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Bryon Katie Tag

Spring in Vaglaskógur

springWe may speak of going back to normal after a desiccating brush with cancer. We may speak of going back to normal after the devastation of a divorce. We may resume a life that is irrevocably altered by violence or death: “a new normal”.

In a world where our collective madness is “normal”, we may have to speak of a “new normal” when everything around us dissolves. When we’re left incredulous. When we wonder,  “what is going on?”

On Sunday, the sun moved into the sign of Aries amidst a flutter of spring blossoms in the north. A spiral of burnished leaves in the south.  Nothing is immutable in this dynamically changing world. All around us there is change and movement even though we may feel stuck or trapped in a situation right now.blue bells

Life is simple,” writes Bryon Katie. “Everything happens at the exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it. It’s just easier if you do.”

Acceptance, like patience, are not qualities we value in our quick-fix-fast-food culture.  Yet accepting what is has a different quality to resignation or passive acquiescence. As we accept things as they are, we learn that true change comes from within. It’s about a shift in perception. A new focus and suddenly, things look different. Problems, obstacles, steadfast blocks dissolve when we accept what is and stop the repetitive ranting about those things that scrape at the layers of our lives and only leave us feeling dis-empowered, discontented, helpless, hopeless.  “It is the paradox of spiritual growth that through such bleak winter journeys we eventually come through a hidden door into a bright field of springtime that we could never have discovered otherwise. This is the heart of the mystical,” wrote John O’Donohue.

0214-florida-mermaid-weeki-wachee-springs-670We are collectively in a very watery Piscean moment… Pisces can be emotionally overwhelming, way too much psychic data and porous boundaries.

Neptune, Venus and Chiron are swimming through the shimmering waters of Pisces now. World-weary Pisces is about emptying out…dissolving, undoing, letting go. Pisces is the last water sign, and if you can imagine the fluidity of water, the immense expanse and depths of our oceans, you will begin to glimpse the un-boundedness and subtly of Pisces. Alice Bailey suggested that Pluto, planet of the ultimate trans-formation is the esoteric ruler of Pisces.

mermaid 8Neptune is associated with our search for the ineffable, for redemption, for some kind of rescue from the banal ordinariness or stale torpor of our lives. Neptune is associated with illusion, delusion, glamour, psychic ability, sacrificial love, deception, dreams, intuition, imagination, mysticism, transcendence, scandal, addiction, sensationalism, paranoia, mass media, fashion fads,deceit and indulgence…and a vice industry that’s worth $456.8 billion and growing. Neptune is an outer planet in our solar system and will traverse this Pisces section of the zodiac until 2026. Outer planets are impersonal. Their transits around the zodiac signify that something “bigger than us” is occurring that is part of our collective evolution. Most astrologers agree that Neptune can be one of the most insidiously destructive planets if we attach sugary sweetness to spirituality and think that Neptune is “spiritual” or “good”. We are at the waning square of a Saturn/Neptune cycle now that may have brought the initiation of illness or the onset of despair. What this separating energy suggests is that we need a  mindful approach to humanely produced food and substances we put into our bodies and a humble sense of discernment of what we assimilate through the media.

Jupiter is in the opposite sign now – Virgo – so this is a counterbalance to the Piscean energy which can be very wafty and ungrounded. Jupiter is the co-ruler of Neptune and Sagittarius and so there is a celestial resonance with all this Pisces energy. A counter-point. A point of integration and grounding for us all globally and collectively, as politicians smile their crocodile smiles and the monochromatic ideals and stark fundamentalism of the 1930s echo ominously through the 24-hour news loop. Be wary of inflated expectations or delusional idealism.

bucket list 33Jupiter in earthy Virgo squares Saturn and also opposes Neptune, a celestial anchor that reminds us  to be discerning.  Our own Victim-Redeemer Consciousness may draw us into the undertow of the dead waters of despair. It takes focus and spiritual muscle to stay positive. To seek out those little things that give our lives texture and substance. It takes strength and resilience to create a “new normal”amidst the rubble of a bomb blast or the ravages of illness or loss.

So as the Great Wheel of the Year turns, Hope unfurls her bright wings to settle upon new green shoots or a shimmering spiral of golden leaves. Nothing is static, immutable or intractable. Let this seasonal shift mark a threshold crossing to a “new normal” whatever that may be for you.

As we celebrate the Spring Festival of Easter in the north (autumn in the south ) let’s accept that everything happens at the exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late.  green fields


Kaleo Vor í Vaglaskógi or Spring in Vaglaskógur


Photograph: Hanging out washing by  Tyrone Turner








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