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Relationship

The bucket list – Say what you need to say my dear

0513-fireworks-flash-across-full-moon-670So as this New Year rushes into existence, carrying with it a flutter of new intentions, a new impetus to make this year a “better year”, the Old Year lingers like an out-breath, for the briefest of moments and is gone.

2015 for so many was blighted with division and Otherness in our homes, in our families, in our communities, in our nations. The ghost of Christmas Past is the repository of memories that haunt family gatherings and stains corridors of government with dusty rhetoric that spills fresh blood.  There is a vast trove of psychological literature on the diverse ways people are held back by the hidden capsules of memory. Current thinking is that childhood fears and adult traumas are stored differently in the brain than happy memories. We carefully tend to the wounds of betrayal: those words or behaviours that landed in our hearts and cruelly hooked our innocence, tore at our trust. We tend to remember the trauma. Families and nations have unhealed memories too and our challenge both personally and globally is how to empathise with one another even though we may not agree with, or condone their words or actions.  In an article entitled, The Year of Unearthed Memories, columnist for The New York Times David Brooks writes, “Even after a tough year, we are born into a story that has a happy ending. Wrongs can be recognized, memories unearthed, old hurts recognized and put into context. What’s the point of doing this unless you’re fueled by hope and comforted by grace?”bucket list 35

In her book, Secrets of Your Cells: Discovering Your Body Inner Intelligence, Dr. Sondra Barrett describes that the intelligent cells in our wise bodies need a certain amount of attachment, and Tensegrity, a stable structure, in order to thrive. But they also need to let go of the attachment.   “When our cells let go of their attachments they can become mature, much in the same way as in the Buddhist tradition when we let go of our attachments we can move towards the Light.”

We live in “Interesting Times.” The energy of the Collective symbolised by the Pluto-Uranus square has cast a long dark shadow over our blue planet heralding the dawn of a new paradigm shift for us personally and globally as we move through a  process of irrevocable break down of untenable structures. This waxing square is in orb as we enter this new calendar year. We will probably only recognise it’s implication if we could time travel to the future. The next waning square of 2073 – 2074 (Pluto in Aries and Uranus in Capricorn) will reflect perhaps a new Heaven and a new Earth.

This series of Pluto-Uranus squares began in 2012. The sky did not fall down and those who foretold of the End-Times discretely disappeared into the brilliant light of the solstice.

In an2015-03-02-girlphoto-thumbcient Rome, Janus, the two-headed god, presided over transitions and new beginnings.

Astrologer and brilliant blogger Joanna Watters quotes Albert Einstein who famously is thought to have said, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Joanna’s  beautifully crafted New Year post  underscores the need for a new awareness. Letting go of our attachments to our old stories and Victim consciousness. Perhaps a child-like sense of wonderment and curiosity. Most certainly a parent’s sense of pragmatism and realism as we choose again and again to live our lives differently this year. Inevitable change and impermanence mark the progression of time.  The only firm foothold we have is standing firmly in the Now and trusting that no matter what circumstances swirl or ebb and flow around us, we are in exactly the right place and in the right time.bucket list 30

 

As we savour the last days of the Yuletide holiday or settle back into the familiar routine of our working week, let’s take a moment to allow some of the commercial Christmas sparkle to guild our memories of what was good about this year gone by. Let’s shine the light on those moments when we brought our Best Selves to our relationships. When we felt good about ourselves. When we made the world a better place by a random act of kindness or heartfelt compassion. Let’s pick through the discarded wrapping of this Old Year and marvel at the Present of being alive. Let us say what we need to say and may our words be loving and gentle. Our Bucket List may contain brave adventures that take us out of the soft comfort of  our lives. May it also contain heartfelt love and kindness for all things  great and small.

 

 John Mayer – The bucket list – Say what you need to say my dear

2

My Silver Lining

We’rsnowe living in a world where chunks of polar ice fall into the sea. Where forests burn and bomber planes fall from the sky.   We’re living in a world where the admonishment is to “consume” and destroy and Big Brother watches every move that we make. We’re living in a world where leaders  choose to ignore the wisdom of the yogis, the shamans, the spiritual teachers: All of Life is interconnected. When we burn down the rain forests in the Amazon and Indonesia, when we kill the last rhino and the last whale, we violate our own souls. The acts of insanity in our cities and in the Middle East, affect us all. We are experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul. Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism comments grimly, the world we are creating is an ADD-ridden flat land.”

John O’Donohue’s poetics resonate as the December 22nd solstice marks another round in the wheel of the year: “we have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.” For those of us who long to retreat from the annual surfeit of spending and gathering of “stuff” we don’t want or really need, we may  deeply feel we have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.  The relentless cheer of Christmas lights, the repetitive loop of  carols highlight the bleak grey landscape of loneliness or lack. The excess and the merry making may be excruciating for those who are estranged from their families, unemployed, or enduring the silent suffering of terminal illness. As the world turns to face into another year and dark clouds cover the sun, we search for redemption. We want a silver lining.sad woman 1

For all of us on this beautiful blue planet, the year 2015 was dominated by Saturn and Neptune reflecting above what is down below in a tense 90 degree square aspect. This square is a cosmic dance between these very different archetypal energies and will affect us personally (if you have a mutable planet in your birth chart between 5-12 degrees ) as well as collectively. Saturn is now in  fiery Sagittarius until 2018 and will offer challenges as well as growth gifts if we are willing to take the road less traveled.  Saturn encounters elusive Neptune between November 2015 and September 2016 as she shape-shifts through watery Pisces (till 2026). Neptune squaring Saturn is a tension of opposites that descends like a fine mist. It’s subtle. The effect of this transit may not be evident for some months after the final mutable square.

young girl at windowThis may herald a time of personal awakening, a deepening of faith, a new focus and direction. It may also herald a time of disillusion, deception, addiction, great suffering and disappointment as everything we believed to be solid in our lives seems to dissolve, nothing seems clear or sure. Saturn’s realm is structure, worldly progress and  material things. Neptune’s realm is murky, intangible, corrosive and often collides  with human values. As Neptune washes over Saturn’s boundary walls, firm foundations crumble and dissolve and we may be washed away in a tsunami of confusion. Money, health, relationships are frustratingly illusive. Our goals, our plans, our positive affirmations, all shape shift into a shimmering mirage in the dim distance.

Saturn in Sagittarius requires the truth. This is a time of inner re-calibration. Of vigorous self examination and honesty. A time of intelligent consideration of what is disseminated as news in the media.  A time of trusting that despite acts of terrorism, political and  corporate greed, and the pessimistic outlook for global warming after the COP21 in Paris this year, we can individually make a difference.

old loversFaith is a word we don’t often use in a bright solar world where we’re shining like the sun, always having fun, where every day is a “nice day.”

FAITH 1

Barbara Brown Taylor author of Learning to Walk in the Dark and Leaving Church writes, “faith is a huge naïve trust in those things we cannot control, we cannot see.”

Faith, for some,  is an irrational knowing that there will be enough money to pay the bills, that the apparently incurable dis-ease is merely a symptom of the soul’s malaise and can be cared for tenderly. Faith resides in the heart. It is the handmaiden of the soul. Faith is our silver lining.

heartWe may have to vigorously tame our thoughts, make a commitment to ourselves to release hoary old habits and rusty old grudges that keep us trapped like the Tin Man in armour that crushes our hearts. We may need to examine our lives scrupulously and ask if we are adding more aggression and self-centredness into the world. We may pray for the courage to put our soul in charge of our life. “We may not be comfortable but we will be awake and aware and fully alive,” says Prema Chodron, author of Taking the Leap and When Things Fall Apart.

Faith is not taking the easy road or staying safe. Faith is choosing again and again to trust that the world is a safe place, that Life is for me. “Trusting that whatever happens will teach me something.  That most people do not mean me harm. That I can make a difference in a few peoples’ lives by being present, by listening. That I can do some good both in community and on my own. That seems enough to live on for now,” Barbara Brown Taylor suggests.

“And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future,” said activist Howard Zinn. “The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.”

Perhaps,  it is in silence, in the dark of the moon that we can be fully awake and in tune with the inter-connectedness of all living things.  In the pause, in the gap, in the space between the ceaseless chatter, we can be open and touch the energy of the moment. Perhaps it is through the dark clouds that we can glimpse the silver lining.silver lining 1

First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining

Ingrid Hoffman offers astrology consultations on Skype and in person please contact me at: info@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

 

 

2

Another Love

spring dayAnyone who has ever loved will know that there is nothing  linear or certain about Love. Love can’t be contained or explained. Love has its own circadian rhythm: a sweet scented breeze that shape shifts like clouds on a warm summer’s day then fades like a rainbow. It waxes and wanes like the Moon. Love can erupt as a formidable Force rupturing the structures of our lives, rendering them irrevocably changed. Love burns us in the fire, renders us shining, resplendent and forged a-new. Love is a Many Splendoured Thing.

 

couple dancingWe can’t measure Love the way we measure ourselves:  our attractiveness, our worthiness, our “success”. Love lies in the soft folds of the skin that shelter our elbows. Love lies in the lattice of maturity on our faces. It cannot be smoothed away in the way we smooth lines of anger or worry or happiness with sharp little pricks of Botox. It cannot be cut off or pulled tight in mask-like caricatures of a youth long gone. Love nestles in the warm chambers of our hearts. Love, like Faith and Trust is a Force as indefinable and immeasurable as the Intelligence that throbs and shimmers through the uni-verse.

Popular books with titles like “Getting the Love You Want”, or “Mastery of Love,” mirror a fast-food culture where Love is a commodity that can be ordered, gotten, or kept. love 6 Gary Chapman’s The Five Languages of Love hints at the paucity of language to describe this thing called Love.

In all the Western languages, English may be the most lacking when it comes to descriptive feeling words. Sanskrit has 96 words for Love, there were 30 in ancient Greece and 80 in ancient Persia.

We use the word, Love, to describe a host of experiences that delight, enthrall, satiate, soothe and stimulate our senses“Our superior function has given us science and the highest standard of living the world has ever known … but at the cost of impoverishing the feeling function,” writes Robert A. Johnson in The Fisher King & The Handless Maiden.

starlings murmurationBut does Love feel the same for us all whether we live in London, in Papua New Guinea, on the frozen arctic plains?  Kristen Lindquist at the University of North Carolina and her colleagues have discovered that  our ability to understand the meaning of words has  a measurable effect on whether we can recognise those emotions in others. The way we speak about feelings might influence how we feel them. Researcher, Tiffany Watt Smith writes in The Book of Human Emotions , “most of us have on some occasion felt the urge to crumple into the arms of a loved one to be coddled and comforted. It’s important and reviving, this sensation of temporary surrender in perfect safety. The concept is not easily captured in English, but Japanese people know it as amae, the feeling of being able to depend on another’s love and help with no obligation to be grateful in return. It helps relationships to flourish and is an emblem of the deepest trust. In the 1970s, Western anthropologists became very excited about amae, claiming that it was evidence that even our most intimate emotions are shaped by the societies in which we live. They argued that Japan’s traditional collectivist culture had allowed amae to flourish.dad and baby girl

So one wonders why those of us who grew up speaking English often fumble when trying to articulate a similar experience. Perhaps this lacuna in English speaks volumes about how hard it can be to accept other people’s support.”

Even though we can’t find the right words to describe what we feel, this thing called Love is what opens our hearts and connects us to our own Divinity. We are changed when we allow ourselves to love deeply and to be loved in return.

To love means risking loss or rejection. To love with our whole heart is to know the hollow emptiness of the ending. Love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah… When Love changes form, we may dare to love again, but it will be another kind of love… “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” wrote Mary Oliver about Molly Malone Cook her inseparable partner for more than four decades.

 

older couple together on benchIt takes enormous courage to Love. To fold yourself into the different rhythm of The Other, day after day. To sleep night after night tangled in one another’s dreams. It takes courage to forgive the transgressions, the betrayals, the words that tumble thoughtlessly and pierce straight through our hearts. It takes tenacity to move like patient oxen yoked together, through fields of sorrow and fields of joy.

Anyone who has ever loved will know that Romantic Love, falling in-to love, is not the same thing as staying in love. Writer Mandy Len Catron knew Love after asking 36 questions.

Love didn’t happen to us. We are in love because we each made the choice and chose again and again… and I continue to make that choice without knowing whether my partner will continue to choose me…we want the happy ending… we want someone to love us back. It is terrifying but that’s the deal with love.

Anyone who has ever loved will know that Love is the most profound mystery of our human experience. We choose to Love, again and again and again, even though we have no certainty. We hope for, but know deep down inside there may not be a happy ending.  And yet the warmth, the glory of Love fills us like radiant sunlight. And again and again we turn our innocent faces towards the life-giving warmth that ennobles our humanness.

 

so in love
Relationship Astrology workshops London

nun and rabbi

Lust, Love, Loss and Longingnun and rabbi

Saturday 31 October & Sunday 1 November
The Astrological Lodge of London, 50 Gloucester Place W1U 8EA
10am-5pm

£85.00 per day, or £150.00 for both

Join us for an exciting weekend of relationship astrology in London, designed to be suitable for all. Join us for an exciting weekend of relationship astrology in London, designed to be suitable for all levels. The two days are completely different but are designed to complement one another, so you can choose to do either day, or both. Bookings – ingrid@trueheartwork.com or  email joannaw@otenet.gr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Sirens

tvWe’re a species of data gatherers. We sift and sort. Categorise and label: Them and Us.

The Otherness of our human condition is spotlighted now as millions of displaced people, like great herds of migrating wildebeest, flee from the blood-lust that has annihilated their homes and villages. How will this surge of humanity be integrated into the hoary structures of Old Europe? What will their future hold?

Them and Us patterns life on this planet. We divide and sort ourselves into neat piles like poppy seeds and grains of wheat. We label these with race, wealth, class, gender, nationality, intelligence, intuition, religion and age. We pin our fluttering multi-coloured iridescent contradictions to the board of static stereotype. We confine our mellifluousness and our Mystery as intellect and spirit displaces soul.

In Greek myth, Procrustes owned a bed that he claimed would fit anyone – no matter how tall or short you were. If you were too tall, your feet would simply be hacked off. If you were too short, your limbs would be stretched to the right length. The ancient Greek equivalent of “one size fits all” still applies today as we lop off or stretch those parts of ourselves to fit into our relationships and communities.

superwomanBest-selling (of course!) Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (with Nell Scovell ) mixes and stirs the sticky stereotype – them and us. A dollop of gender, education and tribal affiliation, heavily seasoned with important who’s who in the zoo names and pedigrees, the book is peppered with freshly ground data, liberally sprinkled with paragraphs that fit so perfectly the mythic American Hero, who despite all odds cuts a trail through rugged terrain. Lean In reinforces the belief that “everything is possible.” It’s the American one-size-fits-all.
working girls

 

A woman called Marissa Mayer, mother of a toddler has decided to take 14 days maternity leave after the birth of her identical twin daughters. If Marissa was a single mom working in Wallmart or in a factory in China, who would give a damn? That Marissa is CEO of Yahoo! and one who aspires to learn the technique of jungle gym climbing to survey the rest of the playground, this news has caused a stir. Can you believe the example she is setting? …What woman would ever work at Yahoo! after this? … Is Marissa even human?

super herosCaught in the belly of the insatiable anaconda we strive to “Lean In” and “Do It All” in the rule-determined chess game of Life. We call ourselves the human race as we compete and compare and hurry towards the finishing line. We fill ourselves with striving and doing and our Solar Light burns so brightly that like Icarus we fly to the Sun on melting wings. It’s when we become aware of the barriers between us, when we take note of the differences between male and female, refugees and home owners, intuitives and scientists, young and old, Christian and Moslem, CEOs and stay-at-home moms,  that we lose our way in the labyrinth of the soulless ghetto of Otherness.

Those who choose to pick up the Sword and slay the nine-headed Hydra are enacting perhaps unwittingly the initiatory Journey of the Hero, a figure who is lauded in many cultures and most especially in the West. We strive. We compete. We notice our differences even as we celebrate them. When the siren call of success and fame and fortune calls do we answer? Do we lie down on Procrustes’s bed to be fitted to size? For eons our addiction to Perfection, to norms and expectations has been marinading in a Christian-Judaic stew. Our unworthiness has been branded into our skins, seared into our flesh and we’ve remained small and safe yet barely alive through witch-hunts, slavery, apartheid and patriarchal religion.“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,” said Gloria Steinem.imagesCA8VFSCU

Writes Susan Sontag, “if a young person — man or woman — in his or her twenties would sit down with a bunch of people in their sixties or seventies, one of those persons might have said, What a pity you have to sit here with five old people, that must be boring for you!”

 

We diminish and apologise for ourselves. We’re too fat, too ugly, too black, too old, too Sudanese, too woman; and so we take years to fully perceive our own multifaceted beauty, and make the internal shift that says, I am Enough. cedar wood over lake

Oscar Wilde lived a life that was filled to the brim with un apologetic panache and a-flutter with flamboyance. He, like so many who fly high and wear the laurel wreath of Victory, lived fully and expansively. Yet the time came for him to empty out. To surrender to the Mystery that is our uniqueness in the inter-connectedness of all things. From his austere prison cell where he was incarcerated for loving another man, he wrote, “The final mystery is oneself. When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?”

The orbit of our soul is reflected back to us in our birth chart. We are all unique and all have a unique destiny to experience this life time.

 

boy and giant cabbageSome of us may aspire to become army generals or astronauts. Some of us may want to watch our children play while we plant dahlias or grow cabbages in our gardens for no other reason than we like them. Some of us may know that one size does not fit all and that we find our Belonging as we breathe out, lean back and empty.

Tom Odell Sirens

Relationship Astrology workshops Londonnun and rabbi

Lust, Love, Loss and Longingnun and rabbi

Saturday 31 October & Sunday 1 November
The Astrological Lodge of London, 50 Gloucester Place W1U 8EA
10am-5pm nun and rabbi

£85.00 per day, or £150.00 for both

Join us for an exciting weekend of relationship astrology in London, designed to be suitable for all levels. The two days are completely different but are designed to complement one another, so you can choose to do either day, or both. Bookings – ingrid@trueheartwork.com or  email joannaw@otenet.gr

1

I’ll Be Good

I'll be good picWe’ve coveted our neighbour’s wife for eons. Like moths to the flame we slip into stolen moments, discover in the fire of a clandestine tryst the erotic élan of novelty.

 

Secrecy, danger, novelty and forbidden fruit make our hearts race and flood our brains and bodies with an intoxicating cocktail of sweetest taboo. Greek myths are steamy stories of infidelity, trickery and connivance. Handsome youths seduced, innocent maidens abducted. The kind of sex that makes Fifty Shades seem more like Enid Blyton’s Playful Pets.leda and the swan

 

Lipstick on the collar has now gone digital. Where once we secreted our love letters in padlocked boxes, we now have passwords and browsing histories to delete. Some of the fallout from the Ashley Madison “affair” is a mushroom shaped cloud of moralistic condemnation sprinkled with a dusting of judgement which says more about the judge than those being judged. As Hackers, presumably with their own agendas, smoke out the “sinners”, there’s a lot of talk about affairs and the destruction of so-called family life but not much intelligent inquiry as to the Why we want what we can’t have and do what we do to get it. And yet, in this age of instant gratification and increasingly sophisticated digital technology driven by a porn industry that caters for all preferences, Why not? What we once termed aberrations and perversions, thankfully have now become “normalised” though there’s is still an odorous smell to the word adultery. And in some places in the world sex outside marriage is punishable by death.

 

love and desireLove and Desire are two completely different things. So says sex therapist and author of Mating in Captivity Esther Perel. Astrologers agree. Mars and Venus in their healthy expression move us to want, to take and to own. Author Thomas Moore writes, “Mars when he is honoured, gives a deep red hue to everything we do, quickening our lives with intensity passion forcefulness and courage… It is important then to revere the Martian spirit and to let the soul burst into life in creativity individuality iconoclasm and imagination.”

Eros is not the chubby diaper-wearing infant we see on Valentine’s cards. He takes us to the beating heart of our own “red light district”, he brings us back to life. He’s an antidote to the terror of ageing, the annihilation of death.

Eros and Thanatos are the provocative invitation on the now infamous Ashley Madison website: Life is Short – Have an Affair!

As author and teacher, Joanna Watters writes The Astrology Blog this week, “The most obvious retrograde Venus story in the news at the moment is the hacking of website Ashley Madison. This company has built up a membership of a staggering 37 million people around the world, and continues to sign up new members at the rate of 35,000 a day. Noel Biderman, the CEO of the company, is born 1 January 1971. Unfortunately there is no other birth data but you don’t really need to look any further than the date as he’s born on a triple conjunction of Venus and Mars (the love and sex planets) and Jupiter (expansion) all in Scorpio (the sign of sex, secrecy and all that is taboo)”taboo

 

Our comfort-seeking astrological Moon craves security and safety and dependability and permanence. Paradoxically, good connection, good intimacy does not guarantee good sex. Routine, predictability, too much closeness and familiarity are a cold shower to an erotic charge. Spontaneity in long term relationships is a myth. “There is no neediness or caretaking in desire,” says Esther Perel.
red rose and bum

“Sex is a place we go to,” says Perel. “A space we enter inside ourselves with another or others”. For some it may be a place for aggression or playfulness, for others it is a place of surrender and relinquishing control, for others it is a templum for transcendence and dissolution, poetically described by the planets and their aspects in astrology. Eros resides in the imaginal realm. And says Perel, “the erotic mind is not politically correct.”

She adds also that few of us know how to bring our self-hood to our partner. Or how to stay connected to ourselves in the presence of the Other. Few of us know the landscape of our bodies in relationship with the Other.  Committed sex is premeditated sex. It is willful, focused, and present. And foreplay starts at the end of the previous orgasm.

The poetics of our erotic life transforms sexuality by our own imagination. But what when fur-lined cuffs, leather whips, slivers of silky underwear, or a romantic getaway without the kids fails to alleviate the tedium of sex gone stale? The answer lies within when we ask ourselves is – “I shut down my desire for my partner when…”

Our responses will be as unique as our birth charts. For some, the answer may be, “I shut down my desire when I work late at night, for others when I am overweight and feel unattractive, for others still, when we fight over the in-laws or the kids … and for some, I shut down my desire when I feel responsible, when I don’t feel I have a right to want, when I don’t feel I have the right to receive, or to take, sensual pleasure…”

For most of us, growing up, reclaiming Eros, is hard to do. And in our adolescent culture where we objectify each other and Mother Earth, where phallus-shaped guns are given to young children and wars and violence continue to continue, until we are Collectively ready to Imagine another way of being in relationship to one another there will be affairs and heartbreak. And also the opportunity to re-pair and heal and rebuild our ravaged relationships and invite Eros and Aphrodite back into our bodies and our  lives.red rose

Astrology workshops London

Lust, Love, Loss and Longing

Saturday 31 October & Sunday 1 November
10am-5pm
£85.00 per day, or £150.00 for both
Venue – The Astrological Lodge of London, 50 Gloucester Place W1U 8EA

Suitable for all levels.

The two days are completely different but are designed to complement one another. So you can choose to do either day, or both. Venus and Mars in your birth chart with Ingrid Hoffman – astrologer and Imago Practitioner, founder of Trueheartwork, and a magical day of traditional horoscopy and  synastry between two individuals with author and astrologer Joanna Watters.
Please contact Joanna directly and come and join us in London.

joannaw@otenet.gr

 

 

Jaymes Young – I’ll Be Good

 

5

Bette Davis Eyes

humans robotics She desires you. She’s always willing; she’s always here, just for you.

“Hello, my name is Denise… I look forward to getting to know you…” she says invitingly. Admittedly her voice is not quite the melted mocha modulation of Scarlett Johansson. Denise is a neophyte. But she’ll never betray you or break your heart.

She is one of Matt McMullen’s future RealDolls.  Life-size luscious latex sex robots that may eventually create the illusion of sentience. You can already choose what body type, skin, hair and eye colour you want and even have her toes custom-made. Matt’s RealDolls will integrate a mobile app that is a virtual assistant and companion. They’ll arrive with virtual reality headsets to enhance your experience so that it becomes immersive and sensory. So are Matt’s RealDolls toys for grown-ups? Just like little children play with their toys and immerse themselves in fantasy are these life-size dolls a grown-up substitute for play and imagination, for sensual pleasure and eroticism? Or are they a prettier version of Frankenstein’s Monster where we lose our separateness, our individual boundaries, our humanness, in fusion with fantasy?sex dolls 2

Film and literature reflect the zeitgeist. Spike Jonze’s sensitive portrayal of a love that unfolds through the romantic phase into the power struggle in Her and Humans, the science fiction TV series that débuted in June 2015. The porn industry will no doubt drive technology but already “Amy Ingram” is being primed as the perfect personal assistant, seamlessly scheduling meetings politely and unobtrusively. She won’t need sick leave or maternity leave and she won’t need time off to attend weddings or funerals.

Her hair is Harlow gold. Her lips sweet surprise. Her hands are never cold.
Amateur astronomer Alex Cherney captured these star trails as they blazed above Lake Tyrrell, a salt lake in Victoria, Australia,

The digital revolution is underway, and it’s all about you – or is it? Uranus will be moving through Aries, the first sign of the zodiac until May 2018 and like Icarus we’re flying high on the fire of innovation. We’re talking about change.

Uranus last traveled through Aries in 1927-1935 where individual values were annihilated in the destructive polemics of an ideology.  Change, innovation, much like revolutions tend to be messy and often spiral like hurricanes across the lives of ordinary people.

Is change always ‘‘for the good”? Is “progress” always in the best interest of the other animals that live on this earth? Are abstract ideals and revelations always in the best interests of the individual?

In astrological symbolism Uranus is called an outer planet. It orbits silently through space about 2.6 billion to 3.2 billion km from our earth. Uranus is associated with anarchy, social upheaval, as well as technology and ecology. Uranus was first “discovered” in 1781 at a time of upheaval in America and France and an industrial revolution that changed social structure in Britain irrevocably. The ‘‘discovery” of outer planets mirrors the spirit of the time here on earth.

Uranus is often associated with rebellion and individuality – but it is not associated with individual development and emotional or spiritual needs. It is about the individual being caught up in the group, The Collective. Often we are fighting against the very thing that binds us. Of course the more determined we are to stand only in the light, the longer and more odorous our shadow will be – or the Shadow “out there”.  The Lion Killer who killed Cecil the lion mirrors our collective or personal disconnect from Nature and all living things. Politicians bloated on power and greed reflect our own appetites and avariciousness.

Perhaps robotics will satiate our craving for fantasy. Perhaps they will bring order and perfection to our mixed-up muddled-up lives. Perhaps they will be an outlet for even for more violence and cruelty. They  are Uranian in that they offer a perfect solution to human  imperfection. sex doll 5

Everything is interconnected. There is no light without darkness. No lotus without mud. The gaming industry meets virtual reality porn – how far will we go? And will we lose our connection  with what nourishes us at the deepest level? Will our authentic Self be dominated by the collective push towards technology as a replacement for real human relationships in all their messiness and unpredictability?

Writes Jungian astrologer, Liz Greene in her superb book, The Art of Stealing Fire, “Uranus can only exercise his creative power from an invisible place, from the depths of the collective unconscious. This is a place we don’t have access to, unless we are shocked into awareness by inspirations which erupt as though out of nowhere, and remind us that once upon a time the whole of the universe was conceived as a single perfect design. And when that happens we might not always be able to handle it very well.”

 

smart phones 2Today we’re possibly the most connected we’ve ever been. We compulsively share and receive.  And yet in the sea of faces and in the eyes that don’t meet ours in our morning commute to work we wrap ourselves up tightly in the neurosis of technology the habit of distraction.  Yet it’s unlikely we’ll call upon our legions of Facebook friends or Twitter followers in our darkest hour.  In the ceaseless stream of conversation the lonely ones are washed onto the jagged rocks of isolation. Says  Thay Thích Nhat Hanh  “we are one of the loneliness societies – we need to talk about social recovery… something has gone wrong with us not only as individuals and as a group.”

Most of us do know we live in an illusion of separateness and yet so often we are dazzled by the brightness, the glitter of our world. We make connections and yet remain disconnected.

Can we be individuals in this web of technological connectivity? This is where we may have to make a choice. There are Off buttons on our Smartphones. We can unplug our earphones. We can refuse to use Facebook or WhatsApp. But do we dare?

We’re all individuals, aren’t we?
sex dolls 4

 Betty Davis Eyes  Kim Carnes and Betty Davis. Originals.

 

 

 

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, illuminating our inner landscape. To find out more about your own birth chart, or to experience a workshop please contact me on info@trueheartwork.com

 

 

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One Day I’ll Fly Away

touching the stars“Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

True Originals are rare. Original thought and pioneering acts of great daring are attempted by only a few brave souls on this earth. The courage to be different requires a stalwart steadiness that few of us possess.

Pioneering computer scientist and mathematician, Alan Turning’s seminal work shorted the war against the Nazis, saving countless lives. He was prosecuted for homosexual acts in 1952 and chose chemical castration as an alternative to prison. Sixteen days before his 42nd birthday he died of cyanide poisoning and was posthumously “pardoned” by Queen Elizabeth 11 in 2013.

As a young prodigy at boarding school, Alan was savagely bullied and tormented for his differentness. His rescuer is an older boy, Christopher Morcom, who says these words which carry him through the rest of his short life: “Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

Later in life, Alan Turning says, “Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes… hollow.”  His differentness and courage is compellingly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2014 movie, The Imitation Game. 

The courage to be different is risky. Like shooting stars, burgeoning lives are extinguished as they soar too high to be seen or fully understood. Joan of Arc was nineteen years old when she was burnt alive. Vincent van Gogh was 37. Steve Biko was 30. They dared to be different.

little babyFor some Ugly Ducklings, for some Mistaken Zygotes, the courage to be different requires leaving the known and taking the risky and often life-threatening journey to find our swans. We are Outsiders. Sometimes persecuted, scapegoated for our differentness. Sometimes we are lucky enough to find a swan who loves us because we are different.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “from the time they are babies they are taken captive, domesticated, told that they’re not right, they’re wrong headed and improper.

 They were trained to remain contained. To never really spread their wings, and especially never to find those who are like themselves. That was considered very, very dangerous.”

Bravery is weighted with risk. We may jettison our most cherished relationships, our livelihood or our lives along the way. Despite the anachronisms and soap suds, the TV series Masters of Sex depicts the pioneering research by William Masters and Virginia Johnson into human sexual response and sexual dysfunction in a time of  hypocrisy and bigotry. They dared to explore taboos and expose fear and ignorance during the counter revolution of the 1960s. They were the lucky ones. They risked and succeeded with a roll of the dice in times when it was dangerous to be different.lovers 60s

“We talk about being emotionally healthy and often overlook the spiritual emotions.”  In Thomas Moore’s latest book, A Religion of One’s Own, he suggests A courageous  approach to caring for the soul when most psychologists label a cry from the soul as ADD and silence the exquisite poetry of  symptoms with drugs.

“Many people begin a spiritual project – meditation, yoga, a new religion – while they have complicated emotional problems entangled in their spiritual longings… I recommend self-therapy, exploring your fear, desire, sexuality, anger, personal past and relationships. I don’t see therapy as fixing what is broken but rather as tending to you whole psyche.” 

curious incident of the dog in the night timeMark Haddon explores mystery and exquisite beauty of differentness in his profoundly moving book, now also an award-winning London play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night Time. Soul lies entwined in the entangled threads of human relationships and most certainly in the supreme sensitivity of the young narrator, Christopher John Francis Boone, who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties.”

We’re probing the mysterious frozen mountains of Pluto and her five shadowy moons. Perhaps this is a metaphor for a Collective transformation. A brave exploration of calcified structures, fundamentalist rigidity, faded injunctions in dusty tomes that no longer serve humanity and all the other sentient beings that share our blue planet. On a personal level, this could signify a time to bravely venture into the chlothic underworld of our own psyche and meet the Minotaur at the centre of the Labyrinth.

Christopher says, “And when the universe has finished exploding all the stars will slow down, like a ball that has been thrown into the air, and they will come to a halt and they will all begin to fall towards the centre of the universe again. And then there will be nothing to stop us seeing all the stars in the world because they will all be moving towards us, gradually faster and faster, and we will know that the world is going to end soon because when we look up into the sky at night there will be no darkness, just the blazing light of billions and billions of stars, all falling.”

Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.

Randy Crawford – One Day I’ll Fly Awaystar gazers

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Heartbeats

mermaid lanterns ... By Victor NizovtsevIntuition, psychic powers, mediumship and spiritual séances are all the province of astrological Neptune.

Long before Rene Descartes announced, cogito, ergo sum I think therefore I am, the irrational mind, the realm of intuition and symbolic thought, was an incendiary to the collective projections of those shadowy parts of our humanness that slumber within us all.

Can we hear the whisper of our Higher Self in the babble and bustle of over-scheduled lives? Do we have the time and inclination to spin straw into gold, or venture outside without iPhones or Sat Navs in search of  our Swans?

Author Anne Lamott suggests, “You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating. Few of us arrive at a place of stillness where we can mine our intuitive knowing through sound bites and status updates.” 

Founder of bio cognitive science and author of The Mind Body Code, Mario Martinez says  “We suffer from Desartesian Anxiety. The split between mind and body. We have to develop transcendental legs.”
imagesCAVUFHD8 In many shamanic traditions as well as in ancient Greece, madness was thought to be a possession by a deity.  What a shaman would call a vision quest or an ecstatic trance might today be termed a psychotic episode.

Mystics and Martyrs, the thousands of intractable virgins who met gruesome deaths today might be labelled “anti-social or borderline, paranoid, or narcissistic” by psychologists who name parts that cannot be named and try to capture souls in butterfly nets made of clinical cases.

For some, intuitive powers are ridiculed, dismissed, or trivialized by those who adorn themselves in the Emperor’s Clothes of personal power.

We don’t have a vocabulary to fully describe the feeling of an intuitive “hit”. Some would say it diffuses the body with a deeper Knowing that feels like a union with the Divine. Our “gut feel” is part of our ancient legacy along with our dexterous prehensile thumb. Our foray into non-ordinary realms of more sophisticated levels of  inner guidance is a quest for inner illumination and here we must enter the medial realm. Here we must find a place we can seek solace from the world and restore our trust in our own intuitive power without the comfort blanket of “proof” or a “sign.”murmuration

Caroline Myss says, “I firmly believe that intuitive or symbolic sight is not a gift but a skill. It is based on self-esteem.”

Those with supernatural powers who practiced the Old Religions seldom died peacefully in their beds. The old knowledge flowed through the generations in shadowy subterranean rivers across bones, through ashes of thousands of bodies consumed in the flames of suspicion and fear. It makes sense that our confidence is shaky.

Myth and fairy tales depict the hero’s journey that usually involves some kind of impossible trial or death defying test. Later fairy tales, sanitized by the industrious Brothers Grimm are colour-washed with  various hues of morality but the message, if somewhat diluted and Disney-fied is still clear:  Pride and vanity, greed and ill manners won’t impress Prince Charming.  Only a pure and generous heart can receive the wisdom and guidance that brings true love and lasting happiness.

Pakayla Biehn woman with blossomsThere is a gossamer veil between the much sought-after “peak experience” lauded by some exponents of transpersonal psychology and the descent into madness or the oblivion of addiction. When is a visionary a lunatic or a guru or a saint? When is mediumship or the ability to traverse the medial realm simply an hysterical personality disorder? When is an intuitive  simply a cunning conman? The danger of course is that Never-Never-Land is a place of perennial pleasure and moral ambiguity.

faery tale

All our experiences are subjective, deeply personal. Our human experience is eloquently reflected in our birth charts. Astrology has a planetary symbol to describe our human experience.  There is a precise and perfect moment of divination. And As above so below. The great astrologer Isabel Hickey once told her students that so many of us ring up our Higher Selves then put down the phone before we can receive an answer.

When we appeal to our intuition ( Higher Self or Wise Man or Woman ) for guidance the answer may come in a dream or  appear while we are walking to work.
swordAlong with our  ability to discern different colours of fruit and berries in the jungle our brains have evolved over the eons to discern, to compartmentalize, to judge and label – good or bad.

Many tarot cards readers and astrologers dread the black and white and the client that sits back in the chair saying, “so will this be good a good year for me?” as if some Celestial Thunderbolt will emerge from a bruised bank of clouds at the stroke of midnight and jump start a stalled relationship, reverse the course of cancer, remove all intractable obstacles towards riding to the ball in a glistening coach drawn by eight white horses.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift,” is the much-quoted comment by Piscean Albert Einstein.

We so generously hand over our power to others, so quickly forget that within the wisdom of our heart and the wise brain of our body, lie a repository of wisdom that had been encoded for centuries.magic

 Deepak Chopra says that “intuition should come in the pure clarity of silence and should guide you into spontaneously making evolutionary choices.” It requires courage and vigilance to sift our own emotional and mental flotsam – diligently and as it comes up to and weave a veil of integrity, whole heartedness and true compassion. This requires us to discern the difference between our own narratives and those voices that have authority over us. The real spiritual journey is ongoing. It requires what Caroline Myss calls becoming more attuned, even though we sometimes have to start all over again but we become more astute and stronger at it.

 And so, if we stay true to our personal code of honour and practice loving kindness to all sentient beings, our intuition will be a beacon to guide us through even the darkest hours of our lives. It is inner sight that we develop as we undertake our heroes’ journey and when our eyes grow dim with age our guiding light will shine brightly as we prepare to say our last goodbyes.

 

 HeThe Little Princere is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye, said The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

 

 

Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats

 

3

Every day is a Winding Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For most of us, Happiness is feeling completely alive.

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

Happiness is answering your calling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

little girl reading

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

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

faeries and dance

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

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

 

 

Sheryl Crow – Everyday is a Winding Road

Illustration by Julie Paschkis

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Try

eva“You can’t do sweatpants. Ladies, number one cause of divorce in America, sweatpants, no!” This statement apparently “went viral”, or so the friend who tossed this scanty frivolity across cyberspace into my inbox explained. And the purveyor of this relationship advice? Celebrity Eva Mendes. Unmarried. And presumably wearing sweatpants.

My friend was intrigued. Did this mean women who wear sweatpants “let themselves go? And if so, do women who wear sweatpants deserve to lose their husbands?”

It was this conundrum to wear or not to wear sweatpants that got me thinking today. Not about how the media and social networking sites send our serotonin plummeting. Not about the millions of women on this planet who either cannot afford to buy sweatpants or those who are forbidden to wear them. I thought about how we spend our whole lives in search of our uniqueness and yet as little girls we begin to lop off, dislocate, hide away those parts of ourselves that are different. I thought about how we hard we try to conform.

We talk so glibly about being “goddesses”. The pretty ones with long blonde hair. Not those with ravaged faces and hair as tangled as a mango pip.woman driving We talk so glibly about women empowering other women. Yet around boardroom tables, in our schools and universities, in the shaded streets of suburbia and amidst the ceaseless chatter of social networking sites we criticise, complain, control and compare.

We’re hardwired to compare. In western culture this primitive survival default has evolved into competitive comparison. We are initiated in our families of origin by the voices of others who say we are too loud or too big or too greedy. We are told that we must try harder to be more, do more. We endure what Tara Brach calls the “hell realms” of schooling. We learn how to look, how to succeed in certain prescribed ways in order to “fit in”.

As adults we enter the portals of “hell realms” that require us to have certain credentials, to behave in ways that conform to group or company culture. We imbibe injunctions from the world around us and move through our lives in what Tara Brach calls this “Trance of Unworthiness”.

Poet Adrienne Rich once wrote, “Until we know the assumptions in which we are drenched, we cannot know ourselves.”

 

bookOur quest for self-improvement leaves us with an insatiable thirst. We criticise, second-guess, don’t dare to question, to ask ourselves, is this True – for me?

Control. It’s something we are taught early. Our bladders, our anger, our hunger, our fear, our desires… we wrestle with the animal instincts of our bodies, we tame our appetites, we harden the soft roundness of our bellies, flatten ourselves against the struggle of life. We want to belong, so they like us. We try hard, so very hard. And we give it all away.

Author and philosopher, Sam Keen warns, “think of these signs as similar to the warning label on a cigarette package. Caution: these practices may be hazardous to your spiritual heath.”

swan maiden

Most forms of psychotherapy suggest that change is slow and often painful. That it may take us years of silent struggle to untangle the twisted roots of shame and self-loathing that reach through the bleached bones of our ancestors. That we are enslaved by our genetic inheritance.

And yet neuroscience suggests we are growing new neural pathways, re-wiring our brains, continually. We have the ability to visualise outcomes. Change limiting beliefs (and remember that no-one has forced us to believe what hamstrings our joyous movement through life) and chose new beliefs, new stories about our past, our present. Our imaginations are universes of infinite possibility. Metaphysics suggests that change can occur quickly if we revel and delight in the changing circumstances of our lives and befriend our beliefs with kindness and gentleness. If we act “out of character” and embrace our impulses, act as if our beliefs were true in the here and now. Any mantra or affirmation that makes us feel calm and at peace, any thought that feels like an opportunity to learn or experience something new. So, as we journey down this river of life, we dip our school-shaped, society-sculpted oars into the ambiguity of our humanness… perhaps we will see our own reflection and gasp at our own unique magnificence – in sweatpants.

 

 

With thanks to Nedra Fetterman for sending me the link to Colbie Caillat’s – Try

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