As it Should Be and As We Want it to Be?


After all, everything happens for a reason. So don't fight the tide. You'll know when the time is right. Be patient, and stay open to noticing the signs along the way. You might not understand where you're going, but it'll all make sense when you get there.

Any or all of the above statements could appear any week in my writings (hopefully in slightly more inventive form) or in those of anyone else of a certain spiritual or philosophical bent. They are intended to be explanatory and calming in nature, easing the inevitable anxieties of the unknown future and our inability to control it exactly to our choosing. 'Everything is as it should be' has lately been one of my most comforting mantras, and I turn to it when impatience or regret threaten to unsettle my centeredness.

As one who makes a living (or, er, tries to make a living) serving up inspirational words to a welcoming readership, I find this brand of peace-inducing truism to often contain, well, truth. And I deploy astrology as a tool for helping to bring forth this truth, to detail 'reasons' for why things happen, to determine which way 'tides' are turning and when the time is 'right', to identify both the 'signs' along the way and the destinations once they've been reached. But honestly, such feel-good words are also sometimes lacking in their ability to deliver prime satisfaction.

Ever heard the term 'bliss ninny'? It's slang used to describe someone so single-mindedly insistent on always seeing the bright side and the half-full glass (in other words, pathologically blissful) that s/he unavoidably comes off sounding naïve, shallow and perpetually half-informed (the 'ninny' part). I keep this term close to my heart, perhaps because I identify with it in my more earnest moments, and keep careful watch that I not fall prey to its clutches of ceaseless buoyancy.

Life is not a constant delight, and sometimes we do not want to find solace in the 'bigger picture'. Instead we want to moan and groan and curse God for letting this or that happen to us. Be suspicious—very suspicious—of those who seek to suppress our bratty outbursts with the sentiment that 'everything will work out fine'. ('Of course it will,' we think to ourselves, 'but, in the meantime, fuck you.')

I do not mean to discount the essential need for faith in getting through the unexpected twists and turns of life. Often we are upset and confused, only later discovering the fortuitous gifts hidden within our surprising shifts in destiny, those we'd cursed and fought at the time. But faith is only one pole. The pole at the other end is self-directed action. And a good balance of both is required in order for us to actualize the self we want to be, to remain open to unforeseen opportunities (faith) without being so passive as to let 'fate' bat us around like the weak kid on a playground full of bullies (action). Balancing both faith and action is an essential manifestation of yin and yang working in harmony.

It's a hard pill for a person just diagnosed with cancer to swallow that everything happens for a reason. S/he may be far too traumatized by the diagnosis to imagine what ill-informed reason God or the universe could offer for threatening his/her life. It's also hard to tell an abused spouse to wait patiently for 'the right time' to go against the tide and leave the abusive situation. If s/he is ready to leave, then doesn't this demonstrate that the right time is right now?

We must add our own decisive, self-centered action to the mix in order for faith to fully bring us somewhere new. If everything is already just as it should be, then what impetus do we have to change the way things are? The obvious answer: Everything is as it should be and could also get better. Perhaps its current status of as-it-should-be-ness simply reflects that everything 'should be' acted upon and improved in countless ways.

This week, the potential conflict between (1) acting toward manifestation in a willful fashion and (2) staying receptive to the mysterious forces of spirit is highlighted by a challenging Mars-Neptune square. Neptune is the ultimate symbol of spiritually enlightening confusion, of sympathetic reaction to situations and surrender of will to higher good. Mars, however, doesn't want to surrender its will to anything beyond its own survival instincts. As Mars transits the earthy practical sign of Taurus, it wants to act in pragmatic ways that support the doing and making of material experiences and products embodying personal initiative and creativity. And the Mars-powered drive to do and make of ourselves doesn't necessarily want to surrender or fall under the spell of someone else's visions or other tempting distractions.

Much of 2003 was characterized by Mars in Pisces (the sign ruled by Neptune), in which our ability to act with such clear self-directed will was clouded by intermittent interruption, waffling, mind-changing and circle-spinning. But now, as I've described in recent weeks, the tide has changed. The time is right for more resolute, product-oriented action. With Mars in Taurus conjoining the Moon's North Node, this current action is also key to moving ourselves closer to fresh future incarnations and away from residual behaviors that no longer serve us. Allow the disorientation from last year—and whatever you've now begun, in retrospect, to see as the 'reasons' for the 'everything' of the recent past—to spur you into doing something about it.

Of course, we're also never free of the fateful workings of the unknown, which are particularly apparent to those of us with a conscious spiritual or psychic side. Also this week, Mercury moves into Pisces, joining the Sun there and combining forces with Uranus. Just like with last week's New Moon, also in conjunction with Uranus, Mercury's movement can deliver startling new mental revelations, remarkably atypical modes of communicating, and suddenly illuminating ways of seeing what's been in front of our face the whole time (but which we've protectively stayed blind to).

The trick is to accept the unplanned epiphanies with an open heart, but not let them carry us too far away into the fog. (Haven't we been foggy enough over the past year?) Grab a fresh insight or two and then, without letting the ink dry or bleed too much outside the lines, incorporate them into what you're already doing—for everything is already just as it should be—and keep faithfully, solidly, progressively, materially doing until you're done. The product, borne of both faith and action, will be better than you'd even have expected.

And it'll all make sense when you get there.