“Trivial Pursuits vs. Sacred Time” via Susan Edwards, from elephant journal’s Holiday 2008 issue.
The curious story of the Phoenix imbues our current situation with a touch of magic. It’s something we need right now, lost in an unceasing newscycle of calamity, flux and fragmentation of all kinds.
The Phoenix builds a nest that, at the right moment, becomes a funeral pyre. Flames engulf it—and from this a fresh, new-and-improved Phoenix arises.
The seasons remind us of the possibility of sacred time. Autumn is harvest time, when we must work to reap the food that sustains our communities another year.
But usually we feel as if splinters and shards surround us. We wander suddenly aware of the loss of homes, of the loss of a sense of our country’s values, power and standing. We find that we have all become consumers, bent on personal gratification to the exclusion of the greater good.Our lives have become little more than trivial pursuit. We are self-identified as consumers and demographics.
So how can we re-identify as engaged citizens capable of working skillfully with the times, and with the earth upon which we all depend? No one will do it for us. But if we can concede that we have traveled in superficial circles long enough—that now’s the time for our phoenix to burn—we might be born anew.
This magical bird, a messenger from the sun, appears in several cultural traditions. Its bright red plumage reminds us of our ability to burn, and transform ourselves when the time is right, when our inner resolve awakens. Whatever confusion we might feel, those bright feathers echo the radiance that rests in our human heart.
We weary, busy consumers can wander out of the world of big box retailers and into the community of citizens who value the ideals of our country. Too much work? We can always continue to sojourn in angry doomsday prophecy and cynicism. Since no one will save you, it’s up to you to find a “ruling principle” for our lives that is in harmony with the challenging times we find ourselves in. Are we ready to arise?
The Presidential election will take place with the Pluto return to the U.S.A.’s natal chart. It marks a time when we Americans have to take responsibility for our power, rise from the ashes of distraction and be of benefit to our world—even to our political and foreign enemies.
Each of us plays our part. For myself, I get to share these concerns with you because of the perseverance and leadership of this little magazine. I feel fortunate to congregate with such a community, and to surrender that powerless feeling of isolation.
May our new President guide us wisely toward brilliance, and out of the ashes. May we not depend on anyone but our own willingness to join and lead the human campaign—one that has millennia of ancestors behind it, and ceaseless generations eager to arise in their time.
I Ching Reading:
This article is based on the two hexagrams thrown for Autumn: 56 to 30, Wandering to Radiance. From triviality to consciousness, we are in the Phoenix modality wherein we choose the light within over our habitual comforts. But our situation may demand a deeper commitment than we are aware of…
Aries: You’re always a leader—stop being a loner.
Taurus: The Other isn’t You—if only.
Gemini: Don’t take old feelings of alienation personally—even if they hurt.
Cancer: Not big decision time.
Leo: Your search for life’s meaning frustrates you. Be patient…it’s right here.
Virgo: Saturn is in your sign. Time to be patient: make everything you do a discipline.
Libra: Something you always wanted to study? Now’s the time!
Scorpio: Whatever you’ve been doing, you’re exhausted. Rest!
Sagittarius: You’ve made it through your sign’s Pluto transit. Celebrate!
Capricorn: Pluto is in your sign. Begin to refashion all your abilities.
Aquarius: Good time to remodel—your life, your house, your bookshelves, your body, whatever.
Pisces: You’re ready to share the wisdom you’ve earned the hard way.
Susan Edwards, a metaphysical counselor for 40 years, is one of Naropa University’s foremothers.