The Rat Bows to the Chinese New Year of the Ox

Artwork Created by Aunt Barbara Merlotti

Have you ever heard the meme singing like black crows to the following lyrical everyday magical tune: it is easier to fool someone than it is to convince them that they have been fooled? This conversational nuance sprung up in communication with coworker teacher friends recently. Following that, I reflected on the spiritual therapy of Coyote energy, regarding its trickster elemental, and the medicinal alchemy of balancing wisdom and folly that we have referenced in past blog entries. How will our Grandchildren look at the Good Old Boy network of greedy governmental narcissism, the elitist entitlement of the Trump presidency, and subsequent mob’s violent stormtrooping of The Capitol in Washington, D.C.? It’s hard not to be reminded of Obi Wan Kenobi’s Jedi wit, “who’s more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?” The next several years will not be easy. But I do believe that we will rise out of these ashes like a Phoenix, by bringing more balance to the Force.

Personally, the above dynamic is particularly challenging when in the company of others, as I have a strong, single minded streak, and have relied heavily on my gut instincts in life. While being single minded, and self deterministic can be a sound survival skill, and good strategy for living at times, it can also be a curse. Being overly single minded, and self deterministic can come across as entitled, and too selfish to other people. When reflecting on the reality of this perspective, I am reminded of working with the New Age of Aquarius in a balanced way. Like the Wolf Government, the politics of Aquarius dances with balancing individualism with collective group consciousness. How do we balance the needs of nurturing our individual souls with the needs of the collective souls? It’s not an exact science or fixed destination, but more of an unfolding process.

Additionally, there is the street credibility of giving respect to others when respect is shown to you. In much the same way as we see in the old world classic series Game of Thrones, respect is earned, and based on a strict adherence to rituals, rules, and edicts. But a deeper quality of respect does exist, if we only allow for it. When journeying into this dimension, we are invited to dig a little deeper to access this truth, which arrives intuitively from the Dreamtime. For example, a fellow spiritual traveler echoed this awareness by asserting, “the Wabanaki notion of respect is unconditional. It lives inside of me, and the more I become aware of that, then I naturally respect others.” Thankfully, we have spiritual teachers that have lived on this planet before, as well as those that are living on the planet today that are good role models for us. We can emulate them so that we can awaken these truths within so that they become self evident. The more of us that are awakening to this dimension of respect, the more it is becoming a shared experience. Check out this short video that further captures the sentiment at Indian Island Penobscot Nation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pB1Y-s4UoNilF-zq0ETXzFv1tez2WEQs/view

Contextually, when watching the current events of your own life, are you finding yourself untangling from a complex web of your old self, past experiences, awakening to new beginnings, budding energies stirring within, and itching to spring forth out into the sunlight? That would make sense, as Mercury is in retrograde right now till February 20th. Keep in mind that Thursday is a New Moon, and Friday, February 12th is the Chinese-Lunar New Year of the Ox. Spring is on its way, and happening right now, energetically speaking. As we have discussed in earlier blogs, Ox symbolizes humility, hard work, and emotional regulation. What is more, their energies are good reminders that it is important that everyone be allowed to contribute in group work. Sometimes, it is good to stay in your lane, and trust that others will do their part. This process also invites us to be mindful of letting go, and surrendering to the will of the Universe. I can hear an old football friend’s wit, “There is no ‘I’ in the team, but there is a ‘me’“.

More importantly, Chinese Astrology tells a story about when the Buddha summoned all the animals to establish an orderly sequence to the Chinese Zodiac. Moreover, “in the race, the Ox would have taken the honor taking first place had it not been for the clever and cunning Rat, who rode the back of the Ox and jumped forward at the finish line to steal away the top award.” Given that rats are very shrewd, coupled with an apparant zeal for competition, their connection to the term rat race seems apropos. I hardly think it’s a coincidence, given that behaviorist psychology gained social science credence from the results yielded by studying laboratory rats in scientific experiments. The capitalist/socialist system that we live in today mirrors that science.

Furthermore, when exploring the inner realm of meditative spaciousness, consider contemplating the Sacred Geometric Arcturian wisdom regarding balance: “The energy of balance helps you recognize yourself. If you are true to your feelings, if you recognize your own truth, nothing will be able to disturb your balance.” Reportedly, some of these Arcturian inspired, and recommended assertive I-messages are to say, “I release all thought programs that no longer serve me” and “clear out (toxic habituated) thought programs.” These are examples of how we can shift the spotlight of our purposeful attention from negative self talk to positive self talk. We can do this by embracing the Chattering Monkey Mind, rather than trying to push it away or throw it in the trash. Moreover, meditation on the spirit of Bear reinforces the power of respecting your own personal authority, and the boundaries of self in relationship with others. Set your intention to the Dream Lodge, and ask for safe travels in your sleep/dream cycle. This is not always easy during our waking hours, but it is a good way to let go before a good night’s rest.

Finally, when examining balance in our daily lives, it is always important to live with intention, and try to follow those footsteps with commitment. That is the trick to play with during our daily walking meditation along the trails of life. When we are walking in the center of the circle, we need to be mindful of not getting too swayed to the right or the left. Have we ever lived in such divided times? Indeed, these are the days to remember, where we are being called to heal the illusion of Polarity Consciousness. All that means is that our Higher Selves are bringing in higher energies to illuminate the shadows of our lower selves in the underground tunnels of our subconscious minds. In this awakening New Age and Paradigm, we are transitioning into an era of Diversity in Unity. We are all created equal, but are also uniquely diverse expressions of Spirit. And yet we are all part of Oneness. The Rainbow of Children under the Sun and the Moon that we all are. The Middle School Civil Rights Students I work with get that concept. Or like Mr. Miyagi captured in the classic film The Karate Kid so simply, “different, but same.”

Take care of yourselves everyone,

Ari

Releasing Old Stories, and Reworking New Scripts

A New Moon arrives on January 24.
And then after that, the Chinese New Year of the Rat on the 25th.

The duality of an old world dying, and a new one
birthing is laborious, and painful to watch at times.

This transition into a new age and paradigm
goes by different names, just like the moons.

Does that early leaf falling in late summer,
bring you into your fears about the waning light,
and cooler temperatures?

Like all transitions, many people are
questioning where they have been,
and where they are going in their lives.

Some say they don’t want to live on the planet anymore.

There are many forms that people play with to do
that in their consciousness by way of escapism, fantasies,
hitching a ride to another galaxy in a spaceship, running from
our feelings, or retreating into a personal bubble.

One of the ways people give up is through death by suicide.

Killing yourself is certainly one of the 10,000 ways into
the valley of death.

But there are more purposeful ways to expand our souls,
and liberate them, rather than by ending your body’s experience here.

Besides, it’s a really traumatic experience, and terribly confusing.

That’s why I try to be mindful of killing with kindness, and
remember to meditate on Groundhog to die without dying.

It makes sense to me that our ancestors celebrated the Imbolc,
because it marked the mid-point between the Winter Solstice, and Vernal Equinox.

The popular American holiday of Groundhog Day reflects
this symbolism because energetically Spring is starting already.

It’s good medicine to celebrate the light rising at the end of the tunnel,
and the wisdom to see light, and dark balancing each other out again.

As dark of a topic as suicide is,
it does not discriminate.

It doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, what your race,
ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation is, what political
party you belong to, or if you are an introvert or extrovert.

Suicide is something most people contemplate.
But most people don’t do it.

And one of the reasons people don’t end their lives is that people think about
the impact it will have on the survivors, and the holy hell it leaves behind.

One of the complexities of suicide is that people
who try to end their lives, or do end their lives
are sick of the pain, don’t want to deal with it anymore,
and wish their pain would go away.

As a survivor of a completed suicide,
it has been a long journey in working through my own healing process.

It hasn’t been easy to look forward to this month in a new way.

Anniversaries can bring all those feelings,
and old stories right back to the surface –
regardless of how deeply submerged or buried they were.

I can still remember getting the call that my mom
had left this Earth 25 years ago, like it was yesterday.

As you can imagine, that wasn’t an easy call to take,
even though I had tried to prepare myself for it from her previous
attempts, and knowledge of how extreme her shifts
between internal order and chaos could be.

I feel thankful to my family, friends, and fraternity brothers
who were there to cushion the blow, and help me see that
a safety net was there when I needed it.

There have been many ebbs and flows along the way,
regarding how I have handled this tragedy, or not handled it.

Like Sting, I have worn the royal crown of the King of Pain,
and traveled through Dark Knight of the Soul.

For a long time, I’ve been good at hiding that side of myself.
Wearing masks can do that.

But it can also show you who you really are before you are
ready to show your dark and shadow sides to others.

The old survival of the fittest paradigm is
part of a dying process, just as are old stories.

On some level, we have believed that “it’s just the way it is.”

People have been put into boxes, and believed in those boxes.

If you didn’t identify with one version of yourself,
or what someone told you about yourself.

Perhaps you’ve rebelled by becoming the opposite side of the same coin.

The grip of those old stories can be hard to let go of.

We humans have believed in them,
and developed attachments to those stories.

Like with all new moons,
this new moon coming is associated with new beginnings.

And so it is with the lunar energy of a new year.

Rats are shrewd creatures, and can symbolize prosperity,
according to Chinese astrology.

What shrewdness, and prosperity do you want to bring to the table,
and manifest on our Planet in the year ahead?

In social science, rats are associated with behaviorism,
and applied behavioral analysis.

Like humans, rats are intelligent creatures.

Sometimes, behaviorism gets a bad rap about
wanting to manipulate, and control people.

But any knowledge that gets in the wrong hands
embodies that kind of stupidity.

I recently saw an old you-tube interview with B.F. Skinner.
And it was illuminating to see him talk about how he
saw his psychology as a way for individuals to empower themselves.

And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that country rats have been
identified as smarter than city rats.

We all do better in smaller, more intimate circles where we feel
part of a community, and organically connected to Nature.

If you can see the maze for what it is, you can then
see yourself rewiring new cognitive maps.

These are the days of creating amazing portals into new ways of being.

Till we tweet again peeps,

Ari

Hawk Circling Around Here Again

The magical energy of a New Year and New Moon swoop in this week –
In the wake of the visionary air of Hawk

Hawk’s energetic connections to Mercury are good reminders to not take
Retrograde Twilight Zone mind tricks too seriously

Remember the Oz like smokescreen screenplay we are all enticed to buy into
is an illusion with a reality to that perception . . .

Yes, the corporate media serves up more bad news for us to gobble up
and try to keep us afraid of our own dark sides and shades of grey

There is so much tragedy for our eyes to see

But a New hope for this Chinese year of the Monkey is a healthy opportunity
to rise to the challenge of tuning down the internalized background noises of
surround sound chatter and underlying anxieties

Or just the freedom to not pick up the incessant and repetitive mental tapes
that dominate internal voice mail systems

Hawk helps us become aware of the obvious signs and synchronicities
that might have been hiding in the shadows

Meditation on Temperance reveals
Hawk’s assertion to pay attention!

See with the wide open angle gaze of Hawk
Look at the big picture without getting lost in the details

Take responsibility instead of blaming others

Be with the Grandfatherly sunlight of heartfelt connections . . .
Without forgetting the gravitational pull of our Mother Earth

See you onward up the trails,

Ari

Forming Intelligent Cognitive Maps with Rat

Chinese astrological legend posits that Rat was the first
to arrive among the 12 animals that heeded Buddha’s call

Are you aroused by a sweet and spirited
fragrance fueling your olfactory senses?

May has blossomed from a most powerful
Flower Full-Bellied Wesak Moon
Sowing the seeds of Love over us last Sunday
Shining the Light of compassion onto our World

Let it Be that the
Love of Mother Mary and Christ Consciousness
Shine sunlight onto shadowy planetary dark edges

On this Sunday, what better a day to honor
the Sacred Feminine Energy on Mother’s Day!
Thank you Mother Earth for giving us a home to live on
May we rekindle our commitment to live in harmony with You again

The Empire has studied rats and applied Its scientific observations
on the psychology of humanity
The shroud of the Dark Side of social science has used this knowledge to
manipulate and control the masses to keep us in hibernation

But if you look behind Imperial smokescreens and propagated patriotism –
Your spiritual gait will not be deflated and your footing will remain secure

Humanity is on the cusp of an eye-opening
evolutionary impulse to wake-up from a hypnotic trance and
Re-member our spiritual Nature

The Old Guard is afraid to let go of Its grip

A New Hope of Divine marital vows is lightening-up –
Keeping the flame lit with peaceful internal cohabitation

Masculine and Feminine energies live in domestic partnership
Dancing together in an egalitarian Tango

On the surface, many folks sound the alarm and hit the panic button
when they notice a rat or some other pest
nervously exploring their environment

Are you not handling the pests in your life properly?
What mirror are they holding up for you to self-examine?

Beyond a cursory glance or an attachment to a rigid perspective . . .
Might we observe a window into a deeper perceptual reality –
waiting to be explored?

It is easier to stop at the judgment and hold a fixed idea or position . . .

“Good fences make good neighbors”
Get that varmint off my property line!
Asserts the programmed “voice in the head”

But are you shrewd enough to sniff out the challenge and opportunity to
aggressively dig a little deeper to spring the traps
of your protective scar tissue and psychic defenses?

Success, restlessness and shrewdness are the ways of Rat Medicine
As are sociability and adaptability part of their daily vitality

Rat guides us into industry and cooperative efforts in community
Just waiting to flower across the fruited plain of humanity

“Become the change you want to see in the world”

See you further on up the trails,

Ari

A Goat’s Good Footwork

We are setting foot into a New Chinese-Lunar Year soon
After recently passing over the mid-point between
Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox

Many of us find this hard to believe
Given we are plowed in over our heads with snow
It’s so hard to hear the seeds underground starting to think about waking up
But then again, Beethoven heard the music even when he was deaf

We tend to make, struggle with and not always keep new resolutions at this time
Meditation on Goat can help us
Overcome our adversity through determination

Do you need to apply more effort to complete your goals and objectives?

No small feat, we just climbed over a Snowy Full Moon
Now descending on downward
Be careful scaling slippery slopes
Like reacting to images of measles, security compromises
and possibilities of hackers stealing your identity

In these changing times,
Now more than ever, we need the energy of Goat for keeping
sure footing so that we can trek onward toward the summit

The dying ways of an old world are no longer working for us anymore
It is getting harder to bury our heads in the sand
By changing channels and cutting to commercials

We see the arrival of a New Earth Age of Aquarius
Coming through the Womb of Life

On some level, we all experience

The darkness of Her labor pains

And the sunlight of intensifying Spring energy rising

Is Goat signaling you that a new endeavor is about to enter your life to
Pursue slowly, industriously and carefully?

Single-minded focus can be good medicine in a world where
Many folks are all over the place with their boundaries
But the catch to this level of targeted attention is
being overly stubborn, narrow-minded or too rigid
By getting boxed-in the ghettos of the mind

Have you been working too hard and need to lighten-up?

Chewing on Goat’s hearty food for soul
Helps us digest Its traits of ambition, perseverance and
Appreciation of Nature and earthly delights
Balancing frugality and modesty
With enjoying creature comforts and physical pleasures

See you further on up the trails,

Ari

Eye of the Tiger

Pouncing down the trails head, we look forward to a New Moon this week on May 10th and a Full Moon leaping down the month on May 25th. Also, we celebrated the Beltane last week, otherwise known as May Day. This ancient sacred tradition “honors and celebrates the sacred marriage of masculine and feminine, yin and yang” and the “inner union with the Beloved.” It marks the mid-point between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice and fertilizes harmony between our spiritual and material growth or walking in alignment with “one foot in spirit, one foot in ground.” Tiger synchronizes with the New and Full Moon cycles as its energetic power time. Consuming Tiger’s spirited medicine helps us develop our passion, power, devotion and sensuality. Meditation on Tiger will wake up your sensitivity to touch. Tiger’s are skilled swimmers, so their energy reflects connection to the elemental forces of water. They are colorful and unpredictable, reflecting the world we live in and the changing times we are swimming in on Mother Earth today. In Chinese Astrology, their sign is seen as adventurous, powerful and passionate and symbolize the dark night of the New Moon and the sunlight of the Full Moon. Given that “traditions are time-tested proof that things work”, meditation on Tiger, in conjunction with a fire ritual facilitates burning away Winter, while shifting our gears full-throttle by igniting Spring.

Something is changing in the sea of consciousness on our Planet today. Although it is a process, it is becoming more difficult for folks to ignore. The garden variety of band-aids used to quell the symptoms that are roaring out to us are less effective in covering up the spirited energies streaming in now. Whether the arrival of symptomatic reactions manifests as distorted visions, racing thoughts, chronic headaches, lethargy, terrorism, mania in the global Stock Exchange–the intensity is rising and the times, they are a changin’. The perception of polarity, duality or “us and them” needs to be released from and healed in our consciousness. Living authentically and respectfully in a global village requires us to sit with the tension of opposites that exists within our individual and collective souls. Every man has a woman inside of his Being, just as every woman has a man within hers. When meditation is embraced as a popular way to consume a spiritual diet, we will see the proliferation of this understanding reflecting in our outer world for everyone to notice as obvious. Right now, you really have to take a close look for the evidence and hold that focus, given the reality of the dark and stormy weather patterns. The smoke and mirrors of our World are an illusion that carry a reality to that perception. In the realm of Infinity, the possibilities of blazing New Trail into a New Frontier are there for us to clear, if only we allow for it. But it is a process that we all have to step-up to on a case by case basis. The Golden Age is not a fixed ideal, where we find ourselves living in after a long, strange trip. Rather, when we change the way we look at the world, the world we look at changes. In this way, we become the change we want to see in the world. We are co-creating novel neuronal pathways inside our brains, signaling our conscious evolutionary next step in our program development.

We all have a basic need to feel safe and secure. However, looking to our outer world to provide that meal for us to eat is frequently met with a receipt for poor digestion. At the end of the day, we all need to access and acquire our internal power for a sense of safety and security. Our spirited animal friends are here to help reflect that back to humanity. True, it is a jungle out there. But have you ever watched animals frolic and play, even among predators and prey? They are good reminders for that. We are shifting from a divisive, compartmentalized view of the World that looks either matriarchal or patriarchical in our shared history, toward Unity Consciousness. In the words of Mr. Miyagi from the film The Karate Kid, we are “different, but same.”

See you further on down the trails,

Ari