Cancer New Moon & Mercury

chagall la nuit blanche

by Marc Chagall

New Moon in Cancer

The New Moon in Cancer on June 23 follows closely behind the Cancer Solstice in which our Sun stands still, as well as the rebirth of Mercury within the heart of the Sun.  The solstice in Cancer is one of the peak moments of the year, the beginning of Summer in our northern hemisphere and the beginning of Winter in our southern hemisphere.  This year as our Sun stood still at the pinnacle of its furthest northerly reach, Mercury united within its fiery rays for an extremely powerful superior conjunction of the Star of Hermes with our Light of Spirit.  The longest day in our northern hemisphere and the longest night in our southern hemisphere, the Cancer Solstice pulls us within to explore the deepest desires of our heart, while also calling us to express our feelings and visions in our wider community, finding appropriate forms and mediums through which to communicate our message.

The last time Mercury formed a superior conjunction with our Sun was in March at the beginning of the Venus retrograde in Aries.  Following Mercury’s union with the Sun during its retrograde in April, Mercury spent an extended period of time moving backward and the forward again in union with Uranus.  The first half of 2017 has brought significant shifts, some unexpected and all necessary, as we moved from a period of eclipses into extremely volatile phases of Venus and Mercury retrogrades.  The Cancer New Moon comes at the perfect time to look backward to the first half of the year and what has and has not come into manifestation, while looking forward with focus on configuring what we need to shift and restructure in order to bring more of our desires into form and expression.  The second half of 2017 will continue to bring volatility and immense change.  As a result, the Cancer New Moon is ideal for centering within and nurturing ourselves and loved ones with intimate attention.  Tenderness and gentle strength that calms and soothes volatilized nerves will be important medicine in the lunar cycle ahead.

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by Hilma af Klint

Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so the New Moon in Cancer is always an especially powerful moment for setting intention.  Cancer is a cardinal sign of initiation and leadership that simultaneously connects with the emotional realm within as well as the emotions of those we meet in relationship.  Cancer holds our memories and in the reflection of its waters we catch glimpses of our essential nature and most cherished desires.  While the season of Cancer may make us think of ruminating over past memories, the current New Moon in Cancer is most vital in terms of making new memories that will enliven our passion for life and bring sustenance to our sense of soul.  This is a New Moon with which to launch yourself into living life fully in the moment, seizing the opportunities brought by day and night to receive the pleasure of being alive.  Humanity on our planet has been going through a difficult time of immense suffering on many levels, and the amount of change and reform in need of being enacted can feel overwhelming to achieve on an individual level.  The Cancer New Moon will support expressing yourself into your wider community and in so doing discovering collaborators who possess a sense of mutual purpose.

Mercury separating from the Sun while applying toward a conjunction with Mars is an important aspect of the New Moon, for in the lunar cycle ahead Mercury will unite with Mars in opposition to Pluto while both are invisible under the beams of the Sun, and then as Mercury emerges as an Evening Star around July 4 it will form a catalyzing square with Uranus in Aries.  Allow Mercury to soothe and open up whatever defense mechanisms have been internally preventing you from risking your heart in action.  As Mercury gets closer and closer to Mars, look for remediation outlets to express passions through so that they are less likely to become bottled up and unleashed in anger.  Its likely that many aspects of collective current events will incite anger and inspire action, and so this is also an excellent New Moon to look around your community for volunteer, service, or organizing opportunities.  Mercury combined with Mars can be volatile, yet in the end Mercury loves to connect and bridge and so by taking action there can be significant new connections made linked with purpose.

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Birch (1922) by Hilma af Klint

Mars is playing a leading role in the New Moon as it is applying closely to a square with Jupiter in Libra.   Mars is currently invisible under the beams of the Sun, undergoing a period of purification and regeneration that will not complete until the Sun unites with Mars in Leo on July 26.  As a result the Mars square with Jupiter is potent and will dredge up deep issues of ambition and desire, some of which is in need of shedding while other aspects can be returned to our inner soil to reseed future visions.  Mars in Cancer is known as being in its “fall” since it is the opposite sign of its exaltation in Capricorn, and yet there is an interesting aspect in which Jupiter is receiving Mars through the square since Mars being in Cancer means it is in the exaltation of Jupiter.  An empowering interpretation can be found through realizing the wisdom we can gain when pursuing passionate desires even when we do not achieve our intended success.  The importance is in taking action and risking our emotional involvement and full presence.  It will be important to not become overly critical of ourselves for not having already achieved certain grand ambitions, but rather acknowledge and find value in whatever point of our journey we find ourselves within.

Mars in Cancer can bring about emotional outbursts and so it will be vital to find appropriate outlets for our feelings and focus on the relationships that can offer us nurturance and support.  The period from June 28 through July 4 is important to be aware of, as Mercury will unite with Mars and then oppose Pluto as Mars also forms an opposition with Pluto, followed by Mercury forming a challenging square with Uranus in Aries.  Further interesting is that just before Mars and Mercury enter into these intense aspects, they will have recently formed a supportive trine with Neptune in Pisces.  It will help to find work and projects you can pour your heart and energy into without become overly upset if the results do not match your idealized expectations.  There is tremendous power and inspiration found within these aspects, and we will gain strength through courageously engaging life fully rather than withdrawing through fear or defense mechanisms.

Another significant intersection between personal planets with the transpersonal at the Cancer New Moon is Venus in Taurus applying closely to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  At the previous New Moon in Gemini, Venus was in a square with Pluto that brought up some deep issues we can now integrate and find deeper stability around.  The trine from Venus to Pluto can also help us deepen intimacy with both ourselves and others through opening ourselves to the sort of full emotional involvement that facilitates buried issues reemerging into the light of conscious awareness.   Venus in Taurus can help stabilize and harmonize whatever has become out of balance, so look for ways to embrace Venus in your life in whatever forms bring you pleasure and comfort.  While opening ourselves to deep emotions may not always feel pleasurable, significations of Venus such as music, color, food, and intimacy can be a balm that helps us cross over the threshold of old inner obstacles.

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2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Cancer associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic reciprocity found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche.  We can also find a connection between Venus with the first face of Cancer and the Two of Cups through the inner values that underlie all of our relationship dynamics with others, a source that can alchemize magical healing and power within the relationships that resonate with our essence.  The New Moon in Cancer is ideal for honoring the relationships that receive, support, and protect our unique expression and presence.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the first face of Cancer, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104).  Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, the type of relationships that seem “as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted” (p. 105).

As the lovers in the image of the Two of Cups are greeting one another with chalices, consider at the Cancer New Moon what sort of chalice you are carrying into your relationships.  Who are you willing to share your chalice with and why, for what reasons.    The relationships in which equity and reciprocity coexist naturally will emerge with magnetic force in the lunar cycle ahead and will feel most deserving to share in mutual nurturance.  Remember to also pour an offering to the Earth and Spirit, and set intention to manifest your most cherished desires in the season ahead.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

 

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Cancer Solstice 2014

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A Wheatfield on a Summer’s Afternoon (1942) by Marc Chagall

Happy Solstice! The Sun has centered firmly in Cancer now, and we can all sense how the energy of this June Solstice is settling around us in our environment.  At this moment the Moon has entered Taurus, after a powerful few days in Aries in which the Moon re-triggerred the cardinal cross of April 2014 by being opposite Mars, in square to Pluto, and conjunct Uranus.  At the time of the Solstice, the Moon was in Aries and conjunct Eris and the South Node of the Moon, while again evoking the cardinal cross through being in square to Jupiter in Cancer.  Paying attention to the solstice is always important as far as setting new intentions for our self, yet it can be especially beneficial at the time of the Cancer Solstice to tune in with clarity to our environment, discerning how the vision we have been manifesting in our lives is interfacing with our environment, and the meaning we are bringing into our lives.

In astrology we often take a self-obsessed perspective that everything going on is about our self and our natal chart, when we really know from an ecological perspective the huge impact our environment and community has on us in every moment.  Instead of only considering our inner psychology, patterns, and issues, an ecological assessment in astrology also considers our environmental fit, or how well we are able to manage and adapt to our environment and access the resources we need to live the lives we want to live.  From this perspective, when our behavior is not living up to our authentic intentions, we can consider how much this has to do with being a misfit in our environment in one way or another, instead of solely being about some sort of psychological flaw.  In no way do I mean to suggest that we should not take any responsibility for where we currently our in our lives, or how we are acting.  Instead, I just mean that when we act out of alignment with our authentic self it can have less to do with a character deficiency and more to do with growing discouragement in the face of environmental conditions like gender discrimination, classism, racism, and poverty.  The universe is alive around us, and we are living participants to such an extent that we cannot just isolate ourselves and our birth charts out of our social context.  This is a powerful Solstice to reflect upon our psyche, our ego, our personality, but also what sort of community beliefs, resources, and entities are surrounding us day-to-day and how we are integrating with them.  We may even want to look at how changes in our living environment, even smaller scale actions like re-decorating or re-arranging can help us make a profound shift at this time in manifesting more of our authentic meaning into our collective environment.

This solstice is extremely powerful from an ecological perspective: Chiron in Pisces stationed retrograde at the same time as the solstice, tightly in trine to Saturn in Scorpio and the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Cancer, widely trine Jupiter in Cancer. In addition to the stationing Chiron,  Jupiter in Cancer is looming especially large on the collective landscape as it is in square to the North and South Nodes of the Moon at the time of the Solstice:

CancerSolstice2014WRIGC1

In the twenty-four hours before the Solstice, the Aries Moon of this Solstice chart re-triggerred the cardinal cross of April 2014 through an opposition to Mars, square to Pluto, and conjunction with Uranus. By the end of the Solstice day, the Moon had travelled through Aries to be conjunct the South Node of the Moon and square to Jupiter in Cancer.  As a result, personal issues associated with the shifting of this past Spring could have re-surfaced for us to deal with, as well as challenges associated with catalytic collective events.  For example, while we have known for a long time about the environmental destruction occurring on our planet, the time of the cardinal cross correlated with definitive scientific evidence of unrelenting arctic ice melt and widespread death of life in our oceans and bodies of water. This is a Chironic wound we are all dealing with in one way or another, some of us literally poisoned with disease by the toxicity of our living environment.

In our personal lives, wherever we have not been taking responsibility for our behavior has likely reared it’s monstrous head for us to either confront or attempt to escape out of fear.  If we have had self-inflicted challenges to face in this past week it is vital for us to gather the courage to responsibly face and manage whatever has arisen.  However, even if we have been doing powerful personal work and taking full responsibility for our lives, most likely we have still experienced some extreme experiences and confrontations from external relationships in this past week, and there are signs these challenges will continue in this next week.  In particular, Mars is approaching a conjunction with Vesta and Ceres in Libra while being in opposition to Uranus in Aries, and Venus is approaching a conjunction with Juno in Gemini while being in square to Neptune in Pisces.  Bearing in mind that Mars is the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon, and Venus is the ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon, we can further connect these personal aspects to collective patterns in our global society.  The Mars conjunction with Ceres in opposition to Uranus could be especially volatile, and we will want to caution against incinerating our living environment like an enraged Ceres.  We will want to think of how to effectively release feelings of anger through us in a way that does not completely destroy everything around us. Since everyone around us may be especially quick to the trigger in light of this aspect, we will want to be especially aware of how we are responding to any wounding experiences.  In contrast, the Venus-Juno conjunction in Gemini in square to Neptune in Pisces could be more about disillusionment in our relationships and an attraction to someone outside our current relationship, or instead could be more about the awareness necessary to make changes in our current relationship so that we can become genuinely satisfied.

The gem we can find in recent underworld experiences correlates with the Grand Water Trine between stationing Chiron in Pisces, Saturn in Scorpio, and Jupiter in Cancer and our capacity to own any projections we are creating, being accountable for our shadow or unconscious wounds from our environment.  Mercury is still retrograde, and even though Mercury retrograde has gotten a bad label in popular culture, we can benefit from the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun that occurred a couple of days before the Solstice to help us consciously shift unconscious thought patterns that have kept us in debilitating habitual reactions so that we can prepare ourselves to make responses to our environment from a centered place of authenticity.

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Angelina Jolie as Maleficent

Eris conjunct the South Node of the Moon

Eris and the South Node of the Moon have slowly been approaching one another, and though you cannot see Eris on the chart I posted above, she is currently at 24 degrees of Aries.  Now that Eris is only three degrees away from the South Node of the Moon, it is interesting that their approaching conjunction was initiated by Jupiter in Cancer passing through in a square.  Furthermore, Eris is also not too far away from an opposition to another powerful goddess in Ceres.  Themes connected to both Eris and Ceres emerge in the film Maleficient that was released this past May and stars Angelina Jolie in a role evoking the dark goddesses of myth.  It is fascinating to me that at this time, none other than Disney would produce a high budget film about a chthonic heroine who has an affinity in our popular culture with the Eris of myth.  Most of us know Eris as the goddess who threw the golden apple that incited events leading to the Trojan War, a curse enacted out of a vengeful feeling of being excluded from an invitation to a divine marriage.  Similarly, in the popular version of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a wrathful fairy who curses the infant princess out of a vengeful feeling of being excluded from an invitation to a royal ceremony.  There are also parallels in Maleficent to the myth of Ceres/Demeter, including an angry Maleficent turning the green of her landscape into death, just like an angry Ceres refused to have anything grow on the planet after her daughter was taken from her.

Eris was discovered in the sign of Aries, and all of us have personal interest in discovering on a deeper level just what exactly Eris in Aries may mean:  this next period of time with Eris being conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries could be very illuminating along these lines.  Our collective unconscious and our consciously collected history of collective events are saturated with cyclic patterns of revenge and violence.  The unconscious destructive side of Eris comes out through a sense of being abandoned, persecuted, excluded, or forsaken, with a feeling that in order to claim power for one’s self means taking power over another either through violence or manipulative actions that lead to great discord.  The film Maleficent to me shows how natural it can feel to become enraged with anger at oppressive forces in our environment that are taking destructive action against what we cherish and love.  It is natural for us to garner the strength to do what we must to protect those we love from danger, but we create even more danger for ourselves when we lose touch with our authentic self in this process and lose control to such an extent that we destroy life with intentional malice.

It may be very appropriate for us to become extremely angry with people in our environment at this time who are wronging  us in one way or another.  However, we will want to remember the true power of the goddess, the full potential of Eris and Ceres, is not in the ability to destroy and create fear of us in others, but rather it is in the power we have in us to stand strong in our full empowerment, in connection with our soul and the soul of everything in our environment.  In the movie the Maleficent character in her wrathful mood feels a need to make herself into a Queen of status, when in reality she always held the natural power without the need for a title or official power over others- she was so powerful that she naturally took the lead and others naturally looked to her for protection and guidance.  The goddess is a goddess of the underworld, a goddess of the earth, and we will want to maintain our connection between our center and the nature surrounding us.  With Uranus opposite Ceres at this time, in range of a conjunction with Eris, we can liberate ourselves from past patterns of needing to take destructive revenge when we have been wronged, and instead use the energy to help others who are also wounded in our environment and take action to manifest what we want to have in our life.  By focusing on what we want to create in our life in order to feel good, to have a sense of purpose we feel passionate about, we will naturally help inspire others in the process.  In the end this will make us happier than if we instead had used all of our energy to plot the destruction of our enemies.

Now is a perfect time to set intentions for yourself in this next three to six months, with awareness of your environment and community. It will be beneficial in this process to consider how to modify the vision you have been developing to be most effective in our current climate. Since there are many oppressive and manipulative forces out there who are determined to get their way at all costs, it may be necessary to develop a strategic plan to make sure you will have the space for your opportunity.  Times are not easy, but there is incredible and important work to be done. Blessings to anyone facing a personal crisis at this time, and blessings to all on this Solstice in June.

 

Gemini and the Ugly Duckling

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Gemini New Moon: meetings of Mercury & Venus

The Lunar Eclipse on May 24 occurred at the same time that Mercury and Venus were conjunct at 19 degrees of Gemini, also in range of being conjunct Jupiter.  In June the cycle continues, as Venus and Mercury will be conjunct again, magically, at the time of the Summer Solstice.  There is some incredible synchronicity in their cycle of the moment, as the same degree of Gemini at which they were conjunct during the Lunar Eclipse on May 24 is the same degree as the New Moon in Gemini that will be occurring this week on June 8.  In his book An Astrological Mandala, Dane Rudyhar’s analysis of this Gemini degree is intriguing in connection with intentions we can set for ourselves at this time (p. 102):

Gemini 19: A LARGE ARCHAIC VOLUME REVEALS A TRADITIONAL WISDOM.

Keynote:  Contacting the all-human planetary Mind underlying any cultural and personal mentality.

Occult tradition tells us that all cyclic manifestations of the human mind have had a primordial revelatory Source. It speaks of ancient books made of especially treated papyrus leaves and conveying through symbols the archetypal processes at the root of all earthly existence. Such volumes, said to remain in the possession of certain Adepts, constitute the “exteriorization” of archetypal knowledge and wisdom. They contain the “seed-ideas” from which the human mind grows, cyclically producing cultures of various types.

What sorts of archaic volumes of traditional wisdom are accessible to people today? With the Internet, people have more access to ancient sources of wisdom than ever before.  In our earliest development, however, one of the first sources of traditional wisdom we experienced were found in Fairy Tales and picture books read to us when our language comprehension was first developing.  Through Fairy Tales we gained an archetypal sense and understanding for a number of important lessons in life, but especially in how to individuate, evolve our consciousness, and find our true path in the world.  As toddlers we could sense the great truth of these stories, and it is why the “hero’s journey” is so widely popular in analysis of myth- because it is true.  There is timeless wisdom integrated into each unique hero and heroine’s journey that appears in Fairy Tales.  Telling stories is a Gemini association, and a function of Gemini spirituality.  In Fire in the Head:  Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, author Tom Cowan relayed some of his research into the spiritual role played by storytellers in Celtic culture:

Alwyn and Brinley Rees note that the Latin word historia, from which the word story derives, is also the root for the word history, a term originally meaning “knowing,” “learned,” and “wise.”  In old Welsh the word for story meant “guidance,” “direction,” and “instruction.”  The stem for the Welsh term meant “sign,” “symbol,” “omen,” and “miracle.”  The Rees’s conclusion to this etymological puzzle is that the ancient Welsh  storyteller was indeed a seer and teacher “who guided the souls of his hearers through the world of ‘mystery’.”  Thus we find the Celtic storytellers fulfilling one of the important roles played by classical shamans, the guider and instructor of souls.

–Tom Cowan, Fire in the Head, p. 99

A Fairy Tale that has re-emerged for me in the midst of the intense astrological energy of the moment is The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson.  This is in part due to some synchronicity of events at my daughter’s elementary school.  Every year, the students observe the hatching of ducklings from eggs, that then spend some time growing up in the garden on school grounds that is tended by parents, community volunteers, teachers, and students.  In the past, my daughters and I have been part of the duckling caregiving team.  This year, something inexplicable happened:  a chick, baby chicken, was hatched among the ducklings.  The students gave her the endearing name, “Chuck,” and this chicken growing up among ducks brings up one of the most famous fairy tales of identity crisis: The Ugly Duckling.

I feel the story of the ugly duckling connects with this time and the reflection of this time in the transits of the celestial heavens, because the Uranus archetype wants us to find our own unique role, being, vibration, and behavior in the world at this time that can bring us most alive and so will help bring our collective the most alive in the process.  We are being tested in the face of authoritarian control and suppression, oppression visible in every direction we turn.  We can think of the energy needed being like the piercing call of a hawk streaking across the sky, but in reality it can be as gentle as a swan gazing at itself in the reflection of the water.  The symbolism of seeing your authentic reflection in the water is the same as the symbolism of mirrors that can be connected to the seasonal archetype of Gemini we are living in.  The idea of the twin searching for it’s other twin in the world, its soul mate- is connected ultimately for our search for our authentic self we long to find one day when looking at our self in the mirror.

Gemini Dreaming

This potential for the excitable Gemini mind of the personality to contemplatively connect with it’s authentic self and soul connects with the symbolism of The Ugly Duckling as well as the current cycle of conjunctions between Mercury and Venus.  This is because there will be another conjunction between Mercury and Venus in the next couple of weeks as Mercury begins to station to go retrograde, giving Venus the opportunity to “catch up.”  Like magic, this next conjunction will occur on our Summer Solstice of this year, at the same time there will be a grand water trine between Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio.    The Sabian Symbol for 22 degrees of Cancer, the degree of the next conjunction between Mercury and Venus, also fits perfectly with the meaning of the seminal swan story by Hans Christian Andersen:

Cancer 22:  A young woman awaiting a sailboat.

Keynote:  The longing for transcendent happiness in the soul opened to great dreams.

Here the symbol pictures the imaginative youthful person who basically cannot be satisfied with what his or her ordinary social environment offers, and who instead is longing for the unknown visitation of which he or she has dreamed.  From the unconscious beyond, the concretization of a spiritual image- spiritual because impelled by the “wind” (pneuma, spirit)- is hoped for and expected.  The Beloved may come- not in a glittering opera house, but in the silence of the inner sea of consciousness.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 125

Indeed, finding symbolic meaning in water birds like swans can be especially resonant now, as we are wading into a water time of the zodiac with Neptune in Pisces currently stationing in preparation to turn retrograde this week, at the same time as the upcoming New Moon in Gemini on June 8.  In addition, Mercury and Venus are both in Cancer now, with Mercury currently in the position of forming a grand water trine with Pisces Neptune and Scorpio Saturn, and Venus preparing to enter a grand water trine with Neptune and Saturn soon. However, we can not expect this current water trine involving some personal planets, as well as the upcoming grand water trine involving Jupiter to be “easy,” as each water trine will be incredibly activated by the square between Uranus and Pluto.  This is especially true now in the moment, with Mercury and Venus in Cancer and slipping into the empty degree of the t-square with Pluto and Uranus, being opposite to Pluto and in square to Uranus.  The image of water birds, beings at home in the air, on land, or in water, could be helpful guides for us at this time.  In the Celtic spirituality, water birds are sacred because of their grace in navigating all three of these elements: earth, water, and air.  Think of a swan gliding gracefully across the surface of the water with all of the external turbulence of the world around it.

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The version of The Ugly Duckling written by Hans Christian Andersen was originally published in 1845, fittingly enough in the same time period that Neptune was discovered, and a few years before the last time that Neptune entered Pisces.  In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes his story as being about “the archetype of the unusual and the dispossessed,” and a timeless lesson at that:

“The Ugly Duckling” has been one of the few stories to encourage successive generations of “outsiders” to hold on till they find their own.  It is a psychological and spiritual root story.  A root story is one that contains a truth so fundamental to human development that without integration of this fact further progression is shaky, and one cannot entirely prosper psychologically until this point is realized.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 167

In Han Christian Anderson’s story The Ugly Duckling, a swan egg gets mixed in with a duck’s nest, and so the mother duck raises the baby swan along with her ducklings and everyone thinks the swan is a duck.  The ducks ostracize the young swan because of his differences, forcing him on a journey where he experiences devastating setbacks over and over again.  During his difficulties the immature swan sees graceful adult swans flying above him and feels a deep calling rise up from inside.  After growing up through his trials, and while resting for a moment in water, he glances down and sees in the water’s reflection that he is in fact a swan, leading him to find a new home in a swan community.

Finding your calling and being brave enough to follow it is a plot that has dominated myths and folktales across time and still to this day is widespread in popular and cult storytelling. As children we are enchanted with the idea of having a Fairy Godmother, a guardian angel, a guiding star, or other magical being, who will help us find our path.  What if a spirit guide is actually inside each of us? Our culture is quick to label the agonizing awkwardness we can experience like the ugly duckling to be mental health issues.  We can be led to believe we are crazy from following the intuitive insight that can come from watching the flight of a bird.  But there is a guide inside each of us that will resonate with experiences that help us find our true calling- the more you try to get in touch with this inner vibration the more clear its advice to you will be.

In my own life I have had times of feeling like I was aimlessly wandering just like the young swan, when now from a distance I can see how that sense of aimlessness was an illusion; I can see how that difficult time was a gift to develop new strength.  I may have felt like I wasn’t making enough money or producing something that would be praised by my culture; I may have felt like I was mired in darkness.  However, I was really in a process of transformation due to facing myself on a deep level.  When we are willing to dive into the depths of our being we create the possibility that we can re-surface with a transformed perspective that can help manifest fulfillment.  Whenever we intuitively experience the rush of excitement that the young swan felt when seeing adult swans, we should follow it.  To interpret the sight of our own majestic swans to be the illusion is tragic.  In the moment when we choose to view reality as being about only the difficulties we are facing, we neglect the fact that we may be in the process of transforming into something transcendent to our current troubles.  In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes sums up the meaning for her of The Ugly Duckling as follows:

The duckling of the story is symbolic of the wild nature, which, when pressed into circumstances of little nurture, instinctively strives to continue no matter what.  The wild nature instinctively holds on and holds out, sometimes with style, other times with little grace, but holds on nevertheless . . .

The other important aspect of the story is that when an individual’s particular kind of soulfulness, which is both an instinctual and a spiritual identity, is surrounded by psychic acknowledgment and acceptance, that person feels life and power as never before.  Ascertaining one’s own psychic family brings a person vitality and belongingness.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, p. 172

So I invite you to listen- to truly listen to the world around you and the wisdom that can be found everywhere on your path.  Inspiration can strike anywhere, anytime.  If you listen without the filters you have developed on account of others in your culture or a family of origin that did not resonate with your inner self, you will discover significance in places you otherwise would have overlooked.  You will gain a sense that whatever is happening to you right now is just part of your process, part of your calling, part of your story.

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References

Cowan, Tom. (1993). Fire in the Head:  Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit. HarperSan Francisco.

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola (1992). Women Who Run with the Wolves:  Myths and Stories of the Wild Women Archetype.  Ballantine Books.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases.