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solstice Tag

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Grace

grace-2There’s a quickening amidst the hurdy-gurdy rub of holiday preparation, the hurried rush to cross the finishing line of this year gone by. There’s a bright promise of something new that shimmers in the light of the Full Gemini Moon on December 14th.  The last of three Supermoons, she’s perigree, hugging close to the generous curve of the earth’s flank. A minuscule mote of light in the infinite darkness of the cosmos.

For so many, this year has been a Perfect Storm. A sharp-bladed scythe of setbacks. A blow-out of betrayal. For others, a soul-searing loneliness coils tightly around gaudy decorations and the repetitive loop of Christmas carols. We may be  wrung out. Weary amidst the clocks and calendars and linear time. Astrology like the seasons, is cyclical and there is “ a time to every purpose under heaven.”

The Super-moon illuminates and magnifies the energy of the Sun conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius, T-square to Chiron in Pisces. Concealed within the dark dross of  loss and pain, secreted beneath those things that block or thwart us, lies the gold, back-lit now by lunar light.

people-walkingThere’s a subtle theme change on December 19th. Mercury stations retrograde conjunct Pluto (Capricorn, 15 and 16 degrees respectively ) Mars moves into watery Pisces that same day introducing a  subdued tone to the music of the spheres, a deeper, more introspective harmony, if you’re willing to listen. The Solstice on December 22nd heralds the Sun’s ingress into Capricorn marking mid-winter or mid-summer in the seasonal cycle. A pause. A gap. A  hiatus that offers us time for spiritual renewal. The Solstice Libra Moon conjunct Jupiter opposing Uranus offers a liberating vision of exquisite beauty, inner peace and harmony if we are willing to look around us with new eyes and consider, as Judith Lasater suggests, that “we are being called into realization with great urgency and extraordinary beauty, and oftentimes not without difficulty.”

photograph-by-logan-swayzeIn a world currently experiencing a great cycle of break-down and transformation, we do have a choice. Amidst the hurdy-gurdy rub of hurried distraction, the completion of deadlines, the planning for the future, we have an opportunity to pause, breathe out. To choose to remain, even if only for the briefest moment, in that magickal space between the past and the future. To be—in the gap—of now. To find grace amidst the tired, tattered tail-end of the year.

Writes Annie Dillard, “beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”

This  human journey is a journey of discovery that everything that happens to us can deepen our understanding, open our heart to the new willingness to change our story.

contemplation-mercury-rx-9Author and teacher Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes: “the doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”

We are birthed with each new cycle, every new experience. Spiritual traditions are the husk that surrounds the fertile seed of forgiveness. Forgiveness like Love and Happiness is a word that has lost its currency and yet there is enormous potency in the mystical act of forgiveness. Estes names four stages of forgiveness:

Foregoing: refusing to dwell on the wounded place in our heart or the dervish thoughts that spin drying in our minds. To “take a vacation from it” to create a space for the healing to begin.

Forbearing: to make the decision not to be hostile, not to succumb to guilt or rage. Practicing instead generosity of spirit as a therapeutic balm over our scar tissue

Forgetting: letting it go, laying it to rest. Making a conscious effort to put it out of our mind.

Forgiving: to let go of any expectations that we are “owed” anything, or that the other person will take responsibility for our pain. We may not like the person, we may not choose to spend much time with the person, but we let go of the need to make them pay or suffer for what they did to us. We thank them for the part they have played in our growth. We become what we don’t forgive, she reminds us.

May you have the Grace to forgive yourself and those who have hurt you so terribly, that you may be released to live the life you have come here for.

May Grace imbue the dying year with the promise of re-birth. May the light of the Sun and the Moon  illuminate your pathway.

trees

The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn

Kate Havenik- Grace

 

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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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My Silver Lining

We’rsnowe living in a world where chunks of polar ice fall into the sea. Where forests burn and bomber planes fall from the sky.   We’re living in a world where the admonishment is to “consume” and destroy and Big Brother watches every move that we make. We’re living in a world where leaders  choose to ignore the wisdom of the yogis, the shamans, the spiritual teachers: All of Life is interconnected. When we burn down the rain forests in the Amazon and Indonesia, when we kill the last rhino and the last whale, we violate our own souls. The acts of insanity in our cities and in the Middle East, affect us all. We are experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul. Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism comments grimly, the world we are creating is an ADD-ridden flat land.”

John O’Donohue’s poetics resonate as the December 22nd solstice marks another round in the wheel of the year: “we have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.” For those of us who long to retreat from the annual surfeit of spending and gathering of “stuff” we don’t want or really need, we may  deeply feel we have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.  The relentless cheer of Christmas lights, the repetitive loop of  carols highlight the bleak grey landscape of loneliness or lack. The excess and the merry making may be excruciating for those who are estranged from their families, unemployed, or enduring the silent suffering of terminal illness. As the world turns to face into another year and dark clouds cover the sun, we search for redemption. We want a silver lining.sad woman 1

For all of us on this beautiful blue planet, the year 2015 was dominated by Saturn and Neptune reflecting above what is down below in a tense 90 degree square aspect. This square is a cosmic dance between these very different archetypal energies and will affect us personally (if you have a mutable planet in your birth chart between 5-12 degrees ) as well as collectively. Saturn is now in  fiery Sagittarius until 2018 and will offer challenges as well as growth gifts if we are willing to take the road less traveled.  Saturn encounters elusive Neptune between November 2015 and September 2016 as she shape-shifts through watery Pisces (till 2026). Neptune squaring Saturn is a tension of opposites that descends like a fine mist. It’s subtle. The effect of this transit may not be evident for some months after the final mutable square.

young girl at windowThis may herald a time of personal awakening, a deepening of faith, a new focus and direction. It may also herald a time of disillusion, deception, addiction, great suffering and disappointment as everything we believed to be solid in our lives seems to dissolve, nothing seems clear or sure. Saturn’s realm is structure, worldly progress and  material things. Neptune’s realm is murky, intangible, corrosive and often collides  with human values. As Neptune washes over Saturn’s boundary walls, firm foundations crumble and dissolve and we may be washed away in a tsunami of confusion. Money, health, relationships are frustratingly illusive. Our goals, our plans, our positive affirmations, all shape shift into a shimmering mirage in the dim distance.

Saturn in Sagittarius requires the truth. This is a time of inner re-calibration. Of vigorous self examination and honesty. A time of intelligent consideration of what is disseminated as news in the media.  A time of trusting that despite acts of terrorism, political and  corporate greed, and the pessimistic outlook for global warming after the COP21 in Paris this year, we can individually make a difference.

old loversFaith is a word we don’t often use in a bright solar world where we’re shining like the sun, always having fun, where every day is a “nice day.”

FAITH 1

Barbara Brown Taylor author of Learning to Walk in the Dark and Leaving Church writes, “faith is a huge naïve trust in those things we cannot control, we cannot see.”

Faith, for some,  is an irrational knowing that there will be enough money to pay the bills, that the apparently incurable dis-ease is merely a symptom of the soul’s malaise and can be cared for tenderly. Faith resides in the heart. It is the handmaiden of the soul. Faith is our silver lining.

heartWe may have to vigorously tame our thoughts, make a commitment to ourselves to release hoary old habits and rusty old grudges that keep us trapped like the Tin Man in armour that crushes our hearts. We may need to examine our lives scrupulously and ask if we are adding more aggression and self-centredness into the world. We may pray for the courage to put our soul in charge of our life. “We may not be comfortable but we will be awake and aware and fully alive,” says Prema Chodron, author of Taking the Leap and When Things Fall Apart.

Faith is not taking the easy road or staying safe. Faith is choosing again and again to trust that the world is a safe place, that Life is for me. “Trusting that whatever happens will teach me something.  That most people do not mean me harm. That I can make a difference in a few peoples’ lives by being present, by listening. That I can do some good both in community and on my own. That seems enough to live on for now,” Barbara Brown Taylor suggests.

“And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future,” said activist Howard Zinn. “The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.”

Perhaps,  it is in silence, in the dark of the moon that we can be fully awake and in tune with the inter-connectedness of all living things.  In the pause, in the gap, in the space between the ceaseless chatter, we can be open and touch the energy of the moment. Perhaps it is through the dark clouds that we can glimpse the silver lining.silver lining 1

First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining

Ingrid Hoffman offers astrology consultations on Skype and in person please contact me at: info@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

 

 

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There is a Season

The weeks before Christmas leave me breathless. Perhaps like me, you have a clamorous inbox of shoulds and ought-tos. An avalanche of choices, decisions to be made. Deadlines to complete before the holidays.  For many of us, uncomfortable emotions pop like Christmas crackers at family gatherings. We toss, turn and fret over problems that are still-born. How do we soothe the seeping hurt that curls cold fingers around this season of exuberance and joy? If this is the first, or one in many year ends that swirl around the carousel of loss, we may be still mourning the presence of the one we have loved.Our heart may ache inexplicably as the old year ends with such finality. As families gather together we may feel unspeakably alone amidst the tinsel and the gaudy lights. How do we draw up festive ebullience within ourselves when our well is dry? When what we really want to do is close the door, turn out the light, stay home tonight – and tomorrow night?

Ancient traditions and spiritual wisdom are underpinned by the knowledge of the silent circuit of the great wheel of the year. As the seasonal energies realign with the solstice, our body rhythms realign with the seasonal shifts. Western medicine is largely ignorant of what shamans, Chinese and Indian healers have known for centuries. Our minds, our bodies, our psyches have cycles. The calendar year may be coming to an end now, but we may still be in the midst of a long winter cycle of intensely private grieving.  The lyrics of a song played on New Year’s Eve may draw us back to a different time and another place, to a small unmarked grave where a piece of our heart is buried. We may be gestating a new greening. Or we may heroically be at the zenith of our own personal summer where we resolve to bring our Best Self to the silent spaces in relationships that speak eloquently of pain and disappointment, loss and longing.

The calendar year is a man-made construct. In the cyclical nature of our own lives, let us take time to pause in these weeks before the holidays. Perhaps to tenderly anoint the scars of painful losses. Perhaps to finally relinquish all our hopes or expectations of things being different.  Perhaps to find the Grace to accept those things we cannot change. Endings can be stock taking times. Times to acknowledge that if we were ready to make those changes in our life, taken that different road, we would have. Times of knowing that we did the best we could at the time.

So let’s go gently as the weeks gather momentum for the crescendo of the solstice on December 21st. Amidst the Christmas carols that loop repetitively from sound systems in shopping malls and supermarkets, the frenetic hurrying to buy what we think our loved ones want, the strenuous exertion, the anticipation in the planning, the doing, as this calendar year draws to a close, let us be kind to our weary bodies. In the flurry to buy food, gifts, stocking fillers, ask yourself today what is it I truly need now? Amidst the bright babble of the office party, the fairy lights of the crowded malls, amidst the heated rush of hurry, re-claim a few moments of sumptuous silence in the gap between the in-breath and the out-breath.  What do I truly need now? The answer may come as one of those delicious surprises we find behind the tiny windows of the advent calendar. Our needs may be quite simple really. More sleep. This might mean loving our self enough to get into bed earlier. A sudden craving for rice pudding and custard that brings comfort reminiscent of a childhood when it snowed and all the word was white? This might mean buying pearl rice and switching on the oven to pre-heat. The strength to forgive the one who has hurt us so deeply. The willingness to forgive ourselves for hurting them too. This will certainly require humility and Grace.

What we need may be priceless. The simplicity of  being in the presence of those we love with all our human hearts. A pause in the busyness.  Time to think. The strength to say no. In a voice that speaks as authentically now as it did in the 12th Century, the mystic Hildegard of Bingen invites us to “glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars. Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings. Now, think.

Know that our soulfulness ebbs and flows. Know that it has seasons of joy and of sorrow. So as the gyre of this year comes full circle, take time to harvest the abundant treasures of your heart. Tell yourself how well you have done, how far you have travelled, how very brave you have been. Cultivate a garden of gratitude. Pause and smell new fragrances. Stop and really see the moon and the stars.  Savour the flavours of this season, and know that this too shall pass.

Art by Julianna Bright.

 

The Byrds sixties classic – Turn! Turn! Turn!

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A New Day Has Come

Hush now. See the Light in the sky.  A new day has come. The year is re-born.

The life-giving Sun stands still today, this day of the Capricorn Solstice – midwinter in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun lies low over the horizon. Here, in the south, at approximately 7:30am on December 22nd the Sun at its brilliant zenith, big blue skies, the brilliance of midsummer.

At the Solstice, the sun literally stands still. There is no movement. Our life-giving Star rests. Ancient stones placed on sacred sites now swathed in myth and mystery, still stand as silent sentinels to the pathway of the new born Sun, signifying survival in the famine months of the cruel winter. The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year was celebrated by ancient cultures. In more recent history, the ancient Greeks made merry on Lenaia; in ancient Rome, Bacchus the god of wine was honoured and, later, the Romans overturned social conventions at the festival of Saturnalia (the feast of Saturn, god of agriculture) a time of excess and merry making.  

New beginnings… beneath the Victorian trappings and commercialism of Christmas, the glitter of lights in celebration of Diwali and Hannukah, what we are all celebrating is the re-birth of Light, of a new day, the risen christ consciousness within us all.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence…” *   Many of us are efforting, pushing on beyond exhaustion, as this calendar year scurries to an end. Adrenal fatigue, crankiness, a frozen sea of aloneness amidst the frenetic agitation of the supermarkets and striving of the shopping malls. Family gatherings trigger explosive arguments as septic tensions ooze beneath the tinsel and baubles of festive cheer. The spectre of loneliness shadows the conviviality of office parties, with dinner for one on Christmas day.  And yet, the celestial symbolism of astrology brings glad tidings. Jupiter, “benefic” planet of expansion and largesse, turns direct on Christmas Day, with the Capricorn New Moon on Christmas Eve, a lunation heralding a symbolic new beginning, as she marries the New Sun.Capricorn is an earth sign, so use the energy of the element of earth to ground new seeds of hopes, dreams, and intentions for the coming year. Place Hope and Faith at the centrepiece of your festive table. Bow your head to your heart this new day. Pause. Sit quietly and allow the soul to enter in its dappled brilliance. Sup on Gratitude for the year gone by. Raise your glass to Hope, on this New Day. “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaGLVS5b_ZY

Celine Dion, A New Day Has Come

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann.


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