The feeling of individual powerlessness buys into the ideology of the separate self, who can affect an objective universe of force and mass only through whatever puny force it can muster. But if you have truly entered into the truth of the connected self, you will know that your personal choices have cosmic significance.”

– Charles Eisenstein, A World-Creating Matrix of Truth

The Lunar Eclipse on the last day of 2009 brings to culmination a theme that’s been unfolding for the past six months, since the last Eclipse period during July and August.

In the watery sign of Cancer, this potent Full Moon brings deep feelings to the surface. What’s been repressed is ready to be expressed. January is a time for emotionally, physically and psychically detoxing, clearing space for new beginnings.

Cancer the Crab represents family, memories and ancestors — themes catalyzed during this Eclipse season. The intense feelings coming up now most likely have their roots in the past, and the Eclipses this month present opportunities for becoming aware of and healing these old wounds.

Wounds of Separation

Last month I wrote about the Aquarius Super-Conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune, and the archetype of the Wounded Healer. At the time of the Lunar Eclipse, Mars in Leo opposes the Super-Conjunction, triggering this influence for the next six months.

Chiron in Aquarius (2005-2011) brings awareness to our wounds of separation, the ways that we perceive ourselves as being “in” or “out.” As children, many if not all of us learned to repress certain traits or aspects of our personalities that were apparently unacceptable. We learned to separate ourselves, to split off from or reject parts of ourselves, in order to fit in.

Mars Retrograde (December 20 – March 10) stirs up old wounds and suggests that, in order to move forward, we need to revisit and heal the past. The essence of Mars the Warrior is power, and the opportunity here is to reclaim power from where we’ve given it away. As these old wounds resurface, we can see them from the higher perspective of our older, wiser selves. We can consider new responses rather than reacting in habitual ways.

MarsHealing Chirotic wounds requires entering into the painful places and feeling the feelings instead of closing down around the hurt. When we’re willing to share our vulnerability, we discover that we’re not alone. We might have different stories about why we’re different and don’t fit in, but everyone has experienced some version of this core wound. In connecting with others, we break free from the pattern of isolation and separation.

The gift of healing these childhood wounds is the Leonine quality of innocence. Innocence is the ability to see the world with fresh eyes, unclouded by the filters of past experience and the accumulation of beliefs and assumptions about the world. In this state of innocence, being present to What Is, we can access our creativity and imagination — exactly the qualities needed for our personal and collective evolution.

Innocence, Imagination and Evolution

“[W]e have lost the inner sense of what it means to actually belong to something as a result of what television and marketing culture have done to our conceptions of ourselves. The wound in Aquarius is a direct injury to our psyches and also to our ideals; to our ability to conceive of better lives for ourselves, a better society, a more egalitarian world. All the great stuff that Aquarius represents is usually considered bullshit, impractical or dumb.” – Eric Frances, Television, Man

I recently watched an amazingly helpful interview with cell biologist Bruce Lipton, in which he compares a society of cells working together in the body to humans functioning as part of a collective entity (civilization). Basically, he says that, if trillions of cells can figure out how to live and work together peacefully and effectively, then there’s also hope for us.

Lipton explains how, when a body is going through a major change — evolving from one form to another, like a caterpillar to a butterfly — some cells die off (actually commit a form of cell suicide), and others adapt and evolve. The cells that adapt are called “imaginal cells.”

The planetary influences for this new year suggest that our collective evolutionary process is reaching a critical culmination point. Systems will continue to collapse — economy, education, government, healthcare — as the old, Earth-destroying paradigm convulses in its death throes.

Creating a new paradigm of peace, sustainability and cooperation is an evolutionary process that requires the participation of all of us, each with our own unique contribution. Thinking that someone or something outside of us — Obama, the aliens, the Second Coming. . . — will save us is part of the old paradigm of powerlessness that we’re leaving behind.

The first step is to see ourselves as belonging — as inherently “in.” As long as we perceive ourselves as being on the outside, we abdicate our power to participate. The next essential step is to imagine the possibilities for new ways to live. Imagine an economy in which everyone has enough to eat and a decent place to live. Imagine a world without war. Imagine a world that’s safe for children. Imagine a world where animals are treated with respect.

Astrologer Caroline Casey often says “Imagination lays the tracks for the reality train.” Instead of seeing imagination as being an airy-fairy waste of time in opposition to the hard work of pragmatism, imagine that we’re those “imaginal cells” that have to get creative and figure out how to adapt in order to survive and evolve.

Pragmatism is a strong theme this year, and especially this month, with the emphasis on earthy Capricorn and Saturnian energy. Being practical or “realistic” has become equated with being negative and cynical, but to me, the opposite is true — the most pragmatic thing we can do right now is practice optimism and open our minds and hearts to creative new possibilities.

On January 14, the Capricorn Solar Eclipse — an especially powerful New Moon — marks a time for setting your intentions and giving birth to a new vision. Wait until Mars starts moving forward again on March 10 before taking action on your plans. With Mercury also Retrograde (until January 15), the new year starts slowly. Take time for reflection, meditation and healing, complete old business, and do the inner and imaginal preparation necessary for our great evolutionary leap forward.