Like so many of my fellow travelers, I’ve been trying to find a way to contextualize and understand what’s happening to our world. How is it possible that reactionary forces seem so intent on turning the Wheel of Life toward the past? Or is it that before we can go forward at the pace that’s needed to forestall climate disaster, we are required to take a closer look at what has been impeding progress for so long? Are hatred and fear on the rise, or is it that the Trump regime has simply given permission to the bigotry and violence that’s been lying beneath the surface of society’s skin, exposing it so blatantly that we can’t move on until we address the cause? Is separation our true state of being? Or is inclusion and unity the true nature of humanity?
I best understand the complexity of our current condition as a spiritual crisis, and while its material manifestations are many—political and social chaos; racial, gender, and economic polarization; as well as panic, despair, confusion, anxiety, anger, and depression. At its core, the madness that surrounds us is a manifestation of a spiritual emergency. The soul sickness, which we always knew was there but managed to deny, consciously or unconsciously, self-medicating in as many ways as possible with the hope that it will just cure itself, can no longer be denied. And the clarity of that realization—the glaring illumination and reality of a powerful, victimizing shadow—has the power to terrify but also the power to provoke tremendous healing. But it’s important to understand that as the structures of daily life dissolve and the safety nets disappear, we are being given a list of all the places where social justice—love at the level of the collective—needs to be more thoroughly applied.
Please don’t not confuse spirituality with religion. The fundamentalists of all the world’s religions have all but bankrupted religion’s moral authority. Literalism prevails, and its myopic stagnation supplants the power of symbol, myth and metaphor, the power that religions once had to speak to the mind and the soul as well as the intellect and the heart. Of course for many, religious practice is still vital, and I don’t mean to imply that religions are dead. But for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is existential anxiety fostered by the recognition of just how many ways there are to experience the sacred, fundamentalist certitude has provided a one-way-and-one-way-only means of making sense of a world too diverse to easily understand. Simplistic and angry fundamentalist dogma has dominated the airwaves for decades, indoctrinating its listeners with self-righteous, literalist explanations—just one of the reasons the Christian right seems to have taken over the United States’ Republican political machine.
I’m calling it a spiritual crisis because spirituality speaks to a transcendent experience of something greater than material reality, an experience that precedes the formation of a specific religion. The experience of the sacred or of spirit is at the core of all religious experience, and a religion can be defined as a system that provides a way of living in the context of that primary spiritual experience. Thus, a spiritual crisis—a spiritual emergency—also includes religions, which now need to reflect on their value and their values. No one is exempt from this process, and it is heartening to know that people everywhere are questioning how the principles of their religion are being applied. As a young woman expressed it at a recent town hall meeting (and I am paraphrasing): Aren’t Christians supposed to lift up those who have less?
Those who have been paying attention to personal and planetary transformation through an astrological lens have known for quite some time that a crisis was coming. But not many were able to predict the current devastation, and very few predicted the awakening that would occur as a result. Millions of people are seizing this moment by taking personal responsibility and participating in a spiritual revolution that has as its core a genuine concern for all their fellow travelers, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or species. Our shared humanity is awakened by a shared threat to our survival, and we will not be numbed again despite all efforts to contain our reactions. This is ultimately the remedy for our spiritual crisis: The recognition of our essential interconnectedness, combined with the willingness to put aside what separates and participate in what unites. We have so much more in common than we ever realized. And every one of us has a role to play and a mission to fulfill.
As delineated in last week’s column, the astrology for this week initiates a crescendo that builds until the beginning of March and sustains for the following week. Mars joins the ongoing Jupiter/Uranus opposition, turning polarized positions militant and military. What’s more, there is a solar eclipse on February 26 that’s certain to reveal even more hidden agendas. And while we don’t know what the madmen in Washington will do next, we do know that we can keep working toward inclusion in our personal lives, in our communities, in the workplace, and in every little act of kindness we can manage to fit into the day. Keep breathing your way through the tension and keep making compassion your first choice.
Sun Bursts: If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that too.
Aries March 21-April 19
The challenge of authenticity continues, but this week mounting tensions could thwart restraint. You’ll need a clear head to manage the stress. Do whatever it is you do to stay calm, but try to make healthy choices. No amount of alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or shopping will solve the problem. What’s required is the ability to use your superpowers for the good of all.
Taurus April 20-May 20
Refuse to terrorize yourself with shoulds and coulds and oughts about the past. If you must review those mistakes, do it with an eye toward what you can learn and how you can incorporate those lessons into disciplined action. This process is not about blame; it’s about greater self-awareness.
Gemini May 21-June 21
There’s no denying your inclination to take a stand for what matters, so rather than try to stifle that urge, make a thoughtful assessment of the situation and proceed with that clarity. I’m not suggesting your logic will prevail, but I am certain that caution will ultimately serve you well.
Cancer June 22-July 22
There’s no need to curb your enthusiasm, but it might be wise to modulate your ambition with a more reasonable strategy. This isn’t about dashing hopes. It’s about realizing that everyone is operating at a fever pitch at the moment, and you might find a better position if you pace yourself a little differently.
Leo July 23-August 22
You’ll need a steady internal compass to manage the twists and turns of daily life, especially as you attempt to manage the various agendas and needs of all the participants. Just remember: It’s not possible to be all things to all people, which is why you need to be true to yourself.
Virgo August 23-September 22
It is possible to be too militant about transformation, especially if you’re insisting that significant others adhere to your agenda. Assuming the enforcer role will only make you uncomfortable. So rather than being demanding, passionately present your argument without making anyone who disagrees wrong.
Libra September 23-October 22
It will be much easier to point the finger of blame at significant others than it will be to simply tolerate the stress of your restless nervous system. Rather than devolve into judgment, take responsibility for your restlessness and find healthy ways to spend the excess energy.
Scorpio October 23-November 21
Rather than allowing yourself to be pulled into a polarized position, harness the intense environment into service. That’s right—if you can figure out how to help others, you’ll be helping yourself as well and that will make a huge difference in your health, both physical and mental.
Sagittarius November 22-December 21
Sometimes expressing anger is the best way to transform it. So even though you’re still working on how to channel tension creatively, you may just have to move it through your body. One of my favorites is collecting ugly dishes at garage sales and then smashing them to bits—no one gets hurt and the energy moves.
Capricorn December 22-January 19
The tremors of the external world are causing internal quakes, exacerbating anxieties about safety and security. And while there are personal issues to take care of, before you spring into action, let the waves recede just a bit so you’ll have a clearer picture of what actually needs to shift.
Aquarius January 20-February 18
It would be wise to think before you speak, especially if you want to avoid certain conversations turning into a war of words. We forget that when we use words as weapons they lodge within the mind of our opponent and can live there as if they have the half-life of plutonium.
Pisces February 19-March 20
Certain situations benefit from external advice, and while I’m not suggesting that you can’t make it through these waves alone, I am advising you to seek guidance from qualified counselors when you need it. It never hurts to refine the foundation of a certain attitude or practice.
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