Under Pressure: Refining The Diamond in 2017

December 16, 2016 § 14 Comments

diamond, coal art http://www.honorgracecelebrate.com/2013/02/16/family-coal-or-diamonds/

“Strong currents continue to move through our collective fields. It’s easy to feel tossed around and swept up, but these are the tides of the times, and we are learning to become better swimmers so we can reach new shores.” ~ Mystic Mamma

*Comments on this post are automatically entered into an end-of-year raffle.

Coal needs pressure to become a diamond. The first stage of alchemy, called Calcination, involves burning off impurities under the heat of the flame.

We are in such a pressure cooker right now, collectively, as citizens of planet Earth. But we can use the heat & pressure alchemically, to crystallize our consciousness. Which will in turn give us more to offer the world in its upheaval.

Calcination stage. "Athanor of the Mind" -- "a curious drawing form the eighteenth century that presages the methods of modern psychotherapy using an alchemical furnace instead of a psychoanalyst." Site credit: www.alchemylab.com/directory[18th century alchemical drawing.]

In 2016 we lost a host of archetypal cultural icons—David Bowie, Prince & Leonard Cohen, to name a few.

Bowie & Prince in particular represented wild daring & freedom, revolution & authenticity.

david-bowie-1973 starman alien http://nerdfighteria.vanillaforums.com/discussion/3726/david-bowie-ziggy-stardust-the-spiders-from-mars

From a mythological standpoint, all three musicians represent the archetype of The Bard.  the bard, http://www.geeksundergrace.com/gaming/top-5-bards-gaming/

This means they occupied the role of the sacred artisan-musician, vision-bringers & human vessels of divine inspiration. A sphere similar in our cultural iconography to a shaman in a tribal scenario—particularly Bowie fits this archetype, bringing in the idea of other worlds & magical transformations.

Both Prince & Bowie also harken back to the Anrodgyne in alchemy, a stage  of spiritual integration wherein the inner masculine & inner feminine aspects unite, creating a whole & balanced human, symbolically represented by a hermaphroditic figure.

alchemical-androgyny http://projectavalon.net/forum4/showthread.php?68461-Androgyny-Alchemy-and-Evolution

The respective deaths of these iconic figures, which seemed to mark the end of an era, coincided with a year of mounting grief and tension in America—in particular, over equality & racial issues.

According to the Washington Post, this year “unarmed black Americans were five times as likely as unarmed white Americans to be shot and killed by a police officer.”

One example of the pattern we are seeing can be glimpsed in the case of Terence Crutcher. “The 40-year-old was shot and killed by police on Friday after officers saw his stalled SUV in the middle of the road. Initially, the police department said Crutcher had not followed orders to put his hands up. The released videos, however, show Crutcher walking toward his car with his hands in the air.”(Source.)

tears, suffering in the world, art http://www.femitaiwo.com/a-word-for-the-sufferer/

The rising division between people who support the #blacklivesmatter movement and reactionary movements like #bluelivesmatter & #alllivesmatter—which don’t claim a white supremacist alliance, but whose emphasis suggests it to many on the other side—further solidified the national divide, which was then exploited for campaign momentum by Donald Trump in his efforts to procure the seat of president.

In the debates, Trump advocated for racial profiling and “stop and frisk” methods, which have been deemed unconstitutional. He blamed undocumented immigrants for leaching the system & endangering Americans. And, last month, despite having lost the popular vote by a landslide, he won the electoral college vote and became America’s next commander in chief, giving way to a rising sense of crisis for a huge swath of Americans, who now feel unsafe in their own country.

Trump’s decisions, like picking a climate change skeptic with close ties to Big Oil to head the National Department of Energy have environmentally conscious Americans terrified as well.

earth from space http://pics-about-space.com/planet-earth-art?p=1

Internationally, the world has been watching the “complete meltdown of humanity” in the devastated Syrian city of Aleppo—either unable or unwilling to do much besides hand-wringing. The conflict may be technically over, but now what remains of the ancient city faces a grim, uncertain future.

At home in America, the protests in Standing Rock have represented an ongoing crisis, causing much angst as we witness tribal people attempting, once again, to defend their land in the face of an abusive & ruthless government takeover.

“For months, opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline have been expressing fears that it would affect local drinking water, because it was to be built under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation—the primary water source of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

“Last week, the US Department of the Army announced that it would not approve the crossing of the pipeline under the Missouri River. The massive nearby spill —which was discovered on the same day that the Dakota Access Pipeline construction permit was denied —might have just proved the protesters’ point.”

defend-the-sacred-edit http://www.risingupwithsonali.com/more-activists-join-oceti-sakowin-in-north-dakota-to-fight-pipeline/

Indigenous peoples have long considered themselves custodians of the Earth.

This stand off between Big Oil and the Oceti Sakowin people represents the two forces currently in battle on our planet: systems of control versus the people, separation versus unity, violence versus peace, corporations versus the Earth, ego versus soul.

Christian Schloe[Christian Schloe]

So, how do we survive the pressure cooker? By using it as a purifying force that will expedite the refinement of our own consciousness.  Allow it to knock out complacency and revive your purpose.

Astrologist Cathy Pagano details that the configuration of Pluto in Capricorn offers each of us a way to engage in the transformation of the culture. Forcing us to ask ourselves what aspects of the collective mindset no longer serve the future of humanity. What parts should be expanded upon?

“We can begin to create this possible future with our art and our actions. Our actions, like what happened at Standing Rock with the Water Protectors, now will have more affect since we’ll do it as a group (very Aquarian of us). We show our Aries courage in standing up to the wrong use of power, to the stupidity of self-destruction. Life is what matters.

“Uranus is energizing our pioneering spirit again, though this time let’s seek the unknown for the good of all, rather than personal aggrandizement.

“When we return the Arts to their archetypal purpose—to teach, to heal, to create, to enliven, to imagine, to share, to learn—they will lead the revolution just as John Lennon and the Beatles opened up the world to a new paradigm. (December 8th-RIP John.) Artists can bring the message home to the heart. If we play our parts in truth, it will be a peaceful revolution.”



Leave a comment for a chance at winning a “Tao Te Ching” pocket edition! (Most wisdom in one book you’ll ever find, best translation, too, by Stephen Mitchell.) The raffle will be held on January 1st 2017. Tell me a bit about how your year went, or your dreams & goals for 2017—or what subjects you would like to see me write more about.

I promise I won’t keep posting about politics, I know we’re getting it from all sides right now. (I might have to sometimes, as conscience demands, but I know that Parallax has traditionally been a respite from all of that, and I intend to keep the majority of posts that way). It just seemed like it had to be addressed. And it’s become a tradition here at Parallax to create a “year in review” raffle post at the end of each calendar year, so I had to revisit that caustic cocktail one last time, but 2017 will see a return to our favorite Parallax themes:

What is the nature of reality and what is humanity’s role within the cosmos? What are the latest scientific breakthroughs in understanding consciousness? How to be a visionary in a cookie cutter world. Why your genius lies in your wounds, and how to reclaim that power. How to live a mindful life & embrace your authenticity...My intention is to make Parallax your haven of thoughtfulness in a world gone mad!

May 2017 be the year of lived dreams for each & every one of you!
































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§ 14 Responses to Under Pressure: Refining The Diamond in 2017

  • batgurrl says:

    Tai -like you I have struggled lately with the politics and my life in general. So, I woke up or rather got up from a restless night last Friday and had a “Talking to my self”. I decided to do some things to reduce my stress. They were not what I wanted to do when but between that and a new stance I have take charge and feel much better.

    My new stance reflected back to Nixon. That was my first election and “I did not vote for Nixon”. Needless to say I was so devastated that the country ignored his transgressions and elected him. But in the end he was disgraced.

    I had to learn to be patient to watch it unfold and “karma” take effect. To outlast and survive the down cycle. It does no good to be sucked into the negative when their own negativity will bring them down.

    So…I am watching and waiting. Conserving my energy for the good fight, the right time and letting life unfold without harming my being.

    That is how I had a “Talk with myself”.

    • Tai Woodville says:

      batgurrl, that is great to hear. The last bad president I lived through was Bush Jr., and I was kind of detached from politics then. I’m so glad to know it felt the same way with Nixon….I had been hoping actually that someone would tell me that. “Oh, it was like this with so-and-so!” So thank you. 🙂

      Here’s to fighting the good fight, girl!


  • Bob says:

    I have an idea that the events and currents of change you’ve highlighted could be harbinger of a shift on a scale that we’ve never known, and one that’s difficult to describe, but one that can be illustrated by those creatures who transform their beings via metamorphosis. It could be that our exhausted resources and changing climate are akin to the environmental signals that call a caterpillar to make preparations for going into a chrysalis state as a next stage. Highly speculative, and perhaps somewhat romantic or naively optimistic, but I think there’s little argument that there is much more that we don’t know than that which we know. And, it certainly seems the long term for our species on the course it has developed is highly doubtful, so if there is to be a long term it will have to look much different than the past.

    • Tai Woodville says:

      Bob, I think that theory has a lot of merit—certainly we will be forced to metamorphosize by necessity, as you pointed out, because something has to change. And I think a lot of us more thoughtful types are metamorphosizing in response to these signals willingly, intuitively. Timothy Leary, in his slim book “Starseed: Transmissions from Folsom Prison,” he calls our current time “a larval stage.”


      “The entire universe is gently, rhythmically, joyously vibrating. Cosmic intercourse. This is a message of hope and interstellar love from the Black Hole. Irrepressible optimism. Yes, it is true that repressive pessimists now control planetary politics. This is a larval phase.”

      Here’s to the great unfolding!


  • Great post, Tai. I now go to school in an area where the two political spheres exist in tension. The majority of the students here are people of color, but the townies are staunchly white. The KKK is active here, and one student was beaten so badly this fall that he had to have his jaw wired shut. I have never seen such hate before, and many of my friends are seriously afraid of Trump’s presidency.

    But this is not the time to be discouraged. Our leaders will not do the right thing, so it’s up to us now. Each one of us needs to do what we can to make the world better; in whichever way is closest to our hearts. As such, your quote, “May 2017 be the year of lived dreams for each & every one of you!” is quite appropriate for me.

    I’m going to do my part by living my greatest dream in 2017: working on jaguar conservation in Guyana. I’m going to journey to the Guyanese Amazon this summer and fall, and study people’s beliefs about jaguars for my master’s thesis. Not only is this an important topic for conservation, it is also an excellent way to build relationships with the area’s indigenous residents. In addition, it’s something I’ve felt compelled to do for many years. So now I will “act my dream with open eyes,” as T. E. Lawrence would say (you indirectly turned me on to his book).

    In keeping with my conviction that it’s time for ordinary citizens to take the lead in improving our world, I’ve also decided to try to fund as much of my research as possible through a GoFundMe campaign. This will make it truly a people’s project. Everyday citizens from around the world will fund the research of another everyday citizen (myself), who will then transfer that money to everyday citizens and indigenous peoples in Guyana. I know I’m taking a gamble by going this route, but we HAVE to get more people involved in making a better future.

    I hate to advertise myself on your blog, but if you want to learn more about this endeavor you may do so below. It’s not going to be easy to pull off, and I could use some support in spreading the word.


    Thanks for keeping such a wonderful blog!

    • Tai Woodville says:

      Josh, thank you for your engaging comment.

      The following section of your note sums it all up for me!

      “But this is not the time to be discouraged. Our leaders will not do the right thing, so it’s up to us now. Each one of us needs to do what we can to make the world better; in whichever way is closest to our hearts. ”

      I think that feeling is very strong with a lot of us these days, ironically inspired by the horrors of today’s American leadership. It just makes it so clear it is up to us to make a better future—which, really, it always was.

      That’s heartbreaking that you’ve observed racial hate & violence in your town. I appreciate you communicating it, because I don’t necessarily trust the news & it helps to hear about this rash of hate crimes from a real person, rather than a news outlet. I am sad to hear it’s as they say. But appreciate hearing a non-news report on it.

      Your dream of helping preserve the wild Jaguar population and instigating communication with local cultures via that sacred topic is inspired & inspiring. As the Howard Thurman quote goes:

      “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive. The world needs more people who have come alive.”

      I think this is exactly what you are doing, and what I am trying to do, and probably what most of our readers are trying to do.

      Here’s to that in 2017!! To doing what makes us come alive, and offering it to the world,

      On on,


      • Tai, thanks for your thoughtful response. I’ve briefly looked through your other comment replies to this post, and your really seem to engage with your readers. That’s wonderful to see!


      • Tai Woodville says:

        Thanks, Josh! For me it’s part of the fun to interact with readers’ responses. I appreciate your appreciation! 🙂

        On on,


  • Alan says:

    “So, how do we survive the pressure cooker? By using it as a purifying force that will expedite the refinement of our own consciousness. Allow it to knock out complacency and revive your purpose.”

    Well, said, Tai. We all have to find a way to create positive change in this critical time for humanity!

    Thank you for continuing to do your part with Parallax!

    Happy New Year

    • Tai Woodville says:

      Thank you so much, Alan! I appreciate the positive feedback. May we all experience this revival & refinement of consciousness in the upcoming year!

      On on,


  • Rod says:

    Rather than talk about politics again, i’ll just leave this.

    Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

    Keep that in mind in 2017. You CAN make a positive change in the world. Some people think you can do it with violence in the streets. Protest is fine, but violence in the streets doesn’t really lead to change. I don’t think it ever has.

    Also, be discerning in what you read and hear, things in the media aren’t always what they seem.

    Have a great 2017 everyone.


    • Tai Woodville says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Rod. And that quote is ever salient & inspiring.

      I hear ya about the news! Trust me, I question everything. Just the other day I saw a Facebook post with the headline “All White Audience Turns Back On All Black Team In ____” (I forget the town. It was a high school baksetball game.)

      Well, I read the article and it showed footage of the audience turning their backs, as described, with someone holding a Trump sign (highlighted), and the content basically said rhetorically, “Is this what happens in Trump’s America?”

      I was naturally horrified. Posted the article with the heading “You know, I don’t trust the news, but here is videoed proof that this stuff is happening.”

      Then I stopped and thought: “RESEARCH this before you add to the drama & the already swirling miasma of collective pain. Or else you are just part of the problem.”

      So I did. And guess what I found? It’s a tradition for the school to turn their backs to the apposing team, which just happened to be all black this year. The one person holding a Trump sign was….just that. One person holding a Trump sign. Not the whole crowd collectively making a statement.

      It did make the news as an offensive impression, due to the ethnic make up of the team they turned their backs to and the charge added by the Trump sign. The school apologized for the insensitive confluence of events. But knowing this was a yearly tradition makes all the difference! A piece of information conveniently left out by the article which was clearly not even a report, but a piece of propaganda.

      Well, needless to say I took down the post and made a mental note to up my vigilance.

      The propaganda is out of control on BOTH sides.

      I *have* heard of some hate crimes happening from friends and readers, which ( apart from being heartbreaking) is helpful to hear from a non-news outlet. There are no neutral major news outlets these days, even if some are more contientious than others. Everyone has an agenda.

      We are truly living in Orwell’s future. So…as the common theme of this year goes, it’s up to US to think independently & critically—-now more than ever. But really, it always has been. 😉

      Thanks for your ever interesting comments—may 2017 bring you all good things!

      On on,

  • Kristen says:

    This is so thoughtfully written and insightful, as I look on 2016, a year that has left me feeling heavy and sluggish many times over. This is something I needed to read. Thank you for sharing!

    I’m thinking through what’s next for me and my family, what’s next for our country and other’s families, and I feel a hopeful shift happening, too. A greater calling to act and ‘show up’ and make some real waves. My biggest hope is that I do something impactful, whether that be through writing or traveling more with my daughter or more charity work or taking my business to the next level.

    I have some sage to burn and some concrete goals to set with my man on the 31st!

    Wishing you a happy new year!

    • Tai Woodville says:

      Thank you, Kristen! I appreciate hearing when the posts hit home. 🙂 And I love what you said:

      “A greater calling to act and ‘show up’ and make some real waves. My biggest hope is that I do something impactful.” This beautifully sums up how I—and so many others—are feeling right now.

      It could be the most poetic of justices that these darkest of times compress & force us to our most actively luminous.

      On on!!

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