Becoming Conscious of Ourselves

Originally posted August 17, 2016 at http://www.planetwaves.net

I somehow find myself somewhat immersed in the study of narcissism and narcissistic tendencies. I wrote about it here a few weeks ago, then taught a class called “Leo and the Narcissistic Wound,” and now find myself in a position to be delivering a lecture called “Collective Astrology and the Madness of Donald Trump.”

I suppose narcissism is a fitting topic, it being Leo season and all. Perhaps it’s also a fitting topic seeing as what I’ve dubbed Entitlement Disorder seems to be rampant.

Labeling actions as Entitlement Disorder (ED, as I call it) is my way of coping with and organizing a more mild, more generally expressed series of traits found within our culture that I myself probably display at times. It’s a sarcastic way of pathologizing behaviors I see around me every day: people walking down the street and running into people and things as they veer everywhere while staring at their phones; demanding special treatment here and there; taking up 20 spots on the train or in the parking lot…

At my workshop the other night, we talked a bit in terms of Leo and its connection to children. A student asked about whether the trend towards people having dogs instead of children was relevant there, and how it might reflect or change the correspondence between Leo and children — particularly the act of having them.

Off the top of my head, I said that I considered ‘pets’ to be more the realm of Taurus. I then pronounced my bias, as well as the fact that some of my own judgments might be coming through in what I was going to say next, which was that I could see some Leo-style shadow coming through in the entitlement people display in pet ownership. They begin to consider their pets to be their children, and therefore acceptable companions in any space at any time in any way.

As personal context is favored over collective context, it’s like people fail to take into consideration the fact that someone might have a legitimate reason to request or demand that a dog be kept out of a shared space — like health codes or the fact that someone on the train or in the restaurant might have a fear of dogs or an allergy to them. I suppose some might have allergies to children as well, but so it goes.

The other night I escaped the city to watch the Perseid meteor shower. We found a spot at an outdoor amphitheater with many other stargazers lounging on the grass in the dark. As we approached our chosen spot, a dog started barking. It wasn’t actually a bark, but the most rabid sounding, beastial, dripping-with-venom growling bark my dog-loving self had ever heard. I was fairly convinced the dog was actually a mutant demon wolf and would break free from its leash at some point as more and more people filed past, each and every one triggering it.

I was also fairly convinced that its owner didn’t care. Then again, I don’t know the context, so who am I to judge? And who am I to judge an individual letting their dog lick its balls on a restaurant table — maybe it’s a comfort animal? Or has a hypoallergenic asshole?

That context piece is everything, though, and its right usage has to do with recognizing we don’t know everyone’s context or reasoning. This can hopefully encourage direct and assertive — if not compassionate — communication when we encounter someone doing something we’re uncomfortable with.

As we lay there at the amphitheater staring up at the stars, I began thinking about a show I recently watched on Netflix called Edge of the Universe. The episode in question was called “Planets From Hell,” which probably isn’t relevant, but is somewhat amusing.

In the show, the scientists being interviewed talk about this kind of epic cosmic drama we’ve involved in — the quest to discover how our solar system fits into the grand cosmological scheme of things. We are essentially trying to learn whether or not we are really, truly ‘special’ — one of a kind; a unique planet in all of the inconceivable vastness that is space. What a rich metaphor for the Leo-Aquarius polarity.

I recognized, then, that the last period of paradigm shift in our history that is considered to be equal in impact to the current shift was when we switched from an Earth-centric model of the universe to a Sun-centered model. We did not cope well with the realization that we are not the center. People were burned at the stake for espousing such blasphemy.

Whether the collective madness that erupted was the result of a bunch of people pouting specifically over not being the center, or just was the result of a worldview shift, is probably more nuanced; but the echoes of Leonine narcissistic themes are there. Recognition and celebration of specialness is huge, and when that gets shut down in childhood — as it must to some degree for all of us — or even at the collective level, we inflate our sense of ourselves in some way.

The integration point for an overblown immersion in Leo is the Aquarian polarity — rising above, getting some perspective, getting out of the subjective emotions and taking the objective view. What is the context? Where do I fit into the whole? What are the long-term goals?

I’ve always loved the notion that through the consciousness of humans a second act of creation happens — the first one having been initiated by ‘god’. As we become conscious, so does god become conscious of itself. As we explore the universe and understand our place within it, so do we better understand ourselves. As we get that distance and detachment offered by Aquarius, so are we able to refine our expression of the unique spark of light that is each of us individually, as well as our species as a whole. But we have to take context into account.

Does it make us less special if we discover other planets like ours? Does it make our existence less meaningful if we’re not the only ones? Can we discover our existence in a galactic community and celebrate the uniqueness of everything and everyone, at the same time as we recognize and celebrate our commonalities? We just can’t exist anymore as if we’re the center of the universe, the only ones that matter, or that context outside of ourselves is irrelevant. We have to let notions of un-fallible superiority go. If not, it’s looking quite like our stubborn attachment to rightness is going to kill us.

If we are transitioning into the age of Aquarius — and I support the notion that we are and that looking at epochs in that manner can be a helpful way of contextualizing and increasing awareness and understanding — perhaps we have the advantage of familiarizing ourselves with the shadows of the Aquarius-Leo polarity, lest we dry ourselves up and set it all on fire in a fit of tantrum and hubris.

A core conundrum of the polarity involves how to integrate our godliness with our humanity, and how to avoid inflating ourselves in accordance with the archetypal energies we find the safest or most palatable. Instead, we must metabolize those parts into less unwieldy bits so that we can integrate them into our human tribe.

Maybe we are not going to get our way in this civilization experiment if ‘our way’ involves the refusal to give up the vast number of poisonous and toxic physical, emotional and spiritual habits we’ve been clinging to, perhaps since the last fixed age (Taurus). The Taurean age marked the birth of ‘civilization’.

So I suppose if we consider Aquarius and Leo in their square aspect to Taurus, the Aquarian age is a crisis point for what was seeded back then (4,000-1,800 B.C.) — agriculture, the rise of cities, money, banking — so many institutions we associate with our security and material well-being. We are demonstrating (a fixed-sign key word) the fruits of what was sown back then.

It can be so difficult to look outside of ourselves for so very many reasons. I honestly have buckets of compassion for all when I think about the ways we’ve each been wounded and how many people in my life have been rocked again and again by traumas of one kind of another.

I wonder, though, if occasions like the Leo-Aquarius Full Moon this week provide us with little gateways to examine how invested we are in our own dramas, and how much we cling to them or inflate them or need them in order to feel whole. I wonder how we can bring perspective back in, and maybe embrace the notion that it is possible to be special without being the only one and without bringing notions of superiority into it. I hope for moments of clarity for each of us that help us to understand how we can better cultivate the things we are passionate about and the things that have heart and meaning to us, in service to the collective and to making the world a better place in the long-term.

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