The ONE Thing the Universe Really Wants You to Do

person alone winter woodsYou Have Cancer.

We can agree, I’m betting, that this is one of the top scariest statements any human can hear.

Call friends and family. Your loved one has hours to live.

Also some of the hardest, most traumatic words we never want to deal with.

I haven’t had to face this one–either as a cancer survivor or a family member. Thank God. But Anita Moorjani and her family did.

They gathered. She went into a coma. Death was imminent. And then …

anita moorjani400x400
Anita Moorjani

She came back.

She not only came back from certain death caused by her metastasized cancer: total organ failure followed by a coma, she returned with an extraordinary message. And within days of her return, the tumors and billions of cancer cells in her body were completely gone.

Anita had a near death experience (NDE)*, in which she experienced a number of things common to such events: unconditional love, multi-dimensional awareness, meeting with passed loved ones, and the choice to return.

Eventually she wrote a book about this miracle, Dying to Be Me.

This was the first inspirational book about having cancer and healing that I read on my own journey. I found myself resonating with her revelations, especially her clarity around what her cancer had to offer her.

I had received similar knowing following my diagnosis, but in the surgical trauma and chemo hell that followed, this knowing receded somewhat into the background. Reading her book reminded me that, though the gifts of my cancer journey would continue to unfold, I ultimately knew the message that my body desperately was sending to me:

Please stop hating yourself, never feeling good enough, being so afraid of life! Please change, so we can live. Please love yourself, finally, so that you can be who you came here to be.

Saturday I had the honor and pleasure to participate in a workshop with her in Denver, to understand what she had experienced and how her wisdom might change my life. In case you haven’t heard her speak or read her book, I’d like to share what my takeaways were, because I feel that her message is central to anyone’s emotional, physical, mental healing.

personal growthThe ONE Reason We are Here

Anita asserts that the only work we are here to do is love ourselves. It’s that simple. So simple, in fact, our minds, addicted to complexity and struggle, can’t really take it in at first.

Though she spoke to us for several hours (interspersed with meditation and inspiring music and videos), the unifying message was that we are unconditionally loved, all of us, and that there is no other reason to exist other than to love ourselves, fully, joyfully, and completely.

Yeah, yeah, you might say. Fine, but give me something I can do. Some tricks and techniques I can use.

Those of us who are personal growth junkies want to know about karma, and why we’re here–in terms of a calling, or work we’re supposed to do. How are we supposed to serve? Survive? Be abundant, prosperous, successful, with good relationships and health? I know, myself, that you can use any modality to create complex answers and pathways to achieving the best and fully lived life. Complexity is meaty. Offers lots of chew toys for the brain. Many things to do. And of course, these modalities are all fine.

And.

Could it really be so simple? Could it really be that loving myself–loving oneself–is the only REAL thing I’m here to learn/experience/do?

Butbutbutbut …

The more she spoke, the more I relaxed back into my own knowing that this is why cancer visited my life. Not because I was a bad person who manifested it, but because my entire mind/body/spirit organism had come to this last desperate act to wake me up, to save me. And as I realized that–crazy as it sounds–that cancer was in service to me, I wept. I cracked open with a level of self-love, self-forgiveness and compassion that I had never felt before.

I’m not saying that this is what cancer, or any disease is to anyone else–though I suspect it could be–just that this is my experience. The unwrapping of the gift.

Simple Doesn’t Mean EasyDeath_to_stock_photography_bonus_floral_4

Now, Anita is not a person who is engaging in the spiritual bypass, or the tyranny of positive thinking. She’s a realist who has experienced the miraculous, and is using her extremely challenging experience of being so ill (for years) to illuminate the human experience.

Loving ourselves is a decision. It’s a practice. And though it’s simple, obviously it isn’t easy.

She spoke about many things, from our attitudes around money and fear to how to relate to our loved ones who are “on the other side.”

Whatever the context, the message was clear. Love yourself. Make decisions from love, not fear. Money decisions, relationship choices, career … all of it. Though we have most of us been trained to choose things out of fear, we can begin, step by step, to live another way. It may not be easy, but really, the concept is terrifically simple.

Be Who You Are, and the Universe Will Rise to Meet You

The other big takeaway for me was the concept that we don’t have to chase after our destinies. Along with loving ourselves, Anita learned that the Divine just wants us to be ourselves. She asserts that if we just focus on being ourselves, or the person that we desire to be, the Universe will bring to us “all the things that are already ours.”

Again, my mind initially says butbutbutbut . . . and, as soon as I just relax and allow myself to entertain the concept, it feels like a relief. And true. And loving.

As many iterations of the Law of Attraction assert, we don’t have to worry about the how. My understanding of what Anita is saying means that if I truly just am me, and move toward more me-ness, the how and the what will be revealed. It certainly worked that way for her.

Simple.

Please, if you get a chance, take in the wisdom that Anita brings. You don’t have to be ill, or have had the big C knock on your door.

And I’d love to have some discussion about what you think about all these ideas. Connect via email or facebook so we can chat!

with LOVE,

Photo on 2-3-16 at 3.11 PM #3Elia

*A near-death experience (NDE) refers to personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light. These phenomena are usually reported after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead or has been very close to death. With recent developments in cardiac resuscitation techniques, the number of reported NDEs has increased.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virgo In February: Our Opportunity to Heal!

virgo the healerAt the end of December I had my third chemo treatment. The day after I infused, I danced (you read about this in my last post). The day after I danced, I woke up with the deep body knowing that I would not have anymore chemo, and that I would continue my healing and prevention naturally.

This was a profound moment in many ways.

One, because I listened deeply to my body telling me what it needed.

Two, because to speak my deepest truth in this way (going against the grain and all the conventional wisdom) is a big deal for me–actually it’s one of the biggest things I’m working on in this life.

Three to infinity, because to honor one’s own truth, to take action upon it … this is a healing gift in and of itself. Empowering. Self-loving. Inspiring.

On my birthday, I tried to take a walk. It was awful, I was on my knees gagging and sobbing into the snow. I had no energy. I was painfully numb in all my extremities. I was absolutely finished, done, empty. (This was two weeks after 3rd treatment). The following day I consulted and received my first dose of Chinese herbs. The day after that, my body began to transform. Energy, appetite! Chemo effects disappearing! Life returning! Confirmation from the universe that I had made the right choice!

I bring this all up because I want to talk about Virgo. And because I know many of you have been following this cancer journey.

Virgo in February

Right now, Jupiter is retrograde in Virgo. The transiting North Node is in Virgo. The February full moon on the 22nd is in Virgo (3 degrees). Starting with the March 3 new moon (at 18 degrees Pisces) and continuing in September, we are going to have eclipses on the Virgo/Pisces axis.

Jupiter's extravagant atmosphere
Jupiter’s extravagant atmosphere

(I am, by the way, having a Jupiter return. My Jupiter is retro in Virgo natally. When I received my cancer diagnosis, transiting Jupiter was conjunct my natal Jupiter. I had my second surgery just days after the first Virgo cycle eclipse in September. Transiting Jupiter has been conjoined my Pluto and the transiting North Node in Virgo. I have had the deepest, most challenging, most illuminating and empowering episode of healing on all levels in this past year. And the adventure continues.)

For the first half of 2016, and potent in this month, are the energies of Virgo. Virgo is the archetype of the healer, the spiritually independent priestess, the self-enlightening hermit, the wisdom keeper. Virgo is devoted to her Sacred Work. Virgo is empowered to share her Sacred Work for the benefit of all beings.

As Jupiter and the transiting North Node travel through this sign and make conjunctions to each other (January, June), the opportunity for us to devote ourselves to healing and our Sacred Work is emphasized. As in, the cosmos really, really wants us to heal. And as we heal ourselves, we must step up to the healing of the planet. The eclipses on the Virgo/Pisces axis will reveal areas where we choose victimization and martyrdom over empowerment and cosmic co-creation. This process is healing in and of itself.

What is Sacred Work? What if I’m not a Virgo?

Listening to the CosmosFirst off, we all have Virgo somewhere in our chart. Often we will have planets there; my whole generation has Pluto and Uranus in Virgo. But even if your Virgo house is empty of planets, you still have a Virgoean area of sacred work. You still have something to offer the world in terms of service or healing.

Sun sign Virgos have incarnated to intensely work with this energy, also those with Virgo on the Ascendant.

Sacred Work is that aspect of ourselves and our lives that we are supposed to develop for soul growth. The Work might not even look or seem spiritual, particularly. It is an area to which we are naturally drawn, but where we might feel the most unempowered or self-critical (shadow Virgo). Often the awakening to the call of our Work happens in midlife, during the game-changing transits that occur then for all of us. Or they are uncovered during transits to Virgo houses or planets.

Some examples of Sacred Work might be a devotion to gardening and sharing that knowledge or produce (pun intended!). It might be a call to be a healer of some kind: doctor, Reiki master, astrologer, herbalist. Perhaps the Work manifests as a deep desire to protect or enhance the environment: activist, scientist, teacher, urban farmer. Always the Work begins with an awareness of Self and longings. A desire to become conscious of more than just our own needs. A drive to connect, inspire, lead, contribute.

Hints to your Sacred Work are evident in your birth chart. What planets do you have in Virgo? Angles (ASC, DC, Midheaven)? What house does Virgo rule? At the very least you will have a house or two influenced by the energy of Virgo. If you have planets in the 6th house, this brings the energy of Virgo. (Let’s book a session if you want guidance about your Sacred Work!)

Another big indicator is where you find your greatest joy.woman dancing sun

What does this have to do with healing? As we delve into self-healing, we discover the call of our Sacred Work. As we develop our Sacred Work, we automatically contribute to the continued well-being of others and the planet. When we consciously choose to turn our wounds into gifts, and share that with others, we perform our Sacred Service. Which leads to self-healing. And around it goes.

But I thought February was about Aquarius!?

Of course! We’ve got a bounty of Aquarius action this month, as the Sun transits through this sign, and also the February 8 New Moon at 19 degrees Aquarius. Mercury enters this sign of its exaltation on the 14th, and Venus comes along shortly after on the 18th. I like to look at all this Aquarian energy as providing the objectivity, witness consciousness, and out-of-box thinking that we need to really define the areas of healing we want to explore.

With the clear headed energy of the water bearer, we can achieve clarity about the areas in our life that need attention and healing. It’s quite simple for me, for example, because I am immersed in researching and applying alternative healing methods to cancer prevention and survival. Aquarius is helping me to be neutral about this process, to make intellectual connections, and to use technology to benefit my healing research.

Uranus-in-astrology
The starship Uranus

For you, maybe it’s about diet. Or exercise. Or getting therapy. Or writing that memoir. Don’t be afraid to make some leaps now. Uranus, as the ruler of Aquarius is moving through intuitive Aries–supplying us all with some insights and ahas that come primarily through the body. (Like my body knowing to stop chemo. It wasn’t a brain/mind thing). Now is the time to listen to the whispers, and to take action.

The Aquarius New Moon is a perfect time to take time to sit with/in emptiness, floating in the soft, warm comfort of the void. Letting visions play before your eyes; feeling into your lower chakras (1-3) about where and how your healing and Sacred Work want to be played out.

Neptune inspires from Pisces, and Chiron there also lends insight, turning wounds into opportunities and gifts.

I’m feeling all my gifts today. Gratitude for my amazing body, for healing, for family, friends, and FB animal videos.

I’d love to hear from you about how the Virgo archetype is showing up in your life. Leave a comment, ask a question, or drop me a line!

Best,

Photo on 2-3-16 at 3.11 PM #3Elia

elia@eliaseely.com

Fingers in the Jetstream

220px-The_ScreamLast night I failed in my attempt to be a very good cancer patient. I was selfish and unsupportive of my partner, who is going through his own version of hell with me. I lay awake long after he was peacefully asleep and tapped into a rage so big and fierce that it stunned me.

Not rage against something specific, although god knows that must be a part of this cancer process, but like a woman gone wild. I visualized smashing everything, decimating buildings, burnishing forests with flame. In there somewhere was the mean voice “you aren’t doing this cancer thing right” and I felt the rage rise up and consume her too.

I had to get up, and read some Anne Lamott to try and feel ok as a human again. I fell asleep, at last, trying to hold the burning part of me in the light, bearing witness.

But I woke up with sadness, and a sense that I had failed my partner, and we talked about it and I distracted myself with a crossword puzzle and then he went to go dance–something neither of us have done in such a long while–and though I tried not to, I felt left behind. And I felt enraged.

I texted a couple friends, got a little support, and then went to my “den”–the warm bedroom where I spend most of my feral healing time–to read some cards that had come in the mail that I hadn’t gotten to. My friend Kathie–a superlative card sender–had chosen one that said: “There are lessons for us in everything. Even the hard things. Even the things that break our heart.” Though this message is powerful and true, it was the picture of the heart with a ribbon round it and the words “hold tight” that got me.

I sat on the bed, leaking tears again, and wondering, when will I be that devil-may-care chemo patient, who dashes on her red lipstick and rides her bike to infusion and makes all the nurses laugh? The woman who takes effortless care of those who are taking care of her. When will I be good at this? When will I get it right?antlerribbon

Then a small voice, my wise voice, said–Elia, why don’t you go upstairs and dance a little? Just a couple dances. Just try.

So up I went, to the small space where I sew and practice yoga and where we watch TV. I lit my favorite incense, and a candle–with some skepticism, but to humor the soft voice. I looked through my playlists; something mellow, I thought. My wise self chose differently: a great list that I had made for a friend’s birthday party.

Ok, just a couple songs. Just stretch, even.

Press play.

I started in duet with the recliner, not really remembering how to let my body into the dance. Nina Simone’s Feeling Good–a remix. I dropped my head and felt the burning in my swollen fingers as I gripped the back of the chair.

When I’m well I will rent a hall and dance to this song.

The list unfolded and I found myself staying with it, a hurky-jerky chemo-dump-frump dance, stomping in my slipper socks, gray hairs whirling silently to the floor.

tvcu6v-icsi-kazuendBy the time the list peaked, I was crying fists flying feeling the dance take me over and shake me around the room, fingers burning, stomach churning, but I wouldn’t stop dancing.

Sometimes the radiance of the human spirit and my own heart feels so incandescent as to eclipse the sun. Yet this same heart that shines so bright can, almost at the same moment, be a supernova of rage.

I am coming to accept that I may actually never do chemo or this cancer thing gracefully. Not every dance is beautiful; the important thing is, perhaps, just to keep moving.

This morning I reached up my hand and my fingers touched the jetstream; the current that sends down stories, and poems, and songs, and music. The winds of inspiration.

There will be more dances.

There is no “right.”

You are not alone.

Hold tight.

The Power of Owning Our Grief

person alone winter woodsI had my first round of chemotherapy last week.

If you read my last post, you know that I went into it with the attitude of: “let’s do this thing, Uncles.”

I re-read that post, and I have to say, that the woman who wrote it (though well-intentioned) had never had chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is beyond awful. I know that I’m supposed to make friends with it, understand that it’s my ally. I want to find the warrior-ess inside of me that kicks ass and uses chemo as the arrows in her quiver. And on a good day, I do feel motivated, and at least philosophical about it.

But, though I fear that no one really wants to hear it, I’m grieving.

I didn’t realize that I would still have to grieve this cancer thing. I thought, I’ve cried enough, been cut open three times, dealt with crazy infections–now these “really quite tolerable” drugs will be the easy part.

Yeah. I know. Now, I know.

In the throes of the worst day, when the nausea rolled over me and the fatigue was extraordinary, I found myself losing the boundaries of my Self–the edges of my own suffering blurring with the pain of the millions of people go through this particular hell. I experienced so viscerally the fact that, as inside my body there was a killing field, so is there a fierce toxicity in the oceans and rivers; so women are raped as a tool of war; so thousands of refugees starve and shiver on the ground; so two people decided the fate of 12 others in a center for developmentally disabled adults in California.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

John Donne

Why is cancer a pandemic? Is the violence that cancer and its cure does to our bodies a reflection of the violence in the world?

file8551233874461Are we reflecting the planet, or is it reflecting us?

I don’t know how to get ok with all this.

I don’t know how to not feel these things.

And I hate that I feel these things, because on some level I don’t want to deal. I can’t fix it, and so I don’t want to think about it. As Heidi Hutner said in her TED talk about eco-grief and eco-feminism, we don’t want to acknowledge that the planet is in trouble. But her belief is that we can lift this grief if we acknowledge it. And act.

I believe that much of the grief of our species is unacknowledged. I believe, however woo-woo it sounds, that this collective despair is part of what makes us sick.

I also believe that there is a benevolent, loving force in the universe that wants us to be ok. But we have to act on our own behalf.

personand universeAnd that starts with being with our grief. As much as I don’t want to cry anymore about how incredibly shitty I feel, unless I let those tears fall (leaking chemo down my cheeks), I cannot find my way to strength, to joy, to peace, to power. I realize more every day that this process will not be tidy, on schedule to coincide with my infusion weeks, or to make someone else feel better about my situation. Some days the sadness will be present, and others not.

Perhaps–along with hope, and activism, and positive thinking and choosing love–the act of grieving is an act of empowerment.

Perhaps grace is present even when we are on our knees.

Thank you for reading. And I would like to dedicate this post to those who were with me last week as I met the chemo for the first time: Denyse, Nichelle, Nikki, & Malcolm. And Nancy for always talking me through it. You guys don’t even know how important your presence was/is to me.

Photo on 4-15-15 at 9.23 AMElia

PS: As always, please share this post and/or comment if you like. And I am seeing clients (for astrology only) right now, so check in if you want a session.

 

Chemo Crime Boss

WPADoctorNursePatientNOLAMy partner asked me this morning: “Are you feeling like chemo is your ally now?”

I replied with, “uh, I’m not really thinking about it.” We laughed (ruefully), moved on to coffee and breakfast.

But I got to thinking. Because Monday I will have chemo. However I think about it, that drip is gonna start and here’s my new best friend for the next six months.

The thing is, I’m not that psyched about allowing toxic chemicals into my body. But it’s kinda like having some bad uncles in the family. What if I thought about it like this: there’s been a pretty bad mofo wandering the streets of my body. The crime boss, let’s call him C.C., he’s been taken out. But he’s got all kinds of minions and feeder fish lower down the ladder that might be thinking my body is ripe for a new boss. I mean, unprotected territory is fair game, right?

But I got these two bad uncles. Let’s call them Flavius Umberto the V, and Octavius Pocotini. They don’t  get invited to Christmas dinner (though maybe this year), they’re black sheep ass-kicking assassins, and I don’t really relish hanging out with them. I mean, they’re killers! I’m a moral girl! Yet, here they are, FU the V and OP, stepping in to take down the bad guys. (Insert the voice of Marlon Brando here) For the family.

How Mars is like Chemo

It’s like Mars in my Vedic chart: he’s considered a major malefic in that system (bad planet, bad!), yet he stands in that chart as the strongest ally I have.Mars as our ally

How do you make peace with a bad-ass, chaos-bringing dude as your biggest champion? I’ve been sorting that one out for the last 10 years, because according to the Vedic system, I’ve been in a Mars dosha (time period ruled by Mars). In traditional Vedic astrology, someone in a Mars dosha is generally gonna do nothing but suffer. Oh boy. Bad planet, bad times.

(Not that I believe in bad planets, mind you.)

But . . . the last decade certainly has been challenging. And yet, despite heartbreak, economic despair, and cancer, the molding of my soul through the last years of pain and glory has been nothing short of amazing. Mind blowing. Humbling. Empowering.

In other words, Mars, like a tough love sensei, whipping my innocent ass into warrior shape. Cause Mars says, girl, we got some things to do! He says, (insert Brando’s voice again), Elia, you got to be strong. For the family.

Family=human, animal, vegetable, mineral.

pheonix risingWe’ve all got these dubious allies in our lives. The tough times, the challenging family member, the call to be stronger than we think we can possibly be. Sometimes we have to let the fires burn everything down in order to be ripe for the arising. Surrender is inherent in the process of healing, and Monday I will be surrendering to the good intentions of FU5 and Oxilplatin, however dubious I suspect their methods to be.

Can I take this for the team? Can I trust the strength inside of myself and my amazing body? I think, you know, that I have done harder things. And if this is how I stay strong and present for the people I love and the mountains and the elk under the moonlight, and the women I support in Africa and the little girl I’m helping in India, and all the souls that have yet to touch me . . .

Yes. I can.

To all of you who are strong for me: thank you.

To all of you who lay hands upon me with care and healing intention: thank you.

To all of you who have been my teachers, bad uncles, less than salubrious companions: thank you

Round two. I got my red Mars boots on. Let’s do it!

with strength,

IMG_0329Elia

ps: as always, if you like this post, please share it or comment! It means a lot to me.

pps: I want to hear about your bad uncles. Really, drop me a line!

 

 

The “Good Enough” Cancer Patient

when sadness comesMonday of this week I woke up and commenced to cry the whole day. About everything: the three surgeries, the ostomy, my overwhelm about eating, my insomnia, my pain.

I was crying about all those things, but really what I was feeling was unworthy. Failed. Unloved–by myself especially. Like I wasn’t doing it right and had messed up my body and not loved it when it was whole and beautiful and not scarred and well.

I called a dear friend, she helped me by listening, offering her good insights. But then I got off the phone and cried more.

It’s too much, this uncertainty about chemo and work and life and money . . . and the feeling, on that day, was that I wasn’t enough for any of it. Not brave enough, smart enough, stoic enough . . . add whatever adjective you like. I was not a good cancer patient.

I ate half a can of Pringles, about 10 chocolate chip cookies, part of a chocolate bar.  Trying to feed the emptiness inside. A f**k you to eating healthy and getting cancer anyway. It was kind of a pit. But I guess I had to go there. Bit of bottoming out.

And then, when I’d given up and was so puffy and headachy I really couldn’t produce more tears or cry anymore lest my belly scars just open up again, I went to bed. And received some grace.

I can’t fall asleep these days, so I started reading a book my friend had sent. Anne Lamott’s Grace (Eventually). I love her writing, especially about writing, but hadn’t been so drawn to her Jesus-y stuff. But I felt I couldn’t read another crime novel in the state I was in, so I started.

And as I read, I was aware of a change creeping over me and into my heart. I was having a conversion–not of the Christian kind–but in my own psyche. As I read her honest, authentic, and funny words about life and love and healing, I was transformed.

I forgave myself for being so mean (to myself). I really, finally got it on a feeling level, beyond my mind, that it is ok for me to be human. A mess. Brave/afraid. Strong/weak. Etc.

Anne says, in one essay:

All of us lurch and fall, sit in the dirt, are helped to our feet, keep moving,  feel like idiots, lose our balance, gain it, help others get back on their feet, and keep going.

Obvious, maybe. But for me, late at night on that day of being so separate from my Self, these words (and many others in the book) were enlightening.personand universe

Healing is a messy journey. It doesn’t look like the angel Raphael coming down and making me better, or more sweet about having had cancer in my body. Healing isn’t actually warm and fuzzy. There is a myth, in the woo-woo world of which I am a part, that to heal and be a healer is a transcendent, pillowy process.

The longer I live and navigate this world, the more I realize, nah. Healing can look pretty fantastic, but mostly it consists of small steps, stumbles, and whacking through the jungle with a pair of scissors, trying to find our way.

I think that I have more humility now, less expectation that I should work miracles on myself or my clients.

I know I possess a new kind of nobility, because of the love and care I have received from both beloveds and strangers in this journey of cancer.

Humility. Nobility. Written on my belly, in all those scars.

Friendship_4The cancer trip isn’t over, though the tumor is out, there’s the preventive course of chemo. I’m pretty sure there is more lurching and losing balance in my near future. But I honestly feel I can love myself through it on a level I never have before. And for me, that is healing.

Whatever I can know in my heart, I can give to someone else, in the form of a helping hand. However deeply I can love myself is how deeply I can love you.

And that’s my service.

Namaste, blessed be, amen.

with love

Elia

ps: If you liked this post please share it!

 

Thoughts of Hell and Yellowstone

Hell is like yellowstoneI can’t stop thinking about Dante’s Inferno.

Coupled with that are images of Yellowstone park.

It’s because I’ve been diagnosed with cancer that I am thinking about circles of hell.

It’s been a long time since I read the Inferno, and I’m sure I never read all of it. Let me be clear; I don’t believe in hell as a concept of afterlife, but I am certainly thinking about the trips we take there in this life.

So, if you’ve never been to Yellowstone, it’s this fantastical and stunning natural wonder that has much diversity of landscape. It’s enormous. And it’s really, really crowded. Tour buses, traffic jams, sardine-can campgrounds.

I keep thinking that hell is a crowded place. Like, everyone is going there sometime. Maybe more than once. Probably more than once. And it’s a different journey for each person. Every time. Sometimes you focus on the rivers and canyons. Sometimes it’s the geysers and the mud pots.

Castle Geyser in Upper Geyser Basin. Yellowstone National Park public domain image.

Always there will be a bunch of other people there with you. You won’t ever be alone, but you might not ever be connected either. It’s weird, and strangely beautiful.

I totally get that I have not cornered the market on hell journeys. No way. Yet, I’m on one, and trying to comprehend the wonder of it. Like the first time you see Yellowstone, it kind of blows you away. It can kill you—those mud pots will boil you alive. Buffalo run fast and don’t like to be pet. Grizzlies. Etc. And it can inspire you.

yellowstoneI don’t really know if this analogy is working. But I can’t stop thinking about the potency and proportion of personal tragedy, and the redemptive power of being scared to death and yet walking through that; and images of Yellowstone just keep coming back to mind.

By the way, I encourage everyone to go to Yellowstone. ‘Cause it’s amazing.

 

You are an astrologer/healer/mystic—did you see it coming?

A few people have said—wow, are you having a Pluto transit? What’s going on in your chart? Did you see a health crisis coming?

I’ll tell you: Jupiter is conjunct my natal Jupiter right now. (a Jupiter return, we call it. Beginning a new 12 year cycle). Jupiter is typically thought of as a “bringer of luck.” I’m on the brink of an pretty cool Venus cycle. I’m finishing up a Neptune transit over my mars, but it’s not specifically related to my health. No hard transits to my 6th house ruler or 6th house (health).

In other words, this is actually a pretty auspicious time.

Auspicious.
Auspicious.
Auspicious.

And this is exactly where the rubber meets the road when it comes to spiritual practice and the arts of personal exploration. Working with what is—whether you saw it coming or not.

I believe that the most important thing for me to hold onto as I’m getting on the bus and off the bus in my trip round the geysers is not my selfie stick and iPhone, but my sense of cosmic understanding.

terror and wonderMy ability to grasp the terror and the wonder at the same time.

I believe that I have the opportunity to step into a place of being and self-understanding, surrender, self-love, and growth as a healer and astrologer and person that surpasses any that has come before.

I believe that Dante’s trip through the Inferno resulted in some personal transformation (and a spot in the literary canon—now there’s an idea!).

The whole point of astrology as I practice it is to grow as a being. Not to predict when something may happen, or to somehow avoid the “bad” things of life. Jupiter’s return to itself in the sign of Virgo, in my first house, has much to do with the way I allow myself to be seen and be the sacred priestess that I am. Has everything to do with choosing self-love and unfolding vs. self-judgment and the relentless pursuit of perfection.

Indeed it may turn out to be very auspicious. I’d like to think so.

The whole point of healing, as I practice it, is not to fix, but to be with what is. To return to wholeness of the spirit—through energetic work or past life healing or soul retrieval or whatever. Being a healer doesn’t mean you don’t get sick. But hopefully it means you know what to do when adversity arrives.

Knowing what to do, for me, means asking for help. Admitting I’m scared. Feeling my feelings. Getting information. Being responsible. Meditating. Dancing. Listening to my higher self and my lower self. Everybody gets a voice.

And binge watching House of Cards.
And sitting under the big big tree outside my house.
And talking to my flowers, of course.

What’s Next?

I’m on the conveyor belt of western medicine and exploring supportive alternative options. I’m gratefully, humbly, heart-crackingly absorbing the love and generosity of my family and beloveds—as astonishing and arresting as the beauty of Yellowstone park.

If you want to reach out—please do! But on private message is best.

If you’ve been to this circle of hell and have any wisdom, I’d welcome it.

For some reason these lines from A.E Houseman’s Last Poems inspire me; I hope you don’t find them morbid.

The troubles of our proud and angry dust
Are from eternity, and shall not fail.
Bear them we can, and if we can we must.
Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.

blessings,
Photo on 4-15-15 at 9.23 AMElia

Fly Your Freak Flag: Doing Virgo New School

be your freaky self!I have reached that stage in life where I am finally thankfully starting to not give a sh** what other people think of me. I talk to my flowers. I do past life healings. I deeply enjoy watching the birds at my bird feeder. The highlight of my week (last week) was having a bear in my kitchen. I love to knit, do crosswords, and I haven’t seen Breaking Bad or The Sopranos or Orange is the New Black.

In other words, I’m pretty sure I’m not hip.

I say things that my bonus teens think are really weird.

But you know what? I love that I am my own kind of freakity freak and I’m gonna let that flag fly. Finally.

And so what does this have to do with Virgo?

(Just to track the planets, Jupiter has started his trip through Virgo. Mercury is in Virgo. The sun will ingress into Virgo on the 23/24th of the month depending on your time zone.)

I want a new definition of Virgo. I want some new school, kick-ass associations with this oft-maligned sign.

But Elia, you say, you can’t just change the archetypal meaning of a Zodiac sign because you want to.

Well, yeah, yes I can. Because though we always stay rooted in the ancient stories and associations, I believe astrology is a living art that evolves to reflect the society it is serving. Not all astrologers would agree with me; that’s fine. I want to recognize the aspect of Virgo–virgin–that means she is unto herself. As in, belonging to no person. Un-merged. Whole.

virgo

In her high vibration, this shows up as energy that is in service to the world in a way that is individually crafted, we could even say, artisanal.

Virgo knows her own way. Sets her own bar. Makes her own rules. As I see it, she’s got her freak flag and she flies it!

Typically Virgo gets a bad rap. Associated with accountants and engineers and button-up types, you wouldn’t necessarily associate the archetype of Virgo with freaks or freakishness. But the anal retentive, critical reputation of this sign is earned from the shadow attributes–and nothing to do with Virgo rocking her unique identity.

use-jupiter-transits-astrology-forecasts-800x800Virgo is often identified with the idea of our patriarchal interpretation of the word virgin. That is someone who is sexually “chaste” and often demure, innocent, or powerless.  But the temple virgins who worshipped Vesta, in Roman times, were powerful priestesses who had a tremendously important role in society. They were sexual virgins, true, but they were able to remain unto themselves, that is, belonging to no man. No usual obligations to marry and bear children.

In Greek times the sacred temple virgins, or “prostitutes” of Aphrodite were integrated as a part of Greek religious practice, and they were sexual and powerful. Sacredly sexual priestesses. Also belonging to no man, able to remain unto themselves.

I’m not really inspired to give a lecture here on the goddesses of ancient civilization–nor am I qualified. What is interesting to me is the “unto herself” part of Virgo. The inner core of self-reliant, self-understanding which is the high vibration of this sign. The energy of Virgo that says, I fly my freak flag, because I depend on no-one’s opinion to be “good enough.”

With the upcoming flurry of activity in Virgo, I say let us find the ways the we individuate ourselves and be proud of that. I say, let’s celebrate how we are continually evolving and unfolding beings, offering our best self to the world. Let’s embrace discernment and leave that whole judgy thing behind.

Virgo new school!

How do you fly your freak flag? I want to know!

IMG_0076xo

Elia

ps: my man-friend hates this picture of me–but I love it, cause it was a funny day wearing my hilarious friend’s ginormous glasses! freak-on!

pps: Jupiter is said to be in detriment in Virgo. This is astro-speak for not operating well. I say phtttt! to that . . . Virgo is wise, ever growing; Jupiter is wise, ever expanding . . . Virgo’s temperance can curb Jupiter’s intemperance–sounds like a great combo to me!

For Some Reason I Want to Talk About Food

what does food have to do with astrology?It’s crazy, but when I checked in with what I wanted to write about today–maybe Venus, maybe the activation of the Solar feminine–all that kept coming up was food.

Well, okay. I love to talk about food, eat it, make it. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting. (I do have Taurus on my Midheaven and Jupiter in the first house.) And Jupiter is in Virgo, which rules health.

Lately, in an effort to create better health, I began experimenting with a mostly raw diet. I did my research–but not really until after diving in for about 10 days. And not feeling better.

Ten days isn’t really enough time to conduct an accurate survey of a fairly radical diet change–I do get that. And I knew that detox symptoms would possibly occur. I wasn’t worried about that–it was the crazy heartburn I started having. I don’t have heartburn when I eat bacon and cheese and chocolate–now why when I’m eating super clean?

It was frustrating. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t being “rewarded” for my efforts at being a super clean raw eater. I mean, when you try hard, doesn’t that mean you should succeed?

Enter a limiting belief: success is hard won–and if you try hard and don’t succeed you just aren’t perfect enough.

Whoa! Do I believe that? Somewhere I do . . . and that is very classic Virgo thinking (in its shadow, of course). Remember we are in the Venus retro cycle, which began at 0º Virgo, though she’s currently conjunct the sun in Leo.

Virgo in nature
John Wm. Godward’s Golden Hours

Also Jupiter has just entered Virgo, conjunct the 0º mark. Whatever sign Jupiter is in, we feel an expansion of all the energies of that sign. Light or dark, all the tendencies of Jupiter will flow to grow them. Yes, it’s true that Jupiter is considered in astrology to be a benefic (helpful) planet. But as we embrace whatever Jupiter has to teach us, sometimes we learn through excess, or the multiplication of something we don’t want!

As I did. I was making these dreamy bars filled with cashew cream, slathering cashew cheese on my flax crackers, and filling collard leaves with a spicy chipotle paste made with sunflower seeds. This raw thing is pretty easy, I thought, and the foods are super fun to make!

I really hardly ever ate nuts in my previous diet. Besides coconut oil and sprinkling a few seeds on a salad, I didn’t even ever buy nuts–not even that yummy dry roasted Costco mix!

Turns out, in raw food circles, there is a term called “nut gut.” (I know there are less salubrious interpretations of this phrase in some circles, but let’s keep it to food here!) Raw food diets can consist of a lot of nuts. Cheeses, “meats” (made from nuts and veggies) , and oils (coconut) all can be a huge component of the raw food diet.

Even though I was soaking all my nuts, I still got the nut gut. Indigestion from not being able to assimilate all this nutty goodness into my system. So I had to listen to my body. And get off the nut products for another 10 days (even almond milk!) to have any relief of the indigestion.

I loved how light I felt eating raw, but the way to go wasn’t going to be the “fat” version of this food lifestyle. (Raw foodists experiment with the fat or fruit approach to getting calories–nuts, seeds, and avocado are pretty high fat, whereas fruit is not.)

Why do I always try to be perfect?

I realized that with everything I do in life, I approached this experiment in a pretty serious, let’s do it really perfectly kind of way. Sigh. This is how shadow Virgo shows up in my chart. And the Venus love of food . . . her retrograde . . . all the factors weaving together made me realize: this isn’t my path. Slow down, and listen to your body. What do you want to eat?Free Stock Photo of Berries

I had to back up, and look at my motivation, and then realize that I made the decision to “go raw” with my mind, as a response to some physical symptoms I was having (fear of). Well, those symptoms didn’t disappear, and I ended up feeling worse. It didn’t seem that the Universe really wanted me to be raw (for some, though, this is the answer).

When I tuned in, what my higher self really wanted was to stop eating meat and so much dairy.

Health will be a focus for the next year.

Virgo and health go together. So, as we continue to navigate the Venus retrograde, and as Jupiter begins to make tracks through Virgo, listen to what your body is telling you about the food it wants to eat, or any other health related shift that it (your BODY, not mind) is feeling inclined toward.

Jupiter is very intuitive, and in the health conscious sign of Virgo will be sending us signals about what lifestyles are the best for us now.

As we look internally to our self-love and self-care practices (Venus retro in Virgo/Leo), how do we honor the needs of our physical vessels? Can we look with compassion at our habits and limiting beliefs that sabotage our self-love and manifest as pushing for perfection in our physical lives? (or the opposite: I’ll never be perfect so I’ll just be a self-hating slob).

As I move forward, as especially in mind of today’s connection of Venus with the sun, I reflect on how I want to radically love myself. (yes, I’m obsessed with this theme!) I want to be energetic and healthy so that I can live a long time and do my life’s passions until I drop in the fields. Taking care of myself is one of my radical self-love practices. Being flexible enough to change course (with compassion instead of judgement) when I’m not flourishing is another.

What are your self-care practices?

Remember, these are practices. Meaning we are practicing, not perfecting. (I’m telling myself this).

(And I will be making some nut cheese again, cause it’s just so damn good. But eating sparingly, and listening.)

Resources

Sarah at unsettle.org has a nice post about limiting beliefs today.

I love this raw food website–she’s a great resource and a cheerleader for making the right, not dogmatic choice for your body.

These two cookbooks are amazing, whether you just want to eat salads more creatively or experiment with raw concoctions:

astro.com is the best place to get a copy of your chart, if you don’t have one, and find out where the Venus retro and Jupiter transit of Virgo, will be affecting you personally.

And of course, contact me if you want a more in-depth look at your chart and your health.

Best,

Photo on 4-15-15 at 9.23 AMElia

What is Spiritual Healing?

spiritual healingWhat is Energy Healing?

As a practitioner of energy healing, I get asked this a lot.

What is it? Is it Reiki? Does it work? How? How can it work long distance? Is it spiritual healing? Etc.

I think there are potentially as many forms of energetic/spiritual healing as there are people—but in general, we’re talking about a couple of things:

  • Healing that comes as a result or from the spiritual world.
  • Healing of the spirit through means as various as prayer, spontaneous enlightenment, dancing or sex, to name a few of my favorites. (Not that I’m spontaneously enlightened—but that would be fun!)

I know some people who have received full-on spiritual healing without even really asking for it. The dissolution of actual, physical diseases. There are probably hundreds, if not more, miracles that take place every year. Lourdes, John of God . . . celebrity healers . . . it happens.

This isn’t the norm, however. For most of us, energetic and spiritual healing is something we do ourselves, as a practice, or employ others to do with and for us.

How Does it work? Is it Reiki?reiki healing hands

Reiki is defined by the International Center for Reiki Training as a combo of two Japanese words – Rei which means ‘God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power’ and Ki which is ‘life force energy’ So Reiki is actually ‘spiritually guided life force energy.

Reiki is probably the most well-known type of energy healing in the mainstream. But there are plenty of modalities—Brennan healing science, Donna Eden’s energy medicine, Reconnective Healing, Theta Healing, Matrix . . . they are very different in application but taking the “spiritually guided life force energy” idea, all energy healing is essentially the same.

We are energy.

The Universe is energy.

We are connected. Molecules bumping around together, overlapping, affecting each others’ behavior.

Whether you come at  Oneness from physics or metaphysics doesn’t matter.

Many flavors of energy healing/medicine utilize the chakra system. Others work more simply with the energetic field (aura). Some systems include the client as an active part of healing, and some of the newer methods don’t require you, as a receiver, do really do anything other than be open to change.

In my own practice, which is a blend of Brennan Science, Reiki, and other techniques, I observe that most everyone can feel energy moving in their system while a healing is happening. But if you don’t feel it, it still works. Even during long distance sessions, people have experiences related to the process.

I connect with distance clients in a neutral, healing space I create in the energetic realm. Because the concept of time and space is only a concept, we can be together as energy even if we can’t be in the same room physically. Almost all healers of any modality I know find distance healing to be at least as effective as in-person sessions, if not more so. This wouldn’t work with other types of medicine, which require physical input of some kind. Energy healing isn’t better than other types of healing, it’s just different.

healing handsA Complementary System

Though some people choose to forgo mainstream medical treatment and rely on spiritual and energetic healing techniques to heal physically manifested illness or symptoms, I personally find energy work to function best as a complementary therapy. With emotional and psychological healing, it is effective too, either alone or in conjunction with therapy, depending on the situation.

(That being said, stay on your meds if you need them–and find a healer who can work with your regular doc or therapist closely).

In my practice I work primarily with the psycho-spiritual dimension—that is, the mind and spirit. Beliefs, past life issues, emotional clearing. Dis-ease begins in the energetic field, and manifests at some point as sickness in the body. The more we can keep our fields clear, and resolve past life issues, the greater chance we have of health on every level.

This doesn’t mean we are somehow flawed if we get sick—obviously there are many other contributing factors. But unresolved emotional stuff creates stress in the body. When chakras are blocked, distorted, or not functioning properly, then real-time issues can arise in the physical.

Spiritual healing is something that anyone can do for themselves. personal growthWe all know on some level how to lay on hands with intention. Kissing the boo-boo or holding a body part in pain are perfect examples of this.

Energy healers take the time to receive training—varying levels of it—and in the case of Brennan Science healers, do a tremendous amount of personal growth work as well.

Personal development is part and parcel of becoming a healer, in my opinion. Because—how can I help you clean up your aura if mine is clogged with all sorts of unresolved gunk? And how can I be a clear, listening channel if I don’t know how to deal with transference or be truly in contact with a client?

As for the client—the more you are present with your own issues, and working toward emotional freedom and awareness, the more effectively you can receive the work of a healer.

Some would disagree with this—but in my practice I’ve found it to be true.

Healing is not about the magic bullet (though we often want it to be!) It can be miraculous, to be sure. Mostly it is a process of clearing and intention—and being responsible for ourselves. Even with the help of a healer, it is up to the receiver to take up the healing being offered/performed. To make the necessary life changes to make the healing effective. To recognize and say no to dysfunctional patterns and limiting beliefs.

And, I hope your healer will model this for you: the gentle, transformative energy of self-compassion.

Practicesanimal healing

Right now, if you can, finish this post and then head outside. Wherever you live, within a short distance, there must be a tree, a garden, a florist, or a grocery store. Go plant bathing.

Yeh, plant bathing. Plants and the natural world transmit incredibly positive healing energy. Flower bathing is one of my favorite types of energy transmission . . . and you can give to them too!

Or, if you are ready for it, mineral bathing. Being with stones, earth, mountains . . . if you’re reading this in Antarctica say, in the springtime, head out and be with the quiet stones of those dry valleys. Crystals, stones–obvious healing energies.

Or—and this is also a powerful form of spiritual and energetic healing—animal bathing. Petting animals, being in their presence (in the wild best, of course—zoos are kinda traumatic), giving and receiving love, even from a random puppy will boost and transform your energetic field, if you let it.

And then there’s star-bathing . . . you get the idea.

Experiment! And let me know how it goes.

Best,

EliaIMG_0629

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