Here’s what to watch for:
* The 29th hexagram of the I Ching is called “dangerously deep,” and it depicts a situation where deep water surrounds one on all sides. Even though one is filled with hope, or the desire to move forward or take action, there is little one can do. We are temporarily thwarted.
* In such situations, the I Ching tells us that the merit of our heart and character is being tested. If we try to push forward willfully, ignoring the danger, or in denial of some element of our own character that has put us into a bad situation, we will likely suffer a great fall. This matches quite nicely, of course, with Mars in Cancer, the place where the god of action and will was traditionally said to be in its “fall” or “depression,” opposing Saturn, the god of limitations.
* If you’ve ever seen Monty Python and the Holy grail, there is a scene where a Knight is battling with another Knight and keeps losing his limbs, one by one, only to say, “it’s merely a flesh wound!” The other Knight says, “You don’t have any legs left, surrender!,” but the Knight continues swinging his sword wildly, “It’s merely a flesh wound. Come back here and fight!”
* The myth of the hero in our culture is glorified, and most action movies give us something almost equally as absurd as the Knight from Monty Python, but we don’t see it because, in the case of our action movie culture, we glorify the ability of the ego to push away the pain or to stay in the spirit of physical and emotional victory at all costs. This is also a Mars/Saturn dynamic.
* New age culture and self-help culture similarly teach people that their pain is actually their spiritual power. Our pain makes us stronger, wiser, deeper, etc. This weaponizes our wounds so that we can become conquering heroes and often this keeps us in denial, as well. “It’s not a flesh wound, it’s my shamanic qualification. I’m starting my healing practice next week! I’m building my website right now!”
* And in these situations, when the hero ignorantly pushes forward, in denial of his own narcissism, unwilling to recognize the stress or pain she may be causing herself or others, then when she finally falls down, the fall is also memorialized, celebrated, and the blame cast upon an oppressor.
* But the wisdom of the 29th Hexagram of the I Ching says something entirely different about how to handle defeat, failure, and impotence. The I Ching suggests a different path when we feel thwarted.
* What if when we feel thwarted it causes us to become introspective? What if when we feel thwarted rather than thinking about overcoming our adversity we think about how to fail with integrity, beauty, meaning, and curiosity? Why don’t we take at least some occasional joy in the opportunity to fail well? Not where everyone can see it. Not in some grand social media demonstration of our failure. Maybe just in the secret chambers of our heart? Can we develop just a little private taste for our frustrations and failures? An honest sit down with our impotence? A small slice of all-natural, organic shame?
* The I Ching tells us that when dangerously deep waters and waves surround us on all sides, the best we can do is to become like water and flow through the adversity facing us. Because who of us is powerful enough to part the waves or calm the Ocean?
* Truly, the wisdom to know how to flow through failures or frustration, is miraculous. It allows us to walk on water. Maybe this is the real opportunity of the Sun/Jupiter and Neptune’s t-square right now in the midst of the Mars/Saturn opposition.
* Regardless, when we are humble, when we make ourselves low, then we become like the water, always flowing to the lowest point until finally our very being is used to wash the feet of angels, saints, and avatars, who are always closer to us than we imagine. So it is the success of our failing, our quiet failing, that brings us closer to that which is lifted on high, which is sung aloud and adorned.
* These are the teachings of a fallen Mars in Cancer opposing Saturn, while the Sun is square to Neptune and opposed to Jupiter, and these are also the teachings of the 29th hexagram.
* The third line of Hexagram 29 tells us that because difficulties surround us on all sides, the only option we have is to be surprised, curious, aroused, and interested in the sudden invitation to become totally still.
* Similarly, the 39th hexagram depicts a person climbing a mountain only to find an impassable current of water. Rather than feeling cursed by having to turn around, or having to find another route, the person feels blessed by the appearance of the Tao, whose personal hand is seen and felt in the unexpected obstruction.
* We talk all day about imagination, and yet we have no imagination when it comes to disempowerment, frustration, failure, and impotence. “Get it out,” we say. “Purge it.” “Enlighten it.” “Heal it.” “Empower it.” “Make it conscious.” “REDEEEEEM IT!”
* But I see a river, singing a deep blue song, a chorus of surrendered voices once lost, once mourning thwarted, now found, flowing home to paradise. The souls in this river only aspire to wash the feet of those saints who serve their source, taking every failure as an opportunity to flow back to the lowest points, where they might find those saintly halos shining over them once again, just like stars.
Prayer: Take our frustrations and baptize us again in the humble currents of your love.