23rd / 24th April 2014: Cardinal Grand Cross
As the Cardinal Cross reaches exactitude we encounter the opportunity to step outside of everyday consciousness and concerns into a landscape altogether new, in which the four elements air (Mars in Libra), fire (Uranus in Aries), water (Jupiter in Cancer) and earth (Pluto in Capricorn) present everything we need to begin again should we choose to do so.
This cosmic event brings the notion of satori to mind: the experience of awakening as taught in Zen Buddhist tradition, which sometimes arises not as a welcoming liberation but as a force of such power that it tears apart all that is known leaving the awakened one effectively broken – but free – in its wake. Satori embodies the trauma of awakening, the breaking apart of self and soul in the moment of recognition that both are false gods designed to keep us safe in our narrow, tiny lives. If we contrast this with the goal of replacing an undesirable self with a more desirable one, inherent in many spiritual teachings, we can come to appreciate the entirely different order of experience available to us now.
The Trappist monk Thomas Merton once described love as ‘the only revolutionary force capable of producing anything new’. These words also resonate with the energy of this week, for love is a raw force of such transformational potential that we, the human race, have sought to reduce it to hearts and flowers, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine, and conditionality which demands all manner of pay-offs before commitment is made. The cosmic forces aligned right now mock such inconsequential associations with the most powerful force in the universe and will tolerate them no more.
As we journey through this week immersed in the rays of this rare alignment, we could too easily overlook the vital importance of this time. We may continue to seek refuge in the familiar, allowing change but only so far as we’re comfortable with it: conditional change on our terms. Or we may seek an experience of transformation which comes as a treat, satisfying our need for it to look and feel a certain way, delivering us to a particular destination. But any and all preconceived notions of possibility must be open to challenge right now, ready to be blown out of the water at any moment to make space for a whole other order of experience, of which we can barely conceive until it has arrived.
This is a revolutionary time, no doubt about it. Old concepts and expectations are being shattered, no matter how sacred they may have been to us. Life is not what we thought and nor are we. The life force itself rises up to take control of our lives, no holds barred and with little regard for what we think ‘should’ be happening right now.
And at times of such revolutionary spirit, as Thomas Merton recognises, love is a vital ally, the ‘only… force capable of producing anything new’. For if we cannot soften our ego edges to allow a radically new perspective or to embrace the demons within ourselves and others, nothing really changes. All we do is recreate from the same old ingredients, believing ourselves to be formed anew.
This time will not return to us. There will be others in due course, of a different order and resonance, to help us move through the most intransigent aspects of our psyches, but this particular opportunity is a rare and valuable one. If we can open ourselves to its energy and resolve to allow change to be what is necessary and not what we ordain it to be, we may discover that awakening is more powerful than we ever conceived, than we could ever conceive. That it introduces a whole new order of being which isn’t about happiness, personal satisfaction or living the life we want. Instead awakening is revealed to us now as the very essence of the incoming Aquarian age which demands that we live in a state of radical trust, a recognition that if we can dream it, it is too small for these times and if we want it with all our heart then our heart yet needs to expand beyond it.
Whatever we believe transformation and awakening to be, the Cardinal Cross brings a new beginning which challenges all notions, reminding us that to know is to limit possibility and to believe is to impose form upon a universe that we have not even begun to understand.