Along with the rest of the country, we are relieved to have the turmoil of the election mostly over and to see the outlines of a new future starting to take shape. But that happiness comes with the darker realization that, although we feel some peace at this moment, half of our nation will never be happy with the results. Of course, that would be true regardless of who won, and this points to a deep and polarizing division in our country.
Indeed, a major problem with politics is this division and the wild swings back and forth that it creates as each side takes a turn in office. Sometimes it reminds me of the ancient Pharaohs of Egypt, each one seeking to destroy all memory of the ruler before, from their laws and chosen capital city right down to their very faces and written records of their names.
This erasure might be successful against one individual, but the followers who elevated that person are far more difficult to purge from a culture, since they are many and hold worldviews, values, and beliefs that don’t seem reconcilable with the other side of society. Stepping further into that division, we find that these schisms are in turn mirrored within each of us, manifesting as confusion, frustration, and loss of meaning and connection to our highest aspects of being. We are divided externally at least in part because we are divided internally.
One of the best guides to healing this inner division and transcending it to find a middle way of balance is an ancient one: Aristotle and his concept of “eudaimonia“. This word comes from the Greek “eu” meaning good or best, and “daimon” or spirit. Eudaimonia, then, is living so that one’s best spirit is manifest and actions are guided by virtue in accordance with reason.
Aristotle described virtue as being a balance between the poles of any trait: on one hand, deficiency might create a flaw such as miserliness or cowardice. On the other hand, a vice of excess would create wastefulness or foolhardy bravado. One pole is not the cure for the other, each is a disharmony, with true balance in the middle.
Through knowing the self and tempering these extremes, this golden mean of balance is found and virtues like generosity and courage are the reward. Or, as he put it in his Nicomachean Ethics:
The virtuous person sees the truth in each case, being as it were a standard and measure of them.
So, the virtuous person finds the truth in all situations because they have found that truth within themselves, it is both the cause and effect of their own behaviour. This alignment between self and world, inner and outer, knowledge and action, is the source of eudaimonia- the state of living in happiness and harmony.
In our Know Thyself class that we taught years ago, we took students through a thought experiment in finding eudaimonia within themselves, and we invite you to try this meditation on your own inner state.
Think about an imbalance in your life or inner being- an emotional state that troubles you, a worry or problem you struggle with, or just an energy within you that is less than harmonious. Now, place it on a continuum, and consider whether it is a problem of too much or too little. What is its opposite pole, and where is the point of balance between them?
You can further this exercise by studying the seven archetypal planets and their energies, and through that meditation, discovering which of them relates to your polar swings, and so, which one might bring greater balance. Perhaps counterintuitively, the planet that rules the imbalanced or extreme pole is also the best one to restore a balanced middle state.
This surprises some people when we work with them on this exercise, or when they practice with our Seven Planetary Magisteries Kit. At first, an imbalance related to Saturn might seem to be best addressed by the opposing force of Jupiter, for example, to negate the energy of one planet by invoking its opposite. But this is like our vengeful Pharaoh example above, merely erasing one aspect of energy without exploring its depths for the gifts that it may hold.
Just as Aristotle taught that bravado is not the cure for cowardice, nor does one fix extravagance by becoming miserly, a middle way can be sought out that encompasses the best aspects of each planetary energy in its most balanced form. To do this is to transcend the internal divisions that divide and waste our energy, bringing balance and eudaimonia to ourselves and the small part of the world each of us moves within.
To explore the different aspects of the planetary archetypes and the centering quality that each one creates, we’ve created a list of our favourite pairs of Spagyrics for each planet- and they’re all on sale! Click here to learn more.
3 thoughts on “Eudaimonia & Balance”
What a wonderful posting. I appreciate this thoughtful and relevant connection to balance. Especially, during this holiday pandemic time.
Thank you! I’m glad it was helpful to you. I think we can all use more balance most days, but even the best of us are dancing to keep up with the chaos right now.
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