I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
—J.R.R. Tolkein “The Fellowship of the Ring”
In a prayer for America on the day following the November 2016 election, Valarie Kaur, an American activist, documentary filmmaker, lawyer, educator, and faith leader, posed the question “What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? The darkness has exponentially intensified since she uttered that prayer for our country almost four years ago.
Yesterday I listened to a talk entitled “The Peaceful Heart” by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. His wisdom always soothes and uplifts me in times of grief and turmoil. Listening to him, I tune into a sense of spaciousness and regain my feeling of connection and balance. When he referenced Valerie Kaur’s darkness question, I felt comforted by the reminder that these times that we are living through represent not only the end of the world as we knew it, but also the beginning of a new world. Everything changes endlessly, and we cannot hold onto the way things were. There is no going back.
In late December of 2019, I published a blog post entitled “The Astrology of 2020 and a Tribute to Ram Dass”. That pre-pandemic post feels now like it was written in a previous incarnation, yet it was already so clear that the world as we knew it was falling apart. I wrote:
“Many are experiencing this time as one of enormous intensity and pressure, much like labor and childbirth.
The astrology of these times is remarkable in so far as we are experiencing the confluence of the ending and the beginning of several very long planetary cycles, which will continue through the Winter Solstice of 2020. We are witnessing an old world dying and a new one struggling to emerge. As these cycles draw to a close, structures and practices that are unsustainable are falling apart. The astrology of these times heralds a fundamental and necessary paradigm shift.”
The pandemic has only accelerated and magnified the urgent need for a paradigm shift by highlighting the pervasive systemic injustices, inequities, and crises that are sickening our souls and the planet. When Frodo laments that he wishes that it need not have happened in his time, Gandalf responds that it was not within his control, but now that this is in fact the reality, that there is no choice but to decide what he wants his role to be.
On Tuesday August 18, 2020 there will be a new moon in Leo at 10:42 PM EST. When the moon is new, it is not visible, but it marks the beginning of a new cycle, the planting of a seed. Leo is the zodiac sign related to the heart and children and our creative legacy. This new moon in Leo offers an opportunity to contemplate the ways in which you would like to participate in the creation of a more just and loving world for future generations. The new moon in Leo is an auspicious time to light candles and pray for the courage and support to trust that this darkness represents a life-giving womb and not a frightening tomb and guidance about how you will contribute.
Here are two offerings to comfort and inspire you in this difficult time. One is Sara Barreille’s version of Marvin Gaye’s, “What’s Going On?” and the other Jack Kornfield’s “The Peaceful Heart” talk.