To go along with our first New Moon Newletter, I want to write deeper on what I mean when I talk about the Spiral path of growth, non-linear growth, and the flux associated with the Moon cycles.
As a heads up: I do not claim either approach is better than the other. They both come with their own advantages and pitfalls. I am drawing from Paulo Coelho’s Brida for the Sun/Moon path referenes, and in that book he says “The Paths eventually become one in the same anyway” (I’m paraphrasing). Indeed the Sun and Moon are both tied to larger circular cycles, so its a matter of taste which rhythm you follow and resonate with (and to eventually dance in All as One Path!)
The point is to raise awareness about the more hidden, less prominent and walked (in the West) path of the Moon.
First Linear Growth: The Path of the Sun
In the physical and human world we see a lot of linear growth patterns. Humans grow from babies ascending in height until teenage-early twenties on average. Trees often grow straight up over time, building their years as rings of wood. Careers build on experience, tools, workshops, and knowledge gained over time as one reaches for the peak of their career.
Then we either fight against, or submit to the decline from the peak. Descending in health, height, vitality, productivity, etc. down toward death. This is a grim picture, but many accept it, or refuse to accept by fighting against nature-which still accepts the same picture as the framework of truth.
Their is indeed truth in the rise and fall of all things, and anyone who has climbed a mountain is well aware of the path upward and downward. However there is a danger if we apply this as the complete truth to our spiritual growth: the issue of backsliding, aka not constantly improving, as a huge issue that is difficult to process.
Some defense mechanisms around backsliding include: Switching practices or growth paths (the “It didn’t work for me” mentality), defeatism (the “I’m not good enough, I’m a failure” mentality), and false expectations (the “I’m better than this I’ve grown past it, I WILL make it work” mentality) to name a few.
Backsliding is not uncommon or to be avoided, as it is represents that you’ve actually taken steps forward on your path in the first place! We’ll get back to backsliding after we cover non-linear growth:
Non-Linear Growth: The Moon Path
I use the Spiral as a symbol so that we can see the circular rhythm to the 30 day Moon cycle (and larger replications of this) clearly. If you visualize the center of the spiral standing up, you would also see a mountain in which one walks round and round the spire to reach the peak.
In life we see this a bit more intuitively: how many things have you “come back around to” in your interests? Guitars put down at 15 show up as a renewed interest at 24. Arts and crafts long abandoned as ‘something I’m not good at’ after age 6 show up when you pick up coloring books or doodle self-help art manuals.
Professionally as well, coming back to something when you’re on a “higher level” of the spiral is can be more productive and insightful than trying to segment “ok I spent 4 years straight in Medical School I’m set.” This was the advice I was given when studying abroad in Japan: better to go 6 months, come home and integrate, then return for another 6 months than to go for a full year. Part of the non-linear path is understanding we as humans get “saturated” from any experience and can no longer go deeper (or grow higher) without the corresponding integration and application outside of the learning environment. This is not to say that people do not or cannot learn spending 10 years straight in another environment-everyone is different in their growth which is why I added the preface to this post.
There is an advantage in a fresh way of looking at backsliding on the Moon path.
Using Backsliding to our Advantage: Eliminate the Stigma
The saying “two steps forward one step back” comes to mind. This common sense actually is stressful when it lives in our bodies. There’s a Qi Gong move from GoT 4 that embodies it which is how I came across this feeling, but try it for yourself: Go out into your yard or the longest stretch of open field near you. Walk across it, with two steps forward then one step back. Let me know how you feel during!
What I’ve begun working on myself is how to value the backsteps: turning it into a dance. When I no longer have that goal I’m trying to get to, its easier to get into the rhythm of the Moon Path. Life becomes a celebration and the backslide, the backstep-is a God send. A break from the winds that came at you head on at times in the path of change.
Another metaphor is to think of yourself as a building, building one layer at a time. However no layer is every really complete, since you are an organic house! When you re-decorate, do you want to update the whole house or only one room or floor?
Let’s say we’ve got a solid foundation: now we’re building levels 4 and 5 of our house. Now we go up to where 6 is, but that’s very intense-its high up there after all. We come back down from 6 and work on 3 a little bit more because that’s the room that needs a bit more development. In working on 3 we remember there’s things in the foundation that are unused-forgotten in the dark. Those things turn out to be exactly what we needed to finish up level 5, which gives a solid stepping back point when we want to explore 6.
In this metaphor the “backslide” is when you retreat from a higher level. Its a retreat made out of wisdom- not fear. You got a taste of that brand new level, so now its back to the comfort zone to mull it over. In Astrology this tension is seen in your North and South Nodes. A VERY important set of points that will help you understand your own “backslide” rhythm.
For example, my North Node (or “Stretch Goal” as Phillip Young calls it in his Astrology Unlocked Book) is in Aquarius. My South Node is in Leo. My path is called the “Way of Freedom” in the Secret Language of Birthdays (by Gary Goldschneider). Every time I reach deeper into Aquarius energy I at first experience a greet flow of being on my Path, of making progress. I experience that beautiful freedom that makes my soul sing-but then turbulence happens. This is not my comfort zone, not my area of familiarity. When things get rocky, abandoning Leo energy and pushing in a Linear way deeper into Aquarius has gotten me into a lot of trouble. During this times, its been wiser for me to step back into my Leo as a resource. A safe haven where things “make sense” again and I can gather my inner strength for another sojourn into Aquarius.
When put in terms of Astrology it makes a bit more sense thatn the 1-4-5-3-1-6-3-4-2-6 sort of dance that the building metaphor had. However which one more accurately represents Life I’ll leave up to you. This sort of “what sense does that make?” navigation through your own “levels” is exactly why its called non-linear growth, and why rational models and mindsets are only so effective.
One thing is clear: Using the backstep as a respite, and seeing life as a dance allows us a lot less pressure on ourselves. A lot more room to grow!
Thanks for reading,
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