Crone in Corrogue: Wild Wisdom of the Elder Years

Glorying in the elder years, a time of spirituality, service and some serious sacred activism

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We and Our Shadow

The generalism about eclipses is that in the darkness the sun and the moon meet the archetypal shadow element. What do we want to remain hidden? What do we want to keep secret from our deepest selves? While a Mercury retrograde period pushes us to stop pushing and hit the pause button, eclipse seasons are a call to hit the reset button.

In times of darkness and shadow one needs a wholesome dose of truth. I turn to Rebecca Solnit's essays in Hope in the Dark. Here is a quote to consider during eclipse seasons.

"Controlling the past begins by knowing it; the stories we tell about who were were and what we did shape what we can and will do. Despair is also often premature; it's a form of impatience as well as of certainty."

The eclipse of 21st August 2017 is sometimes called the Great American Eclipse, since it swept the length and breadth of the landmass. This total solar eclipse occurred at 28 degrees Leo. Leo is the sign of emerging identity, play, creativity, drama, children. Astrologer Robert Ohotto, in a YouTube lecture called "The Holographic Power of Your Archetypes"  notes that the shadow side of Leo is narcissism.  Narcissists are emotional vampires, they only take. So a Leo eclipse could be characterised as 'Me and My Shadow.'

Six months later we have had a solar eclipse in Aquarius. Ohotto calls Leo 'the essential self'; Aquarius is the other side of the axis - humanity. So what did we confront about American essential identity last autumn? After Mercury Retrograde (remember, the pause button) went direct at the end of September we saw the emergence of the #metoo movement' with many stories of assaults, traumas to the essential self, especially when they happen in childhood and young adulthood when our identities are still fluid.

With this February's 27 degree Aquarius solar eclipse  we are almost exactly in polarity to the Great American Eclipse of August 2017.  But we are not experiencing a Mercury retrograde on the heels of this eclipse. No pause, just reset. And what am I seeing? We and Our shadow?

Schoolchildren imploring adults to dig deep into their humanity and morality to make them safe. That is what I am seeing. With the Parkland  school slayings I am seeing the two eclipse themes playing out the shadow narrative of the USA. In the Parkland, Florida school we have children (ruled by Leo) being slain, the 18th mass shooting of 2018. The outpouring in social media is building a narrative of 'enough' to this random mass gun violence. The archetype of Aquarius is about the commonweal for the majority over the supremacy of any individual's personal preferences. It demands the big picture be considered, sometimes with the personal 'me' being sacrificed.

Within this narrative are the American Ur stories of individual freedom and safe haven. Those are the cradle stories in the American historical psyche's narrative - freedom of religious expression, a safe haven to worship and think freely without fear of persecution or incarceration. The 'me' and 'we' narrative have always been wrestling and wrangling in the American historical narrative. The musket, the repeating rifle of the Civil War, and guns that won the West are deeply embedded in that narrative, cast as both liberator and oppressor, depending upon point of view, location, and outcome. The victors tend to get their version in first. Spin doctors are no  modern invention. They are as old as time and the bards themselves.

In these eclipses we are now seeing those opposing narratives shadow squaring up to box one another. How much of 'me' can 'we' stand? How destructive is 'me'? How can 'we' create a freedom for the majority without oppressing a minority? How can you circle that square with love and magic?

Which brings  me back to the Rebecca Solnit quote above. The reset button at this eclipse may mean that patience with the narcistic 'me' (which exhibits sociopathology) has run out in most of us.  As George Orwell states: "Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." To change the trajectory of mass slayings in the USA there is going to need for the Present to wrestle the Past to the floor. That takes courage, tenacity and love (because even sociopaths deserve love, even if they have ashallow capacity for returning it.)

What narrative do we want the children to learn? What future do we want the survivors of school to gain? Time to reflect and figure out the reset.

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Bee Smith has enjoyed a long relationship with SageWoman as a contributor, columnist and blogger. She lives in the Republic of Ireland, teaches creative writing and is a member of the Irish Art Council's Writers in Prisons panel. She is the author of "Brigid's Way: Celtic Reflections on the Divine Feminine."    


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