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Relationship

Rubicon 11

Crossing the Rubicon

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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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Trojan Horses 12

Here It Is

Trojan Horse 3I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, there are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who’s in charge―Elizabeth Gilbert

We sprinkle the word, empowerment like brown sugar over the snowy dome of a frothy latté. Popular self-help books and magazines deliver fast-fix formulae and labels that hook like velcro—Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Here it is—in bedrooms, boardrooms, in political power-plays, the subtext is: How much do you love me? Who’s in charge?

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The words we use to fight our personal Waterloos so often keep us mired in rigid roles. Our unexamined beliefs about other people’s pre-digested ideas surgically clamp our happiness and self-esteem.

 

We speak of empowering ourselves. Yet, so often standing up for what we believe is right and putting our partner down are part of an outmoded belief that power struggles and relationships are inseparable. How much do you love me? You emotionally disabledco-dependent, narcissist? (Narcissism is a clinical personality disorder that affects a small percentage—one to three, say some sources—of the population.)

In the war about who’s right and who’s wrong, how much you love me and who’s in charge, there’s no room for relationship. Says psychologist, Terry Real, “proving just how right you are can be a tough temptation to walk away from. But relationship grown-ups understand that being right is not the real point. Finding a solution is.”

In his book, The New Rules of Marriage, Real writes, “letting go of the need to be right is a core principle of relationship empowerment: learning to live a non-violent life. Non-violent between you and others. Non-violent between your ears. Scolding your partner as if you were his mother, passing judgement on him, humiliating him. These are all forms of psychological violence.”

hands clasped

Our expectations of relationships have changed exponentially. As we step beyond the confines of the old paradigms of gender based homemaker/breadwinner, women and our men and want intimacy—emotionally, sexually, intellectually and physically. Yet in our patriarchal culture, intimacy is relegated to the feminine principle. Mostly it’s women who embark upon Heroine’s Quest to better their lack lustre relationships. We buy the books and sign up for online offerings. We make the appointments for couples’ counselling.

And yet, so many of us still vacillate between becoming shrilly empowered and/or resigned to the “emotionally disabled” man from Mars. We complain about the state the world is in and continue to pollute our own relationship quantum field with words that nick and scratch and lodge in the sanctum of our lover’s heart.

1190.1“We always marry someone with the purpose of finishing our childhood,” says psychologist Harville Hendrix. And we’re unconsciously drawn to people who will guarantee a re-enactment of the old, familiar relationship dynamics we grew up with.

 

Our challenge is to rewire our brain circuitry with words that heal old wounds.

The astrological 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.  stop

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 humourous and charming. Mercury is the teacher, the comedian, the networker, 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. Mercury is an important planet in our birth chart, as he brings information from the unconscious. In these Mercury Retrograde cycles, our perceptions may shift, igniting the creative process, birthing brilliant ideas.Stand by me 1

Right now, we are all, on some level, experiencing a Mercury Retrograde cycle in the fiery sign of Aries—From April 25th to May 11 th , Mercury conjoins Uranus. The planet, Uranus is associated with upheaval, sudden change and with innovation—the Tower card in Tarot. So, our intuition, vision, innovation may be heightened at best. Our reptile brain reactivity may be on full alert at worst—the kind of reactivity based on that old lady’s beliefs about relationship.

Trojan Horses 6Mercury’s Retrograde cycle is an opportunity to be honest with our selves about our style of relating, the part we play in polluting our relationship space. So, how do we conceal our own vulnerability behind the cement wall of intractable beliefs about our partner? How do we own our wants and desires? How do we listen? How do we set boundaries and assert ourselves? How do we back off generously? How do we embrace and accept the relationship we have? How do we actively champion our partner and our relationship?

woman on a road“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature”, says Thich Nhat Hanh. Today, let’s bring new vision, self-reflection and healing to our words. Today, we have a choice to re-write our signature.

Here It Is ~ Leonard Cohen & Sharon Robinson

 

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The Lion’s Roar

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

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

butterflies on croc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

First Aid Kit

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Magnetised 22

Magnetised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Odell Magnetised

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Flo

Wonderful Tonight

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

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

imagesHIU142MC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Eric Clapton—Wonderful Tonight

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Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn

Kate Havenik- Grace

 

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Can’t Pretend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Odell – Can’t Pretend

Little Boxes words and music by Malvina Reynolds 1962

 

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I’m Still Standing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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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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