earth“The fundamental difference between civilized and indigenous ways of being is that for even the most open-minded of the civilized, listening to the natural world is a metaphor. For traditional indigenous peoples it is not a metaphor; it is how you relate to the real world.” – Derrick Jensen, Dreams

The Earth element — pragmatism, grounding, material reality, and our relationship with our physical bodies and the natural world — is calling for attention. Five planets are currently touring through the Earth signs — Jupiter in Taurus, the Sun and Venus in Virgo (soon to be joined by Mercury) and the Moon (for a few days) and Pluto (for several years) in Capricorn. Work, health, possessions, finances and other resources, and how we organize and structure our lives come into focus.

This current lunar cycle started at the Virgo New Moon on August 28, which featured a Grand Trine in the Earth signs. As I wrote in my last post, this “lucky” but potentially lazy alignment can yield tremendous, long-term, tangible results IF we actively work with the energy. A Grand Trine is … passive unless we intentionally activate its power.

A few days after the New Moon, on August 30, Jupiter — planet of expansion, abundance, faith and belief systems — turned Retrograde, which gives us a clue as to what this lunar cycle is about and how to work with the profusion of Earth energy. While Jupiter is Retrograde, until December 25, external expansion slows down, and the focus turns inward — a period of assessing, consolidating and stabilizing the outer growth that’s already happened.

jupiterJupiter is now in Taurus (until June 6, 2012), the sign that rules resources, finances, possessions, natural talents, and prosperity. Jupiter Retro is a time to reconsider what you have, and possibly revive or recover resources from the past. Are you making the most effective use of what you’ve got? What do you really need, and what are you holding onto out of fear?

Jupiter rules how you make meaning, the story you tell yourself, and Jupiter Retro is a time to rethink what it means to be abundant and prosperous. In Caroline Casey’s words, Jupiter says, “I will make you wealthy, by your own definition… What is a wealthy life, what is a wealthy culture?” (Making the Gods Work for You)

Jupiter Retro in Taurus, the sign of values, is a time for reconnecting with your deepest beliefs and priorities. Are your actions in the physical world in alignment with your values? How do you spend your money or otherwise commit your resources, and what does that reveal about your actual (as opposed to idealized) priorities?

Transforming Materialism

“[Indigenous] villagers are interested not in accumulation but in a sense of fullness. Abundance means a sense of fullness, which cannot be measured by the yardstick of the material goods we possess or the amount of money in a bank account.” – Malidoma Somé, The Healing Wisdom of Africa

plutoJupiter’s ongoing trine to Pluto, which will be exact for the second time on October 28, says that you can expand much more effectively if you’re willing to slough off the dead weight, let go of the “stuff” (material and otherwise) that’s holding you back, and get in touch with and stand strong in your deepest, most authentic values. Pluto urges you to look beneath the surface to get to the core of what truly holds meaning for you.

Yes, a trine is considered an easy, harmonious, supportive angle. But we’re still working with Pluto here — the Dark Mother, Kali, Hecate, Underworld God/Goddess, the principle of death and rebirth — which always takes you outside of your comfort zone, and doesn’t allow a lot of wiggle room for fudging it. The Jupiter-Pluto trine suggests that there is support available for deep transformation, so you might as well go for it, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily feels safe or easy.

Plutonian energy is currently ramping up as the Dark Lord is “stationing” — appearing to slow down to a standstill before turning from Retrograde to Direct on September 16. Generally speaking, even for the most Plutonian among us, this is not a feel-good kind of transit. Pluto puts you in touch with the deepest and darkest parts of yourself, the “shadow” — the parts you don’t want to look at and have therefore banished to the basement of the subconscious. As Pluto stations, what’s been hidden rises to the surface, calling for acknowledgement and healing.

capricornPluto in Capricorn (until 2024) signifies the breakdown of social systems and structures, and the Jupiter-Pluto trine points to the relationship between your personal material reality and the massive transformation taking place at the collective level. In the context of escalating global violence, collapsing economies, natural and unnatural disasters, the devastating famine now underway in Africa, what do you really need? What’s the real priority here, and what really matters?

The Earth signs want to invest in what is lasting, what endures over time, and Jupiter Retro invites you to access deeper wisdom about where you’re investing your energy, and how you relate to the material world. In the West, we’re taught that the only thing that matters is how much money and stuff you have. The culture’s hyper-emphasis on material worth masks an underlying disconnection from nature and from our own bodies — the source of true nourishment in the physical realm. As Malidoma Somé writes, “People’s attraction to material things is proportional to their thirst for the source from which the things come” (Healing Wisdom from Africa).

What would it look like to connect more directly, consciously, meaningfully with the natural world around you — the trees, plants, animals, rocks, rivers… — and with the natural landscape of your own body? How would this connection alter your perception of abundance, your feeling of fullness, and your potential for healing yourself and accessing the inner resources needed for navigating these times?

– Emily Trinkaus