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Relationship

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Burning Ambition—Mars and Saturn in Capricorn—Simply Dig!

Mars and Saturn 8There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this―Terry Pratchett

As the rhythm of our lives moves to the shape of this new month, each new day may present new possibilities to engage more deeply, more consciously, even amidst the repetition and predictability of our daily lives. Mars takes the lead this month, demanding an output of focus and energy which is book-ended by a close conjunction to Saturn that separates gradually over the next few days―March 29th to April 9th―and Mars conjunct Pluto at month’s end. A clarion call to show up, get to work with urgency and self-discipline.

In Tarot the Three of Pentacles symbolises this focused effort which brings recognition and rewards for hard work, for not letting go of the balloon. In astrology, Mars/Saturn contacts encapsulate the Puritan work ethic: self-denial, hard slog that manifests something of value and worth. Cheryl Strayed wraps this planetary aspect up in her own inimitable way― “writing is hard….Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.” Modern culture venerates efficiency and busyness. In the bland drudgery of the workplace we may feel we are “hitting our heads against a brick wall”, “fighting against the odds”, as Mars/Saturn contacts may manifest as exhaustion, low libido, feelings of frustration, being motivated by fear or duty. There are bills to pay, encumbrances and obligations that bind us to roles, titles, and positions that harness our identities, that chafe against the pull of our souls. Mystic and poet, John O’Donohue, writes about an  epitaph on a gravestone somewhere in London―“Here lies Jeremy Brown born a man and died a grocer.”  Mars/Saturn can consume our identity. Self-abstinence can shrink our lives, imprison us in our titles, starve us of our joy.

The sky-script this month reflects the age-old issue of power. We may work in an office where our dignity is compromised, we may be in an environment where we don’t feel welcome, where power is misused, where we are merely treated like functionaries, our life force claimed and used, our souls never engaged. We are reminded that no system or corporation can exile us from our imagination, from the possibility of renewal that coheres to fresh possibilities for creativity in the work we do, or the passions that feed us after hours.

Leonard Cohen approached his creative work with doggedness and determination. He drew nourishment and meaning from hard work. “I think unemployment is the great affliction of man. Even people with jobs are unemployed. In fact, most people with jobs are unemployed. I can say, happily and gratefully, that I am fully employed. Maybe all hard work means is fully employed.” The combination of Mars/Saturn demands true grit, single-pointed focus, and the courage to lean into our lives when there are things that must be done, to tackle those things we fear the most, and also to stand on the edge of the rut, to turn towards those things that moisten, that nourish our soul. To say, happily and gratefully, that we are fully employed with those things that bring vitality and passion to our lives.
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Mercury is in Retrograde ’til April 15th—a cosmic instruction to pause, step back from the busyness, disengage, focus inwards before making any decisions, carefully read the small print before signing any documents. Most astrologers would agree that these three-week Mercury retrograde phases are wonderful times to revalue, revise, repair, relocate, remember, regress, reunite, re-create, re-arrange and re-do on the purely physical mechanical level.

Mercury is in the element of fire, in the sign of Aries. Fire symbolism is associated with creativity, the Jungian intuitive function, the way we create our future. Mercury Retrograde in the element of fire signals a break in old patterns, a transition in our creative focus. We may attempt to “start something” without true inspiration and verve, or reach a very stuck place where eventually events, or emotions erupt, bringing destruction of the old. Yet in the rubble are new green shoots, new possibilities to grow, the much longed for changed we dreaded, yet unconsciously manifested.

b78166531030d114975548f27a768630We may have to find the courage to respond to the challenges in our lives with increased awareness, with more resilience. This is a time to shift focus, to perceive our lives with new vision. This is a time to adapt to change more creatively.

Physical illnesses that emerge during this time may nudge us back to those parts of our psyche that we have neglected or overused. The writer’s “block”, the flatness that we feel, might be a signal to change our daily routine, our technique. To try on something new, to experiment.

Depending on where Mercury is natally and in transit in your own birth chart, these next three weeks until Mercury goes direct again on April 15th may be a richly creative time. A time to seek your own inner wisdom, reclaim your own inner voice.

Saturn  moves Retrograde at 9 degrees Capricorn on April 18th and will station direct on September 7th urging us to be resourceful, realistic, and pragmatic, as we take stock of those things that frustrate us, confront those fears that thread through our neural pathways, ambushing our peace from the shadows.

This month’s New Moon carries the standard of rejuvenation, represented by the lightning bolt conjunction with Uranus, the planet associated with the destruction of complacency and rigidity.  This lunation heralds destruction and renewal.  The Moon waxes Full on April 30th at 9 degrees Scorpio. Both lunations this month are ruled by Mars, the ancient god of war who awakens Eros, heats our blood, spurs our will.

The month ends as Mars confronts Pluto―April 24th to April 30th ― in a separating conjunction that may bring an honest acceptance of our own part in the soap opera of our relationships, our addiction to busyness, perhaps an awareness of the drives and compulsions that lie buried in our brain’s amygdala. This energy may be described as drawing a line, setting a boundary, and knowing what it is that we want, then going out to get it.

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Mars and Saturn in Capricorn awaken our will to give space to the spontaneity of our feral souls, to shake off the chains that bind us to prescribed roles or identities which shrink us and dull our lives with repetitive, mechanical habit. We are reminded that we do not have to sell our souls to the seductive undertow of security. We do not have to stay trapped in the coal mine amidst dark seams of similarity. The turbulence of our soul’s yearning will guide us to leave the to-do lists aside as we step outside of our over-scheduled lives to engage deeply with ourselves. To be happily and gratefully, fully employed.

 

For private readings and more information about forthcoming workshops, please connect with me: ingrid@trueheartwork.come161c6a1926b4facec8e008a42bb059d

 

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Cry Heart, but never Break—Sun in Aries

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We are the only creatures who are in-between. We’re of the earth, but don’t belong to it, because we strain after the heavens; and yet the heavens aren’t full in us. So, this wonderful, restless, eternal longing in us has us always on a quest—John O’Donohue.

Wearing thin leather shoes with heavy metal spikes, Roger Bannister, the gentleman athlete, did the impossible—he sprinted across the finishing tape, covering one mile in under four minutes. Of his world-breaking athletic record, he said it was simply, “good luck”.

With a fiery Aries Sun conjunct barrier-breaking Uranus in tight square to disciplined and self-effacing Saturn, Roger Bannister was an unassuming Hero who gave up competitive running to pursue a successful career as a neurologist.

Yet, his heroic feat of courage and determination, describes our eternal longing, our Hero’s Quest: “Those last few seconds seemed never-ending … the faint line of the finishing tape stood ahead as a haven of peace, after the struggle. The arms of the world were waiting to receive me if only I reached the tape without slackening my speed. If I faltered, there would be no arms to hold me and the world would be a cold, forbidding place, because I had been so close. I leapt at the tape like a man taking his last spring to save himself from the chasm that threatens to engulf him.” 

In our patriarchal culture, the hero myth is associated with the existential courage and the white-knuckled will power that overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Modern heroes are “sporting greats”, intrepid adventurers, astronauts and soldiers. And as the Great Wheel of the Year turns, and the Sun enters Aries on March 21st, a light shines through an aperture—igniting the hero/warrior archetype, and its shadow: the destroyer. In myth and in fairy tale, the hero/warrior archetype is typically masculine. Heroes slay nine-headed dragons, rescue hapless damsels, defeat degenerate villains.  Yet the destroyer lives amongst us, tattooed in pain and anger on the skin of the wounded Fisher King.

Starhawk describes the distortion of the Hero/Warrior archetype still so prevalent in our culture today. “The soldiers in Vietnam patted first their machine guns, then their groins: this is my rifle/this is my gun/ one is for fighting/one is for fun.”

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For most of us, our heroes’, or heroine’s quest is a response to the challenges of life that is not muscular or spectacularly heroic. So often, it’s the austere grip of Necessity that wrenches us out of our ordinary lives and catapults us on the Hero’s quest. Financial ruin, illness, the noxious fallout from a ruined relationship, may ignite within our hearts, the courage we never knew we had. The Dark Knight of Desperation may spur our leap of faith. Compassion may break open our heart to moisten the lips of a dying parent after years of painful estrangement. The dragons we slay might be the fears that terrorise us in the darkest hours just before the first bird sings. The hapless damsel might be our own deeply wounded Feminine nature. The degenerate villain may be the impotent Masculine, who hides his wounded vulnerability beneath the rusty armour of bravado and grandiosity.

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The sky-story for the second half of March has a very different feel to the first half of this month. The phallic thrust that propels us through these last weeks is charged with daring, action and adventure.  Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and the Sun are all in the Mars-ruled sign of the Ram and it is in Aries that we must dare to find the deeper meaning of courage, the true hero’s quest.

On March 21st, the Sun’s chariot of fire races through the gate of the Equinox into the sign of Aries. We cross the threshold into Spring or Autumn. We emerge from the reflective soulful region of the human psyche, depicted by the Sun’s journey through the sign of Pisces, into the forge of fire, depicted by the archetype of Aries.

Mars, pumped with testosterone from his journey through fiery Sagittarius, rides into battle on March 18th, crossing into new terrain as he joins Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn, the Mer-Goat. Mercury turns Retrograde on March 23rd at 16 degrees Aries, urging us to retrace, recover, revisit old ground. Jupiter in the Mars-ruled sign of Scorpio, turned Retrograde on March 9th at 23 degrees Scorpio, reminding us of  that eternal longing, calling us back to our soul’s quest, depicted in our own birth chart.

 

 

Hero 2Some of us may realise that the harshness and discord in the world reflects our own internal state. That the rocks and thorns  are on the pathways of our internal landscape. Some of us may know that there are no heroes who can save us from ourselves.  That our quest as women, is not to attempt a hero’s journey, to try to be pseudo-men. That modern heroines require a skill set that  pays the mortgage and the school fees.

“You can’t do it all. No one can have two full-time jobs, have perfect children and cook three meals and be multi-orgasmic till dawn. Superwoman is the adversary of the women’s movement,” says Gloria Steinem.

In the words of poet Mark Nepo, “our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world, but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet, and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”

Leia, Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley are heroines with their own very distinctive quest: to define and validate feminine values in the urn, the alembic, that contains intuition and empathy; courage and intellect. Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, and Roger Bannister, present a more nuanced manifestation of the Hero.

Says author and teacher, Gary Zukov , “The Old Male is limited to the perceptions of the five senses, evolves by surviving, and survives by pursuing external power… the New Male re-defines masculinity. He feels his emotions, consults intuition, laughs, cries, and shares himself easily, and looks for partner to grow with, spiritually.”

Some of us may aspire to become army generals or astronauts. Some of us may aspire to scale the Seven Summits.

Some of us aspire to watch our grandchildren play in safety, in the sunshine.

Cheryl Strayed writes, “you go on by doing the best you can. You go on by being generous. You go on by being true. You go on by offering comfort to others who can’t go on. You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and by allowing the pleasure in other days. You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage”.

For some of us, an ordinary life lived with as much consciousness and courage we can muster, is heroic. Our quest is cyclical, not linear. And even though there are times when it takes every last spark of courage to unearth something positive, anything hopeful, to hold onto, we go on. And we do the best we can.

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For private consultations or for more information about new workshops, please email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

For more regular updates on current astrological cycles, I post  regularly on Facebook.

 

 

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Saturn in Love

Saturn—Pluto Co-presence—An Ode to Love

lovers 32This Valentine’s Day, millions of people will demonstrate through chocolates, music and flowers, their longing to love and be loved. “Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved”, writes author Alain de Botton.

To be seen, fully seen by our lover emboldens and ennobles us. The power of love plucks us out of our literal life into the full-throated drama of  our fantasy, flings off our inhibitions, invites us to create a-new. Yet, the course of love in the digital age is perilous: we’re ghosted, benched, and bread-crumbed. We’re executed with one lethal swipe.  There’s absolutely nothing we can do or say to make someone love usto treat us with kindnessto engage. Concealed within the seductive scent of a scarlet rose, the soft sentiment of  Teddy Bear, love coils and cools, neglected and betrayed. Kristen Roupenian’s highly acclaimed short story, Cat Person, is chilling rendition of the arc of  relating in our adolescent culture. With the callous flick of a finger, a tender human heart crushed, a connection cruelly cauterised.  The technological revolution has got everyone talking, yet so few of us have the courtesy to listen, the skill to empathise. Love amputated by ridicule and disdain aches like a phantom limb years after the bond has been irrevocably severed.wings 6

 

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

passagewayThe archetype of Saturn is redolent of prisons. Pluto is accompanied by a primal, shadowy fear that’s hard-wired in every living creature. Pluto is life and death. Pluto is survival. Tapping into the core scene of the Saturn/Pluto energy of this time, Hard Sun, the pre-apocalyptic BBC drama, depicts a world that faces certain destruction in five years. It’s a prophetic vision of love and survival that resonates with the zeitgeist of Pluto in Saturn’s sign.

The eclipses that fall like hailstones on January 31st, February 15th, July 13th and 27th and August 11th, puncture our birth chart, stir fresh opportunities to re-calibrate, to flush out contaminated old stories. Pluto irradiates Saturn: Traumas of the past are made manifest. Now we must plumb a toxic legacy more consciously. Now we must question those predigested ideas, examine formulaic rules that have no place in a spiritual partnership or a new world order.  

Mars changes sign on January 26th, and as he moves from Scorpio into Sagittarius, from water into fire,  we may feel an infusion of vivifying red, a new impetus to love bravely and honestly that releases us from the prison of fear and conditioning. Mars will be travelling through Sagittarius until March 17th. This Jupiter-ruled sign is associated with faith and optimism. Love lives in the imaginal realm of our soul, and like Santa and the Easter Bunny, authentic love comes to only those who truly believe.

On February 11th, Venus moves from Aquarius to Pisces. She joins Neptune on February 22nd, amplifying the Piscean flavour of the intoxicating sweetness of that first kiss embossed on a silver cord of memory that reverberates across the bars of a song. Neptune is associated with illusion and delusion, with the pain of longing, the exquisite eroticism of an idealised love enshrined in the sugary commercialism of Valentine’s Day. Romantic love is a multi-million-dollar Bolly-Hollywood illusion that mirrors our collective longing back to us from the silver screen. The glittering grandeur of star-spangled romance leaves us breathless, aching for more.

“Illusion” is derived from the Latin, “in ludere,” which is translated as “in play.” And when our world-weary souls expand in joyful play, our lives are graced with “illusions” that may enfold us and protect us from “reality” which may be a mere stand-in for an authentic life.
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Our challenge, as we navigate this end time, is to balance caution and mature wisdom with compassion. To cherish the precious fire-fly of Romantic love. To remember that when we ghost, freeze or bench someone, we wound a tender human heart.

A love that lasts requires a Saturnian back bone: the resilience to stay the course as passion wanes, flickers, and re-ignites. Love in the time of Saturn demands maturity and wisdom, and the courage  to expand our hearts and clear our heads of the clutter that belongs to someone else.

Expect to be moonstruck by the image of beauty in the one you Love. And in the quiet darkness of the new Aquarian Moon on February 15th  let Love press itself deeply into your heart.  

Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you’re tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beautyLeonard Cohen.

Join me in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Saturday, April 28th, 2018 for a day devoted to the sibling constellation in our birth chart: Bonded By Blood. Email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Thinking makes it so―Mercury Retrograde―December 3rd to December 24th

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“What time has ever been a simple time for those who are living it?” asks author Elizabeth Gilbert in her novel, Committed. And yet, as news rushes through the tendrils of technology, flooding our nervous systems, squatting for days and weeks in our divided minds, this time, for most of us living in it, is knotted with perplexing complexity and information overload. The old ways are not working any longer yet for so many of us, nothing seems clear or certain in a world where plastic grows like a cancer in our oceans and human populations bloom like algae. Where what seemed sure and certain empties into the unknown.

On December 3rd, Mercury began its last Retrograde cycle for this year (December 3rd-24th.)

In the nuanced language of astrology, the planets describe the quality of experience we  assimilate and express. A Retrograde Mercury asks us to be patient and tenacious in the face of delays or obstacles, and amidst the ceaseless clamorous chatter, to “remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Patience and the commitment are carelessly tossed aside in the distractions of the times we live in. Yet in the North, Nature withdraws, retires inwards and waits patiently for spring’s Resurrection. Colours empty into shades of grey and stark skeletal branches pierce through the low lidded sky. In the South, shards of sunlight shatter the blue-sky dome with a radiance that saturates the secret life of rocks and trees. Shimmering light sweeps across the ocean sprinkling daubs of dancing silver over the crests of the waves, rendering us drunk with light, satiated with heat, immobilised, enervated.  Time quivers and expands.2370c600ab2525602f92996176404e54

This time of the year may bring endings, the potential of new beginnings. It may bring the polarity of choice that skewers us in indecision.

Between the retraction of Winter or the swelter of Summer, the way forward may not yet be clear. We may have to be still. We may have to wait.

Astrological Mercury embodies eons of symbolism that can be traced to the Babylonian, Chaldean, Egyptian mythology and religious systems. A strongly placed Mercury in your birth chart enhances your ability to be humorous and charming. Mercury is the teacher, the comedian, the net worker, the communicator, the trickster who brings lightness and laughter and a new perspective to our world. Mercury is also associated with Thoth, the Egyptian god of healing and fertility and it is with our words that we can heal, with our words that we can birth new possibilities.

The Retrograde cycle of Mercury occurs three times every year and moves through the elements of fire, air, earth and water, in a procession across the zodiac, alerting us the rhythm of inner reflection that is needed for a more conscious experience of living. Mercury’s realm is magical trans-formation. He was the god of cross-roads and times of transition. Mercury was the only god who travelled back and forth from the Underworld.

Mercury is an important planet in our birth chart, signifying how we access information from the unconscious as we silence the chatter of our mind. In these Mercury Retrograde cycles, our perceptions may shift, igniting the creative process, birthing brilliant ideas.

Right now, we are all, on some level, experiencing a Mercury Retrograde cycle in the fiery sign of Sagittarius, which is a sign associated with our beliefs about the world. Sagittarius is about expanding our awareness, learning something new, perceiving with new eyes.

fire-2837843_960_720Mercury harmonises its energy with Saturn (November 28th December 9th and again from January 11th 15th)  and as this calendar year hurries to an end, we may feel a sense of moving through treacle, sucked down by obstacles when everything around us is moving so fast. As Saturn and Mercury, hang low in the molten evening skies, there’s a deeper message contained here, said so simply by the Buddhist monk, Haemin Sunim: When everything around me is moving so fast, I stop and ask, “is it the world that’s busy, or is it my mind?”

Saturn is often connected with the law of karma and Mercury is about our perception. When these two energies combine in the heavens we return to the inner sanctum of our thoughts, that very private, personal space where linear time dissolves. We may choose to revisit the past, to follow the sweet scent of nostalgia to rest in unchangeable memories of someone we loved with all our heart. We may decide to clear away a tenacious thought that clings like a burr, repelling our peace in the still dark hours just before the dawn.

“Don’t let the hand you hold hold you down,” wrote the poet, Julia de Burgos. The simplicity of this statement may have a resonance for those of us who still hold the hand of an old hurt, a fearful thought, a limiting core belief.

Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” said the Bard. Nothing exists until we become aware of it. It’s the awareness of our minds that births the world we see into being. It’s our perception that makes the time we live in simple, or painfully fraught.  All it takes is a conscious shift in perception to see a new world, a promised land, a world where we can anchor in Faith, trust in the process of  Life itself. “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature”, says Thich Nhat Hanh.

3ff8b87dfdae59ca145c6e7a23d5fc0bToday, let’s bring new vision, self-reflection, and healing to our thoughts and to the  words we speak. Today, let’s be mindful that we do have a choice to re-write our signature, clearly and simply.

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East of Midnight—Jupiter rises in the East

3a3bd5020df9bd3f30fd52863600117bEvery family has one. A secret that pervades the air at family gatherings like the smell of moth balls. A death, a betrayal, an imprisonment. A relative that falls from the family tree and vanishes without a trace. Secrets roll through the dust of generations like fragile tumble weeds. Sometimes they’re collected, fashioned into tales that are embellished with bright beads of drama, or muted strands of omission. Sometimes they’re made more colourful, more heroic, to lighten the terrifying darkness, conceal the senseless waste.

Film and literature depict the flawed hero. The Black Sheep, the Sacrificial One who becomes the Redeemer. The Rebel, the circuit breaker, who fracks atrophied denial in the palisades of silence.  Sarah Polley, in her documentary Stories We Tell explores the twisted thread of secrets in her own family when she discovers that her mother and Montreal producer Harry Gulkin sequestered their love. That she was born of their hidden passion.

 

In Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, author Margaret Heffernan explores the subtle and pervasive ways we choose, sometimes consciously but mostly not, to remain unseeing in situations where “we could know, and should know, but don’t know because it makes us feel better not to know.”secrets 6

And yet, we do know. Many of us spend much of our lives moving forwards, never daring to look back. At first, we may run like the Gingerbread Man, as fast as we can, to escape the dark shadows of our inheritance. Or like Bluebeard, we keep the gruesome corpses of our memories locked away with the key that bleeds. Perhaps we stuff the dark terror of our past into a glass bottle where it floats across the sea but eventually washes up on the shores of future generations. Family secrets are intuited even by young children, unpicked, uncovered, with the best intentions by loving parents who wish to protect them from what they perceive as a dangerous truth. So often it is in our families we inherit secrets and lies and encounter conflicts and complexes that have ossified over many generations. Sometimes it is helpful to revisit the past. Sometimes it is not.

There are some truths that in the telling of them, vindicate and heal.  There may be some truths that leave exit wounds that shatter our lives forever.

Esther  Perel, author of Mating in Captivity,  and now,  The State of Affairs,  examines the modern western notion of truth-telling in this age of transparency.“ In America, lying can never be an act of caring. We find it hard to accept that lying would be protective, this is an unexamined idea. In some countries, not telling, or a certain opaqueness, is an act of respect. Also, maybe the opposite of transparency isn’t intimacy, it’s aggression. People sometimes tell for their own good, as an act of aggression.”

 

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The astrology this month highlights our assumptions about truth and justice: The Taurus Moon is clad in sensuous silks as she receives her consort on Saturday, November 4th. She’s ripe bellied and swollen as she burns away the veils of illusion, shining her light on those things concealed by darkness. Mercury moves into Sagittarius on November 5th, followed by Venus in Scorpio on November 7th, augmenting Jupiter’s predilection for telling the truth. Already, Jupiter in Scorpio has revealed the rapacious sexual predation that has pervaded patriarchy for centuries. Tumescent sexual predators  have commanded positions of power during every twelve-year cycle of Jupiter in Scorpio in human history. So why, at the time of the 2017 ingress of Jupiter into Scorpio have so many been outed for past abuse?  Pluto’s slow transit through Capricorn may certainly be smoking out all that is rotten in a modern society that pays lip-service to human rights and equality. And Chiron has been in tense square to Saturn which could be interpreted as a wounding by authority figures (December 2016-December 2017.) Eris, sister of Mars,  was“discovered” in 2005 when Jupiter was last in Scorpio, signifying a new archetype, interacting with human consciousness. Eris is associated with chaos, discord, and strife and the outraged Feminine is the zeitgeist of these times as Mother Earth groans, and greed and aggrandisement crack the structures of state and big business.

On November 13th, Venus, lusty goddess of Love merges in the night skies with Jupiter, infamous in myth for his insatiable sexual appetite and unbridled grandiosity. As Jupiter emerges from the glare of the Sun and rises radiantly in the East in late November, expect more revelations of cads and crooks who hold high office.

 

autumn-994897_1280Joseph Marshall, Lakota teacher, writer and story teller tells how he would go out walking with his grandfather, sometimes for miles. “He had this curious little habit of stopping and then he would turn me around, grab me by my shoulders and he would say, Grandson, look back at the way we came. So, I would. I finally asked him, Grandpa, why are you making me look back? He said, Because, Grandson, one of these times I’m going to send you down this trail by yourself and if you don’t remember the way you came, you will be lost. To me, that is the greatest lesson I ever learned about history and about the past. Our past makes us who we are, makes us what we are.”

Like racehorses, some of us are destined to be weighted more heavily from the start. Perhaps in looking back, we learn how to walk bravely in the dark. We may glimpse in the stories, the strength, the creativity, the courage of those who have walked before us.  In their pain we discover the portal to our fragility. In the opaqueness of their secrets, the bright spark of Divinity  concealed in the soft folds of their humanity. Perhaps in looking back, we look to the future, to a life on earth with a new vision for those yet unborn. Perhaps in looking back to the past, we will remember the way we came and discern when to speak and when to stay silent.secrets 7

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Eyes wide Shut: Sun in Scorpio―October 23

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Just when we think we have garnered peace and tranquility, a wrecking ball shatters the structure of our lives. Pulverizes all that we believed was “real.”

We may have been blindsided by flattery or the heat of a lust we thought was long-lasting love. We may find out that it’s all a mirage, shimmering in a dust storm of lies. We may acknowledge that we have cruised along on autopilot. Allowed entry to our life the very thing that liquefies our viscera, congeals the blood in our veins, rubs against our values, endangers all those things we hold dear.

There’s a new harmonic in the symphony of the spheres today. The Sun moves into Scorpio, illuminating those parts of our human nature that grow in darkness: intense desire, envy, jealousy, resentment, vengeance, rage, powerful sexual urges, primitive drives, death. In ancient astrology, Scorpio was The Serpent that shed its skin, renewed itself. The Serpent was the symbol of healing often associated with the goddess. In modern times, the archetype of Scorpio carries with it a primal energy that lies coiled in the blackness of time.  Shedding of skins, even for snakes, is not an easy process. Blind eyes and searing vulnerability so often accompany sloughing off and release. Yet, the essence of Scorpio is renewal, letting go of those things that serve us no longer, amputating those parts of our lives that are beginning to rot.

Mercury and Jupiter are the Sun’s travelling companions this month. The whistle-blowing on sexual harassment and assault has exposed the gangrenous decay in our society that has festered in silence, for years.  The renewal and trans-formative power of human sexuality, as well as the distorted perversions and abuse of sexuality are Scorpionic themes, amplified by Jupiter’s passage through Scorpio over the next thirteen months. Scorpio, in its true essence, asks us to dive deep into rivers dark and dredge up what lies beneath: sexual diversity and preference, deep vulnerability and soul naked intimacy. The immense power of the unconscious, has a Scorpionic signature. So does the Life-Death-Rebirth cycle of  our relationships.

43eef4f8d46903e94be089a5c9c70bd1The Scorpion, when cornered, commits suicide by his own deadly sting.

For those of us with a strong Scorpionic thread running through our birth chart, this indomitable pride, this fierce resistance to control or humiliation is so often played out in the power struggle of relationship, graphically depicted in film and literature. Those of us who have walked away from relationships that were pickled in pain or abuse, those of us who have severed bonds with siblings or partners who are manacled by their own addictions, those of us who “burnt in the hell of a destructive partnership” rather than submit and walk away may still carry the ashes of our pain in the heavy urn of implicit memory.

Recreating a new life from the ashes of the old one is a soul craft that requires patience, skill and compassion. This may mean searching for the roots of the lotus flower in the dross of circumstance. This may mean changing the way we perceive the past and weaving a new story of our lives.

There’s a sparkling jewel that glistens on the necklace of poetry that is William Shakespeare’s The Tempest“Let us not burden our remembrances with a heaviness that’s gone.”

samhainMoving forward is an act of will. So is holding on. There is a Tibetan saying which goes something like “everything rests on the tip of motivation.”  We are required to dig deep to find the motivation to change the energetic field in which we live.  To have the courage to be re-born, over and over again. Mark Nepo in the Book of Awakening writes so beautifully, “Repetition is not failure. Ask the waves, ask the leaves and ask the wind.”

What we experience comes in cycles, so we can return again and again if we need to, and do it all at our own pace. “We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up. We fall in love as many times as we need to, to learn how to hold and be held. We misunderstand the many voices of truth as many times as we need to, to truly hear the choir of diversity that surrounds us. We suffer our pain as often as is necessary for us to learn how to break and how to heal. No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance,” says Nepo.

63712.ngsversion.1466467229375.adapt.1190.1The primal energy of Scorpio, illuminated by the Sun this month, may come in the form of that wrecking ball that smashes through the illusions, the silences, the memories that no longer serve us. It may come in the form of a truth that breaks the shackles that have bound us for so many years. It may come in Love’s renewal and the regeneration of our Desire.

 

 

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dance 21

Basic Instinct

Jupiter in Scorpio—October 10, 2017 to November 8, 2018

butterfly_ashevilleJupiter crosses into Scorpio on October 10, 2017, and swims through Scorpio’s dark waters until November 8, 2018.

Words like optimism, abundance, “good luck”, generosity and excess cling to Jupiter’s corpulent mass. In Scorpio’s frozen waters, quick-fixes and cheery New Age platitudes just won’t stick. Jupiter in Scorpio amplifies our preoccupation with those things that prefer the cover of darkness: Sex, the use and the misuse of power, the criminal underworld, in-depth psychology and death.

In Scorpio we confront our sex drive, rampant or dormant, and genital brute force—rape, violent pornography, fetishes that go way beyond kinky experimentation, and adultery. In Scorpio we confront issues of trust and betrayal. This month, as Jupiter crosses the line, sex therapist Esther Perel releases her new book on sexual transgression—The State of Affairs. Drs. John and Julie Gottman use their Trust Revival Method to champion couples after the rupture of adultery.

The word, Adultery comes from Latin meaning “to pollute, or corrupt.” With Jupiter in Scorpio we must ask ourselves penetrating questions—what is polluted? Trust? Ownership? A vow or a covenant?

“There is some kiss we want with our whole lives,” wrote Rumi. It may take the sweet kiss of just one person to awaken us from our slumber. It may take the catalyst of an affair to expose the cracks in the chalice of our marriage. The tender memory of the lover’s embrace may bruise our skin for years to come, long after the albatross of the affair has been killed and thrown into the ocean depths. Poet Mary Oliver wrote about the affair her life partner, Molly Malone Cook, had just before they met— “She had an affair that struck deeply; I believe she loved totally and was loved totally. I know about it, and I am glad… This love, and the ensuing emptiness of its ending, changed her. Of such events we are always changed — not necessarily badly, but changed. Who doesn’t know this doesn’t know much.”

78d7c9801a2c0b64d5b70dd87814e6f4Sexual intimacy reveals our deepest vulnerabilities and ardent longings. Sex is more than an exchange of body fluids with Jupiter in Scorpio’s realm.

Jupiter expands our wanting and our longing. What have we  been settling for?  In committed partnerships it may be missing passion, mediocre sex. The energy of Scorpio requires uncompromising depth and true intimacy that can only be achieved with wisdom.

As we arrive at the crossroads of choice, do we risk all for passion, adventure, the unknown, when the rugged terrain of a long relationship has been charted, cohabited? Jupiter’s 13-month passage through Scorpio offers us a deadly serious choice: Do we risk it all to leap like a salmon over the rocks, tumble up waterfalls following our instincts as a new impetus of growth calls us to swim as if our life depends on it. And it often does.

If we’re the one that leaves, our parting of ways will involve a dismemberment of the life we knew. An annihilation of our old self. There will be dark nights when we wake with fear gnawing through our belly. Jupiter in Scorpio will bring the flotsam and jetsam of our lives to the shore of consciousness; are we willing to sift with reverence along the tidal zone ?

ff16e95348c6e06bbb4bb7392ea22a37Self-growth is seldom as simple as leaving the husk of a desiccated relationship, changing jobs, walking the Camino, or falling in love with someone new. It’s an arduous task, which requires endurance… and courage. Unless we’re willing to look honestly at ourselves, merely switching partners will bring us back to the same issues we tried to escape from with our previous partner, often leaving us marooned, stripped of our innocence. But if we are conscious and serious about the tugging at our hearts, there are rich lessons in each new relationship, as we retrieve the long-buried parts of ourselves.

Jupiter intensifies and distills our urgent wanting. We desire quality, not wasteful quantity. Clarissa Pinkola Estés writes, “One of the most important discriminations we can make in this matter is the difference between things that beckon to us and things that call from our souls. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the choice of mates and lovers. A lover cannot be chosen a la smorgasbord. A lover has to be chosen from soul-craving. To choose just because something mouth-watering stands before you will never satisfy the hunger of the soul-self. And that is what the intuition is for; it is the direct messenger of the soul.”

dance 10When, at last, we come to trust our own instincts, hear and respect our own voices, feel valuable enough to touch that fertile, erotic, vulnerable part of our self, buried beneath the sediments of cultural conditioning, we dare to risk bursting into blossom.

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This Love Again

macaroons

We talk glibly of Love as if it can be bought like a bag of pastel-coloured macaroons. Or conjured up by a psychic who says, deftly spreading a well-worn deck of cards: “now let’s look at the love-life!”

We talk flippantly of Love as if Love can be compartmentalised into shine ona neat life.  As if Love is a play-thing, to put aside when we tire of it, or it becomes too big and boisterous. We window-shop for Love on dating sites. Foolishly mistake Love for Sex.  Balk at provocative choices. Terrified we may expose our soft-bellied vulnerability, we manacle ourselves with the cold steel fear of rejection, memories of past betrayals, disappointments. We play it safe, never daring to throw the dice lest we score too high for comfort.

Then one new day, we awake to find our fervent prayers have been answered by a benevolent god. How we tremble and shake in unspeakable terror as we stand on the precipice; afraid to take that giant leap, to tumble weightlessly into Love. Afraid to do what it takes to be with the one we cannot be without.

Love, like old age, and death, is not for the squeamish. To fall into Love requires valour. To stay in Love demands tenacity.

Science attempts to measure the power of love by assigning our light-headed wholehearted omnipotence and euphoria to dopamine and oxytocin. Those delectable mood-altering chemicals that flood our brains, bathe our cells in Ecstasy. Our right (emotionally intuitive) brain, lights up like a Christmas tree, our left ( logic and language) brain is all shook up. Astrology is a language that describes the synastry, the poetics of a relationship. It offers a map for the choices we will be offered as we embrace Love’s Mystery. Science can measure the how. But why we fall into love’s hallowed portal, blouse unbuttoned, hair unloosened in the face of our fears, remains a Mystery. “Nothing is Mysterious. No human relation. Except Love,” writes Susan Sontag.

The poetry of the skies in September reflects the moist soulfulness of our human hearts. The Sun, Mars and Venus are in Virgo this month, highlighting that part the zodiac and our own birth chart, where we must be mindful, wholehearted, discerning of those we invite into our lives. Virgo is the Sacred Harlot. She reminds us  to choose carefully from the smorgasbord of life those lovers, friends, soul companions who hold us gently through life’s storms.

Embrace Virgo’s true meaning by moving into yourself today, stay grounded in your soft animal body. Listen to her whispers.
Love yourself into Aliveness.

You do not have to be good.8c17d2639c4ffd324a00a126b0a88824
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves—Mary Oliver

James Blunt—This Love Again

 

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Rubicon 11

Crossing the Rubicon

Rubicon 13

In the cold winter of 49 BC, crossing the Rubicon was an act of rebellion punishable by death.
And yet, Julius Caesar defiantly led his men over the icy red waters of the Rubicon River towards Rome.

Roman writer Suetonius depicts Julius Caesar as being undecided as he approached the Rubicon and the fateful crossing was said to be caused by a supernatural apparition.

In astrology, the  transits of the outer planets signify these  red river crossings.  These critical points of  no return  when a force that feels “bigger than us” spurs  us into the churning waters of change. Rubicon 1

When we bear down, when we irrevocably commit to a course of action, we set in motion a train of events that unfurl like the standard-bearer’s fluttering flag.

The poetics of language add subtly to the word, choice. In Hebrew the word, “timshel” is translated as “thou mayest” or “thou shall govern or rule” which suggests a sense of opening a portal into something that requires us to step into the vestibule of change by our own volition.

To the ancient Greeks, Kairos was a critical moment, an appointed time, a penetrable opening in the web of Fate. Kairos was the moment when the veil of time lifts and the moment arrives.

Mayan calendar researcher, Carl Johan Calleman writes about Kairos in the sense of soul timing and choice to cultivate resiliency and unity consciousness at this point in our human journey by alignment with the resonance of the Ninth Wave which has been active since March 9, 2011.

By not choosing we allow others to choose for us. Submissive acquiescence is an act of choice in which we step out of the way and live other people’s lives. In choosing not to choose we dangle limply like mannequins, and go through the motions of living an anesthetised life that is not our own. The thirty pieces of silver that clatter heavily in our pocket remind us of the Judas kiss by which we betray ourselves when we choose old ways of thinking, hold on to old patterns, nail our own hands to the cross of mortification.

89671.ngsversion.1467254310120.adapt.676.1Most of us avoid choices because we fear taking charge of our own lives. We resist surrendering our will to a Higher Level of Consciousness. We balk at the effort it takes to change our perception. We use powder puff words that cover our intentions with rapturous excuses. Or we let flutter, spent, to the ground like autumn leaves: “I’ll try to”. “I promise” ….

Choices are both conscious and unconscious. They influence our tomorrows, and will keep us steady as we wade through turbulent waters of change. Katharine Butler Hathaway wrote “the change of life is the time when you meet yourself at the crossroads and you decide whether to be honest or not before you die.”

Choice is a spiritual gift. And when we choose to change the trajectory of our lives, we must trust our instinct, settle more closely into the warmth of our bodies, listen to the rhythmic beating of our hearts.

092864b34a22302c25f78e81bb315ab7The choices we make from our hearts and souls are Grace.  Events that seem unjust and incomprehensible may be Divine Intervention that we can only appreciate in hindsight when we have unwillingly unclasped the old and opened our hearts to the new. And when we accept the consequences of our choosing, we begin to move again, one step at a time.

Through soulful living we celebrate the delicate preciousness of this human experience. And through choosing again and again to breathe out, surrender and Trust, we may have the courage to cross our own Rubicon River and make the journey Home.

The Sounds   Crossing the RubiconRubicon 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Long Will You Love Me?

cake-2082939__480Today we casually or consciously un-couple. Today our friends have benefits and Tinder is our one-stop 24-7, pocket-sized convenience store for regret-free hook-ups with just one swipe. Ours is a Supernova Consumer Culture where our Perfectmatch.com relationships have short sell-by dates.

Over the past 60 years, nothing and everything has changed. We live in what Marshall McLuhan prophetically called “a global village”. Social and cultural forces have intruded into our intimate relationships. Antibiotics and contraception which have liberated sex from its reproductive function. Women have claimed hard won political power, kudos to the Womens’ Movement. The Gay Movement has made sexuality an issue of identity. Technology has changed the way we date and mate. Love takes on new meaning.

“If monogamy was one person for life, today monogamy is one person at a time,” says psychology’s Super Star, Baby Boomer Esther Perel. “We have left our villages. We have travelled to the cities. We are free, no longer bound by tribal strictures and rituals of continuity and belonging. Now we are more alone than ever. ”

Nothing is the way it used to be – or is it?kuala-lumpur-170985__340

In the astrology, the long outer planet transits define generations and each generation leaves a legacy for the next one. Sociologists and demographers appear to differ on the actual dates but a broad-brush stroke will give a general cultural theme, of course which applies to the self-absorbed, affluent West, not those living in the slums of Brazil or Nairobi. Pluto, like all the planets, is a celestial mirror to the interests, obsessions, and legacy of each generation born then.  Pluto takes between ten and twenty years to transit through each sign of the zodiac.  Pluto was in Cancer from 1913 to 1938 and it was this generation that endured the Great Depression, futility of two World Wars, the Holocaust. This generation experienced displacement, destruction, starvation and death.  They sought security, a place of belonging, they focused on home. They had white picket fences and somewhere over the rainbow they believed they could see the alluring glimmer of The American Dream.

rock-concertPluto’s transit through Leo between 1937-1958 produced the narcissistic “Me Generation” and as each new generation pushes against the ignorance and excesses of the previous one. The Divine Child (or spoilt brat) rebelled against his staid Cancerian Parents. This is the generation that has destroyed vast tracts of pristine forest and coastline to erect golf courses and holiday resorts or set off to “find themselves”. This is the generation of the hedonistic “Rock Star” and the individual who spends years lying on the therapist’s couch talking about his unhappy childhood. This is the generation obsessed with staying forever young. This is the generation that divorces because they deserve to be happy! Baby Boomer, and author of the bestselling, Something More, Sarah Ban Breathnach says it all: “Do I deserve to be happy? Damn right I do. Am I ever going to be unhappy again? Not if I can help it.” … now you can reshape, reclaim and recreate the world in our own image.”

baby boomers 1Divorce is The Boomers’ legacy. And even in mid and late life this star-dust golden generation makes it up as they go along.

Teacher and author, Caroline Myss proposes that beneath this sense of entitlement to happiness, this naiveté coupled with the Boomer’s intense interest in all things “spiritual” is a child-like notion that being “conscious” or “spiritual” will bring an end to all things “bad”.  And when things get bad we leave. American sociologist and sexologist and Boomer Pepper Schwartz writes that “Me Generation” Baby Boomers’ obsession with individual identity and creative self-expression makes us the most divorce-prone generation group.

For the ancient Greeks, happiness meant Virtue. For the Romans, it was Divine Favour. For the Christians, it was the after-life.

“It’s only within the past two hundred years that human beings have begun to think of happiness as not just an earthly possibility but also as an earthly entitlement, even an obligation, writes historian Darrin M. McMahon in Happiness: A History. 

Esther Perel describes how over the years she has observed a progression of three types of marriages: the traditional marriage which is family-centric. The romantic marriage which is couple-centric. The millennial marriage which is child-centric and HIP – High Investment Parenting. And yet, definitions, like statistics are fuzzy around the edges. Globalisation makes it possible to have a traditional marriage in New York, a romantic marriage in Pakistan and a millennial marriage in South Africa.

 As Boomers age, more than a third of Boomers (if you believe the stats) are single in the US. Manweddings 3y opt for a LAT arrangement – Living Alone Together – with partners they may despise at worse or tolerate at best.

And yet it’s generally known that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”

Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger has overseen a long-term study on adult development and come up with the hardly startling discovery that high conflict relationships are bad for our health. “The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships in their 50s were the healthiest in their 80s. Good relationships protect our bodies and our brains.” Despite our most strenuous efforts to soften the edges of ageing and prolong our lives, there’s only time for Love.  In a letter to Clara Spaulding, 20 August 1886 Mark Twain (Pluto in Aries) wrote “ There isn’t time—so brief is life— for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving and but an instant, so to speak, for that.”

Whether we’re Boomers or Gen X, Pluto in Virgo Group 1957-1972, Pluto in Libra 1971-1984, or Pluto in Scorpio 1983-1995, all our relationships, even those that involve brief genital stimulation, require us to grow from narcissistic children into adults. We choose to love. We choose to be happy. We choose to forgive. And if we are brave enough we un-couple with kindness and gratitude for all the milestones, all the tears and the laughter we shared together over the long years.

Inge (Ursula Werner) and Karl (Horst Westphal)

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 or experience  my next workshop, please Email: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com to find out more.

Video: How long will I love you – Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney & Ben Coleman

 

 

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