From Pisces to Aries

The execution of anything considerable implies in the first place previous persevering meditation.”  William Godwin

Right now, there are several planets in the sign of Pisces:  Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Neptune.  Pisces is a Water Sign, which means it symbolizes emotional things.  It deals with the imagination, mysticism, dreams, and even delusion.  Pisces also represents psychics and intuition.  Ultimately, it seeks union with the divine.

With so much Piscean energy about, we would do well to sit with and sort out our own emotions and feelings.  Poorly-aspected Pisces can be manipulative, deceptive, passive aggressive.  Because it is so very spiritual, Pisces can find reality very harsh, too harsh to deal with sometimes.  It can easily slip into victimhood or martyrdom if not properly grounded.

Soon, several planets will move into the sign of Aries, however.  Mars will shift on the 11th; the Sun heralds the coming of Spring on the 20th; and Venus changes on the 21st.  Aries is a Fire Sign, and therefore symbolizes action, energy, and movement.  It is confident, a risk-taker, and a self-starter.  Of course confidence can become arrogance and Fire can burn, so Aries needs to be learn patience too.

My favorite thing about astrology is how it reminds us to look at the big picture.  Pisces becomes Aries, Winter becomes Spring, internal becomes external, feeling becomes action.  The Wheel spins, and we have the chance to put into action the new spiritual and emotional lessons we’ve learned.

Sometimes it’s difficult to sit still and be patient and wait.  But, to everything there is a season, and the Universe reminds us of that if we pay attention to its symbols.  Have you been thinking and pondering?  What have you been meditating on?  Are you soon ready for action, ready to make changes?

 

Vultures

Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone’s in a funk lately?  At the end of 2012, I saw post after post on Facebook by people who were all too happy to put the year behind them.  When I chat with friends, everyone has a story of a sick relative, a financial crisis, or a personal struggle with the blues.  The news headlines certainly reinforce my feelings that things are tough all over:  school shootings, acts of terrorism, even the Pope is stepping down because he says he lacks the strength.  All this “funk” reminds me of my vulture story.

A few years ago, I was out for a run on a country road.  It was early spring, so there weren’t too many leaves on the trees yet.  As I headed back home on my out-and-back route, I ran under a canopy of maples, whose branches reached across the road.  I looked up and saw four vultures perched on the boughs and peering down at me.  Perhaps I should have taken their presence as a commentary on my fitness level or the slowness of my run.  But instead, I ran straight home and pulled out my dog-eared, well-worn copy of Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews to help me figure out the meaning.

Vultures are seriously misunderstood creatures.  Most people think only of gross, nasty things that eat roadkill.  But think of the value of this service.  By fulfilling their role as scavenger, they limit the infection and bacteria from the dead animal that would otherwise harm other creatures.  They keep the environment clean and prevent the spread of disease.  The Greeks considered vultures to be the descendants of the griffin, who represented heaven and earth, guardian and avenger.  In short, vultures are all about transformation.  (Incidentally, the number four symbolizes “foundation.”)

Now, fast forward to last week and another vulture story.  While driving home from work, I saw four vultures again, this time on the ground, making short work of a dead deer.  The connection of this vulture scene to the earlier one got me thinking.  What did these two events, if taken together, mean for me?

In the first encounter, the vultures were just sitting; in the second, they were actively working their circle-of-life magic.  Four vultures could be interpreted to mean a transformation of foundation.  And that has certainly been true for me for the past few years.  I feel as if external and internal events have conspired to strip down all my old beliefs and philosophies, to make me examine what is really important and true for me.  After all ,when the going gets tough, we can’t afford the luxury of frivolous things.  It’s as if the friction wears away the unnecessary things.

So I’ve interpreted the first vulture encounter as a message saying, “now is the time to sit patiently, examine your foundation, and prepare for change.”  And I see the second, where the vultures were doing their work, as a message saying, “now it’s time to get to work and operate from that new foundation you’ve created.”

Whether it’s true or not, it’s still a good message to take to heart.  There will always be funk, always be roadkill.  And there will always be a time to sit patiently and reflect, just as there will always be a time to roll up the sleeves and get to work.

A Poem for Autumn

Barn’s burnt down; now I can see the moon.  Mizuta Masahide

 

I love this poem by the 17th-century Japanese poet Mizuta.  Mizuta studied under another great poet, Basho, and was samurai.  There is something so appealing to me about the bushido code of the samurai that held duty, discipline, and honorable death above all.

This time of year, with the shortening days and lengthening nights, I think about all the holidays that honor the death of summer and herald the coming winter.  The Celtic celebration of Samhain is one of those traditions.  In this holiday, like Hallows or Day of the Dead, we are meant to celebrate the harvest one final time as well as acknowledge our ancestors who have gone on before us.

It is all too easy to be sad in the winter or at the closing of one chapter, before the next one begins.  But what about the moon?  We tend to forget about the moon when we are looking at the wreckage of the barn.

Our ancestors were a little closer to the earth and sky and didn’t have smartphones or television or jobs in a cubicle to distract them from the natural rhythms of life.  They understood that the circle or wheel of life does indeed KEEP TURNING.  It doesn’t stay stuck on “burnt barn” forever.  (Sometimes it just feels that way……  🙂

Have you had a barn burn down lately?  Did you see the moon yet?

Of Mulligans and Mayans

In reading the news, seeing my friends’ posts on Facebook, and in looking at my own life, it seems to me that we’ve all got quite a bit on our plates right now.  Not that anyone else at any other time in history couldn’t say that as well . . . but right now it certainly feels like all of us are experiencing a couple of extra turns of the rack.

Now, the Mayan calendar, which has been in the news a lot this year, predicted an “end” in December.  Of course, the “end” doesn’t mean the end of the world; it just means the end of a cycle.  So, to me, it only makes sense that things would be heating up now, as we head into the transition.  I mean, haven’t you noticed how things always seem to get worse before they get better?

It’s human nature, I suppose, to want a steady, smooth, linear path to perfection.  None of us really likes mistakes or failure, do we?  And many of us carry around those mistakes as Regret for years and years.

But adopting the concept of the circle, with Renewal built right in, is very freeing in many ways.  Think of the Japanese expression “Ichi nichi, issho.”  This means “one day, one lifetime.”  Each day is a microcosm of one’s whole life.  In essence, each day is a fresh start.  So if we can learn to let go of Regret and look at every morning as a chance to “take a mulligan,” think how much happier, lighter, and wiser we’d be.

Circle of Life.  The tarot Wheel of Fortune.  The Mayan calendar.  You gotta love a philosophy which includes do-overs.

 

Wheel of Fortune tarot card

Cope Springs Eternal

With the state of the economy, the endless “he said, she said” of politics, and the everyday work/life/relationship struggles, sometimes it’s all too easy to feel sad or overwhelmed.  And every morning, we wake up to those same challenges again.

We humans, at least those of us in fast-paced, “modern” cultures, have gotten away from some of the natural rhythms of life.  With our noses in our computers, tablets, and cell phones, we barely look up enough to see the seasons and the cycles of Mother Nature.  Our ancestors seemed to understand more fully that “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose.”  By honoring Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, they lived the Wheel or Circle of Life and understood that “this too shall pass.”

So how does understanding the Wheel help us to cope?  First, it always helps me relax a bit more when I remember that life IS a wheel, and so it will always keep turning, no matter how slowly, and indeed, each event will come to pass.  And second, it reminds me that I should live in each season and embrace what it has to offer, even if it doesn’t match up with what I want at that particular moment.  In other words, it’s baking and enjoying homemade pumpkin muffins at Thanksgiving, instead of being mad that I can’t have fresh strawberries.

The Mayan Calendar has been in the news lately because of some misinterpretations of it as a Doomsday Prophecy.  Perhaps part of the problem came from the fact that the Mayan term “World,” which is more properly translated as “phase,” was taken literally.  So when the circular Mayan Calendar said “end of World,” well, you can imagine the panic that ensued among the misinformed.

This December 12th is that “end of World” moment in the calendar.  But guess what?  It keeps going then!  One phase will end and a new one will begin.  Hopefully, we’ve learned something from the last go-round, and we can apply our new wisdom to the next turning of the Wheel so that it rolls a little smoother.  If not, I suggest dipping that pumpkin muffin in chocolate and cracking open a pint of ice cream . . . .