When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me—Benjamin Earl King.
The first month of the calendar year, is named in honour of Janus, two-headed god of thresholds.
“This year will be better…” we say hopefully, perhaps as a talisman to ward off the aftertaste of the year gone by.
As the effervescent bubbles of New Year’s Eve flatten into the sober days of January and we minister to the minutiae of our daily lives, Fate may enter softly through the open door, catching us unprepared. She brings news that that skids and spins us off the smooth tarmac of our carefully scheduled New Year planner. For many of us this year, we will have to bow our heads to the necessity of getting out of bed each day and finding something to be truly grateful for. We will yoke ourselves to the inevitability of change: children who leave home, a lover who no longer loves us, a dear friend who moves far away, a beloved parent who now needs the same vigilant caring as a toddler. As we eat of the bitter herb, may we know that there is milk and honey also, in the acceptance of things as they are.
Our ancestors lived close to the cycles of the seasons, the rhythm of Life. During the unrelenting grip of famine or displacement by war, flood or fire, they walked with the primordial goddess of Necessity. She was Ananke, also called Force or Constraint; she was mother to three daughters, the Moirai, the Fates. As omniscient goddess of all circumstance, greatly respected by mortals and gods, it was she who ruled the pattern of the life line of threads of inevitable, irrational, fated events in our lives. Ananke determined what each soul had chosen for its lot to be necessary—not as an accident, not as something good or bad, but as something necessary to be lived, endured, experienced. Necessity has been outcast in our mechanistic material culture where we, in our hubris and our self-inflation, actually believe that are all powerful—we can fix, manifest, cut away, or buy our way out of any mess we make. Ananke is an ancient goddess, and the resonance of her name has its tap root in the ancient tongues of the Chaldean, Egyptian, the Hebrew, for “narrow,” “throat”, “strangle” and the cruel yokes that were fastened around the necks of captives. Ananke always takes us by the throat, imprisons, enslaves, and stops us in our tracks, for a while. There is no escape. She is unyielding, and it is we who must excavate from the depths of our being, our courage, tenacity, and acceptance of what is.
This New Year, Necessity may lay her hand on a defining moment in your life. The ending of a love affair, the barren womb, the not-so-exciting job that pays the bills. She may still the tug-o’-war of the heart’s calling, block the mind’s plan, and fasten the collar around our neck. There may be no escape, except a shift in perception, and the courage to accept that which cannot be otherwise and a resilience to stay the course and just do it. Author, Doris Lessing once said, “whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.”
On January 1st, we cross over the burning ground where our intentions, our resolutions, are ignited. Mars emerges from the luminescent waters of Pisces and brashly unsheathes his sword. Mars is in Aries until Valentine’s day. Bodyguard of the Sun, Mars triggers a release of wilful determination that may aid the ingestion of a sugarless spoonful of realism.
The Sun, Saturn, Pluto are in Capricorn this month, harbingers of a year that may bring financial austerity, new laws and restrictions imposed by those in authority. We confront the cold facts, the consequences, the karma of our thoughts and our actions. This is the month we white knuckle down to those tedious but necessary tasks that stretch our resolve, take us to the edge of our endurance. Capricorn, like all astrological archetypes, is complex and nuanced. Here we meet the energy of The Master, the Father, the Law Giver, the Tyrant, and the Scapegoat. There are no short cuts this month, the celestial injunction is to bunker down, be responsible, exercise caution and self-mastery.
Mercury moves into Capricorn on the eve of a Capricorn New Moon and Solar Eclipse. The Solar Eclipse plumps up the seeds of our intentions, and in Capricorn we must choose wisely where we plant them. Mercury in Capricorn brings a seriousness to our thoughts and words, we may focus on the importance the promises we make and our commitment to duty, no matter how arduous or unpleasant. Venus changes sign on January 8th, accelerating her dance through the heavens in fiery Sagittarius and joining Jupiter, that planet associated with excess and grandiosity on January 22nd. Jupiter and Neptune are in square between January 12th and 16th and, on January 21st, Venus square to Neptune may gorge hedonistically on sweet dreams and empty promises. She may languish in the half light of the opium den or pursue the glittering lights of the casino. This is the classic bankruptcy signature, so be wary of the siren call to buy more of what you want but don’t really need at the January sales. Be conservative in affairs of business. Be aware of the regressive pull back into unconscious drives and infantile appetites in relationships that demand instant gratification.
This New Moon and Solar Eclipse contains the seed for temperance, austerity and prudence that will be necessary companions in 2019.
Poet and novelist, Ben Okri writes, “bad things will happen, and good things too. Your life will be full of surprises. Miracles happen only where there has been suffering. So, taste your grief to the fullest. Don’t try and press it down. Don’t hide from it. Don’t escape. It is Life too. It is truth. But it will pass, and time will put a strange honey in the bitterness. That’s the way life goes.”
As we honour Necessity, we can choose which threads, which colours we wish to weave into the cloth of our lives. We can discover the Miracle in the suffering, we can taste the strange honey in the bitterness of our grief as we feel what needs to be felt—in the light and in the dark of the Moon.
In loving memory of Denise Marine. March 29th 1940—December 27th 2018. Thank you for standing by me.
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