In the belly of the mother

In the belly of the mother

Groundhog Day is right around the corner. In ancient times this holiday was known as Imbolc, meaning ‘in the belly of the mother’. The seeds of life are germinating in her dark belly, waiting for the light of spring. 

In the embrace of the mountain

The astrologically precise date of Imbolc is when the Sun reaches the midpoint of Aquarius, this year on February 4th. We are halfway between the darkest day of the year, Winter Solstice, and the Spring Equinox. The light is returning, but night still outlasts day by many hours here in the North. 

The world is still at rest, using the darkness to dream up new visions, a primary purpose of Aquarius. This year, 2020, it feels as if we are in a pregnant pause between cycles, with the epic conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn just passed and the planets still hanging out together in the Zodiac off and on throughout the year. Throw in two more significant conjunctions later in the year – Jupiter/Pluto and then Saturn/Jupiter – and it may be difficult to see what is coming, what this new time will bring. We are still in the midst of breakdown.

But we can envision what we want, what we deeply desire. Desire is what drives the universe. Until we want it we can’t receive it. Even when opportunities arise we didn’t expect, we can’t take advantage until we allow ourselves desire.

At the same time, gratitude drives the universe, too. The very act of feeling grateful for some thing, person or circumstance in our lives turns us toward it and supports us in maintaining and expanding our relationship with it. For a long time, I thought gratitude seemed incompatible with desire. How can I want something I don’t have at the same time I am grateful for what I do have? 

Yet I can and I do, all the time. I am incredibly grateful for my tiny 50s-era apartment with the noisy neighbors and overwhelming EMFs. It is affordable in a place where rents have gone through the roof; it is a short walk to town; the hardwood floors, big west-facing front window, and full basement make it both functional and attractive. And I deeply desire a house with a yard, garden space, an eastern or southern exposure, and a lot fewer wi-fi signals. 

Both are true – the gratitude and the desire. Both, too, spring from my depths, unbidden. While I can actively seek them, most often they just show up. 

There was a long, dark period of several years when it was difficult to find either. Gratitude was lost in fear; desire was someting I suppressed in my efforts to find gratitude for at least the small blessings. One of the great turning points in my personal journey back from those dark nights of the Soul was my decision to feel desire again, to allow myself to feel my deep longing for things to be different.

Current New Age platitudes and distorted spiritual teachings would have us believe that desire is problematic. It isn’t hard to find practices and lifestyle tips aimed at ‘controlling’ or somehow ridding ourselves of our desires, whether physical, sexual, financial, or otherwise. This thinking is riddled through Christianity as well as the yoga world and every organized religion with which I’m familiar – despite the excesses of the same. 

And it is simply wrong thinking. Without desire of a sexual nature, would many of us even be here? Would we have hot water flowing into bathtubs at the turn of a knob without someone’s long ago desire to make it happen? Without desire for a more natural way of living, I would still be slogging it out in my corporate career, putting off health and happiness until some just-out-of-reach retirement. Desire is the impetus for creation and, coupled with time, change.

Power guru Kasia Urbaniak tells us we have no say in what we want. I agree. Our true desires bubble up from our Souls, and repression brings illness – spiritual, mental, physical. If we are to honor ourselves and our Souls, it folows we must honor our desires. In order to live from the Soul, from the inside out, we have to feel deeply into what we want, into our longing, and into a world in which our desires are fulfilled. Imagine, for a moment, this scenario: the uncountable numbers of people who truly desire peace in their community, country, world spend a little while sinking into the sights, sounds, smells, tastes of peace all around. Their heartbeats slow, their breath becomes steady and strong, their bodies relax. They radiate peace, wherever they are. Could the world help but respond? 

As I’ve written this post, the planet of love, self-worth, and attraction has been in a tense angle with Mars, planet of action, will, desire. The combination asks all of us – what do you really want? With Venus also conjunct Neptune, the question expands to include our dreams – what do we dream of having/doing/being? This is a time of repressed desires floating to the surface. It is also a time to honor them.

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