Patient Compassion and Compassionate Patience
We begin October with Uranus and Chiron highlighting the need to find new ways to both accommodate and heal woundedness at the personal and collective levels. They have been working together on this issue since June, simultaneously exposing where we are most wounded and offering tools to further the process of healing and the embodiment of wholeness. The first week of October plays out against the backdrop of a square between Mars and Chiron which reminds us that the imperative to heal comes hand in hand with the responsibility to do so not for our own personal gain but to ultimately bring the collective back into a state of balance. The healing which occurs in our minds and hearts, bearing fruit in our own lives, is simply a tiny microcosm of the rebalancing required in the collective consciousness to which we each add our own unique resonance. In exchange for our contribution we receive back the resonance of the whole, such that it is, to fuel our journey onward. Thus it is in all our interests to ensure our offering comes from a peaceful heart and an awakened mind.
We hear a lot about healing these days, but less about accommodating woundedness: allowing it to be there without needing to remove it. This willingness to recognise the presence of suffering and refrain from interfering with it is a powerful theme at the beginning of this month. We’re not talking here about apathy or a loss of hope such that we believe we’ll never change or the world is already doomed. Instead the heavens point to the need for compassionate patience which allows ourselves and other people to be imperfect, in pain, struggling without needing to intervene to make things ‘right’. They remind us that ‘right’ is whatever is in the moment, not a particular version of life that we prefer. If we find ourselves suffering in the first week of October, be it physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually, the biggest mistake we could make is to assume this means something is going wrong or we haven’t ‘come as far’ as we thought. Now is the time to abandon all such value judgements and simply accommodate the pain for a while. Invite it in. Listen to it as we would to a small child with something very important to say. Make space for the pain and then just be. This is the best advice for the first week of October, for if we can do that we will contribute to a growing tide of patient compassion and compassionate patience which recognises that life is intensely complex, as are we, and healing takes time. We are multi-layered beings and all manner of elements throughout time and space must align in a healing way for every layer to shift and change. The application of astrology teaches this every day: that we are in a process with its own shape and cycle. Our responsibility is to honour the cycles, not try to circumvent them; to work consciously with them in such a way that we maximise the potential of each moment. Wanting healing NOW, when the cycle says wait a while and be gentle with the pain instead….that’s just more suffering. Time to understand we are not here to call the shots but to live them. There’s a difference…
On 4th October GMT Mercury begins its retrograde cycle which continues until its direct station on 25th October. In doing so it alerts us to the fact that we may have missed something recently which proves to be a vital piece of the jigsaw. In our eagerness for ‘progress’ we can easily overlook the obstacle which will bring us down in due course if we fail to allow for it now. In stationing retrograde at this point, Mercury puts the brakes on for a while and bids us to look back over where we have recently been to see what we may have missed, wilfully or otherwise. We may have eagerly told ourselves whatever it is won’t matter and if we ignore it it’ll go away, or we may not even realise we skirted around it in the first place, but as we join hands with Mercury retrograde we have the opportunity to cast fresh eyes over the recent past to see what needs our attention. Note, especially, recent emotional reactions: did something spook you but you just told yourself you’re being silly? Did you have a ‘feeling’ about someone, positive or negative, but you brushed it aside? Did you turn down an opportunity when every fibre of your being was shouting ‘Yes!’ because your mind said ‘Oooh no! Far too risky!’? Or perhaps you took the risk without listening to the caution of your heart which whispered ‘not quite yet. Just wait…’. The good news is: whatever Mercury wants us to see now it does so because it’s not too late to do things differently. This is our chance to revisit and reshape where necessary. And given the current theme of patience, that reshaping may take the form of simply waiting, quietly, alert but still, for a time more conducive to the re-shaping of our plans.
Between the 4th and 8th October we encounter a Grand Trine in Fire setting the heavens ablaze and our spirits with it. We can claim its fire as our own as we embark upon a month with much to teach about timing: ours, the divine’s and everything in between! With fire comes inspiration and optimism. Stocking up on these qualities will do us no harm and a quick inventory of the inner strengths we have to sustain us as we journey onward is a good use of this energy. However, it also brings impatience, over-confidence and a rash disregard for the natural laws which say if you jump off a cliff without wings you will fall and into a fire without protection you will burn. So balance in all things is required here, to reap the gifts of the fire without the consequences of disrespecting it!
On 8th October a total lunar eclipse occurs in Aries at 10:56 a.m. GMT. With the Moon conjunct Uranus, it speaks of liberation and awakening, shocks and surprises. Feelings may run high, but a positive alliance between Mars and Jupiter offer us hope and buoyancy to ride the waves, reminding us that alchemy requires high temperatures to occur! If you feel like you’re in the furnace at this time, know that the heavens are focusing their power on you not to melt you down never to be reformed, but to burn away the dross in order for the precious gifts of life to be revealed. However, despite the presence of Uranus, master of surprise and rapid change, the fruits of this eclipse will take time to ripen, with the processes triggered now culminating in March 2015, which is another good reason to embrace the message of patience shared at the start of this month! All things come to those who wait, and whilst this eclipse may provide some unexpected input we will not fully encounter its results for some time yet, so be sure not to judge its worth too soon. There remains much to be revealed in due course.
In the few days following the eclipse we have some fairly up-beat energies coming at us, with the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and the North Node aligning to remind us that commitment and faith stand for a lot when facing obstacles and challenges. They speak not of blind-faith and Pollyanna hope but of the deep faith born of one who has faced obstacles before, who has walked the path of awakening for a while and who knows its ups and downs, pitfalls and blessings. They speak of knowing that quick fixes are no fixes and that engaging deeply with the process of inner and outer transformation teaches us much about the nature of time and space and the cycles of life to which we are all subject. They remind us that our own lives are mere specks within this vast and endless universe and embracing this bigger perspective can do wonders for our ability to bear with their more difficult aspects in order to embody their greater blessings in due course. Indeed, at this time the heavens point not only to our own tiny lives but also to the vast infinity in which we live them, reminding us that the fruits of the present moment may await us in realms and dimensions yet to be revealed. Patience, once again, is the watch word now.
This emphasis on patience is not, however, to imply that nothing is happening! Beneath the surface all manner of shifts are taking place, although their fruits are yet to be revealed. Indeed, if we try to force a premature ripening we may end up crushing them rather than harvesting them in a timely way. From 18th October to the end of the month we see a conjunction between Venus and the Sun, first in Libra and then Scorpio, which invites us to enjoy the process right now. No matter what’s going on in our life, we are encouraged here to find the pleasure and identify with harmony rather than struggle, with peace rather than discord. This is easier said than done when life is throwing us curve-balls, but here we have the chance to step aside and choose time-out rather than grappling with on-coming forces too formidable to subdue. It can feel almost irresponsible to sit back and take a nap when so much is pressing for our attention, but that’s what we’re encouraged to do! Now is not the time for action but for creating space in which effective decisions can be made in due course, once we’ve gathered ourselves fully and recharged our batteries.
23rd October sees a partial solar eclipse in Scorpio (9:46 pm GMT) conjunct Venus, further highlighting the need for familiarity with the process of transformation such that we can relax and allow it to happen as necessary. This eclipse reminds us we don’t always need to be in the driving seat and there is much to be said for sitting back and enjoying the journey, even when things feel intense and we’re certain we SHOULD be doing SOMETHING! Any solar eclipse in Scorpio will take us into deep water, but this one offers us an oxygen tank and all the requisite diving gear to enjoy the descent rather than be terrified by it! It reminds us that it is frequently the willingness to embrace the darkness which sheds the needed light to navigate it. Resistance is futile, the heavens tell us now, and whilst this may sound like a message of doom in fact it is one of hope, for it means that we can let go, lighten up and still do the deep work needed for true rebirth. We don’t have to be depressed as we encounter the challenges. We can stay relaxed and even find the fun in it! And yes, that in itself is a challenge, but it’s one worth engaging with now. We may just discover a whole new way to ride the waves of change with a smile on our face…
Mercury stations direct on 25th October, completing its retrograde passage and beginning its return to where it was at the start of this month. What we have learned in the interim is important information if we are to make good on commitments formed in July, August and September. We have learned a lot about timing this month and we may have to rethink some of our previous plans to incorporate what we now know. We have also learned about attitude and the need for sovereignty over our own mind-set and approach to life. These lessons, too, will come in handy as we survey our plans for the future. Whilst life is not about to become easy-peasy, when we can maintain a greater level of ease regardless of what occurs we are in a far stronger position to forge ahead and create much needed change when the time is right. And with a steady and positive attitude we will know when that time is and be ready to act accordingly.
As the month (and the eclipse season) comes to an end, we are reminded that whilst it’s easy to feel the strain of life’s challenges, a shift of perspective can enable us to access peace in times of strife, pleasure in times of discomfort and hope in times of despair. Nurturing the ability to choose our inner landscape rather than have it dictated by external events is a powerful strength which can carry us through all manner of difficulties. In doing so it is not that we deny the pain or simply think a positive thought to counteract a negative one. Instead we acknowledge that life in all its complexity can give us great pain and great pleasure in the same moment, hope and despair as one, comfort and dis-ease as part of the same package. And we have a choice, always, whether we polarise into one or the other or embrace it all in its fullness and know life inside-out, with a shout of joy, a wail of despair and everything in between.