I read Daniel Pinchbeck's recent article "The Age of Uncertainty" with wonder and excitement, noting how similar my experiences of late have been to his. My internal flip-flops between knowing and not knowing are increasing, as is my desire to pick one side and stay with it. And from the comments in response to his article, I'm not the only one trying to coordinate this internal cirque de soleil.
I first encountered a new kind of unsettling uncertainty in my life when I ventured into the world of spirituality for the first time a few years ago, read a couple of books, and asked someone, "How can it be that opposites attract, yet like attracts like? How can both of those be true?" My quest to solve what my mind perceived as a problem was, as the song goes, like trying to catch a cloud and pin it down.
Reading Daniel's article, I instantly got a sense, via the symbolic language of astrology, of how to place this uncertainty, this shift in logical dualistic thinking, into a greater context.
I saw a symbol, which I'll get to in a minute.
First, symbols are a terrific way to grasp a larger picture via a smaller picture. More can be contained in one symbol than can ever be expressed in words. Symbols are like spiritual hardware, gigantic-yet-compact hard drives containing mind-boggling amounts of data. Who needs Blu-ray or high-definition television when you have symbols?
One of the most enduring symbolic languages is that of astrology. Astrological symbols can be a bit unwieldy because they embody the truth "as above, so below." The symbol for Pisces, for example, can describe any individual born under the sign of Pisces; it can describe 1/12 of any given year; or it can describe a whole lot more, like the dynamics of the current Astrological Age that we have been living under for over two millennia now: the Age of Pisces. Interestingly enough, as I read "The Age of Uncertainty," the symbol for the astrological sign of Pisces kept coming to mind.
In his article, Daniel describes a shift in our dualistic, logical thinking. It's like we are collectively experiencing what Joni Mitchell sings about: "I've looked at life from both sides now… and I really don't know life at all."
This vein of dualistic thinking is decidedly related to the Age of Pisces, an Age that is coming to its end. I see this shift as central to the process of moving from an out-dated sense of certainty, through a new time of uncertainty, and then into an entirely new concept of what certainty is about.
To help explain what's going on, we can take a look at the symbol for Pisces, which is two fish swimming in opposite directions, yet attached. Symbols elicit an infinite number of varied interpretations that all somehow still relate to the one symbol. In this instance, I see the two fish representing Duality itself, particularly as it has emerged in our globe over the past 2,000 years. There are two fish everywhere you look in our history:
good/evil, light/shadow, conscious/unconscious, masculine/feminine, east/west, left/right, mind/heart, thinking/feeling, domination/submission, master/slave, external/internal, individual/collective, male/female, plaintiff/defendant, democrat/republican, right/wrong, infinite/finite, limited/liberated.
To put it in perspective, the dualities have created separation and divisiveness which have, in turn, led to world wars, global trauma, and endless conflict on every level. We have a history of two sides continually pulling on the other, not necessarily aware that there is even another side, let alone the awareness of what your pull or push does to the other side.
The dualities make even more sense in light of the previous three Ages, stretching back (roughly) to the year 6500 B.C:
- 6500 B.C. – the Age of Gemini (the twins) first introduced duality into human consciousness, and some say this is when a real-life Garden of Eden existed, with the masculine and feminine duality;
- 4500 B.C. – the Age of Taurus (the bull) was the age of the dominant Feminine; and
- 2500 B.C. – the Age of Aries (the ram), its counterpart as the age of the dominant Masculine.
And for the last 2,000 years, in the Age of Pisces, we have been trying to integrate all of these massive dynamics together into an ever-shifting ocean of consciousness and unconsciousness.
It's been like a connect-the-dots picture, where we are finally — finally — getting to see just how many dots there really are on the page of our reality, and we are only just beginning to connect them and see what pictures or what patterns emerge. I see our evolution symbolically as being a diligent process of separation and identification (the dots), with the next step being to go "up" to a higher perspective (i.e. a symbolic perspective), not unlike climbing each separate step to the top of a Mayan pyramid. Each step has its own perspective.
If you ever saw the X-Files episode "Conduit," you might remember the little boy who started writing pages and pages of seemingly meaningless data, very quickly. He laid the pages out, which made it only look more confusing and absurd. Yet when Agent Scully walked up the staircase and saw the view from above, all of the meaningless, separate data bits formed a picture, the symbol of a face. She went from being decidedly uncertain about what was going on, to having a wildly new sense of certainty, from which she could extract meaning.
We are now at the time when, like Agent Scully, it is necessary to not only move from a previous sense of certainty into a new sense of uncertainty (as we embrace the polarities of duality), but then move into an entirely new sense of certainty. Two-dimensional duality as we've known it is being placed within the context of a fully-expanded 3-D global perspective. Like James Bertolino writes, "It's hard to think like a planet. We've got to try."
Fortunately for us, as the Age of Pisces starts to wind down — which it is, in dramatic Götterdamerung fashion — the new Age of Aquarius is beginning to crack its way in, and the statement for the sign of Aquarius is, "I Know." Think of Oprah Winfrey, an Aquarius, closing each issue of her "O" magazine with the column, "What I Know For Sure." Think of President Obama, an Aquarius Rising, and his sense of certainty. There's something "new" about it, something difficult to pin-point because we've not seen it before. It embraces the whole, in a new way. It doesn't get encompassed by the whole, but it encompasses the whole. This is our new reference point.
The symbol for Aquarius is the water-bearer, and is often depicted in short form as two waves. The dominant waves of Piscean consciousness (strongly linked to emotional undercurrents and unconsciousness) are shifting into the energy waves of Aquarius. We are moving from one form of consciousness to another. It's not just a step up; it's a whole new orientation. And if we really grasp the concept of what it means to have a new kind of consciousness, we have to fully admit that it's a new kind of consciousness. It's not old. It's not secure. It's not certain. It's not familiar. It's not like it used to be. It's not something for which we have a basis of certainty. Our historical safety net is thinning and breaking all over the place, yet we're like Phillipe Petit ("Man On Wire"), stepping out on the wire on a journey from one tower to another. We are humanity on a wire.
At this juncture, symbols can be a significant guide. We can learn to access parts of the hard drive we didn't know how to access before.
Consider that for the past 2,000 years we have been swimming within consciousness, like the Pisces fish inside the ocean. Then, consider the water-bearer symbol for Aquarius. This is a symbol that suggests being outside of the consciousness (water) rather than within it, as if everything we have known for thousands of years fits into a container, which we can then pour and share generously with everyone/everything/everywhere else.
How do we flip our entire consciousness outside-in, upside-down, forwards-backwards, inside-out? How do we detach ourselves from one Age and accept another? How do we make this shift?
I don't know, and I don't really trust anyone who says they do. All I know is that if you feel uncertain, I'm certain that you're on track. And we're all in this together. There really is a cirque de soleil happening inside each of us, a circus of the soul. Everything our duality-loving minds have known and perceived as certain is being challenged and overturned by the encompassing capacity of the soul. And, if you've ever seen a Cirque de Soleil performance, you know that with an incredible amount of hard work (and flexibility) and a relentlessly present-time-focused certainty (with no guarantees), there can be an equally incredible and elegant outcome.
Image by Atelier Teee, courtesy of Creative Commons license.