TrueHeartWork | Saturn
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Saturn Tag

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Thinking makes it so―Mercury Retrograde―December 3rd to December 24th

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“What time has ever been a simple time for those who are living it?” asks author Elizabeth Gilbert in her novel, Committed. And yet, as news rushes through the tendrils of technology, flooding our nervous systems, squatting for days and weeks in our divided minds, this time, for most of us living in it, is knotted with perplexing complexity and information overload. The old ways are not working any longer yet for so many of us, nothing seems clear or certain in a world where plastic grows like a cancer in our oceans and human populations bloom like algae. Where what seemed sure and certain empties into the unknown.

On December 3rd, Mercury began its last Retrograde cycle for this year (December 3rd-24th.)

In the nuanced language of astrology, the planets describe the quality of experience we  assimilate and express. A Retrograde Mercury asks us to be patient and tenacious in the face of delays or obstacles, and amidst the ceaseless clamorous chatter, to “remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Patience and the commitment are carelessly tossed aside in the distractions of the times we live in. Yet in the North, Nature withdraws, retires inwards and waits patiently for spring’s Resurrection. Colours empty into shades of grey and stark skeletal branches pierce through the low lidded sky. In the South, shards of sunlight shatter the blue-sky dome with a radiance that saturates the secret life of rocks and trees. Shimmering light sweeps across the ocean sprinkling daubs of dancing silver over the crests of the waves, rendering us drunk with light, satiated with heat, immobilised, enervated.  Time quivers and expands.2370c600ab2525602f92996176404e54

This time of the year may bring endings, the potential of new beginnings. It may bring the polarity of choice that skewers us in indecision.

Between the retraction of Winter or the swelter of Summer, the way forward may not yet be clear. We may have to be still. We may have to wait.

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 humorous and charming. Mercury is the teacher, the comedian, the net worker, 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.

The 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.

Mercury is an important planet in our birth chart, signifying how we access information from the unconscious as we silence the chatter of our mind. In these Mercury Retrograde cycles, our perceptions may shift, igniting the creative process, birthing brilliant ideas.

Right now, we are all, on some level, experiencing a Mercury Retrograde cycle in the fiery sign of Sagittarius, which is a sign associated with our beliefs about the world. Sagittarius is about expanding our awareness, learning something new, perceiving with new eyes.

fire-2837843_960_720Mercury harmonises its energy with Saturn (November 28th December 9th and again from January 11th 15th)  and as this calendar year hurries to an end, we may feel a sense of moving through treacle, sucked down by obstacles when everything around us is moving so fast. As Saturn and Mercury, hang low in the molten evening skies, there’s a deeper message contained here, said so simply by the Buddhist monk, Haemin Sunim: When everything around me is moving so fast, I stop and ask, “is it the world that’s busy, or is it my mind?”

Saturn is often connected with the law of karma and Mercury is about our perception. When these two energies combine in the heavens we return to the inner sanctum of our thoughts, that very private, personal space where linear time dissolves. We may choose to revisit the past, to follow the sweet scent of nostalgia to rest in unchangeable memories of someone we loved with all our heart. We may decide to clear away a tenacious thought that clings like a burr, repelling our peace in the still dark hours just before the dawn.

“Don’t let the hand you hold hold you down,” wrote the poet, Julia de Burgos. The simplicity of this statement may have a resonance for those of us who still hold the hand of an old hurt, a fearful thought, a limiting core belief.

Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” said the Bard. Nothing exists until we become aware of it. It’s the awareness of our minds that births the world we see into being. It’s our perception that makes the time we live in simple, or painfully fraught.  All it takes is a conscious shift in perception to see a new world, a promised land, a world where we can anchor in Faith, trust in the process of  Life itself. “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature”, says Thich Nhat Hanh.

3ff8b87dfdae59ca145c6e7a23d5fc0bToday, let’s bring new vision, self-reflection, and healing to our thoughts and to the  words we speak. Today, let’s be mindful that we do have a choice to re-write our signature, clearly and simply.

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Fiery Heart, Fiery Mind

4a558f532946deea0def5b3f21d13c37“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it,” wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  Feeling good about ourselves despite our age, the girth of our waist, the wrinkles on our skin and owning the right to be joy-filled, whether we’re single or coupled, is something the self-help movement has focused upon for several decades now. But for most of us in work-addicted societies, play and pleasure are something we do by proxy. We fall into a trance of forgetfulness, our butterfly joy caught in the heavy net of seriousness and grown-up responsibility. In the busyness of living out the days and the months and the years we somehow become reactive rather than reflective to the myriad pleasures that life offers.

In September, 2015, Saturn, Lord of Time, moved into the zone of the zodiac we call Sagittarius, a mutable fire sign ruled by Jupiter (the sky god Zeus in the Greek pantheon) building thematically from the past when Saturn moved through Scorpio …. and anticipating the future when Saturn ingresses into Capricorn in December 2017.db08bd309e1411304fc31f3d494622c7

 

Now, Saturn is in Retrograde (6th April to 25th August) tempering the extroverted energy of the Sagittarius, drawing up those deeply buried inner doubts and secreted fears. Saturn is associated with melancholia, that sombre mood that was once honoured and even cultivated, as a quality of mind that was  the essence of deep and powerful thought.  In astrology, Saturn rules the bones and the skin and is associated with the inevitable process of time and  ageing. So it comes as no surprise now that the Baby Boomers are fixated on healthy ageing and in a Puritan Western culture, learning how to give themselves permission to receive pleasure and to play.

cbb10368c7d733d02c27b0bcd9eaa63eThe ageing Dr Christiane Northrup’s offering, despite its trite and erroneous title, Goddesses Never Age ( oh yes they do! ) is based partly on her own experience with milestone birthdays and her own experiences of ageism. She warns against pigeonholing ourselves and evaluating people on their chronological age. “There’s a vital life force within each one of us that is ageless.”

Her new book borrows from the work of Dr Mario Martinez, author of The Mind Body Code  who writes, “Getting older is inevitable, ageing is optional.”

 “We don’t have to die with oxygen cannulas stuck up our noses. We should all be aiming for a happy healthy death.” Martinez studied 400 healthy centenarians and found that they usually died in one of three ways: falling off a horse, having sex, or in their sleep. He discovered that healthy centenarians seem to like to live independently, indulge in many rituals of pleasure, they are future orientated and did not want to be around old people.

8c6d7a425306e8881102c87d80809595Saturn’s journey through this mutable fire sign is epitomised by the image of flame and heat.

In her brilliant TED talk,  based on her memoir, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In The Sun and Be Your Own Person  Shona describes the burning of those who fly too close to the Sun and are consumed like moths in the brilliance of the flame of their own relentlessly driven creative genius. Saturn’s sojourn in Sagittarius reminds us that we are mortals who must replenish ourselves, like the other intelligent creatures that share this earth, with frequent delight and pleasure. “Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair,” wrote Khalil Gibran.

Saturn is about boundaries. About Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway, as psychologist Susan Jeffers admonishes us to do. Saturn is the Guardian of the Threshold. We meet Saturn when we acknowledge our limitations. When we accept the necessity of ageing and death. In his poignant memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, 36 year old neurosurgeon Paul  Kalanithi traverses the road to death and describes the terrain. He writes, “The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present.”  

Saturn in fiery Sagittarius is not an intellectual type of energy. It’s passion, intuitive understanding.  It’s about re-discovering our delight in play and finding our corseted free spirit, and setting her free!

d6826532994c8b797bf0cbf22e6972f0Alice Phoebe Lou – Fiery Heart, Fiery Mind“

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 write to me: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

 

 

 

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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.

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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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No Where Warm

9cccaeba30c0773c8ba4fa8ad62eaed9When the moon is in the Seventh House

And Jupiter aligns with Mars

Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars…

Have Angels replaced Demons in the New Age Culture? Has positive thinking, good news, Light and Love created an intellectual bulwark against the darkness that stains the bedrock of our human civilization? When the Moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with the god of war what collective energy will steer the stars? Is darkness the shadowy twin of light, as the populist phalanx advances a new political ideology and  tyrants hunt scapegoats?

Perhaps we all have a dark double, a shadowy doppelganger who enters our lives in the shape9c29c0b8c8d436418b638809275acff0 of a person, a political system, a way of life that we either idolize or loathe. Our shadow dances on our bedroom walls and lurks behind the locked doors of seemingly ordinary lives. And confronting the darkness, daring to break the silence, may be life threatening, quite literally, when we dare to speak out against an authoritarian regime or in an abusive relationship.   Writer Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” —with a man who routinely abused her until she had the courage to break the silence, confront those parts of herself that lay in the shadow.

Jung believed that there is an absolute Shadow. An unspeakable, unthinkable, repulsive evil in the world, a place where there’s no where warm. Perhaps this absolute Shadow is a repository for all our the pain-filled thoughts and intentions. Perhaps even the most distorted twisted human being is not wholly evil. Perhaps Demons are simply Angels with broken wings.

no-where-warm-112The fly-covered gore of deviance and cruelty strips away our innocence, pares down our naivety. If we loiter in the shadowy darkness too long we become calloused and cynical, prophets of doom. If we’re afraid of the dark, live only in sunny brightness, we may, as author Caroline Myss suggests, “ live in a climate of a spirituality of denial that an independent force of evil is real. At the same time, we are dealing with moral, physical, political, and financial crises that destroy lives.”

The popular world view remains resolutely dualistic. And yet the notion that there are infinite states of being, “many worlds” according to  physicist, Hugh Everett, has germinated and sprouted into the the mystic crystal revelation and the mind’s true liberation: we can and do create our own reality; that our human brains are not merely thinking machines but powerful receivers of consciousness from the global mind.

The Full Moon at 22 Gemini on December 14th illuminates a silvery patina of light and dark. She ignites a hot spot degree that will gather more energy as we approach Christmas. This Moon trines Jupiter and opposes the Sun/Saturn conjunction which forms on December 9th, providing a “reality check”, shining light, giving us clarity, feedback, on the shadowy paradoxes of our lives and perhaps a greater awareness of the Morphic Field that pulsates in harmony with our thoughts and prayers.hypnosis-12

In traditional astrology, based on the old paradigm of good, evil and patriarchy, Saturn is a “malefic” planet— he represents fear, and those mundane, boring aspects of our lives like hard work, thrift, caution, and self-control.  As Saturn transits our birth chart, he points a stern celestial finger at those aspects of our lives that need focus and serious attention—the health of our body and mind, our relationship with money, illness and the inevitable threshold of death, the authenticity of our relationships, the unconscious habits and patterns that have been gathering dust in the basement of our psyche. Saturn requires his dues of patience, serious hard work, tenacity, and maturity—qualities we must muster when relationships flounder, when civilizations break down and must be rebuilt from ashes and rubble. no-where-warm-22

Saturn is “the Beast” whose doppelganger is “the Handsome Prince.” Without the dappled darkness and the light, this potent symbol flat-lines into a two-dimensional portrayal of good and evil. Saturn is the Lord of Karma, the Dweller at the Threshold. Saturn holds the keys to the gate of self-awareness when we are brave enough to embrace the Beast and see that he’s a magnificent Fallen Angel.

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Venus changes signs on December 7th. She dresses up in Aquarian clothing: unique, candid, communicative, and idealistic, a shift in the celestial symphony this month. She trines Jupiter on Christmas day at the degree of the Jupiter-Uranus opposition so expect things to heat up unpredictably as we approach Christmas.

no-where-warm-10No exact moment exists in linear time to mark the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.  Carl Calleman suggests the 9th Wave was activated in 2011, bringing with it an accelerated thrust for a more egalitarian world, a rising of unity consciousness, which has an idealistic Aquarian quality. But the Age of Aquarius will be an age of sentient robotics, wars detonated by the click of a mouse, ideological conflict, and the same old dualistic thinking of winners and losers, black and white, good and bad… unless we choose differently. There is nothing personal or individual about Aquarius. And the Jupiter/Mars alignment in the song “Aquarius” certainly does not symbolise harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding… though the counter culture contained a vision of the Handsome Prince who wore flowers in his hair.

At this time of global cultural conversion, may we choose to re-create ourselves daily. Embrace the unfathomable darkness, meet the Beast, andno-where-warm-2 let the sunshine in.

Aquarius— 5th Dimension

Featured Image Ana Beatriz Riberio

Military image, United Colors of Benetton

Kate Havnevik—Nowhere Warm

 

 

 

 

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Wings

brad-pitt-and-angelina-jolie-mr-and-mrs-smithAmidst the unrelenting scrutiny of the media’s Cyclops eye, amidst the vaporous flurry of voyeuristic speculation from those who will never know any of the back story, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have uncoupled.

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.

roses“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. I disagree. 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. The old Berserker brain takes charge. Reason, compassion and wisdom fly from the bloody battle fields.

The September, autumn (or spring if you are in the southern hemisphere) equinox is marked by the Sun’s passage into the zodiac sign of Libra. Traditionally associated with the ritual of marriage and the ethics of contracts and spoken agreements in our relationships. Every relationship we embark upon requires a negotiation of boundaries: what is mine and yours, what is ours, and what we both agree to share with our friends and families.

268621642-290x290The 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? What do we share and what do we withhold? Do we spend our holidays together or apart? 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 an open and ongoing discussion. ”

Artist, husband and father, Eric Pickersgill’s series of photographs, Removed, depict the wings-7phantom limb of our treasured devices that signal our busyness and unapproachability. This invisible addictive force that splits our attention and takes us away from those who are physically present.

Life imitates Art for Hollywood’s  Power Couple. Transiting Neptune conjunct his Chiron, transiting Saturn opposing her Sun, transiting Neptune Square her Sun. They very publicly perform their final role: the intractable stand-off and ultimate catastrophic exit that is divorce.

hypnosis-1Borders and barriers have been a feature of the Saturn Neptune square over the past months – 26 November 2015, June 18, and September 10, 2016. This aspect was also triggered by the September 1 eclipse. The refugee crisis in Europe. Brexit. The machinations that are more like a tacky reality TV show than politics in the US. The beginnings of another property bubble burst, and the slow realisation that  without jobs, people will not longer be “consumers” .

The sense of being in “a fog” (Neptune) or feeling that we are lodged between the proverbial rock and the hard place (Saturn). Too much Saturn and we atrophy. Too much Neptune and we escape or seek redemption through something or someone who takes us away from the harsh reality and limitations of the drab burnt out ends of our lives. Asks speaker and author, Brené Brown, “What boundaries need to be in place for me to stay in my integrity to make the most generous assumptions about you?” 

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. When we can tolerate the Mystery in one another and gaze upon each other with loving eyes. img_8584

Birdy – Wings

 

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Hypnosis

Disney's "MALEFICENT"..Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning)..Photo Credit: Film Frame..?Disney 2014

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love,” wrote the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

The great centrifugal shifts in world politics mirror the shifts in our personal lives. The eruptions and schisms that speed up our spiritual growth. The unexpected events that detonate habits and behaviours that have petrified the flow of our lives. Inner peace amidst the babble of social media and 24-hr news loops requires focus and wholeheartedness. This  week,  Jon Bachman’s iconic photograph of Leshia Evans facing two heavily-armed policemen in Baton Rouge reverberated across social media. A reminder of past passive confrontations with the armoured might of The Establishment, echoing other responses by groups and individuals during the last Saturn-Neptune conjunction in the counterculture of the ‘60s.

stay 1 Neptune is associated with illusion and delusion. It’s glamour and aspiration. It’s the willo‘-the-wisp of political promises…

Neptune-Saturn energy has a sacrificial essence. In June 1989, Neptune and Saturn were once again in conjunction, this time in Capricorn.  Tank Man was the unidentified man who stood in front of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, the morning after the Chinese military had suppressed the protests in Tiananmen Square.

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With Saturn now in Sagittarius and in square to Neptune again, we are supported to make conscious choices about what wolf we choose to feed, where we place our focus, our energy, what we want to nourish and manifest in our lives and in the world around us. Saturn’s first station in the sign of Sagittarius (March 14th) spotlighted the integrity of our life-structures on many levels – our permeability or resistance to change, our fears and doubts, our resistance to the flow of life. Astrologer Melanie Reinhardt says “the more deeply we can attune to what we are actually experiencing, in all its manifold layers, the less likely we are to feel blocked by unconscious Saturnian energy as we reclaim our energy from the intrusion of the Superego – the shoulds and oughts which keep us complying with introjected authority figures.”  This does not mean that people won’t harm us, nor does it mean being oblivious to commonsense and discrimination that guides us. Longfellow wrote: “if we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”  Perhaps our hearts don’t need to be so armoured by beliefs that obscure the “secret history” of another’s suffering or that shut off the possibility of mutual understanding and care.beautiful young woman

Mars is still in Scorpio and simmering feelings of discontent could erupt into acts of violence over the next few weeks as Mars picks up pace to square the Moon of the American birth chart on July 21st. The Saturn-Neptune trance of separation, the “them” and “us” loses its force when we find refuge in the experience of another person, when we listen deeply.

Anger can draw out the Warrior in us all, it can take us to the edge, beyond our civilized comfort zone. We can re-claim our power, embrace our eccentricity, emerge from the darkness of a depression, or find the strength to make a stand. We can also objectify and dehumanise one another. “Anger is only partly an emotion,” writes Thomas Moore. “It has an intellectual component and helps you make sense of your life.”  Compassionate listening to another person’s story is the capstone of healthy relationships. Writes spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, “our fear-based beliefs trap us in the trance-identity of an insecure self that is hypervigilant in managing life. We rationalise, we justify ourselves, we defend, we blame. Our will, our capacity for conscious, purposeful action is commandeered by a frightened ego.”

Lasting, meaningful change starts with each one of us. “Victory is about taking off the armour, showing up, and engaging,” says Brené Brown.alexandravalenti-via-mysticmamma-com-290x290

The Saturn-Neptune square still symbolises for some a great deal of stress and difficulty. We may feel confined, or blocked by our circumstances. The way through, as we seem still not to have learnt from our human his-story, is not through guns or bombs but through seeing the humanity in a stranger’s eyes, the divinity in her soul. Then the light of the uni-verse envelopes us and we remember, we are not enemies we belong to the human family.

 

 

Flag photograph by Alexandra Valenti

Film Frame from the Disney’s  2014 MALEFICENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photographs by Pierre Carreau

Sacrifice

sacrifice 1Make America Great Again. It’s a call to action that offers the promise of something tangible amidst the vague rhetoric and mud-slinging in America’s House of Cards.  Pluto has been opposing the Sun of the American chart all through 2014 and 2015. The Titan Nation is approaching the end of a cycle with its Pluto Return in 2023/2024 and all that is rotten, untenable for the evolution of America will be pruned over the coming years.

Who will tend to the Garden? To some, Donald Trump’s appeal is crazy. With his fly-away corn-yellow hair secured beneath a baseball cap, the ageing billionaire steps up to the podium and delivers a message that entertains some and baffles others. He’s the Jester, the Comedian, the Wizard of Oz. He offers to a population fed on a banal diet of Reality TV and processed food a message as feel-good as a bucket of KFC. American author, David Eggers, writes, Is it more troubling, or less troubling, knowing that no one in the audience really cares what he says? And could it be that because Trump’s supporters are not all drawn from the lunatic fringe, but in fact represent a broad cross-section of regular people, and far more women than would seem possible or rational, that he could actually win?

For more astrology listen to this week’s podcast:

imagesX0JLUBI0America’s back yard is a tangle of weeds. From the outside looking in, we can glimpse the wood, not the trees.  Neptune and Saturn have been in square aspect since last November. These three squares symbolise what is going on collectively in a world where young men die as they dance and in Europe, refugees in threadbare clothing risk their lives in flimsy boats. The middle square occurred on June 18th when Saturn was at 12 degrees Sagittarius and Neptune at 12 degrees Pisces. Those of us with planets or angles at these degrees will be sensitised to the opposing energies of these two planets as we confront a choice between whether to be in Fear or to have Faith in a world that seems poised on the brink of madness.

The final square will be on the 10th of September this year when both planets are at 10 degrees of their respective signs and it will be interesting to see how things play out on the political stage in November. Saturn calls for realism and practicalities. Neptune reflects a facet of the collective consciousness that calls for some kind of sacrifice. With Neptune there is an irrational emotional identification that sweeps us along in a swirling murmuration. Trump may represent the distracting delight and glamour of Neptune as he says inappropriate things into the microphone and Elton John’s Tiny Dancer heralds his arrival at rallies with lyrics that have absolutely no relevance at all to the gravity of political office.

sacrifice 13Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you’ll marry a music man
Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand…

Trump’ s birth chart resonates with the chart of the USA.  Trump’s Gemini Sun squares Neptune in the US chart and there’s an interesting Mercury Venus/Jupiter/Sun contact. He is a mouth-piece for the collective psyche at this point in American history. The US chart has Sun square Saturn and Trump has Saturn conjunct Venus, a painfully self-deprecating aspect that builds a defense as thick as the soon-to-be-extinct rhino’s hide against rejection, feelings of inadequacy or vulnerability.

Yet, with Saturn-Neptune contacts there tends to be a blind spot which contains the seeds of sacrifice of some kind. If we look back in history to previous Saturn-Neptune contacts there is a sense of a collective sacrifice involved.

Saturn square Neptune in 1909/1910 heralded the Suffragette hunger strikes, the Saturn square Neptune in 1944/1945 birthed the Atomic Bomb and the V1 V2 rockets that reigned terror and destruction on Germany.

In 1963 the square manifested as Vietnam and the Counter Culture. In 1979-1980 we had Thatcher and Reagan and in 1998/1999 the seeds of the Financial crash were sown by the internet stock boom.

Neptune is an outer planet. It’s not personal. Astrologer, Liz Greene once referred to Neptune as death by drowning… an intoxicating woman at gravepull into something bigger than ourselves that envelops us into something that is beyond our individual understanding. The numinous quality of Neptune may draw us into situations where we lose our sense of clarity. We believe the promises of redemption offered by self-appointed Messiahs posing as politicians. And then perhaps these Messiahs themselves must be sacrificed, engulfed in Neptunian waters  to atone, to redeem something deeply off-centre in a world where there is so much polarisation, so much disconnection from Manley’s “ the dearest freshness deep down things.”

sacrifice 2Neptune is the silver screen, the make-believe world of film and television. Neptune may dissolve or distort our sense of reality or expose our sense of personal inadequacy which is Saturn.

The show is not over. When the last Saturn – Neptune square in September lifts the green curtain… The Tiny Dancer will sing.

So at this time of the Solstice, let’s take a moment to pause. To stand still long enough to allow clear vision and courage to anchor us amidst hype and confusion. In the words of poet and mystic John O’Donahue, “May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”

Elton John, Sacrifice

Neptunian Ocean by Pierre Carreau

 

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8th morning SUNRISE and long road ahead

When You Believe

coffee shopsForever is composed of Nows. Emily Dickinson’s Power of Now is a recurrent theme in metaphysical thought. Yet so often we torment ourselves with worries about things that may never happen. And even the Now we inhabit is made up of the drama of “the news” as  desperate immigrants risk their lives in flimsy boats,  and Europe braces for Brexit.

Our lives are nuanced with shadows, complicated with opinions that may be facile interpretations or moralistic judgments lacking deeper thought or imagination. As we weave threads of  innocence and ignorance, hope and despair, our divided selves are mirrored this month by the polarity in the Heavens. In early June, our challenge may be to keep centred, to stay in the Now. The planets reflect polarising forces, the tension of opposites, in global events and in our personal lives.

people walking Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn with the Sun and Venus complete what is called a Grand Cross.  This Grand Cross is in Mutable signs, so think fluid, think changeable, think the elements of fire, water, and air and what they would look like in nature if whipped up by a strong wind. With this kind of energy there’s a sense of spinning around, bouncing off walls of resistance and spinning around again as our thoughts, or the circumstances we perceive, hit an immovable obstacle – what Yeats describes in the chillingly prophetic poem, the Second Coming:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…

 On June 5th Neptune and Saturn are both at 12 degrees of their respective signs – Pisces and Sagittarius. This is the second exact hit in the series of three with the third square coming in September – remember that squares hold tension and opportunities for change and growth. So take up the challenge when there are interlocking conflicts or a block that seems immovable or intractable – Jupiter is involved here and Venus too as they separate from the Grand Cross. Jupiter and Venus were known by the old astrologers as The Great Benefics. They bring blessings and good fortune. Allow your heart rather than your mind to guide you deeper in.

wavesNeptune pauses in the sky on June 14th.  We say that Neptune stations. Stations tend to add emphasis to a theme, they highlight a particular planet. So Neptune will be more of a prominent theme for us personally and globally as we find hope in negativity, light in the darkest of days. This beautiful planet  represents the ineffable, the numinous – it is other-worldly, not of this world. Neptune may bring a sense of giving up. That hopeless, helpless feeling when we must sacrifice something or surrender to a force that is bigger than us.  Neptune is about loss and longing and a wave of energy that engulfs us like a tsunami. Neptune seeks redemption.

refugees

Saturn represents the opposite – Saturn is about boundaries, barriers, structures, defenses. Saturn could manifest as our personal resistance or psychological defenses but could also be about patience and perseverance.  Saturn is the inner critic; the wall, the block. Neptune is boundless. Neptune is intangible, mystical, non-ordinary and seeps through the realm of the meta-physical. Those of you who subscribe to the marvelous literary offering Brain Pickings by Maria Popova may have read her recent post about the “Tussle with two polarizing forces ripping the psyche asunder by beckoning to it from opposite directions — critical thinking and hope. Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté.”  This describes the walls of Saturn as the waves of Neptunian idealism crash over the political stage and the old order crumbles to make way for the new. Neptune is the ocean that threatens to dissolve the status quo. Saturn represents fear and resistance, the voice of caution,  the protectionist posturing that bulwarks us against the natural impulse of evolution as the political pendulum swings and the walls that were destroyed are built again.

Walls 1

We imagine our lives into existence and if we are mired in facts, rhetoric, slogans, judgement, tick boxes, we imprison ourselves in the walls of Saturn. Perhaps we must face not the polarity of right and wrong but the paradox of this life here on earth. When we take things too seriously, too literally, we label ourselves and others and miss experiencing the moment, feeling “real”, truly being in the Now. A Course in Miracles offers a choice: “The world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream’s alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream.”

So, if we attune to the uni-verse, observe the symbolism of the Grand Cross, we can revive our imagination, restore and refresh our hearts and minds. When we believe that the world is full of miracles, we take responsibility for making up the dream. Then in this marvellous miraculous process of change and evolution, we can stay anchored in the Now and know that like the planets in the heavens, here on earth, things are in continual motion. In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

When You BelieveMariah Carey and Whitney HoustonHope 3

 

 

Photograph – Long Karoo Road by Jeanne Thompson

 

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Just show me how to love you

Sex is so often the first casualty on the battlefield of a committed relationship. Celibate couples live side by side, enslaved by their fear, their anger, and their hurt. Some slight, a rejection, a misunderstanding, a mistake in the past sentences them both to a marriage that is contains the pain of their disconnection devoid of touch, of carnal pleasure. Marriage is an initiation into the trials and tribulations of true intimacy. Alchemy within a marriage may require a period of mortification – those dark times, those catastrophic experiences that leave us stumbling through a nuclear wasteland, soul naked. Mortification means “making dead” and it may require a ritual slaying of some aspect of our personality where we cling white knuckled to our fears, our need to control, prescribe, to be “right” and oh-so-perfect. Many psychological models focus on the trauma and pain of being human. We talk of our “childhood wounding” and our “fear of abandonment”, seldom the triumph and the resilience of the human spirit, the ability to change, to grow new synapses in the brain. We focus on what is wrong with our relationships, our sex lives, seldom celebrating what is so damn deliciously good. We go round in circles. Blaming, shaming, subduing our soul’s urge to stretch and grow through the gridlock. And when the pain of being relentlessly honest with oneself gets too great, our knee jerk response is to separate, divorce. To tear our lives, our families asunder.
Like our inevitable death and the certainty of taxes, sex is a perennial part of this human experience. Collectively we are still removed from the deeper mysteries of alchemy to fully comprehend the subtle Mystery of human sexuality. We die many times in one lifetime. Relationships end, children move far away from home. A health crisis brings the curtain down on life as we know it. With every death there is a rebirth, as one form dies, and our hearts break open, our wounds are cleansed and  purified by salty tears. Death, like sexual intimacy demands an exchange – a coin to pay Kharon to ferry us across the river into the Underworld.  Most of us can only comprehend what we can literally see and touch. The subtle dissolution of death and la petite morte of orgasm are still distant frontiers, explored by very few who can contain these enormous energies within the slow vibration of our dense corporal form.

With Saturn’s ingress into Scorpio from October 6th until December 2014, we may experience, collectively and personally, the profoundly destructive, healing, regenerative energy of The Serpent. This is a time of initiation into an often painful stretching of the heart and the imagination. This is a time of re-visioning our relationship with life, death and intimacy in our sexual experiences, and in the psychic space that lies in between us in all our relationships. We must recognise that out of each apparent accident, crisis, obstacle, there is something deeper to be explored.

Saturn’s placement in our birth chart symbolises the areas in our life where we feel thwarted, inadequate, fearful, crippled. Where we must endure painful circumstances. Where we must push against obstacles and grow through self-awareness into our completeness. Saturn’s sojourn in the sign of Scorpio may excavate our buried loneliness, our fear of intimacy, our guilt, our terror of death, our obstinate resistance to change the thoughts that create our external “reality”. In Scorpio, we re-enter the cave where Hekate dwells. It is within the hallowed temple of intimate relationship that we must confront our self-deception and dredge the murky swamp of our own unconscious fears, our dark longings. Here we must push against the barriers of our self-isolation, must renounce our unhappy martyrdom. We must go down into the obsidian darkness of the labyrinth and engage fully with the silent inner experience. The old excuses just will not work any longer; the glib lies, the seductive stories we tell ourselves to sedate the Wise Woman and Man within us all.

The only person we can change is ourselves. We are responsible for our own sexuality, our own pleasure, our own joy as we open our hearts to love. Porn exults sex with our genitals. Intimate relationships require sex with our hearts, connection with our minds and the wet succulence of our bodies. Saturn in Scorpio’s wisdom is that in authentic union with the other we will experience the intense transformation and the renewal we crave if we excavate the deep knowledge from the gold mine of the unconscious. We are our own Magician. We already have the unction for our own healing.

Says sex therapist David Schnarch: “people have difficulty with intimacy because they’re supposed to. It’s not something to be solved and avoided. Problems with sex and intimacy are important to go through because this process changes us. These are the drive wheels and grind stones of intimate relationships. The solution isn’t going back to the passion of early relationships because that’s sex between strangers; it’s about going forward to new passion and intimacy as adults.”

Proust once said, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

So today, let us with new eyes gaze with gratitude and acceptance at what we have manifested for our lives. Let us open our hearts and celebrate what is right in our relationships. Let us give thanks for the enormous courage of that special soul who has chosen us for his or her soul mate. Then just show him how to love you.

Art by Gerda Wegener – Lovers.
Sarah Brightman and Jose Cura Just Show Me How To Love You.

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If not now?

Behind the proscenium arch of the Greek stage, a tragedy of calamitous human suffering is enacted as government officials quaff cognac and puff at phallic cigars. In this modern day drama, the chorus are ordinary men and women. For many, suicide is the catharsis to loss of livelihood, shelter… and hope, as bloated politicians overstep legal boundaries, and machismo businessmen arrogantly avoid tax payments. This is not really a play about inflated subsidies and debt bingeing of the last decade. Behind the curtains of the euphemistically-named “austerity measures” which darkly ripple across the landscape of so many lives is a far more sombre enactment of a terrible crime.

To the ancient Greeks, Hubris was the greatest crime of all. The outcome, when mere mortals challenged the gods and their laws, overstepping the boundaries, was never without repudiation. There was no escaping the fated denouement. The ancient Greeks had two phrases that encapsulated Greek thinking, and are still relevant today: Know thyself. Nothing in excess.

The glare of the spotlight illuminates the Greek stage, yet in countries, boardrooms, factories, schools, and homes all over the world, misuse of power is a fatally flawed fractal design.

Today, the word Hubris is imbued with a sense of over-confident pride. Only with quiet contemplation and vigilant self examination can we acknowledge where we overstep the boundaries in our ignorance or self-righteousness. Only with scrupulous honesty can we hollow out behaviours that arrogantly assume our entitlement to friendship, or love, or money, or recognition, when it may be we who did not fulfil our side of the bargain. Can we truthfully claim we are owed something when it is so often we who were not present, diligent, honest, or loving?  Can we slouch flaccidly in the hammock of our own self-absorption, meting out judgements and criticisms that make others wrong, ourselves right?

All cultures have a code of ethics for thoughts, words and deeds that do not violate ourselves or other living things. In Sanskrit, for instance, Ahimsa means kindness and non-violence towards all living things. In Latin, Primum non nocere means first, do no harm.  Some codes take time to crack, and the best we can do is to cultivate the humble awareness of our connection to all living things and to do no harm. “An authentically empowered person is humble. This does not mean the false humility of one who stoops to be with those who are below him or her. It is the inclusiveness of one who responds to the beauty of each soul… It is the harmlessness of one who treasures, honours and reveres life in all its forms”- Gary Zukav.

Since late 2008, when Pluto entered Capricorn, financial and business structures have splintered. We have not yet seen the full trajectory of the Global Recession nor the full implications of misuse of power in government and big business. Recovery will be excruciatingly slow and desperately jobless. The irrevocable sweep of trans-formation (changing form, which always implies a dying) will impact the lives of each one of us in some way. Sombre Saturn, slowly retracing its orbit until October in ethical, judicious Libra, is a stern celestial marker pointing our attention to the necessity for responsibility, realism, and reason, and maturity in our personal lives, in our communities. Austere times require the wisdom of new governance, new law. If not now, then Uranus (until May 2018), dancing a gypsy dance through the sign of Aries (the incendiary energy of rebellion, uprisings, or self-immolation), will shake the flimsy foundations of “civilisation” as we have manifested it.

The fatal flaw in our society is our inherent arrogance. Our collective hubris that has brought Homo sapiens and the plant and animal species on our home planet to the chasm of annihilation.

Bullies and tyrants hold a convenient hook for all that is unacceptable and shadowy, too appalling to own in our personal lives and collectively. Be vigilant for the convenient human tendency to seek a Sacrificial Scapegoat… heavy-handed autocrats, the captains of sunken ships, the boss, ex-husband or wife, the querulous neighbour.  It falls upon each one of us to commit to acts of kindness that expand our capacity for love and generosity that open our awareness to our interconnectedness as living creatures on our beautiful  home planet. If not now, then when?

Tracy Chapman,If not now, then when?

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