Elephant sitting in a boat by sea. This is a 3d render illustration

Waking up the morning after the election was traumatic for many. It was for us. My husband turned over and said, “the last time I felt this way it was 9/11.” A component of trauma is shock and surprise, along with feelings of powerlessness.

The shock was perhaps made more surprising because it was occurring on home soil, in a place we thought we knew, in this land we’ve lived our whole life and so maybe have taken its familiarity for granted. We woke up to a new world, that day. Clearly, we’d been asleep in more ways than one.

Waking up in America on that particular day reminded me of a visit to Egypt. A strange land with odd customs, faces with expressions I couldn’t interpret, Egypt thrust me into raw, messy, undigested and unfamiliar life. In a taxi screaming down the highway, barely missing entire families crossing the road, Egypt felt chaotic, and terrifying. It was my first experience of culture shock. I remember balling up on the bathroom floor in tears, my nervous system overwhelmed by too many differences that didn’t add up.

Yet in the world of Sagittarius, that’s called growth. If you don’t want to grow, says Sagittarius, don’t ask the big questions, and never leave home. Don’t seek higher knowledge, and don’t expand your mind. Certainly, don’t interact with anyone who sees the world differently from you.

In Egypt, I had to open my mind, look at life, culture, people, from a different point of view. I didn’t argue with the clothes required in this one-hundred degree heat (even though it was crazy). I learned to embrace being on totally foreign territory, externally and inside myself – because disorientation isn’t just a physical, material phenomenon, but a spiritual one. As a traveller and journeyer, we accept disorientation as part of the price of the journey. By being thrust into the unfamiliar, we learn to expand our inner boundaries.

Lately living in America is a study in being on newly unfamiliar terrain. Yet something beautiful is happening. Emboldened or appalled by the changes occurring, people are sharing experiences, ideas and beliefs on levels that we haven’t in many decades. Misogyny, racism, the electoral college, new cabinet appointments are all being questioned and discussed.

Sure, it’s messy, and ugly, at times, but like it or not, political upheaval is opening us up to having discussions about important things. People are being forced to deal with their emotions, anxieties and fears, and to be adults about it. This is what it means to be alive during uncomfortable times; we have uncomfortable feelings. As passivity is looking much more like apathy, the invitation is to engage, in the way that feels right for you, but to allow your self to engage in new ways. I can’t help but think that this is what it looks like to wake up from a slumber. As many others have said, the election results have shown us to the extent we have been living in a bubble.

This New Moon is square dissolving, illusory, uncertain Neptune. We don’t exactly know what’s next.  We’re all a little disoriented. We do know is something has been permanently altered. We may not know what to do, but temporary non-action is actually part of figuring out what to do. Our consciousness needs time to process, assimilate, and that’s okay.

Yet those of us who heed astrology know it provides a reliable GPS, giving us instructive advice for any season in which we find our selves. Astrology can be quite grounding in times like these. Rather than place our peace in precarious external influences, by flowing with the planets, our inner compass clicks into place and we connect with our own guidance.

Sagittarius season always asks us to expand our perspective: read a new book, talk with a wise man or woman, take a journey, venture outside your culture or comfort zone. You might want to befriend your inner traveller or journeyer at this New Moon, as cranky or weary as they are. It’s been a long, harrowing and surprising journey. Chances are, they are, you are, tired, in need of refreshment, inspiration… and perhaps a nice foot rub (Neptune in Pisces)? With Neptune’s involvement, remember that We Are One, that behind all the rhetoric of ego consciousness, we all come from and return to the same place.  We can hold the paradox of taking the world seriously enough to remain awake and aware about what’s happening around and within us, but not so seriously that it undermines our basic goodness and confidence in our self, others, life itself.

And allow Sag to remind you of this very important fact: life is good. Even if you’re barreling down an Egyptian highway (so terrified, your eyes are closed) wrapped in blankets of clothing in one-hundred degree heat. Even then. Because while being disoriented in unfamiliar territory is shocking, as we have these very different experiences, we eventually regard our self, our world, differently. If we can see this time as an exciting adventure, ripe with opportunities for growth, that’s the spirit of Sagittarius.