In Labor

April 16, 2011

Someone asked me today “when will things get back to normal”.  (It was an astrological question.)   I said “not in our lifetimes.”     We’re in a vast period of change right now.    And each punctuation point, each shock and each upheaval, is a step toward a new way of being on earth.

Why now?  As I’ve said before, the astrological pattern:  Three slow and powerful planets standing on 3 corners of the “cardinal cross” are literally changing our understanding of time.  These planets are all crossing, back and forth, over the points in the sky where we have soltices and equinoxes.  Solstices and equinoxes literally mark the changes of seasons:  They are how we keep time on earth.   They Mayans may say this period will be “the end of time as we know it”, and the planets now are telling us seasons are changing, the way we think of time is changing.   We can’t go back to “how it was.”   We can only discover the beauties of a new normalcy that hasn’t yet been born.

We’re in labor now.   Think of the course of a pregnancy:  usually the beginning is a lot of fun.  The pregnancy itself is literally an expansion period.  Mom eats more, her body signals her to rest, there is anticipation of great change and the discomfort of growth.  But Mom can’t just keep getting bigger and bigger.  There will come a day when the pregnancy ends, and usually that means some level of discomfort.   Labor, especially natural labor, is a difficult and  painful process.  It comes in waves, and often women fear they are about to die.  Some do.  But life can’t continue without this process.

In a fractal sense, the earth, the solar system, the universe, all go through similar processes.  The earth may buck and heave, people may shout and fight, the old, overgrown, too-large systems begin to break down.   And what is the result?   Something new–the new child, the new vision, a new social arrangement–that requires work and dedication, but which all agree is worth it.   The new life we are preparing to nurture will be worth the travail of birthing it, and worth the work to bring it to maturity.

Should we rail against the excesses of the dying age?   No.  No more than we should rail against the excesses of pregnancy.   That too, was part of the process.   And for the dear soul who worried that the pain of birth is woman’s punishment for Eve’s transgression…  I think not.   If giving birth were as pleasant as an orgasm, this earth would have been overrun with humans to die off in horrible plagues many more times than we’ve experienced so far:  my guess is that total plaguedom would have hit us about every 80 years, which is more trauma than most of us want to inherit.

We are the midwives of the process.   Our job is to watch the waves of change break over us and recede, keep adapting to the changes of the last series of pains, prepare ourselves for the next shocks, until we see the beginning of the new.   We will never “get back to normal”  because “normal” is in the process of change.  Our children and grandchildren will have enough time in the new arrangement to get a sense of “normal”, but our job is to keep riding the waves.


One Response to “In Labor”

  1. BK on April 20th, 2011 9:44 pm

    Anne, I was thinking of the birth metaphor today in regard to Passover. A major theme is the deliverance from ‘mitzrayim’ (my Heb. transliteration). This word means ‘the narrow space’ and is the same word as Egypt, i.e. deliverance from slavery.

    My husband was selling window coverings to a man who grew up w/ our son. This man is a teacher and a lovely person. His wife was very pregnant. It was also our son’s Today I saw the friend outside the hospital when I went for lab tests. The ‘very pregnant’ wife was in labor in the car, before they entered the hospital. She was in ‘the narrow space’, w/ the baby, of course.

    I like your metaphor. I have been remembering my own labor, 40 years ago. I understand our cohorts have to keep w/standing wave after wave. I’m glad you see some relief for the ‘younger ones’. I say, I’m glad to be living at the BEGINNING of the apocalypse. Meaning, I guess, I’m happy not to have TOO many years of this to go. It’s wearying, if sometimes exciting, maybe hopeful, if we can WAKE UP in time.

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