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John O’ Donohue Tag

The Promises We Keep—Sun in Libra— September 23rd—October 24th

Libra 2Today is a point of balance, the Autumn or Spring Equinox. An ancient memory may stir within us at this time of awakening and surrender as wildflowers thrust their bright faces towards the sun in the south and a flutter of copper leaves quilt the northern hemisphere in russet and gold. On September 23rd, the Sun moves from the self-contained, contemplative archetype of Virgo into Venus-ruled Libra, the only sign of the zodiac represented by an inanimate object—libra justitiae, The Scales of Justice.

In the metaphorical language of astrology, the Libran part of our own birth chart will be illuminated for the next month as we practice and perfect the art of relating to others in an uncertain world, as we continually adjust, realign, re-establish our balance on the beam of life.

This is a time of weighing up, of accountability, and of carefully considering the promises we make, the promises we keep, to others and to ourselves. There’s a celestial line-up in relationship-orientated Libra right nowbetween September 22nd and 25th Venus and Mercury square Saturn and the South Node, that point of release, of old karma, that comfortable place of discomfort that draws us backwards, just when we begin to move forward. Saturn, associated with structure and boundaries, is said to be exalted in the Cardinal sign of Libra, so this month our integrity will be tested by those people or circumstances that knock us off balance, shatter our calm test our boundaries and our commitment. As we feel ourselves pulled into the dust storm of political intrigue and economic recession, we may be tempted to tumble from the beam as we wage war with the politicians, as we snipe at our lover, as we shame or abuse our body.

The Libran New Moon on 28th September (5° Libra) arrives with charm and grace and the promise of compromise. The Moon is invisible when she’s new, but she carries potent unseen energy if we have the courage to step back into balance, to find that still point of silence at the Centrepoint of our heart. We may begin to notice where we feel fractious, frazzled, out of kilter. We may buy ourselves a bunch of fresh flowers, close the curtains and light a candle, enjoy a favourite meal with the one we love.  The fast-moving Libran Sun makes a square to Saturn and Mars moves into Libra on October 5th strengthening the need to carefully consider and weigh, restore the balance, before taking action. Libra feature image 4

 

The Full Moon on October 13th brings the raw vitality and verve of Aries to what we have imagined or initiated at the New Libran Moon. We hold the tension of opposites with Aries (self) and Libra (other). This Full Moon will reflect the state of our relationships. The bonds of love and loyalty that bind. The untethered ambiguity of those casual encounters that so easily tilt and topple. Research links happy committed relationship to lower stress levels, better immune function, and lower mortality rates, as oxytocin and vasopressin activate parts of the brain associated with calm, even the suppression of anxiety and pain.

Libra 322Libra is associated with the solemn ritual of marriage, the ethics of contracts and agreements. Mystic John O’ Donohue writes, “when we approach each other and become one, a new fluency comes alive. A lost world retrieves itself when our words build a new circle.” It’s the symbol of the circle, the wedding ring, that contains us and offers a bulwark against the uncertainty of the world as Pluto’s passage through Capricorn (2008-2023) agitates the dark currents of power, politics and big business.

In the West, we’ve inherited  a biblical injunction that marriage is sacrosanct juxtaposed with the view of the ancient Greek philosophers and French rationalists, where the right of the individual to happiness is enshrined. Writes Esther Perel, we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide.”
As we re-imagine the institution of marriage, we begin a dance that requires balance and commitment to staying the course in a world that seems so uncertain. Psychologist Sue Johnson writes, “this drive to emotionally attach—to find someone to whom we can turn and say ‘Hold me tight’—is wired into our genes and our bodies. It is as basic to life, health, and happiness as the drives for food, shelter, or sex. We need emotional attachments with a few irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy—to survive.”Libra 30

Marriage can flay and brand, or softly kiss our soul. It is through our sentimentality, our innocence, our insistence in the “happily ever after” and the romantic dream of the marriage made in heaven, that we meet the dark challenges that a soul-ful union will always toss, like a gauntlet, before us.  It is through the difficulties, often the sojourns in hell, that we refine the prima materia, the raw stuff of life, and learn the phases of Love in all their complexity. Writes Amy Bloom, “marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.”

On a metaphysical level, the ritual of Marriage is sacred. It is a rite of passage, through which we metamorphose into a deeper, more soulful self. We integrate the masculine and the feminine within; we discover that he or she is not the god/goddess we thought they were. We discover we cannot depend on our partner to make us whole, to love us forever and ever, or to make us happy.

Libra feature imagePerhaps we could see marriage as a threshold into a mansion of self-discovery. An archaeological dig into the layers of our ancestral past. A calabash that holds the milk of compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and for each other when we make mistakes, behave appallingly. Perhaps we ought not give up too soon, stand on our soap boxes pontificating about the flaws and weaknesses of the other. Perhaps then we will learn to truly love one another and not make a bond of marriage, but a circle of love that protects those who dwell within.

You were born together, and together you shall be forever more. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your daysKahlil Gibran.

For  private astrology readings and more regular astrology updates please connect with me on Facebook or by email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

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New Morning—Capricorn Solstice

Solstice 765 2018As the sun bleaches the blue from southern skies and a chorus of cicadas celebrate midsummer, the old Sun sinks wearily onto the cold belly of the earth at the midwinter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. We’ve reached the still point of the year.

Nature contracts, exposing an uncompromising knot-work of bare branches and stubble fields, and as the primordial pulse of the year stirs deep in our blood and bones, we might sense a slow, steady certainty moving through our body. The Solstice is the promise of life-giving light and rebirth. On Friday, December 21st at 22:22 GMT, we have the opportunity to pause, to realign, to plant new intentions that will ripen at the next Solstice on June 21st, 2019.

As the old year dies and the light of the sun rises again at dawn, if we look to the East, we may see Jupiter in Sagittarius, in conjunction with Mercury. Venus in Scorpio shimmers in a sweep of tangerine early morning sky as she makes a graceful trine to Neptune. Together these celestial messengers bring gifts of a new perspective, empathic and compassionate relating, and an appreciation for beauty, if we look beneath the ordinary, search for a chink of light.

TSolstice 81 2018he Sun’s last three aspects before it changes sign at 22:22 GMT on Friday, December 21st, are a square to Chiron (28º Pisces) on December 19th and the seamless embrace of a trine to Uranus (29º Aries). A tense quincunx to the Nodes in the cardinal Cancer/Capricorn polarity offers the opportunity to initiate change, to make adjustments in those areas of our lives connected to our home, our sense of security, our belonging. Now we can release limiting beliefs and futile striving, to embrace those things that nourish and sustain. Chiron represents a sacred wound, a painful prompting that leads us to us to a place where we would rather not go. An emotional or physical wound that will never heal, but that we can only bear with compassion and with understanding. Be tender and kind as a sudden remembrance leans against the bruise in our heart, or that familiar ache draws us back into our body. Amidst the tinnitus of the festive season, we may recognise and embrace a wounding that has been festering for years. In the days before the Solstice, there’s an opportunity for repair, for reconciliation, for release and liberation, if we trust the instruction of our heart.  John O’ Donohue writes, “this is the time to be slow, lie low to the wall until the bitter weather passes…”

Solstice 12 2018The belly of the Moon swells this week.

On Saturday the Moon (1º Cancer) opposes the Sun and sextiles Uranus. The Moon is in her own sign. With Cancer associated with the element of water, this lunation may heighten our instinctual response, amplify our emotion, sensitise our attunement to the unseen realms. Cancer is the Magna Mater, the Great Mother. The symbolism embraces all that brings us nourishment, comfort and safety. There’s a sepia-coloured nostalgia that infuses this lunation.  A longing for a childhood that perhaps never existed. For delicious home cooked food and indolent afternoons stretched out on the sofa in front of the fire. For families gathered around a festive table. It’s a longing exploited by advertisers, and that compels us to buy those things that we want but don’t need. This lunation is a precursor of the eclipse season which begins on January 6th with a solar eclipse at 15º Capricorn. Full Moons bring culmination. They illuminate aspects of our lives and depending on where this Full Moon falls in your own birth chart, you may be instinctively led to those things that bring comfort and joy, nurture and safety.

Solstice 3 2018Yet, this Full Moon illuminates an uncomfortable contradiction—amidst the excess and the exuberance of Christmas, there are millions of people who live their lives in the shadows of society. The old, the homeless, the working poor we summons from Uber and Deliveroo.

Capricorn is associated with the Father Archetype, with patriarchy and with the hard work of getting down to business. As Britain struggles to Keep Calm and Carry On in the face of an existential crisis, as walls rise around nations, and divisive thinking segregates, this lunation is a reminder of Cancer’s affinity with nurture and tenderness.  This is an energising marriage that could be a cameo of things yet to come, as the heavenly bride and groom cross the threshold into the new year. Cancer is all heart and with the Moon at home, there’s a need to shut out the world, cocoon in soulful, familiar surroundings. Cancer is about family, simple pleasures. The focus is Home and Family, and the mood is tender and vulnerable. Capricorn brings a moral awakening toughened with pragmatism. An injunction that that every thought, every action, has consequences. A reminder that even in our light-filled lives, there is an inevitability some call Fate, others call death.
As ageing populations face the inevitability of death, the conundrum of euthanasia and the human right to die with dignity must be addressed.  As the ghost of Jacob Marley brings us glimpses of Christmases past and present, and still yet to come, we may awaken this Solstice with more awareness and  more integrity, sobered by the spectre of climate change, animal abuse, unemployment and homelessness.

May we cross the threshold into this new year with light footprints and generous loving hearts. Blessings and Love this Solstice!

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Sun in Pisces—Rolling in the Deep—Mystic, Mélusine, Misfit

a239a69d3960d9823ccff550b08dfbb5The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do itJ.M Barrie, Peter Pan

Bruised clouds hang in bunches over the parched land, delivering thunder and lightning and a meagre measure of rain. Yet as river beds turn to dust in the wind, jasmine bursts, a froth of fragrant creamy white, from tight-coiled cerise buds. Eight months before spring.

Faith and Hope hold us airborne. There’s a life-force that spirals from struggle.  Writer and civil rights activist, James Bladwin, says of Shakespeare’s life in Elizabethan England, It is said that his time was easier than ours, but I doubt it—no time can be easy if one is living through it.”

Throughout human history, times of drought, plague, famine, flood, and myriad human atrocities have crushed civilizations. Yet from the shards of broken lives rise  mystical visions and Marian apparitions. New perceptions perfume the air. From the confines of her monastery in the politically hazardous 11th Century, Christian Mystic, Hildegard of Bingen wrote, I am the fiery life of the essence of God; I am the flame above the beauty in the fields; I shine in the waters; I burn in the sun, the moon, and the stars. And with the airy wind, I quicken all things vitally by an unseen, all-sustaining life. And as the Black Death scythed 50 million souls or more, in the 14th century, came this reassurance from Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” As we spiral through our ordinary life’s seasons amidst a maelstrom of political and climate change, magical thinking, practiced by shamans and visionaries for centuries, offers sustenance in our own difficult times.

There’s a sublime sensitivity, an innocent faith in the celestial sky-story this month. The Sun moved into the sign of Pisces on February 19th,  joining Mercury, Venus, Neptune, and Chiron in the unbounded depths of the sky. The Sun and the Moon consummate their union with the new Pisces Moon on March 17th.23494e332063871e31b4fcc990a16b4f

The Sun’s passage through Pisces awakens our yearnings, diffuses our dreams with dappled remembrances. It stirs our faith in the ineffable, the non-ordinary realms, bringing magic and wonderment to lives so often infused with a tincture of loss and longing. Pisces is associated with The Hanged Man in the Tarot, directing us as initiates to suspend our worldly concerns to turn our gaze inwards, shifting our perspective.

Planets that wear iridescent Piscean clothing offer strange tinctures of genius and madness.  In the watery-logged realm of this archetype is a marshy Never Never Land surrounded by an ocean of dreams. Here Lost Boys and Lost Girls skip the light fandango, turn cartwheels ‘cross a sea floor scattered with the bones of those who lingered and languished in the deeps.

Faith and Belief are strung like precious pieces of coral around the Fishes’ tails. Jupiter, the traditional ruler of Pisces, is associated with “luck”. The kind of abundance we evoke by using affirmations as talismans to ward off  the spectres of lack and loneliness that haunt us. “Buildings fall; even the earth perishes. What was yesterday a cornfield is to-day a bungalow,” wrote Virginia Woolf. Jupiter’s Wheel of Fortune spins for each one of us, oblivious to status and wealth, to prayers and affirmations or the amount of exercise we do.

Jupiter crossed the border into Scorpio in October 2017 and will turn retrograde on March 9th at 23 degrees Scorpio.  Jupiter in the sign of Scorpio stirs up  dark sediment: the outing of sexual predators, the massacre of seventeen students on Valentine’s Day. Mars, the planet of war, and Jupiter, the planet of excess and amplification, are now in mutual reception before Mars changes sign on March 17th.  With Jupiter, be careful what we wish for.

 

43ff4608b3d5a7ce2c4ff73558b1e8c9Neptune is the more elusive modern ruler of this amorphous sign. Neptune’s associations are born of the sea, carried in the deep roll of the waves by the Muse that inspires music and art, ecstatic intoxication, and slow wasting diseases that are impossible to define or to cure. Lodged in this archetype is our debt to eons of human history. A soulful yearning for redemption and transcendence. With Neptune comes necessary sacrifice, carried for us all by the gory image of a crucified Christ and a dismembered Dionysus.

Neptune, turns a ghostly face to our human need to hold onto those things we love, to keep things just as they are.  We learn that everything is transient. That what we hold on to too tightly, fades into nothingness. Writes mystic and poet, John O’ Donohue, “transience makes a ghost out of each experience. There was never a dawn that did not drop down into noon, never a noon which did not fade into evening, and never an evening that did not get buried in the graveyard of the night…”  Still we search, like children on a pebbled beach, for miracles and wonder. We discover “synchronicities” that shape our sense of reality. We hold the flame of faith that things will be better as we welcome new presidents, new Father-Redeemers to lead us to the Promised Land.

 So, come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!―J.M BarrieCarried in the Deep 3

For workshops and private consultations, please email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com 

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If I could turn back time

Photo and caption by  Hideyuki KatagiriFor most of us today the songbirds will sing as the clouds scud across the cobalt dome of the sky. Tonight, the sun will melt across the horizon like toffee, and the feathery new moon will wax and wane once more. Although we may try to live every day as if it were our last, set intentions to live in the now, it may be a melody, fragrance, or the feeling of walking over grass that’s wet with dew that takes us back, makes us wish we could turn back time. Say we’re sorry. Re-live that time, kinder, more forgiving, more patient, more loving, than we were then. Though the ghosts of time may  haunt us, we cannot turn back Time. And if we only live in the past, our lives will be preserved in amber, sadly one dimensional. “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then,” said Alice in Wonderland.

Time is an emotional experience. Each new day like opening a cardboard window of an advent calendar, discovering a chocolate or a tiny tableau we either like, or don’t. Is Time is a collage of events or states of mind?

We know time will pass without us when we will die. When we are willing to step out of our sometimes limited construct of time, we observe the changing scenery, as if from the window of a train.

For eons, our ancestors have marked the passage of time, noted the cycles of the Venus and the Moon. A small piece of a baboon’s fibula dates to about 35,000 BC. It was discovered in the Lebombo Mountains near Swaziland. There are twenty-nine notches carved into the bone. A marker of a menstrual lunar cycle, perhaps? We will never know for certain. Paradoxically, in a modern time-obsessed world, the Amondawa tribe of the Amazon who were “discovered” by anthropologists in 1986 have a different time map. They have no word for time. No “I’ll see you next week.” No “It happened last year.” Events occur in time but time is not a separate concept.forest-and-stars

Albert Einstein would agree. “Time is an illusion,” he said. “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Science suggests that time is a cognitive construct. Some psychologists suggest time is a matter of perception.  We can choose to feel irritated when we’re stuck in traffic. We can choose to feel at peace as we take a moment to observe the clouds and the sunlight as it ignites the office windows. Grateful for the hiatus in the busyness of our day. Time appears to be elastic, when perceived through the hall of mirrors that is our mind.

Author and broadcaster Claudia Hammond suggests in her new book, Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception, that we actively create and shape time in our minds. Neuroscience and psychology dub this “mind time”.

Psychological studies propose that time does move slowly for those who feel depressed, lonely or suicidal. When we are actively engaged in our work or our social interactions, we may feel as though time slips past like quicksilver. Those who have experienced the terror of a car crash or a hi-jacking will report that everything seemed to move in slow motion. For many, memories of a trauma remain frozen in the musculature and nervous system of the body.

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, in Thinking, Fast and Slow, suggests People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory—and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media. Frequently mentioned topics populate the mind even as others slip away from awareness.” Claudia Hammond writes, “You are most likely to remember the timing of an event if it was distinctive, vivid, personally involving and is a tale you have recounted many times since.”

It’s astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll…

Surely, time and memory recall are far more subtle than this. Wilhelm Reich talked about the basic expansion and contraction of life which ripples from the amoeba to the human being. And therapist and author Peter A. Levine, who has specialised PTSD for the last twenty years writes, It is essential that the unresolved activation (from trauma) locked in the nervous system be discharged. This transformation has nothing to do with memory. It has to do with the process of completing our survival instincts. So our memories are locked, or frozen in the musculature of our bodies, encoded in our nervous system. Stored in the collective mind. For some, time transfigures our memories, allowing us to slip into soft pockets of recollection where we can rest amidst the turbulence of the waves of the world. For others, time imprisons us in the terror of the past.

leaf-under-water-523359-gaMost of us cannot truly live in the now. For if we did, we would not plan a party, book a holiday, buy treats for a beach picnic. That would be the future not the present.  All  we can do, really, is live with as much mindfulness as we can and know that time is cyclical like the cycles of nature, the cycles of life and death. And as Irish poet and mystic John O’Donohue said, When time is reduced to linear progress, it is emptied of presence.”

Cher performs If I Could Turn Back Time.

Quotations: The Rocky Horror Show. Time Warp by Richard O’Brien/Patricia Quinn/Nell Campbell/Charles Gray. Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland.

Photographs by  Hideyuki Katagiri and Michael Melford.

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Angel of the Morning

As the slanting autumn sun burnishes the leaves and bleaches the tall grasses on the mountainside, I contemplate the intricate knot-work in the tapestry of tradition that human beings have woven across generations and clamorous centuries. The stores here are crammed with raisiny hot cross buns and ubiquitous Lindt gold bunnies. Shelves festooned with Hello Kittys, trucks and trains, rabbits and hens, all bearing bright foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. As Christians eat their sugary eggs, Jews celebrate the Passover Seder with matzah and other traditional paschal offerings. Resurrection or freedom from slavery may have a religious significance for many, and yet the potency of these holy-days is embellished by the deeper resonance of what lies beneath these relatively recent overlays of something more primal, more irrevocably solid.

At this turning time in the cycle of the seasons, the Moon is in her full luminescence in the sign of Libra, as she dances across the skies in full view of her fiery consort, the Sun in the sign of Aries on April 6th. Few of us glimpse the glittering brilliance of the stars or the silvery orb of the Moon from beneath the saffron cloud of our polluted cities. Yet this change in season, marked by the vernal equinox on March 21st, is a portal time in the cycle of the year, more powerful than hollow abeyances to the god of commerce. The cosmologies of our ancestors marked the coming of the spring as a time of fertility and re-birth, as the tender buds of spring unfurled and winter released it’s cruelly tenacious grasp on the frozen land. Before modern observances, Eostur-monath  was a month of feasting in honour of the Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn. Like the dawn, this was a sacred time of birth – the welcome coming of the new sun. Perhaps the first hopeful blushing of the the morning sky heralded a sense of possibilites, the comfort of continuium, after the inky blackness of unsullied night skies. To the ancient Egyptians, the goddess Nut watched over sleeping souls until the dawn. The russet-stained sky signified her birthing of the sun. Ishtar, was the Lady of the Dawn to the Sumerians, and the ancient Greeks counted their days by mornings, so Eos was the rosy-cheeked goddess of day break. Aurora birthed the new day in the Roman world-view.

To secure a cornerstone in a life that feels more honest, more authentic, perhaps we might consider that beneath the veneer of our traditions, those things we do, eat, drink and say, at certain times of the year, there may be a fecund well-spring of something more quenching. Our souls require nourishment. Without nutrients we may feel a debilitating numbness, a slippery tendril of despair, that enfolds us in the stifeling grip of melancholia or the dry rattle of meaninglessness. In this lifetime, we may never walk the Camino, visit Mecca, Machu Picchu, Lourdes or Avebury, never set our footprints on a sacred pilgrimage to a holy place. We may never sit in a church or a temple to feel a connection to the Divine. Perhaps we may invite that sense of the sacred into these markers of our days – the dawn, the sunset.

In our hive-like cities, our manicured parks, in the shrinking wild places on this planet, we may come across an ancient rock, a leaf-spangled tree, a small patch of grass that feels holy, timeless. In our offices, in our homes, it may be a cloud passing our window, the sound of birdsong above the throb of the traffic, that transports us in an instant, to a sacred place of holiness. A friend of mine who works in a noisy open plan office plugs herself into Celtic Women, and is transported into a deeply nourishing place that resonates and restores. Another infuses her soul in a weekly drumming circle, another has a special stream on the mountainside that energises her spirit, and yet another lights a candle and places it beside her bath in a soothing ritual that allows her a hiatus in the doingness of her life.

Being present in those soulful places, or with those people who make our hearts expand, can lift our resonance to a higher vibration. Being mindful of the significance of these holy-days in our tapestry of tradition, can ignite a sense of renewal within the customs and the ceremonies that bind us to the past, gifting us with a sense of continuity. We can choose to invite the refined essence of the soulful into our everyday lives, to consciously seek out experiences that make our hearts expand, our spirits soar above the banal. So this holy day weekend, perhaps we might set the intention to do less, rather than more. Accept, flow into, breathe into the unexpected gift of a traffic jam, or a long queue in the supermarket. We can choose to take a moment of silence at dawn, or to witness the soft silent sinking of a marmalade sun. We can set aside soulful times to reflect, to soften, to smile, to be in the moment, grateful for the Angel of the Morning who comes to bless our new day with wonder.

Here is A Morning Offering by John O’ Donohue to place on the altar of your holy days:
I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

~ I was inspired by the magical art of self-taught artist, Amanda Clark.

Here to remind you, is Olivia Newton John’s  version of Angel of the Morning.

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