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Astrology

wings-6

Wings

brad-pitt-and-angelina-jolie-mr-and-mrs-smithAmidst the unrelenting scrutiny of the media’s Cyclops eye, amidst the vaporous flurry of voyeuristic speculation from those who will never know any of the back story, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have uncoupled.

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.

roses“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. I disagree. 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. The old Berserker brain takes charge. Reason, compassion and wisdom fly from the bloody battle fields.

The September, autumn (or spring if you are in the southern hemisphere) equinox is marked by the Sun’s passage into the zodiac sign of Libra. Traditionally associated with the ritual of marriage and the ethics of contracts and spoken agreements in our relationships. Every relationship we embark upon requires a negotiation of boundaries: what is mine and yours, what is ours, and what we both agree to share with our friends and families.

268621642-290x290The 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? What do we share and what do we withhold? Do we spend our holidays together or apart? 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 an open and ongoing discussion. ”

Artist, husband and father, Eric Pickersgill’s series of photographs, Removed, depict the wings-7phantom limb of our treasured devices that signal our busyness and unapproachability. This invisible addictive force that splits our attention and takes us away from those who are physically present.

Life imitates Art for Hollywood’s  Power Couple. Transiting Neptune conjunct his Chiron, transiting Saturn opposing her Sun, transiting Neptune Square her Sun. They very publicly perform their final role: the intractable stand-off and ultimate catastrophic exit that is divorce.

hypnosis-1Borders and barriers have been a feature of the Saturn Neptune square over the past months – 26 November 2015, June 18, and September 10, 2016. This aspect was also triggered by the September 1 eclipse. The refugee crisis in Europe. Brexit. The machinations that are more like a tacky reality TV show than politics in the US. The beginnings of another property bubble burst, and the slow realisation that  without jobs, people will not longer be “consumers” .

The sense of being in “a fog” (Neptune) or feeling that we are lodged between the proverbial rock and the hard place (Saturn). Too much Saturn and we atrophy. Too much Neptune and we escape or seek redemption through something or someone who takes us away from the harsh reality and limitations of the drab burnt out ends of our lives. Asks speaker and author, Brené Brown, “What boundaries need to be in place for me to stay in my integrity to make the most generous assumptions about you?” 

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. When we can tolerate the Mystery in one another and gaze upon each other with loving eyes. img_8584

Birdy – Wings

 

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Hypnosis 33

Hypnosis

Disney's "MALEFICENT"..Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning)..Photo Credit: Film Frame..?Disney 2014

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love,” wrote the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

The great centrifugal shifts in world politics mirror the shifts in our personal lives. The eruptions and schisms that speed up our spiritual growth. The unexpected events that detonate habits and behaviours that have petrified the flow of our lives. Inner peace amidst the babble of social media and 24-hr news loops requires focus and wholeheartedness. This  week,  Jon Bachman’s iconic photograph of Leshia Evans facing two heavily-armed policemen in Baton Rouge reverberated across social media. A reminder of past passive confrontations with the armoured might of The Establishment, echoing other responses by groups and individuals during the last Saturn-Neptune conjunction in the counterculture of the ‘60s.

stay 1 Neptune is associated with illusion and delusion. It’s glamour and aspiration. It’s the willo‘-the-wisp of political promises…

Neptune-Saturn energy has a sacrificial essence. In June 1989, Neptune and Saturn were once again in conjunction, this time in Capricorn.  Tank Man was the unidentified man who stood in front of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, the morning after the Chinese military had suppressed the protests in Tiananmen Square.

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With Saturn now in Sagittarius and in square to Neptune again, we are supported to make conscious choices about what wolf we choose to feed, where we place our focus, our energy, what we want to nourish and manifest in our lives and in the world around us. Saturn’s first station in the sign of Sagittarius (March 14th) spotlighted the integrity of our life-structures on many levels – our permeability or resistance to change, our fears and doubts, our resistance to the flow of life. Astrologer Melanie Reinhardt says “the more deeply we can attune to what we are actually experiencing, in all its manifold layers, the less likely we are to feel blocked by unconscious Saturnian energy as we reclaim our energy from the intrusion of the Superego – the shoulds and oughts which keep us complying with introjected authority figures.”  This does not mean that people won’t harm us, nor does it mean being oblivious to commonsense and discrimination that guides us. Longfellow wrote: “if we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”  Perhaps our hearts don’t need to be so armoured by beliefs that obscure the “secret history” of another’s suffering or that shut off the possibility of mutual understanding and care.beautiful young woman

Mars is still in Scorpio and simmering feelings of discontent could erupt into acts of violence over the next few weeks as Mars picks up pace to square the Moon of the American birth chart on July 21st. The Saturn-Neptune trance of separation, the “them” and “us” loses its force when we find refuge in the experience of another person, when we listen deeply.

Anger can draw out the Warrior in us all, it can take us to the edge, beyond our civilized comfort zone. We can re-claim our power, embrace our eccentricity, emerge from the darkness of a depression, or find the strength to make a stand. We can also objectify and dehumanise one another. “Anger is only partly an emotion,” writes Thomas Moore. “It has an intellectual component and helps you make sense of your life.”  Compassionate listening to another person’s story is the capstone of healthy relationships. Writes spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, “our fear-based beliefs trap us in the trance-identity of an insecure self that is hypervigilant in managing life. We rationalise, we justify ourselves, we defend, we blame. Our will, our capacity for conscious, purposeful action is commandeered by a frightened ego.”

Lasting, meaningful change starts with each one of us. “Victory is about taking off the armour, showing up, and engaging,” says Brené Brown.alexandravalenti-via-mysticmamma-com-290x290

The Saturn-Neptune square still symbolises for some a great deal of stress and difficulty. We may feel confined, or blocked by our circumstances. The way through, as we seem still not to have learnt from our human his-story, is not through guns or bombs but through seeing the humanity in a stranger’s eyes, the divinity in her soul. Then the light of the uni-verse envelopes us and we remember, we are not enemies we belong to the human family.

 

 

Flag photograph by Alexandra Valenti

Film Frame from the Disney’s  2014 MALEFICENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eXw47qb4U0

 

 

 

 

 

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Ride On 6

Ride on

Ride On 1Life’s challenges bring us second chances. An illness appears in the guise of an opportunity to heal a ruptured relationship or reconnect with a family member. The loss of a job may be the way through to a long-buried dream that opens into a new life direction. Life’s challenges may bring us another chance to turn towards Life and Love once more.

We’re living in “interesting times”. The world is in a constant process of change. And now we’re in the eye of the storm. Countries are disengaged. On the brink of divorce. Re-engagement will require courage and the resilience to bounce back, regroup in the face of personal disappointment, loss or betrayal.

For more astrology listen to this week’s New Moon podcast.

Ride On 2“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen,” says Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly. Showing up to be seen for many of us sounds a lot easier than it is. We’ve been wearing a mask for so long, it cleaves to our skin. We may lose face. Have to admit we were wrong. Say we’re sorry and make amends. Courage and resilience don’t come naturally for most of us as adults. Losing a home or a source of income, the dismemberment of divorce, are—for most of us—catastrophic events that  split our psyches along old fault lines that formed when we were malleable and very young. Our scar tissue aches. Resilience, that brave act of rebounding, is made easier if we have emotional attunement with others, good enough mothering in early childhood, a sense of belonging to family, a community. The ability to turn in and towards instead of pulling back and turning away is something we must learn and practice daily.

Ride On 3Dr John Gottman, scholar, researcher and author of The Science of Trust says that sliding door moments build trust. “Trust is built in very small moments, which I call “sliding door” moments, after the movie, Sliding Doors. In any interaction, there’s a possibility of connecting with your partner or turning away from your partner. Of all the terrible betrayals, there is a particular sort of betrayal that is more insidious and equally corrosive to trust. The betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship. The word, betrayal evokes experiences of cheating and lying, breaking a confidence, failing to defend us to someone else who’s gossiping about us, not choosing us over other people. But the most dangerous in terms of corroding the trust connection is disengagement. When  the people we love or with whom we have deep connection, stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing, and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fear of being abandoned, unworthy and unloveable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair, is that we can’t point to the source of our pain—there’s no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. It can feel crazy-making.”

Ride On 5Astrologically, we’ve all been affected in some way by the energy of Mars Retrograde and Neptune square Saturn. Mars is gaining momentum now as he moves direct through the sign of Scorpio and the Saturn-Neptune square is still in force, symbolised by the waves of immigrants seeking refuge, the political Game of Thrones. The word change means to to make (something) other than what it was, to alter,  to bend, crook, to become different. And to change we must take action (Mars) to bring our hopes, our ideals, our dreams ( Neptune ) into manifestation (Saturn). And in order to trust another we must trust ourselves to be fully present during life’s random encounters. Writes Brené  Brown, “nothing has transformed my life more than realising that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction from the people in the stands.”

We have a choice in how we perceive the world around us. There is no final destination in our personal journey. There is no end to our Becoming. The passage of time sculpts and shapes our values, our preferences and our perception of the world around us. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’re ever been. We can dare to pause, consider, differentiate from the hive mind. We can trust. And ride on.images

Christy Moore— Ride On

Sliding Doors, the 1998 romantic comedy, depicts those split-second choices that unfold like skeins of silk into futures not yet lived.

Oryx Photograph Jeanne Thompson

My upcoming workshops are in Dublin, 15 Oct, and Cape Town, 5 Nov.

To join, please email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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Photographs by Pierre Carreau

Sacrifice

sacrifice 1Make America Great Again. It’s a call to action that offers the promise of something tangible amidst the vague rhetoric and mud-slinging in America’s House of Cards.  Pluto has been opposing the Sun of the American chart all through 2014 and 2015. The Titan Nation is approaching the end of a cycle with its Pluto Return in 2023/2024 and all that is rotten, untenable for the evolution of America will be pruned over the coming years.

Who will tend to the Garden? To some, Donald Trump’s appeal is crazy. With his fly-away corn-yellow hair secured beneath a baseball cap, the ageing billionaire steps up to the podium and delivers a message that entertains some and baffles others. He’s the Jester, the Comedian, the Wizard of Oz. He offers to a population fed on a banal diet of Reality TV and processed food a message as feel-good as a bucket of KFC. American author, David Eggers, writes, Is it more troubling, or less troubling, knowing that no one in the audience really cares what he says? And could it be that because Trump’s supporters are not all drawn from the lunatic fringe, but in fact represent a broad cross-section of regular people, and far more women than would seem possible or rational, that he could actually win?

For more astrology listen to this week’s podcast:

imagesX0JLUBI0America’s back yard is a tangle of weeds. From the outside looking in, we can glimpse the wood, not the trees.  Neptune and Saturn have been in square aspect since last November. These three squares symbolise what is going on collectively in a world where young men die as they dance and in Europe, refugees in threadbare clothing risk their lives in flimsy boats. The middle square occurred on June 18th when Saturn was at 12 degrees Sagittarius and Neptune at 12 degrees Pisces. Those of us with planets or angles at these degrees will be sensitised to the opposing energies of these two planets as we confront a choice between whether to be in Fear or to have Faith in a world that seems poised on the brink of madness.

The final square will be on the 10th of September this year when both planets are at 10 degrees of their respective signs and it will be interesting to see how things play out on the political stage in November. Saturn calls for realism and practicalities. Neptune reflects a facet of the collective consciousness that calls for some kind of sacrifice. With Neptune there is an irrational emotional identification that sweeps us along in a swirling murmuration. Trump may represent the distracting delight and glamour of Neptune as he says inappropriate things into the microphone and Elton John’s Tiny Dancer heralds his arrival at rallies with lyrics that have absolutely no relevance at all to the gravity of political office.

sacrifice 13Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you’ll marry a music man
Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand…

Trump’ s birth chart resonates with the chart of the USA.  Trump’s Gemini Sun squares Neptune in the US chart and there’s an interesting Mercury Venus/Jupiter/Sun contact. He is a mouth-piece for the collective psyche at this point in American history. The US chart has Sun square Saturn and Trump has Saturn conjunct Venus, a painfully self-deprecating aspect that builds a defense as thick as the soon-to-be-extinct rhino’s hide against rejection, feelings of inadequacy or vulnerability.

Yet, with Saturn-Neptune contacts there tends to be a blind spot which contains the seeds of sacrifice of some kind. If we look back in history to previous Saturn-Neptune contacts there is a sense of a collective sacrifice involved.

Saturn square Neptune in 1909/1910 heralded the Suffragette hunger strikes, the Saturn square Neptune in 1944/1945 birthed the Atomic Bomb and the V1 V2 rockets that reigned terror and destruction on Germany.

In 1963 the square manifested as Vietnam and the Counter Culture. In 1979-1980 we had Thatcher and Reagan and in 1998/1999 the seeds of the Financial crash were sown by the internet stock boom.

Neptune is an outer planet. It’s not personal. Astrologer, Liz Greene once referred to Neptune as death by drowning… an intoxicating woman at gravepull into something bigger than ourselves that envelops us into something that is beyond our individual understanding. The numinous quality of Neptune may draw us into situations where we lose our sense of clarity. We believe the promises of redemption offered by self-appointed Messiahs posing as politicians. And then perhaps these Messiahs themselves must be sacrificed, engulfed in Neptunian waters  to atone, to redeem something deeply off-centre in a world where there is so much polarisation, so much disconnection from Manley’s “ the dearest freshness deep down things.”

sacrifice 2Neptune is the silver screen, the make-believe world of film and television. Neptune may dissolve or distort our sense of reality or expose our sense of personal inadequacy which is Saturn.

The show is not over. When the last Saturn – Neptune square in September lifts the green curtain… The Tiny Dancer will sing.

So at this time of the Solstice, let’s take a moment to pause. To stand still long enough to allow clear vision and courage to anchor us amidst hype and confusion. In the words of poet and mystic John O’Donahue, “May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”

Elton John, Sacrifice

Neptunian Ocean by Pierre Carreau

 

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8th morning SUNRISE and long road ahead

When You Believe

coffee shopsForever is composed of Nows. Emily Dickinson’s Power of Now is a recurrent theme in metaphysical thought. Yet so often we torment ourselves with worries about things that may never happen. And even the Now we inhabit is made up of the drama of “the news” as  desperate immigrants risk their lives in flimsy boats,  and Europe braces for Brexit.

Our lives are nuanced with shadows, complicated with opinions that may be facile interpretations or moralistic judgments lacking deeper thought or imagination. As we weave threads of  innocence and ignorance, hope and despair, our divided selves are mirrored this month by the polarity in the Heavens. In early June, our challenge may be to keep centred, to stay in the Now. The planets reflect polarising forces, the tension of opposites, in global events and in our personal lives.

people walking Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn with the Sun and Venus complete what is called a Grand Cross.  This Grand Cross is in Mutable signs, so think fluid, think changeable, think the elements of fire, water, and air and what they would look like in nature if whipped up by a strong wind. With this kind of energy there’s a sense of spinning around, bouncing off walls of resistance and spinning around again as our thoughts, or the circumstances we perceive, hit an immovable obstacle – what Yeats describes in the chillingly prophetic poem, the Second Coming:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…

 On June 5th Neptune and Saturn are both at 12 degrees of their respective signs – Pisces and Sagittarius. This is the second exact hit in the series of three with the third square coming in September – remember that squares hold tension and opportunities for change and growth. So take up the challenge when there are interlocking conflicts or a block that seems immovable or intractable – Jupiter is involved here and Venus too as they separate from the Grand Cross. Jupiter and Venus were known by the old astrologers as The Great Benefics. They bring blessings and good fortune. Allow your heart rather than your mind to guide you deeper in.

wavesNeptune pauses in the sky on June 14th.  We say that Neptune stations. Stations tend to add emphasis to a theme, they highlight a particular planet. So Neptune will be more of a prominent theme for us personally and globally as we find hope in negativity, light in the darkest of days. This beautiful planet  represents the ineffable, the numinous – it is other-worldly, not of this world. Neptune may bring a sense of giving up. That hopeless, helpless feeling when we must sacrifice something or surrender to a force that is bigger than us.  Neptune is about loss and longing and a wave of energy that engulfs us like a tsunami. Neptune seeks redemption.

refugees

Saturn represents the opposite – Saturn is about boundaries, barriers, structures, defenses. Saturn could manifest as our personal resistance or psychological defenses but could also be about patience and perseverance.  Saturn is the inner critic; the wall, the block. Neptune is boundless. Neptune is intangible, mystical, non-ordinary and seeps through the realm of the meta-physical. Those of you who subscribe to the marvelous literary offering Brain Pickings by Maria Popova may have read her recent post about the “Tussle with two polarizing forces ripping the psyche asunder by beckoning to it from opposite directions — critical thinking and hope. Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté.”  This describes the walls of Saturn as the waves of Neptunian idealism crash over the political stage and the old order crumbles to make way for the new. Neptune is the ocean that threatens to dissolve the status quo. Saturn represents fear and resistance, the voice of caution,  the protectionist posturing that bulwarks us against the natural impulse of evolution as the political pendulum swings and the walls that were destroyed are built again.

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We imagine our lives into existence and if we are mired in facts, rhetoric, slogans, judgement, tick boxes, we imprison ourselves in the walls of Saturn. Perhaps we must face not the polarity of right and wrong but the paradox of this life here on earth. When we take things too seriously, too literally, we label ourselves and others and miss experiencing the moment, feeling “real”, truly being in the Now. A Course in Miracles offers a choice: “The world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream’s alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream.”

So, if we attune to the uni-verse, observe the symbolism of the Grand Cross, we can revive our imagination, restore and refresh our hearts and minds. When we believe that the world is full of miracles, we take responsibility for making up the dream. Then in this marvellous miraculous process of change and evolution, we can stay anchored in the Now and know that like the planets in the heavens, here on earth, things are in continual motion. In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

When You BelieveMariah Carey and Whitney HoustonHope 3

 

 

Photograph – Long Karoo Road by Jeanne Thompson

 

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beyonce-lemonade

Lemonade

beyonce 8

“Are you cheating on me?”

Beyoncé throws open a door. A torrent of water gushes forth, the salty tears that wash the wound of Betrayal.

Beyoncé’s powerful new visual album Lemonade, depicts her profoundly painful experience of infidelity by husband, Jay-Z. And we watch as she rises, renewed and  invigorated by the pain of loss and announces to the world, “If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious!”

For more in-depth Astrology, tune in to my first Podcast here.

beyonce 6Betrayal punctures our child-like illusions of Love, expels us from the fusion-state with the archetypal Parent, shatters the projections that cloud our vision of our partner. Infidelity pins our butterfly-winged innocence to a deep awareness of human limitation and our own un-lived psychic life. In the torrent of emotions swirls guilt, anger and despair. Betrayal leaves no room for titillation, morality or judgement. Betrayal is about passion, hot sex, erotic energy, life and death. Betrayal is about broken hearts.

We live in a culture that is sexually immature. There is a collective adolescent preoccupation with the tawdry tacky side of sex that diminishes and obscures its sacred power and sublime sensual beauty.  We cloak our obsession with sex and obscure it’s deeper meaning. Saturn has been transiting over Jay-Z’s  Sagittarius Sun since January 2016 and Mars moves over his Venus/Neptune conjunction in late Scorpio till early August. In the same time frame, Mars comes to Beyoncé’s  Scorpio Moon/Uranus conjunction … “Grief sedated by orgasm, orgasm heightened by grief.”  We can speculate that their healing is ongoing and powerfully revitalising for them both.

Lemonade 3-beyonce-jay-z-lemonadeIn the nuclear aftermath of an affair, therapists may guide couples through various stages of atonement, stripping the soul of sex of its nuances. As sex therapist, Esther Perel, points out, we speak of “victims and perpetrators; injured parties and infidels; confession, repentance and redemption…”  Dr Shirley Glass, “Godmother of infidelity research”, writes in her book, NOT Just Friends, about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and yet it’s the Scorpionic essence of trauma, the powerful emotions of grief, jealousy, passion and erotic energy that must be acknowledged if we are to repair, heal and be glorious!

On May 24th, Venus moves into the Twinned sign of Gemini where she hangs in all her magnificent sparkling splendour in the skies, opposing her lover, Mars in his return journey into the frozen reflective depths of Scorpio.

beyonce 3In Venus’s inviting arms, Mars surrenders his brutish crudeness, puts aside his weapons of war to envelop her sensuality with a solid sense of power and strength. So think of Venus dressed in Gemini clothing – communicative perhaps, playfully flirtatious, curious in the face Mars’s attractive thrust of strength and the assertiveness he now displays in fiery Sagittarius… And yet he is moving away from his lover, moving backwards into an area of the zodiac, where we must all at some time or another confront issues of our deepest longings, our deepest repressions and frozen fears. In Scorpio we confront our shadow. With Mars in this area of the zodiac, we may feel brave enough to take action, to lean in, to draw our vitality from the deep well of sexual energy, bringing our creative offspring to life in the form of new ideas that come to the surface, new initiatives that are there but may not be quite ready to be birthed until Mars moves direct again on June 30th.

beyonce 11Betrayal is the means through which our fantasies are punctured and recognised. Venus-Saturn and Venus-Chiron – and in Beyoncé’s birth chart  a Venus-Pluto conjunction – do not cause a person to be drawn into triangles, but they describe a deep and innate awareness of human limitation. In childhood a distant or unavailable parent will then unconsciously be attributed to our own unloveability because a rival will take them away. And yet it is the depths of our pain that we discover hidden treasure in the dark silence of renewal.  An affair becomes the crucible where we burn away stagnation and destroy our false selves. Our recovery and healing thrust us back into a more authentic life.

Sex gives colour and vitality to our lives.When we hide from it or displace our sexual energies in excessive work, unexamined beliefs or restraining morality, where does this powerful erotic energy flow?  Writes Thomas Moore in his superb book, The Soul of Sex: many cultures perceive sex as a sacred cosmic force. Like all the elements in the soul, sex needs to be manifested or we suffer from the sudden return of the repressed – sex breaks through in negative and uncontrollable ways.

So take time this week to cherish your body, delight in your sexuality. Allow the life-giving energy of your passion to melt away irritation or victim-consciousness.  Use the energy of Mars in Scorpio from May 28th for deep healing.

“if we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious.”let it be glorious

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bodiam Castle

Way Down We Go

Right 3Being Right is an ancient art form crafted on the bones of millions who have died in the savagery of war, cemented by the defeat of those who shrink silently from boardrooms and bedrooms. Being Right rarely lights the fire of passion, seldom nourishes the warm comfort of friendship. It creates schisms between parents and children. Being Right requires a large dollop of single-pointed focus to craft just the right words to make others around you utterly miserable. Being Right emits an odour that infuses our lives with a distinctive scent of buttoned up self-sufficiency and seamless perfection.Right

Convictions and ideals are the realm of Jupiter and they are what imprison us in the repetitive stories we tell ourselves about the world and about others.

Jupiter turned Retrograde on January 8th and goes direct on May 9th. Jupiter is associated with excess, expansion, positivity – the polar opposite to Saturn’s austere restriction, necessary boundaries and temporal structure and dour melancholy. Jupiter blesses and brings good fortune – and yet also magnifies and over-inflates anything lurking under the surface: our pride, our need to cling tenaciously to our stories about each other. The planet, Jupiter is an enormous gas giant. The symbolism here on earth is that our gaseous notions, our inflated beliefs have a shadowy side that is not obvious to us when we are so self-inflated with our own agrandissement that there is no room for anything new to take root.

Jupiter is also about ideology: those ideological beliefs that form the moat around the castle of our self-righteousness, defend us against thoughts or opinions that are different to our entrenched view of the world.

castle with moatIdeology usually means a prescriptive doctrine that is not supported by rational argument. The noun has a resonance with a much older word, idolatry, and idolatry comes from the Greek, eidololatria : worship of idols. So our words, our beliefs, become the idols we worship in our need to be right, to win our arguments and have others agree with us. Ethics, morals and values are only versions of a truth. Where we invest ordinary objects or our ideas, our notions, our convictions, “the divine”.

 

hand on heart The phrase “spiritual materialism” was coined by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in his book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. We cloak our ego with spirituality, our self-righteousness with free-floating, cosmic, transcendental phrases that suggest superiority or psychological wisdom. He urges groundedness and humility, the antidote for Jupiter’s puffed-up importance.

Our brains contain myriad estuaries.  A complex system of neurological river ways that gouge Grand Canyons through our minds. Repetitive thoughts and beliefs take us down into whirlpools. We drown rather than cling to the life-raft of change.  Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson’s research indicates that the brain is like Velcro to negative experiences, but Teflon to positive ones! That means that our thoughts, beliefs and strategies have an increasingly negative direction! As we change the movies that flicker across the screens of our minds, re-tell our stories of the past, and stop scaring ourselves about the terrors of the future we begin to Become Joy and Laughter. Being Happy becomes more important than being Right.Right 2

So, we can use Jupiter to bring our awareness of positive experiences into our lives. Rich Hanson suggests we savour these for at least 30 seconds to allow more neurons to fire together and create a memory trace. That we bring that feeling into our bodies, breathe it in as we re-wire our brains. Gradually, our partners become interesting, sexy again. Mr Good Enough for Now becomes Mr Right Now and Forever. Our friendships become a source of safety and connection. Our work engages us.

So this month, let’s embrace the blessing and expansiveness of Jupiter. Let’s place our idolised points of view in the past so that we can make room for the differentness of others. Let’s be generous in our assumptions about others while staying in our integrity. Says story-teller and researcher, Brené Brown, “assume the best about people because the life you change is your own…

young coupleJupiter presided over the skies and was also called Jove by the Romans. The word, jovial, good-humoured, merry, is attributed to Jupiter. It’s hard to be Right when you’re laughing. And when we’re light-hearted we can assume the very best of ourselves and of others. The spirit of Jupiter lies in this poem, author unknown:

If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when,
through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can do all these things,
Then you are probably the family dog.evolutionary-psychology-in-dogs

Kaleo Way Down We Go

For astrology workshops and personal consultations please email: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com to find out more.

 

 

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The Words You Say

Le Pick-Clops, Rue Vielle du Temple, 2011Patience, like Hope and Charity is wrapped in tissue paper, tucked away with moth balls, a quaint echo of days gone by when time seemed to move more slowly.  So when Mercury moves slowly backwards in a Retrograde motion from April 28th to May 23rd in the sign of Taurus, we may feel the need to slow down, wait and reflect on how we choose to use our precious resources of time and energy.

There are four Mercury Retrograde cycles this year. Two in fixed signs and two in mutable signs, each one stitching a thread through the months of our lives. Mercury Retrograde has become synonymous with travel plans going awry, computer glitches, and mis-communication. How we miss each other.

reflectionMercury Retrograde brings an opportunity to confront  the ghosts of the past that shatter safety in our relationships. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is  a term coined by Dr. John Gottman and is relevant now as Mercury moves through the fixed sign of Taurus. The Four Horsemen appear wearing the armour of Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling, trampling trust, crushing the tender roots of love. While most of us lapse into unconscious ways of relating from time to time, healthy relationships are nourished by gentle words and sustained by praise and appreciation.

criticise 2One way of using this Mercury Retrograde cycle constructively might be to re-frame a criticism so that it does not sound personal. So instead of saying, “you always  burn the toast” we might say, “this toaster tends to burn the toast…” Consciously look for something positive and affirming to say that comes from our heart space.

defense

When we launch a counter defense against a perceived attack or deftly side step owning our part in what went wrong, we get caught in the cross fire that escalates into what the Gottmans call an “unfortunate incident” – vitriolic argument where we throw out words wrapped in venom, in defence of “our truth”  that poke at the hearts of the ones we love. As Mercury moves backwards in the sky, we’re prompted to go back, re-formulate the repetitive stories we tell ourselves about others, the negative audio loops that cycle maddeningly in our heads. Now is time to shift perceptions, process events and excavate buried memories. Good medicine for defensiveness is deep listening and attunement to our partner’s frustration and a courageous attempt to take some action to remedy the situation.

defendOf all the horsemen, contempt is the most lethal. Put-downs and derision flay the skin off trust. Contempt slithers alongside sarcasm and disdain, and coils around any words or behaviours that set us up as being superior in any way to others. So name calling, eye rolling, sneering in disgust will blight the brave bloom of trust and poison Love’s flower.

With Mercury Retrograde, be brave enough to look for things to appreciate and praise about yourself and others.

 

man and woman 10Stonewalling may come in the guise of tuning out, not caring, though mostly it’s a behaviour that happens when the listener is flooded or overwhelmed. Shutting down or actually leaving the room is the only means of escape from anxiety or pain.

Mercury is the mediator, the psychopomp. As the only god who was able to safely travel to the underworld and back again, bringing the nebulous, the subliminal, to our conscious mind, so he is present when we undergo in-depth therapy. Psychologists now acknowledge that all our brain holds memory and that we are not simply brains but have a limbic system too, and energy flows continually through our bodies…we have implicit and explicit memories and an immune system that responds to hate speak on social media and the Four Horsemen that wreck such destruction in our relationships. So over the next weeks,  as Mercury remains, suspended but animated until this cycle reaches its close, we’ll be in a liminal space of  awareness.  Mercury in Taurus shows us where we are stuck and recalcitrant. Where we now need to gently examine our own thoughts and self-righteous beliefs, our desire to impose our world view on others.

Mercury Rx 12Mercury in Taurus reminds us to restrain ourselves before we thrust the horns of our negativity into the heart of another. Patience, Hope and Charity are the emotional vitamins for healthy relationship. So let’s bring our minds to our hearts, allow a non-linear vision to softly emerge from the hidden folds of our psyche into the dazzling Light of  Love.

Top photograph by Peter Turnly

Like the genes in our body the astrological signs are indicators of the direction in which we may choose to travel this life time. We are a microcosm of a magnificent universal macrocosm. Our horoscope shows the exact position of the sun at the time of our birth and points the way, much  like a celestial GPS to find out more about your own birth chart to experience a workshop please contact me on : Ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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warrior

Vestiges and Claws

War-god Mars casts his scarlet, retrograde shadow over our lives from April 18 until June 29, igniting the warm embers of passion, engorging the hot thrust of lust, heating his sword in the fire of our anger, calling us to battle. As Mars slowly caresses the thigh of the heavens, he brings to our attention the call of our soul for more passion, more movement, more creative expression. He highlights our primitive responses to situations we perceive as fearful or life-threatening.

Mars slows from April 16 and will pause on April 18th at eight degrees Sagittarius. This retrograde cycle has the elemental qualities of fire and ice as Mars retreats into the frozen darkness of  Scorpio, a sign that he rules. This could be an intense time for those of us who have planets in that segment of the zodiac (between 8 degrees Sagittarius and 23 degrees Scorpio) and will certainly be far more powerful than the previous retrograde cycle of March-May, 2014, when Mars moved through Libra. Mars in Scorpio has a different kind of feel. Here he dons the armour of an ancient Samurai warrior and moves through the zodiac with single-pointed focus and silent intent reminiscent of his last great journey from Sagittarius to Scorpio 79 years ago when the world was simmering toward the heat of war. This in turn was a  cyclical repetition of a previous Sagittarius/Scorpio cycle of 1858.

claws 5There’s nothing nice about Mars in his primal form. Mars likes to pick a fight. When Mars is imprisoned or castrated he howls in impotent rage or breaks through the bars.  Novelist, Margaret Atwood, born in 1939, wrote in Power Politics:
you fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook

an open eye…”
words which describe the cruelty and possessiveness of a dysfunctional Mars.

Mars Rx 5Over these next few weeks, our perception of our basic human drives—anger, desire and  sexuality—may shift quite imperceptibly or perhaps we may come to a realisation that our passions and desires are also our life force. Only we can change our patterns with more conscious awareness as Mars casts his redness over those areas in our lives where we perceive ourselves to be powerless or powerful, where we play victim or controller.

When the raw energy of Mars is dismissed or cruelly bridled, this energy erupts in the sharp edge of violence, sexual fetish or sadomasochism.

Hatred and aggression—and carnivorous sexual intent—aren’t our ‘dark’ side. Our dark side is the side that denies its own existence ~ David Schnarch

claws 2Violence comes from the Latin, vis which means “life force”, this thrust of life, this dangerous and violent birthing of something new and visible. Violence, that twists and turns around itself like a scorpion’s sting, perpetuates what Eckhart Tolle calls “the pain body” that foetid swamp, that no-man’s land where we linger in purgatory, sometimes for years—as we fling burning arrows at our partners or over the walls at our neighbours. Mars runs amok in countries where human hearts are ruptured by hate-speak or physical aggression. “Hatred and aggression—and carnivorous sexual intent—aren’t our ‘dark’ side. Our dark side is the side that denies its own existence,writes David Schnarch, author of Intimacy and Desire. 

Mars has two moons named Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread). Fear seduces us into a frozen state of knee-jerk reactivity as it seeps its dank chill into our homes and our bones. Fear lodges in our brain synapses and replays its nightmarish refrain in the old stories we tell ourselves about our lives, our relationships, and the world.

claws 3Perhaps we might accept that the lens through which we see the world is predisposed to battle, that we thrive on the heat of combat. Perhaps accept that as we tear through the world, distracted, pushing, straining, that adrenal burnout could bring us to our knees. Or acknowledge that we thrive on the drama and the action that combat brings.

As this planet of war and carnal desire journeys above the trajectory of our lives and we co-resonate with the cosmos, we may need to slow down, calm down, acknowledge that the battle out there is actually the battle within: Our self-sabotage, the audio loops of our negative self-defeating thinking, the stories we have been telling ourselves for years about the world around us and those who staunch our ability to realise our core aliveness.

If we are not able to act out our desires, our aggressive Mars energy implodes into the dank darkness of what is labelled “depression”. Our instinctive forces are flayed by a frazzled sense of overwhelm. Our relationships lack passion and emotional closeness, our heroic valour seems diminished.

claws 6The Samurai knows that power is not always about taking action. He knows that we protect our soul power by protecting the soul power of other living things. Our strength lies in our vulnerability, in our willingness to dis-arm, remove our breast plate, to open our heart. Our power may arise from failure and loss. It may emerge from the white ashes of depression. If we embrace the grace of the red planet energy effectively during this retrograde period, we will allow ourselves the space for reflection and contemplation. We’ll renegotiate those parts of our lives that feel stagnant and lack lustre, and allow a new rush of life to energise and renew our work and relationships, and forge  a renewed connection with our soul life.sensuality-levin-rodriguez

For astrology consultations via Skype or in person please email Ingrid at: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com

Another insightful blog on Mars this month:  Margarita Celeste

José González – Stories We Build, Stories We Tell 

 

 

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Hard Time

0311-scottish-highlands-snowstorm-714We’re at the threshold of a new month which contains the seed of new possibility. The month of March is named after Mars, the god of war. And this month, conflict and strife continue to rasp and rattle across the globe.

Frustration festers beneath the scab of these acts of violence. Territory and  wealth are clasped in the hands of only a very few on this planet.

 

hard time 1

Hoary old bastions of power and authority are in a process of  rupture as they no longer serve our collective evolution. This has been mirrored by the Pluto-Uranus square which has been in orb since 2008 and is now separating. So much in our modern world has changed and yet so much remains just the same: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Despite the financial crash and property bubble burst, despite the bombs that are taped to the bodies of young men and women, there are still no new financial, political or social systems to replace those that have out served their evolutionary purpose. Ideology has become a smokescreen for a castrated Mars energy that seeks scapegoats – white, black, Christian or Moslem in simplistic, formulaic rhetoric – them and us. The much reviled Donald Trump serves as a mouth piece for the great sludge of humanity and dares to give voice to what so many only think about: our prejudices our greed. He speaks through the polarized prism. Them and us. In his crassness lies something that resonates with those who live their lives like worker bees, so lightly dispensed with when profits are down. Perhaps it will take a global catastrophe to irrevocably destroy old systems and structures. It will necessitate brave new choices to build a-new with original materials.

March has been a special month astrologically.  Every six months we have a pair of special lunations that we call eclipses. Eclipses enclose certain themes at certain times. Some astrologers call eclipses ‘wild cards’. They tend to present quite uncompromisingly, situations that may present to us those yes or no kind of choices that challenge our glib promises, that compel us, like territorial animals, to move away from the familiar safety of basic ground.

 

hard time 3There have been two eclipses this March. A  new moon solar eclipse in Pisces and  a full moon partial lunar eclipse in Libra. If any of these eclipses spotlighted the personal planets in your own birth chart (they would be at 18 degrees Pisces or 3 degrees Libra) you may have had to make some kind of choice to make some lasting changes in the way you  perceive the world around you or examine how authentically you relate to those around you.  The effect of the solar eclipse will last for six months, so  as March folds into the arms of April give yourself permission to pause in the frenetic  over-scheduled busyness of your life and gently observe your inner landscape and what you truly value so that you may be Graced with a new realisation.

birds flying

Eclipses fly in pairs. The ones in March  re-activated another pair of eclipses that occurred last September – a  new Moon eclipse at 20 degrees Virgo and one at 4 degrees Aries ( the polarity to Libra ) So the planets that rule the signs of Virgo and Aries, Mercury and Mars symbolize our restless attention deficit minds and our primal urges. As we review the month of March, gently consider how did we evangelize, idolize or hold too tightly onto those convictions and thought loops that imprison us like convicts behind the bars of un-examined thinking or explosive impulse?   Hard time 2

Hard times are a choice even if the only choice we have is a change in our perception of our circumstances or how we see what is unfolding globally. We can choose to attribute good or bad to every thought, every behaviour that pricks our skin or pierces our hearts. Everything is interconnected. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe,” wrote environmental philosopher John Muir.

Spiritual teacher Neale Donald Walshe writes, “no one does anything they do not want to do,”  says  “You always have a reason, usually, a pretty good one, for doing what you are doing and choosing what you are choosing. Be careful not to convince yourself that you are doing something against your will…be honest with yourself as to why you are choosing to do a particular thing. Then, do it gladly, knowing that you are always getting to do what you want.

The statement “I have no choice” is a lie. You can choose.

So select the outcome that you most prefer.  Isn’t that power?”older couple kissing

Seinabo SeyHard Time

For astrology consultations on Skype or in person and for more information about workshops please email me on ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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