Emerging Archetypal Themes:
Pisces, Rebirth & ‘Groundhog’s Day’
Reincarnation: Evolving our Soul, Living our Spirit
I don’t know when we Westerns forgot that we come back to Earth in many incarnations. Just think of it: Since we are part of Mother Earth (‘from dust to dust’), then we are bound to live according to Her laws. These cosmic laws or archetypes give form to our lives and are the terms and structures of our initiation into consciousness here on Earth.
One of the most obvious natural laws is that of cycles. Our universe is full of examples of the cyclical nature of life: cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, the cycles of the Sun and Moon, the planetary and stellar cycles, the cycles of plant and tree life, of seasons and weathers, the repeating patterns of fractals, all these comprise the cycle of life itself.
In this cyclic archetypal pattern of birth—death—rebirth, death is merely one stage of the whole, and rebirth is inevitable. Isn’t it true that the silence of Winter makes the Spring feel more ecstatic? We need to experience and accept each part of the cosmic cycle to stay ‘full of life.’ We are all subject to these laws when we ‘embody’ – when we come into this material dimension.
Our souls also obey these cosmic laws. If our individual souls are the vehicles of the Spirit within us, then our souls have achieved enough self-awareness to ‘embody’ as a conscious being. And that begins a whole new journey – the journey to realize our Divinity. To become conscious Human Beings!
This part of our journey entails free will. We are called to choose to live according to the laws of our Sky Father. The Father’s laws are moral laws, laws that at their best support life’s evolution and health, and as such, are wise guides for a conscious humanity. These laws are what Christ and the Buddha and all Avatars of Spirit have practiced and taught down through the ages. We develop our soul’s integrity by how we experience life and its tests and pleasures; we use our free will to choose our course wisely, or we create an experience which teaches the lesson we need to learn to do so.
The three major Western religions have concentrated on the Father’s laws; unfortunately, because of their patriarchal one-sidedness, they also used these often misunderstood laws to condemn and reject Mother Earth’s laws. That’s one reason we forgot about reincarnation, even though it’s mentioned in the Bible. We were taught to fear and deny our own nature. We especially learned to fear death and change. And so we get stuck in a life-in-death, a life ruled by rules, rather than a life lived through Spirit.
But we are still bound to live within Mother Earth’s laws, and so the very idea of reincarnation is bred in our bones, part of our DNA, and the basis of our eventual growth in consciousness. I don’t know how we can come close to loving, giving service to and becoming Conscious Spirit if we didn’t get the chance to learn all the lessons involved in being human. All those lessons can’t be learned in one lifetime. A wise person has worked hard for that wisdom in other lifetimes as well as in this one. We are the fruits of our labor.
This is the promise of Cosmic Life: we keep getting chances to grow until we get it right. Or until we annihilate ourselves—but then we’ll go back to cosmic dust and begin again. So…
Each of us is here on a mission, a soul mission. If we’re stuck, it’s because we’ve lost track of our mission. That’s when it’s time to let the Ego die and get reborn as the Self; that’s when it’s time to let go of everything and return to the Source. It’s time to let the death aspect of the cycle take you, dissolve what’s dead in you and release you back into new Life come Springtime.
Pisces: Dissolving Back into the Source
The sign of Pisces has a lot to do with the idea of reincarnation. Pisces symbolizes the ocean of the collective unconscious, the ‘source’ of all our earth-knowledge and experiences. The lesson of the last sign of the zodiac is to let go and trust in life, in God, in Goddess. This trust is what helps us learn the lesson of death: we have to let go of this life so we can open to what comes next, and for that, we have to trust in the purpose of Spirit.
Pisces is also the symbol of life. All life arose out of the oceans of the beginning times here on Earth. As our ‘source’ once again, this ocean fills the spaces between lands as well as between material reality and spiritual reality. Pisces is a symbol of the realm of the imagination, that intermediary plane of existence where our intentions form to later become our ‘reality’.
The test of Pisces is that we have to let go and trust in the Spirit of Life. This is a test of consciousness, because in Pisces’ realm, we discover how subjective our understanding of the world is, vis-à-vis our perceptions and beliefs about the world, which can be spot on or delusional; we can also discover that we are living within an archetypal pattern that is our chosen vehicle of incarnation, therein finding our calling or our destiny. Our ego has to let go either way. The ocean is too big to be contained within our small ego; only the Self is large enough. How do we dissolve our attachments to the world while keeping centered in compassion for ourselves and all of life? That is the essence of Pisces: to let the Ego die so we can discover the Self, which is immortal and remembers our purpose here on Earth.
A very Piscean way to understand our perceptions of the world is through our Dreams. Yes! I’m going to keep telling you about the importance of dreams because I know they help us transform our consciousness! Jung says, “But when at last we penetrate to [the dream’s] real meaning, we find ourselves deep in the dreamer's secrets and discover with astonishment that an apparently quite senseless dream is in the highest degree significant, and that in reality it speaks only of important and serious matters.” (On the Psychology of the Unconscious" (1953). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. pg. 24 )
William Blake "Jacob's Ladder"
Working with our dreams means that we have to learn the language of dreams and of the imagination. When we work on the imaginal level with the images that arise from our Unconscious, it awakens us to change more quickly and surely than any amount of rational intentions. Transforming the image shifts the feeling tone and the energy. When we consciously engage with this unconscious part of ourselves, we have a more balanced understanding of our lives.
Just remember: Dreams don’t really tell us what we need to do—they are not moral and they do not judge. They do, however, show us where we are and how we’re acting or reacting to our life. They are pure products of nature and of our nature. They speak the truth about who we are. That’s what being dissolved in Pisces’ ocean does for us. We face our truths so we can be renewed!
When we swim in Pisces’ oceans, we seek to find ways to balance, harmonize and reconcile all duality into the unity of Spirit. We do this especially through our relationships, because Pisces teaches us that we are all ONE. In Pisces, we raise Love to the highest value.
Groundhog’s Day: How Phil Faced Death to Bring Back Life
Groundhog’s Day is another movie everyone loves! Bill Murray is perfect as the curmudgeon weatherman who doesn’t want to be reporting about Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog whose shadow is so important on Groundhog’s Day. It seems our human Phil doesn’t want to come out of his hole to see if a new Spring is on his horizon. As Phil finds himself repeating his day over and over again on February 2nd, he goes through all the stages of death and rebirth that he would go through during many lifetimes. Groundhog’s Day is a perfect story of the purpose of reincarnation—to test our soul and transform our life.
Self-centered TV meteorologist Phil Connors (Bill Murray) has his assignment: along with his news producer Rita, (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry, (Chris Elliott), he has to travel, yet again, to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the annual Groundhog’s Day festivities with Punxsutawney Phil, the Groundhog. Hating this assignment, Phil grudgingly gives his report during the festival and parade and is nasty to his co-workers and townspeople. Phil represents an ego attitude that makes him think he’s better than everyone else. After the celebration, a blizzard develops that Connors has predicted would miss them, closing the roads and shutting down long-distance phone service, forcing the team to return to Punxsutawney. Phil is not pleased to be stuck in town for another night.
Connors awakens the next morning, however, to find it is again February 2, and his day unfolds in exactly the same way as it did before. He is the only one who knows he’s repeating his day. And so it goes. For Connors, Groundhog’s Day begins each morning at 6:00 A.M., with his waking up to the same song, Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe", on his alarm clock radio, but with his memories of the previous day intact. He is trapped in a seemingly endless "time loop" to repeat the same day in the same small town.
Phil’s predicament is probably what our souls’ experience each time we come back into incarnation and find ourselves repeating our lessons. While our ego doesn’t remember our past experiences, there is a part of our soul which does. Like Phil, we go through all the stages of development, from total self-centeredness—which is a childish attitude appropriate for very young children—to the self-awareness, sacrifice and redemption that is our adult responsibility to learn.
Phil is about to experience what Elizabeth Kubler-Ross called the five stages of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. At first when he discovers he’s experiencing the same day over and over again, Phil thinks he’s crazy—he can’t believe it’s happening. But after a few days of this, he begins to take delight in being mean and greedy. He gathers information about the townspeople one day and uses it to manipulate them the next. He seduces women, steals money, and is basically a dirty, rotten scoundrel! He decides he doesn’t have to follow the rules and recklessly drives while drunk and gets arrested. But no matter what he does, he wakes up in the morning in his bed and starts February 2nd all over again.
He tries to seduce Rita, his producer, by remembering what she likes so that each day, he seems to know more and more about her. But it’s not real love—he’s just using information he’s gathered to seduce her. And so her basic goodness recognizes his lies and she stands her ground. And stays unseducable!
Once Phil knows he can’t seduce Rita, he begins to feel desperate. He kidnaps the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, and ends up killing both of them in a fiery crash. Unfortunately, he wakes to another February 2nd. After that, he tries to kill himself by electrocution, being hit by a truck and jumping off a building. But he still wakes up on February 2nd. It’s his ego-attitude which has to die, but he doesn’t realize it.
One morning Phil is so desperate he finally convinces Rita that he is in this time-loop. And she changes something in him by believing him. He makes that discovery that all lovers make: he sees that she is the embodiment of the Good, the True and the Beautiful! Rita has become his anima, his soul-image. And because Phil is starting to learn to love someone besides himself, he finally starts to change.
Now when Phil wakes up, he is happy and helpful. He’s accepted his situation. He starts learning French and how to play the piano. He starts helping other people rather than using them. He becomes a hero, saving the life of a choking man and a boy who falls out of a tree. He finally develops his heart chakra and starts to care about the townspeople he tricked and looked down on before.
One night, an old bum dies after Phil brings him to the emergency room, and in the following days, Phil does everything he can to keep him alive. But day after day, the old man dies on him. A nurse tells him, “He was old. It’s just his time.” Phil has to learn to accept death. Not actively look for it, but to accept that Death and Winter are natural parts of life.
When he finally realizes that death is part of life, Phil awakens to a day when his weather report becomes a great speech about the meaning of Groundhog’s Day, the cycle of life and how Winter is the harbinger of Spring. Everyone listens to him, everyone in town knows and loves him, and finally Rita can trust him enough to love him back.
And when he finally discovers Love, he awakens from the nightmare of his life to find that it is finally February 3rd! He has a new life with Rita and discovers he wants to live in this small town where he knows everyone and they know and love him.
This wonderfully funny and poignant film is about transformation, the transformation that comes when we repeat our failures until they become our blessings. This story is a perfect symbol for reincarnation and its purpose, which is to allow us to learn to live with Love and creativity, rather than hatred and boredom.
Groundhog’s Day is a Pisces story, full of both the dark and light aspects of being human. Phil is such a great example of our modern ego, thinking that climbing the professional ladder is the goal of life and that people are in our lives to be used. But the Spirit of Life itself refuses to let us stay in this very wrong-hearted perception of life. As I mentioned, reincarnation is in our DNA and Life gives us many chances to die to our old behaviors and to find out who we really are. And hopefully, like Phil, we will all remember that our purpose here on Earth is to be good and be true, to fill our lives with beauty and creativity, and most important, to let ourselves love.
From the Bard’s Grove,