(First published in my e-letter, Messages from Sea & Cedar, on June 4, 2020.)
We find ourselves at a critical pivot point in the history of humanity. I see the crossroads of the coronavirus pandemic and the massive Black Lives Matter protests as an initiation into a deeper, more just way of living for each of us as individuals, and as a collective — a community, a nation, a world.
We are journeying through the Underworld together, under a Pluto/Saturn conjunction that began in 2019, peaked in January this year, and continues into 2021. My longtime astrologer friend and mentor, Sheila Belanger, says that any Pluto transit (whether personal or collective) calls us to lean in to our own shadow, transmute it, and emerge from the Underworld empowered. Pluto brings death so that there can be rebirth.
We each have a choice as to how we will respond to this Underworld initiation.
On June 5th, we’ll experience a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius, the sign of truth and wisdom. It ushers in “eclipse season,” with two more eclipses to follow. Astrologer Chani Nicolas said in her newsletter this week that “Eclipse season reveals what is usually relegated to the shadows. It is a time for purging toxins. It signals moments of important change.”
As I’ve been pondering this initiation and experiencing a wide range of emotions in response to the news like many of you, the following four points crystallized for me this morning. I’m taking them as directions on a road map out of the Underworld. I’m taking them as directives to myself, and offering them to you to consider.
It’s past time for white people to listen to the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and especially Black, people.
Here are a few of the voices I’ve been listening to this week:
- Andrae Renee, How to Use Your Privilege for Good.
- Baratunde Thurston, How to Deconstruct Racism one Headline at a Time.
- Kat Vellos, How to Help Your Black and Nonblack Friends Right Now.
Google is our friend, as are the library and local bookstore. I’ve read some of the following books before and am reading them again. I’m waiting for How to Be an Antiracist to arrive in the mail, which I have not yet read.
- Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race
- Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
- Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility
(Here’s a list of black-owned bookstores where you can find these books and more.)
You probably know how fond I am of journal prompts. I was introduced to the work of Leesa Renee Hall back in 2017 when her post “#ExpressiveWriting Prompts to Use If You’ve Been Accused of #WhiteFragility #SpiritualBypass or #WhitePrivilege” went viral. It’s still timely and excellent. Responding to the prompts she wrote is a good way to learn about ourselves and uncover our own unconscious biases (Pluto / Kali shadow work, anyone?). The post is public, and she offers more on her Patreon.
Just a few ideas:
- Be willing to have difficult conversations with friends, family, and acquaintances about racism.
- Donate to bail funds.
- Support BIPOC businesses.
- Get involved in an organization like SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice).
- Do it without being performative or expecting praise.
SUSTAIN THE MOMENTUM.
Finally, I am asking myself how I can sustain my renewed commitment to social justice over time, long after the protests die down.
How will I (how will you?) emerge from this initiation of pandemic + uprising?
Journal Prompts / Tarot Spread for the BLM Uprising
A few people have asked me if I have a tarot spread for the current situation. I have journal questions instead, although you could easily pull a card to spark your answers.
- (For white people): What can I do to be a better ally to BIPOC?
- What is one thing I can do today to shift the world toward justice?
- How can I sustain my commitment to social justice over the long haul?
- What is mine to do?
- What else do I need to know?
I want to thank all of the people I’ve had conversations with this week, as well as those who shared links to articles that gave me food for thought. I’ve included some of the links that were shared publicly in this newsletter. I am still self-isolating as I’m in the high-risk category for catching the virus, but this week I have never once felt alone.
(Images are all tarot cards by me: Justice, the Pentimento Tarot; Justice, the Gaian Tarot; The World, Herbcrafter’s Tarot. Sojourner Truth is depicted in the Pentimento Tarot Justice card.)