The Healing Power of Humility

Humans have survived many major crises throughout history. In an effort not to over-dramatize the times we’re living in, I want to remind us all of the resiliency of the human spirit. It’s easy, right now, to feed off the disgust, despair, and blame circulating in the atmosphere. But we need to recognize that truth, accountability, and decency do matter– and it’s up to us to live in our strength, not in our hatred.

The Sun is in earth sign Virgo, and Mercury just joined it here this week. Mercury is the ruling planet of Virgo, so the planet is especially strong here– meaning that words, thoughts, and perceptions are sharp. Information is flying quickly because Mercury, the fastest planet in the zodiac, is moving at top speed again. It will pass through the entire sign of Virgo in just over two weeks, signalling a rapid-fire process of verbal and mental exchange. This Virgo energy is naturally inclined to improvement and clarity– the energy strives for an ideal of perfection, while getting down to work in the physical reality. We are sorting through the mess and identifying the flaws. The shadow area here is that fault-finding and debilitating self-criticism can overwhelm the nervous system, closing us in to a box of fear and anxiety where we don’t feel strong enough to help, don’t feel competent, and don’t feel like there’s hope that things will get better.DSC03352 (2)

Two larger aspects occur over the next two weeks, during this waxing lunar cycle as we go from Sunday’s New Moon in Virgo to the next Full Moon on September 24th. Jupiter forms a sextile (a 60 degree angle) with Pluto on the 12th, and Mars makes its final of three squares to Uranus on the 18th. The volcanic eruptions seem to be detonating everywhere, in small personal ways and in the larger picture. We have a choice in this astrology: we can run away, returning to the same ways we have dealt with challenge in the past OR we can run toward the problem, resolving to admit what we’re afraid of and to ask for help. Pride and jealousy are major forces churning up activity. To fight against that wave, we need to look to the high road of Virgo– in a word, HUMILITY.

We are more capable than we think we are. Count on that. I found a great article about humility in The New York Times, written in 2013 by Tony Schwartz. In it, he discusses the mistake we make when we confuse ‘humility’ with ‘humiliation’. Schwartz writes, “But genuine humility is a reflection of neither weakness nor insecurity. Instead, it implies a respectful appreciation of the strengths of others, a lack of personal pretension and a more relaxed sense of confidence that doesn’t require external recognition. In a complex world that so plainly and painfully defies answers, humility is also an antidote to overconfidence. It gives leaders permission to accept and acknowledge their limitations, to learn from them and continue to grow and evolve… I don’t need to say out loud that I value confidence and strength. I do need to demonstrate that I also value humility and vulnerability– to embrace these opposites. In the end, the less time we spend protecting our own value, the more time we can spend creating value in the world.”

The more that we can drop old pretenses of false strength, the more we can work to improve our lives.  The opportunity offered here is to radically shift from old patterns of self-defense which may be blocking our way forward. We can actually help each other by asking for help ourselves.