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John O’Donohue Tag

I’m Still Standing—Sun in Capricorn—22 December—20 January 20th

Everything does fall.

It must be gravity—Dan Brown, Angels & Demons

At the darkest point of the year, the frail old Sun lies like a feeble old patriarch, recumbent on the Northern horizon.

In the skeletal silence of mid-winter, in the crowded craziness of mid-summer, we may long to withdraw from the excessive festivities, from the chicanery of swaggering politicians who play snakes and ladders with our lives, from the ache in our heart as bush fires blaze against a backdrop of sepia sky.

Every year, the Sun arrives in Capricorn at the time of the mid-winter or mid-summer solstice. The days reverse their gathering of light and dark.This is the still point of the year.

In the silence of the night, we prepare to enter new ground.

Saturn-ruled Capricorn, like all astrological signs is complex and nuanced. It’s associated with fathers, and patriarchs. Tyrants and scapegoats. With ageing and death. With the resilience it takes to accept a new reality. With the wry humour it takes to sing I’m Still Standing when we’re lying down.

In myth, the horned goat, Capricornus, is a cousin of Pan, a lewd, lusty, music-loving Satyr who incited “panic” and contagious pandemonium among those who travelled through the dark woods.

There may be ghosts of loss that haunt us as the bells of Christmas ring. Fears that unbalance us as we stumble into the darkness of despair. A fog of loneliness that drapes itself over our shoulders like a heavy coat.

In her new book, Tea and Cake with Demons: A Buddhist Guide to Feeling Worthy, personal development coach Adreanna Limbach writes about those gnarly aspects of ourselves that tend to come to the forefront when we’re overwhelmed, frazzled with exhaustion. Adreanna advises, “get close to the earth in case of turbulence” as we grapple with the challenges of being human, when everything around us seems to be whirling too fast, too loudly.

 

As the painful process of unpicking the structures of governments and financial institutions which began with the banking crisis back in 2008 continues to continue, (symbolised by Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn) we may be facing into the stark necessity of realignment of  those things that represent structure and stability in our own lives. Pluto remains in Capricorn until 2023, and those new babies who will be incarnating next year will arrive as Saturn and Jupiter amplify and concretise the changes that must be made on our home planet as the environmental emergency becomes even more compelling.

There’s a special New Moon on December 26th.  The last solar eclipse of 2019 pulses through a frayed circle of strange light.

We may be grappling with a difficult choice that leads us away from a path well-travelled. Eclipses are points of re calibration, turnstile moments that accompany a crisis;  turning points when we must befriend our fears, identify what feels authentic and true.

So often eclipses are harbingers of irreversible events that may ripple through our lives for years to come. If this eclipse aspects an axis or a planet in our own birth chart, tensions may already be rising and we may not yet be able to see clearly as the Moon obscures the sun’s light. We may need to sit quietly, attune to our breath. Seek our moment of  solitude amidst the tinsel and bright Christmas lights.

Author J.K Rowling describes a turnstile moment as she writes, “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realised. I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

For those of us who have planets or angles at 4° Capricorn, what we thought was solid and sure may be tested, we may be forced to rearrange our  priorities over the coming year; re-focus our energy, pay attention to what we want to manifest in our life.

This eclipse is part of a Saros Cycle 132 that began on August 13th, 1208 during the time of the crusades. There is a sense of fatedness, accountability, responsibility about the concentration of Saturn-ruled planets, and also the potential of wounding as this New Moon and Mercury square Chiron activating our sense of rejection, abandonment, deprivation, silent suffering and loss.

Mercury’s ingress into the sign of the Mer-Goat on December 29th accents the ticking of the cosmic clock as we approach this year’s ending, and the mountainous Saturn/Pluto conjunction of January 12th, 2020.

Saturn/Pluto delivers a concentrated clout of energy, much like this month’s super-charged new moon. This conjunction contains the finality of endings entwined with the promise of new beginnings.

The last conjunction of Saturn and Pluto was in the air sign of Libra on November 8th, 1982. The US entered a recessionary cycle and England sent her young men and women to war in the Falklands.

The January 12th conjunction will carry a sense of accountability, a sense of fatefulness, a sense of destiny, a feeling of an immovable force that propels us onward, that will pervade our lives all through 2020.

 

For those of us with planets between 21 and 24 Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn, themes of endings may be prominent. And so often endings are wrapped in fear that unravels, catches us off-guard. Our resilience will be tested, the durability of our bodies. We may have to leave something or someone behind. Capricorn rules the teeth, the bones, the skin and especially the knees.We may feel the need lower our gravitational centre. Kneel. Give thanks for those who have allowed us to open our hearts wide this year. For those rock bottoms that have become solid foundations for new beginnings. For Elton John, and I’m Still Standing.

Thank you all for your support this year, and for keeping in touch. I post regularly on Facebook, but if you would like me to send you more regular updates in a private email I will do so with pleasure.

Just connect with me via my website www.trueheartwork.com  or by email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com I would love to hear from you.

Solstice Blessings and Love,

Ingrid.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life―John O’Donohue

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Keeping the Faith—Sun in Sagittarius—November 22nd-December 22nd

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder—John O’Donohue

There’s a merry momentum as we turn our attention away from the cynicism and lies of those jaundiced public figures who dominate the news. This month we  switch channels to something lighter, less dissonant less deeply disturbing.

The Sun in exuberant Sagittarius this month scatters star dust and sparkle into the weeks preceding the winter solstice. The essence of Sagittarius contains an ember of optimism and effervescent good cheer, mirrored by sequinned party dresses that glitter in the shop windows, the profusion of seasonal fare that delivers an avalanche of excess and indulgence.

Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter.  Jupiter is associated with the kind of laughter that brings tears to our eyes and softens the hard edges of the world.  This is the month of Thanksgiving.  For counting our blessings.  We invoke the buoyancy and resilience of  Jupiter when we keep the faith, when we look up, when we notice the silver lining in the dark clouds of circumstance.  When we change our perception and quite suddenly,  discover serendipity.

 

Changing our attitude takes practice and repetition. Rick Hanson, a psychologist who focuses on mindfulness reminds us that our brains are biased towards fear and threat and negativity because the brain keeps us safe. Yet our brains are plastic, constructed for growth and adaptation. Practicing pessimist Tim Dowling describes how he learned to be an optimist in a week. He writes, “Optimists have fewer strokes, sleep better and live longer than pessimists. But how do you change our outlook? By embracing your Best Possible Self, keeping a gratitude journaland changing your narrative.”

Research acknowledges what shamans and witches have known for eons. The thoughts and images that flow from the deep ocean of our imagination have real physiological consequences for our bodies. Our brains often can’t distinguish whether we are imagining something or experiencing it in “real time”.   It’s up to us to re-frame our dark nights of suffering and loss, to take our bundle of straw and spin it into gold. Says Gary Zukav, “You cannot, and will not, encounter a circumstance, or a single moment, that does not serve directly and immediately the need of your soul to heal.”

Jupiter is travelling through Sagittarius now, enhancing and expanding our ability to believe in those intangible things we cannot see, to make those brilliantly courageous, self-loving choices that transfigure our energy, redirect the course of our lives. The placement of Jupiter in our birth chart symbolises our potential for optimism, our ability to dare greatly, to take that chance, to keep the faith. This is not the delusional, “gone with the fairies” kind of approach to life that pushes anything “negative” or “bad” in a weirdly cheery and disconnected way. This is about attuning to what is right in the world we see, with that conscious (and often difficult) choice to bring our best self into our relationships and our daily interactions with those we meet, wanting what is good for our communities and our planet. 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.”

From the 12th century the word bileave took on a meaning which was more about holding something dear, having a sense of esteem or trust in something. This subtle nuance speaks eloquently about our personal values, and ultimately, how we wholeheartedly trust and value ourselves. Author Briana Saussy captures the optimism and the faith of Sagittarius in her book, Making Magic: Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary.

Dream true. Listen to your dreams. Ask a question, seek an answer, be purposeful. Bring an offering. Discern with care who is worth listening to. Go into the wild. Show kindness to strangers. Accept that the journey will take as much time as it takes. Do not rush. Do not dwell. Pay attention. Find the cave. Ford the river. Be willing to wait for what is worthwhile. Sit by the fire. Make it your own. Stay as long as it takes. Lust, love, tell stories. Say thank you. Know your true name. Remember what matters. Live life so that others can remember, too.”

The choreography of our lives is infinitely poetic.  We visit experiences that exile us from our homeland, wash us up on the cold shores of loneliness and suffering. We walk through the morass of despair. Astrology offers a colour wash to our ordinary lives as the planets reflect mirror our experiences. For so many, this year has been a Perfect Storm. A sharp-bladed scythe of setbacks. We may be wrung out, utterly world-weary, driven by the unceasing call of technology, the relentless clocks and calendars of linear time. For so many, the office parties and family gatherings are enfolded in a soul-searing loneliness that coils tightly around gaudy decorations and the repetitive loop of Christmas carols.

Yet, if we sit by the fire, if we are willing to wait for what is worthwhile, we may sense in the silence that envelops us just before the dawn that delicate brush of Hope that carries our bruised heart on the white wings of possibility.

Mars has moved into tenacious Scorpio and Mercury in Scorpio is now moving forward which may mean that plans or projects begin to flow more easily. The New Moon on November 26th brings a bright promise of something that shimmers like tinsel, beckons us with the warm glow of possibility. The Moon magnifies the energy of the Sun in Sagittarius, as she trines Chiron in Aries and makes an edgy quincunx to electrifying Uranus in Taurus. This lunation will quicken our energy, stir those parts of our lives that may be weary of repetitive numbing routine.

Venus begins a new cycle in pragmatic Capricorn on November 26th, accentuating our values, pressing us to firm up our beliefs, to venture to the edge, and to commit to taking the time and the effort to choose a new way of relating to the world.

Neptune stations direct on November 27th inviting us to gaze up at the starry heavens. To be present with ourselves amidst the hurdy-gurdy rub of hurried distraction, the completion of deadlines, the planning for the future. Now we can choose to allow grace and gratitude to wash over us as we savour what has been wonderful about this year.

In this month of Thanksgiving, may we bravely embrace the spirit of Sagittarius, lift up grateful hearts. And be amazed.

I post regularly on Facebook. I will gladly send you these posts featuring more regular astrological updates and the lunations if you prefer to direct your time and energy away from social media.

For private astrology readings please email ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

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Diamonds and Rust—Sun in Scorpio October 23rd

Scorpio 12

So come my friends, be not afraid
We are so lightly here
It is in love that we are made
In love, we disappear
—Leonard Cohen
“Boogie Street

 

“Endings seem to lie in wait ” wrote mystic and poet, John O’Donohue who died so suddenly as he slept in the January of 2008.

We wait expectantly for endings at our journey’s end. Endings unfurl in the intoxicating sweetness of  that first kiss.  In the vows we make at the altar. Endings come with the loss of our identity when we retire; with the changes in our body as we age, our brave beauty etched in our faces, our strength shining through our bones. Endings strip us of our innocence. They come in the brutal betrayal that spills diamonds and rust from the forgotten places in our heart.

Shimmering spiderwebs hang heavy from the hedgerows, adorned with diamonds of dew. We’re at a threshold crossing. We’re in the gap between the equinox and the solstice, we’re in the “fall” as  the earth cools in the North, as the light begins to fade. In the south, the ancient rhythm of the earth stirs uneasily as the days lengthen, as the  searing summer heat carries the desert sands on scorching breath of the wind.

Things are not  what they used to be.

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On October 24th, we enter the primordial underworld, the shadowy realm of Scorpio. Spectral plumes of mist curl from rust-coloured forests and from the hill tops, the plaintive roar of the rutting red deer promises new life and the ambush of death.

When we cross the threshold into Scorpio’s territory, we become aware of those things that rust and putrefy; we meet scorpions and snakes. Scorpio rules those body parts that bring ecstatic pleasure and release—the anus, the rectum, the genitals. When we  cross this threshold in the cycle of the year, we encounter the healing power of in-depth psychology, the the magic of metaphysics, the deep knowledge of shamanism,  the dank dark underbelly of crime, the power of money and political intrigue, the renewal of sex, the inevitability of endings, the surety of death.

The darkly brooding presence of Pluto, Scorpio’s modern ruler, has cast a long shadow over the month of October in world events, perhaps in our own lives with news that has reminded us of the impermanence of this life.

1 Full MoonPluto stationed direct on October 2nd and the heightened effect may have lingered for a week before and afterwards in our own lives, most certainly in world events. Mercury and Venus entered Scorpio on October 3rd and 8th, and all these planets have aspected the Nodes of the Moon that have been moving across the Cancer/Capricorn axis since 2018. Mars in his own sign of Scorpio, squares the Nodes on October 22nd. Something bigger than ourselves, something fated, is at work. We may remember that for the ancient Greeks, Fate came in the form of three Moirai, those three sisters  who determined the Fate of every living creature. It was Atropos who cut the thin thread of life. She decided the end of things. We meet Fate when the Nodes of the Moon transit the planets or angles of our birth chart. The South Node draws us back, into the undertow of the past, we hesitate at the threshold, we circle endlessly in our place of discomfort. The North Node is where we see the diamond of our destiny, although the threshold crossing is never easy. Something is calling us to our purpose, our ability as a race to love and heal and to nurture one another and all creatures great and small.

8aebfce3b1ef310832da262296dd50bcThe New Moon in Scorpio on October 28th makes an edgy opposition to Uranus, indicating that our threshold crossing may not be smooth and sedate. Uranus is associated with sudden shock and upheaval, and when the energies of the Sun and the Moon combine at the New Moon in the sign of the Scorpion, we may discover the truth. We may feel a pressure to release, eliminate, burn on the bonfire those things, those thoughts, those behaviours, that have outlived their purpose.

Scorpio is a feminine sign, and paradoxically ruled by testosterone-driven Mars. With Scorpio there can be no compromises.  Death, trans-formation, may be unfolding themes in our lives this month and in our collective future.

The ancient pagan festival of Samhain marks the New Year on October 31st, the day Mercury in Scorpio turns Retrograde. As we cross this threshold, we prepare to enter the labyrinth down into the underworld, we must go within. The darkness and the cold, the scorching heat and drought, will test our resilience.

Thresholds are liminal spaces.  Threshold crossings were once protected by ritual and talismans. We may not yet see clearly what we are leaving behind, what we are about to enter.  As we pause at the threshold of summer or winter, we may feel assailed by grief or resistance, overcome by the instinctual force of survival that distracts us from the inevitability and necessity of crossing this frontier, of leaving those things that are safe, familiar and beloved behind. Our destination may not yet be clear. As we step across the threshold, we must walk lightly in the darkness for a while knowing that there are stars, scattered like diamonds, across the velvet blackness to guide us into the grace of a new beginning.

As our earth strains beneath the weight of our appetites and numbers, many of us sense the ultimate ending, as the climate crisis threatens all species with mass extinction. In a superbly-written piece , Catherine Ingram describes this ending with heart-breaking clarity.

She quotes Jonathan Franzen, who writes in his latest book,  The End of the End of the EarthEven in a world of dying, new loves continue to be born.

This is now the time to give yourself over to what you love, perhaps in new and deeper ways. Your family and friends, your animal friends, the plants around you, even if that means just the little sprouts that push their way through the sidewalk in your city, the feeling of a breeze on your skin, the taste of food, the refreshment of water, or the thousands of little things that make up your world and which are your own unique treasures and pleasures.  Make your moments sparkle within the experience of your own senses and direct your attention to anything that gladdens your heart. Live your bucket list now.”

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Please get in touch if you would like an astrology reading: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

I write regular astrological updates on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ingrid.hoffman.75

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My Silver Lining

We’rsnowe living in a world where chunks of polar ice fall into the sea. Where forests burn and bomber planes fall from the sky.   We’re living in a world where the admonishment is to “consume” and destroy and Big Brother watches every move that we make. We’re living in a world where leaders  choose to ignore the wisdom of the yogis, the shamans, the spiritual teachers: All of Life is interconnected. When we burn down the rain forests in the Amazon and Indonesia, when we kill the last rhino and the last whale, we violate our own souls. The acts of insanity in our cities and in the Middle East, affect us all. We are experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul. Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism comments grimly, the world we are creating is an ADD-ridden flat land.”

John O’Donohue’s poetics resonate as the December 22nd solstice marks another round in the wheel of the year: “we have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.” For those of us who long to retreat from the annual surfeit of spending and gathering of “stuff” we don’t want or really need, we may  deeply feel we have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.  The relentless cheer of Christmas lights, the repetitive loop of  carols highlight the bleak grey landscape of loneliness or lack. The excess and the merry making may be excruciating for those who are estranged from their families, unemployed, or enduring the silent suffering of terminal illness. As the world turns to face into another year and dark clouds cover the sun, we search for redemption. We want a silver lining.sad woman 1

For all of us on this beautiful blue planet, the year 2015 was dominated by Saturn and Neptune reflecting above what is down below in a tense 90 degree square aspect. This square is a cosmic dance between these very different archetypal energies and will affect us personally (if you have a mutable planet in your birth chart between 5-12 degrees ) as well as collectively. Saturn is now in  fiery Sagittarius until 2018 and will offer challenges as well as growth gifts if we are willing to take the road less traveled.  Saturn encounters elusive Neptune between November 2015 and September 2016 as she shape-shifts through watery Pisces (till 2026). Neptune squaring Saturn is a tension of opposites that descends like a fine mist. It’s subtle. The effect of this transit may not be evident for some months after the final mutable square.

young girl at windowThis may herald a time of personal awakening, a deepening of faith, a new focus and direction. It may also herald a time of disillusion, deception, addiction, great suffering and disappointment as everything we believed to be solid in our lives seems to dissolve, nothing seems clear or sure. Saturn’s realm is structure, worldly progress and  material things. Neptune’s realm is murky, intangible, corrosive and often collides  with human values. As Neptune washes over Saturn’s boundary walls, firm foundations crumble and dissolve and we may be washed away in a tsunami of confusion. Money, health, relationships are frustratingly illusive. Our goals, our plans, our positive affirmations, all shape shift into a shimmering mirage in the dim distance.

Saturn in Sagittarius requires the truth. This is a time of inner re-calibration. Of vigorous self examination and honesty. A time of intelligent consideration of what is disseminated as news in the media.  A time of trusting that despite acts of terrorism, political and  corporate greed, and the pessimistic outlook for global warming after the COP21 in Paris this year, we can individually make a difference.

old loversFaith is a word we don’t often use in a bright solar world where we’re shining like the sun, always having fun, where every day is a “nice day.”

FAITH 1

Barbara Brown Taylor author of Learning to Walk in the Dark and Leaving Church writes, “faith is a huge naïve trust in those things we cannot control, we cannot see.”

Faith, for some,  is an irrational knowing that there will be enough money to pay the bills, that the apparently incurable dis-ease is merely a symptom of the soul’s malaise and can be cared for tenderly. Faith resides in the heart. It is the handmaiden of the soul. Faith is our silver lining.

heartWe may have to vigorously tame our thoughts, make a commitment to ourselves to release hoary old habits and rusty old grudges that keep us trapped like the Tin Man in armour that crushes our hearts. We may need to examine our lives scrupulously and ask if we are adding more aggression and self-centredness into the world. We may pray for the courage to put our soul in charge of our life. “We may not be comfortable but we will be awake and aware and fully alive,” says Prema Chodron, author of Taking the Leap and When Things Fall Apart.

Faith is not taking the easy road or staying safe. Faith is choosing again and again to trust that the world is a safe place, that Life is for me. “Trusting that whatever happens will teach me something.  That most people do not mean me harm. That I can make a difference in a few peoples’ lives by being present, by listening. That I can do some good both in community and on my own. That seems enough to live on for now,” Barbara Brown Taylor suggests.

“And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future,” said activist Howard Zinn. “The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.”

Perhaps,  it is in silence, in the dark of the moon that we can be fully awake and in tune with the inter-connectedness of all living things.  In the pause, in the gap, in the space between the ceaseless chatter, we can be open and touch the energy of the moment. Perhaps it is through the dark clouds that we can glimpse the silver lining.silver lining 1

First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining

Ingrid Hoffman offers astrology consultations on Skype and in person please contact me at: info@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

 

 

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