, later in the Roman militarized period. In their Tauroctony there are attendants to the solsticial gates, where the Milky Way crosses the ecliptic, torch bearing Cautes and Cautopates, the Gate of Men at 0 degrees Cancer where souls were thought to emerge into the world from the heavens and the Gate Of The Gods, at 0 degrees Capricorn, where souls egress out of the material realm. The Tauroctony might be a memory in itself of the Precession of the Equinoxes— a gestural embodied reenactment of Taurus ceasing to be the place of the Vernal Equinox after it fell to Aries, and a warrior slaughter’s a bull in sacrifice— bulls being also commonly sacrificed to Hekate who was sometimes seen as Bull Headed, as well as bearing heads of various other animals, very commonly dogs and horses and snakes.

In the list of animals and cult objects of Hekate in the Greek Magical Papyri within the Prayer To Mene, a goddess of months like Khonsu was a god of months, we find Ox first on the list and Bull not far behind, coming in 3rd after Vulture. This list may very well be an echo of much older traditions of lunar time keeping, like the bone carved calendars of pre-history. If we orient ourselves in space, in the place where our feet touch the earth, and with the cardinal directions around us, and pay close attention to the passage of the seasons and the passage of the Moon each night within them, not just with our minds but with our bodies and dreams and imaginations, we may start to remember certain stories and begin to discern certain qualities of time. What it feels like when the Moon is here, or here, or here. What images come to mind, what memories return to us, what we desire, what we do each day. Over time we might draw parallels and metaphors from the world we inhabit. The behavior of animals might help us describe how one place of the Moon is guttural, and a time when we remember the dead, as a Vulture sorts through the entrails of the slain. Another place might be virile and lusting for coupling, seeding our minds with horny thoughts, like the pushy HeGoat ready to stud. Another might be a place of scent and granular discovery, of all the information the terrestrial experience lays out for inspection, that we sort through like a Dog. Place to place might remind us of something from somewhere else, last month, a few months prior, a couple days ago. We stretch associations across the ever changing rhythm of inhabited and embodied time, and feel its pulse articulated infused into our entire experience.

-Chris Reppucci

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