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David Schnarch Tag

Valentines day 5

Dance me to the end of Love—The Tango of Venus and Mars

Every true lover knows that the moment of greatest satisfaction comes when ecstasy is long over.  And he beholds before him the flower which has blossomed beneath his touch―Don Juan DeMarco

Valentines day 6Love is an act of the imagination. We daub our lover with our oldest longing. We paint his lips with our most noble and generous magnificence. Love photo-shops her imperfections. Love ennobles his good qualities, assigns them with mythical powers. In our love’s vow we talk, we touch, we seal our dreams with a kiss. We know that we are beautiful. We feel young again. Alive, in a way that we haven’t felt in years.

In the warm nascence of Love, we touch our holy longing. In the Mystery of barely knowing him we travel the world, design our new home, merge in our anticipation of something new, something more. As the sun rises on new beginnings, we bask in possibility. Yet according to research on neurobiology, the potent alchemy of attraction is spiked with dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Our intense emotional and physical fusion is only possible with someone we do not yet really know.

We are as changeable as chameleons, as contrary as Mary. In order to feel fully alive, we need a sprinkling of mystery. We require a dash of novelty. We need a splash of change, blended with just enough safety and continuity to ground us. Risk and Fear. Safety and Adventure. We fluctuate like clouds that shape shift across a summer sky.

When we commit to each other, marry, or cohabit, our brains produce the bonding chemicals, oxytocin and vasopressin. We want togetherness—and difference to keep things interesting. Yet in the otherness of our partner we so often respond with judgement. Or we set the bar high for an athletic leap of great expectations which breaks the legs of spiritual growth and sprains our soul’s warm desire.

Our heightened dependence on just one person makes us vulnerable. So, we stack up the sandbags against the rising waters of uncertainty. We construct a prison of predictability in our relationships and choose to stay behind narrow bars of bland neutrality. Our script of staid of assumptions goes something like this: “I always know what you’re thinking” or “he doesn’t talk about emotions,” or the stolidly dependable “she always takes care of all our finances.”

37a9c247dec1879d5415b8a5d76d3d11We dis-own our passion and vitality, clutch at things we feel we can control. We blinker our eyes and stop being curious. Our entire birth chart, and more specifically, the archetypes of Venus and Mars, describe the myriad ways we love embrace, or avoid, Love and Erotic Desire. In myth, Venus was not faithful. She delighted in variety, she evoked jealousy. She defied the patriarchal Greek and Roman morality. In our birth chart, she leads us down to the Underworld to experience orgies of love and humiliating loss, then urges us to emerge again, re-newed, stronger, wiser, eyes wide open.

Mars is the warrior god. And for those of us who sit behind computer screens all day, or push the vacuum cleaner across the floor, we may experience our lust for sex and violence vicariously through movies or sport, or we may morph into a Berserker when we’re stuck in traffic, sniping at our partner for leaving a wet towel on the floor when we arrive home.

Venus is in Capricorn this Valentine’s Day. Venus interpretations so often become stereotypes that don’t embrace the myriad variables of the birth chart. Some astrologers would describe a Capricorn Venus as cool and calculating, earthy and responsible. This week, Venus slips off Capricorn’s crisp classic clothing in celebration of Love. Mars  is in conjunction with Uranus—February 13 and 14th— in the final degrees of Aries, an edgy, erotic combination, associated with lightening bolts and the heated rush of Desire. Within Love’s new beginnings are also endings, as desire and excitement fade into committed Love that lasts until the music dies.Valentines day 14

Venus then conjoins both Saturn and Pluto between February 18-22 th—prompting a new direction in the dance of Love. Mars/Uranus aspects are those lightening bolts that jolt, shake, electrify us, with a love that burns.
Venus in steady Capricorn meets both Saturn and Pluto, describing the serious power struggles that inevitably ensue after the youthful romantic stage of Romeo and Juliet Love dies the scripted, inevitable death.

Risk and Fear are the Guardians at the gate of Love. We cannot be truly intimate or sexually playful when we are vigilant, guarded, or fearful. We cannot be truly intimate or sexually adventurous when we do not take a risk.

Our relationships work, for a while, within a bounded space, enclosed by children and pets, in-laws, work, social responsibility. Until they don’t. Until something happens to shatter the thin veneer of compromise.Until a raging torrent rushes through the aridity of our life. Until the brittle sacrifices implode in a shower of dust. It may be a death, a health-scare, an affair, the loss of a business, our child leaving home. The comfort of fireside companionship, the tangible solidity of the things we own, and the cadence of routine now does not feed our hunger. We go online and gorge, like starving anorexics feasting on chocolate sundae. Or in the seductive gaze of our work colleague or the children’s music teacher, we delight in the sweetness we have denied ourselves for decades. We become alive again.

Val 2Love is a creative act of the Imagination. Its realm is rarefied, intangible, briefly captured like an exquisite butterfly where it flutters to the sound of music, poetry, the wind whispering through the trees.

Intimacy waits patiently for Love’s transient rapture to disperse. Intimacy requires time, repetition and the ability to choose each other, again and again. Intimacy is a practiced dance where two dancers move across the floor, present and focused, moving as one, yet firm in our own foot work. The dance of Intimacy requires tenderness and some acceptance. It requires routine and a sense of safety. It requires trust and an ability to create an emotional connection.

Yet so often as we spin our soft cocoon of companionable safety, Eros feels swaddled. He becomes a pudgy Cupid, not a virile Lover.

Sex therapist David Schnarch writes, “We’ve reduced adults to infants and infants to a frail ghost of their resilience, reduced marriage to providing safety, security, and compensation for childhood disappointments. We remove our essential drives for autonomy and freedom.”

Psychologist Esther Perel suggests that too much closeness restricts the sense of freedom and autonomy we need for sexual pleasure. “When intimacy collapses into fusion it is not lack of closeness but too much closeness that impedes desire.” She maintains that intimacy only sometimes begets sexuality and that our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness. With too much distance there can be no connection and with too much fusion (the soul mate theory) there is no one to connect with. “Increased emotional stability ironically what makes for good intimacy, does not make for good sex.”

Valentines day 9Anais Nin wrote so poignantly, “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we do not know how to replenish its source.” So how do we replenish Love’s source? David Schnarch writes, love and desire are “not a matter of peeling away the layers but of developing them—growing ourselves up to be mature and resourceful adults who can solve our current problems.”

Love requires an artist’s eye, a poet’s sensibility, a gourmet’s palate. The willingness to be curious, to engage in the mystery, to re-ignite the flame of Eros with the spark of our human imagination. Perhaps in the break-down of all we know is safe and sure, we discover that it is our partner who has been taking care of our marriage after all. In stretching out of our familiar roles, seeing each other with new eyes, we rebuild a relationship that has collapsed under the heavy weight of our control. We allow Love to awaken in our life. And we begin to dance again.

I post regularly on Face Book. If you would prefer me to send you these posts privately, or if you would like to book a private astrology consultations please connect with me: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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warrior

Vestiges and Claws

War-god Mars casts his scarlet, retrograde shadow over our lives from April 18 until June 29, igniting the warm embers of passion, engorging the hot thrust of lust, heating his sword in the fire of our anger, calling us to battle. As Mars slowly caresses the thigh of the heavens, he brings to our attention the call of our soul for more passion, more movement, more creative expression. He highlights our primitive responses to situations we perceive as fearful or life-threatening.

Mars slows from April 16 and will pause on April 18th at eight degrees Sagittarius. This retrograde cycle has the elemental qualities of fire and ice as Mars retreats into the frozen darkness of  Scorpio, a sign that he rules. This could be an intense time for those of us who have planets in that segment of the zodiac (between 8 degrees Sagittarius and 23 degrees Scorpio) and will certainly be far more powerful than the previous retrograde cycle of March-May, 2014, when Mars moved through Libra. Mars in Scorpio has a different kind of feel. Here he dons the armour of an ancient Samurai warrior and moves through the zodiac with single-pointed focus and silent intent reminiscent of his last great journey from Sagittarius to Scorpio 79 years ago when the world was simmering toward the heat of war. This in turn was a  cyclical repetition of a previous Sagittarius/Scorpio cycle of 1858.

claws 5There’s nothing nice about Mars in his primal form. Mars likes to pick a fight. When Mars is imprisoned or castrated he howls in impotent rage or breaks through the bars.  Novelist, Margaret Atwood, born in 1939, wrote in Power Politics:
you fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook

an open eye…”
words which describe the cruelty and possessiveness of a dysfunctional Mars.

Mars Rx 5Over these next few weeks, our perception of our basic human drives—anger, desire and  sexuality—may shift quite imperceptibly or perhaps we may come to a realisation that our passions and desires are also our life force. Only we can change our patterns with more conscious awareness as Mars casts his redness over those areas in our lives where we perceive ourselves to be powerless or powerful, where we play victim or controller.

When the raw energy of Mars is dismissed or cruelly bridled, this energy erupts in the sharp edge of violence, sexual fetish or sadomasochism.

Hatred and aggression—and carnivorous sexual intent—aren’t our ‘dark’ side. Our dark side is the side that denies its own existence ~ David Schnarch

claws 2Violence comes from the Latin, vis which means “life force”, this thrust of life, this dangerous and violent birthing of something new and visible. Violence, that twists and turns around itself like a scorpion’s sting, perpetuates what Eckhart Tolle calls “the pain body” that foetid swamp, that no-man’s land where we linger in purgatory, sometimes for years—as we fling burning arrows at our partners or over the walls at our neighbours. Mars runs amok in countries where human hearts are ruptured by hate-speak or physical aggression. “Hatred and aggression—and carnivorous sexual intent—aren’t our ‘dark’ side. Our dark side is the side that denies its own existence,writes David Schnarch, author of Intimacy and Desire. 

Mars has two moons named Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread). Fear seduces us into a frozen state of knee-jerk reactivity as it seeps its dank chill into our homes and our bones. Fear lodges in our brain synapses and replays its nightmarish refrain in the old stories we tell ourselves about our lives, our relationships, and the world.

claws 3Perhaps we might accept that the lens through which we see the world is predisposed to battle, that we thrive on the heat of combat. Perhaps accept that as we tear through the world, distracted, pushing, straining, that adrenal burnout could bring us to our knees. Or acknowledge that we thrive on the drama and the action that combat brings.

As this planet of war and carnal desire journeys above the trajectory of our lives and we co-resonate with the cosmos, we may need to slow down, calm down, acknowledge that the battle out there is actually the battle within: Our self-sabotage, the audio loops of our negative self-defeating thinking, the stories we have been telling ourselves for years about the world around us and those who staunch our ability to realise our core aliveness.

If we are not able to act out our desires, our aggressive Mars energy implodes into the dank darkness of what is labelled “depression”. Our instinctive forces are flayed by a frazzled sense of overwhelm. Our relationships lack passion and emotional closeness, our heroic valour seems diminished.

claws 6The Samurai knows that power is not always about taking action. He knows that we protect our soul power by protecting the soul power of other living things. Our strength lies in our vulnerability, in our willingness to dis-arm, remove our breast plate, to open our heart. Our power may arise from failure and loss. It may emerge from the white ashes of depression. If we embrace the grace of the red planet energy effectively during this retrograde period, we will allow ourselves the space for reflection and contemplation. We’ll renegotiate those parts of our lives that feel stagnant and lack lustre, and allow a new rush of life to energise and renew our work and relationships, and forge  a renewed connection with our soul life.sensuality-levin-rodriguez

For astrology consultations via Skype or in person please email Ingrid at: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com

Another insightful blog on Mars this month:  Margarita Celeste

José González – Stories We Build, Stories We Tell 

 

 

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The Look of Love

body paintingLove is an act of the imagination. We daub our lover with our oldest longing. We paint his lips with our most noble and generous magnificence. Love photoshops her imperfections. Love ennobles his good qualities, assigns them with mythical powers.  In our lover’s vow we talk, we touch, we seal our dreams with a kiss. We know that we are beautiful. In the warm nascence of Love we touch our holy longing. In the Mystery of barely knowing him we travel the world, design our new home, merge in our anticipation of something new, something more. As the sun rises we bask in possibility.

Yet according to research on neurobiology, the potent alchemy of attraction is spiked with dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Our intense emotional and physical fusion is only possible with someone we do not yet really know.

We are as changeable as chameleons, as contrary as Mary.  In order to feel fully alive we need a sprinkling of mystery. We require a dash of  novelty. We need a splash of  change, blended with just enough safety and  continuity to ground us. Risk and Fear. Safety and Adventure. We fluctuate like clouds that shape shift across a summer sky.

When we commit to each other, marry or cohabit, our brains produce the bonding chemicals, oxytocin and vasopressin.  We want togetherness – and difference to keep things interesting.  Yet in the otherness of our partner we so often respond with judgement. Or we set the bar high for an athletic leap of great expectations which breaks the legs of spiritual growth and sprains our soul’s warm desire.

Our heightened dependence on just one person makes us vulnerable. So we stack up the sandbags against the rising waters of uncertainty. We construct a prison of predictability in our relationships, and choose to stay behind narrow bars of bland neutrality.

Our script of staid of assumptions goes something like this: “I always know what you’re thinking” or “he doesn’t talk about emotions.”  It may sound like “he’s my rock” or “she would never have an affair”.  It might be the stolidly dependable “she always takes care of all our finances.”

So we dis-own our passion and vitality, clutch at things we feel we can control. We blinker our eyes and stop being curious.

Risk and Fear are the Guardians at the gate of Love. We cannot be truly intimate or sexually playful when we are vigilant or fearful. We cannot be truly intimate or sexually adventurous when we do not take a risk.

images45AR3A8POur relationships work, for a while, within a bounded space, enclosed by children and pets, in-laws, work, social responsibility. Until they don’t.  Until something happens to shatter the thin veneer of compromise. Until a raging torrent rushes through the aridity of our sexuality. Until the brittle sacrifices implode in a shower of dust. It may be a death, a health-scare, an affair, the loss of a business, our child leaving home. The comfort of fireside companionship, the tangible solidity of the things we own, and the cadence of routine now does not feed our hunger. We go online and gorge, like starving anorexics feasting on chocolate sundae. Or in the seductive gaze of our work colleague or the children’s tennis coach, we swallow the sweetness we have denied ourselves for decades. And in the rapturous delusion we  transcend the mundane and we soar above the clouds sprinkled golden with sunbeams. We become alive again.

images6YU9IO9DLove is a creative act of the Imagination. Its realm is rarefied, intangible, briefly captured like an exquisite butterfly where it flutters to the sound of music, poetry, the wind whispering through the trees.

Intimacy waits patiently for Love’s transient rapture to disperse. Intimacy requires time, repetition and the ability to choose each other, again and again. Intimacy is a practiced dance where two dancers move across the floor, present and focused, moving as one, yet firm in our own foot work.  The dance of Intimacy requires tenderness and some acceptance. It requires routine and a sense of safety. It requires trust and an ability to create an emotional connection. Yet so often as we spin our soft cocoon of companionable safety, Eros feels swaddled. He becomes a pudgy Cupid, not a virile Lover.

Sex therapist David Schnarch writes, “We’ve reduced adults to infants and infants to a frail ghost of their resilience, reduced marriage to providing safety, security, and compensation for childhood disappointments. We remove our essential drives for autonomy and freedom.”

Psychologist Esther Perel suggests that too much closeness restricts the sense of freedom and autonomy we need for sexual pleasure. “When intimacy collapses into fusion it is not lack of closeness but too much closeness that impedes desire.” She maintains that intimacy only sometimes begets sexuality and that our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness. With too much distance there can be no connection and with too much fusion (the soul mate theory) there is no one to connect with.  “Increased emotional stability ironically what makes for  good intimacy, does not make for good sex.

Anais Nin wrote so poignantly, “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we do not know how to replenish its source.” So how do we replenish Love’s source? In The Passionate Marriage – David Schnarch writes pragmatically,  love and desire are “not a matter of peeling away the layers but of developing them—growing ourselves up to be mature and resourceful adults who can solve our current problems.”

images6RA72WW7It requires an artist’s eye, a poet’s sensibility, a gourmet’s palate. The willingness to be curious, to engage in the mystery, to re-ignite the flame of Eros with the spark of our human imagination. Perhaps in the break-down of all we know is safe and sure, we discover that it is our partner who has been taking care of our marriage after all. In stretching out of our familiar roles, seeing each other with new eyes we can rebuild a relationship that has collapsed under the heavy weight of our control.

Proust wrote “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” In the shift of perception, the releasing of our illusions, we see our partner with new eyes. Remember the Na’vi greeting in the movie Avatar? Remember those eyes that said “I see you.”

When we dare to see our partner, extend rather than contract, engage and offer rather than stay stuck in a one-dimensional sitcom, we can risk sharing ourselves more deeply, more honestly, and revel in our aliveness once more.  When we balance with skill and reverence the two basic life forces: individuality and togetherness we can look at our own reflection and ask Who do I want to be?imagesLRZ6JLZG

The Look of Love  Dusty Springfield

 

 

 

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