One follows the other and in any order.
Hopefully you will have survived the Mayan apocalypse, but if you were looking forward to oblivion and are now surprised that life must carry on, look no further for advice on how to proceed.
This holiday season highlights an interesting arrangement of your favorite planets. It looks a bit chaotic, but I think we can all make it through. The main feature over winter break is a Pluto/Sun conjunction that only happens once a year.
Sweet, saucy and kind of bossy, Pluto is the seductive transformer, showing us what we need to change—with no ifs, ands or whys. The term shakubuku is one that goes with Pluto. It is a Japanese term that means “stop suffering and awaken to life’s potential.” Minnie Driver’s character in the movie Gross Pointe Blank describes it as “a swift spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.” It also has the connotation of pointed and dramatic change. Of course Pluto is always doing this in one area of the zodiac.
During the holidays, what we need to revitalize in our lives will become clear with the sun’s illumination.
Pluto helps up awaken to life’s potential. As Pluto passes any area, it shows what is dead and needs to be transformed, so fresh new energy can reinvigorate that spot. If any nasty attachments to things that don’t serve you are present, it may grow increasingly uncomfortable if you choose to ignore them. These planets are rendezvousing in the sign of Capricorn, so if you thought you were under a lot of pressure from your family to measure up and to have achieved something, this will probably be highlighted. That’s when we have to remember to just stay calm and try to see the other person’s pain underneath it all. If we personally feel the need to achieve something in the coming year, then this is a great time to find the calm to reflect on what that might be.
Here’s the key: the opposition to the moon conjuncts Jupiter around Christmas and you may see emotions being heightened. On this occasion though, it’s better to keep those emotions in perspective and stay calm and focused on the big picture. Let “What is the big picture?” be your holiday mantra. If you aren’t taking personal responsibility for yourself now, Pluto may highlight this, so if you are tempted to pass the buck this time around, think again.
How can you work on your end of the equation?
Pluto is associated with obsession, but what we have to realize here is the messenger is the cure, not the cause. Obsession has its roots in possession, meaning that if you are obsessed, you are actually being possessed by an idea that isn’t really you.
A Lama described this perfectly to me. When the Buddha talked about the fact that attachment causes suffering he didn’t mean that all of our experiences should be cut off. Nature doesn’t hate passion or love or desire. What nature hates is unoriginal repetition. That’s why the cellular structure of diseases all looks the same when you zoom out. Virus cells or cancer cells don’t make beautiful flowers or eyes or ears, they just make more of the same, over and over and over. That is why they are called diseases.
The same is true of our habits. Every Capricorn worth his salt knows that without the structure of a routine, life would degrade into an unpleasant kind of chaos. However, structure itself is not the problem. It’s a habitual obsession with propagating certain structures in our own minds that creates problems.
One of the wisest people I ever met was an old man named Carl.
I met him at the local swimming pool. When I complained about my usual habitual problems, he told me that it is better to focus on how you would like things to be rather than how you don’t want them to be.
Instead of fixating and fighting against discomfort, relax in a quiet place and imagine that the energy is flowing correctly through your life, so that everything feels totally comfortable—not so that every single wish you have is granted, but just so that you feel at home in every way. Every difficult point has a message to bring, and when you get it, real live bliss will replace the blockage.
To quote a favorite phrase of a great teacher, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, “Calm, clear, kind.” This is our slogan for this holiday season, from the solstice through the New Year. One follows the other and in any order. If we are able to face any negative points about our lives honestly, express them and deal, then they become our strengths.
“Better out than in” means that expressing difficult matters with trusted people or just to yourself is very helpful.
All energy can be turned around for good use. That’s why people say, “All sadness is just love that has not been returned.” When we can get down to it, abandon victim mentality and choose to love ourselves, all the negativity turns into a boundless source of energy we can really use.
Sound good to you?
Annie Sha is a non-superstitious astrologer who is based in Boulder. She has been studying the zodiac archetypes for over ten years now and has learned from experience how the signs express themselves in people. As a lifelong Buddhist, who is grateful to Theravada, Zen and Vajrayana traditions, she likes to use meditative insight to unravel astrology. She lived in Seoul, South Korea, for three years, teaching English and writing and editing articles for the Korea Times, which is ironic as she can’t spell to save her life. Somehow it has worked out all right, thanks to spell check. Her sun is in Gemini and her moon is in Pisces. Check out her website.
Ed: Amy Cushing
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