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Life Tag

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Back to Black—Sun in Scorpio—24th October—23rd November.

30207d1bada3d57ac987789d413aefa3As brittle leaves blanket the black earth in copper and gold there is something poignantly reassuring in the contracting light of autumn. Yet as Nature responds to the ancient rhythm of life and death, some of us may sense a seam of blackness in a world advancing through a dark night of the soul. As the inevitable juddering, shuddering climax of climate change, habitat loss, micro-plastics and global warming is shrugged off by plutocrats and self-serving politicians, as thousands starve in Yemen, and “rogue killers” prowl through the Saudi Consulate, torture and gruesome death is the price paid for speaking out.

Fair is foul and foul is fair. This is the month of Halloween and the ancient festival of Samhain. A liminal time, halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. A time to cull. A time  when the veil between the worlds shimmers, gossamer thin, in the cooling air. Juxtaposed with rows of golden pumpkins, the rich aroma of roasting chestnuts, a ghastly parade of ghoulish costumes send a frisson of recognition that winter is coming. On October 24th the Sun dips into the deep waters of Scorpio. That night a Full Taurus Moon illuminates the fallow fields. The very first aspect the Sun makes is an opposition to disruptive, radical Uranus and a square to the Nodes, a foreshadow of  unexpected, fated, events. Scorpio is an archetype associated with depth of feeling, with intensity, and let’s say it out loud: with death. d9b8f2254e916f0ee05098aa8c9b74dd

Pluto and Mars are invoked when we talk about the Scorpion.  We talk glibly of transformation, and yet, Pluto, and the essence of Scorpio, coils around that over-used cliché. For those of us who have witnessed the dying process of a beloved pet or a loved one, for those of us who have pared down to the bone after the dismemberment of a divorce, or the devastation of illness, know the pain of those irrevocable endings, those radical severances that bring us to our knees. Death and loss of all that we hold dear, distills what we value to quintessential heart-bonds, makes us count our blessings. We’re humbled, overwhelmed by the beauty of the little things. We’re brought to tears by an act of kindness, a soft word of sympathy.  When we enter the realm of Scorpio, snakes shed their skins and feathered phoenixes emerge from the flames. We draw deep on our human capacity for resilience and survival. We experience forces greater than ourselves which render us powerless, broken, yet also capable of acts of heroism and love, as told by Heather Morris in The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

a3d0fa6c1b9099d09cdc8cea4946636eVenus Rx, Mercury and Jupiter are the Sun’s travelling companions this month. Jupiter’s passage through Scorpio—October 11, 2017—November 8, 2018 has been the Pandora’s Jar from which all kinds of “great and unexpected troubles” have oozed—Jupiter magnifies and amplifies, and in Scorpio, this has been the sexual harassment and assault has exposed the sepsis in our society that has festered in silence, for years.  The renewal and trans-formative power of human sexuality, as well as the distorted perversions and abuse of sexuality are Scorpionic themes, trivilaised on TV in the titillating Bisexual and the toe-curlingly awful Wanderlust. Venus has vanished from the sky.  She’s dressed in black, withdrawn, reflective. These forty days and forty nights, we may encounter those things that arouse a visceral response.  We may recoil from encounters or sensory experiences that sting or  poison us. Venus is the arbiter of our values, the tempera on our creative canvas. She’s our detector, altering us to those circumstances, relationships, or more literally, to a sense that our tastes have changed. We not longer crave a certain food,  love a certain style of fashion. The art or music that evoked a strong reaction now seems banal. The person we thought we liked or loved with such fervor fails to engage our interest as Venus stirs within us an internal transfiguration.

Scorpio, in its true essence, asks us to dive deep into rivers dark and dredge up what lies beneath: sexual diversity and preference, obsession and compulsion, deep vulnerability and soul naked intimacy. We experience the sublime and the profane, the Life-Death-Rebirth cycle of relationship, the intensity of  being here, now.

This month the Sun, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus Retrograde in Scorpio amplify the sense of awakening from our cruise on autopilot, as we re-examine our values and embracing each moment with renewed intensity. As we prepare for the coming of winter.

Jeff Foster, author of Falling in Love with Where you Are distills the essence of this archetype: “This moment is not life waiting to happen, goals waiting to be achieved, words waiting to be spoken, connections waiting to be made, regrets waiting to evaporate, aliveness waiting to be felt, enlightenment waiting to be gained. No. Nothing is waiting. This is it. This moment is life.”8973168f0cbeae708dc17104c57be8b5

For astrology readings and more information about forthcoming workshops in the UK, please email me directly: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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Pause

Blerta Zabergja“How we spend our days,” wrote Annie Dillard “is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

How did you spend your day yesterday? How will you spend your day today? Will you flutter from window to window in an attempt to escape this featherless flight of busyness? Will you sit at the feet of the false guru blinded by the harsh neon light that hides the darkness of the shadow? Will you be unwilling to think your own thoughts? Unable to find a voice no matter how timid to say: Enough! No more! Will you beat your instincts into cowering submission when they urge you to leave the burning house and run?

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.  How we choose to stay in relationships that blister our hearts. How we remain in situations that diminish us. How we meekly, with heads bowed, enter the company of those who, by the poisoned-tipped arrows of their words and the repetitive bludgeoning of their actions, stunt our potential, crush our spirit, laugh at our heroic struggle to grow and to walk away from what feels toxic. We gorge on empty kilojoules – fast-food media, office gossip, relationship melodrama, vacuous conversations. Blindly we rush about, ravenous ants on the march. Doing so much. Being so productive. We shut out the voice that screams for something more. Dying before we dare live, pressing onwards and upwards, straining towards the punitive demands we expect from ourselves – and inflict upon others.

So how will you spend your day today? Will you mark off the minutes and the hours, corral the daydreams, the hopes, the longings behind an impenetrable fence of shoulds and shouldn’ts?  “What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labour with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order — willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living,” says Annie Dillard. Blerta Zabergja 3

When we focus, concentrate our attention, what are we missing? When we look, what do we not see? When we carve out a walkway in the labyrinth of our life, in a design that fits with our world view, our old conditioning, what do we hack away and trample upon in our urge for perfect symmetry? When we float through the world, attached to the umbilical cord of the iPhone,  blinkered behind dark glasses of our endless to-do lists, are we floating through Life itself?

Small children and animals are our guides and teachers in mindfulness. The way they focus on the little things – a butterfly sitting on a flower, the smell of another dog on the side of a park bench, a bird flying from the foliage of a tree, a glimpse of the ripening moon from behind a dark tangle of cloud. Neale Donald Walsh says that “the degree to which people have evolved is instantly revealed through what they call entertainment and fun…nourishment of the mind is no different from nourishment for the body. What you put in is what you get back. In triplicate.

Blerta Zabergja 2So just for today, let’s rest a while in the pause of a heartbeat, in the warm embers of a love remembered. Let’s  feel what  we have been afraid to feel for so long. Let’s glimpse through the spaces in our busyness the mythic journey we all embark upon as we transform, re-birth, re-image ourselves in our own private lunar cycles of renewal. Let’s observe those small brushstrokes amidst the broad ones. And attune to the sacred cadence of our soul song.

Photographs with acknowledgement and gratitude by Blerta Zabergia

Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo – Pause

 

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Between Two Lungs

It is our in-breath that holds us in Life. And yet it is when an opportunistic virus squats in the warm moistness of our body, and our lungs rattle and wheeze in the echoing silence of the night, it is only then that we experience the desperate urgency of that vital breath. We can live for weeks without food, days without water, only minutes without the hallowed air that connects us to the world around us. Yet, how often do we move mechanically through our days, without pausing to marvel at the miracle that is our body.  Until we wake from our stupor… until something goes wrong.

Many religions place care of the body as a sacred responsibility. The body is the temple for the soul, a physical form through which we all experience spirit, our humanness. Yet paradoxically, these same religions condemn our carnality; denounce our bodily functions, shame our sexuality. We have lost our ancient connection to the land, to our own animal bodies.  We worship at the altar of the mind, banishing our bodies, mutilating ourselves in our vain quest for some standard of “perfection”. Physical fitness is extolled in the media and in Western culture, yet below the skin of the perfect body,  lurks a fetid abscess of shame which poisons our blood, defiles our bones. We subjugate our natural cycles, starve our hunger for touch, use them like landfills for the garbage of shame and self-abuse. The memory of fear, loathing, and trauma, lies in the vaults of our musculature, stays, silenced in our timid, shallow breathing.

How many of us love our bodies? Care for them as we would minister to a beloved pet or a cherished child? The black rat of dissatisfaction gnaws in the belly of this body we say we love. Our bodies remain charred uninhabited landscapes. We’re talking heads, amputated from flesh and blood, swinging in space.  So, there comes the day when our athletic knees fail us after years of hip misalignment, and we must genuflect. Our facial muscles atrophy from mis-use of botox, our shoulders ache, immobilised by static hours at the computer. We are dis-embodied – unable to access the intuitive wisdom –  or the raw courage to defy the herd mind and attune to what feels self-nurturing.

As Caroline Myss says, “Our biography becomes our biology.”   So coming Home to the body requires listening, in silence, to the body’s innate wisdom to heal, to regenerate. It may take years to silence the critical voices in our heads that push us beyond exhaustion, that quell our instinctual hunger and desire. Jung talks of the Eros principle to describe this sense of interconnectedness, this sense of being fully alive, awake, in our fleshy moist bodies. He connected Eros to the archetype of The Mother, the feminine, the connection with the Earth, with sensual touch, with food, with nurturing, with relatedness to all things. Eros is our life force. When the feminine is demonised, devalued, she slips silently underground. She falls asleep, emerges angry, erupts as dis-ease. Somatised emotions sing to us our soul-songs of pain.

In the patriarchal West, we honour Logos – the masculine. When masculine and feminine energies are imbalanced, as they are in so many institutions, and religions, what emerges is competitiveness, perfection, specialisation, over-rationalisation, greed, mis-use of power, and the ultimate insanity – war. When masculine and feminine are out of kilter, we try to transcend who we really are. So often it is an illness, some kind of physical break down that brings us Home to  surrender, so softly to the warmth of  our bodies. Says Marion Woodman, “This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you do not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known. “

So, as we allow our minds to become still  energy  enters, the feelings  overflow… we begin to breathe deeply, filling our soft bellies, receiving… Life. As we learn to trust, to take seriously the honour of loving our body, our dreams bring us precious pearls in oyster shells of  metaphor, and imagery. They speak to us of dis-ease in our body if we are attentive, long before our bodies talk to us through symptoms.  Or, perhaps an “accident” may open the door to a room in our psyche we have never entered. “Injury is an essential part of the life cycle of any active biological organism,” writes Josh Schrei. “Only in a world in which we seek an endless summer and a lifestyle of perpetual comfort would we consider injury as entirely negative. Our very life cycles say otherwise. Our mothers birth us in pain and rapture, structurally altering themselves — and often being injured — in the process. We ourselves are born through a passage that puts tremendous pressure on our new frames and warps them out of symmetry right from the start… The reality is that injury — like all things in this realm of physical preciousness, up to and including death — is a gift if we take it as such.”

We cannot destroy our energy; lose our power, (to anything or anyone). It is there all the time, in the sacred landscape of our body. In the heart, between our two lungs.

Florence and the Machine –  Between Two Lungs

Dreams of a Saturday Morning in my Lover’s Bed – art by C.S. Scogins.

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Set Fire to the Rain

There comes a time when we know for sure that we cannot go back to where we were. We pass the point of no return. Make a choice to watch the wild fire burn away all that is  irrelevant in our lives.

And with that first unsupported step across the threshold into the charred landscape,  the unthinkable becomes thinkable.  What we believed was true detonates in the heat haze of our new resolution. We finally realise that the one we adored was not the god or goddess we thought they were. That the job we strove for does not feel as exciting or expansive as we’d imagined. That we have to face the finality of a relationship that is over, a friendship that will never be the same again.

There comes a time when we stand soul-naked in the first light of the morning and watch as our dream  dissolves on the gossamer shawl of the dew-spangled new day. The mirror on our wall finally reveals who we really are. There comes a time when we  surrender, battle-weary, to take ownership of those parts of ourselves that are encased in fear.  We witness  the distrust that writhes like a worm on the cruel hook of our unworthiness and shame. We observe the ways we place trip wires across the landscape of our relationships, setting ourselves up for the inevitable fall… It takes an act of great courage to stand soul-naked in what we feel is our truth.  To uproot  the mandrake of blame that grows from our belief that it is our crazy mother, absent father, our belligerent teenager, the buffoons in government, or the lover who did not choose us, fight for us, beg us to stay…

In the landscape of self-responsibility we grow up fast. No soft blue blankets, no bottles filled with sweet creamy milk.  No one to clean up the mess of our lives as we rant and wail. Our pain becomes our choice. To choose to stop the pain, to wearily dismount from the Ferris wheel of our own suffering, we need to do excruciatingly laborious work on the lies we tell ourselves. We must change our need to be right, to be in control, to dominate, or to play the Victim trump card. We  must to stand on our own two feet. Straighten our spines. Not fold like a soufflé when we don’t get the approval we crave. Not petulantly push away the gentle hand of friendship when we know it is the only hand there is to help us across the crocodile-infested river of our self-undoing. Not sigh as the world around us burns, when it is we that participate in and perpetuate violence by proxy in our very own homes with our flaming arrows of spite and sulphurous silences.

It is excruciatingly difficult to abandon the ship of self-righteousness. To forgo the familiar thrill of pleasing others so they will love us, need us, never let us go. We grow comfortable in our rusty armour of judgement that pinches and chafes. We feel familiar in its painful tug of constraint. Only when we make the choice to see with clarity and compassion the violent parts of ourselves, the parts that judge, and condemn, the parts that execute others with sharp-shooting precision, can we nurture those parts that stretch our capacity for endurance, forgiveness, generosity in Love, bravery in Loss.

Gary Zukav tells the story about the man, blind from birth whose only experience of this world was darkness. Well, new technology offered him a chance of sight, a miracle beyond his imagining. He asked his family, his friends, and his surgeon what it would be like to see, and of course, nobody could really explain to him what it was to see the turquoise sea, the tangerine colours of the sun set, the silvery moon and the diamond stars, the colour of his own blue eyes. The more he talked to his friends, the more fearful he became. He called his doctor and asked, “Doctor, will I still be able to use my cane to see? I don’t want to see if I can’t use my cane.”

In the terror of losing the comfort of our white canes, we clutch what we know, even though it limits our movement forward and darkens the light of our souls: the terror of being vulnerable, of being used, of being loved, of loving and losing, of having more than our parents, of being ridiculed, humiliated, of asking for what we want, of being “needy”, of losing our identity, of being judged… so  we stay small and quiet, stuck in the darkness of our blindness and our fear, afraid to set fire to the rain, afraid to turn towards a future, without  the cane, and say, I AM.

Set fire to the rain today… and celebrate Love and Life in all it’s wonder.

Adele … Set Fire to the Rain.

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