TrueHeartWork | Astrology
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Astrology

Lion 3

The Lion’s Roar

Lion's Roar 7They get what they want when they want it. They’re the Teflon-coated crazy-makers that disarm, dismantle, disrupt our lives with alacrity, leaving us dumbstruck, disarrayed. They stand in the spotlight, centre stage—lovers, gurus, bosses, Presidents, CEOs. They’re the family member who takes the last slice of chocolate cake and puts their shiny black shoes on the new white sofa.

In the world around us now we might despise and deplore The Bully and his shadowy twin, The Coward. Grandiosity is pandemic. We may meet Grandiosity face-to-face when we tumble into love with someone who appears to have all the power. Or we may discover, to our remorse and utter dismay, that it’s our own Bully or Coward that’s a precious Angel come to remind us of that place within us that is out of balance—like that supermarket trolley with wobbly wheels.

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Grandiosity is The Emperor or Empress who wears the crown of contempt, the regalia of superiority and trails behind them the odorous detritus that soils the relational space in our homes, in our communities and between nations.

Entitlement is Grandiosity’s  terrible twin. They’re the orphaned children of Shame.  Says psychologist, Terry Real, “grandiose people cause pain and trouble for everyone around them.”  They leave an odour that lingers long after they’ve gone. Neurobiologically, we’re all wired for connection. And yet, we speak the language of disconnection and pain—when we speak about love we speak about broken hearts. When we speak about nations we speak about them and us.

Grandiosity is an adaptation, a suit of armour, that hides a small child who is longing to be loved, longing for connection.  Says researcher and author Brené Brown, “shame is easily understood as the fear of disconnection: Is there something about me that, if other people know it or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection?”

Says Real, “and, like many guys, you have about a millisecond’s tolerance for that shame, so you bounce right up into what we call grandiosity. You go from feeling less-than to feeling better than, from dominated to dominator, from feeling victimized to attacking. We call this ‘offending from the victim position: hit me and I’ll kick your face in.’” 

Stand by me 3In our battle against Grandiosity and Shame we embark upon a hero’s quest. And heroic quests require fire-breathing dragons to slay. Astrologically, this month’s dragon may be our humourless rigidity in the face of changing our behaviour in some way.  Saturn, now Retrograde (April 6th August 25th ), may collude to bring out our Shadow—that leaden resistance to change, that chilly aversion to being vulnerable, “needy”, or “weak”. Saturn has regressed just as we may regress behind those barriers and boundaries that keep us stuck in our own narrative of shame, lack and scarcity.

In myth, Saturn is the chthonic Earth god who swallowed his own children. So, be curious. What is it that we fear? Where are we mired, stuck, rigid, resisting the dare to deliver a new aspect of ourselves into the world? Saturn issues are boundary (and fear) issues in modern psychology. Where are we seduced by the fervour and drama of the tribal mind? Where does the collective narrative fit neatly into the small prism of our prejudice? Does fear of the future weigh heavily on our heart? Are we staying constricted (within the rings of Saturn) or are we talking in the language of Abundance and Love?

Trojan Horses 7Venus-Saturn are in a tense relationship (square from April 8th to 23rd) which will bring up any residue of unconscious, unprocessed, unmet needs in our personal relationships, and most certainly this energy will ripple out into the collective. Saturn Retrograde cycles are a metaphor for attempting to preserve the status quo, thwarting the natural evolution of things (remember Venus Rx is about changing the status quo right now!) and so we will see a clash of these two celestial bodies this month. Saturn wanting to hold back time, stay pregnant with his swallowed children, constructing unnecessary walls and barriers, a chilly reserve, a stubborn refusal to change. Traditionally Saturn aligns with the Masculine function. Venus is aligned with the Feminine. When the Masculine impregnates the Feminine, a new creative energy is born.

63712.ngsversion.1466467229375.adapt.1190.1Venus-Saturn aspects are aspects that require maturity, hard work and determination. Very often, an acceptance of limitations, boundaries, and the necessity of making watershed changes in our lives.

Venus in Pisces is exulted, empowered, radiant, and boundlessly compassionate. So, we do have a creative way through. We can take this celestial opportunity to draw from the depths of the unconscious those fractured parts of ourselves. We can loosen defensive patterns, bring our vision into manifestation, with soft eyes and open hearts. Venus in Pisces is about reaching for the very best part of ourselves to gift the world with those small, unremarkable acts of kindness and charity that dart into the darkness like fireflies, resplendent and luminous.

ammaChiron is pulled into this challenging aspect with Saturn too (April 6th to 24th), so even though we might feel battle weary, out of kilter, this is about staying open-hearted as we stand at the very edge of enormous global and personal change. Writes psychologist and author, Sharon Blackie, in her superb offering, If Women Rose Rooted,  “It takes enormous courage to bring our Feminine and Masculine energy back into balance, to integrate and harmonise our instinctual, feeling, relational heart and soul with the active, rational, goal-orientated intellect and spirit. And yet, harmonising of the energies within ourselves, this appreciation of what should be cherished and valued in both the archetypal feminine and the archetypal masculine, is a prerequisite for the work of restoring balance to an outer world which has lost its equilibrium.”

And when we have opened our hearts and emptied our minds, we may begin to discover an aquifer of liquid Love that spills out, bringing life-giving new growth to our relationship with ourselves and with those around us.

Elizabeth Lesser writes, “it’s not always about survival, this life we are given. It’s usually so much easier than that. It’s about trusting the eternal life force that’s flowing within us, letting that force lead the way through all of the inevitable changes we will face across the span of our time here on Earth.”Lion's Roar 3

 

 

The Moon, Mother and Me—workshops for women, May 13th and August 19th, Cape Town. Please email ingrid@trueheartwork.com

First Aid Kit

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The One I Love

in love 2In myth, Venus retrograde periods are cosmic magnifying glasses, amplifying our inherent values and intimate desires. We may be blindsided by the behaviour of our lover, pressed down by the weight of the frustrations, the drama of it all. We may have reached a crossroad where we wonder, as author, Elizabeth Gilbert once did, “do we want our belly pressed against this person’s belly forever—or not?”

In myth, Innana (Venus) is stripped of all her valued regalia and exquisite clothing. She 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 nestles at the hearth of our heart.Venus 26

In astrology, Venus is about relationship. Retrograde cycles emphasise those areas in our lives where we unconsciously lead with our wound. Where we move through life like a somnambulist. Where we make Shadow choices that we draw from compulsive, unexamined cultural programming or adaptations to past trauma.

Psychology uses the language of self-empowerment, internalisation. In therapy, we may learn skills that help us leave behind the legacy of our old conditioning, surpass our constricted hurt lives, all by ourselves. And yet it is in relationship that we encounter our Shadow and our Light.

“It’s a tough, anti-relational world out there. Relationships between men and women have never been more difficult,” therapist Terry Real believes. “Close to half of couples getting married will divorce. And there are far too many couples who suffer in relationships that lack the passion and closeness we all deserve.”hand-1613399__480

These 40 days and 40 nights bring an opportunity to transform vicious cycles into charmed circles. The Archetype of Venus transcends gender and sexual preference. What your partner wants might not fit neatly into a heart-shaped cookie-cutter. As Venus magnifies and amplifies our most private and intimate relationships, do we dare ask ourselves, what do men want?  Pretty much the same as woman—with all the subtle water—coloured nuances and dappled light. To to be fully seen. To be heard and validated. To be loved. Just as they are.

Blood-soaked centuries of patriarchal conditioning have programmed men and silenced women.

Writes Robert Bly, “many men numb themselves so they’re not expressive. If you’re too expressive in IBM, you get fired”.

Terry Real believes, “men are just doing what they have been programmed to do—work hard, try to be more involved in the family, try to be responsible and responsive—and feel that they will never get it right.”

Venus in her retrograde cycle invites usTrojan Horse 3 to slow downour speech, our movements, our breath, the beat of our heart. To be present with ourselves, with our man, in a way that engages all the cells in our body and makes our heart expand like a Super Nova…

In A Plea to Women, John Wineland imagines that what all men want isLess. “Our nervous systems can’t handle more. We love range. Especially in bed. We want the Divine Mother, the cock-worshipping whore. Find ways to playfully and lovingly bring that to us. Try to separate the tools that you use to succeed in business from the tools that you use in our relationship. We want more of your vulnerability, more of your fear, more of your pain, we don’t want to be told what book to read, what seminar to go to what therapist to see, we want to be told how painful it is for you when we don’t show up for you… we want you to find something in us every day that you trust implicitly…. because the thing we want the most is to feel that you trust us and that you would let us lead you anywhere and find some way to continually surrender.”love actually 2

Now as Venus withdraws from the light of the Sun, she’s “in the dark”. A fragile, vulnerable, a faded version of her former splendour. Venus has the same eight phases as the Moon. As she aligns with the Sun, a mythic mating, a Venus new “moon”, an alchemical union with our soul-self. She reveals herself, resplendent and radiant once more, as Venus the morning star (March 24th,) offering clear vision, new revelation of  our heart’s desireimagesQNGE4N2G.

Two archetypal energy forces are activated in ourselves and globally as Venus moves between fiery Aries and watery Pisces these 40 days and 40 nights. In Aries, Venus hunts Mars. She’s the warrior, the activist, the persecutor, the feisty rebel. In relationship, tone down the volume. “Try to separate the tools that you use to succeed in business from the tools that you use in our relationship.”

In dreamy Pisces, she’s exulted, raised on high in love but also in escapism, delusion, illusion and fantasy. She may be the victim, the rescuer. She may search for the Mystical Lover in the vain hope of redemption. Use this symbolism to appraise your own relational style.  We want to be told how painful it is for you when we don’t show up for you…

Philosopher, Lao Tzu once said, “being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

When Venus appears again as the Angel of the Dawn, dare to love generously, deeply, expansively, creatively. Bring forth the Divine Spark within you and blaze brightly out into the world.aphrodite-the-olympians-16599123-1000-579

R.E.M.The One I Love

 

 

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Magnetised

It’s ilovers 25n my imagination that I become the avenging hero. The beautiful princess. It’s in my imagination that I search for synchronicities, clues, correspondences. You are my soul mate. My twin flame. My past life lover. We’ve woven a new story with a thread of a new truth…we exchange souls in a kiss…

 “Relationships are about stories, not truth. Alone, as individuals, we each have our own personal mythologies, the stories we tell in order to make sense of ourselves to ourselves. That generally works well as long as we stay sane and single, but the minute you enter an intimate relationship with another person there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself and his or her story about you,” writes author Louise Doughty in her brilliant exposé of a Neptunian love-affair, Apple Tree Yard.

In the boundary-less, nebulous realm of cyberspace’s Neverland we become Tinker Bell, a Lost Boy. Amidst those seamless hours in altered reality, we escape the mortgage, the rigors of ageing, our sordid family dramas. We cloak our ordinary lives in a sparkling façade as we author new stories about ourselves. Artfully embellish the old rusty ones. In the spaces between the lines, in the tantalising silence of omission, we can be anything we want to be. beautiful_photographs_of_rain_42

Neptune’s long transit through Pisces— 2011 —2025 liquefies boundaries between what we think is real and true stirs the dark sediment suspended in the crevasses of our unconscious. Neptune infuses a numinous, otherworldly dimension into our mundane, often unremarkable lives. Offers a tantalising escape from the crass harshness of the world through hypnosis, meditation, shamanic journey, altered states of experience. False gurus, fake news, virtual reality porn, and Rebel Redeemer Dionysus figures enter our lives, mysterious White Knights carry us away in a sequence of algorithms… As Google and Facebook trawl through the vast data lake, hauling up a richly writhing catch of even the most intimate parts of our lives, we comply. Without a whimper. By the end of Neptune’s transit through Pisces personal privacy will be dead. A quaint anachronism cherished only by those ( perhaps with Pluto in Leo )  who remember what things were like once upon a time.
The look of loveThe porous membrane of social media offer the thrill of voyeurism and subterfuge but no anonymity. Surveillance pervades every quiet sanctuary of our existence and is an attentive audience in the circle of our Neptunian theatre  as we can play at being someone else, glamourise our drab dull lives, blur the boundaries just a little because, we tell ourselves, it’s harmless. And like any addict, we truly believe we can stop any time we want to. And like any addict, we loose all empathy for the feelings of those around us.

Writes sex therapist, Esther Perel, “In this relationship culture, expectations and trust are in constant question. The state of stable ambiguity inevitably creates an atmosphere where at least one person feels lingering uncertainty, and neither person feels truly appreciated or nurtured. We do this at the expense of our emotional health, and the emotional health of others… Ghosting, icing, and simmering are manifestations of the decline of empathy in our society — the promoting of one’s selfishness, without regard for the consequences of others. There is a person on the other end of our text messages (or lack thereof), and the ability to communicate virtually doesn’t give us the right to treat others poorly.” mermaid 8

Neptune’s domain is the liminal tidal zone where morality, ethics and what we deem to be true are sucked into the undertow of the ineffable. Swept along with bleached bones of Victims, Martyrs, and Persecutors.  Fantasy, glamour and magic gleam in the lustrous shell of illusion. Integrity sinks like a stone. We want the Hollywood ending that fades out with music and moonlight. We want the passion, the excitement that lifts us up where we believe we belong.

When we’re “love struck” we experience the euphoria associated with cocaine and alcohol. Our neural pathway that’s responsible for fear and judgement shuts down.  It’s impossible to be “sane” when our brain’s reward circuit is flooded with dopamine, cortisol, vasopressin and oxytocin. We’re blind, in the most deliciously submissive way, until the cortisol and serotonin levels return to normal. Yet the subterfuge and instant gratification can be addictive. And when things get too complicated in this parody of connection, there’s the innocent ease of “unfriending” another human being. Just like detonating all life on earthall it takes is one click.

loving coupleNeptune’s seductive siren call is hard to resist even with our own internal Saturnian checks and balances. Christian morality casts the devil outside ourselves, so we scapegoat those whose life style or religion frightens or confuses; those whose opinions enrage. We don’t mean to judge or blame. We don’t mean to deceive. We are the Victims of our whims, slaves to our addiction to distractions that dissipate our energy. It’s not our fault.
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The internet screens us from the next stage in love’s cycle—death and re-birth. And yet, Neptune in the sign of Pisces is about compassion, a love that cradles the passage of time gently in tender arms.

On February 26th, Mercury ingresses into Pisces bringing a sense of fresh starts to the  solar annular eclipse (Pisces 8 degrees. Saros 19 South.) Astrologer, Bernadette Brady writes that this family of eclipses promises pleasant surprise, lucky breaks, joyful wins that will be life changing. There’s a subtle change in tone, a shimmering supernatural quality in this seeding moment as this new moon merges with Neptune. An opportunity to align with the Divinity within, to transcend our mortal addictions and delusions.

In the alchemical process of our life journey, we will all encounter the searing singe of loss, the choking confusion of betrayal, the languid silence of a lie. We may see our own horns and scaly tail in those we rescue or try to redeem until we truly know, in the words of Robert Bly, that every part of you that you do not love will regress and become hostile towards you…beautiful_photographs_of_rain_53

We will know that no one can rescue us or redeem us. That the tears and protestations of the Victim are charged with a force that provokes a rush of rage. That we can swim not drown a wave of other people’s regurgitated opinions the helpless, hopeless places assigned to us the frenetic dispersal of our precious energy on meaningless connections. We will know that our holy truth is anchored by stillness and reflection. That we can travel to Neverland but we don’t have to stay there forever.

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Wonderful Tonight

Venus 27February is the month of seduction. Hearts laid bare in the guise of cuddly teddy bears, clichéd greeting cards and red roses. Amidst the turbulence and negativity in the world right now, it’s in the pleasure of preliminaries that our life force swells.

Somatic life-coach and dancer, Chen Lizra, describes seduction as an untapped power that we can use with integrity and charm if know what we want and have the courage and confidence to go out and get it. Seduction comes from the heart, she says in a TED talk well worth watching.  And seduction is played out against the coral-coloured breast of the western horizon this month as Venus ardently pursues her lover, Mars, confident and cocky in Aries. He’s on home ground. Venus in Aries is Zena the Warrior, Lara Croft. She blazes forth, resplendent and seductive, playing with possibility then on March 4th  she withdraws, dives once more into the shimmering waters of Pisces where she swims until April 16th.

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This is reminiscent of the same celestial dance choreographed and performed eight years ago when Venus in Aries stationed, then retrograded in Pisces.  So what does this all mean for us in a culture that’s permeated with corporate political correctness and a work ethic dictated by linear time and light-saturated nights?

Venus has her own cycles. Like those of our bodies, they’re ancient and mysterious, beyond the reach of the rational mind, secreted within the moist wisdom of our cells. In her chase across the skies, she slows, then regresses for forty days and forty nights. Within the dominant culture, forty days and forty nights is associated with deluge, temptation, trial, and tribulation. In astrology, Retrograde cycles invite us to go back over familiar ground, to reflect, re-evaluate.  She’s staying a while in the fiery sign of Aries so from February 4th until June 5th except for when she dives back into the iridescent waters of Pisces on April 3rd, remaining there until April 29th, revisiting that fragile 29 degree of Pisces which will affect, on some level, all those who have planets at that degree of mutable signs. She’ll whet our appetite for passion, the delight of play, the boundlessness of our imagination, if we allow her to.

black and redVenus’s seductive charms beckon us away from the intellect. She invites us to follow our heart’s desire, to revel in fantasy and sensual pleasure, dance, music, deep relaxation to re-claim our eroticism. Octavio Paz writes, “eroticism is the poetry of the body, the testimony of the senses. Like a poem, it is not linear, it meanders and twists back on itself, shows us what we do not see with our eyes, but in the eyes of our spirit…”

 Says sex therapist, Esther Perel, Egalitarianism, of course, is one of the greatest advancements in modern society, but it has exacted a toll in the erotic realm. It invokes such civic rights as respect, care, compromise, and other morally laudable principles, whereas sexual excitement is all but politically correct. It is known to thrive on power plays, role reversals, and undemocratic acts.” 

Religious dogma, rationality and our addiction to technology devalue the body as a sanctuary for self-revelation, pleasure, and sensual connection with one another. Eroticism is relegated to the collective Shadow. We tame and shame our bodies, terrorise ourselves with thoughts that mostly begin with “Not enough…”Aphrodites Mirror

Writes Elizabeth Gilbert—we are not some early Dell Computer Operating System, here to be de-bugged. We are not some new product for sale, here to be perfected. The goal is not to become an immaculate golden orb. The goal is to return to a place of kindness, where you can be gentle with yourself and others, no matter what arises. This requires, I think, a friendly sort of loving humour about who you are and who we all are.

Esther Perel describes Venus in Aries eloquently and imaginatively—the lust for adventure and the crossing of boundaries, are often interpreted as fears of commitment and infantile fantasies. In the conflict between the drabness of the familiar and the excitement of the unknown our therapeutic culture has often seen the solution in the renouncing of these fantasies. Rationality must prevail. Fantasies are perceived as clouding reality, the idealization of romance as immature love, and we tend to encourage our patients to really know their partner. Marcel Proust the wonderful writer of the subtleties of romance, warns us that sometimes it is better not to be too familiar with our partner, for certain kinds of knowledge can reduce our interest in them and are in fact counter-erotic. Eroticism, which calls for the celebration of ritual and imagination, the infinite fascination with the hidden, the mysterious and the suggestive for no other reason than pleasure does not have a place in this objectivist view of life.red hot

Scientists in the field of neurocardiology are only just beginning to acknowledge what the mystics and lovers have known for eons. The intricate network of nerves, neurotransmitters, proteins, and cells in our heart act independently. Our hearts remember, intuit, learn and know in advance what is going on in the world around us. We must feel wArgentina_tango-dancers-ssresized-616x447orthy to feel desirable. We must love ourselves fully and deeply and intimately to generously love another.

So come away from the hard harshness of an unfeeling digital world. Walk away from the mirror. Darling, you look wonderful tonight.

 

Eric Clapton—Wonderful Tonight

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barer-1803877__480The world is charged, flaming out into the freshness of a new year. With our private hopes and wishes, our fervently made resolutions still gathered close to our hearts, a Trump-et call heralds the dawn of a new era.

For some of us, staying calm and centred amidst the turbulence of world events that press into private spaces of our lives, has been a challenge this new month. Icy weather conditions in the north, scorching temperatures, angry wild fires in the south reflect the extremes. Fire and Ice. There seems no middle ground as we venture into this new landscape and prepare for a new cycle of inevitable change.

Mercury went direct on January 8th in the earthy pragmatic sign of Capricorn. An invitation to balance our perceptions of the world and to refrain from asking the futile, Why is this happening—rather to empower ourselves with the more pragmatic—What are we going to do? 

For those of us with personal planets in the mid-degree Cardinal signs, the days of January have unfurled like a patriot’s flag in a strong wind. The effects of the last Full Moon in Cancer on January 12th  are still apparent as she animated the energy of the Uranus/Pluto square augmented by Jupiter.

Astrologically, 2017 will be a transitional year for many of us. A time of waiting, perhaps for Brexit or Trump to spin the Wheel of Fortune as the swell of social media, the cacophony of tweets compete for sensationalism in a chorus of brief banality.

bordersAs political borders have been destabilised, our porous membrane of connection to Mother Earth earth and to all sentient creatures is all that remains. We are all in this together. This year, Saturn blazes grandiosely through fiery Sagittarius. The focus will continue to be on boundaries and borders which will be cemented when Saturn moves into Capricorn in mid-December this year and all through 2018. This is a return of a cycle redolent of the late 1980s, early 1990s. If you recall  the fashions, remember Reaganism and That Iron Lady, if you know the lyrics of  ABBA’s Super Trouper, you may already be sensing the stirring of the zeitgeist. Thatcher and Regan

On January 18th both Venus and Mars in Pisces squared Saturn, reflecting the mood of dissonance and dissension in world politics and perhaps some tension in our own personal relationships, a reminder to stay heart-centred, and see one another with soft eyes.  The Sun moves into Aquarius on January 20th.  The Changing of the Guard. And an Aquarius New Moon seeds another monthly cycle on January 28th.       Another heavenly reminder to re-evaluate our own ideologies, draw deeply on our own still centre of peace and calm.

Space-national-geographic-6845389-1600-1200The centre point of this year is the flamboyant Leo (28 degrees 52 minutes) eclipse on August 21st  which casts a long shadow over America this summer and will traverse the President’s Ascendant and his Leo Mars. A celestial re-calibration.

This eclipse (Saros Cycle North 1) is interpreted by astrologer, Bernadette Brady as “unexpected events involving friends or groups place a great deal of pressure on relationships…the individual would be wise not to make any hasty decisions since information is distorted and possibly false… the eclipse has an essence of tiredness or health problems attached to it.”

January 20th 2017, the world waits for the Hollywood spectacle of an inauguration that has deeply divided America. We have collectively, on some level, chosen a leader with a Gemini Sun conjunct the North Node and the unpredictable  planet, Uranus as a catalyst for breaking through, breaking open. Nothing is certain. The back-drop is still the Pluto/Uranus square which brought the financial crash and property bubble burst of 2008/2009._93634585_gettyimages-631747382

We’re entering a new era that will peel away the illusions that float like myriad bubbles in the flashy brightness and the fake news. After the brash flash of this curtain call is over, we enter the more austere landscape of 2018 (Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn). Markets lose their buoyancy. Bubbles burst. The recessional undertow of conservatism and the hard reality of Brexit and job losses will trim the trivialities. Our challenge will be to stay centred in Love not Fear. To bend as the winds of change blow across the globe.

Elvis 1Capricorn-Sun truck driver-turned-icon, Elvis Presley, announced: “I’m all shook up and I want to shake you up.” Elvis shook up America and the entire world with a pelvic thrust and a new sound that epitomized a new era. President Trump is simply playing his part.
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Bubble Agnetha Fältskog

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You Want It Darker

darker-1The New Year stretches and yawns from the crumpled wrappings of the festive season. The old is not yet old enough to be forgotten. The new is not yet quite born. There’s a certain quality about this threshold time, coloured by our hopes and dreams; our resolutions to emerge into life in a new way.

There’s an edginess in the zeitgeist now. The sound of thunder as dark clouds gather across nations at this time of jagged transition. The old ways have led us to the gaping maw of the destruction of habitats and species that is now probably irreversible.  Our appointed leaders seem incapable of  making the changes to policies despite petitions, pleas and protests. Civil disobedience seems the only option. Spiritual teacher, Andrew Harvey writes,“ the future of the world depends on the full restoration of the Sacred Feminine in all its tenderness, passion, divine ferocity, and surrendered persistence.” But what does that really mean to the billions of people who live their lives in sound bites, plugged in, plugged out?

standing-rockIn a superbly written post, Vera de Chalambert writes “As the spirit of the Dark Mother hovers upon the collective waters, she has much to teach us. Kali is the great protectress and ultimate sacred activist. She is standing at Standing Rock, roaring against the black snake and the abuses of corporate capitalism. She is marching in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

She is here mourning the dying out of species and showing her terrible tongue at the shocking xenophobic, nationalist regressionism swallowing the planet. She is the changing of the tides, and she meaphotograph-by-brent-stirton-national-geographicns business. She has come to burn up the old paradigm of separation and transfigure the collective heart.

Scientists tell us we live amidst the 6th extinction. Every 20 minutes, another species disappears from our planet. Our oceans are dying, our rivers are burning. Kali beckons us to embrace our sacred fury and let our heart roar for all living beings. Like her, we must rise as protectors, else perish as fools. She knows that we belong to each other and share one fate.”

Kali, the Dark Goddess is the giver and taker of Life. Hekate, the Dark Goddess, who stands at the crossroads. Hel, Ereshkigal, the Black Madonna, Sara-la-Kali, the Morrigan, the Badb, the Cailleach Bheur, Sheela na Gig, Divine Rotting Hags. Dark Goddess all.8b41931fd79ddf7540a720e1db1c247d

I associate Pluto with the Dark Goddess – a female deity of the Underworld; I do see this as a Dark Time, part of a cycle that will be unsettling, disruptive and as necessary and as inevitable as the winter that comes before the spring.  Jupiter opposes Uranus—December 2016, March 2017 and September 2017— a wake-up call, shaking things up, bringing unexpected shocks, sudden change for us collectively as well as personally. Mercury turned Retrograde on December 19th when the US electoral college certified Donald Trump as the 45th president, a regressive turn of events? An opportunity to look within at our own prejudices, our own wasteful consumerism and exploitation?

We all collectively influence the uni-verse at a very deep level. The energy of the planets is never external. They are celestial mirrors. Our politicians are simply playing their part, speeding things along. On January 20th, Trump is sworn in as President when Saturn squares Mars (traditionally associated with strife and conflict, accidents and injury) and the expansive Jupiter/Uranus opposition is still in force, so the pace quickens, tension rises, a clarion call. This aspect suggests a theme of polarisation, the die is cast—losses and gains.

darker-8 Back in the 1930s, a Pluto/Uranus square brought social and economic crisis and the world went to war. The Pluto/Uranus conjunction of the 1960s brought the innocent idealism and light of the Counter Culture Movement, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the deadly herbicide agent Orange in Vietnam, the system of apartheid in South Africa. As Pluto and Uranus joined forces in a conjunction during that decade, Marshall McLuhan coined the term, “the global village”, The feminist movement of the 1960s and ’70s broke down barriers, and the Black Panthers raised their fists for civil rights. Hair became the symbol of freedom and power. From 2007 to 2015, Pluto has been in a tense square aspect to Uranus, a theme that overshadowed global events and will continue to do so over the coming years. If we track the planetary cycles back through his-story, there have been no quick fixes.

We want it darker.

Leonard Cohen, in his final and prophetic album, writes chillingly:

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came… we want it darker.

ff0be5bf172d37e026b0ad0741d06914The issues that were not fully addressed during the 1960s now require our most urgent attention: the age-old issue of war as the only solution to boost capitalism, establish power bases, dominate and subjugate will raise its gory head. Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn suggest that these issues will become increasingly explosive as Pluto squares Jupiter, three times between November 2016 and August 2017.darker-2

 

What the world needs now is a grass-roots movement that is willing to serve in practical ways. The movement seeded in the 1960s by Birkenstock-wearing flower children must now be imbued with the energy of the Dark Goddess with her angry eyes and breasts with nipples of claws. But the old injunction, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth will leave us blinded, toothless. His-story has left a grim and gristly record of the bones of the intelligentsia, writers, artists, and those who dare to speak up against oppression. And yet, as Martin Luther King declared, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

We are not defined by external forces. We are not trapped in our his-story, the purgatory of our tribal mind. We can make new choices, as we we cross this threshold into this new year. Leonard Cohen said, “ To offer oneself at the critical moment when the emergency becomes articulate. Its only when the emergency becomes articulate can we create the willingness to serve.”

amma

On January 1st, the Sun will rise again. The moon will cast her silvery light across the contours of our Mother Earth. “The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere, the dew is never all dried at once, a shower is forever falling, vapour ever rising…” wrote the man who inspired a nation and a president to set aside land for the magnificent American national parks, John Muir.

Things may not be solved. But we can offer ourselves. We can serve with strong hearts.

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Grace

grace-2There’s a quickening amidst the hurdy-gurdy rub of holiday preparation, the hurried rush to cross the finishing line of this year gone by. There’s a bright promise of something new that shimmers in the light of the Full Gemini Moon on December 14th.  The last of three Supermoons, she’s perigree, hugging close to the generous curve of the earth’s flank. A minuscule mote of light in the infinite darkness of the cosmos.

For so many, this year has been a Perfect Storm. A sharp-bladed scythe of setbacks. A blow-out of betrayal. For others, a soul-searing loneliness coils tightly around gaudy decorations and the repetitive loop of Christmas carols. We may be  wrung out. Weary amidst the clocks and calendars and linear time. Astrology like the seasons, is cyclical and there is “ a time to every purpose under heaven.”

The Super-moon illuminates and magnifies the energy of the Sun conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius, T-square to Chiron in Pisces. Concealed within the dark dross of  loss and pain, secreted beneath those things that block or thwart us, lies the gold, back-lit now by lunar light.

people-walkingThere’s a subtle theme change on December 19th. Mercury stations retrograde conjunct Pluto (Capricorn, 15 and 16 degrees respectively ) Mars moves into watery Pisces that same day introducing a  subdued tone to the music of the spheres, a deeper, more introspective harmony, if you’re willing to listen. The Solstice on December 22nd heralds the Sun’s ingress into Capricorn marking mid-winter or mid-summer in the seasonal cycle. A pause. A gap. A  hiatus that offers us time for spiritual renewal. The Solstice Libra Moon conjunct Jupiter opposing Uranus offers a liberating vision of exquisite beauty, inner peace and harmony if we are willing to look around us with new eyes and consider, as Judith Lasater suggests, that “we are being called into realization with great urgency and extraordinary beauty, and oftentimes not without difficulty.”

photograph-by-logan-swayzeIn a world currently experiencing a great cycle of break-down and transformation, we do have a choice. Amidst the hurdy-gurdy rub of hurried distraction, the completion of deadlines, the planning for the future, we have an opportunity to pause, breathe out. To choose to remain, even if only for the briefest moment, in that magickal space between the past and the future. To be—in the gap—of now. To find grace amidst the tired, tattered tail-end of the year.

Writes Annie Dillard, “beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”

This  human journey is a journey of discovery that everything that happens to us can deepen our understanding, open our heart to the new willingness to change our story.

contemplation-mercury-rx-9Author and teacher Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes: “the doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”

We are birthed with each new cycle, every new experience. Spiritual traditions are the husk that surrounds the fertile seed of forgiveness. Forgiveness like Love and Happiness is a word that has lost its currency and yet there is enormous potency in the mystical act of forgiveness. Estes names four stages of forgiveness:

Foregoing: refusing to dwell on the wounded place in our heart or the dervish thoughts that spin drying in our minds. To “take a vacation from it” to create a space for the healing to begin.

Forbearing: to make the decision not to be hostile, not to succumb to guilt or rage. Practicing instead generosity of spirit as a therapeutic balm over our scar tissue

Forgetting: letting it go, laying it to rest. Making a conscious effort to put it out of our mind.

Forgiving: to let go of any expectations that we are “owed” anything, or that the other person will take responsibility for our pain. We may not like the person, we may not choose to spend much time with the person, but we let go of the need to make them pay or suffer for what they did to us. We thank them for the part they have played in our growth. We become what we don’t forgive, she reminds us.

May you have the Grace to forgive yourself and those who have hurt you so terribly, that you may be released to live the life you have come here for.

May Grace imbue the dying year with the promise of re-birth. May the light of the Sun and the Moon  illuminate your pathway.

trees

The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn

Kate Havenik- Grace

 

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photograph-by-ana-beatriz-ribeiro

No Where Warm

9cccaeba30c0773c8ba4fa8ad62eaed9When the moon is in the Seventh House

And Jupiter aligns with Mars

Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars…

Have Angels replaced Demons in the New Age Culture? Has positive thinking, good news, Light and Love created an intellectual bulwark against the darkness that stains the bedrock of our human civilization? When the Moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with the god of war what collective energy will steer the stars? Is darkness the shadowy twin of light, as the populist phalanx advances a new political ideology and  tyrants hunt scapegoats?

Perhaps we all have a dark double, a shadowy doppelganger who enters our lives in the shape9c29c0b8c8d436418b638809275acff0 of a person, a political system, a way of life that we either idolize or loathe. Our shadow dances on our bedroom walls and lurks behind the locked doors of seemingly ordinary lives. And confronting the darkness, daring to break the silence, may be life threatening, quite literally, when we dare to speak out against an authoritarian regime or in an abusive relationship.   Writer Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” —with a man who routinely abused her until she had the courage to break the silence, confront those parts of herself that lay in the shadow.

Jung believed that there is an absolute Shadow. An unspeakable, unthinkable, repulsive evil in the world, a place where there’s no where warm. Perhaps this absolute Shadow is a repository for all our the pain-filled thoughts and intentions. Perhaps even the most distorted twisted human being is not wholly evil. Perhaps Demons are simply Angels with broken wings.

no-where-warm-112The fly-covered gore of deviance and cruelty strips away our innocence, pares down our naivety. If we loiter in the shadowy darkness too long we become calloused and cynical, prophets of doom. If we’re afraid of the dark, live only in sunny brightness, we may, as author Caroline Myss suggests, “ live in a climate of a spirituality of denial that an independent force of evil is real. At the same time, we are dealing with moral, physical, political, and financial crises that destroy lives.”

The popular world view remains resolutely dualistic. And yet the notion that there are infinite states of being, “many worlds” according to  physicist, Hugh Everett, has germinated and sprouted into the the mystic crystal revelation and the mind’s true liberation: we can and do create our own reality; that our human brains are not merely thinking machines but powerful receivers of consciousness from the global mind.

The Full Moon at 22 Gemini on December 14th illuminates a silvery patina of light and dark. She ignites a hot spot degree that will gather more energy as we approach Christmas. This Moon trines Jupiter and opposes the Sun/Saturn conjunction which forms on December 9th, providing a “reality check”, shining light, giving us clarity, feedback, on the shadowy paradoxes of our lives and perhaps a greater awareness of the Morphic Field that pulsates in harmony with our thoughts and prayers.hypnosis-12

In traditional astrology, based on the old paradigm of good, evil and patriarchy, Saturn is a “malefic” planet— he represents fear, and those mundane, boring aspects of our lives like hard work, thrift, caution, and self-control.  As Saturn transits our birth chart, he points a stern celestial finger at those aspects of our lives that need focus and serious attention—the health of our body and mind, our relationship with money, illness and the inevitable threshold of death, the authenticity of our relationships, the unconscious habits and patterns that have been gathering dust in the basement of our psyche. Saturn requires his dues of patience, serious hard work, tenacity, and maturity—qualities we must muster when relationships flounder, when civilizations break down and must be rebuilt from ashes and rubble. no-where-warm-22

Saturn is “the Beast” whose doppelganger is “the Handsome Prince.” Without the dappled darkness and the light, this potent symbol flat-lines into a two-dimensional portrayal of good and evil. Saturn is the Lord of Karma, the Dweller at the Threshold. Saturn holds the keys to the gate of self-awareness when we are brave enough to embrace the Beast and see that he’s a magnificent Fallen Angel.

no-where-warm-30

 

 

Venus changes signs on December 7th. She dresses up in Aquarian clothing: unique, candid, communicative, and idealistic, a shift in the celestial symphony this month. She trines Jupiter on Christmas day at the degree of the Jupiter-Uranus opposition so expect things to heat up unpredictably as we approach Christmas.

no-where-warm-10No exact moment exists in linear time to mark the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.  Carl Calleman suggests the 9th Wave was activated in 2011, bringing with it an accelerated thrust for a more egalitarian world, a rising of unity consciousness, which has an idealistic Aquarian quality. But the Age of Aquarius will be an age of sentient robotics, wars detonated by the click of a mouse, ideological conflict, and the same old dualistic thinking of winners and losers, black and white, good and bad… unless we choose differently. There is nothing personal or individual about Aquarius. And the Jupiter/Mars alignment in the song “Aquarius” certainly does not symbolise harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding… though the counter culture contained a vision of the Handsome Prince who wore flowers in his hair.

At this time of global cultural conversion, may we choose to re-create ourselves daily. Embrace the unfathomable darkness, meet the Beast, andno-where-warm-2 let the sunshine in.

Aquarius— 5th Dimension

Featured Image Ana Beatriz Riberio

Military image, United Colors of Benetton

Kate Havnevik—Nowhere Warm

 

 

 

 

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dancing-girls

Can’t Pretend

pretend-6As this year draws to an end, there are many of us who feel as powerless as a serfs in a feudal kingdom. Mother Earth is ravaged and bleeding. Her climate is changing. Democracy is hollow talk and the strutting Emperor wears no clothes. We can believe that we are helpless, hopeless, hand all our power to forces and systems outside ourselves, or we can harness our courage, step out of the box.    We can send love not hate to those in the brazen Towers of power.

Real presence is what’s needed at this time in our collective evolution. The Jupiter/Pluto square accentuates those areas in our lives were we  still cling to fixed and dogmatic beliefs, where our righteous “truths” merely mimic the righteous “truths” of someone else (November 2016, April and July 2017) . We may have to to be counter-intuitive: the “little boxes made of ticky tacky that all look just the same” may not be comfortable any longer.  In her superbly moving tribute to Leonard Cohen, Maria Popova quotes him saying, “Most of us from the middle-class, we have a kind of old, 19th-century idea of what democracy is, which is, more or less, to over-simplify it, that the masses are going to love Shakespeare and Beethoven. That’s more or less our idea of what democracy is. But that ain’t it. It’s going to come up in unexpected ways from the stuff that we think [is] junk: the people we think are junk, the ideas we think are junk, the television we think is junk.”

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Western culture celebrates the individual, the original. Yet the tribal mind craves conformity. Now as we face a regressive pull into the undertow of polarisation and fascism we must dare to think out of the box.  Venus in pragmatic Capricorn sparkles against the blushing breast of the western skyline this month. Her consort, Mars moves through Aquarius, a sign associated with detachment, logic, ideals and fairness. What these two planets symbolise are our inner values and our drive to be real in the most private, deeply personal places in our lives. Being real might mean leaving a relationship, a guru, or a work situation that tames or amputates our joy. For some it might mean questioning the value of submitting to a spiritual tradition that breaks the ego of the body. For some it’s reconnecting to that deep well of our creative life, surrendering to our authentic selves with a sense of ease and belonging. For us all it means remembering that for all our apparent differences, our human hearts look just the same.57a0eebb2a00002e004f7e56

Stepping out of our little boxes, becoming real, takes a life time and it certainly requires valour. May Sarton writes, in her beautiful poem, Now I Become Myself, “it’s taken time, many years and places; I have been dissolved and shaken, worn other people’s faces…”

In Margery Williams’ beautiful story, The Velveteen Rabbit, Skin Horse describes the long and often painful process of becoming Real:

 “Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY Loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?”  asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,”  said the Skin Horse,  for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”pretend-3

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit? ”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,”  said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Most of us define our identity, our authentic selves by the beliefs and opinions of others. Until we can’t pretend any longer. Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote the book that inspired us all to Eat, Pray, Love, writes, “Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real. In that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth.”

f84ef897-eaa4-4933-a0dc-8f3cb8c80eacThe spirit of our times is the spirit of our collective thoughts and intentions. Our private thoughts mingle with the private thoughts of myriad human beings and affect the unwavering advance of world events. The immeasurable power of our blessings and prayers directed towards a situation or an outcome can transform people and circumstances if animated with Love.

Writes Elizabeth Gilbert, “at such times, I can always steady my life once more by returning to my soul. I ask it, “And what is it that you want, dear one?”little-girl-on-beach

The answer is always the same: “More wonder, please.” 

Tom Odell – Can’t Pretend

Little Boxes words and music by Malvina Reynolds 1962

 

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trump-3

I’m Still Standing

music-festival-1“Donald Trump is the  best live performer who doesn’t sing and doesn’t play a musical instrument,” Sir Elton John once quipped.

He’s promised Brexit Plus Plus Plus. He’s promised to Make America Great Again. He’s the man in the golden jet who will run Apprentice America like a business.

The Power Base of the world is slipping and protectionism and nationalism are sandbags against the rising tide. The reality TV US Presidential Election campaign and Donald Trumps election as President may have come as a shock to many though “it’s written in the stars. As Pluto moves through the sign of Capricorn (2008 to 2024) expect to be confronted with all those things we have ignored, disowned in our smiley- face-have-a-nice-day-consciousness. Any thing that has outlived its purpose, is rotten, in need of amputating will be irrevocably destroyed—within those megalithic bastions of Power in our governments and in big business, in our personal lives and in the dynamics of our relationships.

trumpThe last time Pluto was in Capricorn, the American colonies rejected the British Monarchy and declared themselves independent of Great Britain by taking up arms and revolting (1765 to 1783 ) declaring that all men are created equal and that they have the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It’s the child-like  pursuit of fun and happiness that has come up against the hollowed out heart of America today where there are no winners and many disillusioned and dis-empowered losers.

“ The winner takes it all
The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That’s her destiny…”

hope-2This year, the insidious Neptune-Saturn square (26 November 2015, June 18 2016 & Sept 10 2016)  brought us Brexit and waves of refugees. Walls,  borders and boundaries (Saturn ) crossed with redemption, glamour, illusion and delusion (Neptune). Many people declared their own Brexit and walked away from relationships where they felt victimised, hemmed in and trapped.

Jupiter moved into the sign of  Libra in September. Many astrologers consider this enormous gas giant to herald “luck” and “good fortune”. But large-bellied Jupiter also inflates and expands and takes things to the extreme. So when Jupiter comes to square Pluto three times between November 23rd  2016 and early August 2017, the optimistic Jupitarian drive to achieve success and influence will be tinged with Plutonian ruthlessness, obsessiveness, fanaticism and extremism. Pluto is about power and survival. Pluto’s realm is the underworld where treasure lies buried in the fathomless depths of our unconsciousness. When Pluto meets Jupiter, the impetus to succeed, the single-minded belief that you are destined for greatness, no matter how many bodies you have to step over to get to the top of Mount Olympus, may be carried to the extreme. Jupiter is about excess, perhaps over-estimating, over-reaching the mark at any cost, and when this energy combines with Pluto’s primitive instinctual survival, we’re in Jurassic Park.

0813-man-made-indoor-clouds-belgium-670Human history is a record of the rise and fall of civilizations, of revolutions that promise freedom to the oppressed and leave scorched earth and the blackened stumps of smoldering hopes and dreams. Carl Johan Calleman talks of a Sixth Wave of Creation and a dark age for global civilization in terms of rational thinking. “ The darkness is evident in an almost complete lack of rationality on the Trump side, but also in the role that conspiracy thinking has come to play in it… People are unaware that we have gone into a night, which may bring out the shadow side in many human beings, an unprecedented tendency has emerged to project this darkness onto others. This is the reason that despite the fact that Trump is a billionaire with many obvious patriarchal and Hitler-like traits, his supporters tend to project these supremacist traits onto the opposing side.  Hitler was elected and took dictatorial powers in Germany exactly at a shift to a night (in the Seventh Wave) and blamed (projected) all the difficulties of the German people after a lost war on an international conspiracy. Something similar may now come to happen in the United States. ” 

trump-1For most of us, 2017 will bring a heady mix of tension, rapid change, extremes, single-minded determination to succeed as Jupiter opposes Uranus ( January, March and August 2017 ) to add a lightening blot of the unexpected upset into the mix. Change is  necessary for our evolution. Change is the momentum of Life. And if Brexit and the political circus in America seem far removed from your life today, know that everything is interconnected, pulsating, set in motion at the slightest flutter of a butterfly’s wings.  Our challenge is to remain supple and pliable as the winds of adversity blow across the planet. To stay standing when everything about us is falling apart. To trust that the changes we fear are the very ones that might catapult us from the cocoon of our ordinary lives and give us wings to fly.

 

 

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