TrueHeartWork | Neptune
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Neptune Tag

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In the Balance—Sun in Libra—September 23rd—October 23rd.

libra 4In tough times, everyone has to take their share of the pain—Theresa May, Libran.

The souls of the dead were weighed against the Feather of Truth by the ancient Egyptians, and this month, for many of us, there will be a sense of arriving at a crossroads of a situation that requires sound judgement and careful consideration.

The Sun enters Libra on September 23rd, and as it moves over the equator, day and night are equal. This is the midpoint of the zodiacal round, representing the seasonal shift of the Autumn and Spring Equinox.

For so many of us, balance is something we may wistfully talk about when the rhythm of our days begins to gyrate, scattering the weight of unattended tasks and responsibilities like a mantle over our minds. Balance is something we strive for when world weariness infuses the marrow of our bones. Yet, balance is as capricious as the patterns of neuronal firing in our brains, as fleeting as our emotionally-charged perceptions of the world around us.

The Sun, the symbol of our creative self-expression, is said to be in its fall, or debilitated in Libra. A perpetual state of balance is impossible to achieve, as we continually re-create ourselves amidst the complexities of our relationships.

In the Tarot, Libra is Justice XI reflecting the advancement of culture, away from the “primitive” instinctual life. Libra and Aries mark the Equinoxes and where Aries is the beginning, Libra is midway, a crossroads where the old converges with the new. Where reason, justice, and law must be carefully weighed in the balance. As the Sun moves through the sign of Libra this month, we may be standing at a personal crossroad of choice,  where our decision must be carefully weighed.efb774662916bf305165d27bb11f2435

The month of October may bring us all closer to a more tangible rendition of this sole inanimate sign. Venus rules Libra, and she goes Retrograde on October 7th, moving apparently backwards, through the deeply sensitive sign of Scorpio, quickening our hearts as she demands only the most honest and loyal bonds of attachment to those things we hold dear to our hearts. Venus symbolises our inner values, and in Scorpio, superficiality and masks just won’t do. She moves into a second square to Mars on October 11th. Mercury moves into Scorpio on October 11th  when there is a repetition of a theme of choice, or an issue around a relationship or something we deeply value that might have begun in the week of September 11th.

The essence of Libra is paradox and as Richard Tarnas, author of Cosmos and Psyche, writes, “Our time is pervaded by a great paradox. On the one hand, we see signs of an unprecedented level of engaged global awareness, moral sensitivity to the human and non-human community, psychological self-awareness, and spiritually informed philosophical pluralism. On the other hand, we confront the most critical, and in some respects catastrophic, state of the Earth in human history. Both these conditions have emerged directly from the modern age, whose light and shadow consequences now affect every part of the planet.”

Libra 5Margaret Thatcher and the last woman standing, Theresa May, both represent different aspect of this complex cardinal sign, yet share one of the most underestimated of all the Libran traits: intractability. Perhaps, they believed themselves to be agents of change and justice. The astrology documents the events that have unfolded for the often-inscrutable Mrs May since the start of the election campaign on June 8th 2017. We have no accurate birth time for Mrs May, but the positions of the Sun and most especially Mars in her birth chart reveal the stressors and coping strategies deployed during this turbulent time in British politics. From May to August 2017 Neptune conjoined Mrs May’s Mars, suggesting that striking out in self-interest would be undermined in a swirling sea of confusion, delusion, and discouragement. Neptune Mars contacts bring a sense of idealisation that clouds our willingness to accept “reality”. The essence of this transit is about surrendering our ego to a greater cause. Mars represents our will, and Neptune undermines and dissolves, making it difficult to succeed. She is quoted as saying, “I’ve been clear that Brexit means Brexit.” And as Neptune conjoins her Mars at the end of October for the last time, stationing direct on November 26th and remaining there till late December, whatever clarity Mrs May was referring to may emerge like a chimera to haunt her and the Conservative Party in November/December.

Saturn has been in square to Theresa May’s Libran Sun—March, May and early December 2018.  A time of critical development where she will be challenged, perhaps her ambitions thwarted. Saturn square her Sun represents a period of trial, of low vitality. Projects she began seven years ago are now facing a crisis, and she will need all her  Libran diplomacy and hopefully the ability to compromise to try to save what she believes is worth saving.  Jupiter squares her beleaguered Mars in early January 2019 against the backdrop of Pluto’s transit through Capricorn. In the words of William Butler Yeats, “things fall apart, centre cannot hold.”

Pluto opposes the UK Moon (representing the people) in Libra 8the last of five oppositions in early December, signifying irrevocable destruction, and eventually a rebirth, and we will all feel the pain. Pluto opposed the British Sun in the 1920s (1922/23) and conjoined the nation’s Moon between 1930/31, at the time of the Great Depression. During the Thatcher years (1975/76) Pluto squared the nation’s Sun and in 1979 and 1980 at a time of unemployment and austerity and the miners’ strike, Pluto squared the nation’s Moon.

Pluto conjoined the Sun of the UK chart in 2013, squaring the Nodal axis, which gives a “fated feel” to the unfolding drama. From March 25th 2019, Saturn opposes the nation’s Moon and on April 14th 2019, Neptune squares Mercury, with Uranus square Jupiter (June-April 2019) signifying the disruption and upheaval that has accompanied what will be a hard (Saturn) Brexit.

Many Librans are prone to agonising procrastination and inertia in their quest for balance, peace, justice and harmony. In the need to please, to be gracious and charming, they offer concessions, subjugate their own needs, and stumble into the shadowy realm of obsequiousness and repressed resentment.

3875fcadda1911e6520ac6b48f85a547Compromise or polarisation. Judgement or discretion.  Quiet desperation or the grace to remember that this is precisely what we have come here to do. In the scales of Libra we hold the tension of opposites. Light and shadow. The paradox of our humanness in the eye of the storm. Perhaps, as Carl Jung believed, if we hold the tension between two opposing forces, a third way emerges, uniting, transfiguring, transcending the two, giving birth to something new.

For astrology readings on Skype or Whatsapp and for more information about workshops please connect with me: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

I post regular astrology updates on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/ingrid.hoffman.75

 

 

 

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Carried in the Deep 7c

Sun in Pisces—Rolling in the Deep—Mystic, Mélusine, Misfit

a239a69d3960d9823ccff550b08dfbb5The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do itJ.M Barrie, Peter Pan

Bruised clouds hang in bunches over the parched land, delivering thunder and lightning and a meagre measure of rain. Yet as river beds turn to dust in the wind, jasmine bursts, a froth of fragrant creamy white, from tight-coiled cerise buds. Eight months before spring.

Faith and Hope hold us airborne. There’s a life-force that spirals from struggle.  Writer and civil rights activist, James Bladwin, says of Shakespeare’s life in Elizabethan England, It is said that his time was easier than ours, but I doubt it—no time can be easy if one is living through it.”

Throughout human history, times of drought, plague, famine, flood, and myriad human atrocities have crushed civilizations. Yet from the shards of broken lives rise  mystical visions and Marian apparitions. New perceptions perfume the air. From the confines of her monastery in the politically hazardous 11th Century, Christian Mystic, Hildegard of Bingen wrote, I am the fiery life of the essence of God; I am the flame above the beauty in the fields; I shine in the waters; I burn in the sun, the moon, and the stars. And with the airy wind, I quicken all things vitally by an unseen, all-sustaining life. And as the Black Death scythed 50 million souls or more, in the 14th century, came this reassurance from Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” As we spiral through our ordinary life’s seasons amidst a maelstrom of political and climate change, magical thinking, practiced by shamans and visionaries for centuries, offers sustenance in our own difficult times.

There’s a sublime sensitivity, an innocent faith in the celestial sky-story this month. The Sun moved into the sign of Pisces on February 19th,  joining Mercury, Venus, Neptune, and Chiron in the unbounded depths of the sky. The Sun and the Moon consummate their union with the new Pisces Moon on March 17th.23494e332063871e31b4fcc990a16b4f

The Sun’s passage through Pisces awakens our yearnings, diffuses our dreams with dappled remembrances. It stirs our faith in the ineffable, the non-ordinary realms, bringing magic and wonderment to lives so often infused with a tincture of loss and longing. Pisces is associated with The Hanged Man in the Tarot, directing us as initiates to suspend our worldly concerns to turn our gaze inwards, shifting our perspective.

Planets that wear iridescent Piscean clothing offer strange tinctures of genius and madness.  In the watery-logged realm of this archetype is a marshy Never Never Land surrounded by an ocean of dreams. Here Lost Boys and Lost Girls skip the light fandango, turn cartwheels ‘cross a sea floor scattered with the bones of those who lingered and languished in the deeps.

Faith and Belief are strung like precious pieces of coral around the Fishes’ tails. Jupiter, the traditional ruler of Pisces, is associated with “luck”. The kind of abundance we evoke by using affirmations as talismans to ward off  the spectres of lack and loneliness that haunt us. “Buildings fall; even the earth perishes. What was yesterday a cornfield is to-day a bungalow,” wrote Virginia Woolf. Jupiter’s Wheel of Fortune spins for each one of us, oblivious to status and wealth, to prayers and affirmations or the amount of exercise we do.

Jupiter crossed the border into Scorpio in October 2017 and will turn retrograde on March 9th at 23 degrees Scorpio.  Jupiter in the sign of Scorpio stirs up  dark sediment: the outing of sexual predators, the massacre of seventeen students on Valentine’s Day. Mars, the planet of war, and Jupiter, the planet of excess and amplification, are now in mutual reception before Mars changes sign on March 17th.  With Jupiter, be careful what we wish for.

 

43ff4608b3d5a7ce2c4ff73558b1e8c9Neptune is the more elusive modern ruler of this amorphous sign. Neptune’s associations are born of the sea, carried in the deep roll of the waves by the Muse that inspires music and art, ecstatic intoxication, and slow wasting diseases that are impossible to define or to cure. Lodged in this archetype is our debt to eons of human history. A soulful yearning for redemption and transcendence. With Neptune comes necessary sacrifice, carried for us all by the gory image of a crucified Christ and a dismembered Dionysus.

Neptune, turns a ghostly face to our human need to hold onto those things we love, to keep things just as they are.  We learn that everything is transient. That what we hold on to too tightly, fades into nothingness. Writes mystic and poet, John O’ Donohue, “transience makes a ghost out of each experience. There was never a dawn that did not drop down into noon, never a noon which did not fade into evening, and never an evening that did not get buried in the graveyard of the night…”  Still we search, like children on a pebbled beach, for miracles and wonder. We discover “synchronicities” that shape our sense of reality. We hold the flame of faith that things will be better as we welcome new presidents, new Father-Redeemers to lead us to the Promised Land.

 So, come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!―J.M BarrieCarried in the Deep 3

For workshops and private consultations, please email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com 

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Saturn in Love

Saturn—Pluto Co-presence—An Ode to Love

lovers 32This Valentine’s Day, millions of people will demonstrate through chocolates, music and flowers, their longing to love and be loved. “Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved”, writes author Alain de Botton.

To be seen, fully seen by our lover emboldens and ennobles us. The power of love plucks us out of our literal life into the full-throated drama of  our fantasy, flings off our inhibitions, invites us to create a-new. Yet, the course of love in the digital age is perilous: we’re ghosted, benched, and bread-crumbed. We’re executed with one lethal swipe.  There’s absolutely nothing we can do or say to make someone love usto treat us with kindnessto engage. Concealed within the seductive scent of a scarlet rose, the soft sentiment of  Teddy Bear, love coils and cools, neglected and betrayed. Kristen Roupenian’s highly acclaimed short story, Cat Person, is chilling rendition of the arc of  relating in our adolescent culture. With the callous flick of a finger, a tender human heart crushed, a connection cruelly cauterised.  The technological revolution has got everyone talking, yet so few of us have the courtesy to listen, the skill to empathise. Love amputated by ridicule and disdain aches like a phantom limb years after the bond has been irrevocably severed.wings 6

 

 The astrology of these next five years (as Saturn moves through Capricorn and then through Aquarius) eloquently portrays the flavour of fin de siècle: a closing of an era exemplified by the events of the 1980s. Saturn’s co-presence with Pluto in the sign of Capricorn—December 20th 2017—December 2020—mines Collective and personal trauma that may offer, for some of us, a creative impetus to work through noxious legacies, to stoically endure a world that is falling apart as we learn to love with all our hearts.

passagewayThe archetype of Saturn is redolent of prisons. Pluto is accompanied by a primal, shadowy fear that’s hard-wired in every living creature. Pluto is life and death. Pluto is survival. Tapping into the core scene of the Saturn/Pluto energy of this time, Hard Sun, the pre-apocalyptic BBC drama, depicts a world that faces certain destruction in five years. It’s a prophetic vision of love and survival that resonates with the zeitgeist of Pluto in Saturn’s sign.

The eclipses that fall like hailstones on January 31st, February 15th, July 13th and 27th and August 11th, puncture our birth chart, stir fresh opportunities to re-calibrate, to flush out contaminated old stories. Pluto irradiates Saturn: Traumas of the past are made manifest. Now we must plumb a toxic legacy more consciously. Now we must question those predigested ideas, examine formulaic rules that have no place in a spiritual partnership or a new world order.  

Mars changes sign on January 26th, and as he moves from Scorpio into Sagittarius, from water into fire,  we may feel an infusion of vivifying red, a new impetus to love bravely and honestly that releases us from the prison of fear and conditioning. Mars will be travelling through Sagittarius until March 17th. This Jupiter-ruled sign is associated with faith and optimism. Love lives in the imaginal realm of our soul, and like Santa and the Easter Bunny, authentic love comes to only those who truly believe.

On February 11th, Venus moves from Aquarius to Pisces. She joins Neptune on February 22nd, amplifying the Piscean flavour of the intoxicating sweetness of that first kiss embossed on a silver cord of memory that reverberates across the bars of a song. Neptune is associated with illusion and delusion, with the pain of longing, the exquisite eroticism of an idealised love enshrined in the sugary commercialism of Valentine’s Day. Romantic love is a multi-million-dollar Bolly-Hollywood illusion that mirrors our collective longing back to us from the silver screen. The glittering grandeur of star-spangled romance leaves us breathless, aching for more.

“Illusion” is derived from the Latin, “in ludere,” which is translated as “in play.” And when our world-weary souls expand in joyful play, our lives are graced with “illusions” that may enfold us and protect us from “reality” which may be a mere stand-in for an authentic life.
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Our challenge, as we navigate this end time, is to balance caution and mature wisdom with compassion. To cherish the precious fire-fly of Romantic love. To remember that when we ghost, freeze or bench someone, we wound a tender human heart.

A love that lasts requires a Saturnian back bone: the resilience to stay the course as passion wanes, flickers, and re-ignites. Love in the time of Saturn demands maturity and wisdom, and the courage  to expand our hearts and clear our heads of the clutter that belongs to someone else.

Expect to be moonstruck by the image of beauty in the one you Love. And in the quiet darkness of the new Aquarian Moon on February 15th  let Love press itself deeply into your heart.  

Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you’re tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beautyLeonard Cohen.

Join me in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Saturday, April 28th, 2018 for a day devoted to the sibling constellation in our birth chart: Bonded By Blood. Email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Magnetised 22

Magnetised

It’s ilovers 25n my imagination that I become the avenging hero. The beautiful princess. It’s in my imagination that I search for synchronicities, clues, correspondences. You are my soul mate. My twin flame. My past life lover. We’ve woven a new story with a thread of a new truth…we exchange souls in a kiss…

 “Relationships are about stories, not truth. Alone, as individuals, we each have our own personal mythologies, the stories we tell in order to make sense of ourselves to ourselves. That generally works well as long as we stay sane and single, but the minute you enter an intimate relationship with another person there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself and his or her story about you,” writes author Louise Doughty in her brilliant exposé of a Neptunian love-affair, Apple Tree Yard.

In the boundary-less, nebulous realm of cyberspace’s Neverland we become Tinker Bell, a Lost Boy. Amidst those seamless hours in altered reality, we escape the mortgage, the rigors of ageing, our sordid family dramas. We cloak our ordinary lives in a sparkling façade as we author new stories about ourselves. Artfully embellish the old rusty ones. In the spaces between the lines, in the tantalising silence of omission, we can be anything we want to be. beautiful_photographs_of_rain_42

Neptune’s long transit through Pisces— 2011 —2025 liquefies boundaries between what we think is real and true stirs the dark sediment suspended in the crevasses of our unconscious. Neptune infuses a numinous, otherworldly dimension into our mundane, often unremarkable lives. Offers a tantalising escape from the crass harshness of the world through hypnosis, meditation, shamanic journey, altered states of experience. False gurus, fake news, virtual reality porn, and Rebel Redeemer Dionysus figures enter our lives, mysterious White Knights carry us away in a sequence of algorithms… As Google and Facebook trawl through the vast data lake, hauling up a richly writhing catch of even the most intimate parts of our lives, we comply. Without a whimper. By the end of Neptune’s transit through Pisces personal privacy will be dead. A quaint anachronism cherished only by those ( perhaps with Pluto in Leo )  who remember what things were like once upon a time.
The look of loveThe porous membrane of social media offer the thrill of voyeurism and subterfuge but no anonymity. Surveillance pervades every quiet sanctuary of our existence and is an attentive audience in the circle of our Neptunian theatre  as we can play at being someone else, glamourise our drab dull lives, blur the boundaries just a little because, we tell ourselves, it’s harmless. And like any addict, we truly believe we can stop any time we want to. And like any addict, we loose all empathy for the feelings of those around us.

Writes sex therapist, Esther Perel, “In this relationship culture, expectations and trust are in constant question. The state of stable ambiguity inevitably creates an atmosphere where at least one person feels lingering uncertainty, and neither person feels truly appreciated or nurtured. We do this at the expense of our emotional health, and the emotional health of others… Ghosting, icing, and simmering are manifestations of the decline of empathy in our society — the promoting of one’s selfishness, without regard for the consequences of others. There is a person on the other end of our text messages (or lack thereof), and the ability to communicate virtually doesn’t give us the right to treat others poorly.” mermaid 8

Neptune’s domain is the liminal tidal zone where morality, ethics and what we deem to be true are sucked into the undertow of the ineffable. Swept along with bleached bones of Victims, Martyrs, and Persecutors.  Fantasy, glamour and magic gleam in the lustrous shell of illusion. Integrity sinks like a stone. We want the Hollywood ending that fades out with music and moonlight. We want the passion, the excitement that lifts us up where we believe we belong.

When we’re “love struck” we experience the euphoria associated with cocaine and alcohol. Our neural pathway that’s responsible for fear and judgement shuts down.  It’s impossible to be “sane” when our brain’s reward circuit is flooded with dopamine, cortisol, vasopressin and oxytocin. We’re blind, in the most deliciously submissive way, until the cortisol and serotonin levels return to normal. Yet the subterfuge and instant gratification can be addictive. And when things get too complicated in this parody of connection, there’s the innocent ease of “unfriending” another human being. Just like detonating all life on earthall it takes is one click.

loving coupleNeptune’s seductive siren call is hard to resist even with our own internal Saturnian checks and balances. Christian morality casts the devil outside ourselves, so we scapegoat those whose life style or religion frightens or confuses; those whose opinions enrage. We don’t mean to judge or blame. We don’t mean to deceive. We are the Victims of our whims, slaves to our addiction to distractions that dissipate our energy. It’s not our fault.
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The internet screens us from the next stage in love’s cycle—death and re-birth. And yet, Neptune in the sign of Pisces is about compassion, a love that cradles the passage of time gently in tender arms.

On February 26th, Mercury ingresses into Pisces bringing a sense of fresh starts to the  solar annular eclipse (Pisces 8 degrees. Saros 19 South.) Astrologer, Bernadette Brady writes that this family of eclipses promises pleasant surprise, lucky breaks, joyful wins that will be life changing. There’s a subtle change in tone, a shimmering supernatural quality in this seeding moment as this new moon merges with Neptune. An opportunity to align with the Divinity within, to transcend our mortal addictions and delusions.

In the alchemical process of our life journey, we will all encounter the searing singe of loss, the choking confusion of betrayal, the languid silence of a lie. We may see our own horns and scaly tail in those we rescue or try to redeem until we truly know, in the words of Robert Bly, that every part of you that you do not love will regress and become hostile towards you…beautiful_photographs_of_rain_53

We will know that no one can rescue us or redeem us. That the tears and protestations of the Victim are charged with a force that provokes a rush of rage. That we can swim not drown a wave of other people’s regurgitated opinions the helpless, hopeless places assigned to us the frenetic dispersal of our precious energy on meaningless connections. We will know that our holy truth is anchored by stillness and reflection. That we can travel to Neverland but we don’t have to stay there forever.

Tom Odell Magnetised

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wings-6

Wings

brad-pitt-and-angelina-jolie-mr-and-mrs-smithAmidst the unrelenting scrutiny of the media’s Cyclops eye, amidst the vaporous flurry of voyeuristic speculation from those who will never know any of the back story, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have uncoupled.

Power struggles in relationships have soared to new heights of psychological sophistication with easy access to often dubious “self-help” offerings on the internet. We can diagnose our partner as being a Narcissist or having signs of Asperger’s syndrome. We can play Victim, Rescuer or Persecutor in the tawdry soapie of our own lives. Labels, like headache pills, can be an easy way of dealing with the symptoms, but not the cause.

roses“Toxic relationships can sneak up on almost anyone. And controlling behaviour on the part of a partner knows no boundaries—people of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or socio economic status can be in controlling relationships, playing either role,” writes psychologist, Andrea Bonior in Psychology Today. I disagree. Toxic relationships don’t sneak up like thieves in the night, robbing us of our joy and our autonomy. We create them all by ourselves. Adult power struggles resemble “the terrible twos”. We use avoidance, manipulation, verbal and very often physical abuse to get our own way. We stamp our feet and sabotage moments of tenderness or connectedness. We withhold or demand sex. The old Berserker brain takes charge. Reason, compassion and wisdom fly from the bloody battle fields.

The September, autumn (or spring if you are in the southern hemisphere) equinox is marked by the Sun’s passage into the zodiac sign of Libra. Traditionally associated with the ritual of marriage and the ethics of contracts and spoken agreements in our relationships. Every relationship we embark upon requires a negotiation of boundaries: what is mine and yours, what is ours, and what we both agree to share with our friends and families.

268621642-290x290The anatomy of love and desire requires boundaries and structure whether it’s the ritualised control and submission of bondage and sexual play; or the intricate web of rules that we weave around ourselves when we become a couple. What do we share and what do we keep private? Do we stay friends with our ex on Facebook? What do we share and what do we withhold? Do we spend our holidays together or apart? Does honesty always nurture trust and intimacy? How do we come together and stay present for one another amidst the distractions that trip-wire closeness? How do we soothe and repair those bruised silences that hang like dust motes above our sensitivities? Sex therapist, Esther Perel believes, “relationship boundaries are not a topic that you negotiate only once. Your personal and couple-dynamic boundaries may change based on your relationship or your individual preferences at varying stages of your life. The most successful couples are agile, and allow this to be an open and ongoing discussion. ”

Artist, husband and father, Eric Pickersgill’s series of photographs, Removed, depict the wings-7phantom limb of our treasured devices that signal our busyness and unapproachability. This invisible addictive force that splits our attention and takes us away from those who are physically present.

Life imitates Art for Hollywood’s  Power Couple. Transiting Neptune conjunct his Chiron, transiting Saturn opposing her Sun, transiting Neptune Square her Sun. They very publicly perform their final role: the intractable stand-off and ultimate catastrophic exit that is divorce.

hypnosis-1Borders and barriers have been a feature of the Saturn Neptune square over the past months – 26 November 2015, June 18, and September 10, 2016. This aspect was also triggered by the September 1 eclipse. The refugee crisis in Europe. Brexit. The machinations that are more like a tacky reality TV show than politics in the US. The beginnings of another property bubble burst, and the slow realisation that  without jobs, people will not longer be “consumers” .

The sense of being in “a fog” (Neptune) or feeling that we are lodged between the proverbial rock and the hard place (Saturn). Too much Saturn and we atrophy. Too much Neptune and we escape or seek redemption through something or someone who takes us away from the harsh reality and limitations of the drab burnt out ends of our lives. Asks speaker and author, Brené Brown, “What boundaries need to be in place for me to stay in my integrity to make the most generous assumptions about you?” 

Connection is an energy. It manifests when we feel seen, heard, and validated. When we draw nourishment and strength from our relationship. When we feel like allies not foes. When we find our own  wings to fly between the spaces and the coming together. When we can tolerate the Mystery in one another and gaze upon each other with loving eyes. img_8584

Birdy – Wings

 

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Hypnosis 33

Hypnosis

Disney's "MALEFICENT"..Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning)..Photo Credit: Film Frame..?Disney 2014

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love,” wrote the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

The great centrifugal shifts in world politics mirror the shifts in our personal lives. The eruptions and schisms that speed up our spiritual growth. The unexpected events that detonate habits and behaviours that have petrified the flow of our lives. Inner peace amidst the babble of social media and 24-hr news loops requires focus and wholeheartedness. This  week,  Jon Bachman’s iconic photograph of Leshia Evans facing two heavily-armed policemen in Baton Rouge reverberated across social media. A reminder of past passive confrontations with the armoured might of The Establishment, echoing other responses by groups and individuals during the last Saturn-Neptune conjunction in the counterculture of the ‘60s.

stay 1 Neptune is associated with illusion and delusion. It’s glamour and aspiration. It’s the willo‘-the-wisp of political promises…

Neptune-Saturn energy has a sacrificial essence. In June 1989, Neptune and Saturn were once again in conjunction, this time in Capricorn.  Tank Man was the unidentified man who stood in front of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, the morning after the Chinese military had suppressed the protests in Tiananmen Square.

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With Saturn now in Sagittarius and in square to Neptune again, we are supported to make conscious choices about what wolf we choose to feed, where we place our focus, our energy, what we want to nourish and manifest in our lives and in the world around us. Saturn’s first station in the sign of Sagittarius (March 14th) spotlighted the integrity of our life-structures on many levels – our permeability or resistance to change, our fears and doubts, our resistance to the flow of life. Astrologer Melanie Reinhardt says “the more deeply we can attune to what we are actually experiencing, in all its manifold layers, the less likely we are to feel blocked by unconscious Saturnian energy as we reclaim our energy from the intrusion of the Superego – the shoulds and oughts which keep us complying with introjected authority figures.”  This does not mean that people won’t harm us, nor does it mean being oblivious to commonsense and discrimination that guides us. Longfellow wrote: “if we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”  Perhaps our hearts don’t need to be so armoured by beliefs that obscure the “secret history” of another’s suffering or that shut off the possibility of mutual understanding and care.beautiful young woman

Mars is still in Scorpio and simmering feelings of discontent could erupt into acts of violence over the next few weeks as Mars picks up pace to square the Moon of the American birth chart on July 21st. The Saturn-Neptune trance of separation, the “them” and “us” loses its force when we find refuge in the experience of another person, when we listen deeply.

Anger can draw out the Warrior in us all, it can take us to the edge, beyond our civilized comfort zone. We can re-claim our power, embrace our eccentricity, emerge from the darkness of a depression, or find the strength to make a stand. We can also objectify and dehumanise one another. “Anger is only partly an emotion,” writes Thomas Moore. “It has an intellectual component and helps you make sense of your life.”  Compassionate listening to another person’s story is the capstone of healthy relationships. Writes spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, “our fear-based beliefs trap us in the trance-identity of an insecure self that is hypervigilant in managing life. We rationalise, we justify ourselves, we defend, we blame. Our will, our capacity for conscious, purposeful action is commandeered by a frightened ego.”

Lasting, meaningful change starts with each one of us. “Victory is about taking off the armour, showing up, and engaging,” says Brené Brown.alexandravalenti-via-mysticmamma-com-290x290

The Saturn-Neptune square still symbolises for some a great deal of stress and difficulty. We may feel confined, or blocked by our circumstances. The way through, as we seem still not to have learnt from our human his-story, is not through guns or bombs but through seeing the humanity in a stranger’s eyes, the divinity in her soul. Then the light of the uni-verse envelopes us and we remember, we are not enemies we belong to the human family.

 

 

Flag photograph by Alexandra Valenti

Film Frame from the Disney’s  2014 MALEFICENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eXw47qb4U0

 

 

 

 

 

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Photographs by Pierre Carreau

Sacrifice

sacrifice 1Make America Great Again. It’s a call to action that offers the promise of something tangible amidst the vague rhetoric and mud-slinging in America’s House of Cards.  Pluto has been opposing the Sun of the American chart all through 2014 and 2015. The Titan Nation is approaching the end of a cycle with its Pluto Return in 2023/2024 and all that is rotten, untenable for the evolution of America will be pruned over the coming years.

Who will tend to the Garden? To some, Donald Trump’s appeal is crazy. With his fly-away corn-yellow hair secured beneath a baseball cap, the ageing billionaire steps up to the podium and delivers a message that entertains some and baffles others. He’s the Jester, the Comedian, the Wizard of Oz. He offers to a population fed on a banal diet of Reality TV and processed food a message as feel-good as a bucket of KFC. American author, David Eggers, writes, Is it more troubling, or less troubling, knowing that no one in the audience really cares what he says? And could it be that because Trump’s supporters are not all drawn from the lunatic fringe, but in fact represent a broad cross-section of regular people, and far more women than would seem possible or rational, that he could actually win?

For more astrology listen to this week’s podcast:

imagesX0JLUBI0America’s back yard is a tangle of weeds. From the outside looking in, we can glimpse the wood, not the trees.  Neptune and Saturn have been in square aspect since last November. These three squares symbolise what is going on collectively in a world where young men die as they dance and in Europe, refugees in threadbare clothing risk their lives in flimsy boats. The middle square occurred on June 18th when Saturn was at 12 degrees Sagittarius and Neptune at 12 degrees Pisces. Those of us with planets or angles at these degrees will be sensitised to the opposing energies of these two planets as we confront a choice between whether to be in Fear or to have Faith in a world that seems poised on the brink of madness.

The final square will be on the 10th of September this year when both planets are at 10 degrees of their respective signs and it will be interesting to see how things play out on the political stage in November. Saturn calls for realism and practicalities. Neptune reflects a facet of the collective consciousness that calls for some kind of sacrifice. With Neptune there is an irrational emotional identification that sweeps us along in a swirling murmuration. Trump may represent the distracting delight and glamour of Neptune as he says inappropriate things into the microphone and Elton John’s Tiny Dancer heralds his arrival at rallies with lyrics that have absolutely no relevance at all to the gravity of political office.

sacrifice 13Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you’ll marry a music man
Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand…

Trump’ s birth chart resonates with the chart of the USA.  Trump’s Gemini Sun squares Neptune in the US chart and there’s an interesting Mercury Venus/Jupiter/Sun contact. He is a mouth-piece for the collective psyche at this point in American history. The US chart has Sun square Saturn and Trump has Saturn conjunct Venus, a painfully self-deprecating aspect that builds a defense as thick as the soon-to-be-extinct rhino’s hide against rejection, feelings of inadequacy or vulnerability.

Yet, with Saturn-Neptune contacts there tends to be a blind spot which contains the seeds of sacrifice of some kind. If we look back in history to previous Saturn-Neptune contacts there is a sense of a collective sacrifice involved.

Saturn square Neptune in 1909/1910 heralded the Suffragette hunger strikes, the Saturn square Neptune in 1944/1945 birthed the Atomic Bomb and the V1 V2 rockets that reigned terror and destruction on Germany.

In 1963 the square manifested as Vietnam and the Counter Culture. In 1979-1980 we had Thatcher and Reagan and in 1998/1999 the seeds of the Financial crash were sown by the internet stock boom.

Neptune is an outer planet. It’s not personal. Astrologer, Liz Greene once referred to Neptune as death by drowning… an intoxicating woman at gravepull into something bigger than ourselves that envelops us into something that is beyond our individual understanding. The numinous quality of Neptune may draw us into situations where we lose our sense of clarity. We believe the promises of redemption offered by self-appointed Messiahs posing as politicians. And then perhaps these Messiahs themselves must be sacrificed, engulfed in Neptunian waters  to atone, to redeem something deeply off-centre in a world where there is so much polarisation, so much disconnection from Manley’s “ the dearest freshness deep down things.”

sacrifice 2Neptune is the silver screen, the make-believe world of film and television. Neptune may dissolve or distort our sense of reality or expose our sense of personal inadequacy which is Saturn.

The show is not over. When the last Saturn – Neptune square in September lifts the green curtain… The Tiny Dancer will sing.

So at this time of the Solstice, let’s take a moment to pause. To stand still long enough to allow clear vision and courage to anchor us amidst hype and confusion. In the words of poet and mystic John O’Donahue, “May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”

Elton John, Sacrifice

Neptunian Ocean by Pierre Carreau

 

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8th morning SUNRISE and long road ahead

When You Believe

coffee shopsForever is composed of Nows. Emily Dickinson’s Power of Now is a recurrent theme in metaphysical thought. Yet so often we torment ourselves with worries about things that may never happen. And even the Now we inhabit is made up of the drama of “the news” as  desperate immigrants risk their lives in flimsy boats,  and Europe braces for Brexit.

Our lives are nuanced with shadows, complicated with opinions that may be facile interpretations or moralistic judgments lacking deeper thought or imagination. As we weave threads of  innocence and ignorance, hope and despair, our divided selves are mirrored this month by the polarity in the Heavens. In early June, our challenge may be to keep centred, to stay in the Now. The planets reflect polarising forces, the tension of opposites, in global events and in our personal lives.

people walking Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn with the Sun and Venus complete what is called a Grand Cross.  This Grand Cross is in Mutable signs, so think fluid, think changeable, think the elements of fire, water, and air and what they would look like in nature if whipped up by a strong wind. With this kind of energy there’s a sense of spinning around, bouncing off walls of resistance and spinning around again as our thoughts, or the circumstances we perceive, hit an immovable obstacle – what Yeats describes in the chillingly prophetic poem, the Second Coming:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…

 On June 5th Neptune and Saturn are both at 12 degrees of their respective signs – Pisces and Sagittarius. This is the second exact hit in the series of three with the third square coming in September – remember that squares hold tension and opportunities for change and growth. So take up the challenge when there are interlocking conflicts or a block that seems immovable or intractable – Jupiter is involved here and Venus too as they separate from the Grand Cross. Jupiter and Venus were known by the old astrologers as The Great Benefics. They bring blessings and good fortune. Allow your heart rather than your mind to guide you deeper in.

wavesNeptune pauses in the sky on June 14th.  We say that Neptune stations. Stations tend to add emphasis to a theme, they highlight a particular planet. So Neptune will be more of a prominent theme for us personally and globally as we find hope in negativity, light in the darkest of days. This beautiful planet  represents the ineffable, the numinous – it is other-worldly, not of this world. Neptune may bring a sense of giving up. That hopeless, helpless feeling when we must sacrifice something or surrender to a force that is bigger than us.  Neptune is about loss and longing and a wave of energy that engulfs us like a tsunami. Neptune seeks redemption.

refugees

Saturn represents the opposite – Saturn is about boundaries, barriers, structures, defenses. Saturn could manifest as our personal resistance or psychological defenses but could also be about patience and perseverance.  Saturn is the inner critic; the wall, the block. Neptune is boundless. Neptune is intangible, mystical, non-ordinary and seeps through the realm of the meta-physical. Those of you who subscribe to the marvelous literary offering Brain Pickings by Maria Popova may have read her recent post about the “Tussle with two polarizing forces ripping the psyche asunder by beckoning to it from opposite directions — critical thinking and hope. Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté.”  This describes the walls of Saturn as the waves of Neptunian idealism crash over the political stage and the old order crumbles to make way for the new. Neptune is the ocean that threatens to dissolve the status quo. Saturn represents fear and resistance, the voice of caution,  the protectionist posturing that bulwarks us against the natural impulse of evolution as the political pendulum swings and the walls that were destroyed are built again.

Walls 1

We imagine our lives into existence and if we are mired in facts, rhetoric, slogans, judgement, tick boxes, we imprison ourselves in the walls of Saturn. Perhaps we must face not the polarity of right and wrong but the paradox of this life here on earth. When we take things too seriously, too literally, we label ourselves and others and miss experiencing the moment, feeling “real”, truly being in the Now. A Course in Miracles offers a choice: “The world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream’s alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream.”

So, if we attune to the uni-verse, observe the symbolism of the Grand Cross, we can revive our imagination, restore and refresh our hearts and minds. When we believe that the world is full of miracles, we take responsibility for making up the dream. Then in this marvellous miraculous process of change and evolution, we can stay anchored in the Now and know that like the planets in the heavens, here on earth, things are in continual motion. In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

When You BelieveMariah Carey and Whitney HoustonHope 3

 

 

Photograph – Long Karoo Road by Jeanne Thompson

 

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Heartbeats

mermaid lanterns ... By Victor NizovtsevIntuition, psychic powers, mediumship and spiritual séances are all the province of astrological Neptune.

Long before Rene Descartes announced, cogito, ergo sum I think therefore I am, the irrational mind, the realm of intuition and symbolic thought, was an incendiary to the collective projections of those shadowy parts of our humanness that slumber within us all.

Can we hear the whisper of our Higher Self in the babble and bustle of over-scheduled lives? Do we have the time and inclination to spin straw into gold, or venture outside without iPhones or Sat Navs in search of  our Swans?

Author Anne Lamott suggests, “You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating. Few of us arrive at a place of stillness where we can mine our intuitive knowing through sound bites and status updates.” 

Founder of bio cognitive science and author of The Mind Body Code, Mario Martinez says  “We suffer from Desartesian Anxiety. The split between mind and body. We have to develop transcendental legs.”
imagesCAVUFHD8 In many shamanic traditions as well as in ancient Greece, madness was thought to be a possession by a deity.  What a shaman would call a vision quest or an ecstatic trance might today be termed a psychotic episode.

Mystics and Martyrs, the thousands of intractable virgins who met gruesome deaths today might be labelled “anti-social or borderline, paranoid, or narcissistic” by psychologists who name parts that cannot be named and try to capture souls in butterfly nets made of clinical cases.

For some, intuitive powers are ridiculed, dismissed, or trivialized by those who adorn themselves in the Emperor’s Clothes of personal power.

We don’t have a vocabulary to fully describe the feeling of an intuitive “hit”. Some would say it diffuses the body with a deeper Knowing that feels like a union with the Divine. Our “gut feel” is part of our ancient legacy along with our dexterous prehensile thumb. Our foray into non-ordinary realms of more sophisticated levels of  inner guidance is a quest for inner illumination and here we must enter the medial realm. Here we must find a place we can seek solace from the world and restore our trust in our own intuitive power without the comfort blanket of “proof” or a “sign.”murmuration

Caroline Myss says, “I firmly believe that intuitive or symbolic sight is not a gift but a skill. It is based on self-esteem.”

Those with supernatural powers who practiced the Old Religions seldom died peacefully in their beds. The old knowledge flowed through the generations in shadowy subterranean rivers across bones, through ashes of thousands of bodies consumed in the flames of suspicion and fear. It makes sense that our confidence is shaky.

Myth and fairy tales depict the hero’s journey that usually involves some kind of impossible trial or death defying test. Later fairy tales, sanitized by the industrious Brothers Grimm are colour-washed with  various hues of morality but the message, if somewhat diluted and Disney-fied is still clear:  Pride and vanity, greed and ill manners won’t impress Prince Charming.  Only a pure and generous heart can receive the wisdom and guidance that brings true love and lasting happiness.

Pakayla Biehn woman with blossomsThere is a gossamer veil between the much sought-after “peak experience” lauded by some exponents of transpersonal psychology and the descent into madness or the oblivion of addiction. When is a visionary a lunatic or a guru or a saint? When is mediumship or the ability to traverse the medial realm simply an hysterical personality disorder? When is an intuitive  simply a cunning conman? The danger of course is that Never-Never-Land is a place of perennial pleasure and moral ambiguity.

faery tale

All our experiences are subjective, deeply personal. Our human experience is eloquently reflected in our birth charts. Astrology has a planetary symbol to describe our human experience.  There is a precise and perfect moment of divination. And As above so below. The great astrologer Isabel Hickey once told her students that so many of us ring up our Higher Selves then put down the phone before we can receive an answer.

When we appeal to our intuition ( Higher Self or Wise Man or Woman ) for guidance the answer may come in a dream or  appear while we are walking to work.
swordAlong with our  ability to discern different colours of fruit and berries in the jungle our brains have evolved over the eons to discern, to compartmentalize, to judge and label – good or bad.

Many tarot cards readers and astrologers dread the black and white and the client that sits back in the chair saying, “so will this be good a good year for me?” as if some Celestial Thunderbolt will emerge from a bruised bank of clouds at the stroke of midnight and jump start a stalled relationship, reverse the course of cancer, remove all intractable obstacles towards riding to the ball in a glistening coach drawn by eight white horses.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift,” is the much-quoted comment by Piscean Albert Einstein.

We so generously hand over our power to others, so quickly forget that within the wisdom of our heart and the wise brain of our body, lie a repository of wisdom that had been encoded for centuries.magic

 Deepak Chopra says that “intuition should come in the pure clarity of silence and should guide you into spontaneously making evolutionary choices.” It requires courage and vigilance to sift our own emotional and mental flotsam – diligently and as it comes up to and weave a veil of integrity, whole heartedness and true compassion. This requires us to discern the difference between our own narratives and those voices that have authority over us. The real spiritual journey is ongoing. It requires what Caroline Myss calls becoming more attuned, even though we sometimes have to start all over again but we become more astute and stronger at it.

 And so, if we stay true to our personal code of honour and practice loving kindness to all sentient beings, our intuition will be a beacon to guide us through even the darkest hours of our lives. It is inner sight that we develop as we undertake our heroes’ journey and when our eyes grow dim with age our guiding light will shine brightly as we prepare to say our last goodbyes.

 

 HeThe Little Princere is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye, said The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

 

 

Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats

 

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Both Sides Now

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”

Novelist Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities in 1859, during a time of huge social and political upheaval, violent revolution. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and in 1846, it was the best and worst of time for Neptune to be “discovered” simply because we were ready, collectively, to embrace the archetype, to make another evolutionary shift. It was a time for the Virgin Mary to make an appearance to two wide-eyed children in La Salette, France. It was a time of cholera in England, death by starvation in Ireland. It was time for the spiritualism movement to gain nebulous momentum. It was time for exploring the occult and psychic phenomena. It was time to use cocaine as a local anaesthetic, transporting patients into the sensation-less realm of Neptune.

Neptune is associated with sacrifice, victim consciousness, addiction, pain, renunciation, mass delusion, ambiguity, romance, spirituality, dreams … an ethereal longing to transcend this earthly realm. In Neptune’s sapphire waters, we swim towards “enlightenment” or wash up on the shore of our addictions. We embody our hopes and dreams or passively watch the desiccated flotsam and jetsam of beached yearnings bleach like brittle bones, unable to support the full-formed body of our creativity.

Celestial heralds of the best and worst of times, Neptune and Chiron, dipped into the mystical ouroboric waters of Pisces, in April 2011. Chiron was “discovered” only in 1977, although like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, it had been silently, invisibly there all the time. Chiron embraces the archetype of the “wounded healer” or Shaman, and with the advent of the New Age Movement, we were ready. Chiron compels each one of us to imbibe the sacred medicine of suffering as an initiation into our wisdom and conscious understanding, so that we can enter a new stage of our spiritual journey. This is what the Neptune/Chiron energy has brought to consciousness, making us aware that we are all in the same evolutionary spirit boat. As we individually breathe in the star dust that envelops us in a cloak of collective consciousness, perhaps it is not enough to be a mere custodian of spiritual books or to adopt the cosmology of the Native Americans, the Tibetans, or the Hindus. The flaccid underbelly of the “New Age” subculture will need vigorous toning for the Maharishi Effect to expand into a coherent template of love and unity in collective consciousness.

In our own lives, we now have the opportunity to embrace compassion and spiritual maturity in an intensely personal way. This may mean being more responsible and ethically conscious of the foods we buy, the clothes we wear, the choices we make when we opt to buy or not to buy bright shiny disposable technology (are you aware that that sexy little screen on your mobile phone requires a non-renewable rare earth metal, called indium, that may run out in the next ten years?)  Is “virtual reality” perhaps a sham to escape the appalling loneliness of our disconnected lives? So many of us in the west live in the ivory towers of the intellect. A place where the ultimate goal is unattainable perfection through sheer will – of our bodies, our minds, our bank accounts, our relationships. We self-help, self-improve. Our realm is a place of great straining and striving to accomplish some goal in the future, all the while wearing insulated space suits that keep us separate, safe and small.

“I am a Rock,” sang Simon and Garfunkel… “I am shielded in my armour, Hiding in my room, safe within my womb. I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain; And an island never cries.”

Neptune and Chiron will  gradually dissolve all that we thought was of substance in our lives through the long Pisces transit (2018 for Chiron and 2026 for Neptune). Over these next decades, we may be required to examine the porous membrane of social networking sites. To be more discerning and honest about how we Eat, Pray and Love. To ponder why it is that we feel the need for the puritanical cleansing of our souls to make us “better” than we are right now. To question, with intelligence and humility, the illusion of what we “know” as “truth” about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, our lovers, our friendships, our god, our footprint on this earth, be it “sustainable” or stiletto-heeled living. To examine our societal and cultural beliefs. To question our desire to belong to the tribes we form at the office, the gym, and our places of worship. To look, from both sides now, at our own narratives, the “rights” and the “wrongs” about this world we live in. To acknowledge that just because it “happens” it may not mean it is honourable, just or right.

Joni Mitchell  knows the bows and flows so well:

“I’ve looked at life from both sides now,

From win and lose, and still somehow

It’s life’s illusions I recall.

I really don’t know life at all.”

 

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