Planet Waves | Genexhibitionst | Maya Dexter


'Octave Shift', Starwheel #31 by Aya,

View from the Roof

Genexhibitionst | Maya Dexter
Planet Waves Digital Media

It occurred to me recently that I started this series to tell you about my adventure through this anomalous transit in which Pluto and Chiron are all tangled up in a menage a trois with my natal Neptune. If you recall, it is all going down in the bedroom of my seventh house and, though I haven't mentioned it lately, I've been faithfully watching my marriage to see what happens. I just sort of forgot to tell you about it because I was caught up in the din of all my recent adventures. So in deference to the original point, I bring you the up-to-the-minute status of life and love in the Dexter household.

In my defense, there was not much to report for awhile, of course that was mostly because I was ignoring the key issues. But when Jupiter and Saturn staged a sit-in on my ascendant, I realized I would not be able to get around them anymore, so I decided I'd better start responding to what is happening to me. And what is happening to me is very directly affecting my relationships, so to explain one I have to explain the other. If you'll indulge me just a little longer, I swear I'll get back to the original point by the end of this article.

As with most my great spiritual adventures, this one began on the roof of my apartment. I live in a historic two-story apartment over an Italian restaurant and from the tar and iron roof of the building I can see the entire downtown St. Louis area spread out before me. When I go up there I try to look past the buildings and asphalt and remember when it was sacred land to the Mississippians. The last time I went on my roof during a major astrological event I was locked outside half-naked for three hours with my daughter sleeping inside. In response to that experience I ran my life through a sieve and started my life over with what was left. I decided to play my transformation smarter this time -- I went out fully clothed and I brought my keys.

I went up on the roof late on the morning of May 28, during the exact conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn here in St. Louis, to perform another ritual of Big Change. I had my props spread out around me in a circle on a blanket, which I had placed at the intersection of the four directions of the fire escape walkways (I live in the city; I have to make do sometimes). The breeze blew gently, cooling my sun-warmed skin as I welcomed the directions. When I was ready I sat down in the center to begin the sacred task of writing down those things I wanted to leave behind me for the next twenty-year cycle, and beneath those banishments I scrawled out what I wanted to replace them with. I went all-out, leaving behind jealousy and loneliness and martyrdom, and inviting in compassion and conviction and action. I promised myself I would stand up for my beliefs, and even if it was scary I wanted to be more of an activist.

Toward the end of my three page writing frenzy, a big bumble bee buzzed around and landed right on my notebook, within centimeters of the tip of my pen. Now, you may or may not find this portentous, but considering that I was sitting on a fire escape hovering over a tar roof three stories up with no grass on either side of the building, I must tell you I found it rather odd. I didn't have the first clue what it meant, but I figured it meant something, and since I didn't get any other omen (like getting locked out of the house) I guessed that this was it. Not that it made a lick of sense to me.

Bees love me. When I was a very little kid one of the neighbors kept honeybees & I had to walk right past those bee-box things to get to my friend's door, so I've always been comfortable with them. In my early teens I was at a public pool and about fifty bees flew off the garbage can they had been swarming around and landed on me, crawling all over my body for about five minutes, while I stood completely motionless, before flying away en-masse. In college I had a friend who was a beekeeper. In spite of my repeated exposure to them, all I knew about bees was that they work for the common good of their community. So I asked around. I learned that bumblebees are different than honeybees in that they live in small colonies and make just enough honey to get by, and they often recycle the abandoned homes (such as underground dens) of other animals -- they are the ultimate example of sustainable living. I was told that according to the laws of physics bumblebees can't fly; their wings are too small for their body mass, but they do it anyway. Anyone who's got the cojones to break the laws of physics has my support, but it doesn't seem practical as animal spirit advice. The final piece of the puzzle came in just now when I read that bumblebee queens go off on their own each year to regenerate the colony. Bingo!

The last month or so has been nothing if not regenerative. The swarm of outmoded ideas in my head has flown away to die. The new concepts are still in the larval phase, and I have stayed close to home to nurture them into serving me. For weeks following that ritual I kept very much to myself, my skin felt tight and uncomfortable, I wanted nothing more than to burst free, but whatever was underneath wasn't quite ready. It was a very real feeling of being in a cocoon ­ kind of like a larval bumblebee. I know that seems like a mixed metaphor, but in a sense I have tried to become mother and child, learning to take care of my own needs and feeding my own hungers.

As for my ritual, it was as if some cosmic dim sum waitress took my order and immediately brought out a tray full of all these little tastes of everything I asked for: I met the people planning the Monsanto protest in August and jumped right into activism. I came within two feet of getting hit by a car and danced with my own death for the first time. There was an electrical accident at work and I was forced to be home alone with all of my lines of communication mysteriously broken and all of my fears provoked by coincidental circumstances, forcing a Persephone-like plunge into the shadows of Self (that's Pluto for you). I stumbled across an article that challenged me to choose to not be a victim in my relationships anymore and suddenly I was forced to reevaluate my interactions with everyone I've ever known. It all came at me almost faster than I could make sense of it.

There were so many really jolting experiences, it felt like I was playing Jenga with my soul -- each time I pulled out one of those little wooden pegs it exposed some more of me that needed to be pulled out. When the peg that was my victim-hood came out, the whole structure came tumbling down, and there I stood again in absolute silence, with the Tower around my ankles. But this time I wasn't anxious to please everyone by showing them how nicely I could rebuild it. I was frustrated; I wanted to be the one being pleased, and I wasn't about to rebuild the damn thing alone this time. But I didn't say anything like that, I just stood there expectantly tapping my foot and wondering why no one was running to my aid. I had this furious need for respect and I had no idea how to get it.

As the Sun, Venus and Mars tied my natal Saturn to the bed, my cocoon grew thicker and thicker and I began to wonder if I would ever be able to cut my way out.

To get out of a cocoon takes a tremendous amount of force. But that force is what starts blood pushing through the body and coursing through the wings, making flight possible. One morning I woke up angry enough to break free. I filled with a lifetime of repressed rage that quite suddenly demanded expression. After quietly enduring months of perceived neglect in my marriage, I unleashed a hurricane of frustration at my husband. It felt like he was too busy and stressed with work and school to enjoy our time together at all. It felt like I spent most of the time staying out of his way because he was in a bad mood. I got tired of my daughter feeling the tension and I didn't like the ways it changed her. I got tired of feeling sad and lonely and ignored and uninteresting, I got sick of him being completely turned off. I let out all my rage in an eight-hour mega-tantrum. I wrote a letter to Kevin that I would never give him saying all the hurtful things I wanted to say that would only make things worse if I really did say them. I gnashed and thrashed and sobbed and screamed, and eventually it was all gone and I was calm.

And then we sat down to talk. I laid out my frustrations, my own shortcomings, and my requests in simple, calm terms. He heard me. I didn't get in trouble, I didn't get rejected; I was heard. What I found out is that we were both giving each other wide berth because we each thought the other was angry. I found out that when I try to fix everything, it turns him off. I found out that we both want the same hugs and reassurance when we're sad. We're not as completely different as I thought we were. We shared ice cream and laughed and made up fun things to do together in the limited time we share. We made love for the first time in almost two months. I didn't have to rebuild my tower alone. All I had to do is ask for what I wanted. It seems so simple, but it's hard not to get so weighted down by expectations that you can't move.

This lesson in relinquishing my victim-hood has been the first real fruit of this long and awkward visit from Pluto and Chiron. Once I shut out some of the white noise of this busy world I could focus on healing and building my relationship to myself and begin to do more than just survive, buffeted by the feelings and actions of everyone around me. Now my relationship with me is becoming the yardstick by which I measure all others. I am learning to insist on being treated at least as well as I treat myself, and I do my best to give everyone else just as much. That's on a good day, though. I am by no means done. I still have to remind myself every day, but at least now I can do more than take what I can get and inwardly think that I didn't even deserve that much.

I do deserve it, and now I feel like I've earned it. And I feel good, I feel strong and brave, I feel like a full-grown bee, and I've got some work to do. But for the next few astrological events I won't be asking for any more change. I think I'll just sit out on the roof and count my blessings.

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