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Yellow brick road Tag

Leo 987

Great Heart—Sun in Leo—July 23rd—August 23rd

The world is full of strange behaviour
Every man has to be his own saviour
I know I can make it on my own if I try
But I’m searching for a great heart to stand me by
Underneath the African sky—Johnny Clegg and Savuka

Icons and legends have a way of making us look up. We feel taller, more courageous, as the arc of their greatness sweeps through our ordinary lives. As their giant leaps surmount the walls and ancient fears that divide us, as we appreciate their legacy, as we feel the heat of their great hearts, they remind us what is wonderful about the world.Buzz Aldrin on the Moon photo courtesy of NASA

It’s been fifty years since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins made their triumphant return from the Moon, as the Sun entered the sign of Leo. That giant step for mankind may not have felt like any step at all for the millions of people living in poverty in the 1960s, for those who were poisoned by Agent Orange, or immolated by the flames of war. But it was a momentous moment of wonderment and joy when Neil Armstrong a Leo Sun, spoke his famous words as he alighted from the Eagle and left his foot prints on ancient Lunar dust.

Guardian columnist, Suzanne Moore writes, “I choose to talk about this now in a world that stares inwards, full of smaller leaders with smaller ideas who think only of walls and fences and barriers, who police the parameters of our imagination and abilities. I say look up at the night sky, just as I did as a little girl. At that same moon. And wonder.”

 

South African singer and musician Johnny Clegg on the set of the film 'The Power of One', 1992. He worked on the film's soundtrack. (Photo by Keith Hamshere/Getty Images)

This week, as the former President Zuma evades and distorts and can’t remember, South African singer and songwriter, Johnny Clegg died in his Johannesburg home. As appreciations and accolades stream in for this Lancashire-born White Zulu who rooted so deeply in the russet soils of Africa, sinister shadows stretch beneath the doors of government and across the millions of shacks that spread across landfills and wetlands and cling to hillsides. We’re carried on the bar of a song to a South Africa that is irrevocably changed, yet fundamentally the same.

Old aking crownstrologers associate Leo with rulers and kings. Like the mythical Fisher King, our leaders are wounded. All across their ailing kingdoms, Poverty presses its runny nose against the high walls of unexamined rhetoric that divides us by the colour of our skins, the money we don’t have, the names we can’t be bothered to pronounce. It’s those giant steps that make us wonder. It’s that sense of destiny that compels us to act with courage. Perhaps, in spite of what is going on around us, we may feel that heroic impulse, that surge of magnanimity, the expansion of generosity that comes from an open heart.

Where Leo resides in our birth chart, we need to feel that we matter, that we are heroic, even though we doubt and second-guess ourselves. This month we must express ourselves with big, bold brush strokes. We must be brave enough to express our truth, even when there’s no recognition or applause. We may dare to be spontaneous, risk telling a joke, to clearly say, “I love you!”  The Sun warms and glows in Leo, symbolising our human capacity for joy, but also illuminating the challenges we must face on the Yellow Brick Road.Leo 974

As the Sun moves through Leo, we must ready ourselves for opportunities to hone our creativity, sharpen our senses, welcome the laughter that loosens and revitalises our hearts that may feel weighted by the woes of the world, abandoned by our leaders who wear tarnished crowns.

Catching our thoughts and our words in his nets, containing our grief, our wonder, Mercury goes direct at 23 degrees Cancer on August 1st, the day of the New Moon in Leo. Look for the rainbow after the rain, allow the words of a poem to settle lightly on your heart, close your eyes and breathe in the sweet scent of a rose. Jupiter, that planet associated with abundance and good “luck”, changes direction, moving direct at 14º Sagittarius on August 11th. Maverick Uranus joins the contingent of planets—Pluto, Saturn and Neptune—in Retrograde on August 12th, our prompt to be spontaneous, to dare to risk those sliding door moments, to fall in love all over again, to relish those things that are strange, offbeat and unconventional. Planets in Retrograde don’t conform to the norm.

As we relish the complexity and difficulty of our humanness—as we actively seek to find something to smile about, or to play in a way that makes us feel happy, as we allow our hearts to swell with joy, we will have arrived at our destination, we’ll feel it, we’ll know it. As Alice Walker says in The Color Purple “… in wondering ’bout the big things and asking ’bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.”

Moon landing boot printThe chart for the Moon landing on July 21st, 1969 at 3.56am GMT depicts the spirit of the Great Heart. Mars blazes a trail into future possibilities in Sagittarius. Uranus and Jupiter are conjunct in Libra; the Sun and Mercury are conjunct in Cancer a sign that is ruled by the Moon. Pluto in Virgo conjoins the South Node.  As we wonder about that one small step for a man, that giant leap for mankind, we embrace the essence of the Leo. And we feel the greatness stirring in our hearts.

For more regular astrology updates, please connect on Facebook, or get in touch and I will send you these privately. For astrology readings, here’s the email— I’d love to hear from you: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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Every day is a Winding Road

Illustration by Julie Paschkis For a while Happiness may be contained in bucket lists or slipped into shopping bags. For a while Happiness may tear through the ventricles of our heart and roar through our veins. For a while Happiness is the sweet taste of our lover’s mouth. For a while it is the brush of their skin.

In his first novel, Le voyage d’Hector ou la recherche du bonheur, author François Lelord writes about the experiences of a psychiatrist called Hector who embarks upon a journey in search of what makes people happy. The book and the subsequent movie (2014)  portray the shape-shifting quality of happiness.

wizard of ozHappiness is as unique as our fingerprints. As immeasurable as the dust that slips from a barn owl’s silent wings. We don’t know who or what will meet us on this journey we call life. We may lose our way on the Yellow Brick Road or discover that the great and wise Wizard of Oz is just a conman from Omaha, Nebraska.

Hector says, “the basic mistake people make is to think that happiness is the goal.”

Many people think that happiness comes from having more power or more money. We live in a world marinated in a collective belief which permeates our lives with admonishments to “Just Do It” or slogans that announce unequivocally, “Impossible is Nothing.”   Simplistic formulaic slogans may sell cars or sports shoes but they cage the human soul, leach our happiness, clatter through the hermitage of our peace. And as Hector discovers,making comparisons can spoil your happiness.

For a while we believe that happiness lies in quixotic pleasures, in things that can be bought and sold.  For a while we believe that we can Open Happiness” when we open a can of Coke. Yet Happiness evaporates in the uncompromising distance that spans polarities – we were happy then, not so happy now. These one-dimensional assumptions about ourselves are embedded in mainstream culture and rooted in the often misinterpreted Herbert Spencer’s phrase “survival of the fittest”.

hansel and gretelHector discovered that “fear is an impediment to Happiness.”

Mostly, happiness often comes when least expected. It may bloom in the unexpected delight of a first kiss. It may pervade our entire body as we watch the sun setting over the coppery rim of the ocean.

For most of us, Happiness is feeling completely alive.

Often our happiness hides in the smallest places in the intimate folds of daily life. Poet Mary Oliver writes, “once, years ago, I emerged from the woods in the early morning at the end of a walk and — it was the most casual of moments — as I stepped from under the trees into the mild, pouring-down sunlight I experienced a sudden impact, a seizure of happiness. It was not the drowning sort of happiness, rather the floating sort. I made no struggle toward it; it was given.”

Happiness is answering your calling.

Hug Me!For a while we believe that happiness lies in pleasing others. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. “I’m taking one day at a time,” the woman says in a voice planed with sharp blade of cutting grief.  Her eyes, the colour of denim jeans that have seen many years and many washes, fill with tears. The thing was, you know, we had our ups and downs over the years, but I thought I made him happy.”

Hector discovers that when it comes to love, sometimes Happiness is not knowing the whole story.

It is in our intimate relationships that our  survival strategies emerge like monsters from fetid caves. When there is already a well-worn neural pathway, it takes time and wholeheartedness to encourage the growth of a new neural pathway, to allow new behaviours to flow through new riverbeds of relating. The old track is always there; the familiar well-trodden winding road.

For most of us, Happiness is being loved for who we are. And yet, as Hector discovered,Avoiding Happiness is not the road to Happiness.”

Happiness, we know, is a state of mind. A choice we make, mostly. Every day of our lives. We may decide to forgive ourselves for something we did in the past. We may decide to forgive someone who has not loved or appreciated us in the way we wanted them to.

Hector discovers that sometimes a long stretch of unhappiness can teach us what it is like to be happy.

For some of us, happiness lies in silence. In switching off the technology that tyrannizes. In shutting out the ceaseless noise and movement of the world and entering the inner sanctum through contemplation or meditation or prayer.

little girl reading

Author Brene Brown spent twelve years of research exploring the relationship between joy and gratitude and says that she never met a person who described themselves as joyous who did not practice gratitude. Gratitude for what is right about the world ushers in more awareness and more mindfulness and invites happiness into our lives.

Hector discovered that Happiness is knowing how to celebrate. And yet how many of us have the courage to wholeheartedly celebrate with presence and joy?

faeries and dance

Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast said that “in daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” He suggests: “pausing right before and right after undertaking a new action, even something simple like putting a key in a lock to open a door. Such pauses take a brief moment, yet they have the effect of decompressing time and centering you.”

Happiness, like gratitude, may require an internal shift, a pause to centre and soften. A willingness to open and to receive.  Perhaps just for a shimmering moment this new day, as we close our eyes and bow our heads to our hearts, we can find one thing to be grateful for and smile!

 

 

Sheryl Crow – Everyday is a Winding Road

Illustration by Julie Paschkis

 

 

 

 

 

 

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