If after tragedy we step out under the stars and actually look at the moon, we shall survive the tragedy in good form. If after profound loss we feel a new life growing somewhere within, then the good guys win. When we can move beyond the burned barn that housed our stuff, our beautiful stuff, the accumulation of life-memories, we are lit by a transcendent light off the moon.
The Chinese got this proverb right. Great loss, whether of stuff or worse, of life, is a test of both courage and compassion, a time when choices take on greater poignancy. Are we able to standstill and admire what is, or are we paralyzed back to childhood fears? Can we recalculate and respond to new, unknown goals, and wider perceptions of dharma?
When discussing dharma, life, loss and tragedy, the hidden planetary energies of Pluto are present, for She is the Goddess of the underworld, moving underneath times of crises and death. Her presence does not signify we remain in Hades, rather that we pass through its gates. Pluto’s real job is to offer life-altering experiences so we may learn to choose. She asks if we have we grown fortitude and muscle to cross the river Styx. Are we willing to relinquish the old life so it may die? Are we capable of transmuting its shadow? Pluto evokes the divine in its most primitive and powerful expression. Her love is willing to let us die so that we learn what we must in order to transform, and embody our divinity.
Because we have a good friend whose house just burned down, we have been standing as witnesses to the transformative process within her. Hourly, we observe her ‘see the moon,’ despite the barn housing what she owned burned to ash. Sharing in the aftermath of this journey is an opportunity for us to question basic precepts, for none of us know how we will respond to crises until it strikes. We ask, will we embody truths of salvation, or death? Have we built muscle willing to move forward, or only anxiety molding us into fear-huddles?
These hours of watching our friend’s response, rather than reactions to her tragedy, teaches us to let go of what is unessential, and to wait, and listen for wisdom to guide. By accepting what is, despite profound sorrow, a quiet determination moves her step by step away from the tragedy. Yes, of course she is frightened and lonely, but she allows those to be passing voices, not dominant demons. Time and again I watch her throw despair into the river of loss so she can admire the view, floating as a light body, filled with moonlight. Brava! Brava!