Four planets walk into a bar...
Yes, friends, here we are in the Grand Cross: can you feel it? While I'm not an astrologer, getting some info on alignments that might well be influencing your life right about now can be useful. Pam Younghans is an astrologer, and her take on the energies of the cross, April 20th (yesterday) through the 23rd, put me in mind of the classic start of a joke, which led to this post.
But this Grand Cross (or Square) ain't no joke! When Mars, Pluto, Uranus, and Jupiter square off at table 13 (each at 13º) in mutable signs, (Libra, Capricorn, Aries, and Cancer, respectively), it's sort of like those old black & white TV cowboy shows, when the poker game in the saloon gets tense and everyone stops talking. Even the phrase squaring off can mean that kind of tension; I mean these are two pairs of hefty planets in opposite signs all perfectly squaring each other. We're talking 90º angles, a shape with four sharp edges and four corners to negotiate, with massive force fields and agendas to go with them. Whether you're talking geometry, architecture, physics, astrology, or dramatized poker games, you're talking balance amid tension.
How we balance ourselves is the thing here. I hadn't yet read Pam's metaphor of the four planets sitting at a square table, Mars and Pluto opposite Jupiter and Uranus, yesterday, when the topic of tightrope walking came up spontaneously. Now I do the math, I get it: balance and tension. Without both of those, the tightrope walker's out of luck. If they're not kept in harmony, the tightrope walker's out of luck. Moreover, they must be kept in harmony under changing conditions and circumstances. Crosswinds, for instance, or their metaphysical counterpart: fear. Even the word crosswinds has a cross in it; the long balancing bar the tightrope walker carries makes a cross with the thin line in the sky.
Cross, square, opposites, tension: a golden opportunity to rebalance. To cross from one mindset to another, release in order to turn tension into real ease. To negotiate real ease out of the oppositions, within and without, may I suggest turning the square into a square dance? The old program would be a standoff, a tug of war, for and against. If you win, I lose. In a more mutable stance, with movement and fluidity, think of the square dance, when the caller calls the partners to make a star with their hands in the center and wheel around. Now that's reel ease!
And yes, I'm having fun with words. But what you can do with pairs in a square, with balance and tension and fluidity and ease is a beautiful thing. You can join hands and swing your partner round and round, you can release and turn to the left or right, do-see-do, make circles and stars and figure-8s and promenade. Like the Traveling Hoedowners do! Watching them, and hearing the caller do that cool thing of singing On the Road Again with the calls as part of the tune is a hoot. And in our personal square dance, it's good to remember you call your own tune. You are the caller of your dance, and like this guy it seems handy to have some practice, know what you want to sing and then sing it with style. Yiha
Whether you take up tightrope walking, square dancing, astrology or – as Pam suggests, "we may find that balance through meditation and dreamwork ... shamanic journeys and psychotherapies" – I hope imagining oppositional forces as a swingin' dance, set atwirl with flounce and bounce, wordplay and natural fun lightens the work of realizing, releasing and re-patterning old standoffs ready to blow.
May you instigate lightheartedness, affection, and optimism to balance the intensity, sensitivity, and vulnerability.
I'm going to take a new trail today and see where it leads. And leave you back where this post started, with the lines of a poem of mine that came up talking about something, that came up from something else, that came from something else.
If you find yourself
on a tightrope
so thin it can't be
seen above a world dropped
away in a stiff wind
think Chagall, Philippe Petit
© 2014 Susan Lynch
On days like this when the sun comes out after days of cloudy rain, the river calls and I walk on down the road. I just took this snap of the Sandy River coursing down from Mount Hood fresh with rainwater and snow. Yesterday's big rain had it churning brown when I drove over the high bridge where I stood today to take this shot, now transformed into its frothy jade green look. Two ravens circled high above, giving an oracle that I heard interpreted as keep going, and variations including perseverance furthers, and go with the flow.
The Incredible String Band's Water Song came to mind and I sang the line wizard of changes, teach me the lesson of flowing back to the river, as I often am impulsed to do around flowing water. Being in flow as part of All instead of sitting on the bank with your worries feeling out of flow is an image I've received from others who work with invisibles, with assisting self and others in raising frequency, transforming fear to love, trusting and participating in flow. The way we assist each other, encouraging, inspiring, and sometimes directly transmitting information or energy through and to each other is reflected by the mirror all around us. Just then, the message from the ravens, the sound of the river swollen with yesterday's rain, the resonance of what I was watching with the metaphor from the written material on flow, and the welcome rays of the sun did their stuff and I received the benefit in mind, body and spirit, helping me sync with flow.
In doing shamanic work – and in many other modalities of healing, lightworking, wayshowing, channeling, dreaming up – part of the assist comes from the practitioner's connect, gifts, and medicine, certainly. But a lot of what is going on is in the connect in us all: the connection of the people working, but also the connect that happens within the person receiving the work. What information, inspiration, guidance, helpers, wisdom, energy, power you personally connect with that was needed, to return to flow and raise your hum.
Sometimes I describe shamanic work as energetic jumper cables from one human battery to another. Sometimes each of us needs a jump to start up again and get back on the road, so we can go with the flow. Sometimes we need encouragement, support, information, affirmation, or a key energetic component we don't feel, can't see or locate. News we can use. The receiving of that is deeply connective and reflective, awakening parts of our soul that were fragmented, lost or sleeping, freeing shadow parts from the dark shameful closet we've locked them in. Helping each other through our helpers, our shared fragility, our innate insight and gifts, our connection happens in each moment, all around us in nature and beyond, throughout the universe.
When we're in flow, the universe flows to us and through us. Our brains light up and we feel that sense of group belonging psychological experts tag as essential to a person's well-being. We can each connect with flow and allow it to flow through us as we travel through our day, in traffic, at the store, at work, with our peeps, or in nature, seemingly solitary as I often am, but never alone. When you're in flow you can feel you are one with Source, and things are easier, simpler. What you're looking for turns up, whether it's a parking space, that thing in the junk drawer you need, the name of the guy you were supposed to contact, or the next step in your career, home, or relationship situation. The phone rings, the email pings, the eagle flies by overhead. Ideas come to your writing or project and revisions are obvious, delightful.
Living so close to a river is an excellent mirror, or flow chart if you will, and I've been fortunate to find myself living near several through the years. Each day the river is different and fluctuates wildly. Each drop of water is unique and different than any before or after it. Yet it's all river, and all rivers flow to Source. And from the source, come to think of it. Conditions affect flow but flow continues, sometimes more than we think we can handle, sometimes less than we think we need. Learning the lesson of flowing is the work of many lifetimes, but in essence, simplicity itself.
If you are feeling out of flow, what will help you return? It might come through stillness, movement, silence, or sound; words or dreaming or nature or love. It might be all of the above. How do you restore your connect? If you need a jump you feel I can assist with, let me know. Our work might be in the Lower World, in water flowing underground [yes, cue the Talking Heads], or emanating in Middle World from an ancient water bubble in a crystal, from a waterfall in a past life, or from a few drops of a flower essence, or from a celestial Upper World wash of light that jumpstarts your cells into resonance and healing. We might actually be working at river's edge in an intensive nature training session. Or you might be on the other side of the world. Maybe a part of you returns, carrying the heart medicine you lost in an estranging event, re-lighting the fire in your head after a bewildering situation, renewing your thirst for life.
Wherever we are, may we be going with the flow, awash in the ever-present universal glow.
What's up with the photo? It seems to have orbs floating in the sky, a tilting old building, and some kind of swan cloudshow. I took this photo at Hawkwood in December of 2008, looking out the window of the big room where The Company of Hawkwood had just finished a meditation as part of the weekend mystery school with Caitlin Matthews, John Matthews, and professor-author Ari Berk. Just today, Caitlin Matthews posted about this longstanding annual event on her blog, Soundings, where you can be guided to everything you need to know, and even still make reservations to attend this year's weekend, if you so desire.
I bring it up because she brought it up because it's coming up for me big time as I create my own mystery school musings. Today I mention it not only because of the Company of Hawkwood energy, but because of world events, as a way of thinking about what my particular mystery school concept encompasses. As I synthesize How Things Happen into areas of potential inquiry, as I develop the scope and discuss it with colleagues, questions arise, and it's helpful for me to articulate answers to those questions. People ask, what sort of stuff will you do there? The scope is wide but small, far reaching but quiet.
Mystery schools, like all other institutions, come in all shapes, sizes, and persuasions. Today's post touches on one of the ways I envision the work could potentially positively benefit the world. Which has to do with the super Typhoon Haiyan which just struck the Philippines. What could we potentially do about such things at the mystery school? Ring bells and wail at the sky?
I'm going to keep this simple. One glimpse at the news headlines and the words devastation, horror, shock, death, lethal force, etc. run riot on the brain, doing little to positively affect a sense of helplessness, victimhood, fear and dread at nature and the world that sells papers in an old school format. Superstorms increase at a rate relative to our action movies about superstorms. Worldwide, we argue about cause and effect, global warming, climate change, the data that shows how superstorms increase from the warming of the seawater and the manufacturing pollution that exacerbates this phenomena. Much is being done from many approaches to both help and hinder our understanding of and our role in the delicate balance that allows us and other life forms to safely inhabit the pretty blue planet. It's major. So what does this all have to do with the mystery school thing? It's such a touchy topic, people strap on their mindsets in an either-or mentality, sparking friction at the table, or the comments section. But what about another possible approach? Not in place of, but in addition to, all the other approaches.
Picture this. Take the knowledge of atmospheric scientists, climatologists, oceanologists, and study it. Take the research of scientists such as Dr. Emoto, who studies the change in water crystals as a result of resonance and positive or negative articulation, and add it to the data. Take the wisdom and experience of practitioners such as Sandra Ingerman in shamanic environmental transformation and radical ecology, mentioned in an earlier blog post, and add it to the mix. Don't get bogged down in superstition, balderdashedly indignant refutation of invisible power, the negation of the energetic component, or any religious dogma about comeuppance or somesuch. Basically, steer clear of old school paradigms which separate wisdom and compassion in favor of some authority being all hopped up.
Rather, combine the power of information, intention, group effort, co-creation in the quantum field, a high degree of skill and words in working with the elements. Not in a last ditch, oh please don't whomp on us fear-based appeal to a judgmental punisher. Neither a 'just think good thoughts' halfheartedness nor a system of experimentation that disregards the power of human thought and heart energy in interacting with physical outcomes, such as evidenced in the transformation of water crystals. Bring the information together into a synthesis of directed thought, speech and action that eliminates lack of harmony with the elements from the source that is creating them.
You gotta be practiced up in this stuff so you can do the thing when it's time, which in the case of the typhoon, would have been when it began to form, in effect stating its intention. Taking it as an extreme example, a natural weather event that was being monitored scientifically, the data was available and could be addressed in many ways. The intention for the work would not be to make it stop, but to see what was going on, to listen to it, discover what was possible and what was needed and how to honor that, perhaps in a way that could then create less volatile, destructive force; a way it could 'live' that could be distributed differently, transmuted, redirected. A middle world journey straight into the eye comes to mind as a possible shamanic approach, and who knows there may have been many shamans doing precisely that.
Naturally, like in all schools, the thing is to start small, perhaps with a glass of water, a puddle, a harbor, a shower, or interacting with a sudden spiral that spins the leaves in the driveway. Providing instruction and space, developing individual skills alongside group intentionality, knowledge sets and levels of practice builds capabilities. What initially sounds impossible later proves to be the new discovery.
In all choices, support systems and materials that don't pollute; mitigate, reverse and transmute past damage, and use the power of words, sound, intention, and resonance in the now to communicate with the world, the universe, directly, energetically. Put it all together. I'm getting at a way of living powerfully and harmoniously with the elements of this world and the energies of the universe which utilizes an informed synthesis of abilities and knowledge to interact with nature in a positive, transformative way.
It's not a new idea, nor an original one. It's simply a multi-pronged approach to living in this (and other) world(s) that connects on a lot of levels for the well-being of all. Working with the elements from wisdom rather than fear, from a sense of empowered co-creative communication rather than victimhood or attack-defend strategies, addresses the manmade causes of imbalance on the planet even as it sends immediate energies that could potentially affect more than the minds of the participants. It utilizes the best experiential wisdom we have from shamanic and other practices and from scientific data with a quantum dash and heart.
Shamans have worked with weather conditions for the good of the people multiculturally for millennia. An integrated awareness of ways to live without disturbing the delicate balance of nature, lessening such cataclysmic events and restoring harmony on the planet includes what we create on the material as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual planes. Put them all together and see what is possible. And hey, collect the data, compile evidence where possible, to add to the field of knowledge. Thank the spirits, honor the wind, the water, the ocean, the earth. Help each other not create conditions that harm each other as well as send help after such cataclysmic events. Learn how to do all of this at a mystery school by developing your powers and increasing your awareness of a lot of stuff. That's the idea.
Cloud watching is almost a full-time job for me, and yesterday did not disappoint. Her Majesty, Mt. Hood, was working her magic with changing conditions from the east, and by late afternoon had created thunder, lightning, rain, and a vibrant rainbow, plus the wonderful changes in the fragrance of the air, the negative ions and ozone, all of which produced a shift in my inner state of mind. Posts from entranced friends in Oregon and Washington attested to the magical power of a summer storm on our psyches and spirits.
Living near Her Majesty for three years, I've felt her power and how she exerts it to change conditions around her. Sometimes she whips up electricity, sometimes sends alpine winds down her sides, cloaks herself in dramatic clouds, froths the river in green glacial melt on a hot day... she has a stunning repertoire. And then, I remember that when she was an active volcano, she helped create the epic Columbia Gorge over millions of years. The forests, waterfalls and sylvan glades we enjoy on weekend hikes were created through fiery explosions and lava flows which wiped out everything in their paths, over and over again, for millennia.
Major life force energies like volcanoes and floods, beautiful phenomena like snowflakes and rainbows, and every day weather like this morning's quiet cloud cover, result from conditions. Create the conditions for rain, and rain falls. You may have seen reports about Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde, who creates clouds inside galleries as an art installation. Viewers gasp in wonder when the cloud appears, and it is quite magical. But, like creating an oil painting by applying oil paint onto a canvas with a brush until an image is completed, the artist creates the artistic expression of a cloud in a room by creating the conditions that makes clouds form, having to do with proportions of humidity and temperature. You can watch YouTubes of the artist creating a cloud in a room.
Changing conditions in the mind also changes conditions in the physical plane. Body symptoms and conditions, living environment, relationships, abundance and manifestation capabilities, happiness and inner peace are some of the areas that change when the conditions we hold in our minds as true are allowed to shift. What seems impossible, like producing a cloud in a room, or healing a longstanding condition, will continue to appear impossible if conditions do not change, because the conditions for the transformation are not in existence at that time. Wishing or worrying are not effective in creating change in conditions, although they do play a part in attracting or repelling the conditions that create change.
Maybe I love watching clouds so much because I can view nature's transformative powers and their results in real time as an ongoing master class in the ultimate mystery school. The mountain, too, seems to say, are you watching? Are you listening? I'll show you again. We too have the power to change our lives, our bodies, and our world, the whether, if you like, around our personal sphere of influence. Group mind changes conditions in society and can effect global shifts in consciousness. Working with ourself is the starting place for changing conditions: looking at our thoughts, our fears, our held emotions – what we believe to be true, or possible. And who has the power to affect conditions.
Like the mountain, we do not hold all the conditional cards: there are other elemental forces that interact to create conditions at any moment. Rather than a skirmish, it can be a dance, a graceful intermingling of energies, realizing all is an expression of the one. Working – or playing – with the interweaving of forces, in alignment with a necessary degree of internal power conditions, including knowing, intention, fearlessness, trust, detachment, nonresistance, and love, is the work of transformation. Clearing negativity, removing obstacles, repatterning thoughts, letting go of old hurts and resentments, releasing fear changes static conditions so that transformation can occur.
Sometimes it is helpful to ask for information, energetic transmission, clarity, guidance, support and practices to assist in changing mind and heart conditions so that the 'weather' within and without us can change. Each of us can cultivate our inner connect, our stillness, our intent, to transform conditions in our lives. And then, the sweet showering from the sky begins.