A story for the Festival of Lights and the balsamic Scorpio moon

"I have no answers, but I have a lot of questions, and those questions have helped me live better than any answers I might find."
- Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, interviewed in this episode of "On Being" with Krista Tippett.

Dr. Remen's lifelong struggle with Crohn's disease has shaped her work as a doctor. She says it's important to remember that even when you don't have the ability to cure, you can always heal. Her grandfather, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi whom she lovingly refers to as a "flaming mystic", told her this story as a gift for her 4th birthday:

"This is the story of the birthday of the world. In the beginning, there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof. The source of life. And then, in the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand, thousand things emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then... there was an accident. And the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world -- broke. And the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, was scattered into a thousand, thousand fragments of light. And they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day. According to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, to lift it up and make it visible once again. And thereby to restore the innate wholeness of the world. It's a very important story for our time, that we heal the word one heart at a time. This task is called tikkun olam in Hebrew: the restoration the world."

"...This is of course a collective task. It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently living, all people yet to be born: We are all healers of the world. And that story opens a sense of possibility. It's not about healing the world by making a huge difference. It's about healing the world that touches you. That's around you. And that's where our power is.... I think we all feel that we're not enough to make a difference, that we have to be more somehow, either wealthier or more educated, or somehow or other different from the people we are. And according to this story, we're exactly what's needed And to just wonder about that a little. What if we were exactly what's needed? What then? How would I live if I'm exactly what's needed to heal the world?" (It's worth hearing her tell the story herself, at about 4.44.)

And finally, wisdom for today's balsamic Scorpio moon, combining themes of letting go, loss, going deeply into dark spaces, and powerfully, lovingly transforming: "The fact is that life is full of losses and disappointments. And the art of living is to make of them something that can nourish others. And it's taken me a long time to find the recipe that's mine... but I had a sense of what might be possible and that I needed to look to find the way for myself."


Honoring the Bittersweet Unspoken: The Scorpio Balsamic Moon

Today is the last day of the balsamic or waning crescent moon cycle before tomorrow’s new moon in Scorpio.

We’re also in the pre-shadow period of Mercury Retrograde. I’m feeling this one more than I usually do, maybe because Mercury is in the same sign as my natal Mercury, Sagittarius. I’m getting triggered into more arguments. I’m having to redo things at work. Somebody asked me how I was the other day, and I just opened my mouth and closed it again. I shook my head and raised my eyebrows. I let out a deep sigh and shrugged. I knew if I actually spoke I would cry. We just looked at each other for an extended moment, slowly nodding in unison. My coworker said he understood and was sorry to hear that. He lowered his head compassionately, and then awkwardly hurried away. Maybe he was able to hear and understand the unspoken, or maybe he chalked it up to a bad moment -- the copier jamming again or coffee spilled on my lap. What I would have said, if it were the time and place and I could find my voice, was, “Why am I here? What does this all mean? How do I keep trudging along?”

This morning Mercury makes an energizing aspect with Mars. It’s a chance to try to face and come to some peace with everything we’ve been taking in. Take some time to reflect. What’s gotten you angry lately? What’s unsettled you? Has anything or anybody helped you when you felt depleted or despondent? Is there anything you really want to say right now? To whom?

Be gentle with yourself and others as you sort through the bittersweet unspoken. Consider what you can release to a higher power and what you might need to actually, bravely say out loud. If you’d like to, perform a ritual to mark an ending, a letting go, or a poignant goodbye. But do spend some time with your feelings before tomorrow’s new moon. And above all, hang in there.

(Mercury sextile Mars 9:24 a.m. EST. Moon sextile Pluto 1:15 p.m.)