TrueHeartWork | New Year
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New Year Tag

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You Want It Darker

darker-1The New Year stretches and yawns from the crumpled wrappings of the festive season. The old is not yet old enough to be forgotten. The new is not yet quite born. There’s a certain quality about this threshold time, coloured by our hopes and dreams; our resolutions to emerge into life in a new way.

There’s an edginess in the zeitgeist now. The sound of thunder as dark clouds gather across nations at this time of jagged transition. The old ways have led us to the gaping maw of the destruction of habitats and species that is now probably irreversible.  Our appointed leaders seem incapable of  making the changes to policies despite petitions, pleas and protests. Civil disobedience seems the only option. Spiritual teacher, Andrew Harvey writes,“ the future of the world depends on the full restoration of the Sacred Feminine in all its tenderness, passion, divine ferocity, and surrendered persistence.” But what does that really mean to the billions of people who live their lives in sound bites, plugged in, plugged out?

standing-rockIn a superbly written post, Vera de Chalambert writes “As the spirit of the Dark Mother hovers upon the collective waters, she has much to teach us. Kali is the great protectress and ultimate sacred activist. She is standing at Standing Rock, roaring against the black snake and the abuses of corporate capitalism. She is marching in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

She is here mourning the dying out of species and showing her terrible tongue at the shocking xenophobic, nationalist regressionism swallowing the planet. She is the changing of the tides, and she meaphotograph-by-brent-stirton-national-geographicns business. She has come to burn up the old paradigm of separation and transfigure the collective heart.

Scientists tell us we live amidst the 6th extinction. Every 20 minutes, another species disappears from our planet. Our oceans are dying, our rivers are burning. Kali beckons us to embrace our sacred fury and let our heart roar for all living beings. Like her, we must rise as protectors, else perish as fools. She knows that we belong to each other and share one fate.”

Kali, the Dark Goddess is the giver and taker of Life. Hekate, the Dark Goddess, who stands at the crossroads. Hel, Ereshkigal, the Black Madonna, Sara-la-Kali, the Morrigan, the Badb, the Cailleach Bheur, Sheela na Gig, Divine Rotting Hags. Dark Goddess all.8b41931fd79ddf7540a720e1db1c247d

I associate Pluto with the Dark Goddess – a female deity of the Underworld; I do see this as a Dark Time, part of a cycle that will be unsettling, disruptive and as necessary and as inevitable as the winter that comes before the spring.  Jupiter opposes Uranus—December 2016, March 2017 and September 2017— a wake-up call, shaking things up, bringing unexpected shocks, sudden change for us collectively as well as personally. Mercury turned Retrograde on December 19th when the US electoral college certified Donald Trump as the 45th president, a regressive turn of events? An opportunity to look within at our own prejudices, our own wasteful consumerism and exploitation?

We all collectively influence the uni-verse at a very deep level. The energy of the planets is never external. They are celestial mirrors. Our politicians are simply playing their part, speeding things along. On January 20th, Trump is sworn in as President when Saturn squares Mars (traditionally associated with strife and conflict, accidents and injury) and the expansive Jupiter/Uranus opposition is still in force, so the pace quickens, tension rises, a clarion call. This aspect suggests a theme of polarisation, the die is cast—losses and gains.

darker-8 Back in the 1930s, a Pluto/Uranus square brought social and economic crisis and the world went to war. The Pluto/Uranus conjunction of the 1960s brought the innocent idealism and light of the Counter Culture Movement, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the deadly herbicide agent Orange in Vietnam, the system of apartheid in South Africa. As Pluto and Uranus joined forces in a conjunction during that decade, Marshall McLuhan coined the term, “the global village”, The feminist movement of the 1960s and ’70s broke down barriers, and the Black Panthers raised their fists for civil rights. Hair became the symbol of freedom and power. From 2007 to 2015, Pluto has been in a tense square aspect to Uranus, a theme that overshadowed global events and will continue to do so over the coming years. If we track the planetary cycles back through his-story, there have been no quick fixes.

We want it darker.

Leonard Cohen, in his final and prophetic album, writes chillingly:

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came… we want it darker.

ff0be5bf172d37e026b0ad0741d06914The issues that were not fully addressed during the 1960s now require our most urgent attention: the age-old issue of war as the only solution to boost capitalism, establish power bases, dominate and subjugate will raise its gory head. Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn suggest that these issues will become increasingly explosive as Pluto squares Jupiter, three times between November 2016 and August 2017.darker-2

 

What the world needs now is a grass-roots movement that is willing to serve in practical ways. The movement seeded in the 1960s by Birkenstock-wearing flower children must now be imbued with the energy of the Dark Goddess with her angry eyes and breasts with nipples of claws. But the old injunction, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth will leave us blinded, toothless. His-story has left a grim and gristly record of the bones of the intelligentsia, writers, artists, and those who dare to speak up against oppression. And yet, as Martin Luther King declared, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

We are not defined by external forces. We are not trapped in our his-story, the purgatory of our tribal mind. We can make new choices, as we we cross this threshold into this new year. Leonard Cohen said, “ To offer oneself at the critical moment when the emergency becomes articulate. Its only when the emergency becomes articulate can we create the willingness to serve.”

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On January 1st, the Sun will rise again. The moon will cast her silvery light across the contours of our Mother Earth. “The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere, the dew is never all dried at once, a shower is forever falling, vapour ever rising…” wrote the man who inspired a nation and a president to set aside land for the magnificent American national parks, John Muir.

Things may not be solved. But we can offer ourselves. We can serve with strong hearts.

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Now is Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be here now requires a perceptual shift.

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

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

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

photographs by Adam Hanif and Heather Liebensohn

 Now is Here – Clannad.

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That’s Just The Way It Is

 

The first month of this much heralded calendar year, is named in honour of Janus, two-headed god of thresholds. “This year will be better…” I hear people say hopefully, perhaps as a talisman to ward off the disappointments and hardships of the year gone by.  “2012 will be exactly what we make of it,” from a pragmatic, more self-actualised perspective. As the effervescent bubbles of New Year’s Eve flatten into the sober days of January and we minister to the minutiae of our daily lives Fate may enter softly through the open door, catching us unprepared.  She brings news that your baby needs heart surgery. That your best friend has been injured in a car accident. That you no longer have a job, a home, a marriage. That your life will change irrevocably. News that sends you skidding off the smooth tarmac of your carefully scheduled New Year planner.

“God never gives us more than we can handle”, is the trite kneejerk response to desperate calamities and unspeakable suffering that so many endure. A visit to a psychiatric hospital, a war zone, the trauma unit in your local hospital, witnessing an execution on You Tube, makes me question what kind of Monster we have created as a god who would gift us with this kind of suffering. The uncomprehending stare of a young mother’s eyes when she is told her child has died, a young man paralysed from the waist after diving into an azure pool one hot summer’s day, the black dog of depression that gnaws at so many, trapped in a snare of excruciating loneliness and loss. For many of us this year, we will have to bow our heads to the necessity of getting out of bed each day and finding something to be truly grateful for.  We will yoke ourselves to the inevitability of change: children who leave home, a lover who no longer loves us, a dear friend who moves far away, a beloved parent who now needs the same vigilant caring as a toddler.

Our ancestors lived close to the cycles of the seasons, the rhythm of Life. During the unrelenting grip of famine or displacement by war, flood or fire, they walked with the primordial goddess of Necessity. She was Ananke, also called Force or Constraint, she was mother to three daughters, the Moirai, the Fates. As omniscient goddess of all circumstance, greatly respected by mortals and  gods, it was she who ruled the pattern of the life line of threads of inevitable, irrational, fated events in our lives. Ananke  determined what each soul had chosen for its lot to be necessary – not as an accident, not as something good or bad,  but as something necessary to be lived, endured, experienced. Necessity is variable, always irrational, and errant.  She has been outcast in our mechanistic material culture where we, in our hubris and our self-inflation, actually believe that are all powerful.  Like a narcissistic two year old, we believe we can fix, cut away, or buy our way out of any mess we make.  And when something in our lives breaks us out of our usual patterns, seems not to fit, this is when it would serve us well to know that our unique and very precious soul has chosen this experience and with an out-breath, accept the  imperative requirement of Necessity. The “good” or the “bad” that we make of this experience is our mind’s doing, the perpetrator of our own suffering.

Ananke is an ancient goddess, and the resonance of her name has its tap root in the ancient tongues of the Chaldean, Egyptian, the Hebrew, for “narrow,” “throat”, “strangle” and the cruel yokes that were fastened around the necks of captives. Ananke always takes us by the throat, imprisons, enslaves, and stops us in our tracks, for a while. There is no escape. She is unyielding, and it is we who must excavate from the depths of our being, our courage, tenacity, and acceptance of what is.

So this New Year, Necessity may lay her hand on a defining moment in your life. She may still the tug-o’-war of the heart’s calling, block the mind’s plan, and fasten the collar around our neck. There will be no escape, except a shift in perception, and the courage to accept that which cannot be otherwise.

We will gracefully accept the necessary ending of a love affair, a not so exciting job that pays the bills, an ageing body, a severe or chronic illness, a barren womb, in the surety that everything is in motion: the cycles of the seasons, the orbits of the planets, the rise and fall of the stock market, birthing and dying, dis-ease and healing, tears and laughter.

So this New Year, may we have the courage to bow our heads to our hearts and honour Necessity, in the knowledge that as painful, challenging, frightening, hopeless, as things seem right now, this too shall pass. A Course in Miracles says: “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”

Phil Collins on Youtube sings That’s Just the Way It Is”, and moves my spirit today. 

 

 

 

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