The birds they sang
At the break of day
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be—Leonard Cohen
In these fallow times, as we burrow down in the quiet containment of our ordinary lives, hesitant to trust the torrent of news that so often enters our consciousness, unbidden. Many of us are numb, suspended in the eye of the storm; held hostage by loss and grief; struggling to feel at home in a body that feels fragile and pained. Many of us are wondering what is yet to be.
Yet now is the time to start again. A slew of powerful astrological transits swirl around us. We pay our collective debt to the gods today as the Sun joins Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury in Aquarius. In the ever-changing sky, Uranus, the “awakener”, turned direct on January 14th (6° Taurus). As exhilarating as an awakening may seem, it is so often accompanied by an obliteration of life as we knew it. Saturn and Uranus will be in square three times this year. Saturn transits arrive as the henchmen of stasis that undermine our efforts to move forward. Uranus breaks us open.
Mars, the warrior god, joins forces with unpredictable Uranus (rude awakenings, shocks, and unexpected events) and although so many of us are straining for some kind of change in our lives, some hope that the pandemic will end soon, there will be more losses, more deaths, more grieving.
Creation stories always tell of darkness and chaos that come before creation. The Pluto/Saturn conjunction of January 2020 has fermented all that is rotten in our world. The dross has risen to the surface and each one of us now faces the consequences of those things we have repressed or simply ignored. In the tumultuous confusion, something greater ushers humanity towards what is yet to be.
Few of us go willingly into the kind of initiation that accompanies a Pluto transit. Pluto is still in Capricorn, square Eris and opposing the Mercury of the US birth chart. America’s Pluto Return (2017-2024) and the former President Trump’s Pluto opposition (2019-December 2021) to his heavily armoured Saturn/Venus conjunction require a head bowed humbling of will. Pluto transits never leave us intact.
The Eris square to the US Pluto will permeate American culture well into the 2040s. A Collective meeting with Fate.
The torrent of Tweets has stopped. In the silent space between chaos and something new, there is the descent into the unknown. Joe Biden has answered the call. He has worked and waited and prepared for this day’s dawning. He gazes out at a map of shifting possibilities. If he is to succeed, it will be as a Shaman, a Wounded Healer, not a problem-solving politician. January 20th is the first anniversary of the first case of Covid in America. As the death toll rises, it may soon surpass the 405,000 Americans who died in the chaos of WW II.
The Moon moves into Taurus on the day of the US Presidential Inauguration and for a brief moment, she will brush gently over Joe Biden’s pragmatic Taurus Moon, at the pinnacle of his political career. The Leo Full Moon of January 28th illuminates the Pluto/Moon square in Joe Biden’s birth chart, as he begins a process of initiation that will test him to the limit.
Fintan O’ Toole, in a superbly written Guardian article, writes: “His skills as a fixer are finely honed – but they cannot restore a pre-Trump normality. As president, Biden’s private self, shadowed by loss, must come into its own.” Joe Biden’s private self is symbolised by four resilient planets in Scorpio which must find their way through the dark as they will be squared by Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn and Uranus in the coming months and years. Mercury turns Retrograde on January 30th (square Joe Biden’s Scorpio Sun). There is so much to be healed and repaired. The slow retrieval of what has been lost or captive will be painful. As Pluto opposes the US Mercury from 2017–2024 there will be walls to dismantle, bridges to build, digital communications to reform, and Silicon Valley Titans to tame.
“This will not be an American spring,” writes O’Toole, “the political Biden is not the man who can change America. It is that other, richer persona, the private self, shadowed by time and loss and a sense of tragedy, that must come into its own.”
Therapist and trauma specialist Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother’s Hands suggests that the healing of America will be long and slow and will take many generations. He offers: “If we are to survive as a country, it is inside our bodies where this conflict needs to be resolved… the vital force [behind] white supremacy is in our nervous systems… You start with things that are maybe uncomfortable but not hard to do, like: Put yourself in situations. If you’re a white person, go someplace where there are gonna be a lot of black bodies, and just feel what happens in your body. And go back again.”
Here in the North, golden daffodils glisten in the spring sunlight. The first blue bells brush cobalt across the woodlands. The air is scented with the promise of renewal. Today, may our salty tears bring cleansing and deep healing.
May all that is unforgiven in you be released. May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities. May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.
—John O ’Donohue.
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