TrueHeartWork | astrology
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astrology Tag

grace-5

Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

trees

The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn

Kate Havenik- Grace

 

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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

 

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Fragile

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

Film, literature and poetry depict the flawed hero, the Black Sheep, the Sacrificial One who becomes the Redeemer. We vicariously watch the Rebel, the circuit breaker deliver the seismic shock that topples atrophy in the family system. We rejoice in the regeneration, the potency of new growth.  The BBC’s adaptation of Irish writer John Banville’s novels portrays the pervasive power of family secrets and our complex relationship with what can be told and that which must be unspoken. Gabriel Byrne  in the title role of Quirke, (like Morse, we never find out his Christian name ) enters the portal of his past and attempts to untangle the dark knots of his family complexes: Affairs, addictions, misuse of power, and the redemption of Love. Sarah Polley, in her documentary Stories We Tell explores the twisted thread of secrets in her own family. She  discovers that her mother and Montreal producer Harry Gulkin sequestered their love. That she was born of their hidden passion. images22Y370YN

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

And yet, we do know. Many of us spend much of our lives moving forwards, never daring to look back. At first we may run like the Gingerbread Man, as fast as we can, to escape the dark shadows of our inheritance. Or like Bluebeard, we keep the gruesome corpses of our memories locked away with the key that bleeds. Perhaps we stuff the dark terror of our past into a glass bottle where it floats across the sea but eventually washes up on the shores of future generations. Family secrets are intuited even by young children, unpicked, uncovered, with the best intentions by loving parents who wish to protect them from what they perceive as a dangerous truth.

Author of Mating in Captivity, Esther Perel, examines the western belief that there should be total transparency.“ In America, lying can never be an act of caring. We find it hard to accept that lying would be protective, this is an unexamined idea. In some countries, not telling, or a certain opaqueness, is an act of respect. Also, maybe the opposite of transparency isn’t intimacy, it’s aggression. People sometimes tell for their own good, as an act of aggression.”

Nations have secrets too. We turn a blind eye. Stay under the radar, in fear of reprisal, in terror of putting our lives or those of our families at risk. Like the frog in the beaker of slowly boiling water, we remain in physically or spiritually destructive environments as the temperature increases insidiously, lethal degree by degree. Often we must confront our past, choose differently, knowing that nothing will ever be the same again.images6QQ32JVY

So often it is in our families we inherit secrets and lies and encounter conflicts and complexes that have ossified over many generations. Sometimes it is helpful to revisit the past. Sometimes it is not.

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

flying birdsLike racehorses, some of us are destined to be weighted more heavily from the start. Perhaps in looking back, we learn how to walk bravely in the dark. We may glimpse in the stories, the artifacts, the letters and perhaps the old photographs, the strength, the creativity, the courage of those who have walked before us. In their pain we discover the portal to our  fragility. In the opaqueness of their secrets, the bright spark of Divinity is concealed in the soft folds of their humanity.

 

Sting and Paul Simon, Fragile

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Josh Smith – Already There

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Cause I Love You

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

We talk flippantly of Love as if Love can be compartmentalised into a neat life all of its own.  As if Love is a play-thing, to put aside when we tire of it, or it becomes too big and boisterous for our small stingy lives. Each one of us yearns (whether we will admit it or not) to be loved and cherished. To have someone to love and cherish in return. Yet still we lazily window-shop for Love on dating sites. Foolishly mistake Love for Sex.  Are not truly brave enough to do the inner work to weed our garden so that a small seed of Love may grow tall in the sunlight.

Many of us live our lives vicariously through the lives of other heroes or heroines. We balk at provocative choices. Terrified we may expose our soft-bellied vulnerability, we manacle ourselves with the cold steel fear of rejection, memories of past betrayals, disappointments. We play it safe, never daring to throw the dice lest we score too high for comfort. Then one new day, we awake to find our fervent prayers have been answered by a benevolent god! How we tremble and shake in unspeakable terror as we stand on the precipice; afraid to take that giant leap, to tumble weightlessly into Love. Afraid to do what it takes to be with the one we cannot be without. Love, like old age, and death, is not for the squeamish. To fall into Love requires valour. To stay in Love demands tenacity.

Science makes an attempt to measure the power of Love by assigning our light-headed omnipotence and euphoria to dopamine and oxytocin. Mood-altering chemicals that flood our brains and make us feel ecstatic. Our right (emotional intuitive) brain lights up like a Christmas tree, and our left (logical language) brain is all shook up, without words to adequately describe … well, nothing really matters any more, except the urgent desire to be with the one we love forever and ever … Astrology describes the synastry, the poetry of the composite chart of a relationship, yet not our warm arousal from a long slumber and our pulse that beats with ardour,  urgent passion.  We can measure the how. But why we fall we fall in love, why we swoon in the languor of our eroticism, why we bow our heads to our heart’s holiness, why we enter the hallowed portals with blouse unbuttoned, tossing our hair in the face of our morbid fears, remains a Mystery. “Nothing is Mysterious. No human relation. Except Love,” Susan Sontag wrote.

Love is the song of our soul, our connection with our own Divinity. We must take in Love through all six of our senses; imbibe it through all our orifices. Experience it, fully, bravely, with all our human hearts.

“Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced,” wrote John Keats who lived his life brightly, like a  tremulous dew-drop, and died at  twenty-five, having all too briefly experienced the intensely real burn of passion. Love is the substance of Life. And death. “We must love one another or die,” Auden wrote. And cantankerous Philip Larkin affirmed in his famous ode to immortality, “What will survive of us is love”.

There comes a time when we simply cannot go on rummaging through the closets of our childhood looking for reasons for why things happen as they do. We cannot go back to the postage stamps of our past fumbled attempts at Love.  We must dredge up our strength, our courage, to stop punishing ourselves, each other. Risk using our imagination to see the perfection within one another.  Bravely continue our pilgrimage, with blisters and bleeding feet, ravished by our own longing. Tenderly follow the scarlet blaze of our own life essence that carries like sweet perfume and mingles with the still night air.

We have just one choice: To allow our hearts to rule, and the warmth of our lover’s perfect body to caress us back to life again.

When my heart came to rule
in the world of love,
it was freed
from both belief
and from disbelief.

On this journey,
I found the problem
to be myself.

When I went beyond myself,
the pathway finally opened.

Mahsati Ganjavi (12th Century)

Art by Irina Vitalievna

James Blunt – Cause I love you.

 

 

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Hometown Glory

“My sister’s not talking to me again,” lamented Maggie, who comes from a family that handles “hot potato” issues by abrupt withdrawal, rigidly polarized role-playing, vast, frozen lakes of silence. Behind closed doors, shuttered windows, or on the altar of talk shows we enact archetypal patterns. For most of us, though, family bonds flourish in adversity, survive ruptures, reincarnate in the comfort of shared history and the cohesion of blood ties. For others, feuds fester for generations; anger poisons the food at the dinner table.

 As we grow into adulthood, it is within our family relationships that we are challenged to set the bar high for our personal growth. Our interactions with our parents and siblings ask that we draw from our creative Higher Self to break the cycle of habitual role playing, to short circuit destructive behaviour. We may need to be counterintuitive to breach the walls of a heavily guarded family secret. To ask questions that inspire thought and heart connection, rather than ignite reactivity. To validate and empathise rather than judge or blame. To choose not to react to behaviour that baffles or appears insensitive or cruel, in the knowledge that it rises from an ancient riverbed of pain. Sometimes it is the news of an accident, an affair, a splintering divorce or lingering illness that opens padlocked hearts, draws us together to deal with a family crisis bonded by our blood. Often it means dismounting from our high horse, bowing our heads to our hearts. Asking ourselves, “do you prefer that you be right, or happy?” (A Course in Miracles)

Like a flock of starlings, families have a murmuration, a rhythmic dance of energy that is passed on from generation to generation. Family therapists see “the identified patient”, the disturbed child or adolescent, who comes bearing the symptoms of the psychic life of the family.

Astrology describes a different approach to the standard psychological view. Our birth charts depict our perceptions of our parents, the unconscious conflicts they bring into the family home, family fate… present in the symbolism of our life journey. There is an old adage “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.”  Our horoscopes suggest we certainly do choose our family. Our father’s drinking, his covert affairs, the inconsistent or unavailable mother, our sister’s anger, our brother’s depression, is already innate, depicted in the birth chart. We are predisposed, or “fated” to experience our actual parents and the archetypal parents through inner images, our own filters. We may perceive our father as being rejecting, distant. Frequently our actual father will behave towards us in a way that will be rejecting and distant, despite himself. Our own behaviour and conscious or unconscious feelings will elicit a cold and distant response from this father figure who may have other attributes that are perceived very differently by our siblings.   Though the protagonists in the family drama are easy to identify, family complexes are enduring. Salvador Minuchin speaks of a family “system” to which the individual must adapt. Our challenge, our growth comes from knowing that our family members mirror what we disown in ourselves.  Only we can choose to break free of the tyranny of repetitive knee-jerk response to stressors, the old agreements, toxic dynamics and outworn resentments, to try on new behaviour.

Freedom from our suffering comes from taking back our projections, one by one. As Bryon Katie says succinctly, “Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them”.

Families are temples for spiritual growth. We elect the curriculum, and set our own pace to do the work. When things get painful we can choose to cut ties with those who trigger our tantrum-throwing inner two year old. To diminish and dilute painful contact to an occasional well-mannered Hallmark greeting card or a one-line text message. To allow the misunderstandings, miscommunications, to stretch and strain into years of silence.  Or we can value ourselves and our family of origin enough to stand in our own solid, flexible sense of Self. To take responsibility for our own lives, pull back our judgements, and open our hearts to incredible Love. That is Power.

The uniquely magnificent Adele, sings out her soul-sound: Hometown Glory

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A New Day Has Come

Hush now. See the Light in the sky.  A new day has come. The year is re-born.

The life-giving Sun stands still today, this day of the Capricorn Solstice – midwinter in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun lies low over the horizon. Here, in the south, at approximately 7:30am on December 22nd the Sun at its brilliant zenith, big blue skies, the brilliance of midsummer.

At the Solstice, the sun literally stands still. There is no movement. Our life-giving Star rests. Ancient stones placed on sacred sites now swathed in myth and mystery, still stand as silent sentinels to the pathway of the new born Sun, signifying survival in the famine months of the cruel winter. The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year was celebrated by ancient cultures. In more recent history, the ancient Greeks made merry on Lenaia; in ancient Rome, Bacchus the god of wine was honoured and, later, the Romans overturned social conventions at the festival of Saturnalia (the feast of Saturn, god of agriculture) a time of excess and merry making.  

New beginnings… beneath the Victorian trappings and commercialism of Christmas, the glitter of lights in celebration of Diwali and Hannukah, what we are all celebrating is the re-birth of Light, of a new day, the risen christ consciousness within us all.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence…” *   Many of us are efforting, pushing on beyond exhaustion, as this calendar year scurries to an end. Adrenal fatigue, crankiness, a frozen sea of aloneness amidst the frenetic agitation of the supermarkets and striving of the shopping malls. Family gatherings trigger explosive arguments as septic tensions ooze beneath the tinsel and baubles of festive cheer. The spectre of loneliness shadows the conviviality of office parties, with dinner for one on Christmas day.  And yet, the celestial symbolism of astrology brings glad tidings. Jupiter, “benefic” planet of expansion and largesse, turns direct on Christmas Day, with the Capricorn New Moon on Christmas Eve, a lunation heralding a symbolic new beginning, as she marries the New Sun.Capricorn is an earth sign, so use the energy of the element of earth to ground new seeds of hopes, dreams, and intentions for the coming year. Place Hope and Faith at the centrepiece of your festive table. Bow your head to your heart this new day. Pause. Sit quietly and allow the soul to enter in its dappled brilliance. Sup on Gratitude for the year gone by. Raise your glass to Hope, on this New Day. “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaGLVS5b_ZY

Celine Dion, A New Day Has Come

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann.


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No White Flag

Nothing is more abrasive to the human spirit than being ignored or invalidated by the one you love. When a lover, or cherished friend makes a unilateral decision to abort a relationship, and “move on”, we remain behind, emotions cauterised: unheard, unseen, invisible. Very few of us journey through this lifetime un-scalded by the sting of rejection.

“She won’t return my calls,” Jeff told me, despondently stirring a third spoon of sugar into his cappuccino, as if to sweeten the sorrow in his heart, ameliorate the loss of his dream. “She says it’s over. She’s in love with someone else. There’s so much I feel I still want to say to her!” he says, staring despondently into the dark chasm of a future without his Kathy.

Deep attachments are excruciatingly difficult to release lightly, to unravel effortlessly. Especially if they come, not in a fit of pique, or a defensive cold shoulder, but as a deliberate closure, or when some fated event cracks us open, catapults us into the thunder ball of rage and grief.  Of course, we can embalm the Love that once was. Conceal it like a precious pearl in our hearts. Defiantly refuse to raise the white flag and surrender. Or we can accept that these sudden jolts are critical moments in our spiritual life, in our evolution towards a new level of opening.

If we allow ourselves the Grace to experience the raw pain of loss and the darkness of depression, to sit, for as long as it takes, in the stinking sewer of our own self pity and anger, to allow the salty moisture of our tears to cleanse and heal – then, and only then, will our Wise Woman self emerge  to garner the fruits from the dark Mystery of this experience.

Pathos, rather narrowly defined in the modern dictionary as “suffering” was understood in a far more sophisticated and subtle way by the ancient Greeks. For them, pathos embraced the profundity and enormous scope of human experience. We feel the breath of pathos when embraced by a powerful unexpected bolt of passionate love. Or when someone we love dearly leaves us or dies. Or when cataclysmic change occurs in our lives to shock and disorientate us, to fling us into the dark abyss of unknowing. Pathos is something outside us, bigger than ourselves. Joseph Campbell said, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”

Our ancestors knew Pathos. They knew Necessity. They embraced the Mystery of Fate that realigned their lives and personalities.  The shaman would travel to the Underworld to enter into the temple of the soul, to be dismembered by pain and suffering, to be born a-new. With our fundamental either-or beliefs in “facts”, our dumbed down, literal world-view, when Fate intrudes in a coldly detached way, we are so often left, entrails dangling, disorientated, stumbling in the darkness, searching outside ourselves for logical answers.

In my interpretation of astrology, I see pathos acitve in the birth charts of clients who are visited by fate in the form of life threatening illness, a devastating love affair, loss of a child, the seemingly inexplicable ending of a long friendship. It is a visitation of something non-ordinary, impersonal, supernatural. It is a breaking open. We face our own Armageddon  when we succumb to our hidden longings, unfurl our crumpled wings, and free fall into the unknown – a new relationship, new job, a courageous move to a new country. Broken open, we allow our soul to shine through.

“White Flag” – Dido
I know you think that I shouldn’t still love you,
Or tell you that.
But if I didn’t say it, well I’d still have felt it
where’s the sense in that?

I promise I’m not trying to make your life harder
Or return to where we were

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be

I know I left too much mess and
destruction to come back again
And I caused nothing but trouble
I understand if you can’t talk to me again
And if you live by the rules of “it’s over”
then I’m sure that that makes sense

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be

And when we meet
Which I’m sure we will
All that was there
Will be there still
I’ll let it pass
And hold my tongue
And you will think
That I’ve moved on….

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be 

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To Begin Again

 

Endings can be unspeakably painful. Like a folding deck of cards, an ending can evoke a long-buried memory of a lacerating loss, open archives of ancient pain.

 A friendship fades, a partnership dissolves, a Lover leaves, a life partner dies. Our default response is to ferret for some kind of logical reason; to dive into a chasm of rejection and abandonment; or find a balm to soothe the seeping wound. For years, we pick at the scabs of these endings, stew in the bitterness of our own bile, our ego waiting for an admission, an explanation, an apology that never comes.

We self-righteously blame the other for committing the savage crime of rupture. For answering their soul’s call to move on. Like a little child sucking her thumb, we latch on the unforgiveable flaws and non-negotiable behaviours, crumbs of comfort. It would never have worked means “I did not have the courage, or I did not love enough to …”

So often, the astrological symbolism in a client’s birth chart suggests that unconsciously it was she or he that felt the call of her soul to break free from the putrefying corpse of a relationship long deceased.  The composite chart, which contains the soul of the relationship itself, with all its fateful twists and turns, may reflect this need to part, or to re-invent the relationship, some time before it actually happens. Relationships, like the orbits of the planets, cycles of nature, have seasons too. Some never survive the cruel frosts of winter. Others thrust new green shoots after vigorous pruning.

 We all have our own narratives about times of endings. One of the great challenges at these times is to look at the stories we tell ourselves with gentleness and compassion. To acknowledge what is, to imagine what might be.  To accept the initiation into a new soul-ful experience, which always comes through a death  in some shape or form.  Perhaps only one of us feels that the relationship has become lifeless. And the heart rending decision to leave must be carried alone. Is this being callous, selfish, or honouring of the relationship and the one we once loved? Out of the seed of Love blossoms Death, so that Love can grow a-new.

Our relationships, our lives, demand courage and endurance. Courage to Hope again. Endurance to gracefully embrace the cycles of life and death. The wisdom to breathe, and embrace a new beginning.

“After all, computers crash, people die, relationships fall apart. The best we can do is breathe and reboot.” Sex and the City

 

 

 

 

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