Fire & Water: Coming Home

“It seems to me that I have greater peace and am close to God when I am not ‘trying to be a contemplative’ or trying to be anything special, but simply orienting my life fully and completely toward what seems to be required of a man like me at a time like this.”

Thomas Merton
Figure of light on water
Long Island Sound, August 2017.

We are amid our first-ever collective catastrophe with it’s shared suffering, and it’s potential, and perhaps the whole-point-of-it-all, transformation. All of us, the entire world afraid and awake under the same sky.

Our first heavenly points of reference come from above as well. Just days after the sun rose from wave to flame, the moon too – our emotional mirror, compass, and influencer – moves today out of unconscious deep water into the fire of first light.

The I AM, the Ram force, and the Mars might of Aires.

We are not without formidable resource in the cosmos that surround us. In both the stars and planets and the forces of the invisible world. And there is more than just the moon and sun in this strong sign of becoming and fight. We are conjoined with Chiron, the wounded healer, and we are traveling with Black Moon Lilith, the dark feminine who has continued to reveal the shadow that has undermined us for so long. Jupiter reigns with expansiveness, and Mars brings force and the physical body. All of this an aftershock of the Saturn/Pluto/Capricorn alignment that occurred in January.

If ever there was a time to believe in astrology, this is it. You could not paint a more picture-perfect sky than the one shining down on us now.

There are two other significant aspects of our current astrological picture that are worth sharing. The lunar nodes are the imagined points in space where the orbit of the moon crosses the earth’s ecliptic (path of travel). One node points north, the other south. Our South Node, where fate and karma sit, is in structural, paternal earth-bound Capricorn. At the same time, our North Node, dharma, and highest destiny rests in home and the mother water, Cancer.

Pam Younghans of NorthPoint Astrology writes:

The New Moon is also tightly square the nodal axis, sending us a powerful message about the higher evolutionary imperatives involved now. You may recall that with the South Node in Capricorn and the North Node in Cancer, we are being guided to choose empathy over separation, heart-centered action over materialism, and trust over fear. We are also called to be appreciative rather than suspicious, and inspired instead of pessimistic‚Ķ We live in a free-will plane of existence, so the choice is up to each of us. How do we want to show up, now, when the pressure is on?”

I think that’s what the nodes point to right now. A return to The Great Mother. To hold us all. Cancer is a water sign, the initial one in the astrological year. It’s our first swim after the three previous elements initiate us. Cleansing, baptismal. And lest we forget our other mother, the earth, who too is suffering, let’s go out and be close to her also, and share our prayers and our collective hope for healing. It may be the only place we can go, to the ground around us.

Of course, there is so much more to this story. There are individual accounts of well-founded fear and anxiety. Anger growing from those who have reason to be angry. Conspiracy theories and accurate reports of misinformation (how’s that for an oxymoron). And finally, the outpouring of mutual love, amazing creativity, and longing to help. We’ve got a front row, close-up-view of the world we all live in and to which we all contribute our energy. From a mythological point of view, the Gods and Goddesses have just pulled the earth plug and sent in their most equalizing player.

Corona means crown,where we move from the material to the mystical. It affects our throats where we find our voice and our chests where we breathe. Fever burns as our bodies go into high gear to protect us. Viruses are both novel and normal and are considered the most common biological entity on the planet. They are the stuff of apocalyptic prophecy and scientific deconstruction. And, like all things of the natural and invisible world, they are both predictable and mystery, speaking, as God so often does, in the language of paradox.

However, whatever, and whoever is involved, we should ask if there’s any higher wisdom to what’s happening. If we don’t, we are left with just pain. And I, for one, am in the hope trade. Not hope that ignores genuine suffering, but hope that has known peace in the midst of it – a peace that is not dependent on external circumstances but that exists for us all whether we believe in it or not.

But here is the thing I’ve learned, from the holiest of teachers. We must say yes first. “Love is never imposed, it is only offered.”1 We must choose it.

Maybe this virus is the game-changer. The place where we lay down our swords, our differences and our cherished opinions. The Chinese (yes Chinese) symbol for crisis is made up of the symbols for danger and opportunity. In the last week, I have scrutinized the resources I look to for guidance and wisdom and the jury has come in unanimously. There are extraordinary things already coming from this crisis and the internet is filling with them. Balms to sooth a wound we’ve never had before and for which there is yet no cure. All great spiritual truths lead to this one thing: the answer, no matter the question, is always love.

We are faced with a moment that has never come before and may never come again. We can’t deny or ignore the real fear among us, but we don’t have to live there either. What we offer now, to ourselves, our families, and the collective matters. It always has. Perhaps, like Thomas Merton, we too will orient our lives completely and fully, toward what seems to be required of people like us at a time like this.


1 James Finley

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