We wouldn’t normally imagine beavers thriving in the scorching heat of Utah’s Moab Desert. Yet over the last three years, more than fifty of these intrepid creatures – all formerly slated for death as pests – have been relocated from populated urban areas to small, struggling waterways in the arid desert.
Looking for ingenious solutions to drought and wildfires, Utah State University student Emma Doden enlisted these “ecosystem engineers” to do what they do best: build dams. In their second chance on life, these beavers have reversed the effects of decades of pollution and agricultural runoff that had degraded the desert region. It’s a low-tech, low-cost way to build climate resiliency.
Feral donkeys and horses do their part for desert areas too, by digging wells that substantially increase water availability for themselves and many other animals and plants. Also frequently targeted for mass eradication as pests, let’s hope that these helpful creatures start getting a second chance on life as well.
At the Cancer Full Moon (Jan. 17, 3:48 p.m. PST), our sympathy for all of life runs deep. As the Capricorn Sun conjuncts dark lord Pluto, it shines a light on what’s outmoded and neglected, so we can see – or feel, thanks to the Moon in emotional Cancer – what needs to change to make room for new growth. This could relate to archaic patterns in the world or in our own psyches. “Problem” entities within and without need to be exposed and examined, or perhaps set free to do their essential work of tearing down the old and building the new.
Pay attention to your feelings at this Full Moon in her own sign of Cancer, and don’t shy away from whatever is exposed. The Plutonic theme highlights the trysts that Pluto has been having with Venus (during her retrograde on Dec. 25 and, still to come after she is direct, on March 3). During this timeframe, our values, desires and associations are all up for review, release or recommitment. Go deep and purge whatever stands in the way of honoring your true feelings.
On top of all that, Mercury will also be aligning with Pluto during the Winged Messenger’s retrograde cycle (Jan. 14 – Feb. 3). This trickster transit can trigger thoughts of despair and darkness, but it’s also excellent at helping us figure out solutions. Mercury-Pluto’s first pass was on Dec. 30, then it returns on Jan. 28 and completes on Feb. 11. Like those donkeys and beavers, Pluto is tough-minded and determined. This period can also offer you a second chance on something you’d almost given up on. Do your soul-searching and fact-finding during the retrograde, then build that dam or dig that well after it turns direct.
Most of all, try not to fall into despair about the state of the world. And stop watching mainstream TV, with its amplified and distorted focus on bad news! Mama Earth is resilient – though she does require our help at this time. The Cancer Full Moon opens our hearts to our Mama’s needs, and can prompt us to respond in a heartfelt way. If you hear her call, don’t hesitate to answer.