Recurring Nightmare


The cable snaps, the elevator shaft plunges, straight down and also sideways, shaking at wild angles.

Elevators carry us from one level to another. We walk through the doors, step into a self-enclosed chamber, press buttons, and travel to different heights in even controlled motion. The doors open. We're somewhere else. And while going up or down a floor or two is hardly quicker than a fit body taking the stairs, take it from the lobby to the 57th story, and you'll appreciate the distance traveled in an instance, while your ears pop from the abrupt pressure change.

The elevator is just one among so many technological innovations of the last two hundred or so years that dramatically alters our perception of time and space. Obvious, yes, but we take them all for granted. Imagine taking that super-smooth elevator ride to the 57th story, exiting onto a floor where all the curtains are drawn, working your nine hours (including lunch at your desk), returning to the chamber, pressing a button, and returning to where you started. How easy to ignore that you've spent your day a thousand feet in the air—and traveled there in a matter of a moment—for your life's busy details kept you otherwise occupied.

Applying the metaphor to our own personal growth, we may aim to ascend a level or two from where we are, but the myopic intensity of bearing the daily grunt can obscure our awareness of any distance we travel. We might not appreciate that each step taken, attending to what appeared as isolated tasks or responsibilities in the moment, has accumulated toward eventually elevating us a floor or two. Taking a breather, we look back and see how much we've grown and changed. Conversely, perhaps we assume we've grown more than we have, accustomed to that taken-for-granted technological collapse of time and space—take the express, send an email, fly to Johannesburg, pop a pill—when, in fact, the chamber never moved and we disembarked in the same place we got on, without even knowing. Speeding through so we can check off the box on the list doesn't necessarily equate with actual life change.

At crucial crossroads, we show up right as the open elevator awaits us. With certain decisions made and risks taken, we consciously rise to a new vantage above where we've been. The entire journey may not unfold all at once, but that first step into the elevator and away from the past is the most important. With it, everything else seems to accelerate. Obstacles disappear. Having made the decision or taken the risk, the winds of change (or waves of destiny or whatever else you want to call that supportive flow) help us along. In all the excitement, it's no wonder that fear speaks up in anticipation of some shoe to drop, some shaft to plunge down on our way to the top.

Astrologically speaking, the recent visible transit of Venus retrograding across the face of the Sun is the type of event we might consider an open elevator awaiting our arrival. (Others certainly have.) Whenever one of the nearer planets like Venus is retrograde, we are gifted with a temporary perspective change, an opportunity for typical life to detour or sputter or skew, so that we can pause to get our bearings and see what floor we're on.

Of course, at any time, we can make decisive action and call the elevator to take us up. But for those who let the technology or the paradigm bubble of self-involvement overpower the recognition of their passage through unique time and space, they miss the reality of their situation.

How do they know if they've changed, when they mistakenly flatten all time and space into equal segments? They imagine acting independent of the external circumstances, even though change continues to happen there. In attempting to stay the same, their actual subject-position in relation to the changing times changes. Change sneaks up on them. They've become different—once in a corner office in the sky, now in the basement next to the boiler room—and don't even know.

On Tuesday, Venus turns direct and begins several weeks of retracing her steps back across the shadow of her recent retrogradation. With a dynamic, energizing boost from Mars in Leo, the dizzying action of the last few weeks continues, but with less dizzying. We begin to see how, as time continued to pass over these weeks, we may have changed floors without being fully conscious. The elevator ride so smooth, we hardly noticed the rise or fall. Just because we barely noticed doesn't mean it didn't happen. Even if we think we didn't move, time did. And where we are is always a product of when we are.

Friday morning's Full Moon in Capricorn is intricately integrated into the entire astrological pattern, calling on us to use emotional maturity and restraint to determine where we are in relation to the still-frenetic activities spawned by Venus in Gemini. To embody this wisdom, we mustn't get carried away in the external excitement without noticing where it's taking us, nor must we insist that our business-as-usual stance has resulted in nothing really happening. One of the toughest tasks is to call the past what it is—over and done with—and consciously break from it emotionally so the doors will open to a new story. At the same time, don't be distracted into forgetting continuity, that the floor of one story is built on the ceiling of another and each has individually elevated us a few feet higher.

We climb into the cabin of the plane and assume, upon takeoff, that the plane has left the ground and is carrying us across space over time to a different location. Or, alternately, we have been fooled by the technology. The cabin merely shook, while moving images of clouds and tiny landscapes below were projected onto the windows for our bemusement. We, in fact, stayed in place, while the world moved. Either way, we disembark somewhere else, and it doesn't matter so much what supposedly changed and what supposedly stayed the same.

What matters in reality is that everything changed, and nothing stayed the same.