Every few days or so I’ll receive a concerned email, asking: Are you okay? The Kilauea volcano is erupting, as it has continuously for decades, the last eruption was in 2014, lasting several months. The islands were formed by volcanic eruptions, so volcanoes erupting is part of life here. One resident sums up the destruction of her hometown of Pahoa with a sentiment that’s oft-repeated: “It’s Pele’s. She made this place and she can take it away. We all need to clean house.”

We live in Oahu, where there are no active volcanoes; Kilauea is on the big island. The volcano has affected me, though. As an energy sensitive I FELT this on deep levels. But first, a little background and context about where I now live.

Hawaii’s energy is different. It’s a higher vibration. Spend an amount of time here and things in your consciousness that need to be moved out and cleared, accelerate. People can move to paradise and be surprised to have their shit shaken up. My neighbor told me she walked through a glass door within weeks she arrived, earning stitches on one side of her face. She said the island was “testing” her: “It was asking me how badly I really want to be here.” (30 years ago. She’s still here). Another friend spent a few months on the big island and cried the whole time. When I told her I was moving here, she said, a tone of warning, “Hawaii clears energy.” I knew what she meant. What is it about Hawaii- the constant tropical rain, salty air (salt has an ability to absorb negative energy)? Or is it Pele, Hawaiian Goddess of Fire?

Pele is a presence here. A creator/destroyer Goddess, in myth she was periodically attacked by her older sister, and created the Hawaiian islands as a healing sanctuary and refuge. Eventually she died at the hand of her sister. At her death, Pele made her final home in the Kilauea volcano (yes, that volcano). For Pele, “Cleaning house” can mean loss, death, destruction of what you most love. She’s no joke. We can recognize her in any Pluto transit we’ve experienced. Pele has Plutonian logic.

One resident: “As long as Pele is erupting, we say she is dancing,” said Kame’eleihiwa, who referenced the sudden uptick in earthquakes as Pele in labor. “She is giving birth to land.”

My Dance with Pele

As an empath, I feel energies. The interplay between what’s “mine” and what’s in the energy field around me is fluid. The week of the initial eruption, I spoke with a client who was leaving her 30 year marriage, and a friend shared dissatisfaction with her committed partnership. That same week that I was reading about family homes disappearing into fault lines, a major childhood abandonment wound broke through the surface of my life. I believed I needed to leave my marriage. For 9 days, I believed the thought that seemed to appear by as if Divine mandate: “I have to take my next step of evolution, alone.”

It was terrifying. I was in misery. I couldn’t eat. I felt like I was dying. I cried constantly. I thought “Fuck, you move all the way to Hawaii, only to have to give it all up,” -reflecting an Ego belief that the other shoe would drop. I felt I was being torn in half. On one hand I heard a voice in my head tell me that my whole marriage was a mirage, and that I had to leave. On the other, I did not believe it at all. Because, despite what this “voice of awakening” told me, I did not want to leave. I love my husband. I love our life.

Synchronicity obliged my thoughts. In a “law of attraction” way, comic strips, people in line at the grocery, everyone was talking about divorce. I attended an author talk and saw myself in the person onstage years from now, in my own version of Eat, Pray, Love. I was Buddha, Christ, Liz, and every spiritual person who had renunciated all they loved (or had it taken away) in order to experience awakening. This was not a welcome image, nor is this truthful about awakening. I began to understand what it’s like to hear voices and believe them. The difference between me and “crazy” was that I didn’t believe them. Not entirely. I didn’t want to give up everything. I didn’t want to travel the world to find myself.

Paradoxically, I was more compassionate toward myself than I’ve ever been. I was so, so kind. I constantly oriented toward making my body as comfortable as possible. I did not judge myself for what was happening. Amazingly, I was extremely mindful about the whole process, minute by minute asking myself what wanted to be felt, what I needed in this moment, what wanted to be expressed. If I cried, I cried. If I needed to go sit at the park, I did that.

Finally,  I spoke to my teacher about all of this. The first question she asked me was: What have we been learning about truth? Truth always feels good. Even if it requires a change, it will ultimately feel liberating and freeing. So, if you are feeling like you are dying, how could this thought possibly be true?

Within seconds of hearing her voice, I understood. This was a voice of awakening, but it wasn’t my awake voice; this was my childhood conditioning speaking.

The feelings quickly subsided as we spoke, the energy clearing. After we hung up the phone, all I wanted was a piece of berry pie and a swim in the ocean. So I did.

What had happened? I had encountered a core wound in the form of my worst nightmare. It’s core was so icy hot, so dangerous, it needed to erupt to see the light of day, the hot lava to flow, the healing to be experienced, lived and felt, in a more conscious and mindful way.

It became clear that this core wound had been given too much authority in my life. I had been re-enacting my childhood training, regarding relationship, “It’s my way or the high way.” The weekend prior, some issues with John came up that triggered this, and pushed me to my edge and that edge cracked. Erupted. Full on fault line. It became apparent: My Soul did not want my Ego to keep believing the childhood message that intimate relationship is an autocracy in which one person must sacrifice essential self parts to survive it. Two people can be whole, together. I had integrated this to a degree, still I had a persistent pattern of abandoning myself. And something had to give.

Astrologically, my natal Pluto-Mars-Sun was receiving multiple transits, and so was my Chiron in Aries. Uranus in Aries was exactly square my natal Mercury-Uranus square, which explained the mental and cognitive aspect . Transiting Pluto hovered around my IC, stimulating my unconscious mind to purge. To be clear, these were triggers for my unfolding, not the planets or the Gods acting upon me. Astrology is powerful, but it does not ever have the power facilitate an event in your life that your Soul doesn’t already want to experience. This was about ME- wanting me to heal & awaken.

Interconnection vs. Victimhood

Interconnection is a reality. We aren’t taught to see it that way, though.  We think our childhood relationships are separate from our adult ones, and what happens in one part of the world can’t possibly affect us, here. We perceive the solid flesh of this body confirms our separateness, not our interconnection. We forget that our Spirit is intimately connected to One and All, not bound by anything. An eruption on an island 200 miles away, in the world out there, couldn’t possibly connect to an inner eruption, inside here. A movement of a planet in the sky couldn’t possibly be triggering the next phase of our unfolding. But as those of us who study astrology continually discover… it is all connected.

As I reflected on how to hold my experience, I realized that for those of us who feel soooo much, it is easy to give our authority (for feeling good, okay, happy, bad or sad) to forces outside of our self, which can create victim consciousness. Are we powerless to Pele’s dance… or made more powerful, more centered in Divine Consciousness herself, for being so connected?

Perhaps, in giving authority to forces outside of our self, we are empath-ing a larger field of “belief”. My neighbor suggested the islands test us. There is a fine line between superstition and reverence for Mystery. The idea that the Gods, Goddesses, planets… anything out side of our self… controls our fate, is an ancient one. It harkens all the way back to earliest civilizations, and lingers in the shadow of fortune-telling astrology (so many clients come to me with fatalistic ideas after being told what’s possible – or more accurately, what’s impossible- for them). Yet when we buy into superstition, we give power to fear. When we partner with Mystery, we acknowledge that there are energies beyond our understanding, and we locate the faith and trust to be okay with that.

The fates do not control us. Our Soul directs our life experience. The more we center in that Divine Self authority, the less likely we are to feel victimized when we experience events that rock and shock us.

At this Full Moon, where is your authority? In fear and anxiety, or truth and faith? 

Because this is life, isn’t it? Aren’t we all in the same boat, the one in which none of us gets out alive? Hawaiians say, about this horrific and terrifying volcano event affecting so many lives, that this loss and destruction is a natural cycle. That this destruction is necessary for cleaning house. And, that it’s the aloha of the community, the compassion and love shared for one another, that will create grace for all.

This is Goddess wisdom. This is tender compassion -and- sober realism. The bracing clarity of the Cancer Sun and Capricorn Full Moon require our compassion. Stuff happens that is sad, disheartening, terrifying. And since what we give authority to, grows, how we hold our experience, how we treat our self and one another makes all the difference. Indeed, it’s the only thing we take with us beyond the grave.

When the hot lava bubbled up from my depths, I was terrified. Yet it liberated me into a new relationship with myself. The inner landscape is new, now. Lava boiling up from the deeps, the destruction we experience, creates new land formations and gives birth to more of these gorgeous islands. How’s that for perspective? Every time our own unconscious erupts, as it often does, we also are giving birth to our self. Our Soul directs growth through these experiences. Not the other way around.

We are not leaves of a tree being blown about at the whims of the wind, planets, Pele or fate. We are the taproot, as challenging as this can be to remember. We are souls on a customized all-inclusive journey, one designed especially for our maximum unfolding.

For all of us, this will include at least one, and more likely many, dances with Pele.

At this Full Moon, take a moment to call back your energy, into your body. Feel it settle into your sitz bone, the root chakra and run through your pelvis, legs, feet, down to the Earth. You are the roots of the tree, the captain of your ship. You are the Divine made manifest, and you are having one of the most difficult, gorgeous, complex experiences a Soul can have: an incarnation on Earth. Savor the dance.