Expansion, Contraction and Polarization

Expansion, contraction and polarization are the hallmarks of our current age. How do you find and return to your center amidst this cycle of accelerated change?   Numerology is a wisdom-tool used by the ancients that can help us understand how to work with polarization.

In the Western Mystery Tradition the number 2 represents an archetypal Feminine Force which symbolizes the creative potential and receptive nature of the universe.  Aboriginal teachings call this “The Great Mystery”. This ‘Great Mystery’ includes everything that exists: complementary forces and contradictions, point and counter-point, and that mystery within human consciousness that is able to find the point of balance between what appear to be opposing forces.

HIGH PRIESTESS

Since the year 2000 we began a new numerological cycle that is marked by the number “2”.  We have entered a new millennium that shines light on the awakening of the ‘great mystery’ that has the power to bring us into harmony and balance within ourselves, with each other, with our environment and our cosmos. Though for many, the awakening of the Feminine Spirit within our world (and within ourselves) has seemed to launch swinging from pole to pole amidst a multitude of uncertainties, rather than resting in the equipoise.

Ultimately this aspect of the Feminine Spirit represents the principle of wisdom, harmony and balance.  This place of inner wisdom exists in both men and women, boys and girls. It is in every thing that exists.

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Like the Chinese Yin-Yang symbol, the Western image of  black and white pillars symbolize duality: expansion and contraction, masculine and feminine, outer and inner, what we call ‘good’ and ‘bad’. It also represents the positive and negative poles of one’s life experiences (personally, and collectively).

The first decades of our new millennium have been full of contrasts: We have experienced extreme polarization and unprecedented examples of our collective ability to transcend conventional and historical barriers. Horrors like 9/11 which highlights socio-economic disparities between rich and poor / urban and rural / economically more developed and less developed nations are at one end of the continuum. Add to that environmental catastrophes, like rising ocean temperatures which put the marine ecosystems in jeopardy. Between world-wide environmental and human made disasters, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) in Geneva, said, (in 2014) we could expect a 60% greater chance of needing to flee from our homes compared to the previous four decades.

At the other end of the continuum, examples like humanity’s global response to the 2004 tsunami in S. E Asia we can (and choose to) collectively move beyond our fears to extend a new vision of hope and help across cultural, racial and socio-economic divides. Likewise, despite reports in 2016 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development reporting a 650% rise in terrorist fatalities in the world’s more developed nations (as witnessed in  Paris, France, the UK, the US and other more developed nations), the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), Global Peace Index reports suggest we are actually living in a more peaceful world.   For example, the 2016 Global Peace Index,  recorded higher levels of peace in 93 countries, based on finding lower levels of extra-judicial killings, torture and state-sponsored terror, along with the withdrawal of all but four military forces from Afghanistan, (out of the 50 countries that provided assistance).

Polarization shows us where we stand, and shows us what we need to learn in order to come to balance, peace and harmony. Personality clashes and power-struggles arise on both personal and collective levels.  Conflicts are reflections of our personal and collective need to grow in wisdom and call us to learn new ways of relating to each other.
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Jungian depth psychologists suggest the resolution of opposites happens on both a personal and collective level when we recognize and accept each person, and every culture or nation is full of contradictions, and because of this, others may act differently than us, or be different than we expect.  In the image of the High Priestess, the moon’s reflective light symbolizes intuition as revealed through self-reflection and insight. Self-reflection and insight are the resources one needs to resolve the tension between opposing forces in one’s own nature.

It is common to react emotionally when someone is different than us, or when we feel different from them. Guilt or shame about being how we are, perhaps blame, pain or aggressive feelings may come up. For some, laughter, uncertainty or discomfort arises. Power struggles are common, as we try to make others conform to our expectations, or we try to comply with their expectations of us as a way of resolving the discomfort of these ‘shadow’ feelings. The shadow is a term coined by C. G. Jung, and it represents those rejected, unconscious and uncomfortable parts of us, traits we deem to be socially unacceptable.  These traits vary from person to person and culture to culture. Learning to be present with differences, (instead of placing a value judgment on differences) is called ‘owning the shadow’.  Soon it becomes clear, feelings that surface–guilt, shame, blaming, pain and other feelings– are reactions. These emotional reactions are reflections of our own patterned responses and socially conditioned experiences.

The truth is, we all contain both strengths, (which are identified as constructive, positive characteristics) AND weaknesses, (based on vulnerabilities, needs or so-called negative traits) which, when disowned, denied or deemed socially unacceptable, become unconscious destructive forces in the personality of an individual, culture or nation.  Oddly enough, a distinctive blend of strengths and vulnerabilities define the personality of an individual, culture or nation, and distinguish us as unique.

It bears repeating: polarization and confronting our differences show us where we stand, and reveal what we each need to learn in order to grow in wisdom.

Instead of judging or condemning one another for being different than us, or different than we expect, we make peace with ourselves and each other by accepting we each have strengths and weaknesses, gifts and flaws.  We can, and are learning to appreciate and accept our differences. This allows us to extend compassion to ourselves and each other when we face blind spots, weaknesses, flaws, ignorance or lack of insight.

As we give birth to honoring and respecting the Divine Feminine expect to see a new kind of balance of power emerging, over the next decades (and over the next 2000 years).

The focus for this cycle of time is to create and maintain a world based on harmony and balance between what appear to be opposing forces: expansion and contraction, male and female, outer and inner.  Western Mystery traditions call the alchemy of seemingly incompatible elements transmutation. In Hindu culture says this weaving and blending of opposites is called ‘tantra’.  Tantric spiritual practices, ranging from philosophical studies and subtle mediation practices to sacred sexual practices for couples, will become ever-more popular over the next cycle of time as women and men come to love the ‘other’ within, and in partnership with each other .

[1] http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2017/06/GPI17-Report.pdf

[2] US Daily Review, Global “Peace” Improved in Spite of Pockets of Unrest. Posted on June 13, 2017 http://usdailyreview.com/global-peace-improved-in-spite-of-pockets-of-unrest/



EXERCISE
Own The Shadow: Learning to Love the ‘Other’

Instructions: Take a moment to reflect on a situation from the last decade that evokes harsh criticism or judgmental attitudes. Perhaps you can remember a time you felt angry and resentful toward someone and talked about them behind their back, or engaged in gossip about a family member, co-worker or former friend.  Perhaps you were the object of gossip and suffered from ostracism, or felt shame or embarrassment about your own mistakes.

ACTION:  Use reflections on gossip, judgment and anger to explore your own shadow.

  • Make a list of the negative traits by listing your judgments, criticisms or frustrations.
  • Next, circle the one that has the most energy.
  • Now reflect upon your personal, ancestral or cultural history with regards to that trait.
  • Observe the psychic pattern and how it impacts you.
  • Notice how old you were when this pattern got set into motion.
  • Imagine what your earlier self really needed at that time. It is normal, natural and human to have needs.

Forgive yourself for being a needy, dependent human being. Instead of self-hate, recognize and accept your needs. Now imagine what would have fulfilled your needs then? What would have helped, instead of injured or hindered your growth?

 

PRACTICE:

Make a commitment to care for yourself, to sooth your fears and heal underlying injuries.  Identify resources that can help you care for yourself, sooth your fears and heal. Practice self-forgiveness first. Forgiving is linked to gratitude.

Ask yourself:

  • “What have I gained, or learned about myself, my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is the universal teaching in my experience?
  • How is my experience a reflection of the human condition?
  • What was this experience for-giving ‘to’ me?”

Notice how self-forgiveness leads to forgiveness of others for their human frailties.  Share your wisdom, gleaned from your life-experience.  Become a resource for others who may be in need of similar healing.

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