We keep mentioning your “birdcage,” and you might have missed our introduction to our use of the term, so we’ll review quickly. It’s not an insult.
Our Reality is held together by a set of Limiting Beliefs. The Universe is Limitless, but Our Reality – what we Expect to see and occur – is a very small subset of that Infinitude. Our Limiting Beliefs are assembled from a variety of sources – our “past lives,” our parents and other programmers when we were new to the Planet, our educations, who we listen to and believe, etc etc. We could include our “natal planets” in that list, and in some cases they’re important – for instance, the sign position of our natal Venus can say a lot about what kinds of things we’re likely to believe or disbelieve – but our natal planets just show tendencies. The important thing here is that we each have a set of Limiting Beliefs that define our Reality.
Our Limiting Beliefs are partly conscious, but mostly unconscious. They’re partly personal, but also partly cultural, and partly planetary. And our Limiting Beliefs are partially intellectualized, but mostly held in place by rivets that are essentially emotional. We could even postulate that the Intellectual and Emotional Worlds are internal – they comprise the structure of our Birdcage, while the Material and Spiritual Worlds are external – our Birdcage is a lens through which we define our version of them. When we speak of As Above So Below or As Within So Without or talk of Reality as a Mirror, we’re speaking of this Birdcage, very directly. So this Birdcage we all have is not at all as simple as the metaphor implies. Nevertheless, a great deal of Power lies in the simplicity of the metaphor.
The fundamental purpose of our Birdcage is to keep us Safe. The Universe is totally and completely and absolutely Overwhelming. If you’ve ever seen the cartoons about someone’s head exploding, or seen or experienced the equivalent in “Real Life,” you know exactly what I mean. Our Birdcage, like a Customs Agent, allows certain Realities in, demands a duty or fee to let other Realities in, and denies entry completely to yet other Realities. As in, I’d do anything for Love, but I won’t do that! Our Birdcage has a lot in common with our Ego, but the Ego-word is used in so many different ways that it’s not good for much beyond trying to shame somebody. I don’t equate our Birdcages to our Egos, but their fundamental purposes are similar.
Our Birdcage is a “Rube Goldberg” structure. No high-price architecture involved, purely form follow function with a minimum of fuss – but most of the function is waaaay obsolete, so it’s hardly minimalist. Random Baroque, or Brugelesque, would be more like it. So it’s put together with old car hoods and bailing wire and disused sidewalks and duct tape and cardboard and gum. It’s a shantytown, a slum. It has a few nice rooms, even a few windows, but most of it is a maze of semi-lit closets and hallways that we visit as rarely as possible, for fear that we’ll see the roof leaking unwanted stuff. But to us it’s Home. We’re very attached to it. It’s like Dolly Pardon’s Coat of Many Colors. Most of the time we’re unaware that our Birdcage is any different from anyone else’s, but when we notice, we feel hurt when someone insults it.
Now, the problem with Safety is that we’re constantly outgrowing it. For much of our up-growing, we’re naive to Risk and eager to explore New Worlds, so it feels like we’re outgrowing Boredom, rather than outgrowing Safety. That’s partly because it’s other people’s Safety we’re growing beyond, partly because we don’t research the Risks before we leap. So to grow, we need to add a New Wing to our Birdcage every time, hence the duct tape and gum. That’s why it looks so helter-skelter. And that’s why, if we really sit down and talk about it, nobody else’s Birdcage make any sense to us. Like the guy in the cartoon standing knee-deep in Gulf Oil carrying Down With Government signs and shouting Why Isn’t the Gummint Fixing This!?!
That’s why it’s so hard to respect other people – it’s lonely in our Cage, and we have a deep longing to connect, but it’s really hard to find mutually compatible portals where our Cage lines up with another’s Cage, where our Customs Agents won’t check our bags, if you please. And then, when we do find a connection, and try to share the other Wings in our Cage that we’re particularly delighted with, the Other Person won’t be able to share it, because their Wings don’t match up with ours. Same with their desire to share their Wings, and our Customs Agents.
Adding a Wing to our Birdcage, which we gotta do every time we want to grow, is like adding a Wing to a Space Station. We can’t just knock down a wall, or we’d let all the Safety out. We have to build the equivalent of an airlock, a Safelock, or time things just right while the Dragon, or Sylvester, is sleeping. So it’s always a dance on a sharp edge, between Safety and Growth. We all have different natal proclivities, where we lean toward one side or the other, in one area of life or another.
We’ve talked quite a bit about the Fourth Harmonic, Dominion, and how to tame a Fourth Harmonic (learn to see it as a serendipitous journey toward situational Wisdom, rather than a destination with preset Correct and Incorrect categories). The Fourth is one of the most challenging Harmonics we get, but we haven’t introduced the Eighth Harmonic yet. The Eighth is the Fourth’s smaller cousin. It symbolizes Alignment and Balance. Those are two of the most troublesome aspects of the Fourth Harmonic, so practicing them under the easier Eighth Harmonic, where they’re much simpler, could be a real Teacher for us.
The Full Moon chart that visits us today (4pm PST) and ushers in Uranus crossing the Aries Point (7pm PST), is a very busy chart, but it features two strong Eighth Harmonic relationships that give us opportunities to practice – Mercury-Saturn and Ketu-Neptune (Ketu is the Moon’s South Node, also called the Dragon’s Tail). Mercury-Saturn is about the relationship between mind (Mercury) and Ego (Saturn). One element of that is of course self-criticism and self-justification. Bringing those into Alignment and Balance would involve neutrality – not Self-Love per se, because Love happens in the Heart, not in the mind or the Ego. But the I’m Okay You’re Okay place, where we’re free to be ourself, and we’re Safe to let others be themselves, but we’re quick to Set Boundaries or Make Amends as soon as harm begins to enter the picture.
Ketu represents all of the skills we’ve accumulated in all of our past lives, all tangled up with all of the emotional baggage we have left from all of our past lives – it’s a biggie, eh? Neptune, meanwhile, represents Grace. So it’s a very different realm than Mercury-Saturn, largely emotional and somatic, but the exercise is kinda the same – finding neutrality. The place where we recognize and enjoy our talents (including especially the talents we didn’t know we had, and the ones we’ve never nurtured), and we’re aware of our emotional load while neither denying it nor letting it have its way with us. That would be some Alignment and Balance, eh? To pull it off we’d probably be tapping furiously, but that’s cool.
Now, both Saturn and Neptune are standing still right now, through the weekend, so they’re both very strong. So we don’t want to create big hurdles for ourself and make Big Expectations about what we might achieve with these exercises. Being conscious of self-judgment and self-justification, and being able to say, “Oh, there’s the mind dancing with the Ego again!” a half dozen times a day is probably a realistic goal. The mind and the Ego could easily be dancing around Safety and Risk – Oh, I shoudna! and Oh I shoulda! As Joan Armatrading puts it, This time it’s too late/ But I’ll know next time/ To mix some Water with the Wine.
And the Ketu-Neptune thing – we’re probably doing well to conceive of the possibility of bringing neutrality to our emotions and allowing hidden talents to arise unbidden to create what we’d consider to be Miracles. This’ll be more like Daydreaming than Presence, leaning toward something like Lucid Daydreaming. We’d want to be careful not to cast these as Hero stories – that’s the Saturn Ego butting in. Neptune’s a behind-the-scenes kinda operator. Maybe dwelling more on pleasure we might get from pulling off some well-admired skill, rather than adulation.