Mars, god of war, and Eris, goddess of discord, are siblings. In this current alignment they work together not, as one might fear, to cause trouble but to solve it, to help us find a different way to settle disputes and foster understanding. They remind us just how easy it is for conflict to erupt. Even an apparently insignificant disagreement can leave bad feeling, fed further by our ruminating mind. Ancient stories tell of how Eris increased in size and stature as she encountered the suffering on a battle field, apparently feeding off the results of frenzied blood-lust. In fact this story alerts us to how the mind works when conflict is afoot, gaining energy from the ensuing dynamics, concretising our position and using it to metaphorically bash someone else over the head!
All too often the mind loves to criticise. Its default setting is to assess the value of everything and everyone, passing judgement unbidden. This is how ego is built and sustained. We identify with those who share our perspective and stand in opposition to those who don’t: ‘I’m this kind of person who believes this, has those values and lives this kind of life’. The fullness of sacred source flowing through us becomes stultified as a result, our perspective becomes blinkered and before we know it we’re blind to endless possibilities and perspectives.
The Sun in Virgo offers a way through such habits of the mind, reflecting back to us the inherent perfection of every moment whatever we may think about it! The present is only ever as it can be given the myriad influences that coincide to create it. We are each who we are for the same reason: because the multifarious experiences of our lives have shaped us this way. No matter what could have happened differently in the past, nor how another decision would have forged a different path, who and where we are now is the direct result of all that has gone before and simply couldn’t be any other way. Which isn’t to say that we are automatons following a pre-destined fate. Far from it! We have shaped this moment with past choices and actions, just as our present ones shape the future. But given every moment of our past, the present can only ever be this way.
Reflecting thus reminds us others are also the product of their past with all its twists and turns, mistakes, regrets, joys, triumphs and shame. It is not that they are ‘wrong’ but that they have walked a different path, the consequences of which stand before us now. Once we can perceive their becoming we can approach them with greater openness, accepting that their world makes just as much sense as ours, even as the two seem diametrically opposed. Herein are found the seeds of understanding and enquiry rather than conflict and discord. We no longer have to prove them wrong, for we can see that we are both a work in progress, shaped by each moment. We can take a more objective view, assessing whether action is needed to curtail harm, or whether we are merely locked in conflict never to be resolved on account of differing perspectives which carry equal weight.
This planetary alignment seeks truth, but not the kind that demands we all agree. It allows for difference and disagreement without disrespect and condemnation. We all have moral boundaries beyond which we refuse to tread, but those who walk the other side of ours are not demons by nature but different by design, formed of ingredients absent from our make-up. The human realm is a complex mix of nature and nurture, personal responsibility and exposure to external pressure. Whilst there is a need to draw a line and protect the vulnerable, the impulse to impose our own perspective on others can be misplaced. The Sun, Mars and Eris highlight the power of agreeing to disagree, of respecting the person even if their views are ‘problematic’, of allowing difference even when it pushes our buttons. This power is alchemical, transformative, for once we are no longer polarised into opposing views the real discussion can start, common ground is more accessible and a deeper mutual understanding can arise, out of which lasting change is born.
It takes humility to approach conflict in this way. The world needs those who will not demonise the ‘enemy’ but instead recognise shared humanity even against the backdrop of heinous acts which cannot be condoned. The more we can each approach disagreement with less discord and more openness, the stronger becomes the vibration of acceptance in the collective energy field, fortifying all who seek solutions to the greater and more complex conflicts of our world.