2020 Grateful 18: That light in the sky

Drawing the curtains in the front room the other night, I noticed a peculiar light in the sky. I watched it for a while, thinking it might move. Maybe it was a low-flying plane. Or a rogue satellite. It looked for all the world like an artist’s rendition of the Star of Bethlehem on a Christmas card. Ever since I rang himself in a panic while he was Stateside to ask why the sunset had moved, I’m a tad reluctant to ask questions that might leave me open to ridicule. Not his, mind you. Mine. I’d taken a visiting friend down to the Island to see the sunset. As was my wont, I crossed the bridge and made to go left, aiming for where we’d seen the sunset the previous New Year’s Eve. A discreet cough held me in check. Their observation that the sun was setting to our right I pished away as … well… pish. We always went left. And so we did. In winter. But, as himself patiently explained when I interrupted his visit, the Earth rotates… it’s different in summer.

You would think I’d learn.

In my defence, I was knackered. My brain had long since given up the ghost and I wasn’t thinking rationally. But fair play to himself, he’s a pillar of patience. I called him over to see the bright light in the sky and asked if it was the North star. That’d be a miracle, he said, considering we’re looking eastward. I know. I know. If I’d brains, I’d be dangerous.

It’s Mars. Yep. Mars.

In mid-September, as seen from around the globe, Mars is ascending in the east in mid-evening (that is, midway between your local sundown and your local midnight). What’s more, 2 other planets – Jupiter and Saturn – are up at the same time as Mars. A line between them points to Mars. From the Northern Hemisphere, Jupiter and Saturn are in the south as Mars is ascending in the east. You can’t miss all 3 planets, no matter where you are on Earth, but their orientation with respect to your horizon will shift, depending on where you are.

I was impressed. Very impressed. And given as I am to flights of fancy, I wondered if there was someone on Mars looking right back at me and wondering what’s going on down here. From the outside looking in, how mad our world must look. Wildfires blazing up and down the West Coast of America. Millions of people living in refugee camps. Hundreds and thousands more risking life and limb to get themselves and their families to what they see as a better place. And in cities where life is relatively good, riots on some streets, peaceful protests on others. News everywhere full of rising numbers of those infected with COVID-19.  Borders closed. Planes parked on runways. Holiday destinations empty.

I wondered what they’d think if they saw families tearing themselves apart because of divided political loyalties and different religious beliefs. I wondered what they’d think of the richest among us get richer and richer as the poorest get poorer and poorer. I wondered if they’d see COVID as just another flu.

I’ve never been one for stargazing, for going outside and looking up into the vastness and wondering what’s out there. I wasn’t a good student. I can pick out the plough and that’s about it. And that’s really only because of the Seán O’Casey play, The Plough and the Stars. That said, I’m finding a strange solace in checking in with Mars every night, looking up at that bright light, and wondering.

A message from White Eagle, a Hopi elder, delivered in March this year, is doing the rounds again. It says a lot for my state of mind that a part of me is wondering if there really is such a person. It shocks me to my core that I’m becoming such a sceptic, that trust is in such short supply. But even if she isn’t real, the message resonates enough to share.

This moment humanity is going through can now be seen as a portal and as a hole. The decision to fall into the hole or go through the portal is up to you. If you repent of the problem and consume the news 24 hours a day, with little energy, nervous all the time, with pessimism, you will fall into the hole. But if you take this opportunity to look at yourself, rethink life and death, take care of yourself and others, you will cross the portal. Take care of your homes, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual House.
When you are taking care of yourselves, you are taking care of everything else. Do not lose the spiritual dimension of this crisis; have the eagle aspect from above and see the whole; see more broadly.
There is a social demand in this crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand — the two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. But without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and lack of meaning. You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools available to you.
Learn about resistance of the indigenous and African peoples; we have always been, and continue to be, exterminated. But we still haven’t stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire, and having fun. Don’t feel guilty about being happy during this difficult time.
You do not help at all being sad and without energy. You help if good things emanate from the Universe now. It is through joy that one resists. Also, when the storm passes, each of you will be very important in the reconstruction of this new world.
You need to be well and strong. And for that, there is no other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy, and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation.
This is a resistance strategy. In shamanism, there is a rite of passage called the quest for vision. You spend a few days alone in the forest, without water, without food, without protection. When you cross this portal, you get a new vision of the world, because you have faced your fears, your difficulties.
This is what is asked of you:
Allow yourself to take advantage of this time to perform your vision-seeking rituals. What world do you want to build for you? For now, this is what you can do — serenity in the storm. Calm down, pray every day. Establish a routine to meet the sacred every day.
Good things emanate; what you emanate now is the most important thing. And sing, dance, resist through art, joy, faith, and love.

I’m grateful right now for that bright light shining in the night sky – it might just keep me from falling into that hole.

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