The 9th hexagram of the I Ching is sometimes translated as “Gentle Restraint.” The hexagram shows the picture of rain clouds gathering but no rain as of yet. There is also a story that many translators tell involving a time of going back or returning to home or the center into order to gather more force, strength, information, or resources, before launching an expedition. The hexagram is a picture of restraining ourselves from taking the big actions, making the big claim or big statement, in favor of biding our time, accumulating more small victories, or gathering our resources carefully and patiently waiting for the right moment to make big changes. For this reason, the hexagram is also sometimes referred to as “the taming power of the small,” and it includes an augur of eventual success if one takes the time to let small things continue to develop rather than rushing forward.
This hexagram is an excellent expression of the Mars/Saturn dynamic in the sky right now. Jupiter and Saturn are trying to get together with great reception (Jupiter in Saturn’s exaltation and Saturn in Jupiter’s favored domicile), and Venus and Mars are trying to get together while Venus is exalted, but unfortunately both of these dynamics will refrain and turn from each other before perfecting. If we can take a moment to sense that the time isn’t quite right, or maybe not right for doing every last thing we hope to accomplish right now, and if we can gently restrain ourselves from trying to push and drive things forward too intensely, then really we’re not missing any of these opportunities for harmonization. Instead, we’re allowing small victories too accumulate, which builds momentum and creates a solid foundation for future success, which eventually WILL arrive (Mars/Venus and Jupiter/Saturn will all finally come together late in the Summer of 2017).
So while this Mars/Saturn square is here, it’s a great time to walk out to the edge of our mental and spiritual property, survey the land, take note of the clouds, read the signs of the times, and return for the moment to chopping wood and carrying water. In fact, when we see the distant clouds gathering, it’s really the ideal time to double our efforts in the small things. Preparation is a form of ritual sacrifice. Doing the small things well, completing what IS here to be completed now, we put ourselves into a receptive position, and it’s always through the receptive (the yin) that the creative (yang) pours out its promises. The rain eventually bursts through and waters the ground we’ve made ready.
So keep this in mind as Mars and Saturn come into their square right now. Ride out to the edge of your land, note the clouds gathering, note the rain coming, and then ride back and double down on the small things.
Prayer: Rather than feeling restrained, help us prepare and gather for the coming rain.