Embracing the Primal Self
The dwarf planet Eris is a powerful cosmic player that we’re only just getting to grips with. She speaks of violent resistance to the status quo alongside the violence used to maintain it. She confronts us with our primal nature and demands that we both embrace and transcend it, turning the battle for individual survival into a collective movement towards unified well-being, each supporting – not competing with – the other. Eris speaks of revenge and revolution, of imposition of the law and its transgression to settle a score. She awakens aspects of the shadow self many struggle to accept, exposing primal wounds and instincts whose destructive power we sense will be uncontrollable should we allow them free rein.
In a word, Eris is fierce. She brooks no resistance and will do whatever it takes to right a wrong or address an imbalance of power. She flinches at nothing and will do what even her most fiercesome enemies would not dare to. She is the final word on the shadow self, reflecting the deepest and darkest aspects of the psyche where few dare to tread. Discovered in 2005, she’s been knocking on the doors of our collective consciousness for the past decade, becoming ever more insistent that we pay attention to the consequences of locking her out, pretending we don’t hear her roar.
On the face of it she sounds like bad news. We don’t want to upset her because she knows no limits when it comes to revenge, nor do we want to keep her happy which may entail becoming the very thing we fear. We want her to go away but she’s going nowhere. The only option left is to open the door, hold our nerve and look her in the eye. Not out of fear – the pitiful peering of terror – but as an equal, knowing that who she is is us, the human race, a dominant force of nature which shapes this planet for good and ill. A force that can save or destroy all that we hold dear, that can raise up or tear each other down in the fight to come out on top. Eris holds up a mirror to the human condition and demands that we see ourselves staring back in the face of those we most fear, those we most demonise, those who commit the most heinous acts. She exhorts us to keep them in our hearts even as we recoil from and challenge their behaviour. To remember that change is most effective when we act for something rather than against something else. Eris speaks loud and clear: if we demonise the ‘other’, demons walk this earth. If we seek to counter suffering with healing, bigotry with understanding and hatred with compassion for all that has caused its arising, together we can create, piece by piece, an alternative way to live, in a world driven not by ‘power over’ but by the powerful force of collective striving for a better life.
To do this, however, we must know ourselves deeply, which is where Eris retrograde comes in. As much as we recoil in horror from what humans do to each other, we do unending violence to ourselves every day. Each judgement and criticism, every moment identified with life as pain not awakening, we imprison ourselves in a miserable existence. Every relationship we have with someone who hurts us because we can’t believe we deserve better; every put-down we accept from others because we fear standing up to their might; every punishing thought and dismissal of our own worth. This is Eris inside of us, turning ourselves into a disenfranchised ‘other’ in our very own life, unable to act effectively or live with purpose and meaning, forever beaten down with lies, battered with past mistakes and failings, pained by the reopening of old wounds. Eris retrograde demands that we fight first and foremost for ourselves, for our own sovereignty, our own power, taken from us by our own denial of our inherent worth. We, she tells us in no uncertain terms, are our own jailers, abusers, oppressors, and until we recognise this we cannot change a world in which so many abuse and oppress others.
Her message is stark, always, and we are only just beginning to hear it. If we cannot accept ourselves at our most primal, we cannot begin to accept that the horrors of the human race are a part of us not something altogether separate. If we cannot find a safe and gentle space inside of us which can accommodate the rage we dare not speak, the vengeance we race to deny, the hatred of self or other we refuse to admit, we’ll change nothing in the outside world, which must accommodate energetically our own denied self and allow it expression elsewhere. Whilst our planet evolves and we along with it, we must own all of our feelings, knowing them not as terrifying forces to be subdued but as aspects of nature which become distorted when used to further egoic influence. In doing so we can recognise the incredible amount of energy available to us when we need it. No longer do we live a half life in which huge aspects of our psyche are shoved out of sight. When we know and accept we can all be angry enough to kill given the ‘right’ conditions it doesn’t mean we become killers, it means we know ourselves well enough not to. When we recognise how far we could go to seek revenge if our own wounds were deep enough we don’t become an uncontrollable harridan avenging all who cross her path, we become someone who looks with compassion upon the world and recognises how important it is to care for each other and not inflict the kind of wounds that elicit such deep pain. We become someone who understands how vital it is to commit to healing whatever it takes, and not perpetuate cycles of violence and fear.
While Eris is retrograde she asks us to see what we do to ourselves, how we perpetuate our own suffering through a lack of self love, a lack of compassion for who we are and all that we have been through. She reveals how we reject and isolate parts of the self through fear and how embracing that very fear can be the key to their release and reintegration. She reminds us that we are one human race and as such each carry our part of the collective psyche in which all things live, good and bad, fearful and reassuring, shocking and supportive. We are all of it, each one of us, and the greatest, most courageous task is to know this about ourselves, viscerally and without flinching, maintaining an open heart to the legacy of being human and all it entails. The light of humanity shines through its own darkness, just as its darkness can also snuff out its light. But to hold both in balance, this is the greatest act of healing and one to which we can each commit within ourselves.
Eris will fight to the death if she has to. It’s her way and she’ll never give in. She knows that we’re the same, wrestling our ‘demons’ into submission, snuffing out more of our inner spark as we do so. We opt to die inside believing it to be the way to life when in fact it simply separates us from our true nature. Eris asks us to expand beyond the limits of who we want to be, to embrace the totality of who we are. She invites us to live fully with eyes wide open to it all, for only in doing so can we use all that we are to further our conscious awakening.