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Ram Dass Tag

Aries 23

How to be Brave—Sun in Aries—March 20th

aries 65It arrives suddenly, unannounced, concealed in a swirl of dry wind that scatters a shroud of ash over life as we knew it. It blinds us in the glare of a nuclear sky. Out of the blue, news that buckles our knees, shatters our world into shiny, sharp shards that embed themselves in our heart. At that moment, we know. Our life will never be the same again.

On Wednesday, March 20th, the Sun emerges from the deep waters of Pisces and blazes a fiery trail through the sign of Aries. A new astrological year is born.  In the North, the Vernal Equinox marks the beginning of spring. The symbolism of spring and the urgent thrust of new life is still relevant in the southern hemisphere, as the swallows return north and the sun-bleached vegetation contracts against the coming cold.

Aries marks a point of Beginning, which may be a lonely journey into the unknown. In Aries we encounter the mythic motif of conquest, which always implies an act of bravery and daring. Here we meet the mythic “Warrior” who sets off on a quest, the “Hero” who personifies courage and assertiveness. The leader who makes tough choices.  Aries is where we encounter our own autonomy, our ability to to return to life, to find ourselves anew.

There are many ways to be brave in this world. We may discover that courage is concealed in the small choices we make each new day. That act of will that gets us out of bed, the strength to put the kettle on, when all the colour has faded out of the world we once knew.

For most of us, bravery, raw courage, comes when death ambushes those we love, when our income withers, when we must muster up the courage to love again. Others risk their own lives in heroic acts of true grit.  On Friday, March 15th, Abdul Aziz’s courage during the second attack on the Linwood mosque is Aries-energy in terrifying circumstances. Journalists Praveen Menon and Tom Lasseter report “When he realised the mosque was being attacked, he ran towards the gunman… He then picked up a gun dropped by the shooter and pulled the trigger, but it was empty: ‘I was screaming at the guy, come over here, come over here – I just wanted to put his focus on me.”

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Aries is a Mars-ruled sign, and its associations with valour, with survival, with the adrenal rush of flight, fight or fold, with the existential right to exist are mirrored in the urgent thrust of nature this month. The dark face of the Ram is testosterone-fuelled anger, self-absorption and competitiveness, single-mindedness. As we set off on our Eat, Pray, Love, journey to “find ourselves” we may leave a trail of destruction as sharp and black as obsidian.  The heat of fire may singe more sensitive hearts, the single-pointed passion may suck others into its wake. Aries may have the vision, the impossible dream, but it is so often others who attend to the meticulous details.
This is a time of brave new beginnings, Big Bang commitments that infuse us with life-affirming energy, that awaken our appetite, that rouse our passion, and as Goethe once said, once the commitment is made, Destiny conspires with us to support and realise our call to adventure. As we enter Aries territory this month, we will have to take a stand, fight for our rights, acknowledge that there are no “quick fixes”, no easy exits. The iconic John Wayne gives voice to the Aries archetype, “courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.

Chiron is in Aries (February 18th, 2019, until April 14th, 2027.) Those of us who have planets or angles in Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn, will encounter the fire that sears our lives, purifies our pride with fierce grace. We may be inspired to take selfless action, to be spontaneous, to rise up strong, resilient, grateful to be alive. We may learn, in the words of Ram Dass, that “Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.”

311532b432b03e808a3565f6bd643d79The Sun conjoins Chiron on Wednesday, a suggestion that the road ahead may not be easy. That stiff upper lips and stoicism was not what M Scott Peck had in mind when he said, “Life is difficult.” We may feel flawed; our flame of creativity and passion may be extinguished by worry or sorrow. We may not feel like Xena the Warrior. Chiron pierces through our illusions, our judgements, and in our pain, we may be emboldened by our courage, our inexhaustible vitality.

The Equinox is illuminated by an expansive Full Libra Moon at the potent zero degree on March 21st. A beautiful reminder of the polarity between our own personal desires, and the need to compromise, to be fair as we relate to others in an increasingly complex world.

On Sunday, March 24th, Mercury Retrograde conjoins Neptune on the same degree as the New Moon on March 6th (16° Pisces) This is the middle of three conjunctions. The first, February 19th, and the last on April 2nd, as Mercury begins to gather speed and move forwards once more after turning direct at 16° Pisces on March 28th. The uncertainty, confusion, unspeakable sorrow may still linger. Venus joins Mercury in Pisces on March 26th, and on Sunday, March 30th, Mars, warrior and defender, moves from Taurus into versatile Gemini, heralding new perceptions, emphasising the theme of duality, and perhaps the ability to see both sides of the story.

Mars rules the Aries Sun, and Mars without a mission will haggle and complain and try to outmaneuver, so watch as the political dramas unfold. 

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage,” wrote Anais Nin. We may encounter many opportunities to be courageous this new astrological month. Petty tyrants may mirror our own discomfort about taking a stand while dangerous rhetoric morphs into bullets and the dark tide of anger rises, setting fire to old grudges and unexamined narratives.

The archetype of Aries is a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit, an affirmation of our ability to muster the courage to do what is morally right, to find the humour in teetering at the cliff edge, to see Grace in defeat.

54d1c631a69b4ecab094603d9ae7bc4dIt takes great courage to submit to the call to visit those secret vulnerable places in our heart, to weep away the pretenses, to risk tenderness.

As we dare to shrug off the labels,  cease the relentless need to  “work on ourselves”, may we have the courage to trust the warmth of our inner guidance, and walk bravely towards a new dawn.

For personal astrology consultations on Skype or Whatsapp or to receive the more detailed regular astrological weather updates I post on
Facebook, please email me on ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Oh My

20150115_portraitWe may not be who we think we are. Our mistaken identity lies at the core of our searching. It is the denizen of collective and personal beliefs and eons of conditioning. It’s a theme that’s stitched into the warp and weft of myth, fairy tale and literature,  superbly depicted in movies like Maleficent.

“We are caught in a trance, a belief that “something is wrong with me” that can be fixed or controlled by growth hormones, mood sensors, happiness meters or surgery, smoothed away by Botox, cured by finding a new therapist, improved with a new lover.

We all have a longing to be seen, to be understood (mindful seeing) and to be loved for what is seen. The wound of unlove is heart-breakingly evoked by Debra Nystrom in her sublime poetry. When we feel unlove we feel we do not belong, we are invisible, cast aside, uncared for. The wound of unlove festers, becomes a necrosis. Our inherent sense of our unworthiness sleeps lightly and wakes each new day when our inner world meets the outer world. For most of our adult lives we learn to re-parent ourselves, to weave together new narratives, new ways of being accepting of who we are. Yet for most of us the voice within keeps asking, “how am I doing? Or am I enough?”

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South African poet, Arthur Nortje wrote of his own exile from his country, his people and from himself. He was exiled in the darkness of depression, his life force dissipated by drugs. He wrote, “The isolation of exile is a gutted warehouse at the back of pleasure streets,” and died at twenty-eight years old, never having known his true face, his spiritual heart, his pleasure street.

There are many paths to awakening.

For some of us it is a descent into the Underworld where we are dismembered by depression, an illness that ravages our body, a loss that dissolves the life we once knew, exiles us from ourselves. We cannot see past ourselves until the time comes when we are ready. “when the veil of the trance lifts, the pleasures and pain, the hopes and fears of our small space-suit self still come and go, but they no longer define us,” writes Tara Brach in her book, True Refuge.  

The characters in the 16th Century Commedia dell’ Arte were stock characters. The actors had no lines to memorise though they did need to understand and embody their roles –they improvised, fleshing out the plot, making up the dialogue as they went along. Shakespeare knew that “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players,” and as we go through the scenes in our lives we make up the dialogue and the action, the conflicts, the dramas. And yet, writes Byron Katie,“reality is always kinder than the stories we tell about it.”  In her work she brings fear-based beliefs and the wound of unlove into the light of awareness where they dissolve with questions that deepen our attention, invite us to pause, to inquire whether the assumptions about our “reality” are really true.

Sometimes we may pause long enough, breathe deeply enough, to recognise a purposeful pattern, a deep Intelligent Design at work. We may feel a connection to the Greater Whole, or be reminded of the gossamer veil between life and death.

ruby red slippersRam Dass in Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart says that like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers what we have been looking for has been here all along. And yet, “spiritual practices can themselves become hindrances and obstacles.” Our lives can become performances requiring perfect delivery, problems seeking a solution, reminders of the rigid roles we play that mask our  True Self. Tim Leberecht writes in his excellent piece, Un-Quantify, we “focus on measuring multiple aspects of ourselves to achieve an unreachable nirvana of human optimization.”

Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek philosopher and celebrated author of Zorba the Greek, said pragmatically, “you think too much, that is your trouble. Clever people and grocers, they weigh everything.”

“Only the examined life is worth living,” another wise Greek philosopher famously remarked.

innovation“But it is important to remember that we can examine it without quantifying it. In business and beyond, we can manage what we can’t measure, and in fact we do it every day,” says Tim Leberecht.

To claim a life worth living, he recommends “unplugging from your tools and your carefully cultivated matrix of data. Instead of tracking how many calories you torched during a workout, concentrate on the movements you make, what burns, and what doesn’t—are you able to get out of your head and let go of earlier stresses? To be truly open and present for moments that will bring you what tools can’t track—joy, laughter, happiness, wonder, and love—it is necessary to be attuned to the world around you. What will make you feel more satisfied? Six-months of sleep data, or a belly laugh with a co-worker? You will maximize and optimize but lose the romance of getting to know.”

To claim a life worth living, Buddhist teacher, Ajahn Buddhadasa suggests that we “don’t do anything that takes you away from your body.” Mindful awareness is one way to connect with a safe home base when we are flayed by worry, lacerated by fear. Our bodies live in the present. So when we become aware of our bodies, our inner landscape;  when we quieten our minds, connect with our own breath, we connect with the earth that is our Home.

Leonard Cohen’s voice as smooth and dark as molasses sings out for all of us who have loved and lost another or ourselves …imagesEM1MOPTM

“Held you for a little while
My, oh, my, oh my
Held you for a little while
My, oh, my, oh my…”

Yet we are not in exile. We are Home. We are here now. Doing the best we can.

My Oh My from the album Popular Problems by the inimitable Leonard Cohen

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Now is Here

Be here now wrote Ram Dass in the 70s in a book that brought ancient eastern wisdom to the hungry hearts of western spiritual seekers. “Know that Faith and Love are stronger than any changes, stronger than ageing… stronger than death..”

Be here now, as this first month of the New Year stretches and yawns after the blowsy revelry of the final days of December.

Be here now in the effervescent bubble of the promises we made to ourselves, the intentions we resolved to hold on to and the changes we were going to glide through with ease and with elegance.

An unexpected brilliance of silver and gold flashed in the burnished branches of a discarded pine tree that lay on the pavement this morning waiting re-cycling. A tree that once grew in the soil and fed on sunshine and water will return to the earth, perhaps as a blaze of light and a flutter of ash in the cycle of life and death, endings and new beginnings, just like you and me.

New beginnings are springtime surges of urgent impetus. Bright green shoots of Hope. Brave envisioning that slices a swathe through thickets of fear and negative self-talk. New beginnings are like the vows we make to one another on our wedding day.

The bright burst of clear energy of this ego-less intention sprouts from the pure chambers of our hearts and climbs the rungs of the days and months like brave Jack who clambered up the thick stem of the beanstalk. It is this little bean of hope that contains our courage to look upwards, not down. To keep on climbing, though the storms clouds gather and thunder booms menacingly. Through triumphs and disasters that ratchet up our lives and make us appreciate more deeply the beauty and the brevity of our experiences as they fall through the hourglass of time.

To be here now requires a perceptual shift.

To be here now requires the will to bear the unbearable. If not now, then when? What are we postponing? What great fear anesthetises us from our own delight? Our own cracking open into new growth.

To be here now demands that we spin straw into gold and see the beauty in our bleeding fingers. This New Year we may be invited to step over a new threshold so that our soul may pour its light through the cracks in our egos, through our learned behaviours, our neuroses, our weakened bodies and over-loaded minds as we are buffeted by setbacks, splintered by the sharp sword of loss.

To be here now is to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time for what we have come here to experience.

photographs by Adam Hanif and Heather Liebensohn

 Now is Here – Clannad.

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