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Sun 28° Gemini 02' 25"
Moon 18° Scorpio 55' 00"
Mercury 03° Cancer 06' 41"
Venus 01° Cancer 54' 18"
Mars 07° Taurus 06' 20"
Ceres 18° Capricorn 02' 41" 
Pallas 21° Scorpio 30' 26" 
Juno 14° Virgo 33' 44"
Vesta 29° Cancer 31' 22"
Jupiter 05° Gemini 31' 07"
Saturn 19° Pisces 19' 39"
Chiron 22° Aries 55' 36"
Uranus 25° Taurus 07' 55"
Neptune 29° Pisces 52' 53"
Pluto 01° Aquarius 37' 38" 
TrueNode 12° Aries 44' 31" 

Spiritual Context

In my last post, I tossed out the term "Spiritual Context" and as soon as it was posted, I thought, "I need to explain what I mean there by Spiritual Context." So, I sat down to write another post - a month ago, actually - but it's taken some time to formulate how to say what I want to say on the subject, especially in the context of Astrology.

First of all, I find spirituality to be deeply personal. I'm not all that comfortable trying to define spirituality for anyone else. With that said, I'm grateful for the quotes from others that I've used here and the wisdom I find in them.

For me, life is an unfolding process of discovery and change and understanding the concept of Spirituality begins with the simple awareness that change* is constant and inevitable. As one of my favorite riddles goes:

Q: What can make you happy when you're sad, and sad when you're happy?"
A: This too, shall pass.

To put it as simply as possible: For me, Spirituality is just a willingness to participate in change.

So, how do I deal with change? Well, sometimes, I make fearful attempts to stop or control change. I'll do whatever seems necessary to try to keep my life static, rather than dynamic. Those are the times when I don't want to look honestly at what's happening, I want to control it, manipulate the outcome and sidestep all of the pain I'm afraid change will bring. "I'm just not willing to allow the world to keep turning today!" I know from experience that such a response makes me feel less and less connected with my life - I'm no longer a willing participant. But, luckily, I don't have the power to stop change. All I can do is respond.

Courage is fear that said its prayers. 2

When I'm a little less fearful, I may find some detachment. I may find a way to step back and become an observer in my life, watching my responses as though I'm watching a character in a play. In that way, its easier to see the chronology, the sequence of events. I can see the cycles, the arc of my life and how my response could be creating a loop if I happen to feel stuck. When I'm not afraid to look at what's happening, I'm a bit more open to making a connection with the Universe. I have some chance of participating in the process of change just by not being afraid to look at it.

I'm not a human being having a spiritual experience, I am a spiritual being having a human experience. 3

I can't argue with that idea, but it doesn't exactly get me any closer to understanding what that spiritual experience is or how to see my life and the world around me within a spiritual context. Perhaps the biggest challenge to staying in the role of the observer is my tendency to judge myself once I've taken a look. That takes me back to fear and an instinct to obscure or clean up what I judge to be my failings and vulnerabilities. Essentially, I want to hide my human-ness, toss out all the trial-and-error and make it look like I got it right the first time. But that's all just one more way of denying change and even my own growth.

Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 4

Life itself is a prayer. I'm talking to God all the time, whether I realize it or not. That's why spirituality feels so personal to me. Sometimes I'm negotiating; Sometimes I'm asking; Sometimes I'm accusing; Sometimes I'm grateful. But whether I'm saying, "thank you, God" or I'm saying "thank you, Joe Schmoe," I'm always talking to God.

So that gets me pretty close to what I mean by Spiritual Context. If I understand that every action I take is actually an interaction with God or Goddess or the Universe or whatever I choose to call the wholeness of infinite and inevitable change, then I can understand how I am a participant in my life and the shape of the changes that occur. Of course, a spiritual perspective doesn't keep me from being a frail and fallible human being, often still intent on trying to control forces and elements far beyond my reach. But my spiritual perspective offers me a fall back position, if you will, that helps me to see the value in just growing and learning amidst the buffeting winds of change, whether or not I think I'm winning or losing at the game of life.

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Astrology is a tool to help me figure out which way the wind is blowing. I don't believe I can create (make the wind blow) change but I do believe I can participate (my response is the set the sail) in change. Astrology casts a light on the cycles and rhythms of change and helps me understand what my instinctual responses to change are trying to show me - even when I don't fully understand why what I'm doing seems to be working or doesn't seem to be working. So when I use the term, Spiritual Context, I'm essentially just trying to describe a broader perspective of the unfolding process of life.

"I've decided," said Charlie Brown, "that life is like an ice cream cone - you have to lick it one day at a time." 6

Finally, it is always most important to stay in the present moment - to stay with the process as it unfolds. Sometimes, the challenge in using Astrology is that I want to start looking too far ahead or dwell on what has already happened. Astrology is a tool to inform my participation in the process as it unfolds, to illuminate my instinctual responses and provide a little extra detachment; when used effectively, it adds clarity but not definition.

*My use of the term "change" is all encompassing in the sense that every movement at every point in time represents change. Without getting all Aristotle or Newton here, every event involves change even when it seems like the same damn thing all over again.

1. Derived from an ancient Sufi story.
2. Dorthy Bernard.
3. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
4. Mathew 25:40, King James Bible.
5. Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
6. Charles M. Schulz

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