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By The Rivers Dark

90161.ngsversion.1467254336036.adapt.676.1There are two kinds of people in this world: Winners and losers. This belief is celebrated in song and movies, entrenched in education and sport, set in the cement of corporate temples to Mammon. Dream big, reach for the stars, you can have it all, because, dammit, “you’re worth it!” This sense of entitlement, this determination to be worthy, might be a warm poultice on the inflammation of our unworthiness.

by the Rivers dark 9For some, the race to “get ahead”, to set higher “bench marks” has become utterly meaningless. Some may be in the right place at the right time. Their moment of glory will be encoded in the birth chart as they elatedly clasp the Oscar; proudly stand on the winner’s podium. Success—or “failure”—may be predetermined by a sacred soul contract—a Divine Plan.

Many of us are sailing across the rivers dark of change and uncertainty at this time in our collective evolution. We can merely determine or control the meaning we give to events as they unfold in our lives. England and America are in the throes of Pluto transits. The fabled “American Dream” has long faded. Britain is befuddled and confused. The long and painful process of re-defining national identity and a radical re-invention of what it is to be British or American.

09-standing-rock-larsen.adapt.676.1In societies where individualism and equality are valued and encouraged we may believe we alone are responsible for every aspect of our lives—our successes and our failures. We concoct our very own recipe for our happiness. Our ancestors could rail against misfortune, or the gods, or the circumstance of their birth. Today, self-made men and women sail solo. When we slam against the dark reef we cannot blame the gods, our parents, our ex-lover, or the government for our choices and perceptions. So, we perform the blood-letting when our scapegoated heroes fall from grace, baying like frenzied hounds at their blunders, their stupidity.

Wherever people gather together they create a language that binds them to the tribe, or anesthetises sensibilities to the savage brutality of what is really going on. In the military, it may be “friendly fire” or a “dust off” which shrouds the unspeakable horror of legalised mass murder or an air lift of mangled bodies. In the 24/7 world of advertising and marketing it will be power words that convey enthusiasm and the admonition to “Just do it” as we deliver the “deliverables” or disassociate from the pointlessness of our allotted tasks.

74381.ngsversion.1467253803699.adapt.1190.1Life is simple in the fast lane. Or is it? Success will be yours, if you work hard, have the right attitude, pointed focus, if your character and integrity are “good enough”. In the 1920s Bertrand Russell asked, “what will be the good of the conquest of leisure and health, if no one remembers how to use them?”  His question is still pertinent today. I have a friend who works within the honeycomb cells of a large corporation. She sprinkles her sentences with hollow phrases that encompass our cultural comprehension of success: products, like people, must be “relevant”. By unspoken implication, if we are not “relevant” we are obsolete. Disposable. Like tooth brushes, celebrity marriages and old people.

We hunt success with bows that are stretched to breaking point. Like Love and happiness, success has myriad, illusive permutations. And yet, in this world of contrasts could it be that even in external “success” there will be some measure of loss or painful sacrifice? Perhaps in our tenacious climb to the summit we must cut loose our close family bonds? Eschew intimacy. Perhaps the trade-off will be a bloated ravaged body. Scarce unstructured, unaccountable time to enjoy the financial benefits of our long labour. Sometimes we seem to be rowing around in circles. The straining, the striving can wear us to a scooped-out void, our hands bloody and blistered on the oars. We forget our “holy song”. We do not know, we cannot see our own reflection in the moonlight as we panic on.by the Rivers Dark 5

“What do you do?”  A question that carries in its vapour trail a cloud of unspoken appraisals. A question that may be as difficult to answer as “Who are you?” as we comb through the interwoven layers of our complex human lives. Oriah Mountain Dreamer asks us to see each other through a different prism in her Invitation: “It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive…”

70945.ngsversion.1467253679582.adapt.1190.1Sometimes it is a dispassionate Collective Fate that steps in to decimate our lives – the savagery of a bombing, the watery obliteration of a tsunami, a deadly sheath of blistering flame. Sometimes it is a private tragedy that rips the windows and blows the roof off our reality. We may resume our striving unaltered, unshaken, defenses nailed back in place, just as they were before. Or we may painstakingly sift through the broken foundations of our hopes and dreams and find that nothing is and will ever be the same again. Our values, priorities, longings now sound forth in a quieter song. Perhaps then we may lift up the oars. Allow ourselves to be carried towards the jetty, accepting things are as they are, for now. We may smile, because we sense that this life is but a dream. In this part of the dream we can put down our bow, pack away our arrows, success no longer our quarry. Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.rivers dark 8

Leonard Cohen delivers his unsurpassed deliverables—By the Rivers Dark

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Between The Shadows

Yasmin Rossi 1In real life, our lipstick comes off when we kiss our lover goodbye. In real life, our noses run and our mascara meanders darkly down our cheeks when the people we love with all our hearts die too soon. In real life, there will be times when we stand alone at the threshold, not sure of who we are or who we are about to become.

In the Middle Ages, Italian poet, Dante Alighieri wrote, “when I had journeyed half of our life’s way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray.”

For many of us, threshold times can be disorientating, painful, even terrifying. We may feel we’ve lost the path, strayed into the shadowed forest of self-doubt after a divorce, a death, or when a beloved child leaves the family home.

The Latin word for threshold is limen. To our ancestors, thresholds were liminal places, guarded by the gods and goddess: Janus, Hermes and Hecate.  As we traverse the space in-between we may have lost our memory of those ancient protective deities as we follow the elusive lantern light of our becoming, through the shadowy dark night of the soul. Yet, even in these modern times, in medias res, in the middle of things, is a fecund state of birthing, where we are required to ask ourselves “Who is the I that stands at this point of no return?”aba9a865cffb499c4699e84ab4067441

Ageing is a threshold crossing so often accompanied by loss and the need to adjust, re-calibrate in the face of irrevocable change.

In the affluent West, the Pluto in Leo generation (those born between 1938 and 1956) are offered a plethora of “anti-ageing” interventions to prolong life and maintain the illusion of eternal youth. Midlife has become a moveable smorgasbord, celebrated in cinema and song and glamourised in specialist magazines aimed at the over 40’s. In a feature entitled Fifty Shades of 50, journalist Lisa Depaulo writes with breathless ebullience about a brand-new breed of 50-plus women—stronger, smarter, sexier than ever, dubbed the New Alpha Goddess. She has a penchant for fast cars and luxury holidays, for travelling solo and for saying “it’s my turn”. The article bubbles on cheerfully, “almost every woman I know over 50 seems to be doing things that none of us were expecting to be doing at our age. We’re making choices, in both little and big ways, just for ourselves.”

69845.ngsversion.1467253661582.adapt.1190.1Demographics and photo-shopped aspirational women’s magazines aside, New Alpha Goddesses were rare in our blood-soaked human his-story—there was no room for a brand-new breed of Alpha Goddesses on Mount Olympus. Despite the sacrifices of The Suffragettes of the 19th and early 20th century and the courage of the Feminists of the ’60s, between the shadows of our politically correct social constructs there exists today the very same polarisation in gender and power that has existed for eons. In affluent societies, many women in midlife and in their elder years live in straightened circumstances after divorce or the death of their spouses. Women still do not, in the main, earn as much as their male counterparts. Women still bear, birth, and nurture the children. Each one of us will have thresholds to cross. Yet not all of us will have the luxury of time or sufficient financial security to say, “it’s my turn” as we support our children through their college years, nurse our dying parents, care for partners whose once virile bodies are failing. Perhaps we might discover that we don’t have the physical strength, the financial clout, the confidence, or even the inclination to be an New Alpha Goddess.  Perhaps we might discover that we’vebee never wanted to travel solo or drive a fast car and that being just who we are is enough for now.

In real life, we mostly don’t die peacefully in our sleep. In real life, we may discover that this is as good as it gets. And so, in real life, we distill the essence, make something magical from the raw ingredients of life: The tender embrace from the one we love. The sight of the bumble bee hovering in the languid embrace of a still summer afternoon. The intoxicating scent that pervades a scuffed city street in Rome. The delightful discovery of a cloud of white jasmine that hangs heavily over an ancient wall.

In real life, it’s time that becomes the most precious commodity. Many men and women enter the second and third acts of their lives with less attachment to fast cars or yet another pair of shoes, less clinging on to the bricks and the mundane mortar of life. More reverence for the here and now.

 “Opposites throw light upon each other”, said the philosopher Schopenhauer. Our lives are animated by the dappled shades of light and darkness, chaos and structure, a cacophony of sound and long stretches of silence. And it’s in the silence that we notice the brilliance of the rainbow as it arcs over the rain-washed sky. And how, quite suddenly, the swallows have returned for the summer.swallows-9926__480

In our life’s transitions, we may find our purpose, our passion. In our ageing and in our dying, we may discover the meaning of Love. And in the shadows of our inevitable parting, we may celebrate the brave brilliance of living our life just as it is. Not because we must continually strive for our “highest potential” and be that trail-blazing New Alpha Goddess. Not because we must walk the Camino to have a spiritual experience. But because we are here, now.

g_bec6c8077020ffa9b2b30918b9acdf17_2_700x600Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life— Mary Oliver

Loreena McKennitt Between The Shadows

 

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By your Side

By Your Side

 

By your Side 2Plato said that Love is a kind of madness. I imagine he was describing the heated arc of light that wraps its comet’s tail around our heart when we tumble into Love. That ferocious Love that ambushes us, unbuttons and unbolts us, throws us on the floor. It’s in a Love like this that we drink from the elixir of youth. It’s in a Love like this that we are re-birthed in the font of forgetfulness, swaddled in the white robes of Hope. It’s in a Love like this we become adolescents, young and energetic again, despite our age. It’s in Plato’s kind of Love, that we’re radiant, filled with the sweet green sap of confidence. Utterly mad.

In our fast food culture, we expect instant gratification. Yet, like the weather, the outcome of our quest for Love is hard to predict or even to define with any certainty. Qualities like devotion, allegiance, dedication and loyalty, are often shadowed by a sense of what’s in it for me? And we find, to our disappointment, that it’s hard to give and receive Love that lasts.

Our definition of relationship has shape shifted in the twentieth century.  We can love, but never live together. We can uncouple, and still remain good friends, co-parent our children across continents.  We can enter into a spiritual partnership with the intention to use our relationship as an incubator for our own spiritual growth and self-awareness. We can fall in love with the same person over and over again as our relationship cycles through the Life-death-rebirth spiral.

By your Side 4Our Love relationships may require periods of spaciousness, solitude, emotional or physical distance. They may demand acceptance of the aberrations, a baring of warts and all kinds of foul-smelling bits. Our relationship may end in literal form and yet continue in our dreams, in the fragments of memory that float like dust motes across the lyrics of a song.

Relationships are supposed to deliver love and happiness…aren’t they? Yet over the years, the Love that settles into the sofa near the fireplace, the Love that parents children, moves to a new home, euthanizes the family dog, visits the bedside of a dying parent, is a Love that is so often is tinged with sadness or disappointment. It’s a Love that lies forgotten, rusted, tarnished by years of neglect. “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new,” writes Ursula K. Le Guin.

By your Side 23There’s a nobility in loving despite fortune and circumstance. It takes courage to reclaim disowned feelings, modify behaviours that wound and flay. It takes courage to revision our own life and take back the projections so easily screened onto someone else’s life—“she has too many issues”, “he cannot do emotions”, or the classic cop out—I’m not “in love with him anymore”. Love is a paradox, a labyrinth where we may meet the Beast in the centre.

There’s nothing glamourous about resurrecting Love. There’s nothing glamourous about starting over, fixing the cracks, battling the urge to run. There’s nothing easy about reassembling those parts of yourself that you have hidden away for so many years. There is nothing as painful than repairing a heart that has been broken. The pathologies of love are portals into a rich landscape of vibrant colour where the soul can spread wings of splendorous colour. Re-pair, healing, forgiveness so often take time.  But perhaps we can leave behind the notion of work and repair. Perhaps we can replace our Puritan work ethic, our stoic fortitude, with a stillness that comes from some immensely powerful immutable loyalty to the sacred space in-between our relationship.

By your Side 3Robert Frost wrote in his glorious poem “the best way out is always through…”  And, as we prepare to engage our energies for the long haul, as we clear away the thorny brambles that obstruct our path, our hands will bleed and we may thirst for something sweeter, cooler, easier. Our impatience will be tested. We will become discouraged and disheartened. And yet, when we stop looking for the epiphany, we may feel that with each new day, with each new awakening, with each new stumble, we are moving a little closer.

Freud believed that Love involved a transference of our early childhood and family relationships to the preset relationship. That our parents and our siblings influence the way we love, and that when we love, we stir memories and images of an older love.

8bc293e23a0ea66c67e149e4111f7fefWhen we fall into Love, we fall into the imagination. Modern psychology echoes this belief and scientific research now “proves” that our nervous systems are not self-contained.

Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon write in their collaborative A General Theory of Love“from earliest childhood, our brains actually link with those of the people close to us, in a silent rhythm that alters the very structure of our brains, establishes life-long emotional patterns, and makes us, in large part, who we are.”

We can reduce Love to synapse connections and scientific observation, and yet Love, in all its permutations remains a Mystery, a Many Splendoured Thing.

In the 13th Century Rumi knew that “both light and shadow are the dance of Love. Love has no cause, it is the astrolabe of God’s secrets” …

We are relational beings. The plethora of new apps on the market are driven by our need to connect with one another. To talk, to tell our stories, to listen and to be heard. In our so often over-whelmed, over-committed lives, apps and social networking sites offer a substitute for the soft eyes and tender touch of a lover. Touch sensors in paired devices allow wearers to “feel” one another wherever they are in the world. Androids and operating systems simulate “reality”, yet may still lead us through Love’s labyrinth, where we must take the final turn in the pathway and find that it is our Self we meet bare-faced, soul naked without the artifice of appeasing smiles, without the heavy jacket of excuses we have worn for so many long years. In the kind of Love that’s made and re-made, we embrace all our human foibles. And we celebrate our very human longing to be seen and accepted, just the way we are. By your Side 100

Sade—By Your Side

Upcoming: Bonded by Blood. The Astrology of Siblings. Cape Town, July 22nd 2017. 

Please email: ingrid@trueheartwork.com for more details.

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How Long Will You Love Me?

cake-2082939__480Today we casually or consciously un-couple. Today our friends have benefits and Tinder is our one-stop 24-7, pocket-sized convenience store for regret-free hook-ups with just one swipe. Ours is a Supernova Consumer Culture where our Perfectmatch.com relationships have short sell-by dates.

Over the past 60 years, nothing and everything has changed. We live in what Marshall McLuhan prophetically called “a global village”. Social and cultural forces have intruded into our intimate relationships. Antibiotics and contraception which have liberated sex from its reproductive function. Women have claimed hard won political power, kudos to the Womens’ Movement. The Gay Movement has made sexuality an issue of identity. Technology has changed the way we date and mate. Love takes on new meaning.

“If monogamy was one person for life, today monogamy is one person at a time,” says psychology’s Super Star, Baby Boomer Esther Perel. “We have left our villages. We have travelled to the cities. We are free, no longer bound by tribal strictures and rituals of continuity and belonging. Now we are more alone than ever. ”

Nothing is the way it used to be – or is it?kuala-lumpur-170985__340

In the astrology, the long outer planet transits define generations and each generation leaves a legacy for the next one. Sociologists and demographers appear to differ on the actual dates but a broad-brush stroke will give a general cultural theme, of course which applies to the self-absorbed, affluent West, not those living in the slums of Brazil or Nairobi. Pluto, like all the planets, is a celestial mirror to the interests, obsessions, and legacy of each generation born then.  Pluto takes between ten and twenty years to transit through each sign of the zodiac.  Pluto was in Cancer from 1913 to 1938 and it was this generation that endured the Great Depression, futility of two World Wars, the Holocaust. This generation experienced displacement, destruction, starvation and death.  They sought security, a place of belonging, they focused on home. They had white picket fences and somewhere over the rainbow they believed they could see the alluring glimmer of The American Dream.

rock-concertPluto’s transit through Leo between 1937-1958 produced the narcissistic “Me Generation” and as each new generation pushes against the ignorance and excesses of the previous one. The Divine Child (or spoilt brat) rebelled against his staid Cancerian Parents. This is the generation that has destroyed vast tracts of pristine forest and coastline to erect golf courses and holiday resorts or set off to “find themselves”. This is the generation of the hedonistic “Rock Star” and the individual who spends years lying on the therapist’s couch talking about his unhappy childhood. This is the generation obsessed with staying forever young. This is the generation that divorces because they deserve to be happy! Baby Boomer, and author of the bestselling, Something More, Sarah Ban Breathnach says it all: “Do I deserve to be happy? Damn right I do. Am I ever going to be unhappy again? Not if I can help it.” … now you can reshape, reclaim and recreate the world in our own image.”

baby boomers 1Divorce is The Boomers’ legacy. And even in mid and late life this star-dust golden generation makes it up as they go along.

Teacher and author, Caroline Myss proposes that beneath this sense of entitlement to happiness, this naiveté coupled with the Boomer’s intense interest in all things “spiritual” is a child-like notion that being “conscious” or “spiritual” will bring an end to all things “bad”.  And when things get bad we leave. American sociologist and sexologist and Boomer Pepper Schwartz writes that “Me Generation” Baby Boomers’ obsession with individual identity and creative self-expression makes us the most divorce-prone generation group.

For the ancient Greeks, happiness meant Virtue. For the Romans, it was Divine Favour. For the Christians, it was the after-life.

“It’s only within the past two hundred years that human beings have begun to think of happiness as not just an earthly possibility but also as an earthly entitlement, even an obligation, writes historian Darrin M. McMahon in Happiness: A History. 

Esther Perel describes how over the years she has observed a progression of three types of marriages: the traditional marriage which is family-centric. The romantic marriage which is couple-centric. The millennial marriage which is child-centric and HIP – High Investment Parenting. And yet, definitions, like statistics are fuzzy around the edges. Globalisation makes it possible to have a traditional marriage in New York, a romantic marriage in Pakistan and a millennial marriage in South Africa.

 As Boomers age, more than a third of Boomers (if you believe the stats) are single in the US. Manweddings 3y opt for a LAT arrangement – Living Alone Together – with partners they may despise at worse or tolerate at best.

And yet it’s generally known that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”

Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger has overseen a long-term study on adult development and come up with the hardly startling discovery that high conflict relationships are bad for our health. “The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships in their 50s were the healthiest in their 80s. Good relationships protect our bodies and our brains.” Despite our most strenuous efforts to soften the edges of ageing and prolong our lives, there’s only time for Love.  In a letter to Clara Spaulding, 20 August 1886 Mark Twain (Pluto in Aries) wrote “ There isn’t time—so brief is life— for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving and but an instant, so to speak, for that.”

Whether we’re Boomers or Gen X, Pluto in Virgo Group 1957-1972, Pluto in Libra 1971-1984, or Pluto in Scorpio 1983-1995, all our relationships, even those that involve brief genital stimulation, require us to grow from narcissistic children into adults. We choose to love. We choose to be happy. We choose to forgive. And if we are brave enough we un-couple with kindness and gratitude for all the milestones, all the tears and the laughter we shared together over the long years.

Inge (Ursula Werner) and Karl (Horst Westphal)

Like the genes in our body the astrological signs are indicators of the direction in which we may choose to travel this life time. We are a microcosm of a magnificent universal macrocosm. Our horoscope shows the exact position of the sun at the time of our birth and points the way, much like a celestial GPS to find out more about your own birth chart or experience  my next workshop, please Email: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com to find out more.

Video: How long will I love you – Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney & Ben Coleman

 

 

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Trojan Horses 12

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?

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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 Lion’s Roar

Lion's Roar 7They get what they want when they want it. They’re the Teflon-coated crazy-makers that disarm, dismantle, disrupt our lives with alacrity, leaving us dumbstruck, disarrayed. They stand in the spotlight, centre stage—lovers, gurus, bosses, Presidents, CEOs. They’re the family member who takes the last slice of chocolate cake and puts their shiny black shoes on the new white sofa.

In the world around us now we might despise and deplore The Bully and his shadowy twin, The Coward. Grandiosity is pandemic. We may meet Grandiosity face-to-face when we tumble into love with someone who appears to have all the power. Or we may discover, to our remorse and utter dismay, that it’s our own Bully or Coward that’s a precious Angel come to remind us of that place within us that is out of balance—like that supermarket trolley with wobbly wheels.

butterflies on croc

Grandiosity is The Emperor or Empress who wears the crown of contempt, the regalia of superiority and trails behind them the odorous detritus that soils the relational space in our homes, in our communities and between nations.

Entitlement is Grandiosity’s  terrible twin. They’re the orphaned children of Shame.  Says psychologist, Terry Real, “grandiose people cause pain and trouble for everyone around them.”  They leave an odour that lingers long after they’ve gone. Neurobiologically, we’re all wired for connection. And yet, we speak the language of disconnection and pain—when we speak about love we speak about broken hearts. When we speak about nations we speak about them and us.

Grandiosity is an adaptation, a suit of armour, that hides a small child who is longing to be loved, longing for connection.  Says researcher and author Brené Brown, “shame is easily understood as the fear of disconnection: Is there something about me that, if other people know it or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection?”

Says Real, “and, like many guys, you have about a millisecond’s tolerance for that shame, so you bounce right up into what we call grandiosity. You go from feeling less-than to feeling better than, from dominated to dominator, from feeling victimized to attacking. We call this ‘offending from the victim position: hit me and I’ll kick your face in.’” 

Stand by me 3In our battle against Grandiosity and Shame we embark upon a hero’s quest. And heroic quests require fire-breathing dragons to slay. Astrologically, this month’s dragon may be our humourless rigidity in the face of changing our behaviour in some way.  Saturn, now Retrograde (April 6th August 25th ), may collude to bring out our Shadow—that leaden resistance to change, that chilly aversion to being vulnerable, “needy”, or “weak”. Saturn has regressed just as we may regress behind those barriers and boundaries that keep us stuck in our own narrative of shame, lack and scarcity.

In myth, Saturn is the chthonic Earth god who swallowed his own children. So, be curious. What is it that we fear? Where are we mired, stuck, rigid, resisting the dare to deliver a new aspect of ourselves into the world? Saturn issues are boundary (and fear) issues in modern psychology. Where are we seduced by the fervour and drama of the tribal mind? Where does the collective narrative fit neatly into the small prism of our prejudice? Does fear of the future weigh heavily on our heart? Are we staying constricted (within the rings of Saturn) or are we talking in the language of Abundance and Love?

Trojan Horses 7Venus-Saturn are in a tense relationship (square from April 8th to 23rd) which will bring up any residue of unconscious, unprocessed, unmet needs in our personal relationships, and most certainly this energy will ripple out into the collective. Saturn Retrograde cycles are a metaphor for attempting to preserve the status quo, thwarting the natural evolution of things (remember Venus Rx is about changing the status quo right now!) and so we will see a clash of these two celestial bodies this month. Saturn wanting to hold back time, stay pregnant with his swallowed children, constructing unnecessary walls and barriers, a chilly reserve, a stubborn refusal to change. Traditionally Saturn aligns with the Masculine function. Venus is aligned with the Feminine. When the Masculine impregnates the Feminine, a new creative energy is born.

63712.ngsversion.1466467229375.adapt.1190.1Venus-Saturn aspects are aspects that require maturity, hard work and determination. Very often, an acceptance of limitations, boundaries, and the necessity of making watershed changes in our lives.

Venus in Pisces is exulted, empowered, radiant, and boundlessly compassionate. So, we do have a creative way through. We can take this celestial opportunity to draw from the depths of the unconscious those fractured parts of ourselves. We can loosen defensive patterns, bring our vision into manifestation, with soft eyes and open hearts. Venus in Pisces is about reaching for the very best part of ourselves to gift the world with those small, unremarkable acts of kindness and charity that dart into the darkness like fireflies, resplendent and luminous.

ammaChiron is pulled into this challenging aspect with Saturn too (April 6th to 24th), so even though we might feel battle weary, out of kilter, this is about staying open-hearted as we stand at the very edge of enormous global and personal change. Writes psychologist and author, Sharon Blackie, in her superb offering, If Women Rose Rooted,  “It takes enormous courage to bring our Feminine and Masculine energy back into balance, to integrate and harmonise our instinctual, feeling, relational heart and soul with the active, rational, goal-orientated intellect and spirit. And yet, harmonising of the energies within ourselves, this appreciation of what should be cherished and valued in both the archetypal feminine and the archetypal masculine, is a prerequisite for the work of restoring balance to an outer world which has lost its equilibrium.”

And when we have opened our hearts and emptied our minds, we may begin to discover an aquifer of liquid Love that spills out, bringing life-giving new growth to our relationship with ourselves and with those around us.

Elizabeth Lesser writes, “it’s not always about survival, this life we are given. It’s usually so much easier than that. It’s about trusting the eternal life force that’s flowing within us, letting that force lead the way through all of the inevitable changes we will face across the span of our time here on Earth.”Lion's Roar 3

 

 

The Moon, Mother and Me—workshops for women, May 13th and August 19th, Cape Town. Please email ingrid@trueheartwork.com

First Aid Kit

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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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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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Wonderful Tonight

Venus 27February is the month of seduction. Hearts laid bare in the guise of cuddly teddy bears, clichéd greeting cards and red roses. Amidst the turbulence and negativity in the world right now, it’s in the pleasure of preliminaries that our life force swells.

Somatic life-coach and dancer, Chen Lizra, describes seduction as an untapped power that we can use with integrity and charm if know what we want and have the courage and confidence to go out and get it. Seduction comes from the heart, she says in a TED talk well worth watching.  And seduction is played out against the coral-coloured breast of the western horizon this month as Venus ardently pursues her lover, Mars, confident and cocky in Aries. He’s on home ground. Venus in Aries is Zena the Warrior, Lara Croft. She blazes forth, resplendent and seductive, playing with possibility then on March 4th  she withdraws, dives once more into the shimmering waters of Pisces where she swims until April 16th.

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This is reminiscent of the same celestial dance choreographed and performed eight years ago when Venus in Aries stationed, then retrograded in Pisces.  So what does this all mean for us in a culture that’s permeated with corporate political correctness and a work ethic dictated by linear time and light-saturated nights?

Venus has her own cycles. Like those of our bodies, they’re ancient and mysterious, beyond the reach of the rational mind, secreted within the moist wisdom of our cells. In her chase across the skies, she slows, then regresses for forty days and forty nights. Within the dominant culture, forty days and forty nights is associated with deluge, temptation, trial, and tribulation. In astrology, Retrograde cycles invite us to go back over familiar ground, to reflect, re-evaluate.  She’s staying a while in the fiery sign of Aries so from February 4th until June 5th except for when she dives back into the iridescent waters of Pisces on April 3rd, remaining there until April 29th, revisiting that fragile 29 degree of Pisces which will affect, on some level, all those who have planets at that degree of mutable signs. She’ll whet our appetite for passion, the delight of play, the boundlessness of our imagination, if we allow her to.

black and redVenus’s seductive charms beckon us away from the intellect. She invites us to follow our heart’s desire, to revel in fantasy and sensual pleasure, dance, music, deep relaxation to re-claim our eroticism. Octavio Paz writes, “eroticism is the poetry of the body, the testimony of the senses. Like a poem, it is not linear, it meanders and twists back on itself, shows us what we do not see with our eyes, but in the eyes of our spirit…”

 Says sex therapist, Esther Perel, Egalitarianism, of course, is one of the greatest advancements in modern society, but it has exacted a toll in the erotic realm. It invokes such civic rights as respect, care, compromise, and other morally laudable principles, whereas sexual excitement is all but politically correct. It is known to thrive on power plays, role reversals, and undemocratic acts.” 

Religious dogma, rationality and our addiction to technology devalue the body as a sanctuary for self-revelation, pleasure, and sensual connection with one another. Eroticism is relegated to the collective Shadow. We tame and shame our bodies, terrorise ourselves with thoughts that mostly begin with “Not enough…”Aphrodites Mirror

Writes Elizabeth Gilbert—we are not some early Dell Computer Operating System, here to be de-bugged. We are not some new product for sale, here to be perfected. The goal is not to become an immaculate golden orb. The goal is to return to a place of kindness, where you can be gentle with yourself and others, no matter what arises. This requires, I think, a friendly sort of loving humour about who you are and who we all are.

Esther Perel describes Venus in Aries eloquently and imaginatively—the lust for adventure and the crossing of boundaries, are often interpreted as fears of commitment and infantile fantasies. In the conflict between the drabness of the familiar and the excitement of the unknown our therapeutic culture has often seen the solution in the renouncing of these fantasies. Rationality must prevail. Fantasies are perceived as clouding reality, the idealization of romance as immature love, and we tend to encourage our patients to really know their partner. Marcel Proust the wonderful writer of the subtleties of romance, warns us that sometimes it is better not to be too familiar with our partner, for certain kinds of knowledge can reduce our interest in them and are in fact counter-erotic. Eroticism, which calls for the celebration of ritual and imagination, the infinite fascination with the hidden, the mysterious and the suggestive for no other reason than pleasure does not have a place in this objectivist view of life.red hot

Scientists in the field of neurocardiology are only just beginning to acknowledge what the mystics and lovers have known for eons. The intricate network of nerves, neurotransmitters, proteins, and cells in our heart act independently. Our hearts remember, intuit, learn and know in advance what is going on in the world around us. We must feel wArgentina_tango-dancers-ssresized-616x447orthy to feel desirable. We must love ourselves fully and deeply and intimately to generously love another.

So come away from the hard harshness of an unfeeling digital world. Walk away from the mirror. Darling, you look wonderful tonight.

 

Eric Clapton—Wonderful Tonight

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barer-1803877__480The world is charged, flaming out into the freshness of a new year. With our private hopes and wishes, our fervently made resolutions still gathered close to our hearts, a Trump-et call heralds the dawn of a new era.

For some of us, staying calm and centred amidst the turbulence of world events that press into private spaces of our lives, has been a challenge this new month. Icy weather conditions in the north, scorching temperatures, angry wild fires in the south reflect the extremes. Fire and Ice. There seems no middle ground as we venture into this new landscape and prepare for a new cycle of inevitable change.

Mercury went direct on January 8th in the earthy pragmatic sign of Capricorn. An invitation to balance our perceptions of the world and to refrain from asking the futile, Why is this happening—rather to empower ourselves with the more pragmatic—What are we going to do? 

For those of us with personal planets in the mid-degree Cardinal signs, the days of January have unfurled like a patriot’s flag in a strong wind. The effects of the last Full Moon in Cancer on January 12th  are still apparent as she animated the energy of the Uranus/Pluto square augmented by Jupiter.

Astrologically, 2017 will be a transitional year for many of us. A time of waiting, perhaps for Brexit or Trump to spin the Wheel of Fortune as the swell of social media, the cacophony of tweets compete for sensationalism in a chorus of brief banality.

bordersAs political borders have been destabilised, our porous membrane of connection to Mother Earth earth and to all sentient creatures is all that remains. We are all in this together. This year, Saturn blazes grandiosely through fiery Sagittarius. The focus will continue to be on boundaries and borders which will be cemented when Saturn moves into Capricorn in mid-December this year and all through 2018. This is a return of a cycle redolent of the late 1980s, early 1990s. If you recall  the fashions, remember Reaganism and That Iron Lady, if you know the lyrics of  ABBA’s Super Trouper, you may already be sensing the stirring of the zeitgeist. Thatcher and Regan

On January 18th both Venus and Mars in Pisces squared Saturn, reflecting the mood of dissonance and dissension in world politics and perhaps some tension in our own personal relationships, a reminder to stay heart-centred, and see one another with soft eyes.  The Sun moves into Aquarius on January 20th.  The Changing of the Guard. And an Aquarius New Moon seeds another monthly cycle on January 28th.       Another heavenly reminder to re-evaluate our own ideologies, draw deeply on our own still centre of peace and calm.

Space-national-geographic-6845389-1600-1200The centre point of this year is the flamboyant Leo (28 degrees 52 minutes) eclipse on August 21st  which casts a long shadow over America this summer and will traverse the President’s Ascendant and his Leo Mars. A celestial re-calibration.

This eclipse (Saros Cycle North 1) is interpreted by astrologer, Bernadette Brady as “unexpected events involving friends or groups place a great deal of pressure on relationships…the individual would be wise not to make any hasty decisions since information is distorted and possibly false… the eclipse has an essence of tiredness or health problems attached to it.”

January 20th 2017, the world waits for the Hollywood spectacle of an inauguration that has deeply divided America. We have collectively, on some level, chosen a leader with a Gemini Sun conjunct the North Node and the unpredictable  planet, Uranus as a catalyst for breaking through, breaking open. Nothing is certain. The back-drop is still the Pluto/Uranus square which brought the financial crash and property bubble burst of 2008/2009._93634585_gettyimages-631747382

We’re entering a new era that will peel away the illusions that float like myriad bubbles in the flashy brightness and the fake news. After the brash flash of this curtain call is over, we enter the more austere landscape of 2018 (Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn). Markets lose their buoyancy. Bubbles burst. The recessional undertow of conservatism and the hard reality of Brexit and job losses will trim the trivialities. Our challenge will be to stay centred in Love not Fear. To bend as the winds of change blow across the globe.

Elvis 1Capricorn-Sun truck driver-turned-icon, Elvis Presley, announced: “I’m all shook up and I want to shake you up.” Elvis shook up America and the entire world with a pelvic thrust and a new sound that epitomized a new era. President Trump is simply playing his part.
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Bubble Agnetha Fältskog

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