In the 62nd hexagram of the I Ching there is a teaching about not overdoing things. The hexagram is called “little exceeding,” and it pertains to one of the simplest lessons that we all deal with from time to time. When power or momentum or success or support of any kind is growing in our lives, especially because we’ve made a string of smart choices or appropriately timed decisions, the temptation of excess frequently appears. We all know the statement “pride cometh before a fall,” but we sometimes forget that “pride also cometh more easily after success.”
It’s hard to temper our enthusiasm, success, or righteousness by channeling our energy into doing smaller things better and with more enthusiasm, however this is the instruction of the 62nd hexagram, which is one of the culminating teachings of the I Ching. When things are growing in a good direction the best thing to do with that momentum is to be especially humble, modest, and thorough, focusing our attention on the preservation and circulation of our virtue through successive small victories.
Put in yet another way, the I Ching presents the image of a bird soaring too high for too long. The natural course of a bird who has flown high into the sky is to descend, find a perch, and sing so that all may hear.
So what does this have to do with today’s astrology? Let’s look at the Moon opposite Mercury in greater detail.
Mercury is reaching his second station and is rising as the morning star, which was traditionally associated with a more masculine or yang like quality. As Mercury turns direct its also as though Mercury is now recovering from a period of weakness, illness, setback, or delay. Accordingly he is rising up with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. Mercury is very much like the bird in the 62nd hexagram of the I Ching, and in fact both birds and Mercury are associated with messages and messengers. On the one hand, Mercury turning direct and rising in the east is like the bird flying high in the sky. His message is loud, strong, proud, and high. He is gaining strength and power, just as the 62nd hexagram depicts someone who has gained incredible momentum. On the other hand, this is a bird who might have to heed the warning of the I Ching and remember that his song can only be heard by others when he finds a modest perch from which to share his message.
This dynamic is made all the more interesting by the Moon’s application to Mercury from her fall in Scorpio. The fall of the Moon may be likened to a city, people, or person, who is outcast, on the fringe, marginalized, experiencing hardship after hardship, down on their luck, or generally suffering in one way or another. Mercury is in the sign of the Moon’s exaltation, and yet the opposition implies some kind of gap that exists despite the way Mercury exalts the Moon. What might this mean?
It may imply that a message, system, person, or process whose goal is to help people who are suffering actually holds people back due to a kind of pride or selfishness, an unwillingness to consider a revised approach. It may imply that the vanity of our spiritual values hinders others more than helps. It may imply that our message falls upon deaf ears because we don’t know how to make it more common, more accessible, and more relevant to a wider group of people. This lack of tact may reflect a kind of tone deafness to the sound of our own voice or message, or it may reflect a hubris: we believe that our message, belief, or idea is SO right in and of itself that we aren’t paying enough attention to how its being delivered or the actual needs of the people.
A system, person, message, or belief, designed to help people has to get out of its own way and constantly check in with the real and changing needs of the people it wishes to serve. This can’t be done if the bird is constantly soaring high but not descending to be among the people.
Our full Moon this weekend will continue to feature this same dynamic, though the dynamic is playing out through the Moon/Mars conjunction in opposition to the Sun, which we will explore in depth in the days to come.
Prayer: A bird flying high in the sky. Everybody points. What’s better, the bird perches so everyone can see the bird up close.
The bird sings for everyone to hear…knows just the simple song to sing.