Lots of Squares, and Notes on Lesson 5

Posted on July 27, 2020 | Link to original

Dear Friend and Reader:

Currently we are within range of many square aspects. Monday is the first quarter Moon, which is a square in the Moon-Sun cycle. Additionally on Monday, Venus in Gemini is square Neptune in Pisces; Mercury in Cancer is square Mars in Aries; and in a few days, Mars in Aries is square Pallas Athene in Capricorn.

All of these involve planets close to the immediate human sensory and emotional experience. It’s easy to see and feel what is unfolding, including a new wave of protests across the country (this time against what’s been going on in Portland, Oregon: federal tactical police, without insignia and driving unmarked vans, in the style of Vladimir Putin’s military, arresting protesters).

The slow-moving Mercury-Mars square describes the anger and the direct action (Mercury is still slow and powerful after the recent retrograde). Similarly slow-moving Venus square Neptune is describing a degree of emotional deception and self-deception, where the “sides” of the issue are blurred: a Gemini placement in the thrall of Neptune.

And Mars square Pallas Athene describes rage, frustration and action cast in the style of politics: the action of Mars on eminently political Pallas in Capricorn. The government is currently more involved in our lives than most of us ever remember, whether we’re talking about health policy, economic policy or how protests are being handled.

Planet Waves
Americana. Photo by Eric Francis.

I Am Never Upset for the Reason I Think

This is a stressful combination of aspects, which likely describes the kinds of upset that many are experiencing at the moment. Squares describe internal tension, and Mercury, Venus and Mars make it personal. Many astrologers have noted the added influence when faster-moving and slower-moving planets are combined, which is what we currently have happening.

This will continue as both Mercury and Mars continue to act on the extraordinarily potent alignment in late Capricorn (Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn).

When I was considering what this describes when you put it all together, it started to sound like Lesson 5 from A Course in Miracles: “I am never upset for the reason I think.”

This is a foundational lesson in healing. In order to solve a problem, one must see it for what it is. In order to see something for what it is, the many shades of what it’s not need to be recognized and set aside.

The purpose of this lesson is to teach the student that all seeming forms of mental and emotional disturbance are the result of a deeper, underlying condition of the psyche.

One of the themes of the Course is to help the students see when differentiation matters and when it does not matter: that is, to notice when seemingly different things are the same, and to notice when there is a real distinction.

Usually, you can tell from the effects. Anything that is personally upsetting has the effect of disturbing one’s peace of mind, and shares a common root. Healing occurs on the level of the root, not by treating the effect or seeming symptom. From the other side of the equation, similarity is viewed in terms of purpose. Later in the work, this is described in a few words, difficult to forget: “What has the same purpose is the same.”

Planet Waves
“I brought my guitar to the dinner table.” Photo by Eric Francis.

A Rapidly Rising Fear Level

Throughout much of the planet, but particularly in the United States these days, there exists a rapidly rising level of fear. If we take the teaching of Lesson 5, we can treat any seeming source of fear as the same thing.

Of course, one common response to this is that it matters whether the source of fear is “real” or not. The Course presents a different logic: to use an old phrase, this is the distinction without a difference. If something upsets you, it upsets you, and the solution is going to be found on a deeper level than the surface manifestation.

Further, even if the source of the fear is “real,” that is the very thing that calls for spiritual intervention; the thing that is coming up to be addressed and seen for what it is. It turns out, though, that the most challenging sources of fear are the ones that are illusions: made up, imagined, fake, etc.

It is dangerous to try to talk people out of their fears. This is the kind of situation where the rescuer can become the victim (as so often happens — thank you Melanie Reinhart for explaining that to me oh so long ago).

So unless you are specifically called upon, it’s better to leave people to their fears. If someone indicates that they are afraid or worried or panicked, and interested in healing this, you may intervene at their request if you feel called to do so.

Begin With Yourself

However, the place to begin is with yourself. From a wellness standpoint, constant fear is a toxic agent. It weakens and sickens the mind and body, which are facets of the same thing. I get the sense that many people are trying to address their fear by convincing themselves it’s justified. Borrowing a bit from Zen, this is like trying to smooth out the surface of water with a canoe paddle.

I would note that this institution we call “the media,” particularly cable TV, the big national newspapers and your phone buzzing every time someone tweets, are trying to do this: to justify their past position by describing how things are bad, getting worse, and only due to get even worse, every day, all day.

If I may be so bold: this is not good for your peace of mind. There is another way. The place to begin is with your own inner connection; your ability to listen to your own inner teacher. You might sit calmly and ask: is there anything that I need to be concerned about? Then wait patiently for the response. It’s likely to be spoken in a whisper.

With love,

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