Every year about this time, I hear from clients and friends that are feeling overwhelmed. Usually it's a combination of regrets for things they didn't accomplish over the past year along with upcoming family, time and money obligations that the holidays often bring.
A few weeks ago, the local Grove of our Temple of Ascension community gathered around a fire on a perfect Autumn night. We honored our ancestors that paved the ways for us and we mourned loved ones lost this past year as well as endings of other kinds. We also got real with conversations, speaking grief and hope, holding back nothing, but honoring the ups and downs and all experiences, whether joyful or heart-breaking.
What does this have to do with anything?
When we create something, like the projects we either accomplish or don't or a community such as Temple of Ascension or even children who grow into adults that either come back home for the holidays or not, we also create the opposites. This is the Hermetic Principle of Polarity and there is so much more to it than meets the eye. Simply speaking, opposites are the same thing with varying degrees so you cannot have one without the other. Similar to heat and cold on a thermometer, it is often difficult to define where one polarity ends and the other begins. We've all seen love relationships slowly move toward the other extreme and sometimes back again. One of the great polarities is that we are all born and must all die. Other polarities include Love and Hate, Good and Evil, Dark and Light, Spirit and Matter, and each of those polarities exist in relationship with (and because of) its opposite. The opposite of creation is destruction. For example, when we choose to create a relationship with someone, we create a perfect unity as well as the potential for complete disharmony. When we are only aware of the polarity we like or are comfortable with, then we are living half truths with blinders on, and those opposites can and often do jump up and bite us. If we don't choose to embrace the entire creation with all it's degrees, it is akin to only loving our friends or partners when they are in a good mood and not loving them when they are in a bad one. That sounds crazy, right? None of us would do that and yet, we do it all the time in other ways.
What can we do to avoid being taken for a ride by the back and forth swing of opposites?
The Principle of Rhythm is the swing between polarities and it doesn't always swing to the extremes. Sometimes it's only a few degrees one way or another. When we are aware of the ways of Polarity and Rhythm, we can affect change, not by ignoring the opposite we deem unlikable, but by understanding fully and choosing to focus our attention and actions where it needs to go to bring back balance or surrendering to the swing, when it is out of our hands, while trusting the process. The simple awareness of the polarities and the rhythm of the swing between them raises our perception above the swing to some degree so that we are not as affected by it. In politics, we see the principles of both polarity and rhythm our entire lives. The momentum swings from one to the other in elections and remember that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It really cannot be any other way until we find a mid-point, where polarities dissolve or at least, the degrees become closer together. Because how we do any thing is how we do everything, when that time comes, all opposites will diminish or dissolve and we will live in a different kind of world. Until then, it's our task to become comfortable with the opposites, trusting that if one is sacred, the other must be also. From that conscious vantage point, it is eye-opening to watch the game that goes on around this back and forth swing when many get caught up in it and cannot see the big picture.
These mirroring opposites (as within, so without) happen in our own lives on various levels. Whether this message finds you feeling overwhelmed or disappointed with what you have accomplished this year, remember that the Sacred is in both extremes because they are indeed the same thing. Take a look at what has been accomplished in your life or the aspects that are in perfect order and celebrate. Take a look at what was not accomplished and the reasons why and celebrate. Honor both the wins and the defeats, the darkness and the light, the times of action and the times of rest. One could not exist without the other and the Divine lives in both extremes. When mindful of this, you will rise above the highs and lows and direct your own emotional well-being.
It's liberating to surrender to this understanding of the swinging pendulum, while also serving humanity and initiating change from a level of heightened awareness rather than fear and anger. Relax. This too shall pass and, as the principles tell us, will likely come again as long as we remain unconscious to the ways of the swings.
The 7 Hermetic Principles work with each other and to deeply understand one, requires a deep understanding of them all as well as continual exploration in the classroom of life. It's a fascinating and ever-expanding journey that pulls together various spiritual paths and beliefs into a framework that is, as one student said, "like pushing the easy button." If you're interested in exploring it with us, email for more information.
Wishing you happy pendulum swings!