from my colleague, Astrologer, Marcia Buchart
There’s a popular notion that our entire body replaces all its cells every seven years—just about (OMG!) the length of time Uranus spends in a sign. Well, the notion isn’t strictly true; some pieces of us replace more frequently (our skin and other epithelial tissue) some more slowly (fat cells fully replace every 10 years; heart muscle cells replace even slower, and some of the original ones remain to the end of life).
And one significant part—the neurons in the cerebral cortex, where we store all our memories, our ideas, our whole way of thinking about ourselves and where we fit into existence—not at all.
Does this fact of our physical existence offer a metaphor for why we find it so hard to “let go”? And, at the same time, show us the way out?
The internet is alive with the kind of cheerleading that arrived in my inbox today: “It is time to set yourself free and allow for personal awakenings…” while others plead for everyone to wake up and realize that we are all one.
And most of them contain either an overt or sub-theme that the whole process of either setting oneself free or joining in the fight to uplift the collective will hurt like hell.
Well, hell, no.
All you have to do to do things differently is get a clue from your own physical vessel. Yup, the one you condemn, despise, complain about, deride; the one on which you lay the blame for so many of your failings.
Even the Bible proclaims: “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
The spirit is what is not willing to let go.
To the neurons in your cerebral cortex, you are now all the “you” that you have ever been. But the rest of your body lets go with the greatest of ease. Your skin, your gut, your hair and nails, molt with quiet grace and aplomb. Invisibly. Your lovely digestive tract carefully winnows out what can become You and what cannot, and sends what cannot on its way. (The only time this system ever malfunctions is when you have done something to mess it up.) Your lungs give out what would quickly kill you—carbon dioxide—to nourish and sustain the plant life around you. Your kidneys engage in an exquisitely complex juggling act to ensure the health of your blood chemistry; your liver processes and disposes of pounds upon pounds of toxins throughout your lifetime. And all these organs replace themselves completely, quietly, easily, on a regular basis. The liver, the kidneys, the lungs, the skin, the eyes, the stomach…when cells within them do not accept their fate and allow themselves to die in the course of time, you have cancer.
So yes: except for your cerebral cortex neurons and some of your heart muscle, you are not the same person who saw Uranus enter Pisces (in 2003). Almost all of you, as Uranus enters Aries (March 2011), is new.
This concept was shoved in my face as I read, with fascination, a 2010 interview with Aron Ralston in Outside magazine.
He was the mountaineer whose survival story was made into the movie “127 Hours”. As he reflected on the process of watching a movie made of his ordeal he realized that filming was wrapping precisely during the anniversary week of that ordeal. He said:
“If there’s any truth to the idea that our bodies replace their cells every seven years, this day finally marks the moment when I’m no longer the same person who walked into Blue John in 2003. In a week, I’ll no longer be the person who walked out, either…” and then mused that this profoundly subtle rebirth symbolized a time to let that chapter of his life close, while remembering its lesson for him: “…that relationships, not accomplishments, are what’s important in life.”
Way to use the cerebral cortex, dude!
So: what will Nearly-Completely-New-You do with your life now?
Well, what was going on seven years ago that might now be over and done with?
How can you live anew while remembering its lesson?
In what way are you reborn that you haven’t realized yet?
I offer a tip from the most profoundly masterful revolutionary I ever knew. This man was a natural: born with Uranus conjunct his ascendant. His revolutions were never accomplished by blowing things up and (supposedly) starting over; that’s one sure way to “meet the new boss / same as the old boss” (thank you, Pete Townshend).
Whatever venue of life he found himself in, he would study its incidents, its people, its culture—and read its “rule book”. And when change was needed to help his community survive, he would force it—by following the rules. By finding the one rule that, if enforced, would cause a cascade of change to occur.
This is not dissimilar to astrologer Bernadette Brady’s (you can listen to her lecture here: Chaotic Astrology-A Journey into the Complex) recommendation for courting change hinted at by your transits: change one small thing about your daily routine—the wrist on which you wear your watch, which foot you put into your pants first when dressing, the side on which you part your hair—and do it consistently. Keep doing it. And something will begin to change.
Perhaps one of the lessons of Japan, of Libya, of Wisconsin, of all the upheaval around us is that traumatic change occurs most frequently when we have hung on too long, when we have forced things to stay the same, despite the excellent example our physical vessels keep patiently providing us. After all, catastrophic earthquakes occur when the shifts in Earth’s tectonic plates—always in motion—have been prevented from happening for too long.
So breathe out.
And then…breathe in.