“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps,” declared 19-year-old Simone Biles last week, shortly after winning gold in the women’s all-around finals. “I’m the first Simone Biles.” The record-breaking gymnast wasn’t bragging; she was merely stating the obvious – and thereby countering all the sexist commentary that’s been rattling around the Olympics. After securing the gold medal with a gravity-defying beam routine and floor exercise, beating teammate Aly Raisman by over 2 points and bronze medal winner Aliya Mustafina of Russia by 3.5 points, Biles posed for a photo with her competitors: a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim, all smiling in shared victory.
This is why we love the Olympic Games – they level the playing field by giving talented individuals a chance to win on their own merits, no matter their gender or religious persuasion. It’s mesmerizing to watch our fellow humans push through the limits of body and mind to capture victory or suffer defeat. As the blogger Erasmus put it in Economist.com, “People coming from many different places and circumstances lay aside their differences, and in spectacular ceremonies declare their commitment to a single noble ideal.”
The noble ideal is a Leonine one – that of being the best and brightest. Yet the competition that levels the playing field and stirs our imagination is purely Aquarian. As tomorrow’s Aquarius Full Moon peaks (August 18, 2:27 a.m. PDT) these two extremes meet in a captivating balancing act that shows us it’s possible to be both competitively Leonine and graciously Aquarian. Or not. Full Moons tend to bring out both the best and worst in us. This Full Moon just missed being an eclipse, and it heralds two intense eclipses in September. The atmosphere is fraught. On both a personal and a global scale, some folks will be indulging in egotistical tantrums – while others do what’s best for the collective. Just surround yourself with supportive friends and comrades, and give it your best shot.
To find out what the upcoming eclipses mean for you, be sure to order April Elliott Kent’s terrific report, Followed by a Moonshadow.