Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Where you are planted

When I was in the 9th grade, my best friend was an aspiring actress who was a smash as Lady Bracknell in our school's production of The Importance of Being Earnest. That spring she attended auditions for our local summer stock theater; I agreed to go along to provide moral support. (That's my official story, anyway; secretly, I wanted to audition but was terrified.) We both auditioned; I was cast, but she wasn't. Many people, according to my memory at least, were surprised by this. Our English and drama teacher attempted to comfort my friend by telling her that, "when I was a blonde, I got all the parts, too." (Or so reported my friend, who was not my friend for much longer.) The thing was, I was cast in the chorus of Wiley and the Hairy Man; in order to play a shapeshifter in a swamp, I was swathed in green burlap and rags, and green makeup, covering my head. I wasn't cast for my yellow hair alone.

I've never forgiven that teacher for saying that, or for writing in my yearbook - rather pointedly, I thought - "bloom where you are planted." (I took "and not on stage where my star pupil belongs" to be implicit in that.)

"Bloom where you are planted and not somewhere else where you don't belong." In understanding her inscription thus, I accused my teacher of wanting to limit me. But might we understand the adage another way? "BLOOM where you are planted, rather than wither on the vine or perish in your seed-shell." For much like a flowering plant, we cannot with our wills control where we are planted.

In the astrological chart, the Sabian symbol at the chart's nadir has significance. It's the pile of shit we land in when we come to earth. It's the family matrix. It's our stuff, our shit - our compost, if you're feeling positive. It's what we have to work with. As an adult I've labored for many years under the impression that I can get rid of my shit by willing it away, ignoring it, trying to bury it, being good enough, doing enough therapy, getting enlightened ... somehow. I thought the point of growing up and becoming a mature human being was to get rid of my shit. To be free from it. To outgrow it.

Turns out I was wrong.

My shit is my shit. It's what I have to work with in this lifetime. There is no uprooting. So, now, what does it mean to bloom here? In this shithole?

(My nadir is at 1 degree Leo: "A fat and normally good-natured little man of affairs is bursting with determination to have his own way." Oy. If you only knew how apt this is.)

Accepting the person I am without judgment is enormously difficult. Now I get to watch my patterns as they arise again and again: denial, depression, feeling overwhelmed. These are the places I go to out of habit. The ruts in my ego. And fear. What is the dark swirl of fear that catches me up? Where is terra firma?


Hecate said...

You do know the poem?

But only god, my dear
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your golden hair.

Inanna said...

Yes, Hecate, you get a prize! I indeed had Yeats in mind.

Madam Dragonfly said...

amazing article, i luv the way you make your point. i agree largely. i hate it when people correct me when i'm honest about where i am or what ever shit is in my life, 'don't confess that' as if it is a curse i'm covering myself with. what is, is. positive thinking and denial won't make them go away.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

My Nadir is in Aquarius-which probably explains why I've never quite managed to come down to Earth.

Terri in Joburg

Scrivener said...

Your metaphor here, of landing in this pile of shit, and of our task being one of blooming within and through, rather than above and beyond, that pile of shit, is wonderful. It might be a simple idea, but I really find comfort in the idea that I can see my shit as compost. So thank you for that.

I love that image at the top of your post, btw.

Sia Vogel said...

I love essays that remind us that we have choices. We can learn our lessons in a negative way or in a positive way - it's up to us.

I notice that you have chosen to be a Bard :-) In my Tradition, that's a very powerful choice.

If you have not already read it, you might like a book titled Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss.

Blessed Solstice to you and yours,