TrueHeartWork | Ingrid Hoffman
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Author:Ingrid Hoffman

Heart and soul 10

Heart and Soul—Leo New Moon/Solar Eclipse—August 11th

Heart 10Here is my secret. It is very simple:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;

What is essential is invisible to the eye—The Little Prince.

So many of us are sailing across the rivers dark of change and uncertainty at this time in our collective evolution. England and America are in the throes of Pluto transits. The fabled “American Dream” has long faded. Britain is befuddled and confused and in South Africa, stars hide their fires…as the death of the  23-year-old law student, Khensani Maseko  brings the inconvenient truth of campus rape to the forefront.

We’re in eclipse season. On Saturday, as the New Moon travels between the Earth and the Sun, darkening the Sun’s brilliance. This symbolism is made all the more poignant in a culture where the brilliance of externalised power and earthly matters command the spotlight in 24-hour news loops and on social media.

New Moons signify new beginnings, though we may not be able to see just what they are until the Moon is ripe and full. Eclipses amplify and intensify energy, acting as focal points, decision-makers, game changers.

Though the energy of an eclipse can lingers for two weeks before and after the event. If we have planets at 18 or 19 degrees of a fixed sign, astrologer, Bernadette Brady suggests this solar eclipse (Saros Series 2 New North) may initiate sudden collapse of plans for life-styles. Confusion may reign, but the long-term effects are those of rebuilding and transformation. After the dust has settled, the rebuilding stars and the consequences of this reshaping will have far-reaching effects. This eclipse family changes a person’s direction through the sudden collapse of an existing structure.”

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This eclipse is a high-intensity New Moon. The Sun and Moon are in a separating square to Jupiter in Scorpio and applying quincunx to Pluto on Saturday, amplifying the finality of endings; fertilising a new cycle of growth with the dust of demolition. Mercury is Retrograde, (July 26th to August 20th) intensifying the Archetype of The Trickster—The Magician—a reminder that our thoughts and words carry a charge of energy. Mercury conjoins Saturday’s eclipse. A cosmic reminder that whatever is changing, whatever is imploding in our lives, or in the world around us, now is the time to dare to practice some “magical thinking”. To remind ourselves (again) that we are what we think, and that we choose the thoughts we think, each day. This eclipse also semi-squares Venus in Libra, accenting our  relationships, and what we hold dear to our hearts. Leo is a fire sign, and the element of fire is associated with vision, with passion and warmth. Old-fashioned qualities of loyalty, chivalry and valour are associated with Leo.

 

This is the penultimate eclipse in the Leo/Aquarius axis. Another gossamer thread on the cosmic loom.  Leo (self-expression and our own sense of uniqueness) and Aquarius (tribal mind, what the group demands as opposed to our individual needs) are both fixed signs, so there is definitive flavour about the interwoven eclipses that followed the much-heralded “Great American Eclipse” of August 21st, 2017 at 28 degrees Leo. The archetype of Leo is associated with the heart, with the courage it takes to expand our understanding of what it is to be human.

Reflect on the motifs of our lives since last August. Where were we back then? Where are we now? How far have we traveled?  If we attune to the energy of this eclipse, and the symbolism of this potent New Moon, we may allow our passion to stir, re-kindle a sense of purpose, strengthen our resolve in making those changes we have dreaded, resisted, for so long now. 280054adda70922999966e90ebdf6c74

The thread so far this year has been a Total Lunar Eclipse on January 31st at 11 degrees Leo, the partial Solar Eclipse the day after Valentine’s Day at 27 degrees Aquarius, the Total Lunar Eclipse on July 27th at 4 degrees Aquarius, culminating in the Total Lunar Eclipse next year on January 21st at 00 degrees Leo. Milestones, turning points, beginnings of new cycles.

We’ll need courage to sift through emotional and mental flotsam—vigilance to discern the difference between our own narratives and those voices that may still hold authority over us. The real spiritual journey is ongoing. The symbolism of astrology offers us the gift of inner sight on our heroine’s journey. And as we feel our way through these dark days wholeheartedly, and take that Leap of Faith. At this New Moon, may we honour that part of ourselves that is our Essential Beauty, may we disarm, remove the mask, shrug off the stories we tell ourselves about our age, our body, the mistakes we have made, and simply honour our true purpose. Love.

 

 

For private astrology readings and forthcoming workshops for women, please email ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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Lionheart—Sun in Leo 22nd July—23rd August

Sun in Leo 5

It’s a funny thing about life.

If you refuse to settle for anything less than the best, that’s what it will give you—W. Somerset Maugham.

Passion lifts us on the thermal of those before-and-after choices that change the trajectory of our lives. When passion enters, pressing itself, hot and urgent against those places we haven’t touched in years, we remember our wings, and we soar.

As leaders of nations distract us with  displays of crass grandiosity, as economies and social structures are dismembered, we journey around the archetypal wheel of the zodiac to encounter what has  churned, sea-smoothed and sculptured, beneath the reflective waters of Cancer.

Amidst  ideological rhetoric and comatose decision-making, the transits of the outer planets draw out the sepsis from society. The archetypes of Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn continue to draw up all that is rotten to the surface of patriarchy. Our role models and leaders reflect our own greed, arrogance and bigotry. The dispassionate sky-god Uranus, promises the “perfect society”, and things fall apart.

The Sun moves into Leo on Sunday, offering the gift of optimism and vitality. Leo encapsulates passion, creativity, and spontaneity. Leo’s quest is courage.

Leo is associated with the heart—le coeur. That sacred repository of joy that contains the delicious delight, the audacious longing that emboldens us to rise up strong. Old astrologers link Leo royalty. With Sun kings, with leaders of nations and performers—Leo is the rock star of the zodiac—egoistic, charismatic, and commanding. I would associate Leo with the Divine Child, spontaneous, engaged in pleasure and play, fully alive. When the Sun is in Leo, our Camino is the way of  wholehearted self-expression and joy.

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The archetype of Leo reminds us that every experience has the potential to rouse us to passion and purpose, that it’s laughter and creativity that sweeten the heroine’s journey. That lions spend most of their time sleeping, and a good night’s sleep will do much to  ease our stretched-out-frazzled nerves. That laughter and play thaw the frozen terror and passion  immolates the sinuous coil of fear in our belly.

This month is flanked by two eclipses—the Cancer New Moon Partial Solar Eclipse on July 13th brushed the Sun, with a top note of intensity that may be illuminated by the Total Lunar Eclipse and  Aquarius Full Moon Solar Eclipse,  on July 27th.

Lunar Eclipses draw us into the instinctual realm of “gut feel”. They stir primordial energy. Solar Eclipses feel external, they cast a spotlight on global events and personal issues. We may experience hardship and enormous tension— or  the release of suppressed energy in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption in our lives.

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Eclipses have importance in terms of world events. The partial solar eclipse was a preview to what will unfold from January 6th 2019—a cluster of eclipses in the Capricorn/Cancer polarity. July’s Partial Solar Eclipse fell on the moon of the UK chart, emphasising survival and safety. It coincided with Donald Trump’s visit to the UK.

Bernadette Brady writes of the July 13th eclipse (Saros Series 2 North) “if this family of eclipses affects a chart, the person will experience the sudden collapse of plans or life-styles… after the dust has settled, the rebuilding starts, and the consequences of this reshaping will have far-reaching effects. This eclipse family changes a person’s direction through the sudden collapse of an existing structure.”

Eclipses, even if they don’t spotlight any personal planets in our birth charts or in the charts of our relationships, highlight motifs, offer opportunities for re-calibration. They’re guide posts. Points of reference. cat leo sun

Reflect back to the much-heralded solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017 at 28 degrees Leo. Again the Leo/Aquarius axis was accented as the players on the political stage  performed their macabre roles like players in an Elizabethan Revenge Drama. There’s another eclipse on the Aquarius/Leo axis on August 11th at 18 degrees Leo and the final eclipse in this Leo/Aquarius family on January 21st, 2019 at 00 degrees Leouncompromising grandiosity, puffed up pride and arrogance, drama, hot-headed ideology, as naked Emperors strutand the counterpointcourage, spontaneity, and ability to be Present.

Mercury goes Retrograde on July 26th, at 23 degrees Leo, a harbinger of the full moon lunar eclipse on 27 July 2018 which falls at 4 degrees Aquarius,  making a striking T-square with Mars square Uranus. She nestles between Mars Retrograde and the South Node in Aquarius, like a poultice on a wound, bringing things to the surface, marking a completion, illuminating personal and world events in a dramatic and disruptive manner. Both Mars and the South Node bring a sense of severance, purifying, separating, purging. Mars is the surgeon’s knife that cuts, accelerating new growth and healing. Mars is also the war-lord’s sword that maims and destroys.

Sun in Leo 2In the cutting loose, the withdrawal from the brouhaha of the dramatics of politics, we’re invited to take centre stage in our own lives. To be loyal and steadfast to our own performance and to  abandon ourselves to our own unique passion that transcends the petty actions of the bit players who enter and leave through the sliding doors of political office. To adorn our heart’s desire with the deep, enduring energy that infuses all life.

I offer astrology readings and workshops for women, and post regular updates on Facebook. Please contact me ingrid@trueheartwork.com

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours—Ayn Rand.

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Still Point—Solstice—June 21st

solstice 14This is the Solstice, the still point of the Sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future. The place of caught breath—Margaret Atwood.

As summer thrusts sunlight into the receptive hollows of the earth here in the north, and the benediction of winter silence presses into the cold soils of the south, the Sun moves into the sign of Cancer on June 21st, and pauses at the threshold of the year.

Our Earth is girdled with contrast, bejeweled with the counterpoint of light and darkness. Spiritual teacher, Gary Zukav describes the Solstices as “the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterize our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives.”

At the solstice, and right now in our human his-story, we stand at a threshold, and at a time of unlocking, which promises the release of pent-up energy, the slaying of old dragons. The choice to expand, or contract against the forces of change that swirl around us all.solstice 000

Uranus moves through the sign of Taurus (2018-2026) engendering social and financial seismic upheaval, spurring climate change—a potential “ecological Armageddon” —to shatter our illusions of security and what we believe is safe and sure.  For many, these social and economic changes will change how we live, how we work. Like the interwoven spirals and coils of Celtic knot-work, the astrology of our times is threaded with the amalgam of the past. Uranus moved through the sign of  Taurus between 1934 and 1941. Yet, in the darkness of depravity and suffering many experienced their “their finest hour”. The Industrial Revolution between 1850—1859 irrevocably destroyed a way of life but also brought innovation and a new social and economic order as Uranus moved through Taurus.

Against the backdrop of the widening gyre, the Sun rides his chariot through that segment of the zodiac associated with home, with family, with safety and security, between June 21st to July 23rd.

Cancer is a water sign, associated with the bonds that bind us kith and kin, to the land of our Homeland, our Motherland. Cancer is associated with the Great Mother, with the mythic Bear and She-Wolf who nurture and suckle their young. Psychologically, Cancer offers the opportuntiy to explore the other dimension of Mother—the mother who lives vicariously through her young or who keeps them dependent and infantile. The mother who devours and destroys. Cancer represents our need to individuate, to separate from Mother and the family alembic. To turn from the breast and to nourish ourselves. In a world where health care and social security systems are being dismantled, this need for self-sufficiency and innovation may become more urgent.

Cancer is also associated with the  crab who carries her shell on her back to protect her soft body from the elements. This is poignantly enacted each day as homeless men and women pack up their meagre belongings from park benches and doorways in so-called “First World” nations.  In the poorer countries of the world, millions live in fetid squatter camps or risk their lives to seek refuge from famine and war. And in South Africa, land invasions will escalate in a disruptive and violent manner as Uranus moves through Taurus. As the gulf between the rich and the poor widens, Ted’s story is the story of thousands of men and women who, through divorce, retrenchment and rising prices, have lost their moorings, slipped into the abyss and have no place to call home in a bloated housing market peppered with Airbnb. Ted died at a table in a coffee shop in one of the most affluent areas of Vancouver this month. Battling cancer, with no means to rent or buy a home of his own, Ted had been living at a table near the washroom of the coffee shop for a decade. There are increasing numbers of people, struggling to cover the cost of food and housing in cities where house prices have rocketed. Judy Graves, an advocate for the homeless met Ted about four years ago when he had been diagnosed with cancer. “He had worked all his life, but at low-paying working-class jobs. For much of his life he had managed to scrape by, but an unexpected expense left him suddenly scrambling. Eventually he was left him without a roof over his head.”

solstice 4Frank Baum’s “There’s no place like home,” and the clichéd  “Home Sweet Home,” reflect our heart’s longing for safety and belonging as we pause in the dreamy haze of mid-summer heat, or close the curtains against the raw chill of mid-winter. As Uranus moves through Taurus, one of the manifestations will be the issue of land and affordable housing—a place to call Home.

The dreamy magical month of June may have brought timely reminders to stay flexible amidst uncertainty and ambiguity of the bellicose tweeting, the self-aggrandisement of the politicians. We’re exactly one month away from eclipse season and as the Wheel of the Year turns, and we draw closer to the mid-Summer/Winter Solstice, Venus ingressed into Leo on Wednesday, June 13th, and Mercury slipped into Cancer on June 12th against the backdrop of Brexit, which will affect us all. Another colour wash is Mars opposing the North Node this week and beginning to slow down in the early degrees of Aquarius before turning Retrograde on June 26th to August 27th.

So, stay flexible and alert, prepare for things to change, perhaps not in the way that you expect them to. If you have planets in Aries or Scorpio, you might feel this shift quite dramatically as life seems becalmed. Return to basics, re-do, reinforce, and use this time wisely to replenish your own energy reserves. Black Elk offers this wisdom for Mars in Retrograde—It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives. Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds.0dec402d59d23a9e1004a898b40af19c

Mars is the archetype of war and is associated with anger. Moving slowly through idealistic Aquarius, ideologies and the Tribal Mind are emphasised. When Mars is in Retrograde, his energies are bridled, curtailed, he cannot move freely or spontaneously. If you’ve ever been at the receiving end of an insult that explodes through your heart, you’ll have sense of the power of this astrological signature. These next few weeks may  may feel supercharged, yet nothing happens; our nervous system may feel like a string of a violin that has been strung too tightly. Be mindful of thoughts create tsunamis across the surface of your mind and capsize your calm, words that emerge from the cave of your unconscious and darken the blue skies of affection.

Mars always needs to pick a fight, so the energy may feel as  volatile as a swarm of bees racing through the skies con a hot summer’s day. If you’ve been putting up with, or tolerating a situation that has become untenable, anger may erupt in a heated rush as Mars goes direct. Projects, plans may proceed with unprecedented speed.

We’re living in uncertain times.

Yet there’s a certain kind of freedom in uncertainty. Freedom from our addictive fear of the unknown, freedom from our past conditioning.

Writes Deepak Chopra, “in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.”

solstice 7I post astrology updates regularly on Facebook, and offer private readings on Skype or in person, so do please connect with me, I’d love to hear from you—ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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The Lovers—Sun in Gemini—May 21st.

b9d006019c469094261ab2d45e6cfea7Set me as a seal upon your heart, a seal upon your arm. For love is as strong as death. Passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire. A raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it out—Song of Solomon.

The break in protocol and formality, and the sermon that blazed its way across eons of formality and protocol on Saturday, was depicted in the astrological portrait—Venus in the very last degree of Gemini, the Moon in Cancer and Sun in Taurus. Uranus, that planet associated with Prometheus, the Greek Titan who stole fire from the gods, conjunct the Sun of Queen Elizabeth 11. In the unifying symbolism of this wedding, in the impassioned sermon by Bishop Michael Curry, and the transcendent words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the Power of Love reverberated through the walls of the 14th Century chapel: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. For love is the only way…. There’s power in love.” Gemini 24

The Sun enters the sign of Gemini today, May 21st.  In the round of the zodiac, we encounter the archetype of The Twins.

In Gemini we encounter duality and division. The Light and the Dark Twin. Gemini encapsulates the essence of The Lovers, the sixth card in Tarot. A mythical depiction of our human need to bond, to relate, and in so doing, to experience Love’s Illusions, Love’s Triumphs, and Love’s Redemption. Mercury, the Trickster, Prince of Thieves, the Liar and the wily Psychopomp, is the planetary spirit who guides the Lovers into the possibilities of choice encountered on the labyrinthine path of life. We may discover, within us, the shadowy twin, who arrives like an uninvited, and unexpected guest at the table.  Mythic twins betray one another, the lie and they steal, they murder. “Some things, however, are true, no matter how hard you might try to block them out. And a lie is always a lie, no matter how prettily told. Some doors, once they’re opened, can never be closed again, just as some trust, once it’s been lost, can never be won back,” writes Alice Hoffman.

296a629e7567af86cdf81e1a104a9796In Gemini we meet the complexities of relating with another who may disappoint us, who may leave us, who may break our trust.

The image of twinship is portrayed in mythic stories throughout the ages. Astrologically, the Gemini theme is threaded through the birth charts of family members. Literal or physic twinship brings exits through separationschool, college, marriage, estrangement, and death. In our sibling stories we write a narrative of bitter rivalry, and deep enduring love.

The desire to stay bonded in our adult relationships, and the need to separate and individuate, even the ability to leave unhealthy relationships may be anchored in our very first experience of separation with our siblings.

The Romans called the Twins Castor and Pollux and to the Greeks, they were “The Dioscuri”, the sons of the sky-god Zeus. The masculine bias in our culture ignores the other set of twins born out of Zeus’s rape of Leda. The twin daughters, Helen and Clytemnestra. The story of these twins is threaded with duplicity. Helen and Pollux were the progeny of the god Zeus, while Castor and Clytemnestra were the son and daughter of Leda’s husband Tyndareus. Diversity, difference, and the ultimate loss of connection underscores the Gemini motif and is powerfully depicted in myth. Castor and Pollux achieved fame and recognition in the skies. Helen and her sister, Clytemnestra did not fare so well. Bronze age misogyny is still lodged deeply in the marrow of our culture. But an increasing awareness of racial and sexual diversity, the # Me Too Campaign, and the Irish Referendum on Abortion, bring recognition to the disowned parts of ourselves, to re-claim the lost sisters, to redress past wrongs.

Gemini is a metaphor for separation, duality, opposition. The life long search for something from which we feel separated. Our disowned self, a sibling who might have died or been aborted, a sibling from whom we are disconnected. Gemini is a symbolic representation for the pathos of profound loss, a sense of something that’s “missing” that’s so often projected outwards. So often awoken in our intimate relationships, our close friendships. Gemini is the metaphor for The Soul Mate. The search for The Soul Mate is cling-wrapped around our modern concept of “romance”, yet as Elizabeth Gilbert reveals, our Soul Mates can be our Wound Mates, those people who break us open, who speed our evolution and maturity.   “A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave…”

In the mythic story of Gemini we may we encounter, personally and collectively, the search for the Twin Soul who will mirror our shadowy doppelganger, bring to our attention those parts of ourselves that we have disowned and discarded.  This month, personally, or collectively, we have the opportunity to encounter the paradox of choice, the pathos of separation, the indecision of opposition and the mythic story of The Twins, and the Power of Love.

This is the sacred dance of yin and yang, masculine and feminine energy, that is the lustrous pearl at the heart of a Spiritual Partnership, the paradox, the pathos, of Gemini.

I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both—Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

For astrology readings on Skype or in person, and for more information about workshops for women, please get in touch—ingrid@trueheartwork.comGemini 22 Casablanca

 

 

 

 

 

 

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White on White—Mercury the Magician

White on white 22Marriage is not a ritual or an end.

It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partnerAmy Bloom.

Fairy Tale Weddings are compelling in their sentimental perfection. The flowers, cake, months of meticulous preparation. The dress, tiara, spray-on tan, flowers in the button holes.

In our desire for the perfect wedding we so often find the golden apple of Discord. The Trickster appears to knock the bouquet off the altar of tradition. The fainting bride, the glitch in the sound system, little page boy who squeals just as the vows are pronounced. A flaw in the perfection of the meticulously planned occasion that brings laughter, and that may be the prelude of a profound agitation of two entwined souls. Like actors on a stage, bride and groom, play out the old scripts of the marriages before them. In their own lives, or in the matrix of their family history.

The compelling mystery of Marriage is that it can flay and brand, or softly kiss our soul. It is through our sentimentality, our innocence, our insistence in the “happily ever after” and the romantic dream of the marriage made in heaven, that we meet the dark challenges that a soul-ful union.  It’s through the difficulties, often the sojourns in hell, that we refine the prima materia, the raw stuff of life, and experience the phases of Love in all their complexity.

As the days of May unfurl like bright-coloured scarves tossed by the wind, Mercury guides us across the threshold of change and the ritual of Marriage. Mercury is associated with the Trickster and the Magician archetype, and is the patron of youth, of new possibilities, new perceptions, offering us the gift of ingenuity and intellect.ae6b30abe4584b2f97890bbee2582c6a

Mercury has been riding tandem with Uranus for the past few days, a high-voltage energy, so perfectly typified by the spectacle of this year’s Eurovision song contest, and the win by Israel’s Netta Barzilai who celebrated diversity in her confident delivery. Mercury changes sign this week, slipping into Taurus on May 14th.  Taurus embodies an earthly, sensual, resourceful energy, and as Mercury changes into the richly sensual clothing of Venus-ruled Taurus, this ingress signifies a phase of cerebral creativity for us all on some level.

The Taurus New Moon on May 15th heralds a threshold crossing, corresponding with Uranus’ ingress, the start of a new seven-year cycle, as Uranus penetrates the calm solidity of Taurus. Uranus, associated with upheaval, with sudden change that uproots the past, shatters the status quo. This marks an unfolding journey for us personally, and collectively, that will initiate us into unexpected change, fresh starts, and new challenges, just as the ritual of marriage marks a turning point in our lives, an initiation into an ancient covenant.

Uranus in Taurus featured pixAmidst the blush of cherry blossom and the pristine purity of white-thorn, tradition and ceremony, street parties; amidst the flags strung against blue skies in celebration of the Royal Wedding, the stage is set for a sequence of astrological aspects that herald unexpected events and an opportunity to stretch and bend with changing circumstances in our lives.

Mars, the planet associated with action, with severance, moves into Aquarius, squaring Uranus, on May 16th creating the potential for a destabilising energy that urges us to break apart, to separate from something that may have grown too stuck, too staid, too stultifying. Mercury squares the Nodal axis, symbolising a “fatedness” a sense of “destiny” that’s embedded in the ceremony and tradition that will be enacted on May 19th.

Uranus was last in the sign of Taurus between 1934 and 1941, and these next seven years will have implications for those of us with planets or angles in the late degrees of Cardinal signs and the early degrees of fixed signs. Meghan Markle (North Node, Mercury and Sun in early degrees Leo) and her popular Prince (Pluto at 00 degrees Scorpio and Moon in Taurus) will not be exempt.  Uranus energy feels like an electric current that sizzles uncomfortably and the more we resist the more we may feel we are being electrocuted. As new revelations compel us to marry the polarities in our lives, or cast away the old, and bravely say, “I do”, the symbolism of the Royal Wedding on May 19th invites us all to look beneath the spectacle, to notice the signs and the symbols, to be curious about the road ahead.df12ebdbd4816f8a81b0dd3618f92b9e

For some, there’s something reassuring about ceremony, securely tied like bright bunting, to poles of upright tradition. For a few hours of revelry and wonder, the strains of struggle and uncertainty will be soothed by splendour and spectacle. Even though our lives may continue to continue, we may feel a little differently, a little changed, perhaps, more open, more perceptive and curious about the world we see. On a metaphysical level, the ritual of Marriage is sacred. It’s a rite of passage, through which we metamorphose into a deeper, more soulful self.  It’s an alchemical process though which we have the opportunity to integrate the masculine and the feminine within. Soon, we may  discover that he or she is not the god/goddess we believed they were. Soon we may discover we cannot depend on our partner to make us whole, to love us forever and ever. Author Mignon McLaughlin observes, “a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

In the unfolding of our love, we may discover that marriage is a threshold into a mansion of self-discovery. A home-renovation project that takes us to the foundations of our  past. And as we witness this Royal Wedding, something ancient within us all will unfurl like bright bunting, as we raise our glasses to Hope.

white on white 8For astrology readings on Skype or in person, and for information on womens’ workshops, please contact meingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

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Close for Comfort—Uranus in Taurus—May 16th 2018—April 26th 2026

Uranus in Taurus 8 Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe

As May’s darling buds loosen and shake from the embrace of greening branches, and burnished bronzes blaze in rows across southern vineyards, we may sense a quiver, a tremor stirring the sameness of our daily lives. We may feel a force gathering momentum that lifts the veil of familiarity as the seasons change.  Yet, unlike our ancestors who used rhymes and talismans to ward off evil, to grant fertility and prosperity, we may linger in the reassuring comfort of the old well-trodden roads, unsure of what form this newness might take.

On April 20th the Sun ingresses into Taurus.  Passing from Aries and the heated rush of Fire, we sink into substance, the loam, the ancient clay of Earth. The Age of Taurus (4,000-2,000 BCE) coincided with the river civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and for eons, the Bull and the Cow have been associated with the fecundity, with currency. Material possessions, land, and shiny silver sixpences, are yoked and bound to neck of The Bull and amidst the roar of the economic machine, we buy and sell “stocks”, and bullion; markets are temperamentally “bullish”.
Uranus in Taurus 111

Woody Allen once quipped, “money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons. This thing we call “money”, this stream of electrons, is our irrefutable medium of exchange and over the next several years, our relationship with moneyand the disparity of wealth on our planet, is about to be shaken. Not stirred. If you’ve just bought into the cryptocurrency hype. If you’ve always believed that you should save for a rainy day. If you find it easier to talk about your sex life than what you earn, the transit of Uranus through the sign of Taurus over these next seven years will slay the Minotaur of covetous complacency and avarice. As the accumulation of wealth by the rich continues to continue; as swathes of homeless continue to forage on scraps and shelter beneath flimsy roofs of plastic, the top one percent who have the Midas Touch,  will have clasped sixty-four percent of the world’s wealth by 2023.

On May 16th, Uranus crosses the border into the sign of The Bull. The passage of Uranus through Taurus  will bring sudden shocks and surprises that break open hermetically-sealed structures, catapult us into new terrain. There may be losses and gains that compel us to be resourceful, more flexible, humbler, more grateful for the sixpence in our shoe. This ancient archetypal force may remind us of our clay feet as we stand on the rim of the Widening Gyre between rich and poor. Affordable housing, land distribution, and sustainable food production, will certainly encircle our lives, shattering our identification with existing form and attitude. Uranus brings the gift of fire which was stolen from the gods. New, unknown, it transforms our perspective, alters our reality—breaks through that are too rigid, too fixed, too chrystalised, in their form.  Over the next several years, all those things we think we truly cherish and value; that something old, that something borrowed; might seem faded and frayed, as we reach for new possibilities, new potentials.

 

Robot and human hands almost touching - 3D render. A modern take on the famous Michelangelo painting in the Sistine Chapel; titled, "The Creation of Adam".

Uranus, has been moving through Aries, since March 2011, reflected by technological innovation, accelerated surveillance and social manipulation through Facebook, Google, YouTube. Uranus’s gift of fire in the sign of Aries delivered Artificial Intelligence, the rise of the robots, the internet of things, the rise of right-wing political parties.

Uranus is an archetype associated with the rallying cry of rebellion and disruption, with the shocking collapse of social order. Uranus is an archetypal force associated with the Collective, rather than the personal, individual will. This planet is associated with reason, with ultimate perfection, with sudden dispassionate dissociation. With the hive mind that swarms in unison. Monty Python’s Life of Brian describes this kind of Uranian  murmuration:  You don’t  NEED to follow ANYBODY! You’ve got to think for your selves! You’re  ALL individuals! The Crowd: Yes! We’re all individuals! Brian: You‘re all different! The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!

These next several years will bring something new, something unexpected, to our lives, depending on what area of your birth chart, and what planets are awakened by a Uranus transit. We may feel like outsiders in a world gone utterly mad. We may be drawn to those religious traditions that propose non-attachment. We may anaesthetise ourselves with regular fixes of  (Uranian-ruled) technology.

 

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Uranus was last in the sign of Taurus between 1935 and 1941, when the delicate ecosystem of the great plains of America turned to dust. Spring has grown increasingly Silent since Rachel Carson documented the destructive use of pesticides in 1962. Uranus brings us the gift of fire. At a price. Starhawk writes, “the brush that is tinder dry from decades of drought, the warming of the earth’s climate that sends the storms away north, the hole in the ozone layer. Not punishment, not even justice, but consequence.”

In May, it will be 50 years since biologist Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb when the world’s population was less than 2 billion – 5.6 billion fewer people than today. Ehrlich reminds us, “perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell… but the longer humanity pursues business as usual, the smaller the sustainable society is likely to prove to be.”

In the 1950s we began engineering polymers. Now microfibres leaking formaldehyde, invade our bedrooms, our cars, our offices, our oceans. Uranian inventions have become the monstrous Frankenstein who ultimately destroys his creator.

The energies of the outer planets are felt long before an ingress. Positive news for our environment is that Japanese scientists have discovered some bacteria that use plastic as a food source.

 

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On Sunday, May 14th, Mercury enters Taurus. Mercury is associated with contracts, negotiation, deal-making, communicationand mis-communication for those stalking the stock markets.

On May 15th, the New Moon in Taurus emphasises the motif of the Bull, (not sweet Ferdinand, the Raging one.) This lunation trines the Mars/Pluto conjunction which squares Uranus at the power degree of 29 Aries. Chiron, associated with the archetype of the “Wounded Healer” moves into Aries on April 17th and we are asked to cultivate a new relationship with Promethean Fire. Survivalist self- sufficiency and self-assertion may mask fear and uncertainty. Our personal sense of powerlessness  become more apparent amidst political and social change as we encounter these potent archetypal energies. fba48bee60e4e9041bc1096b13b83f47

We may consider just how much power we give to “the monetary system”. How we trade our integrity when we buy the things we do. What price we pay for safety and security.

Our inner values of honesty and integrity, our code of personal honour, our Taurean sensuality, our sexuality, will be upturned so that we shake loose the old beliefs that wrap around our lives like blue garters. Uranus is not about personal freedom or individuality. But as  Lynne Mc Taggart says, “the power of mass intention may ultimately be the force that shifts the tide toward repair and renewal of the planet.” 

As we are propelled from the comfort of the old, we may need to borrow the wisdom of the sages—only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.

 For more information about forthcoming workshops and private readings in Dublin please email ingrid@trueheartwork.comUranus in Taurus 11

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Burning Ambition—Mars and Saturn in Capricorn—Simply Dig!

Mars and Saturn 8There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this―Terry Pratchett

As the rhythm of our lives moves to the shape of this new month, each new day may present new possibilities to engage more deeply, more consciously, even amidst the repetition and predictability of our daily lives. Mars takes the lead this month, demanding an output of focus and energy which is book-ended by a close conjunction to Saturn that separates gradually over the next few days―March 29th to April 9th―and Mars conjunct Pluto at month’s end. A clarion call to show up, get to work with urgency and self-discipline.

In Tarot the Three of Pentacles symbolises this focused effort which brings recognition and rewards for hard work, for not letting go of the balloon. In astrology, Mars/Saturn contacts encapsulate the Puritan work ethic: self-denial, hard slog that manifests something of value and worth. Cheryl Strayed wraps this planetary aspect up in her own inimitable way― “writing is hard….Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.” Modern culture venerates efficiency and busyness. In the bland drudgery of the workplace we may feel we are “hitting our heads against a brick wall”, “fighting against the odds”, as Mars/Saturn contacts may manifest as exhaustion, low libido, feelings of frustration, being motivated by fear or duty. There are bills to pay, encumbrances and obligations that bind us to roles, titles, and positions that harness our identities, that chafe against the pull of our souls. Mystic and poet, John O’Donohue, writes about an  epitaph on a gravestone somewhere in London―“Here lies Jeremy Brown born a man and died a grocer.”  Mars/Saturn can consume our identity. Self-abstinence can shrink our lives, imprison us in our titles, starve us of our joy.

The sky-script this month reflects the age-old issue of power. We may work in an office where our dignity is compromised, we may be in an environment where we don’t feel welcome, where power is misused, where we are merely treated like functionaries, our life force claimed and used, our souls never engaged. We are reminded that no system or corporation can exile us from our imagination, from the possibility of renewal that coheres to fresh possibilities for creativity in the work we do, or the passions that feed us after hours.

Leonard Cohen approached his creative work with doggedness and determination. He drew nourishment and meaning from hard work. “I think unemployment is the great affliction of man. Even people with jobs are unemployed. In fact, most people with jobs are unemployed. I can say, happily and gratefully, that I am fully employed. Maybe all hard work means is fully employed.” The combination of Mars/Saturn demands true grit, single-pointed focus, and the courage to lean into our lives when there are things that must be done, to tackle those things we fear the most, and also to stand on the edge of the rut, to turn towards those things that moisten, that nourish our soul. To say, happily and gratefully, that we are fully employed with those things that bring vitality and passion to our lives.
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Mercury is in Retrograde ’til April 15th—a cosmic instruction to pause, step back from the busyness, disengage, focus inwards before making any decisions, carefully read the small print before signing any documents. Most astrologers would agree that these three-week Mercury retrograde phases are wonderful times to revalue, revise, repair, relocate, remember, regress, reunite, re-create, re-arrange and re-do on the purely physical mechanical level.

Mercury is in the element of fire, in the sign of Aries. Fire symbolism is associated with creativity, the Jungian intuitive function, the way we create our future. Mercury Retrograde in the element of fire signals a break in old patterns, a transition in our creative focus. We may attempt to “start something” without true inspiration and verve, or reach a very stuck place where eventually events, or emotions erupt, bringing destruction of the old. Yet in the rubble are new green shoots, new possibilities to grow, the much longed for changed we dreaded, yet unconsciously manifested.

b78166531030d114975548f27a768630We may have to find the courage to respond to the challenges in our lives with increased awareness, with more resilience. This is a time to shift focus, to perceive our lives with new vision. This is a time to adapt to change more creatively.

Physical illnesses that emerge during this time may nudge us back to those parts of our psyche that we have neglected or overused. The writer’s “block”, the flatness that we feel, might be a signal to change our daily routine, our technique. To try on something new, to experiment.

Depending on where Mercury is natally and in transit in your own birth chart, these next three weeks until Mercury goes direct again on April 15th may be a richly creative time. A time to seek your own inner wisdom, reclaim your own inner voice.

Saturn  moves Retrograde at 9 degrees Capricorn on April 18th and will station direct on September 7th urging us to be resourceful, realistic, and pragmatic, as we take stock of those things that frustrate us, confront those fears that thread through our neural pathways, ambushing our peace from the shadows.

This month’s New Moon carries the standard of rejuvenation, represented by the lightning bolt conjunction with Uranus, the planet associated with the destruction of complacency and rigidity.  This lunation heralds destruction and renewal.  The Moon waxes Full on April 30th at 9 degrees Scorpio. Both lunations this month are ruled by Mars, the ancient god of war who awakens Eros, heats our blood, spurs our will.

The month ends as Mars confronts Pluto―April 24th to April 30th ― in a separating conjunction that may bring an honest acceptance of our own part in the soap opera of our relationships, our addiction to busyness, perhaps an awareness of the drives and compulsions that lie buried in our brain’s amygdala. This energy may be described as drawing a line, setting a boundary, and knowing what it is that we want, then going out to get it.

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Mars and Saturn in Capricorn awaken our will to give space to the spontaneity of our feral souls, to shake off the chains that bind us to prescribed roles or identities which shrink us and dull our lives with repetitive, mechanical habit. We are reminded that we do not have to sell our souls to the seductive undertow of security. We do not have to stay trapped in the coal mine amidst dark seams of similarity. The turbulence of our soul’s yearning will guide us to leave the to-do lists aside as we step outside of our over-scheduled lives to engage deeply with ourselves. To be happily and gratefully, fully employed.

 

For private readings and more information about forthcoming workshops, please connect with me: ingrid@trueheartwork.come161c6a1926b4facec8e008a42bb059d

 

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Hero 3

Cry Heart, but never Break—Sun in Aries

Hero

We are the only creatures who are in-between. We’re of the earth, but don’t belong to it, because we strain after the heavens; and yet the heavens aren’t full in us. So, this wonderful, restless, eternal longing in us has us always on a quest—John O’Donohue.

Wearing thin leather shoes with heavy metal spikes, Roger Bannister, the gentleman athlete, did the impossible—he sprinted across the finishing tape, covering one mile in under four minutes. Of his world-breaking athletic record, he said it was simply, “good luck”.

With a fiery Aries Sun conjunct barrier-breaking Uranus in tight square to disciplined and self-effacing Saturn, Roger Bannister was an unassuming Hero who gave up competitive running to pursue a successful career as a neurologist.

Yet, his heroic feat of courage and determination, describes our eternal longing, our Hero’s Quest: “Those last few seconds seemed never-ending … the faint line of the finishing tape stood ahead as a haven of peace, after the struggle. The arms of the world were waiting to receive me if only I reached the tape without slackening my speed. If I faltered, there would be no arms to hold me and the world would be a cold, forbidding place, because I had been so close. I leapt at the tape like a man taking his last spring to save himself from the chasm that threatens to engulf him.” 

In our patriarchal culture, the hero myth is associated with the existential courage and the white-knuckled will power that overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Modern heroes are “sporting greats”, intrepid adventurers, astronauts and soldiers. And as the Great Wheel of the Year turns, and the Sun enters Aries on March 21st, a light shines through an aperture—igniting the hero/warrior archetype, and its shadow: the destroyer. In myth and in fairy tale, the hero/warrior archetype is typically masculine. Heroes slay nine-headed dragons, rescue hapless damsels, defeat degenerate villains.  Yet the destroyer lives amongst us, tattooed in pain and anger on the skin of the wounded Fisher King.

Starhawk describes the distortion of the Hero/Warrior archetype still so prevalent in our culture today. “The soldiers in Vietnam patted first their machine guns, then their groins: this is my rifle/this is my gun/ one is for fighting/one is for fun.”

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For most of us, our heroes’, or heroine’s quest is a response to the challenges of life that is not muscular or spectacularly heroic. So often, it’s the austere grip of Necessity that wrenches us out of our ordinary lives and catapults us on the Hero’s quest. Financial ruin, illness, the noxious fallout from a ruined relationship, may ignite within our hearts, the courage we never knew we had. The Dark Knight of Desperation may spur our leap of faith. Compassion may break open our heart to moisten the lips of a dying parent after years of painful estrangement. The dragons we slay might be the fears that terrorise us in the darkest hours just before the first bird sings. The hapless damsel might be our own deeply wounded Feminine nature. The degenerate villain may be the impotent Masculine, who hides his wounded vulnerability beneath the rusty armour of bravado and grandiosity.

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The sky-story for the second half of March has a very different feel to the first half of this month. The phallic thrust that propels us through these last weeks is charged with daring, action and adventure.  Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and the Sun are all in the Mars-ruled sign of the Ram and it is in Aries that we must dare to find the deeper meaning of courage, the true hero’s quest.

On March 21st, the Sun’s chariot of fire races through the gate of the Equinox into the sign of Aries. We cross the threshold into Spring or Autumn. We emerge from the reflective soulful region of the human psyche, depicted by the Sun’s journey through the sign of Pisces, into the forge of fire, depicted by the archetype of Aries.

Mars, pumped with testosterone from his journey through fiery Sagittarius, rides into battle on March 18th, crossing into new terrain as he joins Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn, the Mer-Goat. Mercury turns Retrograde on March 23rd at 16 degrees Aries, urging us to retrace, recover, revisit old ground. Jupiter in the Mars-ruled sign of Scorpio, turned Retrograde on March 9th at 23 degrees Scorpio, reminding us of  that eternal longing, calling us back to our soul’s quest, depicted in our own birth chart.

 

 

Hero 2Some of us may realise that the harshness and discord in the world reflects our own internal state. That the rocks and thorns  are on the pathways of our internal landscape. Some of us may know that there are no heroes who can save us from ourselves.  That our quest as women, is not to attempt a hero’s journey, to try to be pseudo-men. That modern heroines require a skill set that  pays the mortgage and the school fees.

“You can’t do it all. No one can have two full-time jobs, have perfect children and cook three meals and be multi-orgasmic till dawn. Superwoman is the adversary of the women’s movement,” says Gloria Steinem.

In the words of poet Mark Nepo, “our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world, but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet, and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”

Leia, Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley are heroines with their own very distinctive quest: to define and validate feminine values in the urn, the alembic, that contains intuition and empathy; courage and intellect. Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, and Roger Bannister, present a more nuanced manifestation of the Hero.

Says author and teacher, Gary Zukov , “The Old Male is limited to the perceptions of the five senses, evolves by surviving, and survives by pursuing external power… the New Male re-defines masculinity. He feels his emotions, consults intuition, laughs, cries, and shares himself easily, and looks for partner to grow with, spiritually.”

Some of us may aspire to become army generals or astronauts. Some of us may aspire to scale the Seven Summits.

Some of us aspire to watch our grandchildren play in safety, in the sunshine.

Cheryl Strayed writes, “you go on by doing the best you can. You go on by being generous. You go on by being true. You go on by offering comfort to others who can’t go on. You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and by allowing the pleasure in other days. You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage”.

For some of us, an ordinary life lived with as much consciousness and courage we can muster, is heroic. Our quest is cyclical, not linear. And even though there are times when it takes every last spark of courage to unearth something positive, anything hopeful, to hold onto, we go on. And we do the best we can.

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For private consultations or for more information about new workshops, please email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

For more regular updates on current astrological cycles, I post  regularly on Facebook.

 

 

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Carried in the Deep 7c

Sun in Pisces—Rolling in the Deep—Mystic, Mélusine, Misfit

a239a69d3960d9823ccff550b08dfbb5The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do itJ.M Barrie, Peter Pan

Bruised clouds hang in bunches over the parched land, delivering thunder and lightning and a meagre measure of rain. Yet as river beds turn to dust in the wind, jasmine bursts, a froth of fragrant creamy white, from tight-coiled cerise buds. Eight months before spring.

Faith and Hope hold us airborne. There’s a life-force that spirals from struggle.  Writer and civil rights activist, James Bladwin, says of Shakespeare’s life in Elizabethan England, It is said that his time was easier than ours, but I doubt it—no time can be easy if one is living through it.”

Throughout human history, times of drought, plague, famine, flood, and myriad human atrocities have crushed civilizations. Yet from the shards of broken lives rise  mystical visions and Marian apparitions. New perceptions perfume the air. From the confines of her monastery in the politically hazardous 11th Century, Christian Mystic, Hildegard of Bingen wrote, I am the fiery life of the essence of God; I am the flame above the beauty in the fields; I shine in the waters; I burn in the sun, the moon, and the stars. And with the airy wind, I quicken all things vitally by an unseen, all-sustaining life. And as the Black Death scythed 50 million souls or more, in the 14th century, came this reassurance from Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” As we spiral through our ordinary life’s seasons amidst a maelstrom of political and climate change, magical thinking, practiced by shamans and visionaries for centuries, offers sustenance in our own difficult times.

There’s a sublime sensitivity, an innocent faith in the celestial sky-story this month. The Sun moved into the sign of Pisces on February 19th,  joining Mercury, Venus, Neptune, and Chiron in the unbounded depths of the sky. The Sun and the Moon consummate their union with the new Pisces Moon on March 17th.23494e332063871e31b4fcc990a16b4f

The Sun’s passage through Pisces awakens our yearnings, diffuses our dreams with dappled remembrances. It stirs our faith in the ineffable, the non-ordinary realms, bringing magic and wonderment to lives so often infused with a tincture of loss and longing. Pisces is associated with The Hanged Man in the Tarot, directing us as initiates to suspend our worldly concerns to turn our gaze inwards, shifting our perspective.

Planets that wear iridescent Piscean clothing offer strange tinctures of genius and madness.  In the watery-logged realm of this archetype is a marshy Never Never Land surrounded by an ocean of dreams. Here Lost Boys and Lost Girls skip the light fandango, turn cartwheels ‘cross a sea floor scattered with the bones of those who lingered and languished in the deeps.

Faith and Belief are strung like precious pieces of coral around the Fishes’ tails. Jupiter, the traditional ruler of Pisces, is associated with “luck”. The kind of abundance we evoke by using affirmations as talismans to ward off  the spectres of lack and loneliness that haunt us. “Buildings fall; even the earth perishes. What was yesterday a cornfield is to-day a bungalow,” wrote Virginia Woolf. Jupiter’s Wheel of Fortune spins for each one of us, oblivious to status and wealth, to prayers and affirmations or the amount of exercise we do.

Jupiter crossed the border into Scorpio in October 2017 and will turn retrograde on March 9th at 23 degrees Scorpio.  Jupiter in the sign of Scorpio stirs up  dark sediment: the outing of sexual predators, the massacre of seventeen students on Valentine’s Day. Mars, the planet of war, and Jupiter, the planet of excess and amplification, are now in mutual reception before Mars changes sign on March 17th.  With Jupiter, be careful what we wish for.

 

43ff4608b3d5a7ce2c4ff73558b1e8c9Neptune is the more elusive modern ruler of this amorphous sign. Neptune’s associations are born of the sea, carried in the deep roll of the waves by the Muse that inspires music and art, ecstatic intoxication, and slow wasting diseases that are impossible to define or to cure. Lodged in this archetype is our debt to eons of human history. A soulful yearning for redemption and transcendence. With Neptune comes necessary sacrifice, carried for us all by the gory image of a crucified Christ and a dismembered Dionysus.

Neptune, turns a ghostly face to our human need to hold onto those things we love, to keep things just as they are.  We learn that everything is transient. That what we hold on to too tightly, fades into nothingness. Writes mystic and poet, John O’ Donohue, “transience makes a ghost out of each experience. There was never a dawn that did not drop down into noon, never a noon which did not fade into evening, and never an evening that did not get buried in the graveyard of the night…”  Still we search, like children on a pebbled beach, for miracles and wonder. We discover “synchronicities” that shape our sense of reality. We hold the flame of faith that things will be better as we welcome new presidents, new Father-Redeemers to lead us to the Promised Land.

 So, come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!―J.M BarrieCarried in the Deep 3

For workshops and private consultations, please email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com 

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Valentine 3

Heart-Shaped World—Valentine’s Day 2018

Valentine 1Dark chocolates wrapped in cerise or shiny scarlet foil. The promise of red satin, the feminine fluff of pink lace, gift-wrapped in tissue paper and arranged in a heart-shaped box. This week commerce pays homage to the Heart.

A muscular pump that can be replaced or fixed with a set of stents? Or the source of Love that transcends our humanity? In many spiritual traditions, the heart is believed to be the repository of the soul. From the lifeless bodies of lovers and poets, from the ravaged remains of chieftains and warriors, from the noble rib-cages of  kings and martyrs,  hearts were removed, carried home and buried. Cardiologist Professor Dr. Armin Dietz writes, “If it proved impossible to either transport the body home or conserve it, the heart at least was brought home, being the seat of the soul and therefore most important part of the body.”

Heart 1Some say it was the deep green curve of an ivy leaf, or the generous spread of a fig leaf that inspired potters of prehistory to carve hearts into clay. Some say it was the immaculate feathered necks of two courting swans or bright coloured flowers that fluttered like fallen hearts in a fresh spring breeze that were immortalised around the rims of bowls and slender jugs discovered in splintered shards in ancient Greek and Roman middens. In dank catacombs, in the silent vestibules of monasteries and convents, heart motifs represented a love that was paradoxically both hotly erotic and transcendent of mortal concerns. The original iconic heart might have its origins in the little seed of the silphium plant. It was highly valued all over the Mediterranean and ancient Egypt and traded from the North African city, Cyrene. It mainly used medicinally and as a contraceptive. Two simple curves that join to represent a symphony of human emotion, heart-shaped pictograms were carved into coins of pure silver. Then, just like now, hearts were bought. And sold.

Ivy leaves became the red hearts on playing cards. Red suggesting life force, the heat of passion, the white-hot flame of a spiritual, eternal love.  As physical love evolved into stylised courtly love, qualities of loyalty and faithfulness were celebrated in art and literature. Across the world as the broad green leaves of the Bodhi tree fell sofly onto decks of playing-cards they grew into stylised hearts too, and for the Buddhists, it was enlightenment, not earthly love that was highly prized. For the self-deprecating Jesuits, The Sacred Heart represented the painful longing for eternal life and redemption, stoked by the fires of Catholic fanatics who longed to purge and burn away anything that threatened the stone pillars of patriarchal power.

eroticEternal love, passion, or simply sex, the heart is a symbol that transcends culture, class and centuries of human muddle as we seek this thing called Love. So on this Hallmark day of commercial brouhaha and the echo of the death cries of the mythical martyred Valentine, let us pause a while amidst the plethora of heart-shaped second chances to speak our truth, buy those red roses, to dare to say I love you.  

Let us celebrate the confounding mystery of the human heart and spin like whirling dervishes, gone giddy with delicious excess, the pink and red flourish of kitsch, cheesy, craziness of it all.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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