TrueHeartWork | General
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General

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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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Lemonade

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“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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Every day is a Winding Road

Illustration by Julie Paschkis For a while Happiness may be contained in bucket lists or slipped into shopping bags. For a while Happiness may tear through the ventricles of our heart and roar through our veins. For a while Happiness is the sweet taste of our lover’s mouth. For a while it is the brush of their skin.

In his first novel, Le voyage d’Hector ou la recherche du bonheur, author François Lelord writes about the experiences of a psychiatrist called Hector who embarks upon a journey in search of what makes people happy. The book and the subsequent movie (2014)  portray the shape-shifting quality of happiness.

wizard of ozHappiness is as unique as our fingerprints. As immeasurable as the dust that slips from a barn owl’s silent wings. We don’t know who or what will meet us on this journey we call life. We may lose our way on the Yellow Brick Road or discover that the great and wise Wizard of Oz is just a conman from Omaha, Nebraska.

Hector says, “the basic mistake people make is to think that happiness is the goal.”

Many people think that happiness comes from having more power or more money. We live in a world marinated in a collective belief which permeates our lives with admonishments to “Just Do It” or slogans that announce unequivocally, “Impossible is Nothing.”   Simplistic formulaic slogans may sell cars or sports shoes but they cage the human soul, leach our happiness, clatter through the hermitage of our peace. And as Hector discovers,making comparisons can spoil your happiness.

For a while we believe that happiness lies in quixotic pleasures, in things that can be bought and sold.  For a while we believe that we can Open Happiness” when we open a can of Coke. Yet Happiness evaporates in the uncompromising distance that spans polarities – we were happy then, not so happy now. These one-dimensional assumptions about ourselves are embedded in mainstream culture and rooted in the often misinterpreted Herbert Spencer’s phrase “survival of the fittest”.

hansel and gretelHector discovered that “fear is an impediment to Happiness.”

Mostly, happiness often comes when least expected. It may bloom in the unexpected delight of a first kiss. It may pervade our entire body as we watch the sun setting over the coppery rim of the ocean.

For most of us, Happiness is feeling completely alive.

Often our happiness hides in the smallest places in the intimate folds of daily life. Poet Mary Oliver writes, “once, years ago, I emerged from the woods in the early morning at the end of a walk and — it was the most casual of moments — as I stepped from under the trees into the mild, pouring-down sunlight I experienced a sudden impact, a seizure of happiness. It was not the drowning sort of happiness, rather the floating sort. I made no struggle toward it; it was given.”

Happiness is answering your calling.

Hug Me!For a while we believe that happiness lies in pleasing others. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. “I’m taking one day at a time,” the woman says in a voice planed with sharp blade of cutting grief.  Her eyes, the colour of denim jeans that have seen many years and many washes, fill with tears. The thing was, you know, we had our ups and downs over the years, but I thought I made him happy.”

Hector discovers that when it comes to love, sometimes Happiness is not knowing the whole story.

It is in our intimate relationships that our  survival strategies emerge like monsters from fetid caves. When there is already a well-worn neural pathway, it takes time and wholeheartedness to encourage the growth of a new neural pathway, to allow new behaviours to flow through new riverbeds of relating. The old track is always there; the familiar well-trodden winding road.

For most of us, Happiness is being loved for who we are. And yet, as Hector discovered,Avoiding Happiness is not the road to Happiness.”

Happiness, we know, is a state of mind. A choice we make, mostly. Every day of our lives. We may decide to forgive ourselves for something we did in the past. We may decide to forgive someone who has not loved or appreciated us in the way we wanted them to.

Hector discovers that sometimes a long stretch of unhappiness can teach us what it is like to be happy.

For some of us, happiness lies in silence. In switching off the technology that tyrannizes. In shutting out the ceaseless noise and movement of the world and entering the inner sanctum through contemplation or meditation or prayer.

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Author Brene Brown spent twelve years of research exploring the relationship between joy and gratitude and says that she never met a person who described themselves as joyous who did not practice gratitude. Gratitude for what is right about the world ushers in more awareness and more mindfulness and invites happiness into our lives.

Hector discovered that Happiness is knowing how to celebrate. And yet how many of us have the courage to wholeheartedly celebrate with presence and joy?

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Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast said that “in daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” He suggests: “pausing right before and right after undertaking a new action, even something simple like putting a key in a lock to open a door. Such pauses take a brief moment, yet they have the effect of decompressing time and centering you.”

Happiness, like gratitude, may require an internal shift, a pause to centre and soften. A willingness to open and to receive.  Perhaps just for a shimmering moment this new day, as we close our eyes and bow our heads to our hearts, we can find one thing to be grateful for and smile!

 

 

Sheryl Crow – Everyday is a Winding Road

Illustration by Julie Paschkis

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smooth Operator

African Baobab TreeAnd so it’s Christmas. You’re worn to a frazzle. The sleeping  herpes virus has awoken and painfully alerted you to its presence. You drive to the doctor. Then to the pharmacy. It’s nothing really in the great scheme of things. A bit of discomfort, especially in the heat, this time of year.  But it’s something about yourself you don’t want to share on Facebook, or with your former or future lovers, or with your insurance company, advertisers, or the government – or leave hanging up there in the cloud do you? Well if you own a smartphone darling, it’s thank you for sharing.  You are leaving a trail of dots that can be joined. There’s nothing stopping the multi-trillion “Smart things” business now.  The internet lives in your wristwatch, the locks on your doors, your car, in your eyewear, in your phone. Our physical world is on the brink of morphing into a virtual one. We’re tiny frogs in hyper-connected water that’s hotting up.imagesW7IIH6N5

And yet in this interconnected world where we are all stardust, all part of the Great Design, what’s so ominous about being transparent? Is this Western need for individualization and privacy passé? An anachronistic foible of ageing Baby Boomers? A dinosaur in a quantum age?

Christopher Mims, science and technology correspondent for Quartz writes that 2014 is the year of the internet of things. And the internet of things will replace the web and tell us what we want – continually. No surprises. No spontaneity. It will moderate our lives, anticipate our thoughts and feelings – till we’re too dumbed down to wonder, whose life is this anyway? “The web will survive, just as email survived the arrival of the web.”  Science Fiction, Double Feature.  We are but players, joined by invisible threads that urge us to buy more stuff, that know exactly where we are and what we’re doing. We may feel important, special, seen. But there is a price to pay for our narcissistic  specialness.

BI prophet and founder of 9sight Consulting Dr Barry Devlin, writes in a recent blog post: “ The sad truth is that we have lost most of our privacy already, having entered into a Faustian pact to share, both knowingly and unwittingly, the details of our daily lives.”

images8KWPVDZDIt’s a trade-off. Like most things in life it must be made with as much consciousness and alertness as we can muster in our dazed and dazzled minds. At it’s best it’s a symbiotic relationship. At it’s worst it’s parasitic. In exchange for everything there is to know about our lives, Facebook and Google give us social networks and information we may find useful – or not .

“Even the acceptance that our smartphones report our location minute by minute is driven by a consensual belief that we may be offered a coupon for a nearby coffee shop at any moment. The payoff for ultimate traceability… Which aisle in the supermarket are you in? What about some very specific retail therapy recommendations? These, and other soon to emerge toys, have the addictive quality of sex to many of the current generation of CMOs and proponents of big analytics,” writes Devlin.

Dave Eggers’ The Circle: A Novel is chillingly prophetic in the same way that George Orwell’s 1984 was 30 years ago.  “The world has dorkified itself,” he writes about the insidious encroachment of technology in every aspect of our lives. Oh, but this is just a novel, he cleverly states up front. A chilling read and well worth slipping into your own Christmas stocking. Big Brother is watching us in our dorkified new world – every breath you take. Every move you make. Every bond you break … every time we use our credit card or phone a friend.

So step off the grid this Christmas. Meet those you love in real time. Embrace the spirit of Christmas with real hugs and real kisses.

Smooth Operator  songstress Sade’s molasses voice melts the world away…

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Heart Shaped World

rosetruffles3Dark chocolates wrapped in cerise or shiny scarlet foil. The promise of red satin, the feminine fluff of pink lace, gift-wrapped in tissue paper and arranged in a heart-shaped box. This week commerce pays homage to the Heart.

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

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

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

Eternal love, passion, or simply sex, the heart is a symbol that transcends culture, class and centuries of human muddle as we seek this thing called Love. So on this Hallmark day of commercial brouhaha and the echo of the death cries of the mythical  martyred Valentine, let us pause a while amidst the plethora of heart-shaped second chances to speak our truth, buy those red roses,  to dare to say I love you. Let us celebrate the confounding mystery of the human heart and spin like whirling dervishes, gone giddy with  delicious excess, the pink and red flourish of kitsch, cheesy, craziness of it all. Happy Valentine’s Day!old-2-red-love-hearts-flowers-arrow-valentine

Chris Isaak reminds us that this is a Heart Shaped World

 

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The Boy In The Bubble

A straightjacket of hopelessness immobilised me this morning. In the inbox: A link to an article in the Irish Times by environmental commentator, John Gibbons.  One of the many  canary in the coal mine articles, one of the many voices raised in alarm at the rapid climate change that will certainly culminate in a new world.  John Gibbons quotes Professor Peter Wadhams of the Polar Ocean Physics Group stating that the Arctic summer sea ice will turn to slush in three to four years.

Like a repetitive drum-roll, we’ve heard the apocalyptic refrain before. As ancient glaciers disappear, polar bears drown, rivers run dry and dust bowls fill deforested wastelands, impotent politicians sit around conference tables in expensive hotels, unwilling or unable to do what  needs to be done. Not everyone agrees that global warming, extreme weather, mass extinctions, or a shrinking ice caps are “bad” things. Says John Gibbons, “one person’s global catastrophe is another’s commercial opportunity. Governments and energy companies, notably Shell, are busy jostling to be in position to loot the oil and minerals hidden beneath the region’s fast-disappearing ice. This is akin to setting your house on fire to keep yourself warm.”

So, like the Little Match Girl, we light our matches: We add our protest to an Avaaz.org petition. We plant a tree, walk to work, sell the car, buy a bike, install solar panels and eat organic. We do what we can as concerned citizens, walking through the ethically “correct” minefield littered with plastic bags versus jute.  Perhaps we must  question our motives. Be  wary of a fear-based resonance that vibrates in the belief that the world is sick and dying, or a need to feel pure, worthy or good. Polarised thinking is tinder for the bonfires of war.  By staying stuck in the Pain Body we are part of the problem. By projecting our disowned parts, our shadow onto governments, industrialists, Shell, or the dying polar bears, we cling to fear-based thinking. Writes spiritual teacher Gill Edwards “if your vibrations hover around self-righteousness you are in fear-mode, so you tend to push against the negative, instead of reaching towards what is positive.”  Perhaps this is just another great evolutionary mass extinction?  Just part of the great cycle of death and re-birth? “Perhaps in the world’s destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made,” says writer Cormac McCarthy.

And yet, amidst all the thousands of scientific reports, government papers, dire warnings by climatologists, no-one even dares whisper the obvious: We are breeding like bacteria in a warm Petri dish. Now there are an estimated 7.042 billion people on this good earth, according to the United States Census Bureau. With projected growth rates, the  world population is expected to reach between 7.5 and 10.5 billion by 2050. Does it really have to be an extreme solution to an extreme problem? Does it have to be Sophie’s excruciating Choice:  Genocide or mass sterilisation? Then who must die and who must be sterilised? And who will make this dreadful decision?  “So I’ll continue to continue to pretend my life will never end, and flowers never bend with the rainfall,” sang Simon and Garfunkel prophetically. Perhaps like rabbits immobilised in the lights of the oncoming car, we do nothing.  Perhaps our only hope is our state of consciousness.

As we shift more into an energy that is coherent with our soul song, as we open our hearts to love, to compassion, to gratitude, we will expand our awareness; perhaps only then we will know that we are all part of the Whole. We’re all in this together. The birds, the bees, the great leviathans, the polar bears – and us, wearing our clumsy, hob-nailed boots.“Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting” says writer Cormac McCarthy. “These are the days of miracle and wonder and don’t cry baby, don’t cry, don’t cry…”

Art by Pat Rawlings.

Paul Simon’s Boy In The Bubble.

John Gibbons is an environmental writer and commentator

Songwriters: SIMON, PAUL / MOTLHOHELOA, FORERE

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky…

 

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Welcome to the TrueHeartWork Blog

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

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

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