As Earth Day 2023 approaches, we all need to take stock of how we, as individuals, contribute towards the current climate crisis. It is not something we can hide from anymore. As global temperatures continue to rise, our oceans become filled with plastic, we experience mass scale extinctions of thousands of species of animals and our health suffers as a result of the terrible pollution all around us. Even if we put the blame on greedy corporations who continue to drive this climate crisis, the onus is on us as individuals to adopt more sustainable ways of living.
Some of the more practical ways we may adopt sustainability in our own lives is by reducing energy consumption, eating healthy and local food, switching to sustainable materials, reusing and recycling and generally leading a more conscious life. However, for us to really drive change within ourselves and others around us, I believe that we have to adopt sustainability as a core value and a mindset, as well as part of our individual responsibility to the collective.
What does astrology have to tell us about the climate crisis? To look at generational themes that impact the collective, we need to go further from the sun to the outer planets – Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Taurus is the sign that represents the earth, land, natural resources, agriculture, the environment, our personal values, food as well as finances. Uranus, the planet that has the reputation for being disruptive and revolutionary entered the sign of the Bull in 2018. Since then, we have experienced massive shortage of resources due to consumerism and inability to change, Taurean shadow traits.
During this time, the need for a faster revolution has become evident to us. Coincidentally, months after Uranus entered Taurus, is when leading climate change activist Greta Thunberg gave her first TED Talk speech, sparking critical conversations. Popularity of plant based milk and lab created meat such as the Impossible Burger soared as more people grew conscious of the need for sustainability. Uranus will be in Taurus until 2026, and we may see other such revolutionary changes in this realm.
I would also like to touch on the fact that Pluto has just entered Aquarius after fifteen years in Capricorn. As the planet of death, rebirth, intense transformation and power and control, the movement of this planet will be very important for the climate change movement. Aquarius is the sign that governs the collective and progression of mankind. This is a sign that demands equality, freedom and justice for all. We may see more groups or communities rising that will be focused on climate change.
For us on a personal level, yoga can point the way towards adopting a more sustainable way of living. For this, we need to visit what the eight limbs of yoga have to teach us. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which were written thousands of years ago, we find the eight limbs. Each limb of yoga is intended to create the union of mind, body and soul. Most people are familiar with the physical aspects of yoga, the third and fourth limbs of Asana (movement of the body) and Pranayama (movement of the breath). However the first two limbs of yoga are the Yamas and Niyamas which are ethical and personal guidelines for living. We will be exploring the Yamas more deeply to unravel this answer of how yoga can help us adopt a more sustainable mindset.
The Yamas are – Ahimsa (non violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (nonstealing), Bhramacharya (moderation), Aparigraha (non clinging/hoarding). To apply this in the context of our modern lives and in particular, sustainability, here is how we can look at it.
We can adopt Ahimsa or non-violence in how we treat animals and planet earth in general by not polluting or littering. We can adopt Satya or truthfulness by admitting to ourselves that we need to change and speak up about this very relevant topics. We can practice Asteya or non-stealing by consuming only that which is necessary and recognizing when greed is driving our choices. We can practice Bhramacharya or moderation by managing our energy and using only that which is essential, not for the purpose of satisfying external desires but for peace within. Aparigraha or non hoarding can help us examine our material, emotional and spiritual attachments that keep us tied to our possessions – this can remind us of the importance of donating and sharing our resources.
The Niyamas which follow the Yamas, help us cultivate the self. discipline required to live by the Yamas. The Asana practice helps us attune more to our bodies, thus giving us the inner wisdom to choose what is healthy for our bodies which automatically results in making healthier choices for the planet. Pranayama brings focus to Prana, which is the life force that is found in every living thing. By focusing on our own prana the effects ripple out to other living beings through this shared life force, thus positively impacting all beings
The remainder of the limbs, Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (enlightenment) lead to the union of the individual soul with the universal soul. This can help us understand the interconnectedness and interdependence of everything that exists. It really sheds light on how the microcosm impacts the macrocosm, and further illuminates the need to take personal responsibility for the planet.
We cannot talk about responsibility without talking about the planet Saturn. Saturn governs the themes of karma, restrictions, hard lessons as well as accountability and responsibility. It has just entered Pisces in March where it will stay until 2025. Pisces represents compassion and healing, so I do feel that we will be more inclined to be more compassionate in how we take responsibility towards healing the planet.
I would like to finish up by speaking about Karma Yoga, which is a branch of yoga that teaches us that the path to liberation is through selfless action. During these complex times, it is essential for us to open our eyes to what is happening around us and engage in selfless actions for the planet earth and for all of humanity. First published on IceToday