Preparing to Begin
2016 may get off to a slow start. We may even be tempted to write off January before we’ve given it a chance! If so, don’t! Granted, it’s not the most upbeat and inspiring start to a new year, but the overall feel, this month, of setting straight our lives, getting unfinished business sorted and matters in order stands us in good stead for February when an eclipse season begins (heralding two eclipses in March) and things begin to pick up pace. This is very much a month of getting down to business whether that means sorting out cupboards, paying outstanding bills, catching up on correspondence or deciding, once and for all, which bits of our life we’re definitely going to sort out his year! Don’t overlook the power of such seemingly inconsequential activities. This month they form the fertiliser for growth to come in due course.
In essence, the key message of January is exactly that: don’t divide life into spiritual and mundane, special and ordinary. It’s all special and all mundane. Everything we do has power. Every word, action, thought, feeling and intention carries weight in this universe. If we deem the everyday world of work, commuting, shopping, cleaning, earning enough to keep ourselves afloat, as somehow less worthy than when we’re ‘being spiritual’ we deny the presence of the sacred at the heart of our life. Doing this results in the feeling that we have to go somewhere extraordinary to ‘be spiritual’, behave a certain way, look a certain way or live a particular kind of life. The trappings of a spiritual persona thus become the deciding factor of our worth, and that of everyone else. Judgements are made based upon surface appearances and not quality of being. Pursuing spiritual enquiry becomes something that makes us special and thereby a tool of ego rather than spirit. This is a frequent phenomenon these days when the ‘spiritual marketplace’ is full to bursting with holy materialism, devoid of the one thing that no one can buy: presence. Clear, unadulterated, vibrant presence: the fundamental connection with Source, available to everyone everywhere.
2016 is a year of blasting through pretence and personas to reveal what lies beneath. Nothing will be spared this penetration of reality which exposes the truth at the heart of everyone. Those who claim spiritual accomplishment will have to account for their claims. Those who present a certain face will be challenged to make that face a reality throughout their lives or discard it to reveal what lies beneath. There may be moments of painful exposure, deceptions highlighted, lies revealed and pretentions up-ended, but throughout all of this runs the clear, golden thread of truth which illuminates all that is authentically real. We can no longer get away with dividing the world into pieces, with some parts more worthy than others. We must live it all, embrace it all and be it all. Ourselves, fully lived in all our glory, not shaped and honed to present a favoured face to the world.
Likewise, if we think awakening makes life easy, this year may cause us to think again! Awakening is not about getting life to unfold to our tune, but about getting in tune with life such that we and it are one and the same, flowing in tandem through all eternity. This doesn’t come easy to us human beings so intent on controlling events, getting our desires met and seeking acclaim for what and who we are. Humility is key, as is a willingness to believe we know nothing and no one in order to allow life to surprise us again and again. Which it will do if we let it. Not always in ways we may appreciate, but always in ways that wake us up ever more to the deeper currents of becoming that flow through and around our being.
Mars’s entry into Scorpio on 3rd January sets the scene for two months of powerful activity which reaches the stubborn roots that need to be severed. Often we may facilitate surface changes which look good but fail to penetrate the more hidden, deeper aspects of our psyche where we wrestle against real change. Mars in Scorpio both resists change and forces it, knowing that in its very resistance lies the energy needed to break through obstacles and old patterns that keep our energy stuck and our perspective limited. During this time we may find ourselves both desperate for change and fearing it, creating ambivalence and pent up energy that will disrupt our everyday experience until we can address what’s really going on. The rebirth that lies at the heart of Scorpio is not secured with a small gesture of faith but a huge demonstration of our endurance and resolve to burn through those things that bind us. Mars is happy to fuel that burning and fan the flames, even when we’d rather he just lay off and stop pointing to those truths we’ve worked so hard to bury!
But truth will out this month, not least with Mercury travelling retrograde between the 5th and 25th, mostly in Capricorn but with a few days in Aquarius. This particular Mercury retrograde is especially powerful and full of surprises. If we’re trying, deliberately or inadvertently, to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes (including our own) this combination will scupper our efforts! Mercury retrograde in Capricorn exposes the cold hard facts whether we like it or not, but in doing so reveals alongside the freedom that comes with simply saying it like it is and being prepared to live with the consequences. This is good practice for the rest of the year, when truths may be searing and yet profoundly necessary to recalibrate our relationship with each other, the world at large and our beautiful planetary home. If we want truths wrapped up in sparkly paper with a bow on top this year may disappoint. If we simply want it spelled out to us, plain as day and undeniable, we’re in for a fruitful ride!
The New Moon in Capricorn on 10th January, squared by Uranus in Aries, reminds us that the blazing fire of the divine within is not the same as the heat emitted by ego which believes itself to be the source of all power. It’s about to become increasingly difficult to force anything by sheer will alone, and efforts may come to nought if we fail to align them with the greater current of conscious evolution that requires devotion to a process beyond our understanding. This New Moon reminds us that whatever we think awakening is about, it isn’t. If we can think it we’re already wrong! Concepts don’t come close and nor do these words. We simply have to become it and see what happens, moment by moment, awake to the pulse of creation that shapes our days.
The general sense that we can’t quite get into our stride may catch us off guard if we’re too focused on what we believe should be happening this month, versus what’s actually going on! An alignment involving Jupiter, Eris and the Sun which spans the sky between 11th and 16th January turns the spotlight on how well our relationship with the material world reflects our inner wisdom. There’s little point seeking truth if we’re not prepared to live it and wisdom left to shrivel in the corner does more than limit our effectiveness. It diminishes our very being as we cast aside the divine nourishment that feeds our awareness. We can’t cherry-pick truth for those tasty morsels that make us feel good. We must consume it all and digest it well, allowing it to nourish us and fuel further insight and deeper freedom.
The Full Moon in Leo on 25th offers us a boost if we need some encouragement. It’s okay if we’re starting to see through new eyes what once seemed obvious, causing us to question who and what we are. This Moon reminds us that only by testing out perspectives and living our way into our dreams can we discover their truth or otherwise. We cannot assess it all beforehand and decide prior to the start which paths are worthy of effort and which will lead us astray. We have to embrace life from the inside to find all that stuff out, revealed in our encounter with the present moment and born of past decisions and current realities. This Moon offers the confidence to step onto the path no matter how uncertain we feel, for only in doing so will we ever discover the next step and then the next, each choreographed from within and without as we pay attention to the truths which arise along the way.
Mercury stations direct the day after the Full Moon, heralding a gradual change of pace and the opportunity of forward motion. If we’ve lived this Mercury retrograde well we’ll be prepared, at this point, to begin stepping out and making waves, taking a stand and committing to the long haul however it may look. Whether we hope this will be a year of personal changes or public achievements, spiritual awakening, financial riches or the whole caboodle, the final week of January invites us to begin, after three weeks of tying up loose ends and unfinished business that may otherwise have made new beginnings unlikely.
As January comes to an end energy runs high and inspiration with it, although we’d be wise to keep our feet on the ground! A sequence of small alignments to end the month remind us that energy is information and our task is to interpret the clues and follow the trail. If something’s not working energy is either blocked or too diffuse. Discerning the difference is an important skill to develop this year so we might as well start now! The first clue is found in our attitude: are we gritting our teeth and forcing progress no matter what or letting go too readily and ‘trusting the universe’ to do what is, in fact, our job! Finding the balance between surrender and effort, dedication and flexibility, will pay dividends now as we more greatly appreciate the internal nuances which shape our experience and thereby fashion the future from how we live our every day.