Own the shadows and the light

We are in relationship with everything. Relationship is a fundamental aspect of life itself. And how we choose to relate determines the quality of our lives. Whether it is a another person, our vehicle, our body, or our self, we have the option of honoring or not, appreciating or not, loving or not. How we relate to anyone or anything reflects something intrinsic to how we relate to life itself. 

fullsizeoutput_e6bWith the Libra New Moon occurring tonight (9:47 MST, 15 degrees Libra) and Venus, the ‘ruler’ of Libra, having just turned retrograde and disappearing into the Sun, this is a time for re-examining the quality of our relationships with everything and everyone, including ourselves. As the darkness overtakes the light here in the North, and the planet of relationship looks within, so can we, and our examination may just show us both our light and our shadow.

We are getting lots of help with the task. Mercury, planet associated with analysis, perception and how we express ourselves is opposite Uranus at the time of the New Moon. Uranus, the ‘great awakener’, acts as sudden catalyst to break down barriers to being completely, authentically ourselves. The two in this tension of opposition throw down the challenge of being completely truthful with ourselves, in and about our relationships. Yet Mercury’s placement in Libra helps us to express ourselves with grace.

The New Moon is also in a dynamic square angle with Pluto, God(dess) of the Underworld. Wherever Pluto lies, there lie shadows and darkness. This configuration inaugurates a time to face into the dark corners of how we relate to others. 

At last month’s Virgo New Moon, I spoke of discernment, of separating wheat from chaff in the season of harvest. As we apply the task of discernment in our relationships, we can easily end up in the dark corner of comparison. Comparison takes the wisdom of discernment – of clearly seeing the difference between one thing (or person) and another –  and corrupts it with the application of hierarchy. Rather than honoring the rich variety of creation, we append the labels of “better” or “worse” or, in the case of new age spirituality, “higher” or “lower”.

Comparison and hierarchy are woven into our culture, both overtly and on more subtle levels. Advertising is founded on asserting one thing or another as more, better, faster. Sports, school tests, and even professional advancement is predicated on placing one above the other. It may even be hard to imagine operating without it.

In our relationships with other people, comparison shows up in our perceptions of our bodies, our finances, or any other facet of life, including spirituality. 

Yet the truth is, all hierarchy is artificial. No one or thing is inherently “higher” or “lower” than any other. Every created being has a place and a purpose, from the person next to you to the screen on which you are reading this. And none of us needs to ‘up-level’ or ‘evolve’ or ‘raise our vibration’.

We’ve allowed ourselves to equate different roles, such as teacher, leader, so-called “expert” with different “levels”. And, we’ve experienced the cruelty that comes from making someone or something both “other” than us, and “less than”  or “more than” us. Worse, we’ve used the artifice of greater or lesser as an excuse for abuse. From helping to ‘civilize’ other cultures, to trying to help the unenlightened become enlightened, the falsehood of hierarchy perpetuates oppression.

Our tendency to put ourselves above or below another can be subtle and even acceptable. The spiritual world is rife with it. I’ve seen many an article or post pointing to someone as ‘enlightened’, ‘conscious’, even the latest trendy label of ‘woke’. Yet as a great teacher once shared, if you threw a party for enlightened people, no one would come. It’s one of the great lies of most spiritual paradigms, that there is some status to achieve, that we need to become ‘woke’. 

In my experience this tendency to arrange ourselves and everything around us in some kind of order stems from a couple of places: one is a defense mechanism born from fear or lack, and the other is the erroneous assumption of linear time.

I’ve had a tendency for most of my life to retreat into either a sense of superiority or of being ‘less than’ when I’ve felt threatened. The superiority typically manifests mostly in my head, but, coupled with a tendency toward mothering (Cancer Ascendant, after all), it also comes out as unsolicited advice, as if my way is ‘better’. On the other hand, my tendency to feel less-than has shown up as surrendering control to others in my life who seemed to have it more together – spiritually, financially, socially, etc..

The former has been my way of trying to feel better about myself – by being ‘better’ than someone else. The latter tendency to see someone else as ‘better’ is, at its core, a fear of my own sovereignty.

As for the misunderstanding of time itself, our (generally) unconscious assumption that time and, therefore, change move in one direction, from past to future, from young to old, from ‘asleep’ to ‘woke’ leads us to believe we are getting somewhere, that we are on an ever-upward trajectory of improvement.

For a major portion of my own spiritual work, I was seeking to ‘awaken’, to become something I believed I was not. I was fortunate enough to connect with a truly authentic spiritual teacher who did not feed my belief and taught true sovereignty. I was also fortunate enough to sit with a ‘soul friend’ who has a gift for helping people know their own souls, and therefore knowing themselves as inherently divine, inherently whole.

This, then, is the antidote to the sense of lack that leads to psycho-spiritual self-defense: once I recognize my inherent value just as I am, right here and right now, I can honor the same in everyone and everything around me, no matter my experience of them. Acknowledging someone’s sovereignty does not require me to hang out with them!

When, too, we let go of the sense of time as proceeding in a linear fashion, with a direction, we can release the notions of ‘more’ or ‘less’ evolved, awakened, enlightened, etc. Just as we live through some number of days or years that, despite our Gregorian calendar and digital clocks are simply cycles (circles) without beginning or end, so, too do our (and everyone’s) lives move through cycles without beginning or end. Today we may be awake, conscious, enlightened. Tomorrow we may get caught in stories or emotions and go right back to sleep. 

When I look to the chart of tomorrow’s lunation again, I see Neptune in Pisces in the ‘blind spot’ angle to the New Moon in Libra. The real bottom line cure for comparison and hierarchy is nothing more or less than unconditional love for everyone and everything as expressions of the Divine.

At this New Moon,

Look in the mirror for the inherent perfection there;

Honor a leaf, a rock, or a random object;

Appreciate some thing or someone;

Notice that the Sun shines on everyone, the rain falls on everything.


  1. Thomas Fuller says:

    This post gives me cause for reflection, Kristine. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my belief in the reality and value of hierarchy. I do see it existing in the natural world. I do see it corrupted in our current social environment and used for oppressive action.
    I also think the movement towards being more “woke” is valuable. Certainly my own stretching into deeper understanding of my own privilege, I think, helps me to connect better with people that I wasn’t before. Buddhism makes a strong distinction between relative and absolute realities, and this is probably within the relative realm that I am speaking. Within the absolute, I would probably agree with you.
    Love always,

  2. kristineeb2013 says:

    I love this, Tom. Thank you for sharing. I get what you are saying, for sure. My own journey to being “more enlightened” has been crucial for me as well. I wonder if there is a way for us to see differentiation without relative “better” or “worse”?

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