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Cheryl Strayed Tag

Endurance—Sun in Aries—March 20th

If your nerve deny you, go above your nerve—Emily Dickinson.

The days stretch long in the north. In the south, autumn’s honeyed light spills over sun-bleached grasses. On March 20th, the Sun slips into Aries, marking the spring or autumn Equinox. The start of the astrological new year.

Aries is associated with vibrant reds; with the purifying heat of fire; with raw vitality and with that heart-stopping, breath-holding moment when we take that terrifying leap forward. When we go above our nerve.

Aries is where we encounter our own autonomy, our ability to return to life, to find ourselves anew.

It is in Aries that we must dare to find the deeper meaning of courage and endurance as we wear our bravest smile, take the hand of our loved one whose light is dimming. As our own Aries planets are forged in the heat of the Sun, we may feel hope that comes in a heated rush; a surge of ardor that emboldens us to speak out, make a move, before it’s too late. As the Sun climbs across the equator, we may feel a sense of relief and renewal as a relationship unspools, leaving us heartsore and lighter.

Aries is a Mars-ruled sign. The raw energy of Mars is ignited by a goal; something to conquer or defendthe Romans pragmatically dedicated the month of March to war-god as they set off on their campaigns, certain of fresh supplies. We may notice Mars energy all around us this month. Survival, and procreation are embodied in the natural world as the urgent thrust of spring spills over the land in a cascade of colour and the sweetest song.

As Venus (relationships, what we hold dear to our hearts) moves into Aries on March 21st and makes her annual appointment with the Sun (March 24th), the words of author Isabel Allende may resonate as we burn for something new “we don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward…” Venus and the Sun conjoin Chiron on March 2830th—an indication that for most of us, the road ahead may not be easy.

When the Sun enters Aries, a flash of light shines through an aperture—igniting the hero/warrior archetype, and its shadow, the destroyer. In myth and in fairy tale, the hero/warrior archetype is typically masculine. Heroes slay nine-headed dragons, rescue hapless damsels, defeat degenerate villains. Yet the destroyer lives amongst us, tattooed in the distortion of the Hero/Warrior depicted in the media, enacted in our homes, behind closed doors, or in the shadowy realm of cyberspace.

Aries’s shadow is self-centred and brutal as depicted by the cruel anonymity of trolling, the persistent violence of stalking and digital voyeurism, the misogynistic harassment and assault that is endemic in our culture. This patriarchal power-over behaviour—directed at “foreigners”, blacks, gays, women, and those people who live with disabilities, has seeped through society for eons. Barely a week after International Women’s Day, the killing of Sarah Everard sent shock waves of grim recognition through everyone who has clutched a can of mace or hurried coiled, contracted, through a subway or a park. As a primal fear and rage bled across the internet, the vigil on Clapman Common was met by acts of aggression by the Metropolitan police, reminiscent of the brutality inflicted on the Suffragettes, the police killings that ignited the Black Lives Matter movement.

The dark face of the Ram is testosterone-fueled anger, self-absorption, competitiveness, single-mindedness. Our self-directed quest to “find our voice” may deafen the voices of others; our need to be “free” may mean breaking the heart of someone who loves us.

As Mars moves through Gemini (March 4th April 24th) our negative thoughts and beliefs may be obstacles to conquer. As Nasa’s Perseverance grinds and clanks across the arid surface of the red planet in search of past life, we may feel this same sense of grinding and clanking against obstacles that demand resilience and perseverance. When Mars moves through the element of air, words become blades, rhetoric morphs into bullets and the dark tide of anger rises, setting fire to old grudges and unexamined narratives.

As existential angst heightens our human response to threat and uncertainty, surveillance capitalism harvest our emotional bonds, sells our anger and our shame as “data.” “The goal now is to automate us,” writes Shoshana Zuboff, in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.

The motif of the Saturn/Uranus square—a cycle that began in 1988 with a Saturn/Uranus conjunction in Capricorn—infuses our lives with defining moments as regulations tighten, people push back. This year, three waning squares define the zeitgeist of disruption—the first was February 17th, June 14th is the second. In tandem and working in the darkness, the ominous Pluto/Eris square dredges up all that is putrid in our societies, as we wade through what Eckhardt Tolle calls “the pain body.”

The applying square of Saturn and Uranus back in 2000 brought recession after the dot-com bubble of the late 90s detonated. Alignments of staid Saturn and unpredictable Uranus mark economic collapse, civil unrest, radicalisation—the gain or loss of human rights and liberty. Martial law has been extended in Myanmar, a savage repeat of lethal confrontations between the military and the “’88 generation” of students that led the uprising in 1988.

As new lockdown measures are imposed in many countries, Mercury muscled into  Aries on April 4th. Frustration simmers. The passage of Venus (April 23rd) sensitises the destabilising Saturn/Uranus square, followed by the Sun (April 30th-May 4th) and Mars adds fuel to the flames this year and next. (July/November 2021;  March/April/July/ 2022.)

For most of us, our hero’s or heroine’s quest is not a muscular or spectacularly heroic response to the challenges of life. So often, it’s the austere grip of necessity that wrenches us out of our ordinary lives and gives us no choice but to dare greatly. Financial ruin, illness, the noxious fallout from a ruined relationship may ignite within our hearts the courage we never knew we had.

Cheryl Strayed writes, “you go on by doing the best you can. You go on by being generous. You go on by being true. You go on by offering comfort to others who can’t go on. You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and by allowing the pleasure in other days. You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage”.

For some of us, an ordinary life lived with as much consciousness and courage we can muster is heroic. Our quest is cyclical, not linear: we so often face the same obstacles and foes along the way. And even though there are times when it takes every last spark of courage to unearth something positive, anything hopeful, to hold onto, we go on. And we do the best we can.

Please get in touch if you would like a private astrology consultation: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

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Burning Ambition—Mars and Saturn in Capricorn—Simply Dig!

Mars and Saturn 8There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this―Terry Pratchett

As the rhythm of our lives moves to the shape of this new month, each new day may present new possibilities to engage more deeply, more consciously, even amidst the repetition and predictability of our daily lives. Mars takes the lead this month, demanding an output of focus and energy which is book-ended by a close conjunction to Saturn that separates gradually over the next few days―March 29th to April 9th―and Mars conjunct Pluto at month’s end. A clarion call to show up, get to work with urgency and self-discipline.

In Tarot the Three of Pentacles symbolises this focused effort which brings recognition and rewards for hard work, for not letting go of the balloon. In astrology, Mars/Saturn contacts encapsulate the Puritan work ethic: self-denial, hard slog that manifests something of value and worth. Cheryl Strayed wraps this planetary aspect up in her own inimitable way― “writing is hard….Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.” Modern culture venerates efficiency and busyness. In the bland drudgery of the workplace we may feel we are “hitting our heads against a brick wall”, “fighting against the odds”, as Mars/Saturn contacts may manifest as exhaustion, low libido, feelings of frustration, being motivated by fear or duty. There are bills to pay, encumbrances and obligations that bind us to roles, titles, and positions that harness our identities, that chafe against the pull of our souls. Mystic and poet, John O’Donohue, writes about an  epitaph on a gravestone somewhere in London―“Here lies Jeremy Brown born a man and died a grocer.”  Mars/Saturn can consume our identity. Self-abstinence can shrink our lives, imprison us in our titles, starve us of our joy.

The sky-script this month reflects the age-old issue of power. We may work in an office where our dignity is compromised, we may be in an environment where we don’t feel welcome, where power is misused, where we are merely treated like functionaries, our life force claimed and used, our souls never engaged. We are reminded that no system or corporation can exile us from our imagination, from the possibility of renewal that coheres to fresh possibilities for creativity in the work we do, or the passions that feed us after hours.

Leonard Cohen approached his creative work with doggedness and determination. He drew nourishment and meaning from hard work. “I think unemployment is the great affliction of man. Even people with jobs are unemployed. In fact, most people with jobs are unemployed. I can say, happily and gratefully, that I am fully employed. Maybe all hard work means is fully employed.” The combination of Mars/Saturn demands true grit, single-pointed focus, and the courage to lean into our lives when there are things that must be done, to tackle those things we fear the most, and also to stand on the edge of the rut, to turn towards those things that moisten, that nourish our soul. To say, happily and gratefully, that we are fully employed with those things that bring vitality and passion to our lives.
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Mercury is in Retrograde ’til April 15th—a cosmic instruction to pause, step back from the busyness, disengage, focus inwards before making any decisions, carefully read the small print before signing any documents. Most astrologers would agree that these three-week Mercury retrograde phases are wonderful times to revalue, revise, repair, relocate, remember, regress, reunite, re-create, re-arrange and re-do on the purely physical mechanical level.

Mercury is in the element of fire, in the sign of Aries. Fire symbolism is associated with creativity, the Jungian intuitive function, the way we create our future. Mercury Retrograde in the element of fire signals a break in old patterns, a transition in our creative focus. We may attempt to “start something” without true inspiration and verve, or reach a very stuck place where eventually events, or emotions erupt, bringing destruction of the old. Yet in the rubble are new green shoots, new possibilities to grow, the much longed for changed we dreaded, yet unconsciously manifested.

b78166531030d114975548f27a768630We may have to find the courage to respond to the challenges in our lives with increased awareness, with more resilience. This is a time to shift focus, to perceive our lives with new vision. This is a time to adapt to change more creatively.

Physical illnesses that emerge during this time may nudge us back to those parts of our psyche that we have neglected or overused. The writer’s “block”, the flatness that we feel, might be a signal to change our daily routine, our technique. To try on something new, to experiment.

Depending on where Mercury is natally and in transit in your own birth chart, these next three weeks until Mercury goes direct again on April 15th may be a richly creative time. A time to seek your own inner wisdom, reclaim your own inner voice.

Saturn  moves Retrograde at 9 degrees Capricorn on April 18th and will station direct on September 7th urging us to be resourceful, realistic, and pragmatic, as we take stock of those things that frustrate us, confront those fears that thread through our neural pathways, ambushing our peace from the shadows.

This month’s New Moon carries the standard of rejuvenation, represented by the lightning bolt conjunction with Uranus, the planet associated with the destruction of complacency and rigidity.  This lunation heralds destruction and renewal.  The Moon waxes Full on April 30th at 9 degrees Scorpio. Both lunations this month are ruled by Mars, the ancient god of war who awakens Eros, heats our blood, spurs our will.

The month ends as Mars confronts Pluto―April 24th to April 30th ― in a separating conjunction that may bring an honest acceptance of our own part in the soap opera of our relationships, our addiction to busyness, perhaps an awareness of the drives and compulsions that lie buried in our brain’s amygdala. This energy may be described as drawing a line, setting a boundary, and knowing what it is that we want, then going out to get it.

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Mars and Saturn in Capricorn awaken our will to give space to the spontaneity of our feral souls, to shake off the chains that bind us to prescribed roles or identities which shrink us and dull our lives with repetitive, mechanical habit. We are reminded that we do not have to sell our souls to the seductive undertow of security. We do not have to stay trapped in the coal mine amidst dark seams of similarity. The turbulence of our soul’s yearning will guide us to leave the to-do lists aside as we step outside of our over-scheduled lives to engage deeply with ourselves. To be happily and gratefully, fully employed.

 

For private readings and more information about forthcoming workshops, please connect with me: ingrid@trueheartwork.come161c6a1926b4facec8e008a42bb059d

 

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