TrueHeartWork | Ingrid Hoffman
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Author:Ingrid Hoffman

Hey Hey My My – A girl called Amy

As I walked out into the new day, a double rainbow arched luminously over the soft curve of the waves in the sparkling bay below our home. And as I walked, I thought about Amy Winehouse.  A young woman I never even knew, and yet in her few years of fame and notoriety, she touched my life in some inexplicable way through the power of her intense, soulful voice.

Who was this person whose bright trajectory of fame and scandal imploded so publically? Who was Amy Jade Winehouse, behind the beehive hair, the tangle of  tattoos,  the artificial breasts, the outrageous  young diva, hurriedly hurling through her one wild  life, crying fuck-you all ? A plethora of musings and assumptions, judgements and accolades reverberate in the after-shock of her death.  It’s better to burn out, than to fade away...Like the mythic gods and goddess of ancient lore, she now takes her place in the firmament.  Out of the Blue and into the Black.  

The press have dubbed this constellation of shining bright stars the Tragic 27 Club. Requirement for membership:  Youth. Reactionary behaviour. Exceptional  talent. Extraordinary beauty. Brilliance. Bravado. Hubris and naivety fuelled by an  insatiable thirst for opiates and intoxicants… so that they all tripped the light fandango by the age of 27. Astrologically, this is when the secondary progressed moon makes one full cycle in the birth chart, shortly followed by the Lord of Time, stern Saturn.  This is a new cycle of growth and maturity. We  assimilate the lessons of childhood,  integrate the experiences of the first 27 years of our life time.

These glittering rock star gods and goddess are significant astrologically, and collectively. For one brief, tremulous moment, they capture the zeitgeist. They carry something wild and primal in the Collective that perhaps is too large and too potent to be embodied by one mortal. Their time on this earth is  a brief budding before they ignite and are immortalised, forever young.

Popular “sun sign” astrology, which has very little validity, in my opinion, would describe Amy’s Virgo Sun sign as presenting her with the  attributes of a sensitive, practical, grounded young woman, perhaps someone rather demure, who would prefer to work efficiently behind the scenes and be of service in some way. Amy was and would have been a hard worker, very driven and highly successful, had she grown into her full wisdom and maturity.

I have not been able to verify an exact time for Amy’s birth, but she was born  with a Virgo Sun and a Moon either in late degree Sagittarius or early Capricorn, suggesting that these last four or five years would have been especially intense and often traumatic for a sensitive person like Amy. Her birth chart holds the seed of her creative genius, as well as the numbing shadow of her eventual self-destruction. The siren’s call of alcohol and narcotics grew louder and louder, I imagine, especially from 2007.  My interpretation of her birth chart suggests that the real Amy behind the petulant Diva Mask she wore was soulful, highly intelligent, highly keyed and very fragile. It was perhaps  the self-punishing self talk around being good enough, and her intense sensitivity and nervous energy, that only the numbing oblivion of booze or opiates could quell.  Her Virgo Sun is squared by Neptune, a planet that dissolves boundaries of mundane reality, and also gifts us with enormous creative impetus. There can be great difficulty in creating healthy boundaries and also confusion about a sense of identity along with a yearning to transcend this earthly coil, to seek escape into oblivion. Neptune conjoins her Moon, enveloping her emotional and psychic sensibilities with extraordinary creative talent, yet also a great difficulty in staying grounded and focused. Amy’s Venus and Mars are conjunct, in passionate Leo, amplifying an enormous need to be seen, adored, admired as The Diva. Her fiery energy and  flair for the grand gesture  is counterpoint to the Virgo’s humility and  drive for self expression through work and service. To me, it is her Chiron in Gemini, that really  taps into the pain and wounding of the Collective. It sounds through the  often dark lyrics of her songs, and the heart-rending rise and fall of her beautiful voice. Jupiter and Uranus oppose Chiron, this small planet, a refugee from the Kuyper belt, that symbolises the Wounded Healer Archetype which came into Collective consciousness only in the 70’s.
With this challenging aspect to Jupiter and Uranus,  Chiron symbolises  a deep psycho-emotional wound that doesn’t heal, but which will, in time with conscious awareness, guide us to heal ourselves. Amy’s Chiron wound is around her ability to express herself to others.  Chiron and Mercury in Retrograde in her birth chart suggest that her wound runs painfully deep. The opposition of Chiron to Uranus,  not uncommon in those of us born between 1955 and 1985, has a well-documented tendency to evoke addictive behaviour because of its intense effect on the nervous system. The term, Indigo Child might best describe this wild child, who was too sensitive to survive the rigours of life here on earth. Exploding across the skies like Icarus,  she rests now with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, and Kurt Cobain, who never lived long enough to experience the first return of Saturn. “My greatest fear is probably dying with no one knowing of any contribution I’d ever made to creative music”  Amy Winehouse is reported saying  seven years ago. Her Spirit lives on, gone but not forgotten.

With thanks to Neil Young:

My my, hey hey

Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.

Out of the blue and into the black
They give you this, but you pay for that
And once you’re gone, you can never come back
When you’re out of the blue and into the black.

Neil Young

 

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Say Yes to Love!

It may take a lifetime to learn to Love fearlessly.

Or, you can choose to do it right now, like Alex Lewis.

My romantic Gemini husband, Barry, recounted this deeply moving story to me which he came across on the bbc website. With the Sun’s ingress into the sign of Leo, the focus this month is on matters of the truly passionate, courageous, heart.

This is a tribute to the life of Alex Lewis:
Like so many young men, Alex Lewis played tennis and loved football. He had been feeling a lot of pain in his arm for several months, and guessed it was a probably a pulled muscle. At 17 he was diagnosed with bone cancer, which had already enveloped his lungs.

Despite conventional allopathic intervention – chemotherapy, radiotherapy, an arm painfully replaced with a metal prosthesis, the tumours grew. Alex accepted his inevitable death, and made a decision: the cancer would not define his life.
“It makes you realise just how precious life is. Life is actually amazing, but to make the most of every minute, you do have to look at everything in a positive way,” Alex said.

So, Alex went parachute jumping in New Zealand, riding the dunes in a buggy in Dubai, cliff diving in Cornwell, and died at 22, shortly after marrying Ali, the love of his life.

The well worn old cliché – Life is short has lost its currency. We still postpone adventures, resist even the smallest pleasures. Still we proclaim, “when I have enough money,” or “love will find me when the time is right,” or “when I retire, or the kids have moved out…”
We never really grasp the reality of what Love and Living our lives fully truly mean until we are met by some catastrophic event that shakes us to the core.

Astrologically, the sun, source of our vitality and health, ruler of our heart, moved across the elliptic of the sky into the sign of Leo on July 23rd.
A new cycle of life begins, as one year ends and a new year is celebrated for those who have birthdays between late July and early August. Happy Solar Return to all Leos! And for the rest of us, let’s celebrate Life and Love today!

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
— Mary Oliver

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Welcome to the TrueHeartWork Blog

The sun moved into the sign of Aries today. The start of an atrological new year. And a good day on which to launch our new-look website, complete with blog! We intend to blog regularly, and would love to receive your comments on the posts. With your active participation, we can make this a fun and useful dialogue – rather than just a one-way send from us!

Ingrid and I are thrilled with the new look and hope you like it too. Please explore the site and enjoy the content. If you have questions or discover any bugs, please us the “Contact Us” page.

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Sky Talk, March 2011: All change

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
Carl Justav Jung

Change is a chthonic force in the cosmos and in our lives here on this earth plane. All change is an opportunity for new growth. It is part of the cycle of Life, the antithesis of stagnation.

This month, the New Moon in Pisces, heralded a month of turbulence in the Middle East, and perhaps on a microcosm, upset and turbulence, in our own lives.

Things escalate on March 12th, when Uranus, the planet associated with the energy of change and freedom, plummets into the fiery sign of Aries, igniting a collective impetus for new growth, as old structures tumble and fall.

In our personal relationships, the tower of self-imposed limitations must tumble, so that we can move forward, unfettered by old paradigms and limiting beliefs about ourselves and about others. The inner saboteur and the inner critic have their place in our psyche, but their voices need now to be silenced as we follow our hearts, our intuition, cast off the self imposed shackles that bind.

The full Moon, on March 19th, brings light to situations, and is a good day to do a ritual, set a new intention.

The Sun ingresses into Aries, on the Equinox, March 21st, to scintillate with the vivifying energy of Uranus in a powerful conjunction. You may feel energised, or restless. Need to break away from some situation you have outgrown.

Uranus transits liberate us from situations and relationships that stultify our growth and sap our courage. Now is the time to set sail, and journey towards new experiences.

A change of season, here in the southern hemisphere, as burnished leaves spiral softly to carpet the ground. The light of the Sun dims, days shorten. So, tune in to Nature’s slower tempo, and connect with your heart space. What feels right, and authentic for you now, at this time in your life. What do you need to shed? Reflect on your life in September 2010 around the spring equinox. This summer season is ending. So harvest the ripe fruits of the summer, and prepare to plant seeds of a new project, a new love, a new way of being in the world.

Autumn is a second spring
When every leaf is a flower.

Albert Camus

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Sky Talk, February 2011: Hubris

“Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too self-ful to seek other than itself.”
Khalil Gibran

There is a Divine Intelligence in the Heavens this month.

Sombre Saturn, slowly retracing its orbit, until June 14th in ethical, judicious Libra, is a stern celestial marker pointing our attention to the necessity for responsibility, realism, and reason. Pluto’s slow implacable odyssey through the sign of Capricorn is evident in recent events in Tunisia and Egypt, and perhaps in your own life too, as the cracks begin to deepen in straight-jacketed structures and autocratic mindsets.

In governments, offices, classrooms, and in our own homes and neighbourhoods, bullies and tyrants, like bloated maggots dropping from a rotten corpse, will not survive unscathed the implacable transit of Pluto through the sign of Capricorn.

Since late 2008, when Pluto entered Capricorn, financial and business structures splintered. We have not yet seen the full trajectory of the Global Recession nor the full implications of misuse of power in government and big business. Recovery will be excruciatingly slow, and desperately jobless. As Uranus ingresses into Aries in March, the incendiary energy of rebellion or self-immolation will shake the flimsy foundations of “civilisation” as we have manifested it, to allow for a new spiral of heart-centred growth and an embodiment of the Sacred Feminine in our societies.

Be vigilant for the convenient human tendency to seek a Sacrificial Scapegoat… implacable Mubarak, (Taurean) and megalomaniac Mugabe, (Piscean) amongst many, have been heavy-handed autocrats for years. We all knew they were misusing their power in absolutist regimes. Bullies and tyrants hold a convenient hook for all that is unacceptable and shadowy, too appalling to own in our personal lives and collectively.

The word Hubris today is imbued with a sense of over-confident pride, overbearing arrogance. An overestimation of one’s power and competence, a lack of humility. Jupiter in fiery Aries, till June 4th, inflates and overextends, but certainly not without knowledge of the consequences. Suffering inevitably follows conceited pride and arrogance – as seismic events in the Middle East describe so eloquently.

To the ancient Greeks, hubris was the greatest crime of all. The outcome was never without repudiation, as the Greek Tragedies depict. When mere mortals challenged the gods and their laws, there was always a consequence. On February 9th, Chiron entered Pisces, soon to be followed by Neptune’s 13 year transit through the same sign on April 4th, eroding our assumptions and conditioned responses to reality, bringing new spiritual, emotional and political realities.

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Sky Talk, January 2011: Dare to Choose Differently

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Joseph Campbell

This first month of the calendar year, named in honour of Janus the two-headed god of thresholds, is traditionally welcomed with a flurry of festive New Year’s wishes. Astrologically, the cycle of this New Year begins with the Sun’s ingress into the sign of Aries on March 21st on the equinox, when day and night are equal, in balance. As our Earth silently cycles into a new season, we all experience, on some level or another, a new trajectory of change. The first warm flush of spring ignites tender new growth in the northern hemisphere. A new cycle of letting go, breakdown and decay, here in the south, as burnished leaves spiral silently to the ground.

“This year will be better…” I heard people say hopefully, perhaps as a talisman to ward off the heart-break and hardships of years gone by. The mood this month is serious, focused on the goal-directed activity, underscored by the dour Capricorn new Moon, on January 4th veiling the sombre Capricorn Sun in partial solar eclipse. Time to go within, after the excesses of the festive season. On January 19th, the full Moon, which falls on the very last degree of Cancer, opposes the Sun in the very last degree of Capricorn.

Cancer and Capricorn. The interior world and the outer world, the tension of opposites. So think about what home, family, nurturance means to you. Take just a moment to consider what structure, goal setting, work or career, mean in your life right now. What draws your focus and energy? Where are you feeling lopsided and yearning for some kind of as yet, ill defined but vivifying change?

This full Moon illuminates the polarised energy in our relationships, bringing deeply buried issues to light if we are willing to take the time to do some honest excavation.

Those of us with challenging aspects in our birth charts, or fixed personal planets, may choose to stay in situations that stunt our soul growth, because we have a profound terror of change. We are invested in our stagnant stories, frozen in our pain and discomfort, terrified of leaving familiar landscape to cross over the threshold into new territory.

But, the celestial clock is ticking. There is a rhythm, a cadence to life here on earth, and our tenacious grip old outworn habits, fear, or pain, does not stop the irrevocable process of change.

Saturn, Lord of Time, stations on January 25th and moves into retrograde on January 27th until June 14th, inviting us all, but most especially those with personal planets in the signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn, to reflect on commitment and integrity of our personal relationships. This would be a time to regroup, do a reality check, steady our gait, before we are worn out, unravelling. Saturn provides the uncompromising black-rock solid stability to our lives. Saturn rules skin, bones, our skeletal scaffolding, containing, and bringing necessary structure and boundaries to our vital organs. Metaphorically, Saturn brings containment and structure to our lives, our relationships. It is about commitment, marriage. It takes many years to be truly married, and there may be many new versions of the person you married, many new levels of relating, within a marriage.

If we are to lead rich, fulfilling lives, anchored in what is real, what is important, we need to embrace the necessity of making the choice to live a courageous life. The word, courageous, derives from the French, coeur, meaning heart. And as we embrace each little choice as a spiritual gift, we will have the opportunity to learn and to grow, if we dare.

So before the first month of this calendar year draws to an end, be willing to let go of who you think you should be, and fall in love with your authentic self. Connect within for guidance, grace, and the courage to take a risk to be vulnerable enough to truly forgive someone who has hurt you, letting go of the pain and resentment you have been carrying for so long.

Re-connect and re-experience your partner. End a relationship that has calcified. Walk away from a life that is a lead-lined coffin of dreary desperation and indifference. Dare to heal the rupture that has disconnected you from your sense of worthiness in receiving the love you long for. Be willing to risk changing your mind about the world you live in.

“Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”
A Course in Miracles.

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