Wiping the Slate Clean
February looks set to be one of the most powerful months of the year, in which we taste the first flavours of the Saturn/Neptune square set to dominate 2016. If we want to find ourselves ahead of the game at that point, we can use this month to discern where beliefs keep us stuck, a need for guarantees before action prevents progress or a desire for transcendence causes us to side-step the very things which can catalyse it in the long run. These cosmic partners remind us that we cannot release what we refuse to embrace and we cannot overcome challenge with avoidance, only with commitment to journey through and be transformed in the process. This backdrop alone provides us with all the fuel we need for our journey this month, but it forms only a small part of what the cosmos has in store!
The month begins with Mars (masculine) conjunct Chiron, and Venus (feminine) conjunct Neptune, all in the final sign of the zodiac, Pisces. This gathering of polarities in the sign which seeks to return to the One Sacred Source signifies an alchemical time. We may find ourselves on shifting ground, even sinking sand. Yet beneath the unsettling sense that something presumed solid is in fact melting beneath us, exists a deeper knowing that all is in divine order and only that which is false can be lost. The Real never dies. Mars conjunct Chiron speaks of the wounded and diminished masculine, puffed up to control and impose for fear that simple presence will not be enough to garner respect. Here we meet patriarchy in all its glory: brutal but terrified, controlling and yet disempowered. Whilst evidence suggests there are gendered winners and losers when it comes to patriarchal power, in fact we are all harmed by its imposition of priorities and values which, by their very nature, disconnect us from our true and whole self. Be it the injunction that men relinquish their sensitivity or women surrender their warrior rage, we are all made less by beliefs which falsely define who and what we essentially are.
Whilst the conjunction between Neptune and Venus highlights the compassion vital for the journey from fracturing patriarchy to alchemical reintegration, a square from Saturn reminds us the most enduring compassion has a backbone of steel. It resists exploitation and acts to challenge the notion that power can be won or lost. Instead true power resides within each one of us as a birthright and must be honoured as such. Not the power to control another but to define ourselves and live the life of our choosing. As this month begins, the cosmos illuminates the wounds at the heart of patriarchy alongside the potential within each and every one of us to heal them. Doing so requires fierce compassion – for ourselves and others – oftentimes painful purgation and a willingness to face the victim, aggressor and survivor within us all. As we heal ourselves we heal the whole, no longer perpetuating the split within our personal and collective psyches so often expressed as patriarchal power.
Which of course brings us to the issue of relationships: a most fertile ground for growth and transformation not least because within them we encounter so often our wounds. This month we must pay close and compassionate attention to how we react and respond, create and destroy in our interaction with others. The time is ripe to acknowledge dynamics and obstacles we repeatedly encounter. In honestly doing so we can recognise the primal wounds in need of healing. Wounds suffered long before we met the people now in our lives but which are nonetheless reanimated by current intimacy.
A Full Moon in Leo on 3rd/4th February invites us to view our world and the people in it as a shared adventure not a fight to the death! If we can replace blame (of ourselves or others) with acknowledgement that life is born of consequences, one after the other, this Moon can help us recognise connections without lapsing into victimhood and solutions which promote understanding rather than discord. There exists great hope in this Moon and immense possibility if we see fit to claim its blessing for ourselves. We can, however, remain stubbornly blind to its wisdom thereby widening the interpersonal gap. Be warned though: such stubbornness may create powerfully karmic echoes which return to us when we least expect it and most wish to avoid them! At a time as powerful as this nothing we do is insignificant, so wise reflection on decisions to be made and behaviour indulged is vital now.
Mercury stations direct on 11th after three weeks retrograde. Issues avoided in the past few weeks may make themselves undeniably felt at this point, especially if they simply drain our energy and hinder our activity. False peace is no peace at all, and words unspoken do not remain silent but instead hang in the air creating atmospheres and disharmony even as they resist articulation. We simply cannot afford to live this way anymore. The cost is too great and our time too precious to waste in the grey half-life of unfinished business and inauthenticity. It can be tough to speak the truth for sure, not least when it demands change so deep and wide we fear we may never emerge from its grip. But as Mercury prepares to move forward once again we must consider more deeply than ever before the true cost, to ourselves, others and the world around us, of living in denial and fear of what, deep down, we know to be incontrovertibly true.
The 14th sees a Yod form between Pluto, Chiron and Jupiter which remains for the rest of the month. This is an intense alignment which points to expanded consciousness and deeper insight, born of a willingness to let go our woundedness and remake ourselves anew. This alone takes courage, for whilst we each desire to heal, the prospect of doing so can trigger all manner of fears about what it truly means and the path we must walk to get there. We may well want to be healed but forever sidestep the very emotions, experiences and memories we must face in order to be so. There is no bypass to wholeness. We must travel through the very centre of our being, through the core of our grief, shame, rage, despair, in order to know it from the inside and emerge renewed into a life in which those things no longer call the shots from the shadows. Our willingness to do this now, to step onto the path of the deepest and most liberating healing is supported by a cosmos so vast that no matter how great the emotion we must face it remains a tiny speck in the midst of swirling galaxies. Whilst we fear our own ability to face the intensity of our inner world the universe offers vast space to contain all that we are, shrinking from nothing. This Yod invites us to embrace the inner storm, step into it, journey to its still centre and recognise that only once we have known the stillness amidst the devastation can we come out the other side into wholeness. This is the warrior’s journey, riding into battle facing certain death of the false self in order to claim back one’s life from the clutches of fear.
A Black Moon (2nd New Moon in a solar month) on 18th/19th February assists us in this journey. Whilst all New Moons signal a time of silence to honour the stirrings of new birth, this Moon – on the cusp between Aquarius and Pisces – insists that the new is truly new, not simply a rehash of previous attempts to secure an improved outcome from less than fundamental change. This is not an ‘okay I’ll give it another go’ Moon, but a ‘time to pull out all the stops and really show my commitment to change’ Moon. This is our first big opportunity this year to collectively shift stagnant energy which keeps us all stuck in past patterns and sterile circumstances. The more people who can do that now the better, for the potential of this Moon cannot manifest without a deep ‘yes’ to whatever is necessary to shift us into wakefulness. It may feel like loss or compromise but if we follow through we will discover it to simply be freedom from ties that bind and attachments that limit our potential to embody truth.
A conjunction between Venus and Mars holds sway for the final two weeks of February. It reminds us that the sacred marriage of masculine and feminine – opposites which create a whole – is not simply a metaphor for balance but a living, breathing process woven though the very fabric of our lives. Whilst we encounter their archetypal presence most directly through our experience of gender, we must not allow such obvious polarities to divide us, for at our very core we are neither male nor female, man nor woman, god nor goddess, but an alchemical fusion of both and more: a potent force of creative and destructive power, none of which is right or wrong but simply part of the universal order. On 21st and 22nd February, having just entered Aries, Mars and then Venus cross the celestial equator into the Northern hemisphere, bringing their energy more forcefully into our present moment awareness, releasing it from hooks and ties to the past. It is time to rethink gender, to deconstruct the meaning assigned it throughout patriarchal history and consider its role as we step forward into the Aquarian Age. There are no answers offered here, no hard and fast rules, only questions posed and doubts raised to subvert our innate identification with the most fundamental duality of existence. All this alongside a cosmic reminder that we are not who we think we are and neither is anyone else!
Maintaining an open mind in the face of the seemingly incontrovertible is vital these days. Accepting the status quo and seeking only those changes which nevertheless maintain it, is part of the old world now dissolving. The change demanded by the burgeoning Aquarian Age is of an entirely new order. It blows apart preconceptions and prejudices, challenges long held notions of right and wrong and upholds Truth with a capital ‘T’ in the face of half truths, deceptions and lies so cosy and familiar we barely know they’re there. And the explosion begins with us, in us, as we allow the hardened shell of ‘this is how the world works’ to be broken open revealing unanswered questions and unrealised truths. As February comes to a close we must be prepared to know nothing. For in this divine ignorance we will discover the blessings of emptiness and the rich potential of a collective slate wiped clean.