An Arab proverb tells of a nomad who was questioning his faith. He approached a prophet, asking whether he should tie up his camel while he slept, or simply trust that the animal would still be there when he awoke. The prophet replied that he must do both: “Trust in Allah and tie your camel.” In other words, while it’s good to have faith that everything will work out, we must also do whatever we can to secure our assets and prepare for any eventuality.
Rick Rescorla was a good example of this. A decorated Vietnam veteran, he knew first-hand what can happen if you’re not prepared. As head of security for Morgan Stanley’s World Trade Center Offices in New York City, Rescorla routinely annoyed the company’s 3000 employees by putting them through his 22-floor evacuation drills. Concerned that the World Trade Center represented a major terrorist target, he even appointed team leaders and fire marshals for each floor and thoroughly trained them on evacuation routes and contingency plans. And the result was, when the first plane hit on September 11, 2001, everyone knew exactly what to do. They didn’t panic, as is usually the case in a sudden disaster. Though they witnessed people next door in Tower One jumping out of windows to escape the heat and flames, they continued to follow the plan – even when the second plane hit Tower Two. In the end, 2,687 Morgan Stanley employees survived. Unfortunately, Rescorla wasn’t one of them. He’d run back into the inferno to try and save the remaining dozen, and was never seen again.
Many of us are accustomed to waiting for someone in authority – the government, for instance – to initiate necessary changes and keep us safe. But if we’ve learned anything lately with all the disasters unfolding as the result of an overheated planet (as well as assorted mayhem on high), there is only us. We must tie up our camels and help others to do the same, since we can’t count on authorities doing it for us.
Self-reliance is at the heart of Virgo. This practical earth sign knows how to take care of business. That includes preparing healthy food, tending to ailments, cleaning up messes and generally being of service. Collectively, we now face the daunting task of putting out fires and cleaning up toxic messes throughout the globe, but Virgo is up to the task. The next New Moon (Tuesday, Sept. 19, 10:30 p.m. PDT) features five planets in the sign of service – the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars and Venus. Getting organized and executing a plan can happen faster than usual with that much Virgo on board. At this time, we are asked not only to help those afflicted by the recent devastation, but to take stock of our own preparedness.
How is your health? Are you taking good care of yourself and those close to you? Are you stable and calm, or totally freaked out? If the latter, get help. The New Moon opposes Chiron in Pisces, intensifying our sensitivity to suffering and activating the Wounded Healer within. Don’t ignore the wounded part of yourself or retreat into denial or hiding. With Saturn forming a T-square to the New Moon, it’s better to face what you fear and do something about it, however small, than remain in illusion. Mercury in Virgo opposes Neptune in Pisces at the New Moon, providing access to a vision of a better world. But getting there will require that we move past any powerlessness in the face of suffering – and do whatever it takes to remedy it.
Where to start? Get your emergency kit and disaster plan together. Create an Irma recovery page. Get to know your neighbors. Offer to collect their newspapers when they’re away, or to babysit for an hour or two to give a tired mother time to relax. Meet their pets, and become an emergency contact. The more we help tie up each other’s camels, the more we strengthen our faith and resilience. And if the worst should occur, we’ve got each other’s backs.