I am a Healer, Psychologist, educator and Sound Therapist with an avid interest in consciousness and transpersonal experiences. Oh and did I mention Astrology?
We have a positive force behind us this year, if used well! The Cardinal Grand Cross is seen as stressful and creating major 'challenges' however, if we change the word to 'opportunity' then we can see its real value.
Mars in Libra - changing the way we relate to each other, using our strengths to be more assertive and truthful in relationships, seeing what is fair and just and 'fighting' for it.
At the same time this squares off with Uranus in Aries - definitely a time of learning to assert oneself, to develop true integrity without fear. Not worrying about being the odd one out but rather instigating positive out of the box actions.
Pluto in Capricorn - a time of the old structures falling apart yet also a time to preserve what serves whilst seeking to replace what does not with sensible, enduring and practical solutions.
Then to cap it all Jupiter in Cancer - a time to expand our vision of 'family' to mean clan (hopefully the whole human race), to be more generous and willing to share, to both wish and need to nourish and nuture others.
That's the grand cross, peaking in April this year.
In addition we also have a good relationship between Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio. Neptune in Pisces represents a very powerful return of empathy and spiritual ideals as well as a more romantic, poetic and musical, artistic approach in other words right brain thinking. Chiron the wounded healer is also in Pisces adding to this mix of empathy and the desire to heal others which always truely means healing self. Saturn in Scorpio is bringing much of the taboo hidden secrets out of the closet as the news will testify (rape and paedophilia being the classic examples, drug deaths too). Saturn gives structure and this can helpfully underpin the more 'dreamy' aspects of the Piscean energies. Thankfully this all links in nicely with the Cardinal Grand Cross with Jupiter being in Cancer. Thus the Jupiterian impulse to generosity and an expansive heart as well as optimism and hope joins in the dance in the water signs.
May 2014 therefore see the first green shoots of a 'brave new world' in which none of us is ashamed to empathise and find the will to assist, share and believe in better! Stand up and be counted...
A friend sent me a link to a TedX talk by Roman Krznaric - "How to start an empathy revolution" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT5X6NIJR88#t=466
This 17 minute talk is excellent and requires us to consider the value of empathy and how it has floundered, particularly in the last 10 years. Through history however, there are numerous examples of people pulling together and there are innumerable projects spreading across the globe right now promulgating the benefits of empathic relationships and leadership.
We are natural empathisers. The disinformation spread by the misinterpretation of Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' to mean we have to fight and compete, has falsely denied us our true heritage - Love. When we empathise, our bodies produce more oxytocin, a hormone which supports heart health and promotes a sense of well being. Physically therefore we are wired to be of use to each other. Altruism is also natural. Afterall, in tribal times we all needed each other in order to survive, "no man is an island" (John Donne For Whom the Bell Tolls - see below). Nothing has really changed in that respect. It is in our interest to help each other, each and every individual's survival depends upon it. This we need not only to remember but to promote, develop and expand. It is no longer right or just to sit back and say someone else will do it, what can I do on my own? These thoughts are irrelevant now.
Love thyself as thy neighbour. We are all one. What I do affects you and vice versa. When I have self respect, I shall respect you and the earth upon which I walk. When I love myself I will no longer blame you for my 'mistakes' or any 'misfortune'. Taking full repsonsibility is not something we are taught, quite the opposite. It is therefore threatening and frightening to do at first but without this positive attitude of assertiveness and empathy we are all doomed to a quarrelsome existence.
To further quote John Donne (1572-1631) a metaphysical poet:
No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
John Donne, Meditation XVII
Saturday saw the arrival of the Year of the Yang Wooden Horse. This is the latest New Year to meet us head on in 2014. Interestingly the wooden horse has a very similar feel to this Cardinal year that astrologers are talking about. The two compliment each other nicely. From this we can assume that the energies present this year will be as the predictions say.
In western astrology the Cardinal signs/houses are those where a sense of leadership and initiative taking are very strong. The Cardinal impetus dominates 2014, in particular over the month of April when there will be a 'Cardinal Grand Cross' in the sky. This will involve the planets Uranus, Pluto, Mars and Jupiter. The Uranus-Pluto square is a connection we have got used to in many ways as it has been triggering on and off since 2012. The revolutions around the world are a very apt and powerful descriptive for this energetic combination due to their positions in Aries and Capricorn respectively. Adding Mars and Jupiter into the mix gives it all a more personal feel as we are drawn by these 'inner' planets to question our relationships both to self and to other. It is going to be an interesting time which I hope will give us all the strength to align with our own truths and stand in integrity.
The wooden horse heralds a Wood year after two years of the Water element. We were forced to face our emotions in many ways during this time, something that can be intensely tiring. This again has been reflected in the emphasis on water signs during 2012 and the Grand Water Trine of 2013 which left many of us drowning in our emotional responses to situations. Wood, like Cardinal however, is about action and forward looking attention to purpose and stimulation. This is a massive turn around from the self-reflective, introvert approach in which all boundaries and certainties dissolve. We are now faced with a sudden burst of extrovert action and forceful energy which is going to carry us galloping into the future. Wood represents the Spring time and new growth, growth that has to push its way out of the dark underworld of the earth and into the sunlight. As it does so the horse brings our intuition clearly into focus from the unconscious into the light of the conscious mind alongside a palpable urge for freedom.
So, on a personal level, it is clearly time to free yourself from any old outworn ideas and behaviours. Don't reign yourself in! Saddle up and follow those intuitions with gusto, embracing opportunity. On a mundane level I am ever hopeful that we shall see the first green shoots of a just and more civilised approach to the problems we all face, answers which look to supporting humanity and the environment at the expense of corporations rather than the reverse as has been the case.
Yesterday I blogged about conformity and how it restrains us in a particular paradigm of accepted beliefs. We are paralysed by our need for acceptance.
Humans are social and greagarious animals. We also get our understanding of our individual identity from comparisons with those around us. We are all mirrors both reflecting and to some extent distorting the world and immediate environment.
In this respect are we ever really free to be ourselves - our true selves? It takes courage to step outside the consensus of behavioural patterns and mental imagery we have jointly constructed through our media, politics, economic and religious institutions. Yet to do so can bring great relief and personal growth. Whilst the following quote was written by a lesbian author I believe the message is for everyone in every walk of life. Where and when have you been subjected to criticism and prejudice? In work places, school, family or other social situations? We are all weird in some respect. We all have our own ideosynchracies. How likely are we to express these openly? How likely are we to suppress our true beliefs, values and personality just to conform? How 'brave' are we in stepping out not only to express ourselves but also to support those 'others' who are strong enough to be different?
“You're neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad; you're as much a part of what people call nature as anyone else; only you're unexplained as yet--you've not got your niche in creation. But some day that will come, and meanwhile don't shrink from yourself, but face yourself calmly and bravely. Have courage; do the best you can with your burden. But above all be honourable. Cling to your honour for the sake of those others who share the same burden. For their sakes show the world that people like you and they can be quite as selfless and fine as the rest of mankind. Let your life go to prove this--it would be a really great life-work.”
― Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness
Conformity is the enemy of the people! Nothing could be more true right now. We are faced with governments eroding our human rights and democracy becoming a complete farce (see http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/death-of-democracy-is-confirmed-as-cameron-ignores-the-will-of-parliament/). In the face of it however, most people sit around complaining and never actually do anything. Why? There is a total belief that it is not worth trying as one or a few people cannot change the world. Yet Margaret Mead the well known and respected American anthropologist declared - “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Unfortunately we buy into the idea that someone else will do it for us. This is neither true on a personal level nor on a social scale. There is no one else who can take your place, no one with your ideas, ideals and potential no matter who you are or what your physical or mental abilities may be. Only you are accountable for your life and what you do or do not do with it. Armchair philosophers abound but theory is not practice and in a world where action is the only measure of success (usually based on a financial scale of comparative wealth) what have you achieved? Those who are most 'comfortable' in financial terms, regardless of their mental capacity to debate and understand, are most easily lulled into a false sense of security. Afterall, if it doesn't affect me directly, why rock the boat?
There is also the tremendous fear of stepping outside the acceptable paradigms. Being ostracised, excommunicated, isolated are all quite threatening to the average person. Yet, it is this belief that you cannot be your self in its full glory that stymies progress. It also enables injustice and outright demonisation of those who do not conform. Nazi Germany is a recent example of how such situations snowball into an avalanche of insidious control over a population.
With the Pluto~Uranus square tightening again, the push-pull of governance/finance versus the individual is coming yet more sharply into focus. An increasing number of revolutions are breaking out around the globe, many being instigated by the secret services of foreign regimes. It is time to ask yourself; what sort of world do you wish to live in and what type of person do you want to be?
Time is the only thing that we have that we can give away and say it is truely ours to give. None of us know how much we have and therefore how we use it is vitally important. Giving people your time in an open and honest way, particularly being really 'present' for others, is the best possible gift you can give anyone.
Often we find ourselves in places that we didn't expect to be or with people we might prefer not to be with and then we call this a waste of time. However, no time is a waste of time if we remain 'awake' and aware of the possible opportunities. Someone may have a particular message for you which, if you are listening, could have profound repercussions on your life. Often these are what may seem to be chance remarks overheard, or they may be direct intentional comments made to you that would not otherwise have occured had you been where you were 'supposed' to have been. Places also have hidden treasures, seen only because you were diverted from your original route but remained inquisitive rather than annoyed.
Gifts are available in every place and every circumstance. One's attitude is what allows them to be available to us. Miracles are usually fairly ordinary events. It is the ability to see, hear and appreciate them that gives them that extra special quality.
So don't go around with your head in a proverbial paper bag. Remain in a state of child-like wonder, particularly if you find your self in a situation that at first appears to be a waste of time!
I have been dithering about over a couple of quite interesting options that have cropped up in my life recently. It seems I relish dilemmas even though they drive me mad as I pick apart the pros and cons. Those astrologers amongst you are rightly asking if I have a Libran moon - yes, of course I do! It is therefore part of my character to see not just two sides to every coin but a thousand facets to each of those sides.
To say this makes me indecisive is perhaps an understatement. However, when I know, I really know and there are no questions in my mind at all. These moments come, not just because something is so obviously right, but mostly when I am calm and centred. It is in these moments that I can 'cut through the crap' and really see the essence of the situation.
Indecision can make us fearful as we dither between options. It is part of human nature to believe that when we finally make a decision that means we have to relinquish any possibility of the other tempting choice. Decision-making therefore feels like the destruction of alternate pathways over which we may have regrets later down the line. This can occur whether the decision is life changing or of minor importance.
Fear itself however is probably the greatest factor in creating indecision. At these moments we are blinded by our own insecurities and emotional responses. Making a decision at this time may not be a good idea as it is not possible to evaluate the situation from a relatively objective stand point...
and you know what - it is OK to say I don't know!
I have often said that I have never made a decision in my life. Quite simply, as said before, if I know the answer then there is no question at all. It is just an accepted fact that this is what has to be done. On the other hand if I am dithering about and questioning every possible angle then I need to walk away and create space for myself to go quietly within and reassess my own reactions, belief systems and habitual behaviours as it is these that are creating this state of uncertainty. Once I am able to contact a place of peace it is as if the decision makes itself. I would not suggest that this is particularly easy to achieve in all circumstances but it certainly resolves a great many issues very quickly.
I am sitting in a De Vere hotel venue writing this blog. It is the first time I have ever done so. This was the idea of a friend of mine. We are here together to encourage and enthuse each other. Both of us need to be outside our familiar surrounds in order to be more productive. I am sure anyone who works from home can relate to this. Perhaps it is also something that affects women even more so - the distractions at home are endless! Did I put the washing on? Have I forgotten something at the shops? Oh and I've just realised I haven't cleaned the bathroom this week etc. etc. Normally none of these things would drift up into my conscious mind but as soon as I sit to write or focus on a creative idea, there they are!
I know I am not alone in this. When I was studying my student cohort found that as the submission date for another assignment came closer so the piles of ironing suddenly became 'interesting' or bizarrely a cupboard that had not been sorted or cleaned out became an absolute imperative! You have to laugh at yourself when this happens. It is human nature.
Taking yourself out of your normal environment can be threatening under certain circumstances of course. However, when planned with a particular intention in mind nothing could be better. Isn't that what holidays are for afterall? We need a change of atmosphere, environment and energetic input in order to prompt us to move forward. If these come without us willing their presence in our lives this can be both shocking and unsettling.
Looking at this from an astrological point of view Uranus is the planet that brings great unexpected upheaval, whilst Saturn is the disciplinarian which deals in structure. The two seem totally opposed in intent but each brings both positive and challenging lessons. When we remember that the situations are lessons, not punishments, we regain our power over the situation and are able to rise above any 'threatening' changes that they may herald. Indeed this is just as valid if the results are 'positive' as we may otherwise become complacent and miss the lesson or opportunity afforded us.
Staying 'awake' to both opportunity and challenges is quite a feat. We often find ourselves caught up in the emotion of a situation. This can be further exacerbated by those around us. Watching the news or reading the daily papers certainly adds to the fuel of discontent and divisiveness. As I write Sky news is disseminating what I consider to be Western propaganda as well as the government's agenda on unemployment (always read between the lines!). I am finding it difficult not to engage in a political debate as my views are contrary to those being promulgated. However, I am here to write a blog, not to rant about politics. This in itself is a lesson to me to practice what I preach!!
Focus, focus, focus. I am here to write and to develop several creative ideas as well as to write up the handouts for my next astrology class. Guess what? I have nearly achieved just that!
Those of us who believe we follow a spiritual path are being stretched to our limits right now. Anyone wth a conscience or sense of justice will instantly recognise and relate to this. Our society continues to damn the poor whilst damning more and more of us into that bracket. In the meantime the laws are rewritten to protect those with (in-)vested interests in the profits to be had from consummerism. Wake up and look around you if you don't understand what I am talking about - you are the next victim buying into the Christmas frenzie.
It is perhaps most pertinent at this time of year to speak of transcending the material world and rebuilding relationships which are not built on what you get in the form of presents but on truely valuable relationships built on what you get in the form of presence - a very different concept indeed! Humans are naturally gregarious creatures and need the company and cooperation of others. No one lives in total isolation no matter what their circumstances. Who have you ignored today in your rush to get things done?
Time is the only gift that is 100% yours to give. None of us know how much time we have and therefore spending it with those we care about should be viewed as sacred in the broadest terms. Communion is not just a Christian ritual but is the essence of giving undivided attention to another. It is a sense of belonging and sharing the human journey through good and bad times, in vulnerability and in strength. This indeed is a gift worth giving.
So do we take the road less travelled and transcend the pressures of the advertising and posturing of egos at this time of year, or will we succumb to transgressing the very essence of being human, paying little regard for those around us? We are all being stretched financially but also morally. Those of us who believe we follow a spiritual path are asking ourselves this question every day, struggling in a balancing act between 'heaven and earth', right and wrong, doing and being. We may never get it 'right' but it behoves us to try.
Our society is based on an insane form of a Ponzi scheme...
So what exactly is a Ponzi scheme?
According to Wikipedia: "A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors rather than from profit. The term “Ponzi scheme” is used primarily in the United States, while other English-speaking countries do not distinguish colloquially between this scheme and pyramid schemes.
The Ponzi scheme usually offers abnormally high short-term returns in order to entice new investors. The perpetuation of the high returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors in order to keep the scheme going."
This is the system used by every facet of our economy right now. It is notably based on consumerism. The UK is primarily a financial market and has little manufacturing potential. Money however is just numbers on a piece of paper. It has been this way since the electronic transfer of money became the norm. For this reason it is easy to manipulate and detach from the grass roots reality. Borrowing is extortionate for the average person, whilst trying to save is a mug's game! However, investors keep coming because there is a fortune to be made out of selling our future. The environment is being raped and governments turn a blind eye. Energy costs soar and the government sits helplessly by whining in order to placate the public yet using tax payers money to heavily subsidise the status quo.
When you look at the manic and aggressive carry on in America over buying cheap rubbish on Black Friday, you get an idea that our society of consume, consume, consume is indeed insane!
Cheap goods are one thing but why are they cheap?
Well, it is pretty obvious - it's because the true costs are not included and labour is violated in other countries, and indeed our own now.
This however, is only the tip of the iceberg.
We are ruled by an elite that has rewritten the laws of our lands to protect their manipulation of the markets and populations. Money is being printed with no value to support it, the only jobs available are at unsustainable rates of pay and the environment is being desecrated for instant profit.
As retirement ages go up for the average citizen, so we are encouraged to use the money of our 'future' to survive i.e. remortgage your house, spend on credit against your pension and use all your savings etc. Advertisements on TV proudly announce you can get a loan against the value of your car now. Loan, loan, loan so easy - but the pay back is at several thousand percent! The price is your sanity for sure.
And all of this to buy what?
Things you don't need and probably don't really want either but have been convinced of its necessity by advertising and an insatiable greed which is never satisfied due to our divorce from true value.