TrueHeartWork | Mars
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Mars Tag

Flo

Wonderful Tonight

Venus 27February is the month of seduction. Hearts laid bare in the guise of cuddly teddy bears, clichéd greeting cards and red roses. Amidst the turbulence and negativity in the world right now, it’s in the pleasure of preliminaries that our life force swells.

Somatic life-coach and dancer, Chen Lizra, describes seduction as an untapped power that we can use with integrity and charm if know what we want and have the courage and confidence to go out and get it. Seduction comes from the heart, she says in a TED talk well worth watching.  And seduction is played out against the coral-coloured breast of the western horizon this month as Venus ardently pursues her lover, Mars, confident and cocky in Aries. He’s on home ground. Venus in Aries is Zena the Warrior, Lara Croft. She blazes forth, resplendent and seductive, playing with possibility then on March 4th  she withdraws, dives once more into the shimmering waters of Pisces where she swims until April 16th.

imagesHIU142MC

This is reminiscent of the same celestial dance choreographed and performed eight years ago when Venus in Aries stationed, then retrograded in Pisces.  So what does this all mean for us in a culture that’s permeated with corporate political correctness and a work ethic dictated by linear time and light-saturated nights?

Venus has her own cycles. Like those of our bodies, they’re ancient and mysterious, beyond the reach of the rational mind, secreted within the moist wisdom of our cells. In her chase across the skies, she slows, then regresses for forty days and forty nights. Within the dominant culture, forty days and forty nights is associated with deluge, temptation, trial, and tribulation. In astrology, Retrograde cycles invite us to go back over familiar ground, to reflect, re-evaluate.  She’s staying a while in the fiery sign of Aries so from February 4th until June 5th except for when she dives back into the iridescent waters of Pisces on April 3rd, remaining there until April 29th, revisiting that fragile 29 degree of Pisces which will affect, on some level, all those who have planets at that degree of mutable signs. She’ll whet our appetite for passion, the delight of play, the boundlessness of our imagination, if we allow her to.

black and redVenus’s seductive charms beckon us away from the intellect. She invites us to follow our heart’s desire, to revel in fantasy and sensual pleasure, dance, music, deep relaxation to re-claim our eroticism. Octavio Paz writes, “eroticism is the poetry of the body, the testimony of the senses. Like a poem, it is not linear, it meanders and twists back on itself, shows us what we do not see with our eyes, but in the eyes of our spirit…”

 Says sex therapist, Esther Perel, Egalitarianism, of course, is one of the greatest advancements in modern society, but it has exacted a toll in the erotic realm. It invokes such civic rights as respect, care, compromise, and other morally laudable principles, whereas sexual excitement is all but politically correct. It is known to thrive on power plays, role reversals, and undemocratic acts.” 

Religious dogma, rationality and our addiction to technology devalue the body as a sanctuary for self-revelation, pleasure, and sensual connection with one another. Eroticism is relegated to the collective Shadow. We tame and shame our bodies, terrorise ourselves with thoughts that mostly begin with “Not enough…”Aphrodites Mirror

Writes Elizabeth Gilbert—we are not some early Dell Computer Operating System, here to be de-bugged. We are not some new product for sale, here to be perfected. The goal is not to become an immaculate golden orb. The goal is to return to a place of kindness, where you can be gentle with yourself and others, no matter what arises. This requires, I think, a friendly sort of loving humour about who you are and who we all are.

Esther Perel describes Venus in Aries eloquently and imaginatively—the lust for adventure and the crossing of boundaries, are often interpreted as fears of commitment and infantile fantasies. In the conflict between the drabness of the familiar and the excitement of the unknown our therapeutic culture has often seen the solution in the renouncing of these fantasies. Rationality must prevail. Fantasies are perceived as clouding reality, the idealization of romance as immature love, and we tend to encourage our patients to really know their partner. Marcel Proust the wonderful writer of the subtleties of romance, warns us that sometimes it is better not to be too familiar with our partner, for certain kinds of knowledge can reduce our interest in them and are in fact counter-erotic. Eroticism, which calls for the celebration of ritual and imagination, the infinite fascination with the hidden, the mysterious and the suggestive for no other reason than pleasure does not have a place in this objectivist view of life.red hot

Scientists in the field of neurocardiology are only just beginning to acknowledge what the mystics and lovers have known for eons. The intricate network of nerves, neurotransmitters, proteins, and cells in our heart act independently. Our hearts remember, intuit, learn and know in advance what is going on in the world around us. We must feel wArgentina_tango-dancers-ssresized-616x447orthy to feel desirable. We must love ourselves fully and deeply and intimately to generously love another.

So come away from the hard harshness of an unfeeling digital world. Walk away from the mirror. Darling, you look wonderful tonight.

 

Eric Clapton—Wonderful Tonight

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beyonce-lemonade

Lemonade

beyonce 8

“Are you cheating on me?”

Beyoncé throws open a door. A torrent of water gushes forth, the salty tears that wash the wound of Betrayal.

Beyoncé’s powerful new visual album Lemonade, depicts her profoundly painful experience of infidelity by husband, Jay-Z. And we watch as she rises, renewed and  invigorated by the pain of loss and announces to the world, “If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious!”

For more in-depth Astrology, tune in to my first Podcast here.

beyonce 6Betrayal punctures our child-like illusions of Love, expels us from the fusion-state with the archetypal Parent, shatters the projections that cloud our vision of our partner. Infidelity pins our butterfly-winged innocence to a deep awareness of human limitation and our own un-lived psychic life. In the torrent of emotions swirls guilt, anger and despair. Betrayal leaves no room for titillation, morality or judgement. Betrayal is about passion, hot sex, erotic energy, life and death. Betrayal is about broken hearts.

We live in a culture that is sexually immature. There is a collective adolescent preoccupation with the tawdry tacky side of sex that diminishes and obscures its sacred power and sublime sensual beauty.  We cloak our obsession with sex and obscure it’s deeper meaning. Saturn has been transiting over Jay-Z’s  Sagittarius Sun since January 2016 and Mars moves over his Venus/Neptune conjunction in late Scorpio till early August. In the same time frame, Mars comes to Beyoncé’s  Scorpio Moon/Uranus conjunction … “Grief sedated by orgasm, orgasm heightened by grief.”  We can speculate that their healing is ongoing and powerfully revitalising for them both.

Lemonade 3-beyonce-jay-z-lemonadeIn the nuclear aftermath of an affair, therapists may guide couples through various stages of atonement, stripping the soul of sex of its nuances. As sex therapist, Esther Perel, points out, we speak of “victims and perpetrators; injured parties and infidels; confession, repentance and redemption…”  Dr Shirley Glass, “Godmother of infidelity research”, writes in her book, NOT Just Friends, about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and yet it’s the Scorpionic essence of trauma, the powerful emotions of grief, jealousy, passion and erotic energy that must be acknowledged if we are to repair, heal and be glorious!

On May 24th, Venus moves into the Twinned sign of Gemini where she hangs in all her magnificent sparkling splendour in the skies, opposing her lover, Mars in his return journey into the frozen reflective depths of Scorpio.

beyonce 3In Venus’s inviting arms, Mars surrenders his brutish crudeness, puts aside his weapons of war to envelop her sensuality with a solid sense of power and strength. So think of Venus dressed in Gemini clothing – communicative perhaps, playfully flirtatious, curious in the face Mars’s attractive thrust of strength and the assertiveness he now displays in fiery Sagittarius… And yet he is moving away from his lover, moving backwards into an area of the zodiac, where we must all at some time or another confront issues of our deepest longings, our deepest repressions and frozen fears. In Scorpio we confront our shadow. With Mars in this area of the zodiac, we may feel brave enough to take action, to lean in, to draw our vitality from the deep well of sexual energy, bringing our creative offspring to life in the form of new ideas that come to the surface, new initiatives that are there but may not be quite ready to be birthed until Mars moves direct again on June 30th.

beyonce 11Betrayal is the means through which our fantasies are punctured and recognised. Venus-Saturn and Venus-Chiron – and in Beyoncé’s birth chart  a Venus-Pluto conjunction – do not cause a person to be drawn into triangles, but they describe a deep and innate awareness of human limitation. In childhood a distant or unavailable parent will then unconsciously be attributed to our own unloveability because a rival will take them away. And yet it is the depths of our pain that we discover hidden treasure in the dark silence of renewal.  An affair becomes the crucible where we burn away stagnation and destroy our false selves. Our recovery and healing thrust us back into a more authentic life.

Sex gives colour and vitality to our lives.When we hide from it or displace our sexual energies in excessive work, unexamined beliefs or restraining morality, where does this powerful erotic energy flow?  Writes Thomas Moore in his superb book, The Soul of Sex: many cultures perceive sex as a sacred cosmic force. Like all the elements in the soul, sex needs to be manifested or we suffer from the sudden return of the repressed – sex breaks through in negative and uncontrollable ways.

So take time this week to cherish your body, delight in your sexuality. Allow the life-giving energy of your passion to melt away irritation or victim-consciousness.  Use the energy of Mars in Scorpio from May 28th for deep healing.

“if we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious.”let it be glorious

 

 

 

 

 

 

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warrior

Vestiges and Claws

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another insightful blog on Mars this month:  Margarita Celeste

José González – Stories We Build, Stories We Tell 

 

 

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Hard Time

0311-scottish-highlands-snowstorm-714We’re at the threshold of a new month which contains the seed of new possibility. The month of March is named after Mars, the god of war. And this month, conflict and strife continue to rasp and rattle across the globe.

Frustration festers beneath the scab of these acts of violence. Territory and  wealth are clasped in the hands of only a very few on this planet.

 

hard time 1

Hoary old bastions of power and authority are in a process of  rupture as they no longer serve our collective evolution. This has been mirrored by the Pluto-Uranus square which has been in orb since 2008 and is now separating. So much in our modern world has changed and yet so much remains just the same: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Despite the financial crash and property bubble burst, despite the bombs that are taped to the bodies of young men and women, there are still no new financial, political or social systems to replace those that have out served their evolutionary purpose. Ideology has become a smokescreen for a castrated Mars energy that seeks scapegoats – white, black, Christian or Moslem in simplistic, formulaic rhetoric – them and us. The much reviled Donald Trump serves as a mouth piece for the great sludge of humanity and dares to give voice to what so many only think about: our prejudices our greed. He speaks through the polarized prism. Them and us. In his crassness lies something that resonates with those who live their lives like worker bees, so lightly dispensed with when profits are down. Perhaps it will take a global catastrophe to irrevocably destroy old systems and structures. It will necessitate brave new choices to build a-new with original materials.

March has been a special month astrologically.  Every six months we have a pair of special lunations that we call eclipses. Eclipses enclose certain themes at certain times. Some astrologers call eclipses ‘wild cards’. They tend to present quite uncompromisingly, situations that may present to us those yes or no kind of choices that challenge our glib promises, that compel us, like territorial animals, to move away from the familiar safety of basic ground.

 

hard time 3There have been two eclipses this March. A  new moon solar eclipse in Pisces and  a full moon partial lunar eclipse in Libra. If any of these eclipses spotlighted the personal planets in your own birth chart (they would be at 18 degrees Pisces or 3 degrees Libra) you may have had to make some kind of choice to make some lasting changes in the way you  perceive the world around you or examine how authentically you relate to those around you.  The effect of the solar eclipse will last for six months, so  as March folds into the arms of April give yourself permission to pause in the frenetic  over-scheduled busyness of your life and gently observe your inner landscape and what you truly value so that you may be Graced with a new realisation.

birds flying

Eclipses fly in pairs. The ones in March  re-activated another pair of eclipses that occurred last September – a  new Moon eclipse at 20 degrees Virgo and one at 4 degrees Aries ( the polarity to Libra ) So the planets that rule the signs of Virgo and Aries, Mercury and Mars symbolize our restless attention deficit minds and our primal urges. As we review the month of March, gently consider how did we evangelize, idolize or hold too tightly onto those convictions and thought loops that imprison us like convicts behind the bars of un-examined thinking or explosive impulse?   Hard time 2

Hard times are a choice even if the only choice we have is a change in our perception of our circumstances or how we see what is unfolding globally. We can choose to attribute good or bad to every thought, every behaviour that pricks our skin or pierces our hearts. Everything is interconnected. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe,” wrote environmental philosopher John Muir.

Spiritual teacher Neale Donald Walshe writes, “no one does anything they do not want to do,”  says  “You always have a reason, usually, a pretty good one, for doing what you are doing and choosing what you are choosing. Be careful not to convince yourself that you are doing something against your will…be honest with yourself as to why you are choosing to do a particular thing. Then, do it gladly, knowing that you are always getting to do what you want.

The statement “I have no choice” is a lie. You can choose.

So select the outcome that you most prefer.  Isn’t that power?”older couple kissing

Seinabo SeyHard Time

For astrology consultations on Skype or in person and for more information about workshops please email me on ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Into My Arms

red roseRed roses, cuddly toys, red velvet boxes containing invitations to dark sweetness. We may shudder at the bright shiny commercialism that festoons holidays that mark the wheel of the year. Those cards festooned with red hearts may remind us of  losses, painful rejections. Yet the sheer romance of it all may herald hope, sweep us off our feet of clay, give us wings to fly. February 14th, dedicated to a Christian martyr, marks a much older holy day in honour of  Juno (Februata) faithful wife of the womanising Jupiter and the mother of Mars. To the Greeks she was known as Hera, and February 14th was celebrated in honour of commitment and enduring love.

cosmic dance 2In astrology we look to the cosmic dance of Venus and Mars as significators of love and war, connection and separation, leaning in or walking away from love and desire. As they orbit across the zodiac, they mark new beginnings and inevitable endings. The dance of Venus heralds pregnancy, marriage, and reflects societal change. We all have Venus in our birth charts and it’s only through our hearts that we can meet each other in all our complexity and in the soft tenderness of our human vulnerability. Jung said that Mars was knowing what you want and doing what you have to do to get it. Mars is owning our desires, taking action to be the change we want to see in our lives.

Mars is Venus and Mars were in conjunction in November 2015 and their dance assumes the tension of a square in March this year and an opposition early in June as they perform a stylised tango across the heavens. Venus and Mars symbolise love and desire in all their many guises.

Perhaps as Venus moves into the sign of Aquarius on February 17th we can remind ourselves that the Greeks and Romans had many names for Love. And that Love is a Many Splendour’d Thing. Mars is in the sign of Scorpio now so both the love planets will be in fixed signs as they move across the dome of the sky. Perhaps this could be a time to strenghten our resolve. Practice Being more and Doing less, so that new awareness, new behaviours can graft and begin to grow new green shoots. Venus was a voluptuous goddess of sensuality and fertility, remember. Mars, her lover,  was honoured as a god of spring by the Romans.

language of lovePatience, like Walkmans and Kodak Cameras, has become obsolete in a culture where the promise of satisfaction is just a click away. We give up too easily.  We have little tolerance for frustration, setbacks and delay. So often in love we must commit to staying the course even though the road is rocky and there is a flatness in the landscape of love. If we could dedicate each new dew-drop of a day to practicing acts of loving kindness, search for things that are right in our lives, feel the gratitude coursing through our hearts, allow ourselves to be brave enough to peep around the walls of old beliefs that keep us imprisoned in shackles of right and wrong, we might  glimpse the golden orb of Venus just before the dawn.

Our relationships are spiritual pathways and our soul mates, our wound mates, teach us forgiveness, discernment and invite us to summon the courage to love more bravely again.teddies Judith Blackstone, author of The Intimate Life, writes “Love is the response of our heart to the world around us. To love life, and in particular, to love other human beings, is one of the central ideals of every spiritual tradition. It is also one of life’s greatest challenges. It requires the ability for true contact. And contact requires us to be authentic and deeply in touch with ourselves.”

Neuropsychologist, Dr Mario Martinez, author of The Mind Body Code, suggests that relationships based on the concept of bio-cognition and self-esteem are related to our immune system and our immune system responds to our transcendental beliefs. “We come with one of three wounds into relationships –  sometimes all three. These,” he writes, “are not victimhood wounds. These are soul contract challenges. Abandonment, shame, betrayal. We need a covenant of safely when we commit to become the guardian of each other’s hearts in a healthy relationship. Our soul mates are the guardians of the heart.”

How Long Will I Love YOU 2Martinez says that he believes we challenge our partner to abandon us – unconsciously. “We ask our partner to do abandonment behaviour to prove to us that we are right. The healing of abandonment is commitment. So we ask, what can I do for you right now to give you my commitment… when you are ready, I am here to give you my commitment. The wound of shame requires honour. Betrayal requires loyalty,” says Martinez.

Says sex therapist, Esther Perel “ You may feel that unless your relationship is thriving and you are on cloud nine, you don’t deserve to partake in the celebration of love. As if those in crisis or state of struggle cannot acknowledge any positive feelings because it would feel fraudulent. In fact, when you’re in a rough place, this is exactly the time your relationship could use a good dose of TLC. Making time is a ritual, and rituals aren’t negotiated — they are performed.”

 

Into My Arms Nick Cave

 

Francois_Boucher_Heracles_and_OmphaleApril 2nd 2016 Holding Aphrodite’s Mirror, Love, Lust, Loss and Longing

Join me for the second inspiring day at Ubuntu as we explore the powerful archetypes of Venus and Mars in how we love, how we desire in a digital age.

You’ll be working on your own horoscope so please have your data to hand when booking – your date, place and time of birth. Your own chart will be drawn up in advance. We will dedicate the day to a gentle connection to the sacred Feminine and the sacred Masculine.

Date: Saturday April 2nd 2016, 10am to 5pm

Where: Ubuntu Wellness Centre 99 Kloof St, Gardens, Cape Town.

Please email me: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com  for more  about this day dedicated to you.

 

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The Unforgiven Ones

“I’ve just had a shouting match with my ex-husband!” laments a dear friend. “Completely lost my cool. Regressed into a screaming three-year old!” As we stand in the light, we cast a long shadow. For so many of us who strive to live consciously, it comes as a shock when an event, a “chance meeting” with a former partner, a blow-up with a family member, exposes those orphaned parts of ourselves: the arrogance, irresponsibility, the greed, and the violence we disown in ourselves. Our shadow resides in the aching back, the stiff knees, the gnawing rat in our stomach. It lurks in what we idealise, or what repels us, in others. Our shadow holds a vast ocean of energy, which crashes through the containment of the harbour walls. We practice random acts of kindness, yet cannot bear to be in the same room as the one who hurt us so badly all those years ago. Gandhi said that forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. And time after time, we find we are not strong at all. We can hardly bear the weight of our own weakness. Catherine Ponder, author and minister, writes, “when you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

We cannot bridle this dark energy, curb it’s wildness with whip and spurs. We must approach carefully, with respect. If we lock it away in a stable, it will kick down the door when we least expect it. And yet, ride it we must. How can we ever be intimate with another if we do not ride on the same black steed as Mephostopheles?

Taking our “power back” has become the catch-phrase of the self-absorbed 21st Century. What is this “power” we are urged to take back? The Latin word for power or force is vis. The vis, the living force, we now call energy, is also the urgent thrust of our life force – All that we are. Our Light. Our Shadow. We cannot eradicate, repress the vis of the soul. It will find its way up to the light. And our ostracised collective repressions materialise as missiles, gunmen, wars. Then, something, someone, pushes our lethally destructive “button”. Detonates the bomb of unforgiveness we have secreted in the dim-lit arsenal of our very own psyche.

Many therapists urge their patients to express their anger. In astrology, our libido, life force, anger, is the province of the god of war, Mars. We all have Mars in our birth charts. For so many of us with Mars in fixed signs or a challenged Mars,  the act of forgiveness may be harder, take longer. We may never be ready to release it in this lifetime, and there is no right or wrong in this decision to hold on if we cannot bear the freedom of letting go. It is when we overlook, dishonour our Mars that we consciously or unconsciously embark on a painful struggle. Like Love, Forgiveness is a conscious, choice. “The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person,” says Louise Hay.  Ultimately, it is up to each one of us to set ourselves free from our own painful hold on the one who has wronged us.

Therapy, forgiveness workshops, rituals can all be helpful. Setting boundaries, a time limit each day initially for our grief and anger. Not allowing it to spill over and pollute our lives, blacken the future. One antidote against the poison of our dark thoughts is the simplicity of gratitude. Committing to writing a daily dozen opens the bud of a new consciousness. The practice of  ho’oponopono, is a practical way to forgive and cleanse clinging thoughts that make us literally or metaphorically ill. Only we can choose to see our enemy with compassionate eyes. This does not mean condoning or agreeing with their behaviour. This does mean acknowledging that there are no mistakes and that there is always a new birth in the chaos of destruction.

If we trust the healing process, dedicate time to be aware of our thoughts, our actions to witness the metaphors in our dreams, our lives will flow into new experiences, new learning, new ways of being, beyond our imagining. Says Marion Woodman: “The Self pushes the neglected forward for recognition. Do not disregard it. It holds energy of highest value. It is the gold in the dung. Do not disregard the dung.” It is very difficult to be judgemental of anything outside ourselves once we recognise that what we loathe in the other resides within ourselves. Only we can use the dung in our lives to fertilise a spring garden where fragrant blossoms of forgiveness bloom.

Crash Test Dummies – The Unforgiven Ones

 

 

 

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When All is Said And Done

Loss can be a seismic shock that cleaves us open to release a torrent of pain or anger. There’s an art to grieving, I believe. An art to embracing the conflicted feelings: shock,  denial, bargaining, anger, and the bleak finality of acceptance. To grieve well requires patience and enormous courage, in a culture which has few rituals to swaddle the weeping heart, to embalm the wound till we grow scar tissue to venture into our lives once again. We are not taught how to grieve. We are taught how to name, categorise, label, mostly,  not how to deeply feel in our fast-food culture of “closure” and “moving on” as if  Love and Loss were malls, or drive-thrus.   Many of us don’t do “closure” easily. We find it excruciatingly difficult to cauterise, tie a torque around seeping lamentation.  We lack the will to dam up the tears that flood the excruciating emptiness. We stand naked in the winter of our discontent.  We sit, immobilised,  in the ashes of our grief.  The salt of our  tears lubricates the keening of our aching heart.

A young woman client arrived today, bowed with grief. She raged with Tiger-fierce anger, then imploded, numb with disbelief, as she told her story of betrayal and humiliation after a unilateral break-up. Her lover’s masochistic behaviour made her realise that she was still loyally clinging to old stories she had told herself about love. Still playing the powerless Victim, still meekly turning the other cheek, afraid to ask, afraid to want.  For some of us, part of the soothing balm of healing is the realisation that we can be angry when our former lover slithers up to us at a party, arms outstretched in a pseudo hale-and-hearty-greeting, hapless trophy-girlfriend firmly in tow.  It is permissible to recognise that the plume of white hot indignation that rises means we are still triggered, and that our pain does not have a short sell-by date. We do not need to be the compliant “good girl / boy”, and force a friendship with someone who has behaved despicably, or go through the motions of “learning lessons” when our inner brat wants to scream obscenities from the abyss of our pain.  We might need to knead and roll out the resistance patiently and creatively. Self-soothe, rather than push down further the bloodied blade of “whys” and “what ifs”.

New Age psychobabble has a lot to answer for sometimes, I feel. And, as for the much extolled virtue of “turning the other cheek,” or the misguided belief that our feelings are infallible truths, or we must think only “good and positive thoughts” lest we do ourselves harm, energetically, I have found that we often muddy the healing waters and prolong our wretched agony. Seeing things from your partner’s perspective can be useful – up to a point. But all we can really change is our own perspective – with a no-nonsense, “is this true?” as we question the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the one who did not, could not, want to love us. Even this takes some doing, and can be just another form of self abuse if we have not allowed the anger to rush up and release.

Anthropologists guess that humans first developed language and a bulging cerebral cortex about 1.6 million years ago, taking us down a very different evolutionary path to our close cousins, the chimpanzees. We developed, according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, a sense of self, and importantly, a reflected sense of self, which shapes our choice of partner, as it is reliant on feedback from others. So, being humiliated, abandoned, or betrayed by the one we love has a devastating effect on our neurochemistry.  Emotions like anger and deep grief can hijack our positive self-talk and blaze through the libraries of books we have read on self-growth and spirituality, leaving us charred and utterly bereft if we do not have a solid sense of Self; and very few of us do. “Forgiving before you are ready is an act of violence against yourself.  And, you may never be ready” says Nicole Urdang.  Yet, once we are aware that all our long-term relationships and brief encounters are mirrors of our inner beliefs about ourselves, mere shadowy reflections of our shaky sense of Self, we can “love our neighbour – and ourselves.  No more pathological childhood trauma – wallowing in how your parents disappointed or abandoned you. The gift of grief and anger is another step in growing up. And if you honour the process, take your time to self-reflect, not self-flagellate, your tears will turn to pearls.

Astrologically, the transits to your own birth chart may suggest that this drama of grief and pain is happening through you, not to you. You have constellated the actors on the stage of your life, and you can access the power to change old patterns, even short-circuit family fate that has been mired in your ancestry for eons. If you can see your own collusion – not trusting your own instincts, perhaps “settling for” a lover who does not desire you enough to move from gridlock, who does not value you enough to commit to working through the power struggle.  To observe your own stonewalling, withholding, fear, criticism that has polluted the space between you, to have compassion for yourself as you revert to old default buttons, replay threadbare scripts. Only then can you begin to allow the cool tears and the hot anger to cleanse your heart, and make ready to Love again. Astrological Mars, representing anger, libido, fear, the Masculine Principle and our ability to fight off disease stationed early on Monday morning, then moves into retrograde motion on January 25th, reversing through Virgo for the next three months. This suggests that globally and personally, this is a time of turning points, of critical tipping points. A time that it might be helpful to examine how we betray ourselves, deny our intuition, stuff our anger and indignation down, tyrannize ourselves through negative self talk. A time to accept that the soul contract you had with your Lover-Betrayer was one of forgiveness and compassion.

Last word goes to Abba in that tremulously poignant song, When All is Said and Done:

“Thanks for all your generous love and thanks for all the fun
Neither you nor I’m to blame when all is said and done…”

Abba – When All is Said And Done 

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