Transformation of what lies beneath

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The unconscious forces within us are powerful. Carl Jung compared our psyches with islands of consciousness in an ocean of unconsciousness. Despite our lack of awareness the parts of our psyche that remain largely hidden yield much control over each of us: our perceptions, behaviours and our manifest realities.

Jung developed the theory of the complex ~ a pattern of memories, beliefs and emotions tied to a common theme ~ we are often unaware of our own personal complexes but they can be obvious to those who know us. For example, the inferiority complex arises commonly in childhood as we become aware of the reality that we are dependent upon others (usually our parents) for life. This can become a negative influence in our psyche if we are discouraged and made to feel inadequate as we grow. Once we are adults our complex becomes aroused unexpectedly and we behave in ways that appear comically irrational: to illustrate, I become defensive and pouty when I feel I’m not being taken seriously. My unconscious transports me to childhood where my feelings of inferiority surface and I react to a lifetime of experiences that have fed into my inferiority complex.

The personal unconscious also consists of Shadow ~ sides of ourselves we don’t want others to see so we deny, reject, suppress, project in an effort to be liked, or more primitively loved, and accepted by the society of which we are a part. As children we are guided by parents, caregivers, peers, and our culture towards a socially acceptable version of who we are. We learn that tantrums are unacceptable and we stuff our rage. We are taught that violence is impermissible by means of an innocuous-household-item-turned-weapon (e.g. the dreaded wooden spoon or belt) and we stuff our physical urges. We receive isolation as punishment for demanding behaviours, and discouragement for expressions of dissatisfaction. We are scowled at and shamed for exploration of our bodies. We stuff all these so-called negative behaviours with a good dose of frustration at the hypocrisy of the grown-up world, and thus the Shadow is born.

These two (as well as other) hidden aspects of the self exist, with or without acknowledgement. For as long as we choose to deny our unconscious, and remain unwilling to engage in an active inner life, the unconscious reveals itself in our outer life. Without self-knowledge we are victims of our own incomprehension, and suffer self-sabotage time and again as we meet our own inner life demons in manifest material world form. We experience our inner life in our outer life. This occurs on both a personal and collective level.

Circumstances work to bring our awareness to that which is unconscious within us. As these unconscious conditions surface we are given an opportunity to learn about ourselves. So, when I feel anger I am given a chance to be conscious. I observe my feeling and notice the sensations and images that accompany it, as well as my thoughts (my ego’s commentary that fuels the fire of righteous indignation!). While I allow this process to unfold I am conscious. The feeling will pass and I will have learned something about myself, and I will’ve harmed none because I’ve not acted. Feelings bring insights, if we allow ourselves to get the message.

Self-knowledge is power. As we become increasingly aware of the fecundity of our unconscious (including our complexes and Shadow) and learn to integrate these aspects of our psyche into our whole self, we simultaneously cease to be manipulated from the inside out. Awareness seeds the potential for transformation.

Monday 18th of April sees power planets Mars and Pluto station retrograde (this simply means that, from our perspective here on Earth, the two planets appear to stand still and then over the coming weeks and months they appear to move backwards ~ an optical illusion similar to cars moving a different speeds on a freeway) and so begins a time of contemplation.

This phase encourages us to surrender our drive to act, in favour of pausing to reflect. I have found that Mars retrograde periods can be quite frustrating, especially when they impact sensitive points in one’s chart. But action taken in haste can lead us into trouble at times like this, so it is worth recalling wise 13th century Sufi poet~mystic~philospher Rumi’s sagacious words…

When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of distress and anxiety;

If I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without any pain.

From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me.

As Mars returns to Scorpio we are invited back into our dark, and for the next four months we are urged to re-examine our motives and discern our true desires. Rather than pushing for results, demanding action, or impulsively acting out of fears and anxiety, we are better suited now to reflect upon the profound question: What do we really want?

Retrograde Pluto (from now until mid January) will bring our awareness to that in our lives which is ready for release or transformation. Pluto powers our inner work, and as unconscious conditions surface they enable us to examine our own chthonic depths. There exists a seed of potential to re-emerge more powerful, wise and whole than ever before. With loving kindness, compassion, willingness and patience this time will nurture our evolution and facilitate profound healing on a personal and collective level.

 

 

To quote the wonderful Leunig again…

 

God give us strength

Strength to hold on

And strength to let go

Amen

Aries New Moon

DSCF7480The approaching Aries New Moon occurs on Thursday 7th of April, at 6.25pm (AWST). Aries, like the sheep that symbolises it, is sometimes under-appreciated, sold short or dumbed down. Truly, it is the pure raw vitality of the Ram that catalyses our human experience. We are propelled into consciousness by Aries’ primal urge to be. We have become a self, suddenly aware that we are alive. Bravely stepping up, into the breach…

Courageous. Pioneering. Adventurous. Independent. Creative.

Aries is the sign of the subjective me ~ the Self. As we grow from infancy, through childhood and puberty, and into hopefully evolving adults we create an identity. We learn about ourselves along the way, collating experiences and knowledge to better understand and define who we are. This experience, like all human experiences as represented by the 12 signs of the zodiac, has inherent limits. Beyond the Self there is much to explore, but without the Self there is no-one who would bother to explore it.

The archetypal warrior lives within each of us, and when we feel compelled to fight for something that resonates deep within our psyche, or to defend ourselves or another against wrongdoing, it is upon our innate Aries power that we must draw. To take right action, we must be clear and courageous. Courage is not the absence of fear, but showing up despite the fear. If we run~hide, we miss an opportunity to cultivate courage.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” Anaïs Nin

This New Moon occurs in conjunction with Uranus, the great awakener! Like a bolt from the blue, shock insights and sudden realisations transpire under Uranian influence. Uranus can also act as the link from our past to our future: the part of our soul that knows everything that has ever, or will ever happen! Cultural historian Richard Tarnas linked Uranus to mythological Greek Titan Prometheus who, after fashioning prototype humans out of clay, bestowed us with fiery creative power, as opposed to animal instincts.

Uranus in Aries (until March 2019) wants us to channel our uniqueness in order that we may self-actualise, Maslow styles. Turn pro. We are now cosmically supported in conscious development of the me~you that we want to be! The lead up to the Aries New Moon is an opportune time to muse upon our goals for individuation over the next three years. An exploration of your natal chart can discern how this is best approached. And as the Aries New Moon occurs we set courageous intent.

The New Moon~Sun~Uranus in Aries conjunction is also in harmonious aspect to lunation ruler Mars, thus granting us the gumption we need to set the goals that demand we aim for high road Aries. Be not the sheep who follow blindly, but the Ram who blazes a trail! Do not allow the wool to be pulled over our eyes, relinquishing our will and ambition to the herd (or is it flock?) mentality that rewards us with nothing more than safety, in numbers. Be brave, clench fists

Choose love

The atrocity in Brussels yesterday occurred under interesting planetary stimulus. All energy requires a channel through which to flow; when we allow energy to become destructive instead of creative bad things happen. As human beings we are blessed with the freedom to choose, and as unique contributors to the whole we have an opportunity in each moment to take the high road, thus evolving the collective consciousness. Whether it be in thought or action, we are creating reality, so let’s aim high and choose love.

As the Libra Full Moon looms, the energy continues to build. Of particular note is the square between Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius. These two players are facing off in a battle of belief systems. Where this energy remains conscious, we are supported in our own personal and collective rethink on philosophies to live by. We can access Virgoan critique, and Saturn’s wise pragmatism = change is possible. But when we allow the arrogance of low-road Jupiter and the fundamentalism of low-road Sagittarius to hijack these higher intentions, judgemental attitudes prevail. Add to this the crisis inherent in the Virgo archetype and the duty-bound dogma of low-road Saturn and there is potential for things to get messy.

Especially when Mars is in on it. High-road Mars in Sagittarius is the ultimate spiritual warrior, exercising restraint while fighting the good fight; advocating for freedom and our collective highest good. But when the low-road God of War saddles up his high horse there are no holds barred. The righteous indignation is palpable, polarising and on some level, justified.

Herein lies the danger: we become engaged with this (or any of the many other) hideous event and we get mad. We feel angry that this can happen. We confabulate and incite one another in work lunch-room discussions. With the headlines snaking across television screens worldwide, the fear-fuelled retelling of the tragedy is relentless. Personal accounts of victims’ pain and suffering cause us to become emotionally embroiled and our anxiety inevitably builds. With thoughts of a terror attack on home soil we feel impelled to blame and point our finger, and defend ourselves with vitriolic racism and more bombs. Us versus them.

Banksy

Adding to the cosmic energy mix at play, despite their separating status, revolutionary Uranus and transformational Pluto continue to square each other. This long-haul aspect is one that effects serious change: its slow speed coupled with the planetary combination (Uranus = awakening via trauma and Pluto = profound paradoxical truth) have allowed it to reshape our individual and collective consciousness in recent years. It has been in effect since 2012 and while most astrologers seem to have moved onto more contemporary planetary aspects, perhaps we turned our backs too soon on this doozy of a transit!

The Sabian Symbol for the Sun in Aries at the time of the attacks is a cameo profile of a man in the outline of his country thus “the man is perceived by others not as a unique individual but in terms of his collective identity and the cultural traditions that he represents” (Roche, 1998, p.33). This description takes on a sinister tone in the wake of these recent acts against humanity.

The keyword for this Sabian Symbol is exploitation. Diana E. Roche describes the negative implications: “Infamy as the result of portraying and perpetuating the worst stereotypes of a culture” (1998, p34). We can see how suicide bombers have been exploited by groups hell bent on an agenda that breeds fear, hatred and segregation. These people have been misled by false promises of celebrated martyrdom and eternal glory, and appallingly they have been convinced that god wants them to harm their fellows. The response of “our side” is no different, though we have better marketing.

War is not the answer. Violence begets violence. We must pray for victims on both sides of this gaping global wound, for the division is merely an illusion. We are all one, and these despicable deeds are not acts against enemies, but self harm. Our collective consciousness, for which we are all personally responsible, is surely at a tipping point? We must choose love, before it is too late.

Now i am going back to my meditation♥

Mars and anger

Mars: God of War. The red warrior planet whose energy can be intense, vibrant, excitable, driven, volatile, even violent. When our animal nature stirs we are in Mars territory as we get in touch with our instinctive selves. Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, is ruled by Mars. This archetype represents the primal Self: not exactly ego but the identity we create as we develop grow evolve

When we feel challenged our instinct can be to become angry. We react to emotions that arise instantaneously, such as fear, anxiety and hurt. If you are anything like me, that reaction is often an angry one. Before I know it I am defensive and aggressive, not to mention offensive (lol!) and it is my poorly channelled Mars rearing his ugly head. I am ready for battle, saddled up on my high horse before I can even take one conscious breath. Ugh.

If anger is a Martian energy it needs proper expression. Sometimes, there is real cause for anger (#letthemstay) but venting indiscriminately is not helpful. Becoming identified with an opinion, whether it be political, philosophical, hypothetical or whatever, allows us to get lost in a futile battle of wills with whomsoever was unfortunate enough to give voice to their disagreement. We rant and rave, even rage, as we unconsciously hand the reins to low-road Mars.

In this reactive state, we can make serious mistakes. See crimes of passion #nextstopprison. If only we could turn back time. When we poorly manage Mars energy chronically and find ourselves portrayed as “bad tempered” (or as my partner regularly described me until a couple of years ago “cantankerous” yeesh! i wish i could deny it) we are not using our most vibrant and ambitious planetary energy for its intended purpose. We are righteously indignant “how dare he/she/they?!!” as we defend our position. “i have every right to be angry!”

Perhaps, to some extent, this might be true. But it is irrelevant. We’ve been given a brain so lets use it. There is always a choice. We do not have to allow ourselves to become caught in downward spiral of seething resentment. When we feed those angry thoughts, our angry brain-pathways are reinforced. Every. Single. Time. When we consider an alternative response we create a new piece of neurocircuitry (!) and who can’t use more of that?!

Please understand, we don’t deny our feelings. Once again, employing Buddhist principles is helping me. We accept our anger. But, more than that, we need to scratch the surface. Beneath that over-reaction is something else… hurt, pain, sadness, anxiety. Fear. That old chestnut. In my experience, when I look just a little bit closer and engage in some honest self-appraisal, once I see that I am simply acting our of old pain my anger evaporates. I find inner space to breathe for a moment. I find compassion humility and love. No shit!

If we truly need to act, we must first breathe. Exercise restraint, like the true warrior. Then our actions are more meaningful and considered. They are smarter and less embarrassing. We are courageous. We are in high-road Mars country and the views are epic!