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Terry Real Tag

Love’s Labour—Pluto/Jupiter and Lockdown

As the virus that knows no boundaries pervades the sanctuaries of our homes, and lodges in our dreams, we grieve those things we have cancelled, the celebrations that never took place, the hand we couldn’t hold at the end. We worry about our adult children who live in another city. We are consumed with concern about elderly parents.

We may feel inexplicably exhausted, drained by the grief that drags at our bones. The cupboards we planned to tidy, the books we intended to read, the routine that now seems rather pointless in this shapeless, formless state of suspension.

We’re all in this together. And we aren’t. The rich cocoon in comfort and the poor huddle together in refugee camps and council flats. Yet, we’re sharing our stories, swapping jokes and recipes to stave off loneliness, boredom and fear. Our boss, our co-worker and our oldest friend enter the messy ordinariness of our homes as the kitchen table becomes a place to work and a place to socialise. As Venus moves through the mercurial sign of Gemini we’re talking to our screens, caressing our devices, responding to the slightest ping or gentle vibration—often with more enthusiasm or presence than we give to the one we love.

At this time of enforced togetherness or the purgatory of physical separation, we may be learning a new style of relating as we begin to realise that for so many years, we have  concealed our vulnerability behind the cement wall of intractable beliefs about our partner. Many of us will return again and again to that stuck place, that sterile landscape littered with the bleached bones of broken promises, eroded by silence. For others, as physical distancing brings more emotional honesty, we realise that we’ve been alone and yet together for far too longwe’ve sublimated our desire, displaced our passion, jettisoned our joy.  Perhaps we recognise that we talk, but seldom listen, or feel heard. That we speak about empowerment and boundaries, but really don’t value ourselves enough to say No. During this time of enforced togetherness, some of us may be learning to assert ourselvesgiving way, leaning in.  Perhaps we’re profoundly grateful, as we celebrate and champion the love we have now rather than the love we haven’t had in the past.

Pluto (ruthless destruction, purging, elimination) and Jupiter (amplification) are in conjunction all through 2020 (the aspect perfected on April 4th and will do so twice more on June 29th and November 12th). These conjunctions contain an explosive energy that so often coincides with turning points in our human story—as all that is corrupt and rotten in governments, institutions, and  in the often flimsy structures of our own lives is revealed. Pluto/Jupiter conjunctions can be combustible when they brush against our birth charts or the chart of our relationship, dredging up buried truths, destroying what is, and inviting us to revision a new future. They may ignite tinder dry resentments. Set ablaze those innocent promises we made and forgot to keep.

In the war about who’s right and who’s wrong, how much you love me and who’s in charge, there’s no room for relationship. Says psychologist, Terry Real, “proving just how right you are can be a tough temptation to walk away from. But relationship grown-ups understand that being right is not the real point. Finding a solution is.”

In his book, The New Rules of Marriage, Real writes, “letting go of the need to be right is a core principle of relationship empowerment: learning to live a non-violent life. Non-violent between you and others. Non-violent between your ears. Scolding your partner as if you were his mother, passing judgement on him, humiliating him. These are all forms of psychological violence.”

Today, a hot-headed Sun conjoins Eris (goddess of strife) at 23° Aries and both are in a tense square to Pluto/Jupiter, auguring a time for radical honestyor more stringent control and power-play.

We may feel as though we are suspended, dissolving, putrefying, as we are locked within a sarcophagus of physical confinement, too close for comfort.

“We always marry someone with the purpose of finishing our childhood,” says psychologist Harville Hendrix, who suggests that we’re unconsciously drawn to people who will guarantee a re-enactment of the old, familiar relationship dynamics we grew up with. It is through our sentimentality, our innocence, our insistence in the “happily ever after” and the romantic dream of the relationship made in heaven, that we meet the dark challenges that a soul-ful union demands.  It is through the sojourns in hell, that we refine the prima materia, the raw stuff of life, and learn the phases of Love in all their complexity.

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.

“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.

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 or money. The old Berserker brain takes charge. Reason, compassion and wisdom fly from the bloody battle fields.

The 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? 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 in an open and ongoing discussion.”

At this time of physical distancing, our devices can offer connection yet Eric Pickersgill’s series of photographs, Removed, depict the phantom limb of our treasured devices that signal our busyness and unapproachability. This invisible addictive force splits our attention and takes us away from those who are physically present.

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, even in captivity.

 

For a private astrology reading, please get in touch: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The One I Love—Venus Retrograde—October 5th—November 16th.

Venus Rx 4

Sometimes it’s only when we lose what has been comfortingly familiar, tenderly consistent, that we discover what we truly value.

Venus goes Retrograde on October 5th. As she moves apparently backwards in the skies through the deeply sensitive sign of Scorpio, she quickens our hearts and demands only the most honest and loyal bonds of attachment. Venus symbolises our inner values, and in Scorpio, superficiality and masks just won’t do. We may have reached a crossroad where we wonder, as author, Elizabeth Gilbert once did, “do we want our belly pressed against this person’s belly forever—or not?”  Whether we choose to go or to stay, to keep or to give away, Venus Retrograde periods distill the essence of what it is that we hold very dear to our hearts.

The ancients tracked the passage of Venus in a perfect pentagram across the skies, ascribing her disappearance in the skies to her descent into the Underworld. The pre-Colombian Mayans believed that kingdoms were unstable, regimes might topple, and so her emergence signified an auspicious time to begin a war. Retrograde cycles emphasise those areas in our lives where we unconsciously lead with our wound. Where we move through life like a somnambulist, unable to truly value what we have until it’s too late. Where we make Shadow choices drawn from unexamined cultural programming or adaptations to past trauma. In therapy, we may learn skills that help us leave behind the legacy of our old conditioning, surpass our constricted hurt lives, all by ourselves. And yet it is in relationship that we encounter our Shadow and our Light.

venus and the MoonIn myth, Innana (Venus) is stripped of all her valued regalia and exquisite clothing. She enters the Underworld vulnerable and exposed. In modern times, the Underworld is a symbol of our own unconscious where we may encounter a truth that reverberates viscerally. The trial of these 40 days and 40 nights are a cosmic reminder for us to dissolve, discard, out-worn values and beliefs. To re-organise, re-examine, re-prioritise those things we value around a more truthful, authentic place that rests in  the hearth of our heart.

In astrology, Venus is about relationship. As she travels through uncompromising Scorpio, she encounters her vulnerability in intense emotional encounter.

“It’s a tough, anti-relational world out there. Relationships between men and women have never been more difficult,” therapist Terry Real believes. “Close to half of couples getting married will divorce. And there are far too many couples who suffer in relationships that lack the passion and closeness we all deserve.”

The Archetype of Venus transcends gender and sexual preference. These 40 days and 40 nights bring an opportunity to transform vicious cycles into charmed circles as Venus magnifies and amplifies our most private and intimate relationships.

Blood-soaked centuries of patriarchal conditioning have programmed men and silenced women.Venus Rx 1

Writes Robert Bly, “many men numb themselves so they’re not expressive. If you’re too expressive in IBM, you get fired”.

Terry Real believes, “men are just doing what they have been programmed to do—work hard, try to be more involved in the family, try to be responsible and responsive—and feel that they will never get it right.”

Venus in her retrograde cycle invites us to slow down—our speech, our movements, our breath, the beat of our heart.

To be present with ourselves, with our lover, in a way that engages all the cells in our body and makes our heart expand like a Super Nova…

1ac16e4abe0d0efb860214925ee820a5In A Plea to Women,  John Wineland imagines that what all men want is—Less. “Our nervous systems can’t handle more. We love range. Especially in bed. We want the Divine Mother, the cock-worshipping whore. Find ways to playfully and lovingly bring that to us. Try to separate the tools that you use to succeed in business from the tools that you use in our relationship. We want more of your vulnerability, more of your fear, more of your pain, we don’t want to be told what book to read, what seminar to go to what therapist to see, we want to be told how painful it is for you when we don’t show up for you… we want you to find something in us every day that you trust implicitly…. because the thing we want the most is to feel that you trust us and that you would let us lead you anywhere and find some way to continually surrender.”

Transiting Venus moves apparently backwards in her dance across the skies once every nineteen months. Now, she’s pinned like a diamond on the coral swathe of the evening sky. Venus passed her superior conjunction with the Sun on January 9th, a mythic mating, a Venus “new Moon”, and since then, she has been moving further and further away from the glare of the Sun. She reached her greatest brilliancy on September 21st, reclining low on the western horizon. During the last week of September, she appeared as a large, elegant crescent, surrendering to the embrace of the darkness of each night, a fragile, vulnerable, a faded version of her former splendour. At Christmas time, she emerges from the Underworld, The Star of Bethlehem, the Angel of the Dawn, gifting us with a new revelation of our heart’s desire.

Philosopher, Lao Tzu once said, “being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 

Venus Rx 9Venus in Scorpio demands that we love deeply and bravely. And when she emerges once more as the glittering Angel of the Morning, may she find us awake to new possibilities, fully aware of what we truly value, and extravagantly generous in our loving.

 I post regular astrology updates on FaceBook:

https://www.facebook.com/ingrid.hoffman.75

Please contact me directly for private readings in London and for more information about forthcoming UK workshops—ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

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Here It Is

Trojan Horse 3I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, there are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who’s in charge―Elizabeth Gilbert

We sprinkle the word, empowerment like brown sugar over the snowy dome of a frothy latté. Popular self-help books and magazines deliver fast-fix formulae and labels that hook like velcro—Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Here it is—in bedrooms, boardrooms, in political power-plays, the subtext is: How much do you love me? Who’s in charge?

trump-may-0

The words we use to fight our personal Waterloos so often keep us mired in rigid roles. Our unexamined beliefs about other people’s pre-digested ideas surgically clamp our happiness and self-esteem.

 

We speak of empowering ourselves. Yet, so often standing up for what we believe is right and putting our partner down are part of an outmoded belief that power struggles and relationships are inseparable. How much do you love me? You emotionally disabledco-dependent, narcissist? (Narcissism is a clinical personality disorder that affects a small percentage—one to three, say some sources—of the population.)

In the war about who’s right and who’s wrong, how much you love me and who’s in charge, there’s no room for relationship. Says psychologist, Terry Real, “proving just how right you are can be a tough temptation to walk away from. But relationship grown-ups understand that being right is not the real point. Finding a solution is.”

In his book, The New Rules of Marriage, Real writes, “letting go of the need to be right is a core principle of relationship empowerment: learning to live a non-violent life. Non-violent between you and others. Non-violent between your ears. Scolding your partner as if you were his mother, passing judgement on him, humiliating him. These are all forms of psychological violence.”

hands clasped

Our expectations of relationships have changed exponentially. As we step beyond the confines of the old paradigms of gender based homemaker/breadwinner, women and our men and want intimacy—emotionally, sexually, intellectually and physically. Yet in our patriarchal culture, intimacy is relegated to the feminine principle. Mostly it’s women who embark upon Heroine’s Quest to better their lack lustre relationships. We buy the books and sign up for online offerings. We make the appointments for couples’ counselling.

And yet, so many of us still vacillate between becoming shrilly empowered and/or resigned to the “emotionally disabled” man from Mars. We complain about the state the world is in and continue to pollute our own relationship quantum field with words that nick and scratch and lodge in the sanctum of our lover’s heart.

1190.1“We always marry someone with the purpose of finishing our childhood,” says psychologist Harville Hendrix. And we’re unconsciously drawn to people who will guarantee a re-enactment of the old, familiar relationship dynamics we grew up with.

 

Our challenge is to rewire our brain circuitry with words that heal old wounds.

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

Astrological Mercury embodies eons of symbolism that can be traced to the Babylonian, Chaldean, Egyptian mythology and religious systems. A strongly placed Mercury in your birth chart enhances your ability to be humourous and charming. Mercury is the teacher, the comedian, the networker, the communicator, the trickster who brings lightness and laughter and a new perspective to our world. Mercury is also associated with Thoth, the Egyptian god of healing and fertility and it is with our words that we can heal, with our words that we can birth new possibilities. Mercury is an important planet in our birth chart, as he brings information from the unconscious. In these Mercury Retrograde cycles, our perceptions may shift, igniting the creative process, birthing brilliant ideas.Stand by me 1

Right now, we are all, on some level, experiencing a Mercury Retrograde cycle in the fiery sign of Aries—From April 25th to May 11 th , Mercury conjoins Uranus. The planet, Uranus is associated with upheaval, sudden change and with innovation—the Tower card in Tarot. So, our intuition, vision, innovation may be heightened at best. Our reptile brain reactivity may be on full alert at worst—the kind of reactivity based on that old lady’s beliefs about relationship.

Trojan Horses 6Mercury’s Retrograde cycle is an opportunity to be honest with our selves about our style of relating, the part we play in polluting our relationship space. So, how do we conceal our own vulnerability behind the cement wall of intractable beliefs about our partner? How do we own our wants and desires? How do we listen? How do we set boundaries and assert ourselves? How do we back off generously? How do we embrace and accept the relationship we have? How do we actively champion our partner and our relationship?

woman on a road“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature”, says Thich Nhat Hanh. Today, let’s bring new vision, self-reflection and healing to our words. Today, we have a choice to re-write our signature.

Here It Is ~ Leonard Cohen & Sharon Robinson

 

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The One I Love

in love 2In myth, Venus retrograde periods are cosmic magnifying glasses, amplifying our inherent values and intimate desires. We may be blindsided by the behaviour of our lover, pressed down by the weight of the frustrations, the drama of it all. We may have reached a crossroad where we wonder, as author, Elizabeth Gilbert once did, “do we want our belly pressed against this person’s belly forever—or not?”

In myth, Innana (Venus) is stripped of all her valued regalia and exquisite clothing. She enters the Underworld vulnerable and exposed. In modern times, the Underworld is a symbol of our own unconscious where we may encounter a truth that reverberates viscerally. The trial of these 40 days and 40 nights are a cosmic reminder for us to dissolve, discard, out-worn values and beliefs. To re-organise, re-examine, re-prioritise those things we value around a more truthful, authentic place that nestles at the hearth of our heart.Venus 26

In astrology, Venus is about relationship. Retrograde cycles emphasise those areas in our lives where we unconsciously lead with our wound. Where we move through life like a somnambulist. Where we make Shadow choices that we draw from compulsive, unexamined cultural programming or adaptations to past trauma.

Psychology uses the language of self-empowerment, internalisation. In therapy, we may learn skills that help us leave behind the legacy of our old conditioning, surpass our constricted hurt lives, all by ourselves. And yet it is in relationship that we encounter our Shadow and our Light.

“It’s a tough, anti-relational world out there. Relationships between men and women have never been more difficult,” therapist Terry Real believes. “Close to half of couples getting married will divorce. And there are far too many couples who suffer in relationships that lack the passion and closeness we all deserve.”hand-1613399__480

These 40 days and 40 nights bring an opportunity to transform vicious cycles into charmed circles. The Archetype of Venus transcends gender and sexual preference. What your partner wants might not fit neatly into a heart-shaped cookie-cutter. As Venus magnifies and amplifies our most private and intimate relationships, do we dare ask ourselves, what do men want?  Pretty much the same as woman—with all the subtle water—coloured nuances and dappled light. To to be fully seen. To be heard and validated. To be loved. Just as they are.

Blood-soaked centuries of patriarchal conditioning have programmed men and silenced women.

Writes Robert Bly, “many men numb themselves so they’re not expressive. If you’re too expressive in IBM, you get fired”.

Terry Real believes, “men are just doing what they have been programmed to do—work hard, try to be more involved in the family, try to be responsible and responsive—and feel that they will never get it right.”

Venus in her retrograde cycle invites usTrojan Horse 3 to slow downour speech, our movements, our breath, the beat of our heart. To be present with ourselves, with our man, in a way that engages all the cells in our body and makes our heart expand like a Super Nova…

In A Plea to Women, John Wineland imagines that what all men want isLess. “Our nervous systems can’t handle more. We love range. Especially in bed. We want the Divine Mother, the cock-worshipping whore. Find ways to playfully and lovingly bring that to us. Try to separate the tools that you use to succeed in business from the tools that you use in our relationship. We want more of your vulnerability, more of your fear, more of your pain, we don’t want to be told what book to read, what seminar to go to what therapist to see, we want to be told how painful it is for you when we don’t show up for you… we want you to find something in us every day that you trust implicitly…. because the thing we want the most is to feel that you trust us and that you would let us lead you anywhere and find some way to continually surrender.”love actually 2

Now as Venus withdraws from the light of the Sun, she’s “in the dark”. A fragile, vulnerable, a faded version of her former splendour. Venus has the same eight phases as the Moon. As she aligns with the Sun, a mythic mating, a Venus new “moon”, an alchemical union with our soul-self. She reveals herself, resplendent and radiant once more, as Venus the morning star (March 24th,) offering clear vision, new revelation of  our heart’s desireimagesQNGE4N2G.

Two archetypal energy forces are activated in ourselves and globally as Venus moves between fiery Aries and watery Pisces these 40 days and 40 nights. In Aries, Venus hunts Mars. She’s the warrior, the activist, the persecutor, the feisty rebel. In relationship, tone down the volume. “Try to separate the tools that you use to succeed in business from the tools that you use in our relationship.”

In dreamy Pisces, she’s exulted, raised on high in love but also in escapism, delusion, illusion and fantasy. She may be the victim, the rescuer. She may search for the Mystical Lover in the vain hope of redemption. Use this symbolism to appraise your own relational style.  We want to be told how painful it is for you when we don’t show up for you…

Philosopher, Lao Tzu once said, “being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

When Venus appears again as the Angel of the Dawn, dare to love generously, deeply, expansively, creatively. Bring forth the Divine Spark within you and blaze brightly out into the world.aphrodite-the-olympians-16599123-1000-579

R.E.M.The One I Love

 

 

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