Awake & Inspired

Occupy Wall Street October 15thIf you’re in the NY metro area and would like to help change the world, join Occupy Wall Street for an Occupation Party in Times Square at 5 p.m. on October 15, in solidarity with occupations around the globe. They would like us to wear white.

What’s my suggestion for a “one demand”?

The Brotherhood of Humanity.

Namaste.

Begins with M, Ends with S

I started walking into walls nine years ago. Somehow I just end up taking corners in my collar bone, or rubbing shoulders with the wall in hallways, or slamming my hand with all its rings into metal doorways and railings. I know everyone does this kind of thing from time to time, but I do it a lot.

For years there were also whispers of intermittent numbness here and there — on my shin, around my right eye, on my right cheek, in the middle of my back just left of my spine. At some point over a year ago, I realized I was having trouble picking up a small key and opening my desk drawer at work. Every time I unlocked or locked my drawer through the day, I felt vague dread that something fundamental was wrong with me. Multiple times a day, I swept that worry under the carpet where it could join other vague doubts and fears and undermine me insidiously.

Whether these odd little facts will turn out to be significant foreshadowing in the story of my life remains unclear. What I do know now is that an aberrant process has disrupted my central nervous system in the last several months. That aberrant process may be multiple sclerosis.

Last summer I knew I was entering a time wherein my metals would be tempered. At first a layoff seemed imminent. Then divorce. In each instance I saw the storm coming from a distance and did my best to confront whatever fears I had about it in advance, learn what I could about myself and ride out to meet it head on . . . like some kind of karma warrior, or so I fancied.

Both of those storms ended up dissipating. The layoff storm passed me by. My husband and I are back together after a few months of separation.

What arrived instead were physical symptoms. When I googled them, they suggested possibilities I was not ready to face. For one thing, my right hand went numb. Suddenly both hands felt like paws. So clumsy, I was dropping things, missing targets, having trouble grasping and opening things. And there seemed to be a prickly stocking over my right hand most of the time. And at night both hands were always going dead and waking me up. Frankly, my leg below my knee was sometimes going numb as well. That undermining dread crept out from under the carpet. But no — carpal tunnel . . . that’s what it was.

If I weren’t doctor phobic, I would have gone to the doctor right then and hopefully had the wrist surgery that a co-worker had, getting off eight weeks from work while she was at it. But there was already something subtle and sneaky eroding my hope of that relatively easy outcome. My right leg felt heavy and sluggish. The sole of my left foot hurt to walk on. I told myself the sluggishness was my imagination and I just needed new sneakers.

By January the heaviness and lack of coordination in my right leg was undeniable. I was walking funny – probably not so much that casual observers would notice but it was clear to me. My feet were often numb and felt like bricks. Walking on them, I just had to trust they were in the right position to meet the ground. Sometimes I wobbled and almost fell over. When I was resting, both feet and calves often went into painful spasms – my toes were making involuntary gangsta signs. Soon there were cell phones vibrating in my calves and feet. Putting on pantyhose or tights was difficult since it involved coordinating the movement of uncoordinated extremities. Meanwhile, both arms felt heavy – it hurt to lift them to put on a jacket or wash my hair. And my hands and legs became stiff super easily – it was difficult to drive, write by hand for more than a paragraph, hold a phone to my ear or rise from a cross-legged position, at times from a chair. I felt overwhelmingly fatigued on exertion and dopey in the afternoons at work.

I don’t want to ramble on about symptoms, but I do want to give a sense of what I’ve been experiencing because neurological symptoms can seem both routine and ridiculous to someone who’s not experiencing them piled up at pathological levels. At first I was afraid to acknowledge them. Then I became fascinated. Maybe they’ve become an obsession – a scrying device used to divine what’s happening in my body. I’ve been told to keep a log, but obviously this is not the place.

Suffice it to say there has been an evolving catalogue. Thankfully, the original paresthesia and spasms have subsided now.

Long story short(ish), I put aside my doctor phobia and saw the doctor who is supposedly my PCP. She sent me to a neurologist. Since then I’ve been through a marathon of tests. I’ve been to more medical appointments in the last three months than I have in the last 15 years. At this point, differential diagnoses have been ruled out via blood tests and so forth (though there is some compression in my neck). I’ve also passed all the neurological lab tests except for the most important one: the MRI showed “scarring and inflammation,” as my neurologist called it.

One thing I’ve learned about multiple sclerosis is that there is a complex set of diagnostic criteria that must be satisfied for a definite dx. Most obviously, there must be multiple demyelinating instances, disseminated in time or space. MS is a repeat offender — not a hit and run. And it is far from easy to diagnose.

As I understand it, I’ve got one objective area of “scarring and inflammation” visible on the MRI and one episode of symptoms suggestive of demyelination. That’s an isolated instance. One hit, at least for now.

My neurologist was putting a positive spin on things when I met him this week. He was laughing that I aced the memory test after being worried that my memory was slipping along with my coordination. (I attribute the memory test results to basic occult training, BTW.) “Do you have anxiety?” he asked. Um…you could say that. It feels like an alien has moved into my body, and the external world has not responded with a definitive answer that addresses the cause and validates my perception of what I am experiencing. I feel alone in the dark with a mysterious destroyer. At the same time, I am wondering if I am crazy.

When I asked him what could have caused the “scarring and inflammation” visible on the brain scan, he stiffened. “I don’t want to scare you before your summer,” he said, “but it could be MS.” Of course, I knew that. I saw MS as a storm in the distance from the beginning. At first I couldn’t face the possibility, but since I saw “r/o MS” in plain letters on the script ordering the first MRI, I’ve come out of hiding and started riding out to meet it. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I suspect this alien companion of mine is.

So my neurologist is sending me for physical therapy this summer. No lumbar puncture at this time since my visual evoked potentials were clear. He is conservative in this regard, and this is one kind of conservatism I like. In the first week of September, he is sending me back for a second MRI looking specifically for changes suggesting MS, with and without contrast dye. I agree with this plan, mainly perhaps because it doesn’t involve a spinal tap. That’s where I stand now.

I don’t mean to dramatize my personal story. The important thing is this: whether this storm ends up skirting me or hitting me dead on, I’m learning things about myself as I ride out to meet it. Time and time again I’ve seen that a beautiful strength emerges when you take up the hero’s mantle in your mind’s eye and face a fear that has long been undermining you insidiously. You are bringing light to the darkness. In your own way, I think, you become a pioneer of light in the universe.

Namaste.

In Solidarity with Wisconsin Public Workers & Workers Everywhere

General Strike

Long Time Gone

TemperanceLayoff day was surreal.  Our managers told us the day before to be onsite because there would be “communications.”  So we all came in and waited and waited and waited.  We were having a hard time concentrating on work, so we cracked jokes among ourselves in the spirit of gallows humor.  The new “open concept” workstations they have us in now made the waiting a group activity for better or worse.

After lunch they began summoning some of us one by one to the HR Conference Room.  That was the sign you were in trouble – your phone ringing and the words “HR Conference Room” showing on your phone’s caller ID panel.  Sad to work for a company for 10-15 years or more with a good record and then have it end with that phone call.

A woman who sits across from me was one those who got the call.  She’s a single woman in her mid 50s.  She has a mortgage she’s paying by herself.  I know because she had previously told me that she’s been having anxiety attacks about how she’s going to pay her mortgage if she gets laid off.

Hanging up from the call, she announced: “I’ve been summoned.” When she came back from the conference room, she had a maroon folder which she waved at us to indicate she had been laid off.  Then she sat down, put her head on her desk and cried.

After they were done summoning people, giving them maroon folders and sending them home, the director called the rest of us into another conference room to give us the official word on what had happened and to brace us to fill the workflow gaps left by the cuts.  Someone asked if they were done cutting for the foreseeable future or if this was just a temporary reprieve.  He responded that he could only say that they have no plans at this time to cut more people.

“But this is it for 2010, right?” someone said.

The director shook his head and repeated: “I can only say that there are no plans for more cuts at this time.”

He couldn’t even promise a group of ten employees that there would be no further cuts among them for the next five months.  How can so-called middle class Americans live with this kind of ongoing instability?  (I say “so-called” because I think ‘middle class’ is a bogus concept that was used to hoodwink most Americans into thinking that they’re not working class . . . and ultimately it helped to defeat the union movement, much to our detriment.)

More to the point, how can Americans make big life decisions, buy homes, save for retirement and do the things that are supposed to make them middle class — the very same things that fuel the economy?  Clearly the middle class American lifestyle is no longer sustainable.  It’s already an empty shell, but sadly people are still saddled with their middle class mortgages and bills.

And the 50-something-year-old single woman with a mortgage who was laid off — I wish her the best and hate to ask the question, but how likely is it that she’ll get another job of comparable pay and benefits?  The job market is shriveling.  Any job that isn’t nailed down has gone or is going overseas.

For now, my situation is different from hers.  I am married and my husband has a union job with no-layoff clause in his contract.  So I went into work that day with a different mindset.  I was wearing my Thoreau necklace – a silver pendant engraved with the quote: Live the life you have imagined.   I was mentally ready to take the crisis I was dealt and make it an opportunity to live more authentically.

But I did not get laid off.

In the days that have followed, it has become clear that my crisis is indeed at hand, but it’s of another type.  Not the job crisis I was consciously prepared for, but a darker, more fundamental and – for me, at least – scarier one that has been rustling under the surface for a long time now.  On some level I’ve known forever that it would eventually come to head if I continued on the Path.  But when I commenced formal study in the Mysteries over a year ago, I declared:  “I will move forward on the Path, come what may.”  I meant it then, and I mean it now.

So the task for me now is to stand by the vow I made regarding the potential layoff: to face the darkness and redeem it . . . to take the crisis and make it an opportunity to temper and equilibrate my personality and live in a more aligned, authentic manner.

That’s all I’ll say for now.  Sorry for vague personal posting.  I grapple with what I should or should not be posting here.  I don’t want to post fact-laden essays about what’s going on in the world because others do that well.  On the other hand, I don’t want to post narcissistic rambling.  But after all, the blog is called Climbing toward the Light.  Should I not be sharing my journey?  I will try to find a constructive way to share it.  And I will try to do it in my true voice instead of the stilted weirdness that often comes over me here.

Namaste

Outer Work & Inner Peace

“It has taken years to come to this place in time and space.  Your personality is resisting.  However, your Soul brought you here.”


We got the announcement this week at work – the one where the manager nervously calls everyone into his office and gulps before launching into a rehearsed spiel about the layoffs being made in other groups as we speak (QA virtually wiped out) and about how now the consultants are turning their attention to our group for “reorg” and consolidation — and there WILL be “job impacts” among us in the next 30 days.

No numbers at this time.  Might as well be a number and names drawn from a hat because that’s how firmly based in reality these decisions are.  That’s how much the people making them know.

We co-workers looked at each other in silence.  Although we have been through round after round of company layoffs over the last few years, this was the first time our small group heard the announcement directed at us in particular.  Up until now, the impact on us has been friends lost and crazier working conditions because key people in sister groups were let go and their work was outsourced to offshore vendors who have no clue about our products and customers.

Now it is our turn on the block.

We have been working together for years now.  The core group of us has been together in one capacity or another for over ten years.  We have been through a lot of changes in the company and seen many CEOs and top executives come and go.  This one now – the one who brought in the current crew of consultants to radically “reorg” us yet again – he has been with the company for a few months.  He has very little understanding of the actual business.  He specializes in coming into a company, ‘shaking things up’ and leaving.  He specializes in not dealing with consequences.

He is a former jock and has the blithe unblinking confidence of a dolt.  He sends us a lot of email communiqués using acronyms we never heard of to describe our organization.  He has the facilities guys busy putting up posters and distributing desk drops with slogans and goals that are hard to decipher because of all the unfamiliar acronyms.  He expects us to attend forced social events involving football jerseys and fake beer.  This while the work piles up on our desks because they’ve already laid off too many people for there to be time to spare.

The current CEO was brought in after the previous CEO was let go.  The old one was let go by the next bigger CEO in our company’s convoluted global structure, which is like a contraption Dr. Seuss might have dreamed up in a nightmare.  There is at least one other CEO above the bigger CEO’s head, not counting any of the sideways CEOs and assorted bigwigs with “dotted line” authority over us.

The old local CEO was smarter than this one, but he was meaner.  He liked to summon us randomly by personal invitation to attend lunch with him in small groups.  You were not allowed to decline and woe to those who showed late.  At these lunches, after staring us down for a while to stir up anxiety, he would pontificate about his grand plan for the company, quiz us on matters we did not have access to and then tell us testily that if we wanted to keep our jobs we had better jump to attention and take ownership.

Not literally, of course.  Just work AS IF we had ownership.  AS IF we were making millions like him.

He lasted a little over a year.  He had his own crazy acronyms, posters and desk drops.  All went into the dumpster when the new guy came.

So we – long-time co-workers and in most cases friends – looked at each other in silence while our manager nervously delivered this speech.  There was a curl of a smirk on more than one of our faces.

Not because we don’t need our paychecks and medical coverage.  We do.  Not because we feel invulnerable to the axe.  We don’t.  Just because of the sheer absurdity of our company, the global economy and the leaders of all of the above.

The day had started out with a thought-provoking weekly horoscope from Risa D’Angeles at Night Light News.  She is a fellow Pisces and her esoteric horoscopes are uncanny.  The last line of the current one is quoted at the start of this post.  I was mulling it over at my desk while I worked that morning.

It has taken years to come to this place?

I didn’t feel I was any place yet.  I was feeling more or less like I always feel – like I am trying to get to that place.

So, yes, my personality was resisting.

All my life I’ve longed to do meaningful creative work that serves humanity, in alignment with what I feel within.  This desire has translated into me on a perpetual quest to earn my Right Livelihood.  For a number of reasons too complicated to go into here, what I have done instead is back myself into the corner of a crappy job in a crappy company, so that most of my time is engaged in empty work that is beneath my abilities.

Meanwhile, the contradictions in the world are coming to a head, and we seem to be arriving at a crossroads.  The hour seems to call for heroic works to realize the Brotherhood of Man – not soulless busy work to enrich The Man.

This contradiction has been bothering me for a long time.  But as the morning wore on, I was thinking that I’ve had it backwards by focusing on my outer work as a precondition to my inner peace.

Maybe the most heroic thing any of us can do is to take up the reins of our lives wherever we are now and set out to master ourselves from the inside out – without feeling ground down by external conditions, without feeling like we’re on an amusement park ride that is not amusing.  Maybe the most heroic thing we can do is to go within, face the darkness and redeem it.  If enough of us do it, we redeem the world.

I can’t say I’m not afraid of losing my job within the next few weeks, but I can see it’s time to face this monster head on.

*      *       *

P.S. I have haven’t been posting because I am studying and, to a lesser degree, working on a novel, but for what it’s worth, I do want to clean up this blog and make it a place for emerging thoughts.  Just not exactly sure of the shape of it yet…I hope to get rolling soon.

If anyone reading this is also facing a layoff or is already out of a job, I wish you the strength and vision you need to face this crisis and turn it into an opportunity to become more true to who you are.

Namaste

7/3/10 UPDATE: After tiptoeing through the month of June, we were told there’s been a delay and now we won’t hear until “mid July” by one account, “after the holiday” by another. We all wish they would just get it over with. If they lay me off, I will use it as an opportunity…part of me hopes they do.

Attention in the Age of ADD

MagicianThere is so much noise now.  Many people seem to be taking it for granted – or more likely embracing it, going around with the cell phone glued to the side of their head and playing movies in their cars.  Blackberries, iPhones, Game Boys, even my beloved iPod – these are not the tools of BE HERE NOW.  Instead, their mantra is BE EVERYWHERE AT ONCE.  Without a trace of irony.

The teenaged daughter of a good friend was texting her way through a hike in the woods and literally walked off a cliff.  Thankfully, she tumbled less than twenty feet down to the next ledge.  It would have been around seventy feet more if she had gone all the way over.  As it was, she survived without major injury.

All this noise around us – our lives are built on distraction – just at a time when the contradictions in the world are coming to a head.  Perhaps a time when attention is more important than ever before. 

The wheels have come off the global economy.  Our news is all hype.  Our culture is in a freefall of decay, catering to lowest common denominators and worst impulses.  A storm looms ahead, and we seem to be barreling straight into it, too busy with all our multitasking, twittering and frittering to look up from our various handheld devices – metaphorical and literal – and step mindfully.

Honestly, I can’t take the noise for granted because it is overwhelming to me.  I can easily lose myself in it and float rudderlessly out to sea.

So in the midst of the din, I find myself returning, after years of exile, to memories from early childhood.  They are my most vivid memories – before the trauma, before the socialization, before the build up of desensitizing sludge. 

I perceived small things with such clarity back then.  The crackling of ice-cloaked walnut trees swaying in a biting wind.  Crocuses poking through the snow in the rock garden outside the kitchen door around my birthday.  The fragrant bed of long soft needles under the bows in the enchanted pine grove beyond the fields.  The velvet brown ooze of the river bottom, with minnows darting from my feet.  The orange glow of the late afternoon sun flooding the kitchen before dinner.

I find myself returning to these memories for their innocence.  Their delicate focus and understated beauty.  Their quiet perfection.  No noise to spoil them.  No worries or impending deadlines to take them away.

They are perfect imprints. 

I am trying to reconnect with the mindset that created them.  That mindset opens a quiet, clear space within.

Attention is one of our most important faculties.  We forfeit our creative power when our attention is diluted or handed over to external sources in exchange for shallow entertainment.  We need to stop being restless adolescents forever in search of diversion.  We need to take up this powerful faculty and direct it with conscious intent. 

Namaste

Book of Tokens

I was wandering around in a metaphysical shop back in the mid-90s.  I wanted to browse, but my Marxist boyfriend was with me and I felt obliged to sort of explain myself and translate in the hope that maybe my secret passion for the esoteric wouldn’t seem like deluded idealism.  Suddenly there was a small figure blocking our path and looking at us rather severely.  She reminded me of Wednesday Adams, but in her early twenties, clad in jeans and a drab t-shirt.

 “What are you looking for?”

 It was not so much an offer of help.  More like a curt request: Tell me what you want.

I didn’t know what to say.  Honestly, I was there to browse.  I was a seeker just starting to seek – and I was embarrassed about it, especially with my Marxist boyfriend standing there.  But I had been experimenting with the Tarot for around two years by then.  I had a Rider-Waite deck, a pop interpretation book, a feminist explication book and a desire to learn more.  So I told her I was looking for a book on the Tarot.  She disappeared without a word.  Relieved that she was gone, I went back to browsing while trying to explain myself (quietly) to my inner materialist critic, whom I was projecting outward on my Marxist boyfriend.  I was ambivalence in action.

Suddenly she appeared again looking severe as before.  She didn’t say anything – she just held out a little book.  I took it from her and she hurried off.  I was at a loss.  I wanted to explore and pick out something on my own.  I didn’t want her help to begin with.  And looking over the little book, I could see right away that it was something I would not have selected.  It was strange.  It seemed she had brought it out of the back room where it had been absorbing incense smoke for years, judging from its heavy scent.  I thought about ditching it on the shelves I was browsing – I had my eye on another book – something bigger and glossy, but then I saw the glossy book from her perspective and knew it was cheesy.  I suspected that Wednesday Adams was issuing me a challenge to move beyond fluff in my seeking.

So I bought the strange little Tarot book.  I took it home with me and tried to find my way in.  The heavy scent intrigued me.  But no, it just wasn’t what I wanted.  There wasn’t any direct instruction.  It consisted mainly of short poems and illustrations of cards that were slightly different from the ones I was used to.   There was Biblical-sounding verse and “O Israel” exhortations.  It seemed way too much like prayer and religion for me, half-Marxist that I was. 

I stopped experimenting with the cards and put the strange little book aside.  But I did not get rid of it.  It survived numerous painful book purges when I moved from apartment to apartment and eventually to my own house. 

The book was The Book of Tokens, by Paul Foster Case.  In more recent years, it came in handy when I was reading essays that referred Major Arcana images as they appear in the BOTA deck.  It wasn’t until last year that I read Paul Foster Case’s more directly instructional The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages and finally understood the point of the strange little book I’ve had sitting on my shelf for the last fifteen years.

Of course, the Tarot cannot be explicated in mere prose.  The cards are to be meditated upon for their symbolism speaks fluently to the subconscious mind.  And through the subconscious they can help bring us into conscious communication with superconsciousness. 

So after all those years of sitting mostly unused on my shelf, the strange little book is now picked up and pored over every day.  I was taking it for granted that it was always there waiting for me until I was ready.  Lately, though, I’ve been musing on the odd way it ‘fell into my hands.’  Why did Wednesday Adams thrust this particular book on me?  If she was bent on directing me to something by Paul Foster Case, why not hand me the more accessible A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages? 

Whatever her reason, I appreciate the result.  So thank you, dear Wednesday.  The metaphysical shop in Belleville is long gone, but its incense-laden scent lingers in the pages of my strange little Tarot book.

Yellowstone, the 44, the 111 & the Gen-X Vanguard

Glacier GroovesI’ve been haunted by 4:44 and 44 synchronicity since last spring.  In the fall, I wrote about how 44th birthdays approach for the people born during the rare era-defining Sixties Grand Opposition between Saturn/Chiron in Pisces and Uranus/Pluto in Virgo.  That alignment peaked in 1965 and 1966, so those birthdays are happening now.  This year marks the start of them, not to mention the start of the 44th presidency and 111th congress in the U.S.  All while slow-moving Uranus and Saturn have reversed their 1960’s positions and are now opposing each other again from opposite signs.  They came into perfect opposition on Election Day – a coincidence to say the least.   This fall, Pluto will join the dance to form a potent T-Square.  Turbulence now, much more ahead.

Previously, I wrote that the 44 and the 111 mark the doorway to a period of great change.  I definitely don’t mean that President Obama and the 111th Congress are agents of the change.  Instead, I think that the 44 and the 111 may be coordinates in time and space. 

I recently came across a suggestive item to add to the 44/111 synchronicity collection.  I’ve been watching seismic activity around volcanoes since the Tonga 7.9 earthquake and volcanic eruption.  I was looking into a minor earthquake around Yellowstone when I realized – the Yellowstone caldera is located roughly at 44°N 111°W.  

To have one of the world’s largest supervolcanoes sitting so close to those precise coordinates seems a bit portentous right about now.  But the last thing we need is to get sucked into fearful doomsday thinking.  We are living in a hot spot in history.  Bubbling under the surface is the potential for profound transformation, as well as profound destruction.  What we do matters.  Change does not have to be catastrophe.

Speaking of avoiding catastrophe, a prominent 44 turns up in the new Lexus RX commercial “Intersection.”  A car and an 18-wheeler come to the point of head on collision at a dark intersection, but time screeches to a halt just before impact.  Four guardian figures emerge from the darkness and pull the car and the truck backward through time.   One of the guardians turns the car driver’s head just enough so that he’ll see what’s approaching at the intersection.  A 44 appears on his windshield while the narrator speaks of “illuminat[ing] places you couldn’t see before.”  Time resumes forward motion and the driver swerves in time to avoid the truck and proceed safely on his way.

Unlike the Lexus driver, we will NOT be able to proceed on course after a brush with calamity.  Collectively, our present course IS disastrous — not just right now but going back several hundred years leading up to this point.  It will only get worse.  No swerving will get it safely back on track.  No illuminations or shining saviors will redeem it.  Our salvation will come from letting it go and making a new way founded on honest right relations — with ourselves, with each other, with other species, with the planet. 

Namaste

These Little Earthquakes

Geo Survey Marker on Champlain SummitLast night I was getting ready for bed when I heard a loud boom and then the whole house shook.  My first thought was that there had been an explosion out on the street so I rushed to look out the front door.  There was nothing but snow falling quietly in the dark outside.  My next thought was that a tree had fallen on my house from behind, but no, the backyard was quiet as well.  I didn’t find out until this morning that it was a 3.0 earthquake and we were basically in the epicenter.

 Now, a 3.0 earthquake is nothing in the scheme of things, and indeed there were no damages.  But this is Morris County NJ and a significant earthquake here is sort of like a snowfall in Florida.  It does happen but it’s not common and people tend to make a big deal about it.  I personally have never experienced it before.

I’ve been keeping an eye on earthquake activity in the world, especially since my trip to Bar Harbor this past September when I was surprised to learn that there had been an earthquake there in 2006.  We have taken several vacations in Bar Harbor during the Autumnal Equinox.  On such a trip in 2004, at the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, I had what I believe was a spontaneous heart chakra opening.  Our trip this Equinox was our first time back since then.  This time we found the East Face Champlain trail closed and a notice saying it was damaged in an earthquake in 2006.

Significant earthquakes in Maine are about like earthquakes in New Jersey.  They do happen but they’re not common.

As I wrote in Right Place Revisited, the land at Acadia National Park felt different to me this September, even before I knew about the earthquake.  The energy was still there, but something seemed off and metaphors for upheaval abounded.  I did a little googling upon my return and learned that it wasn’t just one earthquake but a series of earthquakes that shook the park in 2006.  The first occurred on the Autumnal Equinox.  If we had taken a vacation that year, chances are we would have been there for it.

All of the quakes were minor.  The first was 3.4 and over the next 11 days there were some aftershocks, a 2.5 and a 3.9 (summarized by USGS here).  There was a pause and then one more on December 20th.  Apparently, the damages occurred in the 3.9 quake.  (A NPS slideshow showing some damages to the trails and Park Loop Road can be found here.)

Anyway, Acadia was as beautiful as ever this September, and we had a great time.  Still I came back with a nagging feeling.  It was like the 2004 experience had been the grand banquet at the Grail Castle, and this fall was waking up the morning after and finding the guests gone and the Castle empty.  I felt like Parzival — had I failed to ask the question?

Vague ideas about this have been itching at the back of my mind.  Last night’s earthquake, centered practically on my front lawn, prodded me into writing about it.  To what end, I don’t know, but somehow these events seem meaningful to me.  And as Acadia’s earthquakes opened on the Autumnal Equinox, last night’s earthquake here at home coincided with Imbolc.  This, too, seems meaningful and appropriate.  Something is ‘in the belly.’  

The 44, the 111 and the Gen-X Vanguard

howlingcliffs.JPGI have to admit that I am fascinated by the fact that in January, the 111th Congress and the 44th President will take office in the U.S.  Numbers with repeating digits always grab my attention.  For me, 111 has the same kind of energy as 11:11.  As I wrote last time, eleven-elevens are the glow of lucidity poking through the dream fabric and therefore the number of awakening.  Forty-four is the number of a lamb, blood and “He Redeems.”  Thus I associate 44 and 4:44 with transfiguration.  I’ve been running into 44/4:44 a lot since the spring.  Together, these numbers seem to be pillars marking the entrance to a period of great change.  They seem to be vibrating with the call of destiny.

Meanwhile, 44th birthdays approach for the people who were born during the peak years of what astrologer Eric Francis described as the rare “Sixties grand opposition.”  This was the conjunction between Uranus and Pluto in Virgo, with Saturn and then undiscovered Chiron opposing from Pisces.  Peak years were 1965 and 1966, but Francis says the ripples of influence span from 1959 to 1973. 

In his three-part essay “Born in the Sixties,” Francis defines the powerful outer planet energies brought to a head in that grand opposition – they were the very energies firing the social and political movements of the time.  So the grand opposition had an obvious immediate effect in shaping that turbulent era, but it also shaped the natal charts of those born during it, mainly vanguard Gen-Xers.

So far, this latter effect has been mostly latent, I think, because many natives are having trouble with lower octave expressions of the potent energies involved.  Waylaid by FEAR (Saturn) and shadow projection (Pluto), distracted by our woundedness (Chiron) and technological toys (Uranus), this generation has yet to come into its own.  But maybe turning 44 in this period, with its new alignments, will be a turning point.

Meanwhile, what goes around comes around in the grand dance.  Uranus (freedom, revolution, sudden change) and Saturn (limits, structure, inertia) are opposing each other again, but this time their locations are reversed on the Virgo-Pisces axis.  And now Pluto (transformation) enters Capricorn (social structures) for a new era-defining transit.  

I am no expert, but these patterns are coming together in a way that seems portentous.  The stage is set.  The players are taking their positions.  Our social, political and economic structures are poised for a period of profound transformation.  Some will say hold onto your hats and fasten your seatbelts.  I am in the other camp – the one that is trying to let go of the shore.

Namaste

P.S. – Too bad USA cancelled The 4,400.

P.P.S. – Still one off.

Happy 11:11

Strange things, these breadcrumbs in the path. To me, eleven-eleven experiences are a fat yellow highlighter marking the corresponding thought/person/place/thing with the glow of synchronicity. They are little winks that can communicate an infinite variety of things – or nothing – depending on context. I don’t try to pin down meaning. I pay attention and let it flow. Where it marks a clear doorway, I go in.

If reality is a waking dream, eleven-elevens are the neon glow of lucidity poking through the dream fabric.

A quick bit of googling reveals that many of us experience this phenomenon.  We are legion.  Sometimes I wonder if we are like the Final Five on Battlestar Galactica, who were “switched on” with a common code upon entering a certain zone in the galaxy.  For them it was a nebula.  For us it could be the point we are reaching in the Earth’s 26,000-year precessional cycle – a point in which the cross of the solstices and equinoxes is lining up with the plane of the galaxy.  These cyclic alignments in the Earth’s celestial dance were deemed so important by ancients the world over that they were marked with myth, monument, calendar and zodiac. 

We are approaching a galactic dawn of sorts and 11:11 is the time blinking at us on our internal alarm clocks.

But of course 11:11 is much more than a display on a digital clock.  Synchronous elevens manifest in myriad ways.  They are sometimes clever.  Sometimes sneaky.  Sometimes they hit you over the head.  If you follow them, they expand into a wide river of synchronicity.  I told the story of how it started for me here.

Perfect 11:11 Day reading is Paul Levy’s “Catching the Bug of Synchronicity” on Reality Sandwich. He writes:

Just like Jung, we can help each other catch the “bug” of synchronicity. We can co-operatively cultivate a net-work of allies who creatively collaborate in bringing forth the precious jewel of synchronicity. The archetypal field becomes greatly potentiated for synchronicities when we get “in sync” with other people who are also waking up to the synchronistic universe.

And let it be so.

Namaste