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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.

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.

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.

Sources:
“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.

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.

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.

India Arie: Photo by Holly Alexander

Originally published on July 24, 2009

“Without self-love a man can do nothing. There are two qualities of self-love. One is a dirty thing. The other, an impulse, love of the real “I.”  Without this, it is impossible to move. An ancient Hindu saying—‘Happy is he who loves himself, for he can love me.’” —Gurdjieff

The transiting Sun in Leo’s got me thinking about LOVE. Thoughts take me back to my experience of India Arie at the recent Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, and the pure pleasure I felt from her energy.  As she expressed herself joyfully across the stage that night, I saw this beautiful star as a Shining One, her essence a bright light, inviting us to claim ours.  With Venus in Leo at 29 degrees, Arie’s expression of the feminine principle is in the degree Shamanic Astrology calls “the most comprehensive expression of the Leo archetype.”

In the Shamanic Astrology paradigm, the archetype of Leo is connected with radiant, radical, self-love, the kind of deep love that comes from a place of realizing who we are and our connection with Source. The light of us. The sheer brilliant, powerful, shining energy of us as Creator. The inherent value of each one of us, simply because we exist as this Source, this beingness.

The king/queen-ship and royalty connected with this sign, contains within its essence a message of our Divine birthright. Knowing we are this magnificent power, unique in our individual expressions of pure creation, we honor ourselves AS WE ARE. The more deeply we love ourselves at this level it naturally follows, the more deeply we can love others as well.

The shadow or imbalanced side of Leo says, “I am God/dess and you’re not.” Balanced, enlightened Leo says, “I am God/dess and so are you.” Leo gives to others by first giving to themselves, embodying their radiant Source essence. Strongly individuated, Leo empowers others by giving them permission to realize and express their own beauty and light. This kind of love is not earned by living up to some type of standard. It simply IS and feels unabashed joy for the pure expression of it.

The Queen, The King, The Leading Man or Woman with Spontaneous Will, The Star of the Show. Like the Sun, enlightened Leo gives each of us permission to re-member and re-claim our inheritance as Divine beings, and the confidence to be a leading player on the stage of life.

For a snapshot of Leo, check out these lyrics:

Video by India Arie

Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don’t
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won’t
Depend on how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul

I’m not the average girl from your video
and I ain’t built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen

I’m not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I’m wearing I will always be
India Arie

When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where it’s supposed to be
And I know our creator didn’t make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes; I’m lovin’ what I see

Am I less of a lady if I don’t wear pantyhose?
My mama said a lady ain’t what she wears but, what she knows
But I’ve drawn a conclusion, it’s all an illusion,
confusion’s the name of the game

A misconception, a vast deception
Something’s gotta change
but don’t be offended this is all my opinion
ain’t nothing that I’m sayin’ law

This is a true confession of a life learned lesson
I was sent here to share with y’all
So get in where you fit in go on and shine
Clear your mind, now’s the time

Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
‘Cuz everything’s gonna be all right

Keep your fancy drinks and your expensive minks
I don’t need that to have a good time
Keep your expensive car and your caviar
All I need is my guitar

Keep your Kristal and your pistol
I’d rather have a pretty piece of crystal
Don’t need your silicone I prefer my own
What God gave me is just fine

© 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.

Joanna Macy

Originally published June 26, 2009

First in line to get my book signed, I looked across the table at the deeply wrinkled face and cloudy eyes radiating grounded crone wisdom, and I reached for her hand.

“You’re a grandmother,” I said softly.

“I am a grandmother,” she said, her reply affirming my acknowledgment of something deeper beyond the literal meaning. “You’re a grandmother too, for all those future beings.”

Joanna Macy took my book and signed, “for Holly, friend and protector of the future generations. Love, Joanna.”

A renowned activist, author, speaker and workshop leader on Buddhist philosophy, systems theory and deep ecology, Macy delivered a passionate speech at this year’s Harmony Festival with the energy of an optimistic twenty-something. Filled with idealism and ready to change the world, she spoke with a fire mixed with the wisdom of a grandmother, occasionally addressing the audience affectionately as “sweeties” and “honeys.”

As I listened to Macy, I was reminded of a centuries-old Native American prophecy that speaks of the circle of grandmothers coming together during these chaotic times, encouraging humanity to turn to these sages for guidance and the action needed to assure our place on earth. It says, “When the Grandmothers from the four directions come to speak, a new time is coming.” In 2004, a group of thirteen international women leaders came together forming the first International Council of Grandmothers.

The Circle of Grandmothers is one expression of the Capricorn archetype at “The Turning of the Ages.” Capricorn is the archetypal giver to the community. As elemental earth energy, it is committed to sustainability. They are the teachers looking back at the previous seven generations, gleaning knowledge about what has worked and what hasn’t, informing them as to what is needed in the present to sustain the next seven generations.

An embodiment of this archetype, and in keeping with the role of Capricorn at The Turning of the Ages, Macy’s ideas are traditional and revolutionary at the same time. An elder and wisdom keeper, she talked about the need to rejoin the natural world. One of the most widely known “deep ecology” methods is the “Council of All Beings,” a communal ritual in which participants speak on behalf of other life-forms.

Macy also addressed her concept of “Deep Time,” work meant to refresh our spirits and inform our minds by experiencing our present lives within larger, temporal contexts. One of the ways to do this is to invoke the “Beings of the Three Times.” This reminds us of our place in time and our connectedness with those who have gone before and those who come after us, as well as those living now. Doing this evokes the inspiration they can offer us in our work for the world, heightening our sense of gratitude and responsibility and strengthening our will.

Borrowing the perspective of future generations and in that larger context of time, Macy spoke of “The Great Turning” and how it is allowing us to come alive again, bringing out great courage and creativity. This is happening simultaneously in three areas or dimensions, the third being the shift in consciousness-perceptions of reality, both cognitively and spiritually. The realizations we make in the third dimension of The Great Turning save us from succumbing to either panic or paralysis.

“We need our imaginations to rise above consensus society,” she said. “Gratitude for being alive at this moment when everything is at stake-that is liberation from the consensus society. Don’t be afraid of the dark, of your own emotions, the loss of species and cultures. If you’re alive, you’re carrying grief and despair-don’t be afraid. Keep breathing. Say, ‘I know I’m suffering with my own world.’ It means you’re connected to the web.”

Macy continued, “You are made from the living earth. When you’re not afraid of your pain for the world and its suffering, nothing can stop you. When you go to act, know that you have been around for a long time, a vast authority of fourteen billion years.”

“But it’s not just about the suffering,” she added. “We also have to feed our appetites for joy and beauty, the juice of our own hearts, gasping with gratitude about being alive at this moment.” Poetry is one way. Picking up a book, Macy read her translation of poet Ranier Maria Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

What batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent Earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

© 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.