Friday, January 31, 2014

Out of the Comfort Zone

My spouse and I went to California for a week in January, and got away from winter.  Walking into the brilliant sunlight of Los Angeles, I felt that I was on some gorgeous golden planet, far from reality.  After only a week, I forgot winter; it seemed like some odd, improbable concept.

When it was time to fly back to DC, we found out that National Airport had been closed all day because of the snow.  Our plane change was in Detroit, where everyone but us deplaned in parkas and overcoats.  When we were loaded onto our flight, the pilot told us that if we couldn’t land in DC, well, we’d land someplace else.

We did land, hearing that we were only the fourth flight to do so that day.  Outside, the air was thick with snow, and our cab ride home seemed interminable.  The Beltway was a long gray ribbon, with a few slow, half-blind cars bumbling along.  Then we were dragging our suitcases through the snow to the lighted front door, where my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law welcomed us home.

Since then, the song “California Dreaming” hasn’t left my head (except for a very brief phase when it was replaced by “Da Doo Run Run”).  It’s snowed again, gotten really cold, iced, gotten slightly warmer, melted some, and then re-snowed.  Icicles have dripped from the roof onto the welcome mat, sending a mixed message.  There are treacherous slats of ice on the sidewalk, but it doesn’t much matter, because nobody wants to walk anywhere. 

Of course, it’s been dreary, but not really abnormal for this semi-Southern, semi-Northern city.  It’s my Southern friends who are really confused, seeing snow as a rare creature that doesn’t usually visit their neighborhoods.   Like polar bears searching for their missing ice floes, they’ve been flummoxed by the strange weather patterns.

And if I was in California, if I was back there in the land of my pervasive inner pop tune, I would be dealing with a historic level of drought.  Everywhere, the weather is pushing towards extremes beyond the human comfort level.  It’s ironic, in that it’s been our own pursuit of comfort that has triggered the extremes we are beginning to experience. 

Jupiter is in Cancer, the sign of comfort.  Cancer is a sweet, nurturing, childlike water sign that gives strong attachments to family, home, and neighborhood.  It’s kind, sentimental, empathic, and not particularly fond of the unfamiliar.  But Jupiter has been dealing with an opposition from Pluto, representing the forces of transformation, and so this has not been a restful time.  Everyone has been a bit tense lately. 

Earlier in January, the chemical spill affecting the water in West Virginia was an example of this aspect.  Pluto deals with toxins, pressure, stress, anxieties, and underlying cracks in the system.  My healer says that lots of people have been discovering boils, pimples and abscesses, examples of hidden poisons coming to the surface.  And of course, another random shooting incident – this one a few days ago at a mall in Columbia, Maryland – makes everyone feel more stressed, less comfortable, less safe.  While most of us just bite our nails, some people deal with intense anxiety by shooting strangers. 

This Jupiter/Pluto opposition continues through the first half of February, and it overlaps with the even more volatile Jupiter/Uranus square, which goes into orb the first week of February, and will hang around the rest of the winter.  Uranus deals with sudden shocks, disruptions and rebellions, and the Jupiter/Uranus square can signal an abundance of these.  So Jupiter in Cancer is not going to spend much time with its feet up, sipping hot cocoa before the fire this winter.  There are wolves at the door. We will all be shaken out of our comfort zones.

This may spell bad news for the more toxic leaders of the world, as they try to hold on to power in the face of the public will.  This is generally a losing battle, and even more so these days.  But those who are addicted to money and power are not going down without a fight.    

And what about the Olympics?  This is not the best time for them, especially in such a war-torn region.   But looking at the planetary patterns, I see a very different kind of problem. 

The day before the Olympics are due to start, Mercury goes retrograde in Pisces, right next to Neptune, and this is a particularly vague, confusing, disconnected influence.  This doesn’t look like bombs and mayhem, but rather like everybody wandering off in the wrong direction and never making it to the finish line.  There are quite a lot of things that could go wrong, many of them having to do with mixed signals and bad communication.

As we know, Sochi lies in the warmest region in Russian, and there has actually been no snow there this winter.   Snow is there, however, well-guarded, kept in snow vaults under thermal blankets, glued together with special snow salt.  This sounds like a pretty vulnerable situation when the eyes of the world are upon you, and when Mercury is retrograding in a water sign.  Is this alien snow really going to work out?  It sounds like the beginning of a remake of the Blob.

Bad communication can also be dangerous with the abundance of uniformed men and women who will be everywhere in Sochi.  They’ll be holding lethal pieces of hardware while listening to garbled messages through their ear-pieces.  And there’s another inhibiting influence a few days after the Olympics begin, the sun/Saturn square, which tends to delay everything.  With all this, I’m beginning to wonder if the Olympics will even happen.    

Whatever happens, Mercury will look on laughing, in its trickster aspect.  And so some of the excitement generated by the rebellious Jupiter/Uranus square will fizzle out, and some of the threats will fail without anyone ever knowing about them.   Some demonstrations will be derailed because of poor planning, and some bomb-makers will take the wrong bus and never make it to the target area.    

And some people will just have changes of heart.  There will be those who suddenly look at their guns and bombs, and don’t like what they see, and toss them in the nearest dumpster.  Some people, saddened by all the wrong around them, will join together and protest more peacefully.  Many will recognize the power and purity of non-violence.   

Pisces is a strong spiritual influence, and so some folks will start praying more, and some will have powerful and beautiful visions.  These may be visions of connection, of oneness with other people and with the earth.  And sometimes these visions will mean going backwards, making corrections, asking for forgiveness, and realigning with the best in oneself.

And that’s not necessarily comfortable either.  But in the end, it may be what saves us all.