Decisiveness and Breakthrough
In Chinese mythology, the Dragon is the rainmaker, a magician who possesses the ability to change natural phenomena. At the moment when clouds have reached their maximum density and darkness, Dragon is the one who releases rain, endowed with the power of liberation. The only mystical being in the zodiac, the Dragon flies between heaven and earth, a symbol of unifying the spirit and material realms. Dragon time is the last month of spring and the time of breakfast, when nature is in its most dramatic transformation: the rise of yang energy.
Yang Earth is Dragon’s native element and this month is a time of entering the Primal Dragon’s Gate. It marks a transition time, a moment of crisis, and entry into liminal space where structures dissolve and there is a re-ordering of fundamental principles. This month is characterized by coming to a crossroads and stepping across the threshold. It requires letting go of the past and the conjuring the power to lead your life. This leads to an important transition during a powerful situation: the moment right before a breakthrough.
Yang Earth Dragon possesses the ability to transgress norms, to go outside the limits due to its mystical power. It represents reaching the breaking point and surpassing all established frontiers. This is a time of excess: pushing your principles beyond their normal limits and accepting the movement this inevitably brings.
During this time, you must confront the structures of your life that are in danger of collapse. To reach the breakthrough moment denotes departure and surpassing: if your situation doesn’t nourish you and you are unable to stir up new growth, you must go past it, leave. To work with Dragon energy means being unafraid to order things yourself and impose a different direction. When you do this, the spirits of transgression will be invoked; the guides at the crossroads awakened by your call for a new direction.
We are changing whether we like it or not, despite our intention or perception of change. “Change” and “Transformation” connote two different processes, designated in the Chinese concepts 變 bian and 化 hua. Bian denotes external, momentary or apparent change. Hua denotes fundamental and essential change, a true transformation. The difference between a fleeting change and a powerful breakthrough is one’s decisiveness.
In the Yijing (The Book of Changes), the hexagram for “Decisiveness” is also defined as “Parting”. What is difficult about decisiveness is that it denotes separation. Being decisive must imply parting with the self that no longer serves our decision to change. We must part with what is unnecessary, un-beneficial and untrue. Because of this, perceptiveness is at utmost importance at this time. Becoming decisive involves a powerful transition: a redefinition of the Self to get to the truth. The Dragon is a hybrid animal (sometimes depicted as part lion, snake, fish or turtle), showing us that we must release the idea of the Self as a fixed identity. To embody the power of the Dragon is to connect with the Self’s true nature: the capacity for change.
How to work with this month’s animal and element:
What is the process that leads us to decisiveness, and how do we know we are making good decisions? The Dragon teaches us that returning to our truth, our center of balance, is not achieved through compromise. This month we are learning how to achieve harmony through the element of surprise. The Dragon is often seen as reckless, however mastering the element of surprise is actually about alchemy - precise measurement and calculation. It is knowing that one does not use disorder to attack chaos, or in other words, responding to fire with fire, or a flood with water.
The way to establish balance is the activation of oppositional force to create an intentional disruption, thus creating a transformation. Calmness surprises the fanatic. Humility surprises the greedy. Being liberal surprises the hoarder. It is using order to surprise the confused. Being broad to surprise those that are narrow. It is creating emptiness where others try to hurt us. Through the work of the alchemist, refinement to a pure state can be achieved.
There are times for compromise and times that call for unequivocal, firm resolution. It is through our steadfast resolutions that we breakthrough. You must be resolute about what you are separating yourself from - denying power to what you are parting with. Let resolution spring from your heart and the truth be announced openly whenever possible. The process of making a public resolution requires that you examine all parts of yourself. Make a verbal resolution to depart from outdated opinions and part with old patterns. Remember that one who is too full can develop no further and can only invite collapse.
Be resolute to change, but know that you are not promised what is on the other side. What promises did you make with your spirituality? Does your spirituality promise you a life-raft? Does it assure that you won’t get wet? Once you reach the bank on the other side, are you promised redemption, salvation, happiness? Keep in mind that this time is only one of many crossings. If you are fixated on an ideal destination, you will never achieve perfection and end up in a perpetual transitory space.
In a time of breakthrough where we step into the unknown, we must examine the bargains we have made to manage uncertainty. Do you believe that your spirituality will lead you to visions, wisdom, freedom, healing, and/or clairvoyance? Spirituality is not a transaction. Just like a friendship, if you see relationships only through the lens of what you can get, your friendship will not last. Spirituality is a relationship: it is a place where we go to give, not get.
Wherever it is in your life that you are generous - giving without expectation of receiving - that is your spirituality showing up. It is where you go beyond your own needs, not self-cultivation for its own ends. Breakthrough is not a guarantee: it is an offering, a sacrifice of your former self. This month is a time of internal alchemy, an examination of where you are being attached to staying the same.
Decisiveness results from accumulated force and the month of the Dragon is not a time for vacillation. We can now act with great strength and power and with practice, the time it takes to make the right decision can be instantaneous. We need to arrange the world around us and inside us to support our transformation. This month asks, are you making decisions that support your life changing or do you make choices that support your life remaining the same?