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A Deep Breath and a Willing Heart
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

When Pluto got downgraded from planet to dwarf not long ago, I could almost hear the Universe chuff with disdain. During that period -- one I still look back on with a sense of bewilderment and sorrow -- we ignored traditional wisdom while embracing the shallow virtues of tribalism. We got more church and less God; more power brokering and less governance. More patriotism and less freedom; more heartburn and less heart. But more than anything else, we had a long era of authoritarian corruption; as Pluto moved into Capricorn, it had cosmic revenge written all over it. Dwarf planet, indeed. Who's laughing now?

Saturn is structural and Pluto is transformational; since the structure of society has disproportionately become a giant corporation taking its populous on a thrill-ride of exploitation, we must take a moment in our discouragement to remember this generational transit as a necessary, if not entirely comfortable, step forward.

In the combination of Saturn-ruled Capricorn as a serious reformer and the intensity of Pluto, eliminating what no longer serves and exposing hidden secrets, we are experiencing a rush of sunlight into the dark caves of power. We should not be shocked at what we find there; we've long suspected.

It can come as no surprise to the astro-literate that the inevitable meltdown is upon us; I think what's got us spun up is the sheer enormity of it. The national gloom is infectious. There doesn't seem to be a system or structural entity that isn't disintegrating before our very eyes. And, although we may think this has all struck suddenly in some kind of hideously perfect storm, we had plenty of warning.

Remember the old adage, "A stitch in time saves nine?" Back in 2002, the January cover of TIME Magazine showed a baby's face slapped over with these questions:
Could an Enron happen to me?
Is my phone service ripping me off?
Who's looking after my 401(k)?
Can I trust my HMO?
Can I count on my broker?
"So many choices," declared the cover in extra-large font, "and no one to trust. In today's world, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN, BABY."

A stitch in 2002, had we been wise enough to attempt one, would have involved a major repair to the rent in the fabric of commonwealth -- the nine we contemplate now is akin to creating a patchwork quilt from the shredded bits that have ripped apart. It may be mendable or it may not; repairs may hold or perhaps only hang together a brief time. At least, after years of neglect, we have the needle in our hand.

If there was one early projection to have been made about this initial Cappy Pluto energy, it was 'executive beware!' As I like to take the long view, I find myself chuckling in twinges of black humor when I hear people like Ponzi-accused billionaire Allen Stanford complain about the barbarism of having to take off ones shoes for a commercial flight check-in; or watch the various financial institutions pretend they're cooperating, lying to the public, bare-faced. You know, of course, they're conceding the exact minimum they can get away with, and cutting as many backroom deals as remain possible.

Isn't it interesting that we all know that, even as headlines try to lead us to believe something else? We knew it in 2002, although we ignored it; we can't ignore it any longer. Perhaps that's why the banking industry has even less credibility than does the Republican Party, now at a 25-year low. Obama finds himself with limited options in the financial sector as well as the international; this is certainly not the presidency he wished for.

If there's one thing we've learned the hard way in these last years, it's that banking, corporations and big business -- complicit with the Bush governance model -- operate outside the rule of law by dwelling exclusively in the fine print and loopholes; and that they will come out on top or die trying. While dying doesn't appear to be on their near horizon, the necessary changes cannot be avoided forever. Pluto exposes the rot; what was crisis in 2002 is emergency in 2009, and so apparent that only months into the Pluto shift, we're fully aware that the greed and arrogance at the top of the pyramid has created the chaos we're experiencing at the bottom.

Pluto's like snakebite medicine; if it don't kill ya, it makes you stronger. The Big Fella recently went retrograde, and I hope that will give us something of a breather from the rush into collapse we've been witnessing. Pluto direct has the same out-of-control feeling you get riding a bullet-train; a retro'd Pluto may give us opportunity to catch our breath and reassess the changes that we've recently experienced. Unfortunately, as it slowed in Aries Point vicinity, we had a rash of murders and violence that put the public on high alert that life is increasingly fragile. With so much death in our culture, this might not have bothered us had it not seemed so senseless and random. When things get this tough, we either bend or break; some of us do not appear flexible. The current Venus-Pluto square has us delving deeply into our values and relationships; exposing an unaccustomed degree of sobering reality. As well, with Chiron and Neptune within a degree of one another, our history of personal wounding and psychic trauma are bubbling to the surface; if we have not yet learned to spiritualize our lives along the transcendent signature of Neptunian energy, we may turn to our delusions instead and begin shooting our children, our neighbors or those we fancy as political enemies.

All of this points up the enormous duality -- like the storms that make sunshine so welcome -- of our daily life, as we unearth old emotional clutter and try to put it behind us; it might appear that the timing is bad, as it becomes overwhelming when we try to deal with the dregs of our past at the same moment we're struggling with an anxious present. But our moment of now is always colored by what has been stuffed down and repressed; if our fears and angers go ignored, they linger to drive us into untenable decisions until we embrace and defuse them.

So this is crunch time; we're hustling to release the last of our old energy so we can enter into the new. This doesn't appear to be effortless for any of us; it feels like a test. All we're left with on the Jeopardy board are the $1000 questions and Alex Trebek just called on each of us. It takes a courageous heart to count its scars and release the sense of victimization that accompanies them; and it too often takes an emergency to give us an imperative to do the hard work that we've ignored so long.

As usual, we've had to be pushed into moving forward; that's what the nation is attempting to do. It feels as if all that has stood on the shifting sands of the last few decades must come down if we are to build upon a stable foundation again. We must dare such a national project; we must do this in our own lives as well.

If we have embraced our spiritual nature, then we know that this is no cosmic punishment but rather an initiation into something finer than we have known before: what we will discover within ourselves are not just the errors of the past but the ability to overcome them; not merely the circumstances that confound us but the ability to rise above them. We can't know our mettle until we test it, much as we won't know our authenticity until we strip away all that hides it. The transits are tough, the times are tough -- but so are we.

The experiences of our lives, pleasant or un, are simply grist for the mill, as Ram Dass would tell us. They reflect us, they expose us, they renew us. We have the inner strength to accomplish all that needs doing. We are a continuing revelation, part of our Source and of one another; we are better off moving our response from our head into our heart, allowing our soul signature to keep us lifted. There is as much joy in the world as there is pain and we have the ability to respond to our challenges with either; the wise choice is the one that makes our heart happy and encourages those around us.

You remember the old story about the monkey who grabs the nut at the bottom of the jar? As long as he holds his prize in his clenched fist, he's unable to extricate his hand. If he'd simply let go, relax his grip, he could shake the nut out and have his lunch. What we fight against we solidify; if we offer willingness to embrace and transmute what frightens or threatens us, answers to our dilemmas present themselves more easily.

"We all too often rely on human strength to get us by," wrote Greg Barrette, "but only Divine strength can see us through! The strength of God is not found in noisy activity. To access and harness that great power, we must get in touch with our silent, inner Source. And to grow strong requires that we release any brittleness or rigidity, and so become flexible and yielding. Just as the tall tree sways in the wind, so too our strength will bend with life's adversities."

If this is a purification period, and it certainly feels that way, then we must allow ourselves to be patient with one another and with our circumstances. We are at a potent juncture in this paradigm shift, and it's calibrated to bring the changes our collective consciousness has called for. This isn't happening to us as much as for us; and we have access to the new rules for navigating this energy if we trust our heart chakra to instruct us.

The solutions we're looking for will find us, if we will keep our peace and vision; if we will deliberately release tension and anxiety, and keep a calming breath at the ready. As we will invest in a rich inner life, the circumstances of our outer experience will stabilize. We cannot, as Neale Donald Walsch puts it, push the river; the river will take us where we need to go. We've got a good bite on it, we're well on our way. If we reach into our bag of tricks to find a bit of trust instead of fear and worry, we will free up access to the solutions awaiting us. This is what A Course in Miracles calls "the little willingness." Then we will each have the confidence to say -- "Alex, I'll take 'Today's Problems' for a thousand, please."

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