The Gift of The Stars

One of the most challenging actions is non-action, the ability to trust that doing nothing is better than doing something. We’re not raised to think that we’re supposed to sit around, contemplating detachment, when we know—we’re quite certain, in fact—that our involvement in a situation is critical. Didn’t the ancients think that humans were the center of the world? How can we be anything less than that in our own lives?

In July, stellar circumstances invite us into the position of true Surrender. Are you ready? Well, you have half the month to practice, as Mercury continues in retrograde until July 9th, forcing us to revisit history. It’s hard to get to your future when you’re stuck in the past. And meanwhile, you’ll be reacting to a June 25th event geared up at gearing you down. The only option? The spiritual energy that makes use of July’s offerings? Surrendering.

The Need for Surrender:
Great Uncle Andrew’s Eyesight

My Great Uncle Andrew presented me the perfect lesson in Surrendering, when I was only ten years old.

Great Uncle Andrew and Great Aunt Hannah lived in Fargo, North Dakota. Every summer, we made the very long and dull drive from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Watford City, North Dakota—a humdrum spot on the map inhabited by my mother’s relatives. We visited Andrew and Hannah on the way back.

I hated the general idea of these trips, as I was always stuck in the back of a car with my two sisters, whose concept of fun was to not only poke fun at me, but also literally poke me for hours at a time. Worse were the specifics of the vacation, especially “coffee time” at Andrew and Hannah’s. Great Aunt Hannah made the absolutely worst strawberry shortcake in the world. Worse, we had to eat not only one, but two servings, or we would offend her.

If there were a way to ruin strawberry shortcake, Great Aunt Hannah knew it. One visit, the biscuit might be dry as sawdust, so thick you couldn’t open your mouth for the next two days. The next time, said foundation was comparable to a floatation device, so sopped with oil you could run a tractor with its drippings. The strawberries must have been shipped right from the Old Country, for all the freshness left not intact, and once I became a teenager, I was quite unenthusiastic about the after-effect. The seeds would become permanently ensconced in my braces—until, of course, I was ready to kiss a boy, and he’d wonder if I had little red chiggers or something. Once I understood that Great Aunt Hannah had once been a stripper and that Great Uncle Andrew had divorced Great Aunt Eva to meet her, I was really confused. Why would she ruin my love life? I was horrified at the thought of eating so much strawberry shortcake that my breasts would become two pendulums, as were hers, and my hair would fall out as well, leaving the same tuffs as were plopped on her head. The whipped cream wasn’t, and overall, I wondered exactly as to the efficacy of visiting two people so old, I didn’t think they knew we were even there.

I received a startling revelation—and lesson, however, when we called on them in my tenth year of life. Great Uncle Andrew actually spoke to me. Before then, I had assumed myself to be an appendage to my father, his nephew and brother’s son. They’d talk about fishing and carburetors and the Old Country (which, I couldn’t imagine, had ever been New); but this time, he talked with me.

We were looking out the window at the street, and Great Uncle Andrew decided to teach me about Government.

“Girl,” he began. (Remember, I had two sisters, which given his eyesight, must have been indistinguishable from me.) “You can never trust the Government.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

And Great Uncle Andrew proceeded to tell me about Government, how they took away your rights and were hell-bent to persecute you, even in the “Land of the Free and Brave”. Apparently, “The Neighbors,” a system equivalent to “The Government,” had “turned him in” to The Government, which had then “stolen” his driver’s license.

“So I hit a few garbage cans, almost did in a cat, couldn’t see a few stop lights—it was old anyway,” he paused, and I quickly connected the allusion to a “cat” to the adjective, “old,” while he finished his story. “And so they took away my driver’s license, as if I were a criminal or something, and after I moved here because this is the land of freedom! Why have I paid my taxes for all these years? I should have stayed in the Old Country.” At that moment, Great Aunt Hannah called us to the table. Andrew turned, walked into a wall, and nonplussed, made his way to the dining room.

Later, in the car, I talked with my father about what Great Uncle Andrew had shared. My father reflected, and then made a statement I’ll never forget.

“Cyndi,” he said. “You’ll find that some people never know when to give it up.”

Well, in July we’ll be learning what to give up—and to what. It’s all in the stars.

Through the Energy Telescope…What’s Up That’s Coming Down
What occurs in July to prompt the position of Surrender? Mercury has been in retrograde since the middle of June, and won’t kick up her heels and move forward again until July 9th. This Mercury season is anathema to change, forcing us to review the past until we’re really ready to move on from it. On June 25th, Saturn provided another proverbial kick backwards, solidifying its position against already-married partners, Aquarius and Neptune.

Since August of 2006, we’ve been enjoying the partnership of Aquarius, which represents intellect, and Neptune, which stands for faith. This combination has sparked inspiration and enchantment, and many of us have been reveling in the resulting spiritual idealism. Collective idealism has birthed many revelations, such as those proposed in the book, The Secret, which emphasizes the Law of Attraction, which basically states that if you think positively, you will attract what you want. A great idea—but rather idyllic, and furthermore, a real problem practically. All in all, the proposition is another revisit on the Protestant work ethic: If you work hard, you’ll get what you want.

Saturn’s job is to bust our ego—to take a great big hammer to Humpty Dumpty’s eggshell—or our “egoed” head. To goal isn’t to hurt us; it’s to break us open. If we could admit that we can’t do it all ourselves, perhaps we’ll welcome support! Maybe we’ll open our hearts for help.

Life isn’t a formula to be lived by the book. In fact, there’s not a book in the world, from The Secret to the Bible to Heloise’s tomes of household hints, that’s going to solve all your problems or explain the nature of your real self. There’s not a guarantee that is one—even though Great Uncle Andrew would argue the need for one. Only your heart can explain yourself to you—and to the rest of the world. And only Spirit can heal your heart of what keeps it locked away, still hoping for the best, but too scared to come out and play.

To surrender is to “turn it over,” as said in the Twelve Step program. It’s to perceive through faith (Neptune) and the rationality of the past (Aquarius) that practical events (Saturn) don’t conspire against you, they invite partnership with the Divine: with your own divine self, as well as that which is higher. Is it easy? No. But it’s all for the best.

Surrender: A Practical “Method”

There’s no way to really teach anyone how to surrender. It’s an action that’s not. It's a concept that can’t be thought about, an ideal that can’t be reached. Perhaps the best way to Surrender is to understand the difference between letting go and Surrendering. This story might help.

Think of a child you dearly love, and imagine the two of you on board a boat in the middle of the ocean. The child falls overboard, where she bobs in the water, frightened and screaming. You don’t dare jump in; there would be no way to get you both out again, and so, you throw a rope overboard. The child catches it, and the two of you each clutch your prospective ends of the rope, both terrified of letting go.

You’re at a standstill. You’re not strong enough to retrieve the girl and she isn’t a good enough swimmer to pull herself forward. Then a voice in your head says, “Decide.”

Decide what? You wonder.

“Decide between letting go and surrendering.”

Neither option is particularly tempting. If you let go, your child will be rushed away in the waves. Wouldn’t the same thing happen if you surrender?

The voice speaks again. “Look in the water.”

There you see a figure dog-paddling just a few feet away from your loved one. It’s God, in the form He/She needs to be for this situation. Suddenly, you understand what to do. To let go is to release all responsibility, leaving accountability in the hands of your child, whom clearly can’t deal with it. To Surrender hands the situation to a Higher Power. You release the rope, and the waves sweep your child right into the arms of God.

We all hold onto ropes that would be better surrendered to a higher power. Some of us cling to worn-out ideas of ourselves, much like hanging onto too-tight clothing from years past. Others suffocate in stale relationships, jobs, or homes; afraid we’ll never have anything any better. And some of us stubbornly adhere to beliefs that are little better than prisons. Seeing self as a victim, martyr, or “nice guy” is one way to avoid self-responsibility—but also the richness of experience.

If we’re to change our lives, we must do more than just “let go.” You can strip off ugly clothes, but underneath, you’re still the same self. To Surrender is to humbly invite help. It’s to admit that you can’t do it yourself; you can’t remake yourself, but you can be remade. To Surrender is to say a pray and recognize the fact that you are implying a cry for help. And if you can resist filling up the resulting emptiness with addictive behavior, yet another bad relationship, job, or house, or whatever it is that you’ve turned to out of fear and lack, a higher power—THE Higher Power—will fill the void. Your life will transform.

This month, rather than fight against—or even for—what bothers you, consider Surrendering. Imagine yourself as the adult standing on the boat—and the child in the water. Feel the rope in your own hand. And then let go—to the Higher Power that swims near you. Let yourself be rescued.