Why did the Goddess invent grief? What is its purpose?
Most of us think about this powerful energy, if at all, only in terms of the specific things that trigger it for us. And how to avoid them. But the skies this month are asking us to consider grief in a different way.
The swan song of the Neptune-Chiron conjunction (see November’s Skywatch) is conditioning the psychic environment right now. It is giving us a chance to consider grief without fear, dismissal or judgment. We are being invited to open up to a universal human emotion that most of us feel ambivalent about, at best; ashamed of, at worst. Most of us are afraid of grief; and that fear turns it unhealthy.
But true grief is not unhealthy. Sweet, aching, spontaneous grief is a cleansing force like no other. Like ocean tides that clear the beach and pull everything back to the sea (Neptune), grief washes away our emotional detritus and connects us back to Source. Chiron’s role here is to teach us that when grief is allowed to keep moving, it heals.
This is an unusual transit and it poses an unusual challenge. It is daring us to drop our attitudes about emotional pain and simply feel it. By acknowledging sadness, and observing it from a distance, we allow it to work its magic. This is a tricky exercise: there’s a fine line between respecting a feeling and indulging in it. We must let grief open our hearts, but steer clear of becoming mired in it (which creates depression: grief with no life in it). The key is understanding grief as a trans-personal energy, bigger than our egoic selves. When we realize this, we can strike the right balance, and earn Neptune and Chiron’s reward: an enriched empathy.
Intellectual intelligence won’t help us here. This transit is about our emotional intelligence. When we are identified with this part of ourselves, we may see grief very differently from how we were raised to see it. We may start to question the way we were taught to hold back our tears. We may start to see as very strange that people in the throes of sorrow are hushed and secreted away. We may start to see it as a statement of how emotionally unsophisticated we are, as a culture, that the grieving are relentlessly told to be happy, to smile; and that those who acknowledge grievous situations are accused of “being negative.”
It takes courage to admit that certain aspects of life on Earth are sad. It is honest to mourn the fact that the world isn’t more loving. It is indeed grievous that people are not kinder to one another. Why deny it? It is an unarguable shame that we humans do not live up to the potential that we know we could express. Why dismiss these recognitions of the truth? Recognizing them as true is a testament to our being aware; and awareness can never steer us wrong.
This transit is getting us ready, as all transits do, for what is to come. After their November rendezvous, Neptune and Chiron will ingress into Pisces, of which more anon. This month’s conjunction, which has been in the background for the past couple of years, announces the shift we are making, as a world, towards a deeper understanding of everything Pisces means.
Those readers with emphasized Neptune or Chiron in their charts, or with Pisces dominant, will be used to this phenomenon already. But all of us are picking up on energies from everything around us, like an insect with wiggling antennae, actively taking everything in.
Our psychological filters are weak right now. The sense of separateness that keeps us from identifying with the rest of humanity and its sufferings is not as robust as usual. We may feel chaos flooding in, inducing a fear of psychic drowning. Just reading the headlines may feel overwhelming. Such feelings are utterly justifiable, and not inappropriate. But the fact that feeling inundated is forgivable doesn’t mean that it’s inevitable.
The teaching here is to venture beyond the normal reaction. To trust what is moving through us, to know it is taking us somewhere, and to find the peace within the flood. When we reach that state, we realize that grief and joy are flip sides of the same coin.