Archive for March, 2010

Butterfly: Original Painting by Holly Alexander

Originally published September 26, 2008

This is my favorite day of the year.   I love celebrating my birthday and I always wake up infused with the magic and possibilities of creation, the wonders of birthing a new me.

This day, this season, is when I feel the energy of planting seeds.  What I begin will show me its harvest six months from now, around the time of the Spring Equinox.

As I reflect over the past year, and particularly over the last seven years relative to transiting Saturn as it aspects my natal Moon, I feel my completion on many levels.  I have felt the “cycles within cycles,” more palpable than I can ever remember feeling them before.  I attribute this to my deep dive into the realms of astrology and the Divine Beauty of Great Mystery…and with that, my activation of a more conscious participation with my relationship to It and Me.

This past year has felt like a grand culmination of my entire life, my first 47 years.  My mantra has been about letting go, releasing, endings, death.   While my natal Moon/Jupiter in Sag holds the space of optimism for me, my enthusiastic and expanding place of vision and possibilities, it has been challenging to manifest the new, fiery creative impulse bubbling up inside of me, not quite ready to come to a boil.  I’m excited to taste that full heat and I know it is arriving soon…very soon!

For now, the message has been about freedom (Uranus), about a reclamation of my Feminine Power (Venus Return) and about taking the elixir I have distilled (Pluto), out into a larger community (Jupiter/AC Cap and Venus Return/MC, Mercury).  I look forward to sharing my medicine with you!

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Fire In The Belly: Original Painting by Jan Henderson http://www.janhendersonart.com

Originally published October 14, 2008

September 5, 2007. I am sitting with my partner of two years in our couple’s therapy session. I have been struggling with ending this relationship for months now. I do not feel I have the strength I need to walk away, without the support of our therapist. I need a witness. I need the safety and the container of this sacred space. I need her help.

I tell my partner that I have been trying to gain a stronger sense of my own power, within our relationship. Nonetheless, I keep hitting that proverbial wall. I have been swimming upstream for way too long and I am tired. I have no energy left. My batteries are drained. I know no other way to get back my power, unless I leave. I want to end the struggle. I want to let go, and flow…the waters of life want to carry me in their most natural way…downstream, and I want to go with them. I have to surrender.

On that day, I had forgotten I was eleven days into my sixth Venus Return Cycle. I was aware that I had been in an eleven month Uranus initiation to my natal Moon, and knew that if I tried to hold on, it would get harder. Uranus to my Moon. Time to change. Whatever I had been holding onto in a fixed place inside of me, in my mental construct of “reality,” Uranus was instructing me it was time to let go, surrender and trust. Trust I was being taken where I needed to go. No holding on…to anything, is what it felt like. Freedom from my past habits, patterns, addictions (Moon). Liberation from the prisons of my mind. Time to loosen the attachments and re-wire. Whatever part of me was still in shackles, I needed to unchain myself. I needed to steal some new fire. I needed to awaken…to a new me.

On August, 25, 2007, Venus made her new statement of intent to take me and the world stage, into an intimate look at the goddess as she shows herself in Leo. Radical self-love is her loudest message to me as she expresses herself through that archetype. Radiant light and power. The energy of the Sun itself. No shame about shining. Unabashed brilliance and expression. The fiery flame of creativity. She shines like this, giving me her energy. I cannot live on this earth without her. I need her light to sustain me. I put her on my altar, bow and pray to her, expressing my gratitude. I know I will have 584 days to deepen my relationship with her. To glean her medicine. I will have to let her die first, in the old form of our relationship. She will take me through a descent, to the underworld, and then back out again. I will rise with a new understanding, another level of integration. The journey will be perilous, but it is one I must take.

On a more personal level, the initiation is about my own Venus in Libra, the goddess as she expresses herself in partnership. The current mystery school Libra is exploring is one of conscious, equal partnership. The old days of hierarchy and relationships ruled by class, social and political structures, are attempting to break down. Relationships born out of an authoritative and power rank, wanting to dissolve. Libra is investigating co-creation at its best. The high ideals around equality in relationship.

I want this. I cannot keep giving away my authority, my power, in relationships. I want shared power. As first time Libra, there are minefields. I will often give up parts of myself, my own truth, because I know I have to learn to consider someone else. Where the give and take occurs, where the balance and harmony of the two create a conscious union, I am being given another opportunity to evaluate. The masculine and feminine parts of me, want to integrate on a deeper level. A new experience of wholeness. I am after the Sacred Marriage. I know it must first take place within me. My Beloved is mine and I am His. The physical form of that sacred union surely must follow. I am committed to finding me and finding him.


For further reading and investigation into the current Venus in Leo cycle, check out these excellent articles written by Shamanic Astrologers Cayelin K. Castell, Carol Ann Ciocco and Kathryn Morgan. Shamanic Astrology Related Articles

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Bugarach, France: Photo by Holly Alexander

Originally published October 28, 2008

The summit shines in its glory before me
seeing the peak, I start to climb
thinking I know what steps to take
unaware of what lies ahead

I begin my ascent
breath by breath
moving toward that longed for bliss
the light of heaven
my goal in sight

But clouds begin to cover and
a storm now blocks my view
even so, onward I proceed
knowing my destination

The path I once thought so clear
brings new surprises
it dawns on me
I’m not so sure

What can I rely on?
who will be my guide?
will I make it?
where is it I was going?

I remember where I wanted to go
but I no longer know how I will get there
I have no choice but to move carefully
knowing the power of this force
knowing I must honor, respect and revere it

My conviction to attainment
will undoubtedly lead me there
what will happen between
Here and There

Is a beautiful, wild Mystery
–Evening musing, January 20, 2006

The New Moon finds itself on Tuesday at 6 degrees of Scorpio, within one degree of the fixed star Khambalia at 7 Scorpio. On Anne Wright’s comprehensive website describing The Constellation of Words, she says, “Khambalia is a coptic (Egyptian) word meaning ‘Crooked-clawed,’ and is thought to be the same device which we call the Swastika, whose ancient symbolism contained the idea of secret knowledge, accessible to us, but only if one knows the way to get to it. The word Shambala has a similar root and meaning; so has the pentagram and the Arabic word for five, Khamsa, all deriving from the same piece of mystique. Khamr, wine, also has a connection, often being a symbol for ‘the secret of life,’ ‘the spirit,’ as well as a means to enter a transcendental (or just inebriated) state of consciousness.”

As I prepare to work ceremonially with the New Moon, I am once again astounded (though by now, I don’t know why!) at the incredible synchronicity of my personal process in alignment with the planets and stars, not only in my natal chart but in the particular New Moon Scorpio/Khambalia activation occurring now. Natal Venus at 29 Libra, sitting near my Neptune in Scorpio, at 7 degrees, right there with Khambalia, making a statement about my ongoing, obsessive dream, a highly idealistic vision and desire for a mystical, blissful union with myself, with another (my partner) and with others (generally). Living in a harmonious, illuminated way, connecting deeply to the mysteries of life. That union of opposites again. The integration of heaven and earth, spirit and matter. I understand more fully now, why it won’t let me go.

By the full moon in Taurus, or shortly thereafter, I will have left Utah and made my way toward California, spending four to five months there before heading to my ultimate destination (for now), The Big Island of Hawaii. My diligent efforts to connect with my spiritual/psychological Shambala, are leading me home to my physical one. It has been nearly two years since I “remembered” the next piece of why I came here and what I wanted to do, even though the details were still blurry and the “how” another mystery. Two years of knowing I was leading myself to something that I had been dreaming about for what feels like my whole life in many ways. I had only the vague remembrance of my heart’s desire, and a determination to follow it. How I would lead myself home to myself (and to Hawaii) has been a fantastic 22 month and still counting journey. I’m still following the signs, gathering information and finding the next clues on this amazing treasure hunt adventure!

For more information on the mystical kingdom of Shambala (or Shambhala), check out Crystal Links.

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Originally published October 30, 2008

The Scorpio mysteries are women’s mysteries and those of death and rebirth. As I continue to bring this new Moon into my awareness along with the fixed star Khambalia, connected with the physical and/or metaphorical idea of Shambala, I am immediately taken back to the most intense experience I had a year ago on my trip to Southern France.

The overall journey was one that has been difficult for me to find words for. The nine women who shared it with me, also felt transformed in ways that felt cellular and hard to express. It was a remembrance – we knew we had been there before, together. As we visited the Languedoc region on the trail of the Magdalene, each of us felt “activated” in certain parts of the land and in various sacred places. My most profound experience occurred for me at Queribus, on the border of Aragon.

Queribus: Photo by Holly Alexander

“Quéribus is high and isolated. It stands on top of the highest peak for miles around and is sometimes regarded as the last Cathar stronghold. After the fall of Montségur in 1244, surviving Cathars gathered together in this mountain-top stronghold on the border of Aragon (the present border between the Aude and the Pyrénées-Orientales). In 1255 a French army was dispatched to deal with these remaining Cathars, but they slipped away without a fight, probably to Aragon or Piedmont – both regions where Cathar beliefs were still common, and where the Occitan language was spoken.” –Wikipedia

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Walking up to Queribus: Photo by Holly Alexander

As I begin my ascension to Queribus, I sense that I have walked this path before. Anticipation comes over me and I know I am heading toward a remembrance of something I cannot name. Our group of seven (three are remaining at the bottom of the mountain) are climbing in silence, and the magnificent views of the surrounding valley become familiar and begin to feel like home.

We reach a resting place, and Nancy guides us to form a circle. She is standing directly opposite of me, her body a few feet away from the cliff’s edge. Within seconds of connection and further silence, I am overcome by an immense and palpable sense of grief. I begin to sob uncontrollably, and although I do not understand this, I willingly let my tears and body mourn the undeniable sadness I feel as I look into her eyes. I feel us dieing. I feel us willingly jumping off the cliff. Thelma and Louise driving their car off the edge of the known world, into the void of nothingness, into the space of absolute surrender and freedom, choosing “death” over a life of subjugation to the advancing patriarchy.

Looking down from Queribus: Photo by Holly Alexander

My tears subside and Nancy tells us this is the place where she and Nicole remembered running through the tunnels, carrying the light codes, attempting to make their way back to the castle, as the invading troops advanced. They are trying to preserve the codes, save themselves and their knowledge. The truth of what they know and why they are here. The walls of the tunnels cave in, they are trapped, death follows.

We continue our climb and begin to explore the castle remains. I am now filled with peace and my sense of home is growing stronger. I recognize

Photo by Holly Alexander

in my bones, in my body, that I have been here, many times before. I sense myself as King, as Queen, as partner to King and Queen, and as a member of a community of those who live in complete harmony. I know my Beloved is here and I can rest in this place. No longing, no desire for anything else. The fire of contentment, here, in this place, is mine.

After a time of exploration, we gather and circle again, this time at the highest level of the castle. We are so high, I feel I can easily stretch my arms up and touch the sky. Quiet fills the air once more as we connect

Photo by Holly Alexander

with this sacred place. Moments pass and I now burst into unbounded laughter. “I do not die,” the words of freedom repeat themselves in my being, and I feel the exquisite joy of release. I sense us grounding into the earth, a pillar of light, (forgetting there is literally a pillar directly below us in the chapel) and I feel we have been here before, doing this together, many times. We have performed this sacred work in another space and time. We have come from another place, a distant star, to do the work, the joyful work, of the Beloved.

Holly at Queribus: Photo by Cayelin Castell

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Photo by Holly Alexander

Originally published November 30, 2008

Saturn’s hands of time
sit me down
breathing me
into the ground

His bony knuckles
rapping on my door
pointing to his watch
he’s been here before
he knows
I’m not surprised
to see him again

he summons me from slumber
in the dark, early hours
“Stop wasting time,”
his voice urgent
and matter of fact
“You have work to do.
Get out of bed…now.”

He has me picking up pears
littered among gold-orange leaves
spotted with gray-black decay
filling garbage cans
in the sobering autumn air

The old man
has me going through filing cabinets
stored in the basement
drawers filled with
evidence of past labors
proof of days, weeks, years

That degree earned
adoption contracts and photos
of animals rescued
and taxes
paid faithfully
throwing my old self away

—November, 2008

The time has finally arrived.  I’m leaving Salt Lake and moving toward new life.  I’ve been waiting for this day, for over a year now.  It looks like I had to wait ’til transiting Saturn came around to square my Moon.  I must admit, when I looked at this upcoming transit, around a year ago, I was not looking forward to it.  As I have intimately known Saturn throughout my life (Capricorn Rising with Saturn conjunct, forming a T-square to my Sun and Mars, as well as three personal planets in the 10th house), he has shown his face to me in ways that have been…well…hard.  Restrictive.  Heavy.

As I have gotten older, I’ve gradually learned to create other experiences of him in my life.  The old Saturn in me, the critic, the perfectionist, the one who takes on the burden and feels responsible for all of it, working like hell to redeem myself, continues to leave me.  The goat that was saddled with the sins of the community, and either sacrificed or sent off into the wilderness, carrying those burdens with him.  Continually confronting authority outside of myself, feeling guilty for situations I did not create. Yeh, like I said…heavy.

For whatever reason, this time, Saturn feels different to me.  Maybe because I understand him in a way that I haven’t before.  Over time, the vulnerability of first time Cap AC, has given me an intimate understanding of this serious side of myself.  And, of my ego and the part of me that judges, compares, thinks I have to always do better.  Keeps working incessantly to change things, to “make them right.”

I remember hearing Daniel, my teacher, tell me that Saturn was the most instructive force in us, that teaches us to be free.  That is, if it doesn’t crush you.  Over the years, I have learned to make peace with this part of me, and let it go, little by little.  I can let the Saturn part of me, my strong identity with my ego, show me that through this suffering, through limitation and restriction, I can see exactly what I need to let go of.  I can release the parts of my ego that keep me imprisoned, and I can form a new relationship with Saturn that feels like a partnership of the pieces of Saturn and my ego, that actually serve me.

So, for now, I’m saying my good-byes to cherished friends, packing my life up in boxes, and moving West.  I’m California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day…

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Originally published May 18, 2009

Father Time

I remember feeling like I would literally die if I didn’t leave Salt Lake City before winter hit.  Like a snake, the skin of my emotional habits had become too confining and it was time, once again, for it to shed.  I knew my oncoming Saturn initiation would be a process related to all areas represented by the Moon, and although much of it would address my inner world, I felt an overwhelming urgency to honor the beginning of the cycle externally.  On October 1st I gave my landlord a 30 day notice.  I did not know where I was going, I only knew I could no longer stay in Utah.

Transiting Saturn’s 9 month initiation cycles take us into a death and rebirth process relative to the planet, angle or node it is contacting in our natal horoscope.  At the beginning of the cycle, Father Time taps us on the shoulder, signaling the need for change.  As Saturn is related to our ego identification, its transits are a time of letting go of old attachments, forms and structures that have fulfilled their purpose and are ready to die.  Sometimes it means the literal death or ending of a person/relationship,  job/career,  home and/or lifestyle.  Even if a Saturn transit does not manifest this way, it still means a death of the current structure or form, and the birth of a new one.

Saturn cycles are work cycles and during these times, we feel the impetus to take a sobering or realistic look at the area of our life represented by what transiting Saturn is contacting in our natal chart.  Evaluating what’s working and what is not.  These are “time to change the game” periods, opportunities to reflect on the way we are playing the game of life.  Responsibility is a key word for Saturn, and these cycles offer a period of time for us to re-examine our “response ability.”

At the beginning of the initiation, it can be difficult to be clear about what we want, what the changes looks like, or the specificity of our future goals.  Oftentimes it begins with an awareness of what we no longer want, “no,” “not this,” “not that,” “can’t stand it anymore,”  “it’s time-something has to change.”  Perhaps anxiety increases at the thought of staying or continuing on in the same patterns within a current relationship, job, home, lifestyle for another 7 years when the cycle comes around again.

During Saturn cycles, we have an opportunity to see which doors are ready to close and which ones want to be opened.  Experiences in the outer world feel increasingly restrictive, limiting and binding (all Saturn keywords).  As we begin to redefine (Saturn) what matters to us in these areas of life, accessing our inner authority (Saturn), clarity increases.  We can more easily set the boundaries, limitations and restrictions for ourselves.  The need for giving ultimatums arises.  By focusing (again, Saturn) on the feedback in our external world, what’s being mirrored to us, we can make a choice to continue to struggle and meet with resistance, or let go and try something else, move on, severing the attachment in its current form.  Continuing to clarify and define what we want, and paying attention to the response in our world, shows us the path to be taken.  Where are we flowing?  What is working?  Where are we feeling rewarded for our efforts?  Where are we being amply and easily supported?

Giving my 30 day notice to move, I sent out a signal to the gods, saying I was done.  I waited for the signs to point the way to where I would go.  Within a week, I received a message so obvious and clear, and I knew my path was leading me to Santa Rosa, California.  Tuning into the timing, I delayed my departure for another month.

As I took I-80 heading west, I felt a weight (Saturn) lifting from my shoulders and a giant exhale followed – a cathartic release.  I was finally leaving this Saturn-ruled state again (Capricorn Sun), heading to California, a cycle I’ve repeated numerous times since 1980.  Each time I left Utah, I said I would never move back.  I know better than to say this now, and still…I feel more certain than ever this is my last time.

Santa Rosa would be a temporary place for me and my move here marked a transition and passage state in my life.  An in-between void space.  Deathing Utah, a difficult relationship and my old self.  Birthing a move to Hawaii, a union with my future Beloved and my new self.  Santa Rosa would serve as a safe haven for my death-conception-gestation process preceding my birth.

I knew that wherever I moved, I wanted to feel nurtured and supported.  But Saturn to the Moon can bring about experiences that are the opposite of that.  Loneliness, isolation, depression.  I was not prepared for the intensity of this. During my first 3 months in California, I went deeper into the cave, rarely leaving my house or wanting contact with the outer world.  The inner work to be done was forcing me to confront the ways I was not emotionally loving, nurturing and supporting myself.  Coming face to face with childhood and adult experiences of isolation, feelings of abandonment and no one to count on.  In my early years, the religious foundation I had was where I found my support.  Even though my conditioning was laden with harsh judgment, fear and guilt, God was always there.  I moved frequently as a child and the physical/emotional chaos and instability of my home life was countered by the stability of my experience in the Mormon community.  That foundation crumbled for me when I moved Utah (ironically) at 16 years old, and I experienced a loss so deep and great of everything I thought I knew to be true up to that point.

33 years later, I am still discovering what God is and means to me in a continually expanding quest.  Finding myself.  Coming home.  The process of integration and the movement toward wholeness has been naturally highlighted since my last Saturn initiation cycle 7 years ago, during my mid-life and its particular transits.  The longed for “Other,” deeply ingrained, as my human self has yearned for the marriage of my soul and spirit to it.  I have known myself to be on the verge of an outer marriage with my Beloved, and had enough awareness that the union must happen within me, to truly manifest my heart’s desire.

The Dweller on the Threshold

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

–The Guest House

The Essential Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks

In Caroline Casey’s book, “Making the Gods Work For You,” she writes, “Saturn says that we will encounter any inner issues we shirk, or qualities we refuse to possess, outside ourselves in a form we might not like so much.  Without our inner authority, outer authority will direct us…challenging external circumstances drive us inward to make an appointment with Saturn to rewrite the script.  ‘How do you want your life story to proceed?’ inquires Saturn the inner author.  If we do not go inward willingly, then Saturn will reach up and yank us down forcefully.  The involuntary yanking downward is very often experienced as depression, but is instead a reminder not to live life by default.”

Saturn has traditionally been called, “the dweller on the threshold,” or “the ring-pass-not.”  Casey says, “these monikers refer to the scary initiatory ordeal each of us must undergo in which we encounter all that holds us back or keeps us fearfully obedient to a life of oppressive limitation.  Usually, the catalyst for this transformation is an experience in which we break a rule, violate a taboo, or otherwise disobey the tribal elders.”

What attachments and habits were running the script of my life, jailing me, usurping my power? The emotional prisoner of my past.  Ways of being I thought I had released reared their hideous head, breathing fiery hot breath in an effort to purify shadow pieces of my unconscious still running the show.  Casey points out that right before a change, we encounter all our obstacles to that change.  She states, “this is known as a ‘sunset effect’: as a pattern goes down, it glows most vividly.  Just before people are ready to change, they often thrash around, saying, ‘I’ve already worked through these issues, so why am I dealing with all of this again?’  The answer is, ‘these issues are coming up again because you’ve almost resolved them.’  When you feel this intensification coming on, remember Saturn’s motto: ‘Things are so hard, I must almost be done.'”

This certainly was the case for me.  Before leaving Utah, I was entangled in destructive relationships with two men.  The first one, lasting two years, continued on in an addictive fashion for over another year past my initial attempted escape.  The second, a condensed and potent caricature of the first.  These powerful relationships precipitated a healing crises for me, and I plunged deeply into the abyss of emotional currents I had consciously forgotten about.

At the same time, I had also become aware of my Witness Self, the Watcher part of me that observes my human self.  Like a loyal, steady friend to hold my hand, or a guide to shine the light on the darkness of my path, the Witness Self was a saving grace as I continued to be cooked in the cauldron of past and current fears, examining ways I was still not fully present to self-love, self-nurturing and self-support.  The ways in which I continued to doubt myself, my truth, allowing others to claim authority, power and control over me.

“Saturn says there is no shame or blame in landing hard, as long as we acknowledge that we have been thrown by the spirited horse of our own teaching,” says Casey. “The initiatory ordeal is by definition, a solitary experience that leads us to self-reflection. Solitude, Saturn’s sacramental activity, is the portal to the magical realm where power larger than us resides. Time spent alone allows us to ‘consider’ our lives, to align the inner gods with the outer gods of the cosmos, to disentangle ourselves from the phantasmagoria of seductive distractions.”

Carl Jung said, “The highest, most decisive experience is to be alone with one’s own self.  You must be alone to find out what supports you, when you find that you can not support yourself.  Only this experience can give you an indestructible foundation.”

Positive Father

Sometime at the beginning of March, I realized I had deathed what laid lurking in my darkest realms.  After repeated rounds of self-judgment (Saturn) followed by subsequent self-compassion, I fell in love with me again.  Over and over, I felt myself as a little girl-scared, lost, alone.  As I continually judged myself for allowing these malefic experiences into my life, I followed the judgment up with, “what if it’s okay?”  Saturn can represent the negative father, admonishing us with criticism, blame, pointing out our imperfections.  But what I wanted to experience of Saturn was the positive father, the one I needed to allow for “mistakes,” and lovingly point me in a better direction.  This was the masculine I wanted to more fully integrate.  Radical self-acceptance was the starting point.  Through sheer determination, focus and dedication to a breakthrough of limiting ego thoughts and emotions, I became the loving father I always wanted.  I broke the chains of fear, and found my “Other” as my wise soul and spirit, merged with my human self.  I found my way home, resurrecting an integration of Divine proportion unknown to me up until now.

Photo by Holly Alexander

Being in nature helped.  There, my soul rested and came alive at the same time.  A beautiful man appeared in my life, my “nature boy,” and my connection with what feels like “my original state,” that inner union, manifested in the outer world, miraculously showing itself to me.

This 9 month initiation feels like a lifetime. Time has slowed down and stretched itself in such a way I hardly recognize it as linear anymore.  Being circular, or feeling like a spiral, the past, present and future feel interchangeable. I am seven months into my pregnancy, and transiting Saturn has just stationed direct.  I have moved through the third stage of transition, the toughest part of my labor and am getting ready to birth the baby, my new Self.

Caroline Casey’s book, “Making the Gods Work For You,” was instrumental in bringing me to a new understanding of astrology and its archetypal language.  Caroline led me to find and study with Daniel Giamario, and the Shamanic Astrology Mystery School.  I am deeply grateful for the work these two have done, and also for Beth Wachenheim, who introduced me to Caroline’s book.

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Venus and Mars

Originally published May 21, 2009

Standing in the hall
of the great cathedral
waiting for the transport to come
Starship 21zna9

A good friend of mine
studies the stars
Venus And Mars
are alright tonight

Come away on a strange vacation
holiday hardly begun
run into a good friend of mine

Sold me her sign
reach for the stars
Venus And Mars
are alright tonight

—“Venus and Mars” by Paul McCartney

On April 21st, Venus and Mars conjuncted at 29 degrees of Pisces, visible in the morning sky.  They will stay together within a 10 degree orb until mid-July, conjuncting again at 13, 14 and 15 degrees of Taurus on the 19th, 20th and 21st of June (Summer Solstice).

The relationship between Venus and Mars varies depending on the timing of their individual synodic cycles.  Ancient cultures created different mythological stories connected to their varying celestial dance.  The current reenactment occurs every 6 1/2 years and can be understood through the lens of the fairy tale Rapunzel.

Rapunzel is a beautiful young maiden, raised by a sorceress named Frau Gothel.  When Rapunzel reaches young womanhood, the sorceress isolates Rapunzel from the rest of the world by keeping her in a tower that can only be accessed through a high window.  The sorceress calls to Rapunzel to let down her hair and she climbs up the tower.

One day, a young Prince hears Rapunzel singing, and hides in nearby bushes to hear more.  The sorceress soon arrives to pay Rapunzel a visit and the Prince learns the way into the tower.  Thus, Rapunzel and the Prince meet and fall in love.

When the sorceress discovers their relationship, she casts Rapunzel into the wasteland to wander a lone and throws the Prince out the tower window.  He falls into the bushes below, where the thorns pierce his eyes, blinding him.

He wanders alone in the darkness for many months, until finally one day, he hears Rapunzel’s voice.  Rapunzel recognizes her long lost Prince, and rushes to embrace him.  She is crying tears of love and compassion that fall on his blind eyes, restoring his vision.  The Prince leads Rapunzel to his kingdom and they live happily ever after. (1)

Rapunzel, from an edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales, illustrated by Johnny Gruelle

In William Irwin Thompson’s article, “Rapunzel: Of Plants, Women, and Lost Cosmologies,” the author states, “If Rapunzel is Venus, then Frau Gothel must be the Moon…could it be that the Prince is Mars, and that what is being documented is what the ancients called, ‘the courtship of Mars and Venus’?  Mars is by himself for awhile, and then his circuit intersects with Venus, and he lays with her…they stay in conjunction for awhile, then the Moon returns, he is driven out and wanders far into the wilderness, or the vast dark regions of the solar system, away from her and the earth.” (2)

According to Thompson’s interpretation, the Prince and Rapunzel reunited in the springtime when Venus rose as the Morning Star.  Pondering the current synodic cycles of the Masculine (Mars) and Feminine (Venus) principle, a question arises as to what the implications are in this particular Sacred Marriage dance.

The overtone for the current Mars cycle is Cancer – the Warrior/Hero Quest related to the Good Father and Family Man, The Nurturer, The Protector, and Identity Based on Giving Love from Responsibility and Commitment.  Mars entered the fourth phase of his quest, Rebirth and the Growth of Wisdom, on January 29th, emerging from his third phase in the underworld of letting go and surrendering attachments.  In the story of Rapunzel, this was when the Prince blindly wandered alone in the wilderness (darkness).  He had first seen Rapunzel and fallen in love with her, but their courtship was interrupted by Frau Gothel.  The first Venus/Mars conjunction occurred in September in the sign of Libra, coming together while Venus was still in her Leo overtone cycle.

Venus began her new 584 cycle on April 3rd, The Feminine questing a new expression of Aries.  In this expression, the Goddess is the Wild Woman archetype, “Women Who Run With The Wolves,” (3) Warrior Amazon, Fighting for a Cause, The Tom Boy, Joan of Arc and Queen Bodicca.

On the world stage of their reunion in the last degree of Pisces, (in Shamanic Astrology, the most comprehensive expression of the Pisces Mysteries), Venus and Mars come together in the watery, transpersonal realm of compassion, selfless service and transcendence.  They join together to imagine a new dream.

Venus, in her feminine expression as Aries, strong red energy, individuated, centered on self and focused, begins a dream from her Warrioress-self, Defender of the Cosmic Order, with fierceness about protecting her family, tribe, community and world.  This role has traditionally and culturally been accepted primarily as expressed through men.

Meanwhile, Mars is dreaming from his current masculine quest in Cancer.  At the Turning of the Ages, he is exploring how to be a revolutionary and conservative at the same time.  New ways to take on the role of giver as nurturer, progressively seeking a model that redefines what the tribe or family is, expanding emotional love and support to our world family, outside of the traditional structures that have been culturally accepted.  The expression of the Cancer Mysteries has also been validated typically through women.

As Venus and Mars exchange their traditionally accepted roles of expression through women and men, one message or possibility to explore, is that Venus and Mars are sending a signal to encourage the feminine to take a lead on the world stage, and for the masculine to be the role of supporter, nurturer.  This is what is needed to restore the balance and harmony here on our beautiful planet.

The Venus/Mars conjunction that began with a dream, comes together again in the sign of Taurus.  Appreciation of the Earth Mother, the bounty of her blessings, the fertility and luscious fruitfulness of her, the pleasures of her sensual gifts, and the beauty of her as experienced through the senses.

Embracing the cosmic dancers, I begin with an inquiry as to how this story wants to live through me.  What will I create in response to this signal?  What is our co-creative exchange to be?  As I seed the new dream, I call forth the “woofy,” courageous part of me, asking myself, “what cause can I be 100% committed to?”  To bravely go where I haven’t been before.  I summon the Aries part of my nature that is trusting, innocent, willing to take a risk.  A new adventure awaits. With eyes wide open and enthusiastic curiosity, I will begin.

In my “happily ever after” story, I am tended by a Master Gardener.  He is committed to lovingly nourish and support my creative vision and projects as they move through their stages toward maturity.  Through our union and commitment to collaboratively offer gifts to our earth family, community and world, we continue the transformational process of creating and realizing Heaven on Earth.

(1), (2) “A Shamanic Investigation of Venus and Mars,” Daniel Giamario
(3) “Women Who Run With The Wolves,” Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.

For additional information and understanding of the current Venus and Mars cycles and their mythic implications, listen to an April 30th interview with Daniel Giamario on Caroline Casey’s, “Visionary Activist” weekly radio show.

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Juno by Moreau

Originally published on June 11, 2009

“May you, O blessed Goddess and many named Queen of all, come with kindness and joy on your lovely face.”  –The Orphic Hymns, translated by Apostoious N. Athanassakis

She’s been given many names.  Juno Fortuna, Goddess of Fate.  Juno Sospita, the Preserver.  Juno Regina, Queen of Heaven.  Juno Lucina, Goddess of Celestial Light.  Juno Moneta, Advisor and Admonisher.  Juno Martialis, the virgin mother of Mars.  Juno Caprotina, or Februa, the Goddess of erotic love.  Juno Populonia, Mother of the People.  And so on, through many other Junos.

In classical mythology, Juno was the goddess of marriage and she presided over all rites and arrangements of legal marriage. Her sacred month of June honored her as such, which is why June is still the traditional time for weddings.

Sunday’s Full Moon in Sagittarius at 18 degrees got me thinking about the goddess Juno (Roman), also known as Hera (Greek).  This archetypal feminine energy holds a prominent placement in my natal chart, represented by her asteroid at 18 Sagittarius, one degree away from my natal Moon.  This month’s full moon shining its energy on this important goddess in my life, is activating a new relationship with her.

As I ponder Juno more deeply, several questions arise.  Who was she in her archaic form?  How is she represented in classical mythology?  What are Juno’s modern implications in our psyches?  How does she express herself individually through me?

In pre-Hellenic times Hera, known as The Great Goddess, reigned alone in many religious centers – Argos, Samos, Euboea, Tiryns and Mycenae, and had no consort.  She was worshiped in a variety of forms by indigenous goddess cults, and early sculptures portrayed her as beautiful, poised, and vibrant.  During the Age of Taurus (roughly 4,000-2,000 BC), Hera was worshiped as the cow-eyed sky queen who presided over all phases of feminine existence, as an embodiment of the triple moon goddess: child-maiden, fulfilled bride and solitary widow.

With the invasion of the Indo-Europeans into Greece, it became necessary to incorporate the previously existing religious customs and rituals into the new system, so the indigenous people would be less resistant.  Many of the gods were ritually married to one or another aspect of the Goddess, in order to merge the two systems.  Thus, Hera was merged with the new ruler of the gods, Zeus.  When he claimed her as his wife, he was not simply taking a marriage partner, but incorporating within his ruling domain, the entire matriarchal world, previously headed by his new bride.

The strife between the divine couple as told in myth literally describes the conflict between the invading tribes, followers of Zeus, and the worshipers of Hera.  Homer, the Greek poet and author credited with writing the epics the Iliad and the Odyssey, traditionally portrayed Hera as the jealous and quarrelsome wife.  But seen through the lens of this conflict, she is the image of what archetypal astrologer Demetra George calls, “the turbulent nation princess coerced, but never really subdued, by an alien conqueror.”

In the human social sphere, this union also corresponds to the custom of arranged marriages, those of  convenience in which two powerful families, nations, or political opponents agree to a political or social alliance by merging their families and future heirs.  This tradition has been repeated for centuries, especially among royalty and powerful families, as a way to increase their power and holdings.

Hera, a sovereign goddess in her own right, now merges into a new expression: the wife and partner, the Divine Consort.  A future post will explore Juno’s new archetypal role and how we relate to her through this mythic lens.

“The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets,” Barbara G. Walker.
“Asteroid Goddesses,” Demetra George.
“Mythic Astrology, Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope,” Ariel Guttman & Kenneth Johnson.

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Symbol for Capricorn

Originally published July 6, 2009

Tomorrow’s Full Moon in the zodiacal sign of Capricorn at 15 degrees, exact at 2:21 a.m. PST, highlights what Shamanic Astrology calls the mystery school of that sign. Its archetypal energy investigates the rules and principles that govern the structure of the Universe, bringing spirit into matter to administer and manage it.

As the expression of the Feminine, it is connected to The Central Woman, Queen Bee, The Matriarch Herself, The Business Woman Responsibly Commanding Her Domain, The Counselor, The Elder, and The Wise One.

As the expression of the Masculine, Capricorn represents the archetype of The Elder, Prime Minister, Lawgiver, Responsible Father and Good Provider, The Practical Business Man, The Exiled Scapegoat.

In Shamanic Astrology, this tribe is a giver energy, dedicated to keeping it together for everyone else. In return, they receive great respect and get to be in some position of power to better carry out their responsibilities. Their personal joy or pleasure often comes from what they get from being loved and respected for having done the job so well.

Capricorns are oriented toward the welfare of the community and concerned with sustainability. This archetype asks the question, “Does it grow corn?” It needs to be useful. Connected with the ancestors and the circle of grandmothers, it looks to the past and the preceding seven generations to glean what has worked on this earth, the “middle world,” while at the same time, looks into the future about what is needed to further ensure the viability of the next seven. It is also connected to the resources that are needed to continue to live on this planet.

Capricorns are leaders. Focused, task oriented, and dedicated, they gain their position of authority through step by step application. They are the builders, focused on creating a solid foundation.

Working ceremonially with the Full Moon, means bringing your attention to this domain in your life. If you have a personal planet, or angle in Capricorn, there is an activation in your energy being highlighted by this Full Moon, energized further by the eclipse, making it a Super Full Moon. If you don’t have any personal planets or angles in this sign, you can still tune into the meaning of this mystery school, and look at your relationship to this energy in your life.

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Originally published July 9, 2009

“Astrology is not a belief system; it is a language of the dynamic interplay between our interior life and the exterior world. The astrological language grants us access to the invisible realm it describes, and provides the vocabulary with which we can begin a detailed investigative exploration of the psyche.” —Caroline W. Casey, Making the Gods Work for You

In the summer of 2002, I found my way to Casey’s book on the astrological language of the psyche. At the time, I had been working as a Jungian Child Play Therapist, and my clients were abused children ranging from ages three to eight. Without the cognitive ability to fully articulate in verbal or written language the experiences they were having, these children explored and made meaning of their inner and outer world through play, using toys as their words.

As a result of further education in symbolism and myth and over many hours spent observing and interacting with these children, I saw the themes that emerged, and how certain toys were consistently used to express particular experiences. My understanding that the psyche organizes itself through archetypal energies became evident.

A lifelong intrigue and resonance with astrology began as a child and although I read books and took classes over the years, something was missing. Most of the time what I was exposed to felt trite and superficial. I was searching for something more meaningful with depth. Reading Casey’s book, and listening to her speak, I finally found what I had been looking for. Further reading of Jungian Analyst and world famous astrologer Liz Greene’s books, added to the richness and complexity my own psyche thirsted for. Eventually, I made my way to Shamanic Astrology, a blend of archetype, mythology, psychology, spirituality and experiential understanding through direct participation with cosmology in the “As Above, So Below” mysteries.

At the beginning of Casey’s book, she invites the reader to “Think of your life as a spiritual detective novel. Each aspect of your life…is a clue to your task, your destiny, and your gift to the world. Astrology invites us to see life as a web of myriad meaningful patterns. Those moments when we apprehend and perceive patterns give rise in us, to feelings of reverence and awe. Reverence, awe, and positive spiritual intrigue are the primary dynamic qualities the language of astrology seeks to awaken in you.”

In service to what she calls, “the collaboration with the divine in order to co-create the most interesting, ingenious, and loving world possible,” Casey offers her book as an invitation to “experiment, engage, and form alliances with forces that reside within our psyches. These forces connect us to very real corresponding external sources of support, which we will call gods.” She adds, “We need all the help we can get.”

Casey says true help is always reciprocal: whatever we help serves us. “The word therapy means “healing,” but its original meaning was “to serve the gods.” Similarly, the Mayan word for human meant “one who owes the gods.” We serve the gods, internally and externally, in a dance of reciprocal generosity. “When we work for the gods, they work for us.”

Casey posits astrology is at least threefold in its purpose and practice:

* Astrology is descriptive. Jung said, “Anything born at a moment of time has the characteristics of that moment.” Astrology provides a language to describe the characteristics of a person, event, or time.
* Astrology is instructive. Through astrology, we learn how to dance with the ch’i (life force) of the universe. We learn how to play the energies and perceive the patterns, and view them as instructions revealed to us by our intuitions.
* Astrology is celebratory. We only truly possess the power of an insight when we give it expression. Collectively, throughout time, the celebration of celestial order has been what gave a community not only its calendar, but also its story, its cosmology-a sense of intimate place in the vast design.

Casey’s focus is on “Visionary Activism.” She says that each of us has some crucial task to perform in the Grand Intrigue, a task that will not only transform us personally, but also transform the entire climate of culture. She says, “By responding to astrology’s invitation to participate consciously in evolution, we cultivate the infinite capacities of being fully human.”

The following Visionary Activist Principles are derived from her own years of “serious whimsy and musing:”

PRINCIPLE 0 (Zero). Believe nothing, entertain possibilities. Therefore everything hereafter is offered playfully.

PRINCIPLE 1. Imagination lays the tracks for the Reality Train to follow.

PRINCIPLE 2. Better to create prophecy than to live prediction. What makes us passive is toxic. What makes us active is tonic. This is the difference between predictions, which make us passive, and prophecy, which is active co-creation with the divine.

PRINCIPLE 3. The invisible world would like to help, but spiritual etiquette requires that we ask. Help is always available (operators are standing by).

PRINCIPLE 4. The only way the gods know we’re asking for help is ritual (in Shamanic Astrology, we would say ceremony).

PRINCIPLE 5. If something’s a problem, make it bigger.

PRINCIPLE 6. We only possess the power of an insight when we give it expression.

PRINCIPLE 7. Creativity comes from the wedding of paradox. We aspire to be disciplined wild people who are radical traditionalists.

Through “invocative essays” Casey’s book aspires to “expand your range of intimacy with the god-forces represented by the ten planetary bodies other than the Earth (including the Sun and the Moon).

© Holly Alexander at http://www.yourdivineblueprint, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Alexander and http://www.yourdivineblueprint.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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