Inheritance and Identity

 New Moon in Cancer (July 4) Full Moon in Capricorn (July 19)

New Moon in Cancer (July 4) Full Moon in Capricorn (July 19)

We hold this truth to be self-evident:
We are All.
In This.
Together.
Therefore we live this truth
in our lives, communities and societies,
and thrive together into a long future
that we create together.
We are the world
that is awakening
to both the fact and the opportunity
of our interdependence --
fully, finally and beyond a shadow of doubt.
We are the world
who are making
ourselves a good world
that works for all people and all life.
Because we know the Greatest Secret
of All:
"We are All
in this
together."
~ Declaration of Interdependence by Tom Atlee

Life begins in Cancer. In ancient teachings from Mesopotamia, the creation and destruction of the world occurred in the astrological signs of Cancer and Capricorn.  The convergence of all the planets in either sign signaled the end of one world and beginning of the next. The idea of Cancer marking the beginning of life was reinforced by the ancient Egyptians in their annual celebrations of the flooding of the Nile River, which occurred when the Sun was in Cancer. The flooding brought much-needed nutrients to the soils of the flood plain, ensuring the fertility of the land and the continuation of life.

The solar month of Cancer, from the Summer Solstice on June 20 through mid-summer on July 22, invokes a time of celebrating the fruits of our labor. Gardens are lush, markets full of fresh produce. We gather together in chosen families and families of origin for celebrations, barbeques, and parades. The month of Cancer happens to host the birthday of the United States as well, with its dual desires for protection on the one hand and creativity on the other.

Protection and creativity don’t have to be enemies, but they often are at cross purposes. In many ways, being truly creative requires surrender, change, and even the sacrifice safety in order to grow and deepen in the process. It’s no accident that traditional Summer Solstice celebrations throughout the world included give-aways of objects and food, a form of sympathetic magic for clearing away the old and opening to the new.

Cancer is the creative, generative life force of water. Ruled by the Moon, its creativity is often automatically associated with mothering or maternal archetypes, procreation for the sake of continuity. What is created must be protected and secured so it can flourish and fulfill its purpose.  Children born into a family are the inheritors of the land as well as the familial or cultural identity they are born into.

But protection can block natural flow. The idea of heredity wedded to identity can go terribly wrong, as we know. It can grow into intergenerational trauma, isolationism, nationalism, even racism and violence. How? By mistakenly believing that inheritance means that sameness should prevail. With symbols like the crab, the homeland, and the family unit, we can forget that Cancer is a Cardinal Sign, which means it is initiating. It begins. It changes, and it must change in order to reveal its true nature.

With the New Moon in Cancer coinciding with the celebration of Independence Day in the US, taking a hard look at our inheritance – both personal and communal – becomes a vital undertaking. Where do we block new flows of energy out of fear? Like the arrogant and preposterous idea of building a wall to keep out refugees and immigrants, what are the walls we build out of the idea that it will make us safer? It is literally and metaphorically time to tear down these walls.

Examining your own inheritance brings clarity and the awareness needed to incite change. There are beautiful nourishing gifts the ancestors bring us, just like the Nile floods renewing the soil. But there are also dangerous and deadly patterns brought in the familial flood. Blocked emotions, repressed and ignored trauma, border patrols to keep out potential threats. This month, it is time to open the gates.

What are the things that might actually make us safe? Not walls and violent enforcement of laws, but the adequate care and nourishment of all life. To adequately care and nourish life, you have to get to know it. You can’t assume how your kids, friends, lovers, parents, communities need to be nurtured. You have to hold space, listen, be willing to be vulnerable, and be willing to initiate change.

If Cancer is the sign of the beginning of life, then this New Moon cycle asks us to open our eyes to what kind of world we want to nurture. Your part in the grand creation cycle is vital, whether you think your contributions are small or large. Gathering together to feed our visions together would be a fabulous way to tap into the power of this astrological time. And here is a reading to help us remember the truth about our inheritance and our real identity:

A Declaration of Interdependence Between Humans and the Natural World

This We Know
* We are the earth, through the plants and animals that nourish us.
* We are the rains and the oceans that flow through our veins.
* We are the breath of the forests of the land, and the plants of the sea.
* We are human animals, related to all other life as descendants of the firstborn cell.
* We share with these kin a common history, written in our genes.
* We share a common present, filled with uncertainty.
* And we share a common future, as yet untold.
* We humans are but one of thirty million species weaving the thin layer of life enveloping the world.
* The stability of communities of living things depends upon this diversity.
* Linked in that web, we are interconnected -- using, cleansing, sharing and replenishing the fundamental elements of life.
* Our home, planet Earth, is finite; all life shares its resources and the energy from the sun, and therefore has limits to growth.
* For the first time, we have touched those limits.
* When we compromise the air, the water, the soil and the variety of life, we steal from the endless future to serve the fleeting present.

This We Believe
* Humans have become so numerous and our tools so powerful that we have driven fellow creatures to extinction, dammed the great rivers, torn down ancient forests, poisoned the earth, rain and wind, and ripped holes in the sky.
* Our science has brought pain as well as joy; our comfort is paid for by the suffering of millions.
* We are learning from our mistakes, we are mourning our vanished kin, and we now build a new politics of hope.
* We respect and uphold the absolute need for clean air, water and soil.
* We see that economic activities that benefit the few while shrinking the inheritance of many are wrong.
* And since environmental degradation erodes biological capital forever, full ecological and social cost must enter all equations of development.
* We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase.
* So where knowledge is limited, we will remember all those who will walk after us, and err on the side of caution.

This We Resolve
* All this that we know and believe must now become the foundation of the way we live.
* At this turning point in our relationship with Earth, we work for an evolution: from dominance to partnership; from fragmentation to connection; from insecurity, to interdependence.

This Declaration of Interdependence was written by five members of the David Suzuki Foundation team in 1992 for the United Nations' Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.