With the popularity of books like The Secret, it’s clear that people are excited about the idea of creating the life they want through the power of positive thinking. It’s an appealing concept. But I suspect that what appears to be a kind of loophole in Eeyore’s Law (which states that if your life can suck, it will suck) is not exactly a get-out-of-jail-free card. This is because you are not the only force at work in the world, and so your power to achieve precisely what you want is necessarily limited by what others want. After all, all of the candidates running for the same office in any given election want to win, but each race can have only one winner.
I don’t mean to dismiss positive thinking out of hand; I perform my new and full moon rituals, after all. But it seems obvious that what we want is not always exactly what we’ll get – sometimes, it won’t even be close. And I’ll take this a step further: Sometimes, maybe we shouldn’t get exactly what we want. I shudder to think what would have happened had I married the man with whom my 25-year-old self was so desperately infatuated. Our ability to visualize something and to pursue it with positive thoughts and actions is not only no guarantee that we’ll get it—and it’s not even a guarantee that it’s something worth pursuing.
That’s one reason our closest relationships are so important: they help us see past our blind spots. My family and friends were rightly skeptical of my early, bad relationship choices. Yes, their negative thinking was a bummer and I didn’t always appreciate their perspectives. But as it turned out, they were right about what was good for me, and I was wrong.
Watch a toddler exploring his world—wordlessly, unconsciously, and completely without fear. From the moment he awakens to the moment he falls asleep, he’s in motion. He pokes, prods, nags, cries, and shakes his tiny arms in frustration. He eats whatever he finds on the floor, makes a grab for his older brother’s favorite toy, hurls himself at the unsuspecting family dog. And an entire household responds swiftly to teach him the consequences of his actions and the boundaries of acceptable behavior. The dog growls at him. His mother and father frown and tell him “no.” His brother hollers and kicks him in the shin.
It’s part of human nature for a child to exert his will and try to get what he wants. It’s only through the reactions of those around him that he gradually learns that other people want things, too, and sometimes we have to share or compromise.
You don’t have to have spent a lot of time on the planet to recognize that there is a little bit of toddler—sometimes more—in each of us. In astrology, we call this primal, uncivilized force of nature Aries: the warrior, the initiator, the Man of Action. The Sun, which is astrology’s shorthand for conscious will, is considered “exalted”, or exceptionally strong, in the sign of Aries. This reminds us that action serves us best when it is an expression of conscious will and integrity.
On the other side of the zodiac stands Libra, the sign of this Full Moon and the sign of Saturn’s exaltation. Libra rules reaction, the consequences of exerting our will through action or force, and Saturn symbolizes what we might call karma – more or less another way of stating Newton’s third law of motion: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, if we push, the world will push back. If we choose to take action, there will be consequences. Sometimes they are positive consequences; other times, not so much. Often, we have no way of knowing in advance which way it will go, which is a gamble worth taking if your action is well-considered and you believe in it with all your heart. But because taking action can have a large effect on the world, Libra encourages us to consider advice and alternative perspectives before we act.
Action always prompts a reaction, but you can’t always predict or control the nature or magnitude of that reaction. In fact, you might not even recognize it at first, because it will reflect not only your own actions and intentions, but something more mysterious, too—the tone of the times, and the collective will.
So maybe the message is this: Go ahead and visualize what you wish to attract. Act on your wishes, with consciousness and good faith, and from the truest, most recklessly hopeful part of yourself. But be ever mindful that your individual—and limited—vision is not the only one that counts. The Full Moon in Libra reminds us that we’re all part of a larger collaboration, and that joining together with others can make us wiser, stronger, and more influential – even if it means that we occasionally have to yield our desires to the wishes of others.