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Mercury Tag

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Miracles and Wonder—Light and the Dark of the Moon January 2018

56838d5aff9f13ef84692959b204257bIf you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down—Toni Morrison

The first month of the calendar year, is named in honour of Janus, two-headed god of thresholds.

“This year will be better…” we say hopefully, perhaps as a talisman to ward off the aftertaste of the year gone by. As the effervescent bubbles of New Year’s Eve flatten into the sober days of January and we minister to the minutiae of our daily lives Fate may enter softly through the open door, catching us unprepared. She brings news that that skids and spins us off the smooth tarmac of your carefully scheduled New Year planner.6b6a23914dceb57b5308f1808a99e48b
“God never gives us more than we can handle”, is the trite knee-jerk response to desperate calamities and unspeakable suffering that so many endure. A visit to a psychiatric hospital, a war zone, the trauma unit in your local hospital, witnessing an execution on You Tube, makes me question what kind of god who would gift us with this kind of suffering.

The uncomprehending stare of a young mother’s eyes when she is told her child has died, a young man paralysed from the waist after diving into an azure pool one hot summer’s day, the black dog of depression that gnaws at so many, trapped in a snare of excruciating loneliness and loss.

 

63bb2d49cd6977e9cd095104c19e7230For many of us this year, we will have to bow our heads to the necessity of getting out of bed each day and finding something to be truly grateful for. We will yoke ourselves to the inevitability of change: children who leave home, a lover who no longer loves us, a dear friend who moves far away, a beloved parent who now needs the same vigilant caring as a toddler. As we eat of the bitter herb, may we know that there is milk and honey also, in the acceptance of things as they are.

Our ancestors lived close to the cycles of the seasons, the rhythm of Life. During the unrelenting grip of famine or displacement by war, flood or fire, they walked with the primordial goddess of Necessity. She was Ananke, also called Force or Constraint, she was mother to three daughters, the Moirai, the Fates. As omniscient goddess of all circumstance, greatly respected by mortals and gods, it was she who ruled the pattern of the life line of threads of inevitable, irrational, fated events in our lives. Ananke determined what each soul had chosen for its lot to be necessary—not as an accident, not as something good or bad, but as something necessary to be lived, endured, experienced. Necessity has been outcast in our mechanistic material culture where we, in our hubris and our self-inflation, actually believe that are all powerful—we can fix, manifest, cut away, or buy our way out of any mess we make.
1e64214c60f641fd56a4da1dd54af859Ananke is an ancient goddess, and the resonance of her name has its tap root in the ancient tongues of the Chaldean, Egyptian, the Hebrew, for “narrow,” “throat”, “strangle” and the cruel yokes that were fastened around the necks of captives. Ananke always takes us by the throat, imprisons, enslaves, and stops us in our tracks, for a while. There is no escape. She is unyielding, and it is we who must excavate from the depths of our being, our courage, tenacity, and acceptance of what is.

This New Year, Necessity may lay her hand on a defining moment in your life. The ending of a love affair, the barren womb, the not-so-exciting job that pays the bills. She may still the tug-o’-war of the heart’s calling, block the mind’s plan, and fasten the collar around our neck. There may be no escape, except a shift in perception, and the courage to accept that which cannot be otherwise and a resilience to stay the course and just do it. Author, Doris Lessing once said, “whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.”185d87a49608548f1fc31957c125ab58


The astrological signature this month accentuates persistence, discipline, and realism. The quiet dignity of commitment. The promises we keep. The words we honour. Mercury changes sign on January 11th, joining the Sun, Saturn, Venus and Pluto in Capricorn. And the month of January is bound by a pair of full-bellied Moons that hang melon-ripe, luscious in the night sky. They nudge so close to our earth that they appear larger, brighter than usual. American astrologer, Richard Nolle, coined the term Supermoon, in 1979, and symbolically these Moons amplify and illuminate those areas in our lives, casting their silvery luminescence on what might have been obscured or denied. On January 2nd, at the threshold of this new year, the Cancer Moon nestled protectively close to her sister Earth as we shrugged off the old year to gaze with hopeful eyes upon the pristine newness of the year ahead. This Moon was a harbinger of the total lunar eclipse on January 31st, at 12 degrees Leo. Observe the interplay of the elements—fire and water, yin and yang. The contrast in the terrain of the landscape this month might be a template for the choices we must make to fly as we let go those things that weigh us down, or stoically accept that things are as they are for now. Leo is associated with spontaneity, with self-expression and with courage.
This lunar eclipse is the first of the eclipse season this year, the next lunar eclipse occurs on 27th/28th July five degrees Aquarius.

As the shadow of our Earth sweeps across the face of the Moon she grows darker. Imagine how our ancestors would have observed the goddess growing darker, redder, or paling into blue, depending on the amount of dust in our atmosphere—a sign, an omen.

Modern astrologers tend to agree that eclipses are wild cards, and the effects are unpredictable, though solar eclipses tend to be externalised and lunar eclipses are subtler, more internal, often related to the past, to our emotions and perceptions.

Poet and novelist, Ben Okri writes, “bad things will happen, and good things too. Your life will be full of surprises. Miracles happen only where there has been suffering. So, taste your grief to the fullest. Don’t try and press it down. Don’t hide from it. Don’t escape. It is Life too. It is truth. But it will pass, and time will put a strange honey in the bitterness. That’s the way life goes.”

As we honour Necessity, we can choose which threads and which colours we wish to weave into the cloth of our lives. We can discover the Miracle in the suffering, we can taste the strange honey in the bitterness of our grief as we feel what needs to be felt—in the light and in the dark of the Moon.0000e417_medium

 

 

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Thinking makes it so―Mercury Retrograde―December 3rd to December 24th

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“What time has ever been a simple time for those who are living it?” asks author Elizabeth Gilbert in her novel, Committed. And yet, as news rushes through the tendrils of technology, flooding our nervous systems, squatting for days and weeks in our divided minds, this time, for most of us living in it, is knotted with perplexing complexity and information overload. The old ways are not working any longer yet for so many of us, nothing seems clear or certain in a world where plastic grows like a cancer in our oceans and human populations bloom like algae. Where what seemed sure and certain empties into the unknown.

On December 3rd, Mercury began its last Retrograde cycle for this year (December 3rd-24th.)

In the nuanced language of astrology, the planets describe the quality of experience we  assimilate and express. A Retrograde Mercury asks us to be patient and tenacious in the face of delays or obstacles, and amidst the ceaseless clamorous chatter, to “remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Patience and the commitment are carelessly tossed aside in the distractions of the times we live in. Yet in the North, Nature withdraws, retires inwards and waits patiently for spring’s Resurrection. Colours empty into shades of grey and stark skeletal branches pierce through the low lidded sky. In the South, shards of sunlight shatter the blue-sky dome with a radiance that saturates the secret life of rocks and trees. Shimmering light sweeps across the ocean sprinkling daubs of dancing silver over the crests of the waves, rendering us drunk with light, satiated with heat, immobilised, enervated.  Time quivers and expands.2370c600ab2525602f92996176404e54

This time of the year may bring endings, the potential of new beginnings. It may bring the polarity of choice that skewers us in indecision.

Between the retraction of Winter or the swelter of Summer, the way forward may not yet be clear. We may have to be still. We may have to wait.

Astrological Mercury embodies eons of symbolism that can be traced to the Babylonian, Chaldean, Egyptian mythology and religious systems. A strongly placed Mercury in your birth chart enhances your ability to be humorous and charming. Mercury is the teacher, the comedian, the net worker, the communicator, the trickster who brings lightness and laughter and a new perspective to our world. Mercury is also associated with Thoth, the Egyptian god of healing and fertility and it is with our words that we can heal, with our words that we can birth new possibilities.

The Retrograde cycle of Mercury occurs three times every year and moves through the elements of fire, air, earth and water, in a procession across the zodiac, alerting us the rhythm of inner reflection that is needed for a more conscious experience of living. Mercury’s realm is magical trans-formation. He was the god of cross-roads and times of transition. Mercury was the only god who travelled back and forth from the Underworld.

Mercury is an important planet in our birth chart, signifying how we access information from the unconscious as we silence the chatter of our mind. In these Mercury Retrograde cycles, our perceptions may shift, igniting the creative process, birthing brilliant ideas.

Right now, we are all, on some level, experiencing a Mercury Retrograde cycle in the fiery sign of Sagittarius, which is a sign associated with our beliefs about the world. Sagittarius is about expanding our awareness, learning something new, perceiving with new eyes.

fire-2837843_960_720Mercury harmonises its energy with Saturn (November 28th December 9th and again from January 11th 15th)  and as this calendar year hurries to an end, we may feel a sense of moving through treacle, sucked down by obstacles when everything around us is moving so fast. As Saturn and Mercury, hang low in the molten evening skies, there’s a deeper message contained here, said so simply by the Buddhist monk, Haemin Sunim: When everything around me is moving so fast, I stop and ask, “is it the world that’s busy, or is it my mind?”

Saturn is often connected with the law of karma and Mercury is about our perception. When these two energies combine in the heavens we return to the inner sanctum of our thoughts, that very private, personal space where linear time dissolves. We may choose to revisit the past, to follow the sweet scent of nostalgia to rest in unchangeable memories of someone we loved with all our heart. We may decide to clear away a tenacious thought that clings like a burr, repelling our peace in the still dark hours just before the dawn.

“Don’t let the hand you hold hold you down,” wrote the poet, Julia de Burgos. The simplicity of this statement may have a resonance for those of us who still hold the hand of an old hurt, a fearful thought, a limiting core belief.

Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” said the Bard. Nothing exists until we become aware of it. It’s the awareness of our minds that births the world we see into being. It’s our perception that makes the time we live in simple, or painfully fraught.  All it takes is a conscious shift in perception to see a new world, a promised land, a world where we can anchor in Faith, trust in the process of  Life itself. “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature”, says Thich Nhat Hanh.

3ff8b87dfdae59ca145c6e7a23d5fc0bToday, let’s bring new vision, self-reflection, and healing to our thoughts and to the  words we speak. Today, let’s be mindful that we do have a choice to re-write our signature, clearly and simply.

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Eyes wide Shut: Sun in Scorpio―October 23

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Just when we think we have garnered peace and tranquility, a wrecking ball shatters the structure of our lives. Pulverizes all that we believed was “real.”

We may have been blindsided by flattery or the heat of a lust we thought was long-lasting love. We may find out that it’s all a mirage, shimmering in a dust storm of lies. We may acknowledge that we have cruised along on autopilot. Allowed entry to our life the very thing that liquefies our viscera, congeals the blood in our veins, rubs against our values, endangers all those things we hold dear.

There’s a new harmonic in the symphony of the spheres today. The Sun moves into Scorpio, illuminating those parts of our human nature that grow in darkness: intense desire, envy, jealousy, resentment, vengeance, rage, powerful sexual urges, primitive drives, death. In ancient astrology, Scorpio was The Serpent that shed its skin, renewed itself. The Serpent was the symbol of healing often associated with the goddess. In modern times, the archetype of Scorpio carries with it a primal energy that lies coiled in the blackness of time.  Shedding of skins, even for snakes, is not an easy process. Blind eyes and searing vulnerability so often accompany sloughing off and release. Yet, the essence of Scorpio is renewal, letting go of those things that serve us no longer, amputating those parts of our lives that are beginning to rot.

Mercury and Jupiter are the Sun’s travelling companions this month. The whistle-blowing on sexual harassment and assault has exposed the gangrenous decay 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, amplified by Jupiter’s passage through Scorpio over the next thirteen months. Scorpio, in its true essence, asks us to dive deep into rivers dark and dredge up what lies beneath: sexual diversity and preference, deep vulnerability and soul naked intimacy. The immense power of the unconscious, has a Scorpionic signature. So does the Life-Death-Rebirth cycle of  our relationships.

43eef4f8d46903e94be089a5c9c70bd1The Scorpion, when cornered, commits suicide by his own deadly sting.

For those of us with a strong Scorpionic thread running through our birth chart, this indomitable pride, this fierce resistance to control or humiliation is so often played out in the power struggle of relationship, graphically depicted in film and literature. Those of us who have walked away from relationships that were pickled in pain or abuse, those of us who have severed bonds with siblings or partners who are manacled by their own addictions, those of us who “burnt in the hell of a destructive partnership” rather than submit and walk away may still carry the ashes of our pain in the heavy urn of implicit memory.

Recreating a new life from the ashes of the old one is a soul craft that requires patience, skill and compassion. This may mean searching for the roots of the lotus flower in the dross of circumstance. This may mean changing the way we perceive the past and weaving a new story of our lives.

There’s a sparkling jewel that glistens on the necklace of poetry that is William Shakespeare’s The Tempest“Let us not burden our remembrances with a heaviness that’s gone.”

samhainMoving forward is an act of will. So is holding on. There is a Tibetan saying which goes something like “everything rests on the tip of motivation.”  We are required to dig deep to find the motivation to change the energetic field in which we live.  To have the courage to be re-born, over and over again. Mark Nepo in the Book of Awakening writes so beautifully, “Repetition is not failure. Ask the waves, ask the leaves and ask the wind.”

What we experience comes in cycles, so we can return again and again if we need to, and do it all at our own pace. “We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up. We fall in love as many times as we need to, to learn how to hold and be held. We misunderstand the many voices of truth as many times as we need to, to truly hear the choir of diversity that surrounds us. We suffer our pain as often as is necessary for us to learn how to break and how to heal. No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance,” says Nepo.

63712.ngsversion.1466467229375.adapt.1190.1The primal energy of Scorpio, illuminated by the Sun this month, may come in the form of that wrecking ball that smashes through the illusions, the silences, the memories that no longer serve us. It may come in the form of a truth that breaks the shackles that have bound us for so many years. It may come in Love’s renewal and the regeneration of our Desire.

 

 

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Glorious

human crush“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” wrote Annie Dillard. There are times when the silt of our experience clogs up the arteries of joy. When we spend our lives in days devoid of mystery and wonder.

Finding fault with things outside ourselves becomes habitual, a dripping tap that depletes our lives of the glorious rush of joy and wonderment.Our obsession for thrills, shock and catastrophe corrupts our innocence with the corrosive cyanide of cynicism.

The stories we tell ourselves shape our world. We see what we expect to see. Mystics and shamans, artists and poets have known this for centuries.  “Where you look affects how you feel,” says psychologist, author, and developer of brain-based therapy, Dr David Grand, author of “Brainspotting”.

Psychologist, Ken Wilber, suggests that each decision we make, every action we take, requires a construction of boundaries. We can choose and choose again to remain in our relationships or our jobs. We can draw a boundary around what we choose not to choose. We can choose to be grateful and we can choose to be unhappy. We can choose to spend our days trawling through Facebook or watching news which  drowns  or lifts our spirit.

To the alchemists mercurius was the world-creating spirit. And the spirit imprisoned and concealed in matter. So our mind (Mercury) determines the boundaries of world we live in. We may trap ourselves in a world that we have created by our own perception of reality. We may stay stuck in our own creation. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that the very act of observing itself affects that which we observe. The way we observe and evaluate our inner and outer landscape will predispose us to notice a sunflower thrusting its face towards the sun or a discarded cigarette butt lying in the gutter. The way we observe and evaluate our inner and outer landscape will predispose us to see the love we have been yearning for in the eyes of our partner. Seeing with the heart requires faith and hope and a willingness to look through and beyond the boundaries that confine us.sunflowers_mariapopova

Pollyanna said, “there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.” And in the midst of the horror surrounding her family during the German occupation of the Netherlands, Anne Frank wrote in her diary, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”

So if we can learn to see with soft eyes this world around us. And if we can be patient and self-loving in our hunt, we may seek out the magical, the wondrous, in the ordinary everyday things that gladden our hearts.

Seeing with our hearts is an art that comes naturally to the very young and those fortunate few who “trip the light fantastic”  all through this lifetime. It is an art that must be cultivated with gentleness and diligence in our relationships.

The Magical Child archetype can be constellated more easily by those that notice the dragons swirling in ouroboric circles through diaphanous skeins of cloud than those who consult an app to know that today will bring rain. Faith and hope come so naturally, so easily to the very young and to those courageous enough to allow Hope to fly on white wings. Hope and Love endure in all great works of literature, art and film. And yet, for some, “hope is a tease,” as the Dowager Countess of Grantham of Downton Abbey says to her former lover Prince Kuragin, “designed to prevent us from accepting reality.” Perhaps the magic trick is to balance discernment and intelligent thinking with faith and hope. To make space in the busyness of our lives for unbounded dreams and curious observation. To trust our intuition to guide us into chance encounters and surprising new experiences.

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Anna Quindlen writes, “you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul. People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a résumé than to craft a spirit. But a résumé is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn’t look so good, orbirds and full moon when the doctor writes “prognosis, poor”… Look around at the azaleas making fuchsia star bursts in spring; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted.”

So look around. Allow your eyes to soften as you gaze without words into the face of the one you love today. Life is Glorious.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natalie Imbruglia – Glorious

 

 

 

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