Houston, Texas. Not a town I particularly care for, although I have friends who live there. You see, bad things happened to me in Houston. My grandfather died in Houston. I was once stalked in Houston at a science fiction convention by a creepy guy who asked for naked pictures of me and appeared around every corner. I lost friends in Houston.
As for the town itself, I always said it had the terrible weather of New Orleans without the architectural charm.
An apropos comparison, considering this weekend, the city of Houston experienced the wrath of hurricane-induced flooding that is horrifically reminiscent of the devastation felt by New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
This weekend, we watched as Mother Nature, in a stunning display of furious power, dumped an ocean on this major American city. In some places, rain totals have exceeded 50 inches, and it’s not over yet. According to Jeffrey Lindner, a meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District, the hurricane dumped more than a trillion gallons of rain fell in four days — enough to “run Niagara Falls for 15 days.”
We are watching in horror as this nightmare plays out. It’s the same horror I felt during Katrina as news report after news report came into my Kentucky living room showing the city of my birth drowning. It’s the horror we all felt as we huddled in shock as the second plane flew into the Twin Towers, forever bursting the bubble of innocence we as a nation enjoyed.
Over the past couple of years, the horrors we have witnessed as a planet have come more furiously, with shorter and shorter spaces between for digesting and assimilating the experiences. As a nation, as a planet, we are reeling.
I’d like to tell you it’s all going to be alright. I’d like to tell you the cards I pulled today were full of promise and hope.
What I am going to tell you is this:
- Everything we are experiencing now can be viewed either as a punishment or as an education. There are no guarantees, but the situation is not hopeless.
- Where we come out of this catastrophe depends largely on who we see ourselves as a country. Are we a country divided, or are we a country of neighbors, helping each other through increasingly difficult challenges? (Here’s a hint: the challenges are not going to get easier. They are going to get harder. Much harder. Sorry–you’ve been warned.)
- The sooner we stop seeing these tragedies individually and start seeing the pattern, the better. Whether it’s global warming, systemic racism and class-ism, a critical deficit of empathy and compassion, or some other disruption of universal harmony, the Mother is showing us her might. She’s been trying to get our attention for a long, long time. She sent us a pebble, and we ignored it. She sent us a rock, and we ignored it. Sooner or later, she’s going to drop a mountain on us..
- We are not going to get through this crisis of humanity by sticking with “business as usual.” The current path of greed, self-centeredness, isolation, and cultural one-upsmanship just doesn’t work. It never did. Our species will only survive and thrive when we learn to flex our compassion muscles–not just in periods of acute trauma, but on a daily basis.
- There is no time to wait for the world to be perfect to start acting like human beings. The people on the ground in Houston have shown us that. Citizen navies from Texas and Louisiana have taken to the waters in private watercraft, aiding state and federal forces in rescue efforts. Entire communities are rallying together, citizen first responders looking out for neighbors and strangers alike. And help is coming from across the nation, in the form of food, supplies, donations, even pet rescue.
The spread I did for Houston today was hard to read, hard to think about. I wanted terribly for the final card, the outcome, to be sunny, positive, or at least hopeful.
The card I got was The Moon.
I want to quote the message I got from Tarot.com when I was researching the cards to write this post. I think it really summarizes where we are, and to what we are being led.
The Moon card refers to a deep state of sensitivity and imaginative impressionability, developed within a womb of deep relaxation. Here we dream and go into trance, have visions and receive insights, wash in and out with the psychic tides, and experience deep mystical and/or terrifying realities beyond our ordinary senses. In a state of expanded consciousness, we cannot always control what happens. The Moon card represents the ultimate test of a soul’s integrity, where the membrane between the self and the unknown is removed, and the drop of individuality re-enters the ocean of being. What transpires next is between a soul and its maker.
The title of this post promised encouragement, and here’s what I’ve got. We are being tested. As a race, humanity’s childhood is past. We no longer have the luxury of ignorance, petulance, or avoidance.
We are at a critical juncture as a species. This post focuses on events here in the U.S., but you don’t have to search very hard online to figure out that the entire world is dealing with crisis after crisis after crisis after crisis. A trillion gallons of water falling on a Texas city is just a drop in the bucket when you look at the big picture.
Earth has moved from childish problems to big kid problems, and they are rapidly escalating.
We have now, and have had for a long time, what we need to solve these problems. Maybe not quickly, or painlessly, or easily. Maybe the world we grew up with will never be the same again. Maybe the sacrifices we need to make at this point (since we ignored the pebble, the rock, the boulder…) are going to be, for lack of a better word, shitty.
We have brains. We have courage. We have creativity. And as the people in Houston have shown, when we work together, we have a hell of a lot of power.
The Moon is not a terrible card. It’s a powerful card. It’s a just card and a deep card and it demands a lot from us.
Evolution, my friends, is not for the weak of heart.
So…are we up to the challenge? I think we are. Now, to convince the rest of the world, right?
REMINDER: If you would like to help the people of the Gulf Coast and around the globe who are struggling with tragedies, please consider donating to one of these fine charities.