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Self Growth

No Where Warm

9cccaeba30c0773c8ba4fa8ad62eaed9When the moon is in the Seventh House

And Jupiter aligns with Mars

Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars…

Have Angels replaced Demons in the New Age Culture? Has positive thinking, good news, Light and Love created an intellectual bulwark against the darkness that stains the bedrock of our human civilization? When the Moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with the god of war what collective energy will steer the stars? Is darkness the shadowy twin of light, as the populist phalanx advances a new political ideology and  tyrants hunt scapegoats?

Perhaps we all have a dark double, a shadowy doppelganger who enters our lives in the shape9c29c0b8c8d436418b638809275acff0 of a person, a political system, a way of life that we either idolize or loathe. Our shadow dances on our bedroom walls and lurks behind the locked doors of seemingly ordinary lives. And confronting the darkness, daring to break the silence, may be life threatening, quite literally, when we dare to speak out against an authoritarian regime or in an abusive relationship.   Writer Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” —with a man who routinely abused her until she had the courage to break the silence, confront those parts of herself that lay in the shadow.

Jung believed that there is an absolute Shadow. An unspeakable, unthinkable, repulsive evil in the world, a place where there’s no where warm. Perhaps this absolute Shadow is a repository for all our the pain-filled thoughts and intentions. Perhaps even the most distorted twisted human being is not wholly evil. Perhaps Demons are simply Angels with broken wings.

no-where-warm-112The fly-covered gore of deviance and cruelty strips away our innocence, pares down our naivety. If we loiter in the shadowy darkness too long we become calloused and cynical, prophets of doom. If we’re afraid of the dark, live only in sunny brightness, we may, as author Caroline Myss suggests, “ live in a climate of a spirituality of denial that an independent force of evil is real. At the same time, we are dealing with moral, physical, political, and financial crises that destroy lives.”

The popular world view remains resolutely dualistic. And yet the notion that there are infinite states of being, “many worlds” according to  physicist, Hugh Everett, has germinated and sprouted into the the mystic crystal revelation and the mind’s true liberation: we can and do create our own reality; that our human brains are not merely thinking machines but powerful receivers of consciousness from the global mind.

The Full Moon at 22 Gemini on December 14th illuminates a silvery patina of light and dark. She ignites a hot spot degree that will gather more energy as we approach Christmas. This Moon trines Jupiter and opposes the Sun/Saturn conjunction which forms on December 9th, providing a “reality check”, shining light, giving us clarity, feedback, on the shadowy paradoxes of our lives and perhaps a greater awareness of the Morphic Field that pulsates in harmony with our thoughts and prayers.hypnosis-12

In traditional astrology, based on the old paradigm of good, evil and patriarchy, Saturn is a “malefic” planet— he represents fear, and those mundane, boring aspects of our lives like hard work, thrift, caution, and self-control.  As Saturn transits our birth chart, he points a stern celestial finger at those aspects of our lives that need focus and serious attention—the health of our body and mind, our relationship with money, illness and the inevitable threshold of death, the authenticity of our relationships, the unconscious habits and patterns that have been gathering dust in the basement of our psyche. Saturn requires his dues of patience, serious hard work, tenacity, and maturity—qualities we must muster when relationships flounder, when civilizations break down and must be rebuilt from ashes and rubble. no-where-warm-22

Saturn is “the Beast” whose doppelganger is “the Handsome Prince.” Without the dappled darkness and the light, this potent symbol flat-lines into a two-dimensional portrayal of good and evil. Saturn is the Lord of Karma, the Dweller at the Threshold. Saturn holds the keys to the gate of self-awareness when we are brave enough to embrace the Beast and see that he’s a magnificent Fallen Angel.

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Venus changes signs on December 7th. She dresses up in Aquarian clothing: unique, candid, communicative, and idealistic, a shift in the celestial symphony this month. She trines Jupiter on Christmas day at the degree of the Jupiter-Uranus opposition so expect things to heat up unpredictably as we approach Christmas.

no-where-warm-10No exact moment exists in linear time to mark the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.  Carl Calleman suggests the 9th Wave was activated in 2011, bringing with it an accelerated thrust for a more egalitarian world, a rising of unity consciousness, which has an idealistic Aquarian quality. But the Age of Aquarius will be an age of sentient robotics, wars detonated by the click of a mouse, ideological conflict, and the same old dualistic thinking of winners and losers, black and white, good and bad… unless we choose differently. There is nothing personal or individual about Aquarius. And the Jupiter/Mars alignment in the song “Aquarius” certainly does not symbolise harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding… though the counter culture contained a vision of the Handsome Prince who wore flowers in his hair.

At this time of global cultural conversion, may we choose to re-create ourselves daily. Embrace the unfathomable darkness, meet the Beast, andno-where-warm-2 let the sunshine in.

Aquarius— 5th Dimension

Featured Image Ana Beatriz Riberio

Military image, United Colors of Benetton

Kate Havnevik—Nowhere Warm

 

 

 

 

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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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Hypnosis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Flag photograph by Alexandra Valenti

Film Frame from the Disney’s  2014 MALEFICENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Ride on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christy Moore— Ride On

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

Oryx Photograph Jeanne Thompson

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

To join, please email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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When You Believe

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

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

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

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

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

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

refugees

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

Walls 1

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

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

When You BelieveMariah Carey and Whitney HoustonHope 3

 

 

Photograph – Long Karoo Road by Jeanne Thompson

 

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Lemonade

beyonce 8

“Are you cheating on me?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Way Down We Go

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaleo Way Down We Go

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

 

 

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The Words You Say

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

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

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

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

defense

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Top photograph by Peter Turnly

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

 

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