Let’s meditate for a moment today on the themes of birth and death, and the passage of the soul from one phase to another.
As the Moon enters Cancer to make her first quarter today, we are entering a crossroads moment in our current eclipse cycle. We are somewhere exactly between the past and the future. Something is being born, but its health will depend on the lightness of the soul, the lightness of the heart, being weighed now against the feather on the Libran scales of the north node. A powerful new beginning at the new moon has led us to a moment of truth and now we face a test. We aren’t ever tested because there is some grand school master in the sky who wants to punish or judge us in some absolute or eternal sense. Judgment is part of the process of how the evolution of the soul unfolds…these moments of testing are part of how the shape of our destiny molds itself.
In the Egyptian pantheon the dog god, Anubis, led souls into the halls of judgment after death, where the soul (depicted by the heart) would be weighed against a feather. The smooth transition of the soul depended upon its being light as a feather.
But this isn’t just a story about literal death. Since there is no such thing as literal death, the myth serves as a reminder that lightness of the heart is crucial for all important transitional phases.
Maybe there is no such thing as a perfectly level balance between the heart and the feather. Feathers are aerodynamic, after all, and they are hardly in their natural habitat resting on any kind of plate. And the heart too…the heart loves uneven ground, and its habitat is wild, unpredictable, uneven, and not meant to be entirely “level” or “even keeled.”
Still the lightness of the feather, the winged quality of the heart…these are images calling to us right now. Calling to us to trust deeply that the transitions happening are purposeful even when they are painful or unknown…liberating even when they sometimes seem imprisoning or limiting. The heart is the imagination, and its freedom soars unbounded. The lightness of the heart in this transitional moment is therefore not about moving through this change unscathed or perfect….the heart wouldn’t be the heart if that were the case. Instead it’s about learning to open our imagination, the wings that bloom from the valley’d ventricles of the open heart.
The destiny of our soul is to learn how to live. This means we have to learn how to die good deaths. Deaths never being literal, and life having no opposite, just as the imagination has no opposite, the importance of dying lightly is unqualified. Any death can be winged…just as the custodians of death circle on high…not predatorial but janitorial…sweeping us along the imaginal path of liberated liberation.
This moment is precious. And even if we fail, even if it’s scary, even if we do it wrong or incur the strangest features of fate, the vision of the winged heart is calling for our full faith and confidence.
Saying “yes,” can be a deceptive way of putting it. The dog god, Anubis, is a keeper of oaths and loyalty. He’s a watch dog as much as a lap dog. The first oath we always take is to keep our hearts as light as a feather, no matter what we commit to contractually, even when we are in the heaviest and most serious places. This is a strange paradox, but it’s important. As the underworld itself is the place of planets like Mars and Pluto, and just like Hades had a watch dog, Cerberus, the lightness of the heart is not merely an affair of innocence or blind goodness. The lightness of the heart is also the animal instinct…the fast ruffling of feathers and the sudden flash of wings in the trees. We aren’t meant to soar away or above troubles by an Icarus lightness of the heart, but rather to see the winged mountains as integral to the valley…part of the same landscape, inescapably bound together by love, friendship, territory, and strife alike. Our work is to remain loyal to all aspects of the work, because the work is the soul’s work, the soul’s “good death,” and its judgments are always among us, shaping the path of fate and remaining true to us despite any failings of our own loyalty. The dog-god is loyal to us and teaches us loyalty by both her friendly kisses and snarling watchfulness. Both by his affinity for the moon dark night and the gnawing of death’s bones, but also his snoring nightmares and pack minded stubbornness.
When we look back on this moment, in ten years, will we say to ourselves, “that was an epic, beautiful, confusing, dark, deep, and amazing time?” Or will we say, “I wish I would have opened up to that moment…” Either way, in ten more years, there will still be a loyal dog sitting next to us…or asleep at our feet, or listening without any of the understanding we call understanding…content unto death…a winged sun dog lying in the shadows of the valley.
Prayer: help us to pass through this critical moment by the lightness of our hearts…may we stay loyal to all elements of the work.
Creative commons image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/liberato/