Your life, my life, everyone’s life tends to be circular. People, patterns and events often return to repeat themselves, over and over again. This can be frustrating, especially when we think we are "over" an event or that we have totally healed an experience. When this occurs, some of us may feel we have "failed" or sllipped backwards, as we groan, "not this again!" .. Yet the Shaman Elders tell us that we are not seeing the full picture. Life is circular, but it is supposed to rise into a spiral, and this is the true wisdom of the Medicine Wheel.
The spiral nature of the journey of life is one of the repeating patterns of the Universe. If we look up into the nightsky we will see that Mother Earth is on the end of a long star tendril, we call the Milky Way. The Milky Way connects to the Gallactic Heart, and all of this is a beautiful star-like spiral. Therefore it is hardly surprising that our lives are spirals too.
The most powerful thing any of us can do is let go of any judgment of ourselves or how our journey “look” If we could simply see a repeating pattern as an opportunity to rise higher along the spiral we can see it is in fact a wonderful gift. If we can shift our perspective from the flat two dimensional “circle” to the multidimensional “spiral” we will immediately discover deep understanding, which then leads more easily to healing our lives, and assisting those around us.
Some years ago I wrote a book called Sacred Spiral based on this wisdom and the wisdom of the Medicine Wheel. I realized that many people did not fully understand the analogy and so more recently I have incorporated it as the second part of my book: Sacred Circle. The book offers the introduction to the Sacred Circle, and then leads the reader to the Sacred Spiral; because this is the key to true and permanent spiritual growth.
The Spiral is sacred because it is the mirror of the heavens, our DNA and so much more. If you look up to the Milky Way (or the Wolf Path, as traditional people call it!) you will see a spiral of stars leading towards the centre of the galaxy. This point in space is indicated by the arrow in Sagittarius’s bow, and the sting in Scorpio’s tail, for that is the star-gateway to the sacred centre. Traditionally Scorpio rules the eighth house, the place of transformation (and death!) therefore pushing us all towards the next stage in the sacred spiral.
All the stars and planets roll around in the sacred spiral, and every so often go “retrograde!” This means they appear to go backwards in the heavens and reverse across the same section once again!) You may have read facebook posts about Mars and Mercury going retrograde. On top of all of that, Chiron, the asteroid that points to our place of woundedness, is also going retrograde as is : Saturn, Neptune and the True Node. You will read and hear of teachers warning us of various dire consequences indicating that retrograde movements are “bad!” But are they?
I believe retrogrades are a gift; a time to take a breath, slow down, smell the roses and think things through. When planets retrograde they are actually giving us a second chance to learn lessons we may not have been ready to embrace; and to also test our resolve when it comes to making inner promises to ourselves. Without these retrograde movements, we would never really test ourselves and discover if we have truly grown; but more importantly, we would feel more entrenched in the two-dimensional “circle” thought system. The retrograde phase gently nudges us all towards embracing the spiral-thought system, which will help us all ascend to the higher dimensions.
The Gifts of Retrograde:
When several planets are retrograde their usual energy (or gift) is not as clear and obviously focused, therefore during this time it is very likely that you will revisit the past in some way. You may run into people who you used to know, or who remind you of people you used to know. You may also find yourself thinking about events that occurred years ago, sometimes wistfully, sadly, or happily. Certain events, or songs, or foods will trigger these memories. Coincidences occur more frequently during retrogrades, such as meeting a new person who reminds you of your father or a former lover. You may find they have some “uncanny” parallels with that person such as similar aspirations/qualifications, or in one case, sharing the same birthday. There are dozens of possibilities.
Of course none of these are coincidences. They are gifts that offer you a second (or millionth) chance at healing your life, and the lives of others around you. It is important not to jump to conclusions too quickly. Just because this man reminds you of an old flame does not mean you should move in with him. Take it slowly and step back. Try to see the deeper “spiral” message within the “retrograde coincidence” such as realizing that this man reminds me of so-n-so because “I haven’t fully forgiven my ex.” To repeat an old pattern keeps you in the circle which will inevitably become a vicious circle. To rise above the circle, and look for the deeper messages moves you up into the spiral. The key is to stay heart-centred and focused on “what do I need to learn, heal, appreciate, forgive” rather than making sudden changes in your life. If this new person is meant to be a new partner, they will still be around when the stars return to forward motion.
Winter is the ideal time to embrace inner change and healing. So embrace the retrograde pathway that lies ahead. Try not to react when something you thought you had dealt with arises once again; that is yet another retrograde gift. If you can smile knowing this, you again embrace the spiral. Most importantly, know that these retrogrades gift us in ways we cannot always comprehend. Perhaps that letter goes astray to give us a longer break. Most recently, an email went astray with offer of work, yet at that same time I needed to work closely with a person who had a terminal illness. Sometimes an event seems “bad” yet it turns out to be all for the best. As you navigate these retrogrades, try to see your cup half full, rather than buy into the “woe is me my cup is half empty” teachers who use these events as method of manipulation. When Mercury messes with your computer, perhaps it is just a sign to switch the darned thing off and talk to someone. So say thank you Mercury my old friend, and make yourself a strong cup of tea.
Of course, this blog is nowhere near as individually precise or wide-ranging as a personal reading, but hopefully it's got you thinking about a few things.
Please check out my readings page for more information on what I offer. My book Sacred Circle offers deep insights into the wisdom of the Native American Indian medicine wheel. Check out the details on my shop section.
These smaller books (on the right) are also available as Kindle Amazon eBooks.