July energy forecast: No turning back

by Jun 28, 2019

Theme of the month: Choiceless choice, the zero field, endless new beginnings

The Quote: We have arrived at a point of choice. This is the appointed hour and this is the appointed place … It is as if the universe is giving us one last opportunity to turn back. This is not a dictatorship but a loving concession to our free will.”

The Spread: July’s spread is called The Pilgrimage. It explores where we have come from, and where we are going, in the story of our life: the greatest pilgrimage of them all. July is also a self-contained pilgrimage in its own right.

Theme of the month: Choiceless choice, the zero field, endless new beginnings

The Quote: We have arrived at a point of choice. This is the appointed hour and this is the appointed place … It is as if the universe is giving us one last opportunity to turn back. This is not a dictatorship but a loving concession to our free will.”

The Spread: July’s spread is called The Pilgrimage. It explores where we have come from, and where we are going, in the story of our life: the greatest pilgrimage of them all. July is also a self-contained pilgrimage in its own right.

Present Location: SOULMATE

Like the Lovers card in the tarot, Soulmate can refer to a situation as much as a person. It implies a degree of predestination. That is to say, where we are in the middle of our pilgrimage has been by design, even if – especially if – it seems haphazard. Our planning can only take us so far, before the magnetic pull of a place in the imagination draws us to where we might not otherwise go, or we couldn’t have managed alone.

The onerous work of interpersonal projections and mirroring is transformed with Soulmate. We are not here for another ‘lesson’. Our location does not reflect another reckoning with our shadow. This month is not about excavating the depths. This is a crossroads on the pilgrimage, yet there is only one real path beckoning.

If we thought we were supposed to have arrived already, Soulmate agrees: we have arrived at a point of choice. This is the appointed hour and this is the appointed place, perfectly calibrated to make it no choice at all. It is as if the universe is giving us one last opportunity to turn back. This is not a dictatorship but a loving concession to our free will.

The past is shadows and dust; crumbling institutions; vanishing ghosts. Even nostalgia has lost its power. Instead of stepping down our light to make ourselves understood, this crossroads calls us to bear our light – the brightness of our being – in its full luster. Where are we? What is this location? It’s a place in consciousness we’ve known all along, intimately familiar yet hard to articulate. We’re not meant to dwell here long. There is no turning back once the choiceless choice is made.

Influences: TERESA

Santa Teresa, the mediaeval Spanish mystic, was very insistent on the role of a spiritual director when counselling someone experiencing the Dark Night of the Soul: do not try and ‘fix’ them; do not take them out of their experience, because God is at work. As an influence, Teresa says something obscure but profound is unfolding. The divine light is revealing itself to us but we must be open and attentive enough – sensitive enough – to discern its nature.

Divine presence will not rush in to fill the space of old god images or constructs. We’ve had all that, and it served a purpose. There is a strangeness to this presence, because it is animated by unearned Grace. No one is keeping score. It requires receptivity not diligence. And when cracks in our personality appear, and for once we don’t reflexively shore them up in defence, the light floods in. We can celebrate our brokenness, our humanness, our self-regarding folly.

In the context of a pilgrimage, this is why we have reached our crossroads: to receive this Grace, this illumination. That’s why it is so familiar. This was by design. Before we take another step, we needed to feel this presence at a level so deep, so familiar, so intimate, that the peace and knowing it bestows will be unchanging, just as the changing landscape of the pilgrimage continues to unfold.

Origin: HUACA

Another capacity given by moving through the crossroads is the ability to rewrite history; rewrite our starting place in the pilgrimage. Huaca is, among other things, a church or sacred site. It is also a ritual that cleaves away the past, old attachments and relationships. Once invoked, the Huaca will move heaven and earth to set us on a new path.

Where did we begin the pilgrimage? The past is now a foreign country. The memories are still there, yes; but they are changed – far more fluid, dreamlike than ever before. This suggests that memory and will and emotion are no longer locked in time and space. Before, they kept us stuck in the karmic cycle. Now, we can apply the Artist’s brush to see it all as one long revelation of glorious light.

We are all prophets, anointed to this task that we saw coming, forgot, and are now remembering. Who anointed us? We did! We are remembering now, and we are remembering that everything that ever happened is also happening now. Our origin and our destination are the same place. Doubling down on a theme, July feels intimately familiar yet charged with the excitement of a new beginning that never stops beginning over and again. As Hermann Hesse wrote in Siddhartha:

That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”

The Terrain: SANTIAGO

It should be only natural that Santiago the Santiago de Compostela of Spain’s famed pilgrimage route – should appear in this spread. Once pilgrims reach Santiago, they have the option of walking three more days to the ocean at Finisterre. For some, it is a statement that spirit cannot be contained inside walls and institutions, and they walk on until they reach that oceanic cathedral in blue. It is also an inherent caution against certainty.

Nature cannot be tamed; it is wild and unpredictable. It deserves our reverence. Whereas the solidity of the Santiago cathedral might offer a false sense of security, walking under the open skies of the terrain towards the ocean offers only the certainty of day following night. This suggests all our old need for guarantees, some semblance of control, become leaden weight in our backpacks along this route. If we walk far enough, that’s just going to hurt.

This is not a hackneyed exhortation to let go. Instead, the terrain invites us into a relationship with nature. Sometimes the best thing that can ever happen is taking a wrong turn. It forces us into byways of new vistas. It forces us to drop the idea of a destination. It invites us to see our own nature reflected. We can re-attune ourselves to our own natural rhythms, heartbeat to heartbeat with Mother Earth. In those loud silences, we can marvel in the mystery, be guided by nature – our true nature – and rest in the wisdom that comes from not knowing anything at all.

The Route: KNOT

In Vedic astrology, when we pass between water and fire signs, we meet gandanta – literally the knot at the end. This suggests passing through the liminal space between the old world and the new. The trick, however, is not to try to unravel the knot. That only tightens the bind. As a route, there is no way to avoid this looming knot. It is, in effect, a narrow passage all but unpassable but – apparently – through the centre of the knot.  

If our own efforts only reinforce the knot, then what is left? Yes, we can surrender, but let’s unpack this further. The Knot is holding the entire edifice together: the old world connected to the new world. The fear of breaking this knot is not only the loss of all the old certainties and their consolations, but the dream of the new world itself. Everything will come crashing down. Yet this is the central understanding: the knot itself is not real; it’s an illusion built on our dying loyalty to what no longer exists.

Our dreams of the new world were only ever projections of the mind from a place of deprivation and desire. That dream world must come crashing down, too. Only then can we walk unburdened from the gross limitations of our imagined promised land. In shades of Alexander the Great, we don’t need to unpick our Gordian Knot – but allow the rope to be cut.

If we join the mind of God, we are beyond paradigms. The Knot belongs to a receding dimension. July’s pilgrimage route, then, takes us right into the heart of this internal conflict, and rather than pass through it, we transcend it altogether. It joins all the other waymarkers in our lucid dreaming of a past being reshaped in the present.

The Vision: SUN

This is the vision that inspired the pilgrimage. The Sun can symbolise the divine masculine warmth that shone down on our imagined victory parade; a benign fatherly influence that offers wise guidance, a steady hand, and deep, patient wisdom. Sun’s appearance here begs the question: How much father hunger was involved in the formulation of our vision?

The Sun was born about 4.5 billion years ago from a swirling mass of gas and dust. “The sun is terrifying and gorgeous,” says NASA’s Sabrina Savage. The sun illuminates but it also burns. Perhaps, as a culture, we are deeply ambivalent about the virtues of fathers and fatherhood; that the masculine out of balance has made us collectively wary. As a vision, however, the pilgrimage seeks the restoration of balanced masculinity to its rightful place; it gives form to a craving for that warm tenderness.

This suggests a global agenda, and we each have our role. The collective dreaming has men and women as equal participants in the raising of consciousness – distinct yet complementary. The Sun is a potent force in July, reminding us of the benign face of the father. We can borrow his patient wisdom and shelter in his protective embrace. When we know we are deeply loved by the masculine, something subtle yet profound shifts in our consciousness.

That craving, the desperate father hunger, can make way for a new degree of self-acceptance. In other words, we can internalise his unconditional love. Suddenly the urgency is gone, the frenetic search for something we didn’t know we were looking for, is over.

The Resolution: ZERO

The old is dead and the new yet to be born. Zero is fertile ground for new growth but the first shoots are yet to be seen. We’ve wandered into an empty landscape on this pilgrimage and the apparent absence of life offers the temptation to view this as an eerie void space of no yesterdays and no tomorrows, just the endlessness of this empty now. Yet the waymarkers direct us further into the zero field.

If the growth is just beneath the surface, ready to yield abundant new life, then this experience can become rich and contemplative if we alter our perspective; we can enter the play space between form and formlessness, and rejoice in the absence of prescribed meaning. We are tabula rasa –an empty slate – and isn’t this why we have walked so far, to get to this place?

At the fishing port of Finisterre – known as the end of the world in the Roman days – we come to the final waymarker: point zero. This is true arrival: there is nowhere to be, nothing to do, and nowhere further to walk. Form is just form: transitory and ephemeral. That is not to marginalise form, especially if it is born from love. The Tibetan Buddhists make a contemplative art form of sand mandalas: intricate, precise, lovingly and painstakingly created. Then they take them to the sea. Everything returns to the great shore eventually.

Zero here shows us that emptiness is actually the ground of love. If we centre our consciousness from this place, we don’t have to make objects of our longing. We can set off again from point zero, in a direction of our choosing and without all the excess weight.  

Direction: ANCESTORS

We are headed into new lands and crossing new waters. Imagine, if you will, a tribe of ancestors watching in silent admiration. We are the chain-busters of our lineage. All those superstitious fears, inherited from generation after generation, whose experiences were very real. The scope of this work, the demarcation, hasn’t always been clear. When were we doing our personal work, and when were we clearing the field for the collective? Often the lines blurred and it seemed this was an unholy pilgrimage that would never end.

Yet here we are, gazing at the ever-distant horizon without a hope in the world. And that’s a wonderful victory. To walk in faith, in knowing, without resorting to the capriciousness of hope. Our Ancestors never made it this far. But they are with us still. How could they not be? And maybe then it will be their turn, to wander into new territory free of a destination.

Our direction is not so important any more. It’s how we travel. July suggests this will be more fluid, like the quality of water. Water adapts itself to any shape. It can be hard or soft, gentle or rapid; it can cascade or crash. It all depends what is required. It suggests huge adaptability to wherever we find ourselves. We have all the tools we need. We cannot be bullied by superstitions. Our Ancestors are smiling.

Limited video readings by donation in July only: email justin@yieldingtograce.com.


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