New Moon, July 20, 2020

Each new moon, I ask my guides for a story to describe the collective energy for the coming month, and certain tasks to help align with it. This is similar perhaps to an astrological forecast, except from a different perspective.
This is the fourth month of trying this and already it has been quite a journey. Each message is an adventure into the unknown, since the metaphorical story sometimes takes a little time to unpack as events unfold. I received the story on Monday, July 20,  but yesterday just got a clue about how to understand the meaning of this message. I was talking with a friend who is a college professor. She was discussing the new classroom landscape of pre-recorded lectures and pre-packaged curricula and how that might impact the quality of education. She suddenly asked me, What does a liberal arts education mean to you?
The light went on! I suddenly saw the paving stones and the pillars and arches of the story as part of the edifice of western civilization, founded on certain ideals. Education, as one of the paving stones carrying that edifice forward, had been embedded in the road with, say, the bricks of Knowledge, Freedom, Citizenship, and Peace and Prosperity. Hold Education in your hand, as a single brick, and it is meaningless, begging such questions as: Education for whom, and for what purpose? What kind of knowledge do we need to have? From whom? To what end? Damage the Democracy brick and the surrounding paving stones are also profoundly affected. Set the Education brick in a different context—for example, between Obedience and Authority—and it could start to take the road in a different direction.
If you’d like to share your interpretation and experience, I’d love to hear from you.


Story for the New Moon, July 20, 2020
You are following the broad earthen path lined with majestic old trees. Thanks to them, the ground underfoot is soft and springy. Their canopies dapple the way with shade.
As you continue, pillars start to appear interspersed between the trees, crude representations of the trunks they have replaced. These, over time, depart further from the original form into increasingly refined designs.
The earthen path begins to be paved. Each stone is a word—the way is laid with abstract concepts: Peace, Justice, Freedom, Liberty. Thousands of them. These cobblestones light up when your foot steps on them. But it’s a deserted, abandoned path, with no fellow travellers.
At this point, there are no trees left lining the sides, only the pillars, by now decadently ornate and no longer true to the source of their inspiration: they have lost all resemblance to trees. They span overhead into arches.
The road widens, opening up like into the broad mouth of a delta on the map. By now the words have lost their light. They are crumbled at the edges, with some missing from their settings. This means the others are more vulnerable to chipping and easily dislodged. The pillars here look pockmarked by acid rain. More are broken, the further you go. The way is in ruins.
A horizon line emerges ahead. And then suddenly you are right up against it, at the edge. What an abrupt ending: a chasm so wide that the other side is cast in fog. Some of the paving stones have tumbled over into the abyss.  Many are loose, the surface highly uneven, making the footing more treacherous. This is a dangerous precipice.
Standing here, you try to come to terms with this reality. You begin to weigh your options. What can you do? Much of the paving is beyond repair. Is the chasm even bridgeable? You don’t know what’s on the other side.
You pick up some bricks to see if some might be salvageable. But in your hand, one single stone—let’s say it’s the word Peace— seems useless unless it’s embedded next to Health, Security, and Justice. Some of the words seem puzzlingly old-fashioned—for example, Integrity. What do any of these bricks mean, out of their setting?
Now you feel nostalgic for the earthen path and the vitality of the trees, so authentically elegant and intact. That all seems so far behind.
Who made this road? It was a concerted effort, the strength of it depending on the cobbles being set tight together in a pattern, each brick drawing solidity from its neighbors, together making an enduring, cohesive surface. Remove one brick and the whole section is weakened. You can see how rapidly it happened, how taking out a few key stones loosened the rest, how easily the way is shattered, how swiftly, suddenly, you arrived at the brink.


Some tasks you might consider for the month ahead:
  1. What are the key concepts to pave the next steps into the future? Pick a few.
  2. Consider if they resonate with the origins of the way, that tree-lined earthen path in the forest.
  3. Those old trees provided shade and shelter. They influenced the terrain, softening the ground, building rich soil, inviting birds and a diversity of life. Obviously, what makes a path is what it cuts through, what bounds it on either side. How will you define the limits and parameters of your new path ahead?