OK, Goddesses … here is a 3 page (literally – three single spaced pages in my word document) article I’ve been writing for the last hour or so. It expresses some very important thoughts and feelings that I need to share with all of you.
Many of us have felt the direct effects of the 2014 Mars retrograde. As we’ve discussed, “retrogrades” have these rocky influences on our lives, and the important thing to remember when working with these energies is the “re” … reflect, remember, reexamine, reevaluate, reimagine, recreate, redo, repair … repose …
In specific reference to Mars, retrogrades happen only about once every two years, but last several months. The current retrograde isn’t over until July 21, 2014. Here is some information from Café Astrology about the current Mars retrograde:
When Mars is in its retrograde cycle, we are forced to re-assess our current projects, our approach to getting what we want, and our desire nature. Rather than directly asserting our desires, we tend towards introspection … with Mars in retrograde motion, Mars energy is essentially turned inward–it’s internalized, intensified, personalized, and perhaps pressurized. We can be hesitant about taking action, second-guessing our instincts or our natural impulses rather than acting upon them […] When anger is internalized, there can be some rather negative byproducts, such as tension, resentment, depression, apathy, and even some paranoia. […] We might require more rest than usual. Some of us are more accident-prone or illness-prone, almost as if the cosmos are forcing us to slow down if we haven’t listened to our natural impulses to take a break. It’s time for regrouping, and this is important on both physical and emotional levels. […] Rather than direct and healthy expressions or outlets for frustrations, we might resort to sneaky, indirect, or obtuse methods of going after what we want. If we push ahead impulsively, we run into problems, obstacles, and frustrations.
In addition to Mars in retrograde, we’ve experienced a lot of astrological influences in the past week that lead us towards irrational behavior, quick anger responses, confusion, flights of imagination and fancy, and on Wednesday and Thursday last week specifically, an inability to develop closeness and connection with friends and loved ones.
I’ve been prattling on about these energies for several days. I think it’s very important for us to be aware of these energetic influences, so that we can understand what might otherwise seem to us to be irrational thoughts or behaviors – either from ourselves or others – practice patience and compassion – BOTH with ourselves and others – and temper our responses in able to internalize, hold space, and actively engage in all the “re”s mentioned earlier. This is how we grow. If we didn’t face tests and trials, we would remain stagnant. We need these energies to help us reflect, reexamine, and learn from our experiences and internal natures. We need these challenges to push us further. If we think about our water exercise – the vesica piscis – this is exactly what that is all about.
So now I want to get right down to the nitty-gritty, and it’s about “re”action and “re”sponse.
The manners in which we react to external situations, events, discussions, matters and issues are a personal thing. We encounter comments, conversations, behaviors, interactions and events that do affect and raise emotions within us. Emotions are visceral, and we simply can’t help the way we “feel”. But we can control the way we react, and, in turn, the way we respond. Bringing personal emotions into these matters can often turn what may just be simple matters of problem-solving and solution-seeking into conflict and drama.
This brings me to the very reason I’m personally reexamining discussions, actions and reactions, behaviors, and motivations we as a group have encountered as a whole. What I’ve seen and realized as problem-solution events can easily become “conflicts”, “fights” and thus “drama,” based on the manner in which we may or may not react to those events.
Not everything that comes up as a logistic that needs to be worked out, a decision that needs to be made, a matter of how to work out issues that affect one or all of us or our group energies, needs to become “conflict”. The very term “conflict” is defined as:
1. to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash. 2. to fight or contend; do battle. 3. a fight, battle, or struggle, especially a prolonged struggle; strife. 4. controversy; quarrel: conflicts between parties.
Conflict implies a FIGHT. Conflict implies that lines are drawn, we are divided, and we are focused more on working towards winning a battle rather than working towards finding a solution or compromise that works towards the good of the group.
I truly believe, as a group of peers, equals, sisters … with a goal of exploring our spirituality, growing magickally in a safe space we provide for each of us, working with women’s energies, learning about women’s roles in religion and spirituality in varied systems and cultures, and providing love and support, that it is very necessary to allow everyone a voice. When asked our opinions, when discussing how decisions affect us as individuals, when each woman gives her input and ideas, we are working towards solution and compromise. If we don’t agree with what another says, feels or believes, this does not mean we have to react as if her words were an attack. This does not mean we are in “conflict”; this means we, like any group of individuals, have different opinions and ideas, and that is GOOD. We each have that voice, so that as a collective, we can hear one another and strive towards SOLUTION.
When we engage in the process of discussion and problem-solving, but in turn react in response to a perceived “conflict”, then our process becomes one of “drama,” where lines are drawn, feelings get hurt, people “choose sides” and the overall energies and harmonies of the group are damaged. These reactions are not conducive to coming to solutions that work best for the majority of sisters and flow with the focus and intentions of the group.
I think it’s important to hold space for one another when such issues arise. For example, “When we’re faced with this kind of situation, especially one that has yet to be completely resolved, we have good cause to refrain from snap judgement, and to hold space. “Holding space” may be a useful way for Pagans to practice discernment, for by holding space I mean waiting, listening, keeping in kind thoughts all the parties involved. […] Our partisanship does not always contribute to the resolution of political conflicts. It often exacerbates it. The quick creation of an “Us v.s. Them” mentality makes it very difficult to consider all of the information with a clear head and without bias” (Teo Bishop, “How Do We Respond to Conflict in Pagan Communities?”).
I personally found my reactions to the problem and resultant reactions to problem-solving over the past few days as LACKING in compassion and understanding, on my part. Yes – I said LACKING IN COMPASSION ON MY PART. But I stepped back and reexamined, reevaluated, and THEN responded. By the same token, I perceived that reactions to my efforts were met with a level of emotional manipulation and a certain level of questioning of my abilities and experiences in facilitation. That is my ego speaking, and my own emotions very raw and on display for all of you to see. What my goal and intentions boil down to is nothing more than this: I want this group to be one of safe space, support, focus, sisterhood, and a positive experience for the women who participate. I work very hard towards this goal, and like any human being, my emotional state and energies reveal that vulnerability, and I am angry and hurt when I feel like others don’t understand or see this. However, my reactions and responses are what ultimately affect the group. I responded by being honest, expressing my opinions, and doing my best to find a solution that worked.
So, back to the nitty-gritty … not every situation is a “conflict”. We don’t have to draw battle lines. Each woman’s honest opinion about her experiences and energies within our space is valid and must be heard, while we hold space for one another, and respond with honesty, openness, and compassion. This isn’t a “fight”; this isn’t “drama”. This is a group coming together to work towards growth and sisterhood. Everyone’s opinions and needs are important. We can’t forsake our focus and experience in group for the conveniences of a few, but we can work together towards finding solutions that can best accommodate everyone. If accommodations cannot always logistically be met, we must each take personal responsibility for ourselves, our own energies, and respect the needs of the rest of the group.