Fires in California, in Greece, in Sweden. Licks of flame heading towards the Arctic Circle. Heat waves in Japan, in Canada, in Western Europe.
For me, July was about flooding, but it was just a week or so of inconvenience. My home hasn’t been swept away by water, and I’m not a refugee. Still, it’s not hard to see an earth out of balance, a habitat that’s no longer as congenial to the life forms that occupy it. Which of its life forms will adapt, and which won’t? How about us?
I’m writing this on August 1, when the sun, moon and Mercury are all in fire signs. Fire signs are active, playful, kinetic. Fire is the sign of the Hero, the valiant individual who rides in and saves the day.
I’ve seen dozens of disaster movies, and in all of them, there’s somebody – usually a chiseled male actor – who figures out the real danger before everyone else, and tries to warn people about it. Nobody listens, but the people who scoff most will definitely be killed by the flood/earthquake/volcano before the film is over. In the end, the hero has to perform death-defying feats, rescuing a lot of people and usually one cute little dog as well. The final panorama shows him standing soberly over the smoking city, arm in arm with formerly estranged family members.
Of course, the thing about disaster movies is that the disaster always happens, at least partially. Sometimes it stops just short of the extinction of the human race. But it’s not drama unless there are a few crowd shots of screaming, fleeing people.
So is that what we’re waiting for? Maybe there was enough of that in July? Is it time for the hero to show up? Is it time for skepticism to fall away, and for the skeptics to be bludgeoned by falling rocks?
Our stories always hold a moral at their cores - for example, our belief that the evil should suffer and the good prevail. But in truth, those who scoff at climate change are the most protected, the least likely to be swept away in lava tides. The innocent have already suffered the most, and will suffer more. When food doesn’t grow in your fields, when fire takes your roof, when the sea covers the atoll where you were born, where do you go? You become a refugee.
And we’re already seeing the gates closed against refugees, everywhere we look. In spite of the fact that all religions preach kindness towards wandering strangers, too many people look at them and say, “We don’t have to save those people; they are not like us.” Until they are us.
Chiron, the asteroid which represents old wounds, is also in a fire sign now, and this hints that this movie has been played out before. Perhaps it was the reason for the demise of a civilization we know nothing about. Maybe people were complacent, and let the scoffers stay in power long past the point of no return. Maybe it all flashed out in the blink of an eye, while the hero was still brushing his teeth. And now there’s nothing left at all, except a few anomalies that show up on TV shows about ancient aliens.
But the north node of the moon, another karmic indicator, is also in a fire sign right now. This points out the path towards balance. The south node is in the air sign Aquarius, a sign of objectivity and science, and we clearly have a lot of excellent technical solutions. We have alternate energy sources, innovative ways to grow food and clean the air at the same time, more effective and cleaner ways to move people around, healthier and more efficient ways to distribute resources.
But we also have stagnation. And so we do need heroes. Not just one chiseled movie star to parachute through the air and scoop up a bunch of pre-schoolers hanging onto a cliff. No, we need a bunch of heroes with the chutzpah to challenge those who are powerful and comfortable, and who are pretty sure that nothing bad will happen to them or their grandchildren, even if the world goes up in flames.
And we do have heroes like this. We have many people who have an essential, passionate relationship with the earth under their feet, sometimes because their grandparents lived on that same land. And these people have voices. We have craftspeople and elders who know how to live more gently on the land. We have tribal people who have learned to organize, and journalists who have learned to listen to them. We have protectors who dedicate themselves to one particular life-form – a bird, a butterfly, or a reef – and others who monitor vast, world-circling winds and currents.
Many of these are earthy people, who are patient and determined, and who get their strength from the earth’s beauty and fecundity. And some of them are fiery people, whose role is to inspire, encourage, excite, and energize those who are flagging. They amplify the voices of the earthy people and of the earth herself. They embody the dynamic energy of change, pushing for a new paradigm.
Mercury will be retrograde through the first half of August, and moving slowly for a week or so afterwards. And a Mercury retrograde is a perfect time to admit mistakes, and to go back and fix things. And while I’m not holding my breath waiting for the Trumpster to attain humility, there could be a softening in other long-held positions. Some people will start to listen, and will hear things they haven’t heard before.
And during August, there’s an earthy great trine happening all month. Saturn and Uranus – the planet of the past and the planet of the future – will be making a harmonious aspect. Saturn in Capricorn is about a realistic appraisal of what we’ve done, what we’ve left behind, and where we are now. Uranus in Taurus is about dealing with the fundamentals in a different way.
This is auspicious for progress, but it’s slow. It’s not flashy, it’s not dramatic. It’s about correcting the damage from the past, while at the same time, locating a more stable stance from which to greet the future. It doesn’t promise that we will learn a healthy way of living in time to save ourselves. But if we even give ourselves one extra day to enjoy this green earth, it’s worth it.