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Mars Retrograde Tag

Handle with Care—Mars Retrograde—September 9th—November 13th

 

There is a fire raging, and we have two choices: we can turn our backs, or we can try to fight it—Jodi Picoult

We may feel as if we have stumbled through a portal into a forgotten realm as we communicate with our thumbs-ups, as we crinkle our eyes over our masks. Perhaps a strange tiredness has settled into the crevices of our ordinary lives. Yet, as we adjust and adapt, as we draw deeply on our faith and tend to the lamp of hope, we may sense the heat in the flame.

As COVID-19 continues to sweep around the globe, we all walk through a tunnel of uncertainty. This health crisis that has affected us all in some way, has revealed the brutality and injustice in our systems, the disintegration of checks and balances, popularist demagogues that deliver simplicity in sound bites and visuals. What we believed was solid and sure is threaded with words that summon danger as Barack Obama presciently warns, “that’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

We stand at an historical crossroad. The road well-travelled stretches towards profit-driven business models; the rapacious destruction of natural ecosystems; the numbing, dumbing down generated by the echo chambers of digital platforms; the banal flash fiction from our leaders.

During lock-down, many of us dreamed of a better, kinder world. As we gazed at the glut of stuff squeezed into our homes and felt this urge to pare down, to give away, to live more sustainably, our priorities became clearer, our hopes for when this is over carried us to a future where we lived more simply, more consciously; where we appreciated our loved ones. Yet now, we may feel a strange kind of emptiness, a crisis of meaning, a flatness as we witness the same posturing by our politicians, the same worship at the altar of profit, the same precarity of work and opportunity.The roads are gridlocked again. The silence, the sweet air has gone.

Now there is a fire raging. Mars, the mythical warrior  glowers red in the night sky as he stations Retrograde from September 9th (28°Aries) to November 13th (15°Aries) moving through the shadowlands from July 24th 2020 to January 2nd, 2021. A regressive Mars reminds us that we are battle weary. That we have been wearing our armour for far too long. That our bodies are aching, that we need more sleep.

It’s Mars that gets us out of bed in the morning; gives us our resolve to carry on. It’s Mars that takes a stand for justice, that fights the flames in California and ignites the flames of wrath in overcrowded refugee camps on Lesbos.

A Retrograde Mars turns white-hot energy inwards. Mars is our inner toddler that acts out when thwarted. We may sense rising levels of frustration, a need to push back at what is wrong in our lives, in our societies. The dark face of Mars is the radicalised berserker who unleashes fear and carnage, stokes up trouble on digital platforms. And as we scroll down our screens, skim through the news, Google snippets of “information”, we may inadvertently enter the fray of battle.

Mars, the fearsome night warrior is in his own sign of Aries. He bristles for a fight as he makes a tense square to the authoritarian men in suits—Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn over the coming months. This volatile energy will be in effect until the end of December 2020.

When Mars moves Retrograde, he draws his power from within, rather than submitting to the will of authority. Mars is also our daring greatly, our heroic ability to rise up again when we’re downhearted, when we’re bruised. We may have to go back, re-do, reset something we have planned. We may be forced to retreat. To take some R&R. Mars changes his relationship with the Sun when he turns Retrograde, so this is an inner battle for many of us, a time to face our night terrors, confront our shadow, sheath our sword, make amends.

Mars retrograded into Aries in 1909, 1941, and 1988 as conflicts arose and were quelled, as luck and rhetoric enabled demagogues to cling to power within the context of turbulence, unemployment, uncertainty, and fear. Now as Machiavellian manoeuvring on the 200-year-old bedrock of US democracy opens fault-lines that fracture across an entangled world, deep divisions become weaponised, outrage spills out onto the streets. We can turn our backs, try to fight, we can take that first step into the unknown because that fire has left us uneasy to go on as we are.

“Every decision you make—every decision—is not a decision about what to do. It’s a decision about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do,” writes Neale Donald Walsch.

In her new book, Spark Change: 108 Provocative Questions for Spiritual Evolution, author Jennie Lee guides us along a road less travelled. A road of courageous introspection where we may ask ourselves, “what am I supposed to learn from this?” She says, “that puts us into a place of humility because often we want to cast the blame outwardly towards another person or just the greater world situation, and we feel victimized by it.”

Use this Mars Retrograde cycle wisely to ask those provocative questions, to take refuge in slow time, to engage with life in a new way and to do what we came here to do. Writes Elif Shafak in her new book, “How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division, “after the pandemic, we won’t go back to the way things were before. And we shouldn’t.” It is up to each one of us not to return to the coping mechanisms, the distractions, the addictive behaviour that ravages our spirit. We stand at a new frontier. May we bring with us only those things we need to travel lightly on this earth.

 

 For astrology sessions, please get in touch: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

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Keeping the Lights On—Sun in Virgo—August 23rd—September 23rd

Scorched stubble shimmers in the pixilated August heat and as the harvest is gathered, the swallows swoop over bows weighted with blushing apples.

As summer slips into autumn and harvest festivals echo with the songs of our sunburned ancestors, the Sun moves into the sign of Virgo. Virgo is the harvest maiden, her origins threaded and bound to the earth’s ancient rhythms. Virgo’s arrival heralds the spring or autumn equinox on September 22nd and as the seasons change, we may sense a new momentum, a desire to spring clean, rearrange, prepare for a new rhythm in our own lives. Or we may simply be doing our best to keep the lights on, to make the best of things beyond our control.

The astrology of 2020 reflects the contraction of the economy, plans postponed, events cancelled, as invisible plumes of COVID-19 swirl silently through our communities. In this strange new world advertisers cheerfully remind us that “we’re all in this together”. And yet, for those who remain incarcerated in care homes, or stranded in cities far from home, worried about income, this a time of suspension. We may never have felt more alone.

Damien Echols (Mars in fiery Sagittarius) spent almost two decades on death row, mostly in solitary confinement. He survived the brutality and stagnation of prison life by exploring the practice of hermetic magick.

In his book, Life After Death, Damien writes “I have two definitions for the word “magick.” The first is knowing that I can effect change through my own will, even behind these bars; and the other meaning is more experientialseeing beauty for a moment in the midst of the mundane.”

As the seasons change, as we transition from the confinement of lockdown into the restrained containment of this new way of being, we are challenged to shift our perception, to symbolically keep the lights on, even if we feel we are not making much progress. The last New Moon of August 19th (26° Leo) calls to our innate ability to see “heaven in a wild flower” as the visionary William Blake offers in his poem, Auguries of Innocence, though the astrological weather will be stormy these next six months as Mars marches through Aries to square the behemoths, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, three times. As Mars squared Jupiter on August 4th, a devastating explosion mushroomed over Beirut, Lebanon.

Mars turns Retrograde on September 9th (28 °Aries) symbolising internalised anger and desire, subversive action, as well as an opportunity to reassess the way we negotiate our power.

Apathy, depression, paranoia, sexual anorexia, and enormous frustration emanate when Mars is in chains. Mars is also the Samurai, the Warrior, who embodies erotic energy and virility, and the ability to stand one’s ground, defend our rights, tame our own demons, conquer our self-doubt in the months ahead. Mars is Retrograde until November 13th (15° Aries.) A provocative Mars squares Jupiter once more—October 19th and January 23rd—Saturn August 24th, September 29th, and January 15th, and will make a confrontational square to Pluto—August 13th, October 9th, and December 23rd.

As frustrations build, and tempers chaff and fray against ever-changing lock down rules, and algorithms determine the fate of thousands of school leavers and university graduates, and carbon emissions continue to rise, we may ruminate or catastrophise, or use our innate capacity to focus on the present moment with gentle interest and kindness.

Mercury-ruled Virgo is also the alchemist and the magician who uses ingenuity and clear vision to guide us across the threshold of change as we engage in lessons of integrity. Joseph Campbell called the Magician archetype “the mentor with supernatural aid” and as  Mercury moves into his own sign of Virgo on August 20th, we may be selling our skills, refining our self-worth, perhaps investing our time and our energy as we mentor someone, or become the apprentice as we learn a new skill.

We may feel worn out, weary, as the light of our faith begins to flicker. The  Full Moon of September 2nd  (10° Pisces) carries the injunction to tend to our spiritual practice. The Sabian Symbol for the New Moon of September 17th (25° Virgo) A Boy With A Censer Serves The Priest Near The Altar invites us to light a candle, perform a ritual that celebrates our spirituality and renews our faith.

Uranus in Taurus stations on August 16th and will move Retrograde until January 13th, 2021, upending everything that has become too rigid and stuck in our lives. Future-directed Uranus uproots the past; accompanies break downs and break-throughs, unexpected events and separations that fling us into fresh starts as we align our energy to what matters most.

Collectively, and personally, we are in limbo, which has it’s roots in limbus, meaning hem, border, edge. As we stand on the edge, we may feel uncertain, hesitant, stuck or confused. When Virgo walks through the sun-bleached fields, it’s the little things she notices—those things that clutter our lives, clog our bodies, erode our integrity. Virgo’s virtues are self-containment and discernment. As the Sun awakens our Virgo planets or illuminates that part of our birth chart that is Virgo, we may feel insecure, unappreciated. Our industriousness and attention to detail may not get the recognition or financial reward we need to pay the bills.  Virgo’s shadowy traits emerge when we stumble into the seductive archetype of “The Harlot/Prostitute, when we sell ourselves short, when we don’t honour the commitments we make to ourselves, when we collapse into the fear of survival and clutch onto security at any cost. When we serve others and like the foolish Virgin, we neglect to fill the oil or trim the wick of our own lantern.

At this time of transition, we may be seduced by the security of the old ways. We may try to continue as we did before. Yet there is another way.

Where do we begin? Begin with the heart,” wrote anchoress Julian of Norwich who was walled up in a small cell built onto the church for most of her life. In so many ways, this woman who took on the name of the church she was quite literally attached to, epitomises the humility and reclusiveness of the Virgo archetype, the Magician, and the Warrior.

Dr Mary Wellesley writes, “at the moment of an anchoress’ enclosure, a priest would recite the office of the dead, which was the set of prayers said at a person’s funeral. This symbolised that the recluse was dead to the world.”

The exclusive mens’ club, which was the medieval church, was a dangerous place for an intelligent woman. “Julian” called herself a “simple creature that cowde no letter,” yet she courageously wrote Revelations of Divine Love. It was seminal writing, a daring act of self-expression, which could have been construed as heresy. As we explore the archetypes of Prostitute, Magician, Recluse, and Warrior this month, may the Wise Virgin hold up the lamp of inner guidance as we emerge into the world with humility. We may feel dead to the world and to ourselves. Yet, we can begin again, with the heart.

For astrology consultations, please get in touch: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Still Point—Solstice—June 21st

solstice 14This is the Solstice, the still point of the Sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future. The place of caught breath—Margaret Atwood.

As summer thrusts sunlight into the receptive hollows of the earth here in the north, and the benediction of winter silence presses into the cold soils of the south, the Sun moves into the sign of Cancer on June 21st, and pauses at the threshold of the year.

Our Earth is girdled with contrast, bejeweled with the counterpoint of light and darkness. Spiritual teacher, Gary Zukav describes the Solstices as “the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterize our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives.”

At the solstice, and right now in our human his-story, we stand at a threshold, and at a time of unlocking, which promises the release of pent-up energy, the slaying of old dragons. The choice to expand, or contract against the forces of change that swirl around us all.solstice 000

Uranus moves through the sign of Taurus (2018-2026) engendering social and financial seismic upheaval, spurring climate change—a potential “ecological Armageddon” —to shatter our illusions of security and what we believe is safe and sure.  For many, these social and economic changes will change how we live, how we work. Like the interwoven spirals and coils of Celtic knot-work, the astrology of our times is threaded with the amalgam of the past. Uranus moved through the sign of  Taurus between 1934 and 1941. Yet, in the darkness of depravity and suffering many experienced their “their finest hour”. The Industrial Revolution between 1850—1859 irrevocably destroyed a way of life but also brought innovation and a new social and economic order as Uranus moved through Taurus.

Against the backdrop of the widening gyre, the Sun rides his chariot through that segment of the zodiac associated with home, with family, with safety and security, between June 21st to July 23rd.

Cancer is a water sign, associated with the bonds that bind us kith and kin, to the land of our Homeland, our Motherland. Cancer is associated with the Great Mother, with the mythic Bear and She-Wolf who nurture and suckle their young. Psychologically, Cancer offers the opportuntiy to explore the other dimension of Mother—the mother who lives vicariously through her young or who keeps them dependent and infantile. The mother who devours and destroys. Cancer represents our need to individuate, to separate from Mother and the family alembic. To turn from the breast and to nourish ourselves. In a world where health care and social security systems are being dismantled, this need for self-sufficiency and innovation may become more urgent.

Cancer is also associated with the  crab who carries her shell on her back to protect her soft body from the elements. This is poignantly enacted each day as homeless men and women pack up their meagre belongings from park benches and doorways in so-called “First World” nations.  In the poorer countries of the world, millions live in fetid squatter camps or risk their lives to seek refuge from famine and war. And in South Africa, land invasions will escalate in a disruptive and violent manner as Uranus moves through Taurus. As the gulf between the rich and the poor widens, Ted’s story is the story of thousands of men and women who, through divorce, retrenchment and rising prices, have lost their moorings, slipped into the abyss and have no place to call home in a bloated housing market peppered with Airbnb. Ted died at a table in a coffee shop in one of the most affluent areas of Vancouver this month. Battling cancer, with no means to rent or buy a home of his own, Ted had been living at a table near the washroom of the coffee shop for a decade. There are increasing numbers of people, struggling to cover the cost of food and housing in cities where house prices have rocketed. Judy Graves, an advocate for the homeless met Ted about four years ago when he had been diagnosed with cancer. “He had worked all his life, but at low-paying working-class jobs. For much of his life he had managed to scrape by, but an unexpected expense left him suddenly scrambling. Eventually he was left him without a roof over his head.”

solstice 4Frank Baum’s “There’s no place like home,” and the clichéd  “Home Sweet Home,” reflect our heart’s longing for safety and belonging as we pause in the dreamy haze of mid-summer heat, or close the curtains against the raw chill of mid-winter. As Uranus moves through Taurus, one of the manifestations will be the issue of land and affordable housing—a place to call Home.

The dreamy magical month of June may have brought timely reminders to stay flexible amidst uncertainty and ambiguity of the bellicose tweeting, the self-aggrandisement of the politicians. We’re exactly one month away from eclipse season and as the Wheel of the Year turns, and we draw closer to the mid-Summer/Winter Solstice, Venus ingressed into Leo on Wednesday, June 13th, and Mercury slipped into Cancer on June 12th against the backdrop of Brexit, which will affect us all. Another colour wash is Mars opposing the North Node this week and beginning to slow down in the early degrees of Aquarius before turning Retrograde on June 26th to August 27th.

So, stay flexible and alert, prepare for things to change, perhaps not in the way that you expect them to. If you have planets in Aries or Scorpio, you might feel this shift quite dramatically as life seems becalmed. Return to basics, re-do, reinforce, and use this time wisely to replenish your own energy reserves. Black Elk offers this wisdom for Mars in Retrograde—It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives. Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds.0dec402d59d23a9e1004a898b40af19c

Mars is the archetype of war and is associated with anger. Moving slowly through idealistic Aquarius, ideologies and the Tribal Mind are emphasised. When Mars is in Retrograde, his energies are bridled, curtailed, he cannot move freely or spontaneously. If you’ve ever been at the receiving end of an insult that explodes through your heart, you’ll have sense of the power of this astrological signature. These next few weeks may  may feel supercharged, yet nothing happens; our nervous system may feel like a string of a violin that has been strung too tightly. Be mindful of thoughts create tsunamis across the surface of your mind and capsize your calm, words that emerge from the cave of your unconscious and darken the blue skies of affection.

Mars always needs to pick a fight, so the energy may feel as  volatile as a swarm of bees racing through the skies con a hot summer’s day. If you’ve been putting up with, or tolerating a situation that has become untenable, anger may erupt in a heated rush as Mars goes direct. Projects, plans may proceed with unprecedented speed.

We’re living in uncertain times.

Yet there’s a certain kind of freedom in uncertainty. Freedom from our addictive fear of the unknown, freedom from our past conditioning.

Writes Deepak Chopra, “in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.”

solstice 7I post astrology updates regularly on Facebook, and offer private readings on Skype or in person, so do please connect with me, I’d love to hear from you—ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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Ride on

Ride On 1Life’s challenges bring us second chances. An illness appears in the guise of an opportunity to heal a ruptured relationship or reconnect with a family member. The loss of a job may be the way through to a long-buried dream that opens into a new life direction. Life’s challenges may bring us another chance to turn towards Life and Love once more.

We’re living in “interesting times”. The world is in a constant process of change. And now we’re in the eye of the storm. Countries are disengaged. On the brink of divorce. Re-engagement will require courage and the resilience to bounce back, regroup in the face of personal disappointment, loss or betrayal.

For more astrology listen to this week’s New Moon podcast.

Ride On 2“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen,” says Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly. Showing up to be seen for many of us sounds a lot easier than it is. We’ve been wearing a mask for so long, it cleaves to our skin. We may lose face. Have to admit we were wrong. Say we’re sorry and make amends. Courage and resilience don’t come naturally for most of us as adults. Losing a home or a source of income, the dismemberment of divorce, are—for most of us—catastrophic events that  split our psyches along old fault lines that formed when we were malleable and very young. Our scar tissue aches. Resilience, that brave act of rebounding, is made easier if we have emotional attunement with others, good enough mothering in early childhood, a sense of belonging to family, a community. The ability to turn in and towards instead of pulling back and turning away is something we must learn and practice daily.

Ride On 3Dr John Gottman, scholar, researcher and author of The Science of Trust says that sliding door moments build trust. “Trust is built in very small moments, which I call “sliding door” moments, after the movie, Sliding Doors. In any interaction, there’s a possibility of connecting with your partner or turning away from your partner. Of all the terrible betrayals, there is a particular sort of betrayal that is more insidious and equally corrosive to trust. The betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship. The word, betrayal evokes experiences of cheating and lying, breaking a confidence, failing to defend us to someone else who’s gossiping about us, not choosing us over other people. But the most dangerous in terms of corroding the trust connection is disengagement. When  the people we love or with whom we have deep connection, stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing, and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fear of being abandoned, unworthy and unloveable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair, is that we can’t point to the source of our pain—there’s no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. It can feel crazy-making.”

Ride On 5Astrologically, we’ve all been affected in some way by the energy of Mars Retrograde and Neptune square Saturn. Mars is gaining momentum now as he moves direct through the sign of Scorpio and the Saturn-Neptune square is still in force, symbolised by the waves of immigrants seeking refuge, the political Game of Thrones. The word change means to to make (something) other than what it was, to alter,  to bend, crook, to become different. And to change we must take action (Mars) to bring our hopes, our ideals, our dreams ( Neptune ) into manifestation (Saturn). And in order to trust another we must trust ourselves to be fully present during life’s random encounters. Writes Brené  Brown, “nothing has transformed my life more than realising that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction from the people in the stands.”

We have a choice in how we perceive the world around us. There is no final destination in our personal journey. There is no end to our Becoming. The passage of time sculpts and shapes our values, our preferences and our perception of the world around us. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’re ever been. We can dare to pause, consider, differentiate from the hive mind. We can trust. And ride on.images

Christy Moore— Ride On

Sliding Doors, the 1998 romantic comedy, depicts those split-second choices that unfold like skeins of silk into futures not yet lived.

Oryx Photograph Jeanne Thompson

My upcoming workshops are in Dublin, 15 Oct, and Cape Town, 5 Nov.

To join, please email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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