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When the Whole World Feels Like a Scraped Knee 

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What do you do when you have a cut or scrape? Do you ignore it or keep picking at the scab trying to form? When resources, knowledge, motivation -- or a value on healing -- are lacking, those can seem like the only two options. But there are others.

Depending on how severe the wound is one might need stitches, or surgery to remove a foreign object; maybe a simple lancing to release the puss. You might choose to apply an antibiotic cream to reduce infection and stick on a band-aid to protect it from dirt and unnecessary contact while it heals. Maybe in addition you’ll try some ancient technique or wisdom: a little Reiki, an herbal salve.

Perhaps you’re the type to research the wound thoroughly and ask everyone you know what they would do. If you’re a child (or feeling small and tender and in need of some TLC), a loved one might kiss the boo-boo -- and whether or not it heals the wound itself any faster, you feel a little better. It’s hard to measure that effect, yet it’s real.

People in the US and elsewhere are in a lot of pain right now -- psychic, energetic, emotional pain -- and could describe you. Specifically, the events of last week feel rather like someone has picked the scab off a giant wound we’ve been trying to ignore; one that has been festering to various degrees for decades or even centuries.

And suddenly, none of our usual methods of dealing with it seem up to the task. Ignoring it sure as shit won’t work; that’s partly what let it get so bad. Cutting into it with more violence will not work, despite the seeming need to remove something from the situation.

We can’t just cover it over and leave it alone -- though a bandage made of empathy, a desire to understand, and the willingness to take responsibility for whatever part of it belongs to each of us might form a container in which healing can begin. Ancient wisdom -- whether in the form of energy work or the most heart-centered religious and cultural teachings (“Love thy neighbor” comes to mind) -- certainly seems to have a place.

Yet to be effective, that wisdom must be put into physical, active practice on an ongoing basis. That takes effort and awareness and devotion, and that can be exhausting.

What about kissing the boo-boo? Not exactly appropriate in any literal sense for dealing with complex racial and socio-economic class issues. At the same time, variations on that gesture might be absolutely crucial on a personal level, especially if you have directly experienced a trauma.

I’d even say that we all need to engage in some self-care and extra compassion for each other when the news (or life in your own community) is seething with images of violence, and the fear, hate and defensiveness that go with them. It’s not about being parental or childish: it’s about interrupting the constant firing of the adrenal glands so that you (or another) can relax a little and let your mind and heart do their jobs from a clearer space.

Which all brings me to the current astrology. The sky has been busy as we grapple with, seek to resolve and try to stay sane within the context of last week’s murders of two black men by white police officers and the subsequent murder of five white police officers by a black man. Race and class are complicit in a culture that is far from ‘black and white’, yet the unhelpful pull to polarize the situation is strong.

The Cancer Sun is squaring the Uranus-Eris conjunction (exact Friday through Saturday). You might say this is where we see the illustration of the compulsion to do something: to take care of the situation in some way; to care for yourself and those you love; to assert your identity. This might be especially true if you have felt marginalized culturally, or if you are surprising yourself with how willing you are to question national identity tropes (and question your friends and yourself on social media).

At the same time, the Sun is in a grand water trine with Mars in Scorpio and Chiron in Pisces (exact Saturday through Sunday). Trines are all about flow, harmony and ease.

Yet, I can see how this particular trine could keep some people swirling in circles with all the pain in the air, since water signs are all about emotion. But self-care is not the same as withdrawing from the world and ignoring the wound; ideally, self-care allows you to reach equilibrium again to facilitate engaging the world and active healing.

In fact, noted astrologer Barbara Hand Clow writes that Mars trine Chiron “cuts down on the general tendency for trines to be lazy,” and instead can facilitate breakthroughs. She says that Sun trine Chiron attunes us to transmutation and “encourages a very creative view of the universe.” Her words are not a magic wand, but they are encouraging.

Finally, Venus (the planet of love) entered Leo Tuesday and Mercury, planet of intellect, did the same yesterday. As my Planet Waves colleague Len Wallick pointed out, this would be a good time to emulate Venus and Mercury in the sign ruled by our life-giving Sun: let your mind follow your heart.

Stitches and band-aids and kisses might be good for scrapes. But in the realm of deep societal wounds and the personal pain we feel as a result, love and empathy must accompany awareness and action if we want to heal–even if we’re not done uncovering the severity of the infection yet.

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