Several weeks ago I had a vivid dream about the Jupiter/Neptune opposition that involved tornadoes coming across the ocean toward land. I was standing on a porch and there was a creaky set of scales going up and down in the wind and they were surrounded by honey bees. It was a vivid dream and you can read the forecast for the day I had it, September 19th. As a potentially large hurricane is heading toward the east coast right now the dream is obviously once more at the forefront of my thoughts and feelings. Our home finally set up after months of labor and stress, trying to manage it all delicately while my wife is pregnant, and now a hurricane potentially bearing down as Pluto is conjunct my moon one last time.
Yet in my dream I remember seeing a rainbow amidst the flooding sky and the darkness. When I was born the Moon was in the 9th house of dreams, omens, prophecy, and divination, though it was in its detriment in Capricorn. All my life I’ve suffered from bad dreams filled with bleak, barren, and stark images. My ayahuasca ceremonies for ten years were rarely without the blackest of skies and most twisted ideas, thoughts, and landscapes. I used to think that it meant my soul needed to be purged or cleansed of something rotten at the roots, something sinful from a previous lifetime, or from childhood, or something living in the nature of mankind itself. I’ve come to realize over a long period of time that the image of rottenness at the roots isn’t primarily true or false…it’s primary reality is held in the image itself. It’s primary significance is what the image does for the soul, negatively and positively.
Ancient astrologers were right to say that the Moon in Capricorn is in its detriment. Subjectively the ominous image of rot, filth, rust, or freeze at the roots isn’t an easy one to live with. It makes it hard to get comfortable. It makes it hard to feel warm inside. Makes it hard to feel safe. Makes it hard to trust. Makes it hard hard hard…less a complaint and more the description of an actual texture…an actual, factual, bottom line hardness making your feet feel cold every step of the way.
And yet, working the primary images of our lives has the power to transform our relationship to them. Because it turns out that every single image, no matter what it looks like, is equally alive, equally animate, potentially just as important to the life of the soul as any other.
I’ve worked so hard over the past 3-4 months, trying to get our roots put down in the right way, and there have been hardships at every step of the process. For example, a week before our first expected closing date the owner of the house was hospitalized and (apparently) almost died. This pushed back the sale of the house by a month. Then, a week before our next closing I received the unexpected news that my father and his new partner will be having a baby several weeks after my wife is due. Also a girl..I will be a father and will have a new sister closely after. The news hit me very hard, and in the midst of dealing with what had up until then been a secret kept from me and my sister, I was struggling with a profoundly stubborn and scary foot infection from an invisible bite I had receive while visiting my father over the summer (right as the owner of the house had fallen ill).
The entire process of moving into this house, for me, has felt motivated by the feeling of an impending psychological hurricane, and now I wonder if a literal storm is going to do some awful damage to my new house….ruining all the work I’m just finishing.
Last night I was talking on the phone with my dad after spending long hours cleaning out a very dark and creepy basement crawl space of our new house, still filled with the previous owners rusty and grimy old tools, car parts, and other miscellaneous “junk.” As with most hard news in life, I eventually feel squared up to the facts and do my best to live with what is rather than what I wish things would be. I’m finally building small bits of excitement about having a sister and about my Dad starting a new family. I said to my Dad last night, “I thought of you cleaning out Grandpa’s old pole barn, with all those years of accumulated dirt and grime. I feel like I know what that’s like lately.” The owner of the house simply didn’t have the energy to finish clearing and cleaning out the home, and rather than stress him out anymore or potentially delay the closing again, we told him we would simply take care of it. Since my wife is uber pregnant, it’s mostly fallen to me, which has been a strange kind of blessing.
Putting my hands in the roots, rot, and dirt of the crawl space last night, somewhere between crumbling concrete and rock hard soil, turning out old rusted work bench drawers, sweeping out cobwebs, organizing a storage space, and getting the space as clean as possible I had this simple realization that brought me to a few solid tears of relief.
There was no way I would ever make that dirty basement sparkle like crystal. There was no possible way that crawl space was going to become something other than what it is…and yet it’s the foundation of the house I live in.
Somehow as I age, the Capricorn Moon in the 9th house that I was born under, for all its constant motivation of an impending flood or hurricane, is becoming more imaginal and less literal. Because as I’ve worked the image over time I’ve come to realize that floods, hurricanes, nasty crawl spaces, and trouble at the roots are simply part of life. They are the necessary images that create tombstone workers, pallbearers, undertakers, dentists, and priests of the winter moon. Winter, death, decay…these are hard but also supportive truths. Knowing that my religious imagination tends towards these images, I have to consciously work toward their foundation in the supportive earth rather than their basis in the stigma of words like sin, punishment, hell, and rottenness.
I know this because my foot felt like it was rotting all summer in the midst of these challenging experiences, but now my foot is fine again, I’m feeling rooted again, and yet a hurricane is immediately on its way. What can we do but relax in the knowledge that floods and disasters follow one after another in life…as regular as sunny days and all the stars aligning? What can we do but search for our roots in something beyond these cycles as we live wholeheartedly within them?
Prayer: Take faith, for the best days are supported by the worst, the beautiful by the rotten, the solution by its problem, and the ominous by the promising…may we take faith and take joy in the jobs we are given, along with all the images that are with us..take faith for we are children of God, held by the ground we walk on, the air we breathe..held by the sun and the moon and all the planets and stars in the sky.