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Author: Ingrid Hoffman

Small Great Things—Sun in Libra—September 22nd—October 23rd

But you know, you go on, right? Because what other choice have you got―Jodi Picoult

As the Sun moves into the sign of Libra at this turning of the seasons our “surge capacity”—as psychologist Ann Masten calls our human ability to stay the course during short term stressful situations—stretches to breaking point.

In the metaphorical language of astrology, the Libran part of our own birth chart will be illuminated for the next month as we practice and perfect the art of relating to others in an uncertain world, as we continually adjust, realign, re-establish our balance on the beam of life. Libra and Aries mark the Equinoxes. Aries is the beginning; Pisces the end. Libra is midway, a crossroads where the old converges with the new, where the winds of change blow across our lives, exposing the roots.

On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, news of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg ricocheted around an increasingly fragmented world. This diminutive octogenarian, who championed the rights of minorities in the most powerful court of America, has left us. She is mourned by all who loved and admired her indomitable spirit. Her intuitive Pisces Sun trines Pluto in Cancer, signifying her resilience and her power to bring about profound change in the system. Her Moon is most likely in uncompromising Scorpio (there is no record of her birth time). Her response to the then chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden, who suggested that judges should lead society in some circumstances, carries enormous weight this week—judges must be mindful of what their place is in this system and must always remember that we live in a democracy that can be destroyed if judges take it upon themselves to rule as Platonic guardians.

This is the month of changing seasons and changing guardians. As we summons our last reserves of energy, the weary Sun begins to flag. The unthinkable has become normal as our civilization slides towards its end. Some of us embrace the soft comfort of denial. Some of us are outraged. We push back, we take to the streets. We trust no-one.  At this time of balance and weighing up, it is intelligent reasoning that is needed. Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time… real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time,” said the Notorious RBG.

In the Tarot, Libra is Justice XI reflecting the advancement of culture, away from the “primitive” instinctual life. Perhaps it is this advancement of culture, our move away from our “primitive” and instinctual life that is the soul sickness of our age. Perhaps we were collectively ailing long before COVID-19  floated through the air, leaving us lost, adrift, in a strange new world. Perhaps it is this pandemic of our own narcissism that is mirrored in the media, in the behaviour of those we elect as our leaders, our addiction to the steady IV-drip of social media that is the pandemic that rages through the brittle scaffolding of this dying civilization.

The astrology indicates a period of turn-arounds, fuelled by Mars Retrograde—September 9th to Friday, November 13th —symbolising enmity, an increasing hard-right deep distrust of authority, online extremism that stretches the fissures in our societies, and opens the way for Redeemer/Savours to step in with a simple solution to mass unemployment and unwanted migrants. Saturn in Capricorn (authority figures, rules and restrictions) turns direct on September 29th, and Pluto (plutocracy, trauma, trans-formation) switches direction on October 4th, as does seductive Neptune (viruses, addictions, con-men, Redeemer/Saviours, the mirage that draws us into the belly of the whale) on November 28th.

As the Sun moves through Libra many of us may be washing our hands, keeping our distance, hoping for the best as we try to keep our balance in a world that feels gaslit and murky right now. For so many of us, balance is something we may wistfully talk about when the rhythm of our days begins to gyrate, scattering the weight of worry like a mantle over our minds, and a world weariness that infuses the marrow of our bones.

The Sun, the symbol of our creative self-expression, is said to be in its fall, or debilitated in Libra. A perpetual state of balance is impossible to achieve, as we continually re-create ourselves amidst the complexities of our relationships and the events that are unfolding in the world right now. Balance is as capricious as the patterns of neuronal firing in our brains, as fleeting as our emotionally charged perceptions of the world around us.

The Equinox today signals movement and change that comes with the reassuring beginnings and endings of the seasons. Mercury, the winged messenger of the gods, moves into Scorpio on September 27th and will turn Retrograde on October 14th, slipping back into Libra on October 28th, turning direct once more on November 3rd, and diving back into Scorpionic waters on November 10th; signifying the need for resilience and flexibility as lockdown measures are revised, as we cultivate a deeper awareness of our mental chatter that disturbs our peace, stirs our feelings.

Lévy-Bruhl and, later, Jung, wrote of the Participation Mystique. That mystical participation that can manifest in situations and material things in our lives. As the epicentres of civilization shudder across the globe, as America and Britain face their “Darkest Hour”, it will be the small gestures of love and kindness, the careful harnessing of our untamed thoughts, the brave reimagining of how this world could be, that keep us calm, help us to take one step at a time. Use these last precious stores of energy. There’s no going back. The Scales of Balance are poised. As we hold the tension of two opposing forces, a third way will emerge, transfiguring, regenerating. This is the beginning, the middle, and the end. We start from here.

 

For  private astrology readings and more regular astrology updates please connect with me  by email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from—T.S. Elliot

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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Handle with Care—Mars Retrograde—September 9th—November 13th

 

There is a fire raging, and we have two choices: we can turn our backs, or we can try to fight it—Jodi Picoult

We may feel as if we have stumbled through a portal into a forgotten realm as we communicate with our thumbs-ups, as we crinkle our eyes over our masks. Perhaps a strange tiredness has settled into the crevices of our ordinary lives. Yet, as we adjust and adapt, as we draw deeply on our faith and tend to the lamp of hope, we may sense the heat in the flame.

As COVID-19 continues to sweep around the globe, we all walk through a tunnel of uncertainty. This health crisis that has affected us all in some way, has revealed the brutality and injustice in our systems, the disintegration of checks and balances, popularist demagogues that deliver simplicity in sound bites and visuals. What we believed was solid and sure is threaded with words that summon danger as Barack Obama presciently warns, “that’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

We stand at an historical crossroad. The road well-travelled stretches towards profit-driven business models; the rapacious destruction of natural ecosystems; the numbing, dumbing down generated by the echo chambers of digital platforms; the banal flash fiction from our leaders.

During lock-down, many of us dreamed of a better, kinder world. As we gazed at the glut of stuff squeezed into our homes and felt this urge to pare down, to give away, to live more sustainably, our priorities became clearer, our hopes for when this is over carried us to a future where we lived more simply, more consciously; where we appreciated our loved ones. Yet now, we may feel a strange kind of emptiness, a crisis of meaning, a flatness as we witness the same posturing by our politicians, the same worship at the altar of profit, the same precarity of work and opportunity.The roads are gridlocked again. The silence, the sweet air has gone.

Now there is a fire raging. Mars, the mythical warrior  glowers red in the night sky as he stations Retrograde from September 9th (28°Aries) to November 13th (15°Aries) moving through the shadowlands from July 24th 2020 to January 2nd, 2021. A regressive Mars reminds us that we are battle weary. That we have been wearing our armour for far too long. That our bodies are aching, that we need more sleep.

It’s Mars that gets us out of bed in the morning; gives us our resolve to carry on. It’s Mars that takes a stand for justice, that fights the flames in California and ignites the flames of wrath in overcrowded refugee camps on Lesbos.

A Retrograde Mars turns white-hot energy inwards. Mars is our inner toddler that acts out when thwarted. We may sense rising levels of frustration, a need to push back at what is wrong in our lives, in our societies. The dark face of Mars is the radicalised berserker who unleashes fear and carnage, stokes up trouble on digital platforms. And as we scroll down our screens, skim through the news, Google snippets of “information”, we may inadvertently enter the fray of battle.

Mars, the fearsome night warrior is in his own sign of Aries. He bristles for a fight as he makes a tense square to the authoritarian men in suits—Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn over the coming months. This volatile energy will be in effect until the end of December 2020.

When Mars moves Retrograde, he draws his power from within, rather than submitting to the will of authority. Mars is also our daring greatly, our heroic ability to rise up again when we’re downhearted, when we’re bruised. We may have to go back, re-do, reset something we have planned. We may be forced to retreat. To take some R&R. Mars changes his relationship with the Sun when he turns Retrograde, so this is an inner battle for many of us, a time to face our night terrors, confront our shadow, sheath our sword, make amends.

Mars retrograded into Aries in 1909, 1941, and 1988 as conflicts arose and were quelled, as luck and rhetoric enabled demagogues to cling to power within the context of turbulence, unemployment, uncertainty, and fear. Now as Machiavellian manoeuvring on the 200-year-old bedrock of US democracy opens fault-lines that fracture across an entangled world, deep divisions become weaponised, outrage spills out onto the streets. We can turn our backs, try to fight, we can take that first step into the unknown because that fire has left us uneasy to go on as we are.

“Every decision you make—every decision—is not a decision about what to do. It’s a decision about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do,” writes Neale Donald Walsch.

In her new book, Spark Change: 108 Provocative Questions for Spiritual Evolution, author Jennie Lee guides us along a road less travelled. A road of courageous introspection where we may ask ourselves, “what am I supposed to learn from this?” She says, “that puts us into a place of humility because often we want to cast the blame outwardly towards another person or just the greater world situation, and we feel victimized by it.”

Use this Mars Retrograde cycle wisely to ask those provocative questions, to take refuge in slow time, to engage with life in a new way and to do what we came here to do. Writes Elif Shafak in her new book, “How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division, “after the pandemic, we won’t go back to the way things were before. And we shouldn’t.” It is up to each one of us not to return to the coping mechanisms, the distractions, the addictive behaviour that ravages our spirit. We stand at a new frontier. May we bring with us only those things we need to travel lightly on this earth.

 

 For astrology sessions, please get in touch: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

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Keeping the Lights On—Sun in Virgo—August 23rd—September 23rd

Scorched stubble shimmers in the pixilated August heat and as the harvest is gathered, the swallows swoop over bows weighted with blushing apples.

As summer slips into autumn and harvest festivals echo with the songs of our sunburned ancestors, the Sun moves into the sign of Virgo. Virgo is the harvest maiden, her origins threaded and bound to the earth’s ancient rhythms. Virgo’s arrival heralds the spring or autumn equinox on September 22nd and as the seasons change, we may sense a new momentum, a desire to spring clean, rearrange, prepare for a new rhythm in our own lives. Or we may simply be doing our best to keep the lights on, to make the best of things beyond our control.

The astrology of 2020 reflects the contraction of the economy, plans postponed, events cancelled, as invisible plumes of COVID-19 swirl silently through our communities. In this strange new world advertisers cheerfully remind us that “we’re all in this together”. And yet, for those who remain incarcerated in care homes, or stranded in cities far from home, worried about income, this a time of suspension. We may never have felt more alone.

Damien Echols (Mars in fiery Sagittarius) spent almost two decades on death row, mostly in solitary confinement. He survived the brutality and stagnation of prison life by exploring the practice of hermetic magick.

In his book, Life After Death, Damien writes “I have two definitions for the word “magick.” The first is knowing that I can effect change through my own will, even behind these bars; and the other meaning is more experientialseeing beauty for a moment in the midst of the mundane.”

As the seasons change, as we transition from the confinement of lockdown into the restrained containment of this new way of being, we are challenged to shift our perception, to symbolically keep the lights on, even if we feel we are not making much progress. The last New Moon of August 19th (26° Leo) calls to our innate ability to see “heaven in a wild flower” as the visionary William Blake offers in his poem, Auguries of Innocence, though the astrological weather will be stormy these next six months as Mars marches through Aries to square the behemoths, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, three times. As Mars squared Jupiter on August 4th, a devastating explosion mushroomed over Beirut, Lebanon.

Mars turns Retrograde on September 9th (28 °Aries) symbolising internalised anger and desire, subversive action, as well as an opportunity to reassess the way we negotiate our power.

Apathy, depression, paranoia, sexual anorexia, and enormous frustration emanate when Mars is in chains. Mars is also the Samurai, the Warrior, who embodies erotic energy and virility, and the ability to stand one’s ground, defend our rights, tame our own demons, conquer our self-doubt in the months ahead. Mars is Retrograde until November 13th (15° Aries.) A provocative Mars squares Jupiter once more—October 19th and January 23rd—Saturn August 24th, September 29th, and January 15th, and will make a confrontational square to Pluto—August 13th, October 9th, and December 23rd.

As frustrations build, and tempers chaff and fray against ever-changing lock down rules, and algorithms determine the fate of thousands of school leavers and university graduates, and carbon emissions continue to rise, we may ruminate or catastrophise, or use our innate capacity to focus on the present moment with gentle interest and kindness.

Mercury-ruled Virgo is also the alchemist and the magician who uses ingenuity and clear vision to guide us across the threshold of change as we engage in lessons of integrity. Joseph Campbell called the Magician archetype “the mentor with supernatural aid” and as  Mercury moves into his own sign of Virgo on August 20th, we may be selling our skills, refining our self-worth, perhaps investing our time and our energy as we mentor someone, or become the apprentice as we learn a new skill.

We may feel worn out, weary, as the light of our faith begins to flicker. The  Full Moon of September 2nd  (10° Pisces) carries the injunction to tend to our spiritual practice. The Sabian Symbol for the New Moon of September 17th (25° Virgo) A Boy With A Censer Serves The Priest Near The Altar invites us to light a candle, perform a ritual that celebrates our spirituality and renews our faith.

Uranus in Taurus stations on August 16th and will move Retrograde until January 13th, 2021, upending everything that has become too rigid and stuck in our lives. Future-directed Uranus uproots the past; accompanies break downs and break-throughs, unexpected events and separations that fling us into fresh starts as we align our energy to what matters most.

Collectively, and personally, we are in limbo, which has it’s roots in limbus, meaning hem, border, edge. As we stand on the edge, we may feel uncertain, hesitant, stuck or confused. When Virgo walks through the sun-bleached fields, it’s the little things she notices—those things that clutter our lives, clog our bodies, erode our integrity. Virgo’s virtues are self-containment and discernment. As the Sun awakens our Virgo planets or illuminates that part of our birth chart that is Virgo, we may feel insecure, unappreciated. Our industriousness and attention to detail may not get the recognition or financial reward we need to pay the bills.  Virgo’s shadowy traits emerge when we stumble into the seductive archetype of “The Harlot/Prostitute, when we sell ourselves short, when we don’t honour the commitments we make to ourselves, when we collapse into the fear of survival and clutch onto security at any cost. When we serve others and like the foolish Virgin, we neglect to fill the oil or trim the wick of our own lantern.

At this time of transition, we may be seduced by the security of the old ways. We may try to continue as we did before. Yet there is another way.

Where do we begin? Begin with the heart,” wrote anchoress Julian of Norwich who was walled up in a small cell built onto the church for most of her life. In so many ways, this woman who took on the name of the church she was quite literally attached to, epitomises the humility and reclusiveness of the Virgo archetype, the Magician, and the Warrior.

Dr Mary Wellesley writes, “at the moment of an anchoress’ enclosure, a priest would recite the office of the dead, which was the set of prayers said at a person’s funeral. This symbolised that the recluse was dead to the world.”

The exclusive mens’ club, which was the medieval church, was a dangerous place for an intelligent woman. “Julian” called herself a “simple creature that cowde no letter,” yet she courageously wrote Revelations of Divine Love. It was seminal writing, a daring act of self-expression, which could have been construed as heresy. As we explore the archetypes of Prostitute, Magician, Recluse, and Warrior this month, may the Wise Virgin hold up the lamp of inner guidance as we emerge into the world with humility. We may feel dead to the world and to ourselves. Yet, we can begin again, with the heart.

For astrology consultations, please get in touch: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Steady Gaze—Sun in Leo—July 23rd—August 22nd

What this pandemic has taught me is to free myself from things. It has never been so clear to me that I need very little to live. I don’t need to buy, I don’t need more clothes, I don’t need to go anywhere, or travel, now I see I have too much. I don’t need more than two dishes! 

Then I started to realize who the true friends are and the people I want to be with—Isabel Allende

 

As we begin our apprenticeship into this new way of living, sort out our priorities, obediently don our masks, dutifully comply with rules and restrictions that we hope will not rob us of our freedom and our human rights in the years yet to come, the taskmasters of the heavens—Pluto/Jupiter and Saturn—close ranks. Saturn is so often accompanied by setbacks that generate anxiety, pessimism and bolstered defenses. Pluto represents painful, drawn out, but irrevocable endings. Jupiter amplifies both.

This weighty alliance is the signature of a resurgence of restrictions fortified by fines. Non-touch technology, demarcated space, and physical distance become habitual. As seismic shifts in the systems of power crack open nations and reckless leaders scramble to reassemble the vestiges of normality, we may feel as though we are in the belly of the whale. The sky story of 2020 has a ponderous tone as the past and the future excoriate the foundations of nations, leaving so many of us homeless, jobless, grieving; orphaned by the intervening clamour of forces beyond our control.

“Destiny is a mysterious thing”, wrote novelist, Francisco Goldman. “Sometimes enfolding a miracle in a leaky basket of catastrophe.”

Jupiter in Retrograde (May 14th – September 13th) tempers our enthusiasm, tests our patience, as we navigate the troughs, prepare for second waves, look for a miracle concealed in this leaky basket of catastrophe. Jupiter sextile Neptune (27th July and 12th October) offers an opportunity for compassion and empathy for the suffering of so many. A reminder to keep the faith. Yet, we may not be able to avert our eyes as we pass people huddled in doorways or jettison the unappeasable sorrow that washes over our hearts while the myth of progress destroys our Earth home. We may not be able to block our ears to the harsh rebuke of the father/politicians who cannot see how dark our world has become.

Pluto, (April 25th – October 4th) and Saturn (May 11th – September 29th) continue to switch-back in Retrograde through austere Capricorn as the death rattle of an unforgiving old order reverberates across the world.

Pluto and Saturn are conveyors of reality checks, of historic trans-formation. They were in conjunction in 1914 as innocence was lost, and scarlet poppies grew on ravaged fields.

“A terrible beauty is born”, wrote William Butler Yeats in 1916 as Pluto and Saturn moved through the sign of Cancer. An estimated 50 to 100 million people died in the 1918-1920 flu epidemic, and the subsequent famines and flu pandemics long forgotten by indifferent governments or those lives are cocooned by high walls and ethical amnesia.

Pluto and Saturn formed an alliance as WWII ended and NATO was birthed amidst the ruins of war and collapse in world trade. In 1982 a global recession heralded Thatcher and Reagan’s “special relationship” and the birth of neoliberalism.

August to December will be volatile months. Mars’s overheated Retrograde in Aries (9th September – 13th November) coincides with the final sprint for the claimant to the title of President in America. Mars conjoined Pluto on March 23rd and will form an aggressive do-or-die square to Pluto on August 12–13th, October 7–9th and December 20th. Mars sextiles Saturn (June 27th) to add opportunity to the overblown square to Jupiter between August 4–5th, October 16th, and December 12th—a potent cocktail of frustration, fanaticism and potential for violence as we stand at the end of an era. Mercury goes Retrograde between October 13th and November 3rd and challenging oppositions to the current President’s Saturn/Venus suggest that the battle for leadership will be bloody. There will be no white flag of surrender.

Venus, haloed with stars, glitters on the silken swathe of apricot sunrise, her breath-taking beauty a reminder of those things we cherish, the people that matter. She stationed direct on June 24th, emerging from the darkness of the Underworld, and glides, gathering strength, in her post-Retrograde phase until July 24th. Venus has had many incarnations. As Innana, Ishtar, she was the revered Sumerian goddess of beauty, sexuality, prostitution—and war. In modern astrology, Venus presides over matters of the heart. She’s the money that makes the world go round. As new realities begin to develop, in the love we can’t buy and the money we wish we had more of, Venus in Gemini makes a final applying square to nebulous Neptune in Pisces on July 27th. Venus/Neptune combinations are notorious for distorting facts and twisting truths. They accompany grand romantic gestures, plumes of creativity, financial loss, duplicity, susceptibility to poisoning, intoxication and infection.

The Sun in Leo carries the standard for strength and wholehearted courage. Leo rules the heart. Gratitude and joy are homeopathy for the heart. The poet, Ted Hughes (Sun in Leo) writes, “the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.”

Author Isabel Allende (Sun, Mercury, and Chiron in Leo) reminds us that Leo celebrates confidence, pride, generosity and enthusiasm. “We can’t live in fear. Fear stimulates a future that makes living in the present a dark experience. We need to relax and appreciate what we have and live in the present.”

As the Sun enters Leo today, may our qualities of strength and courage ripen. May we let fear and worry slip away as we celebrate those people and circumstances that support us.  May we look to the future with brave hearts and a gaze that is steady.

Please get in touch if you would like a personal astrology reading: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Be Kind—Sun in Cancer—June 20th—July 22nd

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible—Dalai Lama

Within the constellation of Cancer is a delicate brush stroke of stars in the sky called Praesepe, the Latin word for “manger”. Cancer is associated with wombs, and cradles, with nourishment and containment. And during these long months of confinement, with the importance of home.

Qualities like vulnerability, creativity, sensitivity, and nurturing relate to Moon-ruled Cancer. As we enter a world demarcated by Perspex, muted by face coverings, we may feel tender, sensitive to noise, wary of crowds. We may be struggling with “comparative suffering”, as our longing to hug someone we love is diminished by the collective suffering of millions who face unemployment. By the pain of so many who grieve.

Lock down has been an alchemical process of confinement, symbolised by Saturn. As our lives have become more curtailed, our movements more constricted; as our personal choices and freedoms compressed, we experience the best and the worst of our humanness.

Yet, stories of kindness and compassion have emerged from the pandemic as we have stepped over our shyness, our indifferenceas our hearts have opened wider than we ever thought was possible.

 

The word kind has its roots in cynn, “family” and the Old English, “gecynd”, for nature and race, which imply belonging and community. The essence of Cancer is kindness and compassion, qualities that are inherent in human nature as endorsed by Dutch historian, Rutger Bregman in his hopeful book, Humankind.

In an article in The Correspondent, he writes, “If there was one dogma that defined neoliberalism, it’s that most people are selfish. And it’s from that cynical view of human nature that all the rest followedthe privatisation, the growing inequality, and the erosion of the public sphere.

Now a space has opened for a different, more realistic view of human nature: that humankind has evolved to cooperate. It’s from that conviction that all the rest can followa government based on trust, a tax system rooted in solidarity, and the sustainable investments needed to secure our future. could send us down a path of new values. 

And all this just in time to be prepared for the biggest test of this century, our pandemic in slow motionclimate change.”

George Monbiot points out in his book, Out of the Wreckage, that humans are unique, spectacularly unusual, when it comes our sensitivity to the needs of others. We have an innate altruism, an inborn sense of community. Neuroscience, evolutionary biology and psychology all conclude that we have evolved to care, to cooperate with one another. “By the age of fourteen months, children begin to help each other, attempting to hand over objects another child cannot reach. By the time they are two, they start sharing some of the things they value. By the age of three, they start to protest against other people’s violation of moral normswe are also, among mammals, with the possible exception of the naked mole rat, the supreme co-operators,” Monbiot writes.

We may feel bone weary after months of adrenaline-charged coping, of being our best and bravest, kindest selves, yet the sky-story this month depicts a sequence of events that will marshal kindness and co-operation as our plans are eclipsed, our options disappear.

Mercury goes Retrograde in Cancer from June 18th to July 12th. Mercury in sensitive Cancer collides with what is harsh or resistant and symbolises an uneasiness in an unsteady, confusing world.

Jupiter and Pluto make a second cathartic conjunction (June 22nd – June 30th) reminiscent of that fated conjunction on April 4th when flights were grounded, and city streets fell silent. This could mark a resurgence of the contagion as many countries open non-essential shops and restaurants, as borders cautiously reopen. New developments will emerge around the pandemic that has brought our lives to a standstill. As air travel resumes, the astrology suggests we may be flying too high, too soon.

It is likely that public health and a jittery economy reminiscent of early 2020 will resurface amidst confusion, deception, blind spots and more uncertainty as Neptune begins a Retrograde cycle (June 22nd.)

Venus moves direct on June 25th, and a frisson of tension will course through financial markets as the grim reality of unemployment and economic depression frustrate any hope of a quick recovery.
Mars, god of war, moves into hot-headed Aries (June 28th —January 7th 2021) making a volatile, perhaps violent, square to Pluto (irrevocable endings, power, enormous wealth, plutocracy,) and Saturn (confinement, restrictions, borders and barriers.) 

Eclipses act as tipping points between June 5th June 21st, and July 5th. 

They signify relationship triangles that are eclipsed by circumstance or choice, second chances and fated encounters. This eclipse lands on the power point of 0 degrees Cancer, and although the effects of an eclipse may be felt most powerfully on the day, events may unfold over two weeks, so static situations or relationship dynamics may unlock quite suddenly between now and the Full Moon Eclipse on July  5th.

I wrote in early January 2018, “the astrology of these next five years (as Saturn moves through Capricorn and then through Aquarius) eloquently portrays the flavour of fin de siècle: a closing of an era exemplified by the events of the 1980s. Saturn’s co-presence with Pluto in the sign of Capricorn—December 20th 2017—December 2020—mines Collective and personal trauma that may offer, for some of us, a creative impetus to work through noxious legacies, to stoically endure a world that is falling apart as we love with all our hearts. As we live our lives kindly.”

This Solstice, as the Sun stands still, we arrive at a place of re-entering, a pause before we re-enter a changed world. The tide is turning. May we be brave enough to fully extend ourselves. May we be kind and generous even when it’s burdensome and painful. May we deepen our connection with all living things. May we find our place of calm.

 

 

For regular astrological updates, or more information about your own birth chart, please visit my Facebook page, or email me: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Born in the USA—America’s Pluto Return—2008—2024

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between—Oscar Wilde

The sound of falling statues reverberates through the bones of slaves from Africa buried in mass graves. Bronze tyrants tumble from their pedestals, and the dolorous ghosts of millions of native Americans, great herds of buffalo and forests of giant Redwoods emerge into the waning light of this epoch.

As Pluto’s gravitational force dredges up the grisly truths that lie buried under streets and skyscrapers, America journeys down into the Underworld to be scooped out, humbled, and reborn. Pluto’s transits in our own birth charts, and in the charts of nations, are never tepid or benign. They are always slow, relentless, and transformative.

When Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, the fissures in financial systems widened and the blight in governments exposed disturbing division and misuse of power. As Leonard Cohen released his prophetic single, You Want It Darker in the September of 2016, Pluto and Jupiter were forming a square that intensified in January 2020 by conjunction. Neptune, purveyor of contagion, illusion, deception, and deceit, slipped in behind the green curtain, a making a slippery trine to Mercury in the US birth chart. The star-spangled banner fluttered in the winds of change.

Pluto’s opposition to Mercury in America’s birth chart (2017-24) reminds us that the foundations of The Land of the Free are dug deep into the black earth of genocide, slavery, and appalling exploitation of the nature. Mercury presides over communication, intelligence, propaganda, paranoia, media, and travel. The old certainties have become unmoored.

America is not the only modern nation to rise from a brutal past, but as people march through the streets, emboldened by anger and grief, Pluto irradiates Mercury in self-protective, emotive Cancer in the American birth chart of July 4th, 1776.

Pluto’s imminent Return in the American birth chart has cast a long shadow over events in America since 2017. Pluto edges ever closer to an exact opposition (until 2022) to President Trump’s Achilles heel—an excruciatingly painful Venus/Saturn conjunction, a well-defended place of personal vulnerability. It is unlikely that Trump will be re-elected, unless to bring the United States of America to its knees at Pluto’s behest. Neptune squares the President’s Gemini Sun and Sagittarius Moon till 2022; not a comfortable transit unless we surrender, accept, and bow our head to our compassionate heart.

As Pluto stirs up all that is putrefying in the basements of government and financial institutions, the scent of anarchy pervades the old order and a frisson of terror reverberates through the thick-piled carpets of the establishment. America declared its independence from Britain in 1776 when Pluto was moving through Capricorn and Mozart was composing music that roused passion and pain.

Pluto will be in Aquarius from 2024 to 2044 as we begin to make reparations for historic injustices and re-image a world where exploitation of people, animals and nature will be relegated to his-story. Jupiter and Saturn enter Aquarius as 2020 comes to an end and we (hopefully) begin to address the collective trauma that defines the experience of so many people whose lives are still curtailed by inequality and blatant injustice.

Herschel “discovered” Uranus, that planet associated with breakthroughs and revolution as Pluto moved through Aquarius. Both France and America come full circle. Back to a time of upheaval, revolution and epochal events that marked the late 1700s. France will have a Pluto Return when Pluto moves into Aquarius, a reminder of the 10 blood-stained years of terror that uprooted ancient institutions and shaped a new nation by the collective will of the people.

The first Industrial Revolution was under way as Pluto moved through Aquarius. Captain Cook and William Bligh searched for new consumables in southern lands as Pluto’s passage through Aquarius marked the beginning of the climate crisis that now threatens our survival as a species.

We face into the collective uncertainty of a second wave of COVID-19 in some countries, and a global economic depression, as the  Pluto/Saturn/Jupiter conjunction square Eris of 2020 casts a long shadow over our lives.

In America, the intensity of the aftershock will reverberate for years to come as Saturn transits the American South Node (karma) awakening the ghosts from the past. Jupiter magnifies the need for social reform as it conjoins the Moon (the people) in the American birth chart, followed by a solidifying transit of Saturn in 2022 and a Chiron Return in 2025 which may bring a deep healing, a new sense of belonging and rooting in this Land of the Brave.

The coming years will reveal inconvenient truths and painful consequences for past actions.

Pluto’s Return in the birth chart of America symbolises the end of a status quo that has excluded so many for so long. Thomas Jefferson, who owned more than six hundred slaves wrote, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

The death rattle of the old order is amplified by political rhetoric and resistance to change …. law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual, wrote Thomas Jefferson with supreme irony.

America’s Pluto Return heralds a new epoch, a new dream. For America. For us all.

For more information about Pluto’s transit through your own birth chart, please email: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com for a personal consultation.

 

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New World in the Morning—Sun in Gemini May 20th—June 21st

An agitation of conflicting communication about COVID-19 eddies and twirls across our screens. “There shall in that time be rumours of things going astray, erm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are,” says the Boring Prophet in Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

We become deafened to our own thoughts amidst the torrent of talk. Vacillating opinions deplete our analytic stamina.

The Sun moves into Gemini this week. The Gemini archetype lives within us all in our restless minds. Venus is Retrograde and conjoins the Gemini Sun (opposing Sagittarius Moon and South Node) of America’s maverick President. Venus will conjoin Boris Johnson’s Gemini Sun/Venus on August 5th.   As governments and epidemiologists grapple with too many variables, the immune response to COVID-19 is still not fully understood, and there is still no definitive data on post-infection immunity. Gemini rules the nervous system and the lungs.

Robert Skidelsky, in an article entitled the Unspoken Reason for Lockdowns writes, “What “flattening the curve” really means is spacing out the number of expected deaths over a period long enough for medical facilities to cope and a vaccine to kick in.”

As we venture into this liminal space, the road maps offered by our leaders are ambiguous. The familiar landmarks have gone. We’re speculating about fragmenting globalisation. Supply chains are sagging. Prices are higher. Cities are empty. Our ancient human instinct to gather, to touch, to hold and to kiss has lost its innocence. We’re hunkering down. We’re distancing. We’re separating.

The story of Gemini’s mythic twins is a story of loss and longing. Of trickery and lies. This is a story of two handsome twin brothers separated by death.

In alchemy, the process of separation isolates and defines. As we try to separate apparent truth from fiction, as we try to define our post-COVID-19 roles as colleagues, parents and partners, we may look back at what has grown from these slow days of waiting. As we knitted and baked, as we cleaned, and home-schooled our children, as we spent hours connecting on social media, as we danced around the sofa, as we anxiously watched our income dwindle, as we strained to support those we love from a distance, some of us flourished as we strengthened our bonds with those people who matter in our lives, contained in a circle of belonging. Yet for many, this has been a time to rely on the kindness of those strangers who brought food and essentials, who offered the comfort of connection during the long lonely days.

COVID-19 has brought seismic change and lingering disruption and uncertainty to our lives. For  those who have not sheltered in the safety of secure and loving relationships, those who have endured the trauma of watching a loved one die, those who will not be able to pay their mortgage, or endured domestic violence, the three Ds—Divorce, Death and Destitution—are the only certainties.

Under a cloud of obfuscation, a sequence of planets—Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn—move Retrograde, reflective perhaps of a shift in our collective perspective. The planets mirror the grim modus operandi of change and shrinking economies as they regress through the heavens.

Venus (those things and people we cherish and value) is the puella in Gemini. She has vanished from the sky, her carefree spirit subdued as she moves through the dark, in Retrograde from May 13th to June 25th (Retrograde at 22° Gemini and direct at 5° degrees of Gemini.) During a Venus Retrograde cycle we may revisit those things we valued and lost, seek out second chances, repair and heal those relationships that have become entangled in assumptions or frozen silences. Venus Retrograde periods are cosmic magnifying glasses, amplifying our inherent values and intimate desires.

Venus squares dreamy Neptune, raising our hopes high in love but also in escapism, delusion, illusion, and fantasy. She may be the victim, the rescuer. The glimmering Venus/Neptune square (May 3rd, May 20th, July 27th, and December 30th) adds a tincture of loss and longing, a heady cocktail of truth and lies, or a restless yearning for something or someone who is unattainable.

Intoxicating Neptune is notorious for delusion and disappointment. As the music dies and the fairy dust dissolves, we fall out of love with our soul mate, or realise that our dreams have been blown off course. This will be the initiation of devastating disappointment, the searing pain of grief and unspeakable loss, or the peak experience of shedding our illusion, adjusting our vision, seeing through the mirage.

Venus Retrograde may amplify the sense of awakening from our cruise on autopilot, as we exhume our buried desires and atrophied longings and embrace each moment with renewed intensity. As we prepare to emerge into this new world, there’s no going back. The way is forward. Something greater than us is governing our lives and we must walk in this direction.

Chogyam Trungpa taught the practice of the awakened heart—“the genuine heart of sadness”, which he said was natural to us all when we allow ourselves to receive the full experience of life with open hearts. It is in this “genuine heart of sadness” that we discover our repressed grief, our forgotten anger, our thin shard of shame, our intoxicating joy and our boundless capacity to Love.

On June 3rd, Venus aligns with the Sun, a mythic mating, a Venus “new moon”, a union that is an alembic for our inner values. This Venus Retrograde transit may expose our deeply buried desires, our failure to ask for what we need. Venus Retrograde may dredge up discord that signals just how far we have drifted off course from what we value. Upheavals in our relationships may intensify as lock-down thaws. Mars moved into Pisces (May 13th) as Venus changed direction. Mars will conjoin with Neptune on June 12th adding to our discontent, or augmenting our compassion and ability to forgive.

Mercury is moving through Gemini, and will unite with Venus on Friday, May 22nd (square Neptune), an invitation to be discerning about the information we ingest or pass along with an unthinking swipe. This is a time of flux, an invitation to grieve what is lost, to bring Neptunian qualities of compassion, communion, and imagination into the world we are returning to.  Systemic family therapist Richard Schwartz  writes, “it’s possible that this massive shock to our planetary and national systems will wake up enough leaders that we can get off the suicide train we’ve been on and create a slower, fairer, greener one for ourselves. I believe a lot of that depends on how each of us responds to this crisis.”

The New Gemini Moon on May 23rd may draw us back to our natural rhythm. To the moment of now. Jeff Foster, author of Falling in Love with Where you Are distils the essence of this month’s lunation: “This moment is not life waiting to happen, goals waiting to be achieved, words waiting to be spoken, connections waiting to be made, regrets waiting to evaporate, aliveness waiting to be felt, enlightenment waiting to be gained. No. Nothing is waiting. This is it. This moment is life.”

As we reflect on the sacrifices we have made and the enormous challenges we now face, poet Rainer Maria Rilke reminds us, “let me not squander the hour of my pain.”

Please get in touch if you would like a private astrology reading: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

New World in the Morning. Songwriter: Roger Whittaker.

 

 

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Shadowlands—Pluto Retrograde—April 25th—October 4th

For those who are just beginning to emerge from a surreal dreamscape after months of confinement, the world may seem freshly washed, the air intoxicatingly sweet. For those who are still marooned on uncertain ground, far from home, devoid of landmarks, suspended in a state of waiting, the long days melt into weeks. Time stretches like spun sugar.

It’s been almost a week now since Pluto, dark god of the Underworld stationed Retrograde (April 25th 24° Capricorn.) Pluto abducts us and takes us into the Shadowlands of our psyche, and draws up all that is foetid, rotten, in the world. As Pluto moved Retrograde, the tense square to Eris (Goddess of Discord) and Mercury (God of communication and increasingly our mental health), has once again highlighted the restrictions for the good of all (Saturn in Aquarius) that grip us tightly, shut us away from the hunger of the homeless.

Today is Beltane, May Day, a spring festival that has been celebrated with singing and dancing and feasting for centuries to celebrate nature’s greening as icing sugar white blossoms that flutter like confetti from the trees. Today, in some countries, naked emperors wrap our lives in rules and restrictions that sit uncomfortably for those of us who know the story of the Hand Maid’s Tale.

Mercury conjoins Uranus (7° Taurus) on May Day, reflecting perhaps stirrings of rebellion as our personal freedoms are curtailed, perhaps for some, a sense of liberation as we appreciate the small miracles that sparkle in the spaces of the day. This too shall pass. Yet, it doesn’t take a crystal ball or the metaphor of astrology to know that this is the end of a way of life for all of us, except the Plutocrats. Air travel, shopping, cruise ships and holidays will never be the same again. There will be many more widows who cook stones for their hungry children.

From May 11th, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn prepare to loop backwards in Retrograde through the heavens. Expect reversals, lockdowns, slow starts. And if our leaders fail to learn from his-story, civil unrest.

As Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn move in tandem through the heavens, (April 4th, June 30th and November 12th) we may see a resurgence of COVID-19, and certainly a second wave on the pandemic in some countries.

Pluto Retrograde cycles may drag us down, compel us to enter those forsaken places, where, as Dylan Thomas wrote, we “hold a beast, an angel, and a madman…”

In myth, Pluto demands surrender, the letting go of a way of life that now may feel like an uncomfortable fit as we inhabit the twilight of these in-between months. As we sit and wait.

In myth, Pluto’s realm was Hades, the place of death and darkness. Jupiter was a sky god; his realm limitless. Optimistic Jupiter lifts, expands, amplifies, and spreads. He may inflate our confidence and our hubris as Pluto draws out all that is hidden in the shadows and exposes all that is rotten in our communities and self-serving plutocracies.

These planets will both be in Retrograde as Venus emerges from her Retrograde period in Gemini, a sign that is associated with our lungs, with our well-washed hands. As this pandemic peaks or recedes in some countries, there may be a sense of breathing out, easing up, a gradual emerging into the world once more between May 14th and June 25th, at least until the final Pluto/Jupiter conjunction perfects on November 12th.  A volatile self-centred Mars will be in combustible Aries from June 27th to January 6th, 2021. Mars will be Retrograde from September 10th to November 13th, moving direct 10 days after the big reveal of the US elections.

Pluto transits are slow and often painful if our hearts are impatient, if our hands “grab”, and our eyes are too dim to see the hidden treasure concealed in things. Some nations are experiencing Pluto’s power of break-down and destructionthe UK since 2013 when Pluto began to conjoin the UK Sun and oppose the UK Moon. In America, the land of the free, Pluto opposes the US Mercury (communication, paranoia, truth and trust) from 2017 to 2024.

The American nation dances with the Fates as the nation’s Pluto Return (2022-23) marks the culmination of a cycle that began on July 4th, 1776 when America declared independence from Britain and pledged to uphold democracy and freedom.

Psychiatrist Dr Lise Van Susteren co-author of the book, Emotional Inflammation, describes the anticipatory anxiety and pre-traumatic stress that has emerged in this uncertain time, as emotional inflammation.

She reminds us that the parietal lobe of our brain lights up when we work collaboratively, when feel compassion, when we transcend our own feelings and reach out with generosity; when we become what she calls an “upstander” instead of a “bystander.”

Gandhi once said that when the people lead, the leaders will follow. Mohandas Gandhi was born under a Pluto/Jupiter conjunction in earthy Taurus, and in 1931 when Pluto and Jupiter met once more in Cancer, he defied the British ban against Indians collecting salt from the ocean and selling it, leading one of the world’s most powerful non-violent campaigns. Author Lynne Mc Taggart writes, “a single collective directed thought is all it takes to change the world.”

As we sit and wait, may we flex our courage, direct our thoughts. May we turn back towards the breathing earth, our Home.

Light breaks where no sun shines. Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart push their tides—Dylan Thomas

Please look out for my more regular Facebook posts or connect with me in person: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com

The Girl with the Pearl EarringBanksy.

 

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Sacred Cow—Sun in Taurus—April 20th—May 20th

Today, the Sun moves into the fertile sign of Taurus. The air smells sweet and wildlife is beginning to return to silent cities.

Venus-ruled Taurus brings us back to the earth, to the potency of the virile bull and the gentle passive cow. During this time of enforced curfew and cocooning, we may have glimpsed some of the virtues of Taurus—patience, acceptance of those things we can no longer control, those things we can no longer change.

This week’s Taurus New Moon (April 23rd) is a harbinger of slow and painful progress and economic recession. She unites with unpredictable Uranus and makes a frustrating square to responsible Saturn in Aquarius, symbolising the tension that further restrictions and limitations will bring as a second wave of this crowned virus exposes the hubris of our leaders, honours the courage of front line workers, reshapes our lives.

Outside our windows, Venus glitters against marmalade sunset while Jupiter, Saturn and Mars rise over the horizon at dawn.

As the Sun moves through Taurus, the energy of four Retrograde planets will be emphasised. Pluto goes Retrograde on April 25th (24º Capricorn), Saturn on May 11th (1º Aquarius), Jupiter on May 14th (27º Capricorn.)  Venus is moving through Gemini now and will turn Retrograde on May 13th at 21º Gemini and go direct on June 24th at 5º Gemini, a notional period of 40 days and 40 nights. Transiting Venus apparently moves backwards in her dance across the skies once every nineteen months. These important Venus Retrograde periods distil the essence of what it is that we hold very dear to our hearts.

The ancients tracked the passage of Venus in a perfect pentagram across the skies, ascribing her disappearance in the skies to her descent into the Underworld.  Innana (Venus) is stripped of all her valued regalia and exquisite clothing and enters the Underworld vulnerable and exposed. In modern times, the Underworld is a symbol of our own unconscious where we may encounter a truth that reverberates viscerally. The trial of these 40 days and 40 nights are a cosmic reminder for us to dissolve, discard out-worn values and beliefs. To re-organise, re-examine, re-prioritise those things we value around a more truthful, authentic place that rests at the hearth of our heart.

As Venus turns Retrograde in Gemini we may be facing unemployment, or the unexpected gift of emerging from our chrysalis, starting over, lighter, more appreciative of the little things that bring texture and quality to our lives. We may have reached a relationship crossroad where we wonder, as author, Elizabeth Gilbert once did, “do we want our belly pressed against this person’s belly forever—or not?”  We may be relishing our solitude, if we’re home alone. We may be dating at a distance, enjoying a slower, more sensual rhythm, a new way of being. We may be falling back into love. Grateful, blessed, to be with the one we’re with.

An invisible virus is still among us, and those leaders who become complacent or who try to hurry back to the way things were, may encounter setbacks or a resurgence in the pandemic as Mars moves into nebulous Pisces on May 13th, moving impatiently into the heat of Aries on June 28th, to rendezvous with Chiron, emphasising our pain, our grief, our woundedness.

You cannot rip away caterpillarness. The whole trip occurs in an unfolding process of which we have no control,” Ram Dass once said.

In myth, Venus was also a goddess of war. The pre-Colombian Mayans believed that when kingdoms were unstable, and regimes might topple, her emergence signified an auspicious time to begin a war. Venus Retrograde in Gemini may bring to a climax a festering conflict in our relationship, or the return of a mangy old grievance. As our politicians use military-style language, and direct their impotence towards another country or each other, we may resolve to act in ways that don’t ignite conflict, or deplete our own immune systems.

As this pandemic becomes endemic, we speculate about what life might be like after COVID-19. The astrology speaks of years, not weeks or months, of metamorphosis, the kind of heat and stress that changes limestone into marble, that transforms golden calves into sacred cows.

The combustible 2020 Pluto/Jupiter/Saturn conjunction square Eris (goddess of discord, strife, and consequence) is the capstone for the end of an epoch. Pluto and Jupiter united on April 4th and will meet again on June 30th (both Retrograde) and finally on November 12th, just after the US presidential election.

Unprecedented change, disruption, and upheaval will be the hallmark of the waning square of the Saturn/Uranus cycle as it builds between 2020 and 2023. There will be three exact, uncomfortable Saturn/Uranus squares from February to December 2021, and a close encounter in October 2022, but this energy can be felt already, as the old order breaks down.

Saturn/Uranus alignments coincide with periods of civil unrest, economic collapse, revolution, radicalisation, and the collapse of systems that no longer serve their purpose. If we look back in history, the Saturn/Uranus square of 1928/1933 heralded the Wall Street Crash, the Great Depression, and the establishment of The Third Reich. It is likely that there will be record levels of unemployment that will again precede enormous social change. Like the interwoven spirals and coils of Celtic knot-work, the astrology of our times is threaded with the amalgam of the past.

This is a long-term encounter with destiny that will highlight the jagged edges in our relationships, crack open fault lines in our societies. As we steady ourselves for more sacrifices, as we anticipate more uncertainty, Teresa of Ávila who lived during a Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, reminds us to have courage for whatever comes in life—everything lies in that.

 

I post astrology updates regularly on Facebook, and offer personal astrology consultations, so do please connect with me, I’d love to hear from you ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Love’s Labour—Pluto/Jupiter and Lockdown

As the virus that knows no boundaries pervades the sanctuaries of our homes, and lodges in our dreams, we grieve those things we have cancelled, the celebrations that never took place, the hand we couldn’t hold at the end. We worry about our adult children who live in another city. We are consumed with concern about elderly parents.

We may feel inexplicably exhausted, drained by the grief that drags at our bones. The cupboards we planned to tidy, the books we intended to read, the routine that now seems rather pointless in this shapeless, formless state of suspension.

We’re all in this together. And we aren’t. The rich cocoon in comfort and the poor huddle together in refugee camps and council flats. Yet, we’re sharing our stories, swapping jokes and recipes to stave off loneliness, boredom and fear. Our boss, our co-worker and our oldest friend enter the messy ordinariness of our homes as the kitchen table becomes a place to work and a place to socialise. As Venus moves through the mercurial sign of Gemini we’re talking to our screens, caressing our devices, responding to the slightest ping or gentle vibration—often with more enthusiasm or presence than we give to the one we love.

At this time of enforced togetherness or the purgatory of physical separation, we may be learning a new style of relating as we begin to realise that for so many years, we have  concealed our vulnerability behind the cement wall of intractable beliefs about our partner. Many of us will return again and again to that stuck place, that sterile landscape littered with the bleached bones of broken promises, eroded by silence. For others, as physical distancing brings more emotional honesty, we realise that we’ve been alone and yet together for far too longwe’ve sublimated our desire, displaced our passion, jettisoned our joy.  Perhaps we recognise that we talk, but seldom listen, or feel heard. That we speak about empowerment and boundaries, but really don’t value ourselves enough to say No. During this time of enforced togetherness, some of us may be learning to assert ourselvesgiving way, leaning in.  Perhaps we’re profoundly grateful, as we celebrate and champion the love we have now rather than the love we haven’t had in the past.

Pluto (ruthless destruction, purging, elimination) and Jupiter (amplification) are in conjunction all through 2020 (the aspect perfected on April 4th and will do so twice more on June 29th and November 12th). These conjunctions contain an explosive energy that so often coincides with turning points in our human story—as all that is corrupt and rotten in governments, institutions, and  in the often flimsy structures of our own lives is revealed. Pluto/Jupiter conjunctions can be combustible when they brush against our birth charts or the chart of our relationship, dredging up buried truths, destroying what is, and inviting us to revision a new future. They may ignite tinder dry resentments. Set ablaze those innocent promises we made and forgot to keep.

In the war about who’s right and who’s wrong, how much you love me and who’s in charge, there’s no room for relationship. Says psychologist, Terry Real, “proving just how right you are can be a tough temptation to walk away from. But relationship grown-ups understand that being right is not the real point. Finding a solution is.”

In his book, The New Rules of Marriage, Real writes, “letting go of the need to be right is a core principle of relationship empowerment: learning to live a non-violent life. Non-violent between you and others. Non-violent between your ears. Scolding your partner as if you were his mother, passing judgement on him, humiliating him. These are all forms of psychological violence.”

Today, a hot-headed Sun conjoins Eris (goddess of strife) at 23° Aries and both are in a tense square to Pluto/Jupiter, auguring a time for radical honestyor more stringent control and power-play.

We may feel as though we are suspended, dissolving, putrefying, as we are locked within a sarcophagus of physical confinement, too close for comfort.

“We always marry someone with the purpose of finishing our childhood,” says psychologist Harville Hendrix, who suggests that we’re unconsciously drawn to people who will guarantee a re-enactment of the old, familiar relationship dynamics we grew up with. It is through our sentimentality, our innocence, our insistence in the “happily ever after” and the romantic dream of the relationship made in heaven, that we meet the dark challenges that a soul-ful union demands.  It is through the sojourns in hell, that we refine the prima materia, the raw stuff of life, and learn the phases of Love in all their complexity.

Power struggles in relationships have soared to new heights of psychological sophistication with easy access to often dubious “self-help” offerings on the internet. We can diagnose our partner as being a Narcissist or having signs of Asperger’s syndrome. We can play Victim, Rescuer or Persecutor in the tawdry soapie of our own lives. Labels, like headache pills, can be an easy way of dealing with the symptoms, but not the cause.

“Toxic relationships can sneak up on almost anyone. And controlling behaviour on the part of a partner knows no boundaries—people of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or socio economic status can be in controlling relationships, playing either role,” writes psychologist, Andrea Bonior in Psychology Today.

Toxic relationships don’t sneak up like thieves in the night, robbing us of our joy and our autonomy. We create them all by ourselves. Adult power struggles resemble “the terrible twos”. We use avoidance, manipulation, verbal and very often physical abuse to get our own way. We stamp our feet and sabotage moments of tenderness or connectedness. We withhold or demand sex or money. The old Berserker brain takes charge. Reason, compassion and wisdom fly from the bloody battle fields.

The anatomy of love and desire requires boundaries and structure, whether it’s the ritualised control and submission of bondage and sexual play or the intricate web of rules that we weave around ourselves when we become a couple.

What do we share and what do we keep private? Do we stay friends with our ex on Facebook? Does honesty always nurture trust and intimacy? How do we come together and stay present for one another amidst the distractions that trip-wire closeness? How do we soothe and repair those bruised silences that hang like dust motes above our sensitivities? Sex therapist, Esther Perel believes “relationship boundaries are not a topic that you negotiate only once. Your personal and couple-dynamic boundaries may change based on your relationship or your individual preferences at varying stages of your life. The most successful couples are agile and allow this to be in an open and ongoing discussion.”

At this time of physical distancing, our devices can offer connection yet Eric Pickersgill’s series of photographs, Removed, depict the phantom limb of our treasured devices that signal our busyness and unapproachability. This invisible addictive force splits our attention and takes us away from those who are physically present.

Connection is an energy. It manifests when we feel seen, heard, and validated. When we draw nourishment and strength from our relationship. When we feel like allies not foes. When we find our own wings to fly between the spaces and the coming together, even in captivity.

 

For a private astrology reading, please get in touch: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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