A World in Pain, and Our Regeneration

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

— Somali-British poet Warsan Shire

By Amanda Painter

After a day and a half offline, these words greeted me on my Facebook news feed this afternoon. I welcomed these words alongside the news I’d heard on the radio earlier in the weekend: 129 people killed in apparently coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris; plus at least 41 killed in Beirut, Lebanon, and more in Yemen — all yesterday.

Photo by Amanda Painter.

Photo by Amanda Painter.

A friend of mine also pointed out that attacks in Turkey and Iraq in October killed 100 and 57, respectively; and in Nigeria in September, 145. Shire’s words are ringing in me like a bell: everywhere, everywhere, everywhere…

The world is in pain. Some of us are hurting over violence very close to home; some of us grieve for the collective horror that seems to be part of life as ‘normal’ in the 21st century. And as we look for answers — or at least some way to contextualize horrific events that is more nuanced than fear or an eye-for-an-eye philosophy — we look to the various meaning-making systems we have at hand. Astrology is one.

I have not had a chance to study the Paris charts well enough to make any conclusive statements, but I know others on the Planet Waves team have been discussing the details of the charts. Fe Bongolan will offer some thoughts in her column Monday at noon EST; Eric will be covering the charts in-depth in his Planet Waves FM broadcast Tuesday. Eric also had this to say (in part) in a Vision Quest letter earlier today:

It would seem that Eris was more the keynote of these events, an archetype associated with covert activities leading to war, and personally, a sense of self that is destabilized and fragmented. And, notably, seeking wholeness.

But we can’t ignore the Saturn-Neptune pattern, given how it describes the kind of religious delusions that we’re seeing attributed to those accused of these murders. On one level it does not matter who the real perpetrators were; what matters is that the events are being blamed on a holy war, or jihad — and that jihad is real.

It’s also been going on for a long time; it was clear what was happening in the summer of 1990 (Operation Desert Shield, then Iraq War I in January 1991).

With Saturn square Neptune we have two issues: one is a kind of drug abuse connected to religious excuses. The other is that religious concepts are going to have a hard time standing up, and those who cling to them may be doing some thrashing about. When religious concepts are removed or threatened, that can reveal the lack of solid ground that our minds want to rest on.

Emotion, like religious fervor, often trumps rational thought. It might be argued that humans do not think ‘logically’ very often at all. That is not always a bad thing; after all, I’m not sure that compassion, love and empathy are necessarily any more ‘logical’ than fear, anger or hatred. Yet it’s worth noticing when the astrology points to a general atmosphere in which the symbol of our intellect (Mercury) and the representative of our self-awareness (the Sun) are in a more emotionally passionate sign.

That is the case right now; Mercury and the Sun are in the water sign Scorpio, and are headed for a conjunction there on Tuesday at 9:53 am EST (14:53 UTC). The Moon (currently in Capricorn) will move into Aquarius about seven and a half hours prior to the Sun-Mercury conjunction, potentially balancing Scorpio’s intensity with a layer of detachment. That might feel like a relief for those who are especially sensitive to the pain of others right now.

At the same time, it’s worth staying aware of the potential for the Aquarius Moon to encourage rigidity in emotions, especially given how polarizing violent events can be. A Sun-Mercury conjunction brings our mental focus to ourselves — which is great for self-reflection, or for the sharpness of mind required for initiating business communication. It can also make it harder to see when we’re thinking and talking only about ourselves, and failing to consider those around us, or failing to pick up on others’ cues regarding our plans.

If you’re going to go the self-reflection route, consider this: opposite the Sun and Mercury in Scorpio is Sedna in Taurus. I have a couple thoughts on the message there.

First, can you see and recognize the potential for your own regeneration when you look into the deep of your darker emotions, and see what others have cut off from you, or the parts of you that you have cut off from yourself? That is, can you see the true sources of any pain and anger you have perhaps turned back on yourself?

Second, can you sense how those emotions live on in various parts of your body? When you do not recognize these emotions and their underlying thoughts or self-concepts — and work to heal or release them — they can take on lives of their own in the form of physical symptoms. I wrote a couple weeks ago about how the Scorpio-Taurus axis can represent the somaticization of emotions, and I see that theme present in this aspect, too.

You might even be able to extrapolate these ideas to current events: something has been cut off. How have we been complicit with the cutting? What will regenerate, and what kind of influence can we have on that collectively?

11 thoughts on “A World in Pain, and Our Regeneration

  1. Lizzy

    Yes – as Len says – this helps. Thank you dear Amanda, and thank you for the beautiful poem and photo. After much reflection and meditation this weekend, felt that I was dealing with it ok – but woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed – and found comfort here.

  2. Barbara Koehler

    Thank you Amanda, I especially appreciate your noting that Mercury’s role in the general picture is more in tune with emotions at this time, and being in Scorpio it would also suggest there is much hidden from view.

    I believe Mercury communicates a lot around the Thanksgiving period when, on Tuesday the 24th, following the Mars sextile Saturn aspect in the wee hours of the morning and 10 hours later Mars’ quincunx to Neptune, he conjuncts Saturn at 6+ Sagittarius just before midnight (EST). 12 hours after that he sextiles Mars in Libra, just hours before the Full Moon in Gemini (Mercury’s sign) that Wednesday. The next morning, Thanksgiving, Saturn and Neptune make that exact square we have been feeling for weeks and then early Saturday morning Chiron stations direct. That should be a powerful workout series for the feelings during Thanksgiving week.

    Earlier I mentioned that the Paris chart’s natal Saturn in Sagittarius had been squared by September’s Solar Eclipse in Virgo, but I see that the Paris chart’s sextile between Neptune in Scorpio and Pluto in Virgo also formed a Yod to the September lunar eclipse at 4+ Aries. This puts the Libra Sun (opposite the Full Moon) conjunct Juno in the bulls eye, turning the Yod into a Boomerang pattern. The Paris chart’s Sun (11+ Libra) conjunct Mercury (10+ Libra) was also clipped by that lunar eclipse chart’s Mercury at 9+ Libra.

    Stephanie Austin in Mt. Astrologer magazine (August/September 2015, page 105) says “Lunar eclipses are extra potent Full Moons, with potentials for heightened awareness as well as shadow material coming up from the unconscious. It’s no coincidence that the word ‘lunacy’ derives from ‘luna’, the Latin word for moon; emotions intensify as defenses are weakened.”

    It would seem then, that the Paris France lunacy began to take shape at least as far back as September, 2015, since Pallas (the Planner), at 20+ Sagittarius, was exactly conjunct the Paris France Saturn, and lunar eclipse Pallas was trine lunar eclipse Uranus in Aries and Venus in Leo. Painful it is – this becoming aware stuff.

  3. Pisces Sun

    Loosing life is tragic as is the pain suffered by injury to the body and psyche. My heart goes out to Paris, and all of the world, that suffers at humanity’s misguided hands. Not to diminish from this loss, I am especially anguished by the timing so close to the UN Climate Change Summit to be held in Paris at the end of this month and into the beginning of December, worried about the impact that this act of terror will have on the world’s climate change agenda, hoping that it will not derail the topic of sustainability by shifting it towards one of more security and development over the environment. We have become alienated from that which makes us whole, our environment. Many things/objects/ideas take us down this wayward path. Eric often describes the impact that technology has had on our daily lives, it shapes us, it becomes us, as we becomes IT. Close to 70 years ago a writer named Henry Beston had similar observations about man’s divorce from his natural world in a book that he chronicled about his farm in Maine. I have a passage cited below but want to quote this statement here:
    “Torn from earth and unaware, having neither the inheritance and awareness of man nor the other sureness and integrity of the animal, we have become vagrants in space, desperate for the meaninglessness which has closed about us.”
    To so many in our world, life has lost its meaning and we wonder why? When you cannot see the stars at night so that you feel that you are not only placed in awe but also innately know you are one with them, when you cannot smell the air without coughing manmade pollution, when you cannot hear songbirds without hearing the humming of lawn mowers or automobiles, when you cannot step away from the computer to walk in the woods, we have lost ourselves. In war stricken areas, it is worse. They may be able to see stars, but they cannot drink clean water, find suitable shelter, hear silence from bombing.
    One thing in this world you can count on is the weather. If we cannot listen to the earth, the earth will make itself known: sea levels are rising, storms are brewing stronger than before, ice caps are melting, the earth is crying in anguish to stop the madness, and I feel her. We are intertwined with the earth, we do not respect her, we do not respect ourself, we do not respect each other, we have lost our love for her, we no longer see ourself connected to her nor one another, if ever we did in the latter, at least we did with the former.
    We can reverse much of the damage to the earth, it can begin with you, in the simplest of steps, in the simplest of forms, through our intentions, it becomes the grandest of gestures, ever so small. It can start with a walk in the grass, off the pavement, shoes off, feeling her. Praying for her, praying for humanity, to stop the insanity, to become one with her. Praying for Paris, the World and for a strong, healing agenda at the Paris Climate Change Summit.
    Excerprt from Henry Beston:
    What has come over our age is an alienation from Nature unexampled in human history. It has cost us our sense of reality and all but cost us our humanity. With the passing of a relation to Nature worthy both of Nature and the human spirit, with the slow burning down of the poetic sense together with the noble sense of religious reverence to which it is allied, man has almost ceased to be man. Torn from earth and unaware, having neither the inheritance and awareness of man nor the other sureness and integrity of the animal, we have become vagrants in space, desperate for the meaninglessness which has closed about us. True humanity is no inherent and abstract right but an achievement, and only through the fullness of human experience may we be as one with all who have been and all who are yet to be, sharers and brethren and partakers of the mystery of living, reaching to the full of human peace and the full of human joy. Henry Beston, Northern Farm, A Chronicle of Maine (1948). Excerpted from Brainpickings, A blog written by Maria Popova, a brilliant scholar and can be accessed here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/11/16/henry-beston-northern-farm/

    Namaste’, PiscesSun

    1. Amanda Painter Post author

      Pisces Sun, thank you in particular for those excerpts by Henry Beston. They are not only beautiful, they fit perfectly with my question about what we have cut off from ourselves (or what has been cut from us by others), and our ability to regenerate, to reconnect.

  4. Amanda Painter Post author

    Len, Lizzy, Barbara, Pisces Sun: thank you for joining here in community to share your thoughts, feelings and insights. I do wish these events could just stop; or that we could turn back time to before the first act of violent aggression. I wonder how far back we would have to go? Or was violence inherent in the very creation of the universe? We grapple with this shadow material (as you note, Barbara) that we all share in some way, and in these moments, it can feel impossible to integrate without losing our light. But I think that the more people we have choosing the light without repressing the dark, maybe we have a chance.

  5. Amanda Painter Post author

    My friend Emma​ shared these words on her wall this weekend. They were written by Maine musician Amos Libby, who has done great work bridging the gap between “here” and “there” with the music of Middle Eastern countries, especially with children.
    He wrote, regarding Beirut, Paris and Baghdad:

    “…We refuse to stop coexisting…we refuse to be afraid of each other.”

    “The objective of last night’s Paris attacks and the recent similar attack in Beirut along with others like it is simple: to divide those who have been living together peacefully by creating fear and sewing mistrust. The only way that we can effectively deny this objective is to refuse to be divided and afraid. I hope that we can reach out to our Muslim neighbors, coworkers, fellow students, the person next to us buying a coffee…even if it is with just a smile today. I hope that we will speak up if we see harassment or hear hate speech. I have been speaking with Muslim friends and students here in Maine this morning and I can tell you they are scared of what may be coming their way in the wake of these terrible attacks. I encourage everyone to take the power away from those who wish to warp our opinions to match their own by manifesting the best within us. Let’s respond to the ever-increasing phenomenon of these terrible attacks by showing the attackers that we refuse to stop coexisting, and that we refuse to be afraid of each other.”

    Reach out to someone today. Please, let’s refuse to be afraid of each other.

  6. P. Sophia

    Amanda, really appreciate your thoughts, your gift and this article. Connecting in Senda, and the Taurus Scorpio axis aspect you really hit the healing issue of this time, and in the reconciliation (union) of opposites with this:

    “First, can you see and recognize the potential for your own regeneration when you look into the deep of your darker emotions, and see what others have cut off from you, or the parts of you that you have cut off from yourself? That is, can you see the true sources of any pain and anger you have perhaps turned back on yourself?”

    Thank you!

  7. Amy Elliott

    Thank you very much for this post, Amanda.

    For everyone here, all our colleagues and readers, and especially everyone affected by the horrific events of the weekend, and by the cruelty of war and sadism so rife in our culture –

    know that I feel your pain, and offer in return my love, with open arms and an open heart.
    We are all connected, with a united, vibrant soul.

  8. Amanda Painter Post author

    This article (should you need one, either for your own sake or to share with others on social media), was sent in by PW researcher Carol Van Strum. I think it does an excellent job of breaking down the ways that strengthening borders, etc, serves the ethno-nationalists and separatists (I.e., ISIS) just as much as it serves the Right Wing in Western countries — which is terrible to think of, but something we must face and call on our leader not to fall into:


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