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

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

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

Why August is A Really Good Time to Transform Your Relationships

venus_topoLove relationships are always the number one thing that clients ask about. Hands down–and I mean, really, hands UP if you have issues around relationship!

Of course, this is part of the human journey! Part of our evolutionary intent as described by the Asc/Dsc axis, Venus, Mars, Juno . . . all the gang.

So why is August such a powerful month? Because Venus is retrograde in Leo (though she started at 0º Virgo–more on that in a minute), and we have the Sun, Mercury, Jupiter, and Mars all transiting through Leo–and Venus retro territory–throughout the month.

What Leo has to do with Love

Popular astrology doesn’t always associate Leo with love. But the highest vibration of the Lion’s energies is a concept I want you to write down: radical self love.

This is the most healing practice we can embrace if we want to transform our relationships. I would add, even, the word responsibility. As in, radical self-love self-responsibility.

Because it is our responsibility, as adults, to give ourselves the love we need. First. Foremost.'Seedling'_sculpture,_Saltwell_Park_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1597617

I was inspired by a meditation this morning, part of Deepak & Oprah’s latest meditation series on Grace and Gratitude. Deepak–in his lovely wise-papa voice–said that as children, we learn to place the source of love, nurturing, and security outside of ourselves, on our parents. Fair enough–but as adults, we need to recognize that the source of love–big, Divine, love–is inside of us, and never, ever leaves us.

True that.

(We leave love, sometimes, when we forget how wonderful we are, just because we are.)

Leo asks us to enjoy the reflection the world gives us for our playful efforts, yes. But to ultimately evolve to the place where we don’t need the outer world to tell us how lovable we are–that is the most empowered knowing we can arrive at. And the most empowered place from which to love each other.

Venus Retrograde

So the retrograde cycle of any planet asks us to review the territory that planet governs and is traveling through. Venus asks us to look at:

  • relating and relationships (not just romantic)
  • our creativity
  • our sensuality
  • our relationship to pleasure
  • the expression of our feminine (yes, even for men)
  • our values
  • our talents
  • how we survive (strategies, money, expression of our talents)

Now, add the Leo filter, and the question becomes: how in all these areas could I/do I maintain an attitude of radical self-love?

If you know where Venus is in your chart natally, you can also add the layer of your natal Venus issues, whatever sign she’s in. (sign up for my list for a FREE Venus report!)

Do you know the area of your chart that has 14ºLeo to 0º Virgo? This is where much of the action of the month will be.

Venus and Virgo732px-DomenichinounicornPalFarnese

Venus’ retro period is also flavored by Virgo, since she changed direction at 0º of this sign.

The highest vibration of Virgo is the sacred sexual priestess, wisdom keeper, and healer who goes beyond her own Self to serve the world.

If we are truly to embody our highest self and gifts for the world, we first have to journey through Leo, and learn–what?–radical self love and self responsibility. Then are we free to give our gifts in that humble, pure, unswerving Virgo way.

Behind all the Leo rumbling and roaring, your highest self is waiting to emerge. Shining with all the grace Leo brings. Glowing with all the wisdom Virgo embodies.

The Rest of the Gang

imagesLeo and the 0º Virgo mark are going to be stimulated and expanded by Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars. This means that the degrees of Leo that Venus’ retro travels through (14º to the 0ºVirgo) are getting all kinds of energy so that you can really get into this great time of self-discovery.

That second half of Leo’s 30 degrees–so 15-30º–are all about developing the self-love that needs no reflection. The radical self-love I keep on about!

All the planets are there, making sure you get the message. Feel the love.

  • Jupiter to expand you and bring you wisdom
  • Mars to energize and inspire your drive and manifestation
  • Mercury to communicate and learn
  • Venus to help you really integrate that YOU are the shining star of your own life

Practices

write a letter to yourselfOk, so it’s not as though many of us have mastered this self-love thing. There are zillions of practices that can help us come back to ourselves and check in. So here’s a few.

They are really easy. And they will help transform your relationships–which we all want.

  • Write a letter to yourself. Include all the things you love about yourself. Be over the top, super-loving–imagine if you were the best mother of yourself ever. Keep this handy for days when you don’t feel so great.
  • Connect to your authentic pleasure. We starve ourselves of this crucial aspect of life. Do you love flowers? Visit a garden or even a florist shop–buy yourself a bouquet. If you enjoy movement, let yourself go dancing or dance in your kitchen. Love a good mystery? Go to the library and get an old favorite or explore a new author–then unplug and give yourself an hour or two. Swaddle under a nice blanket with a cuppa tea, a press full of coffee, or a dry martini. You get the idea.
  • Meditate. If you feel you can afford it, purchase one of the Chopra Center meditation series. They’re awesome! Even 5 minutes a day helps you to center. Heart chakra meditations are good too–just sit for a few minutes and focus on the heart chakra. Think of people, places, and things that you love. Create a vibration of love in your body. Give it to yourself.
  • Practice acceptance. If you have moments of feeling off, lonely, sad, or unworthy, just be with the feelings without attaching a story to them. Accept that this is how you feel in the moment, and you will be surprised at how quickly the emotions pass.
  • Have some fun!!!! That’s what Leo loves . . . so get out and play.

Photo on 4-15-15 at 9.23 AMWith love,

Elia

 

 

The Blues are Gone

Today was a really good day. SW_AundreLarrow

I saw a bobcat in the backyard. While I was making coffee.

I went to my ecstatic dance class, got to move and play and connect with some good people and myself and hear some good music. Which got me thinking about this post.

Today was a good day, and, I’ve got some health stuff going on.

I’ve got some big decisions to make.

I’m not exactly being the impeccable person I think I am,  or want to be, in all my relationships.

But today was a good day.

The blues were gone.

There was a song in the set list this morning—I7-dustin-scarpitti don’t know it and I’ve just spent 15 minutes trying to find it, in vain—but it was about the blues being gone, asking if the mountain is lonely with the clouds all around, or those flowers fearful of their future in the dry riverbed, cause they got each other through the dark night . . . maybe you had to be there but it was the perfect kind of tune to celebrate Saturn moving into Sagittarius (ingress Dec. 23 2014) after the long dark haul through Scorpio (there was a rather Scorpionic song in the list too, with ONE lyric: reality . . . baby, we’re ALL gonna die). Uh, yeah. Exactly. But we laughed.

And kept dancing.

So this is the thing: Every day can be a good day—in some form, in some way. We’re mostly always going to have hard stuff going on. Stuff we have to take care of, be mindful of, solve, sort, and look through.

Saturn loves it when we are responsible, and go to the dentist and get a pap smear and change the oil in the car and pay our parking tickets. Saturn is tickled when we read a self-help book and then actually use it. Saturn holds space for the hard conversations, the accountable exit from impossible situations, the true I’m sorry, the doing of anything needful but possibly tedious.

When we are responsible, and attend to our inner health, creating a structure for our well-being, Saturn gets a rosy glow on his face. We listened to him, to the things he was showing us, and got a hammer and a nail, so to speak. We built a good house for our soul to live in.

landscape fantasyWe’ve had a long haul in the underworld, and Saturn is happy if we’ve kept a file, and made some journal entries, and organized the chaos of the inner work. Because if we’ve been at all diligent, now, we get to play. We can see the horizon. We get to realize the mountain isn’t lonely, and that it doesn’t matter when it rains again cause we got each other in the dark of the night. We’ve got our Self, when it comes to it, and now the sun is shining and the Sagittarius optimism and wanderlust have us ready to dance.

To take a bigger journey than we think we can.

Yeah, we’re all going to die.

There’s a bobcat in the back yard.

I’m not perfect, and I’m often confused.

I felt joy deep enough this morning to milk tears from my eyes.

I can see a vision for the future that inspires me.

The blues are gone. And we’re going to keep on walking forward.

Tell Saturn your vision for the next 2 1/2 years. Let him tell you what needs some attention in your life. Do the work. And watch the vision unfold with his trustworthy blessings.

IMG_0629my best,

Elia

What inside you wants to be free?

John Dee's modified glyph from the Monas Heiroglyphica
John Dee’s modified glyph of Mercury from the Monas Heiroglyphica

I have to say I was surprised to see a small article on Mercury’s retrograde in the issue before last of the New York Times Sunday magazine. How high in journalistic esteem has the planet of communication (appropriately) risen! It was an interesting article which explored the power of the collective consciousness around the typical Mercury retro themes, but one fact in particular stood out for me: that more people “kind of” believe that astrology is “sort of” a science than believe fossil fuels contribute to global warming/climate change.

Huh? Interesting . . . isn’t it? The power of popular culture. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad there’s this kind of belief in the impact the cosmos has in our dance here on planet Earth, but I was somehow shocked at this statistic. Actually, it seems to me that when I converse with people many folks sorta do buy into in the power of Mercury’s retro, but they don’t actually believe in the efficacy of working with astrology proper to further their self-development. Kinda like many of us would never throw a bottle in the trash anymore, but not think twice about driving our gas-guzzling SUV.

But I digress.

Or do I? Aquarius is on my mind, being that Mercury will go retro in this sign (17 degrees) on the 21st (until Feb 1, 1 degree) and that the New Moon is just barely into the freedom loving, forward thinking water bearer tomorrow on the 20th.

beyondAquarius is all about progress, finding the new, better way to serve the tribe or collective. It’s about our dreams for a better life, resolving and moving past old traumas. It’s about inspiration rising up from the individual unconscious–courtesy of Uranus, ruler of Aquarius.

Mercury and Uranus are related, as they represent the higher and lower (or hidden, subconscious) mind of the individual. They are active, restless, electric. As the Sun begins its journey through Aquarius, Mercury’s retro will give us the opportunity to ask ourselves, where and how do I want to be more free? Where and how can I imagine society being more free? How can my thoughts, words, and ideas contribute to a better micro and macrocosm?

I believe it is true that we have to work on our inner before we contribute meaningfully to the outer. Many people don’t want to do this. They become lost in a world juddered by endless technology and unceasing distraction–shadow aspects of Mercury and Uranus and Aquarius. Without being willing to look at our collective and individual traumas, the energy of these planets becomes just so much more electric noise.

gliderThe New Moon, as we know, is a time to start afresh, especially in the themes of the sign it occurs in. The Moon in Aquarius is objective, less emotional, more rational and able and willing to see and hear the wider view. Willing to listen to what others have to say. It’s a good time now to look objectively at what is holding you back, and how you might create a little more freedom inside of yourself, a little less fear. Less fear=more room for inspiration. (Also a gift of Mercury retrograde.)

And then, carry that freedom, objectivity, and inspiration out into your community.

I’ll be exploring this same inquiry. Let me know how yours goes.

Blessings,

Elia

IMG_0629

 

[kuh-mit-muh nt]

lake leapCommitment.

I like dictionary.com’s definition #5: engagement; involvement.

Last year I took a bit of a spin on it, at least as far as this blog was concerned: a commitment to non-commitment. Yeah, I was having trouble understanding what I could do to help the world. What relevance astrology and intuitive guidance had for people starving in India, the victims of Ebola, those persecuted by cruel regimes anywhere.

Of course I still saw clients, because I love the work I do. And I watched them receive what I had to give, and do what they were able to do with their new information, or rebalanced chakras, or past-life resolution.

But to growing a greater presence, or a further claiming of my gifts for myself, let alone sharing them, I was non-commital. Kinda not engaged.

Why should I? my cynical parts reasoned. Everyone just wants a magic bullet and something for nothing. Or, How do I make personal growth relevant in a world of people just trying to survive?

(You see I had committed to being less of an ostrich via BBC world service podcasts and the NY Times. So I knew people were suffering. There are pros and cons to being “informed,” but that’s a different topic.)

But I noticed within myself, that my emotional roller-coaster of the past year kept pushing me onward to find solutions, reasons, expressions for my feelings. Understanding of the choices I was making. Chipping away at the “why am I here?” Trying to find more freedom within my psyche. In a word, growth.

And I noticed other people, a few anyway, doing the same.

So maybe I’m here to help who I can, how I can.

I’d like to help you, if you need something.

Do you wonder why you are here? Or why life is so tumultuous for you right now? Or how you can help yourself move forward in a particular area? Or how, even, you can find inner peace amongst the outer chaos, or more joy?

Are you a novice to self-exploration, just beginning to ask these questions?

Or are you a personal growth junkie (like me!) who’s hit a wall, a personal groundhog day, and needs someone who speaks your language to walk along with you for the next little way?

After a hiatus of a year, really, of writing about astrology and personal growth, I’m ready to step forward again and share what I have learned and am currently exploring. (I’m particularly excited about a couple of new tools–but I’ll let you know more when I’m deeper into the experiment).

This is my “I’m still here, how/where are you?” post. If you have a hankering to tap into the astro energies of the week, move along to my updated Star Talk page.

If you want to check-in, let me know what you’re doing, please do. I’d love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this, a poem by Naomi Shahib Nye, from her book Words Under the Words:

The Whole Self

“You put your whole self in
You put your whole self out
Whole self in and you shake it all about” (the Hokey Pokey)

When I think of the long history of the self
on its journey to becoming the whole self, I get tired.
It was the kind of trip you keep making,

Over and over again, the bag you pack and repack so often
the shirts start folding themselves the minute

you take them off.

I kept detailed notes in a brown notebook. I could tell you
when the arm joined, when it fell off again,
when the heart found the intended socket and settled down to pumping.

I could make a map of lost organs, the scrambled liver,
the misplaced brain. Finally finally we met up with one another
on a street corner, in October, during the noon rush.

I could tell you what I was wearing. How suddenly
the face of the harried waitress made sense. I gave my order
in a new voice. Spoke the word vegetables like a precious code.

Had one relapse at a cowboy dance in Bandera, Texas,
under a sky so fat the full moon
was sitting right on top of us.

Give me back my villages, I moaned,
the ability to touch and remove the hand
without losing anything.

Take me off this mountain where six counties are visible at once.
I want to remember what it felt like, loving by inches.
You put in the whole self–I’ll keep with the toe.

But no, it was like telling the eye not to blink.
The self held on to its perimeters, committed forever,
as if the reunion could not be reversed.

I jumped inside the ring, all of me. Dance, then, and I danced,
till the room blurred like water, like blood, dance,
and I was leaning headlong into the universe
.

Dance! The whole self was a current, a fragile cargo,
a raft someone was paddling through the jungle,
and I was there, waving, and I would be there at the other end.

Are You a Reliable Witness?

file8551233874461Have you ever had to identify a potential criminal in a line-up? Or recount to a police officer the events of a crime? if you have, you may know that it is very unlikely that you will report exactly the same thing as another person who saw or witnessed the same person or events. In the bank where I worked as a young woman just out of college with her recession-made-useless liberal arts degree, I began my employment right after the bank had been robbed. Each of the tellers involved told me a slightly different story, and none of them could describe the perpetrator to the investigation team (or me) with any universal detail other than he had brown hair. Even the teller who had been robbed directly couldn’t really remember the man’s face.

It’s true that experience, memory, and perception are VERY subjective. We all see the world and events around us through our specific filters: mood, numerous social factors, life experience, personality, culture. There are literally as many realities as there are beings to perceive the world.

What this means to me, as an astrologer, is that no two people are going to experience the energy of a planet in exactly the same way. While planets operate out of their archetypal patterns generally, how they affect each of us is very specific to our personal circumstances.

I bring this up because Mercury enters another retrograde cycle on October 4, at 2º Scorpio (heading back to 16º Libra by October 26). Then it will be in its “shadow” (the time it takes to journey back to and through 2º Scorpio again) until November 10th, which means that the themes of the retrograde are still in effect.

John Dee's modified glyph from the Monas Heiroglyphica
John Dee’s modified glyph from the Monas Heiroglyphica

The popular schtick about Mercury retro is to not sign contracts, get married, buy a house, computer, or car, and so on. All sorts of malfunctions, be they human or electronic, get blamed on Mercury at this time.

But. And.

The effects of Mercury’s cycle (and that of any other planet) are mainly dependent on how we personally witness and experience that cycle through the filters of our birth chart, our personality and life experience. My twin sister is going to have a completely different perception of the same astrological event that I will (usually–there have been very few exceptions), because as adults living thousands of miles apart with very different lives and orientations to the universe, we have different ways of seeing. We have different world views, different ideas about consciousness etc. Mercury can’t bring us the same experiences. It is impossible for me to tell you exactly what will happen during the retro cycle, and how you should behave, because of those same types of differences.

Here is where witnessing becomes germane. I can witness your life, but how I see it will be different that how you do. Only you can accurately witness your own experience (and experience your own witness, for that matter)–and I use the word ‘accurate’ with some trepidation, as it is a relative concept, like ‘truth.’ In any case, I encourage you, as a participant in astrological cycles, to become your own expert witness for how Mercury works with and for you. This way you become empowered to utilize the gifts that Mercury retrograde offers, to “make the gods work for you” as astrologer Caroline Casey might say.

Mercury in Scorpio wants to communicate about feelings, fears, intimacy issues, sex, power, death, and money. You know, the juicy stuff. Mercury in Libra is more intellectual and less passionate, seeks harmony, balance, and the pursuit of fairness. Any retrograde cycle wants to review the themes of the sign involved, wants us to look within, process behind the scenes, pause, and revisit. Here is as far as generalities will take us. Knowing the house(s) where the cycle takes place will help you refine the areas of life that may be most impacted. All this being said, take the time to really see what happens during this next few weeks. See how the generalities become the specific in your own life.

Jupiter-Painting-Butterflies,-Mercury-and-VirtueOf course, there are myriad other astro events going on and affecting the cycle too. Most notably we have the fire trine between Jupiter in Leo, Mars in Sag, and Uranus in Aries. Mercury in the Libra part of its passage will sextile Jupiter and Mars and oppose Uranus. This combination of events makes for some super-creativity and possibility. Using the retro to really refine ideas and creative impulses within the self–and act on them in some interior (as in, not public) way could be amazing. But again, you can watch all this energy pass by, and according to your own beliefs, conditioning, and world view, it can just be like so many leaves falling; you can only catch one in your hand if you reach out for it, with the belief that it is safe, interesting, or useful to do so.

The key to making astrology useful as a tool for evolution is to understand how it works for you. Be your own witness. Pay attention and take notes for next time. Though Mercury will retrograde through other signs and houses, you will get an idea of how the archetype of the messenger and communicator functions within your life and personal chart.

Have fun with it .. .

Blessings,

IMG_0329Elia

April’s Astro Rodeo

I, Cszmurlo [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
photo by Cszmurlo
I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to a LOT of astrologers’ comments on this eventful month of April. We have the rising energy of Spring (in the N. hemisphere) anyway, which always gets us feisty; tax season, cabin fever–the panic over winter weight gain . . . all the usual suspects. And, what we have in addition is some mega planetary activity stacking up for a pretty fascinating month.

Fascinating. That’s going to be my word for it, because I have sat with how and what to write about these energies and I come back to the deep unknown and what else can that be but fascinating?

Much good information is out there about the eclipses, beginning with the Lunar eclipse in Libra on Tuesday, followed by the Solar eclipse in Taurus on the 28th. The cardinal cross, in orb as we speak, hits its apex in between the eclipses, near the 20-23rd. I send you to my friend and fellow astrologer Emily’s excellent posts on the topic, virgomagic.com, for more deets on what is actually happening and her advice for riding the waves.

Meanwhile . . . . I don’t really feel that I want to add to the information that is already out there. There’s a lot happening, it is technical and complex. What will occur is change. Mutability on some magnitude, in some order, with varying degrees of resistance by me and you and everyone around us. We’re in a big bubbling cauldron of change already, though, so this shouldn’t be so surprising, or even unfamiliar. What we want to remember to do is stay present and breathe through each moment, be it “good” or “bad.” How we want to deal is to, in the words of my excellent friend Beth, “stay inspired and take lots of naps.” Not napping to avoid what is coming down the pike, but honoring that extreme times are trying, and that we may find ourselves needing more rest, more quiet time, more face time with whatever we call our Source.

I recently attended a small theater event during Boulder Arts Week. There were two shows on the bill, both excellent one-woman offerings that I thoroughly enjoyed. The second show was presented by Kelsie Huff, self-titled ‘stand-up storyteller.’ Her show was a dramatic, hilarious, poignant, kick-ass tale about her own life, and, I thought, a wonderful analogy for the astrology of April.  I don’t know how much of her story was truth, and how much comic and literary license. Nevertheless, what I experienced was a woman who took a fair amount of messed up adversity and turned it into a win for the audience, who identified, laughed, cried; and a win for her, as her wound became her healing and part of her art. She let her crazytown childhood motivate her to find and create something better–not denying what had/does/is happening in that realm of her life (family), but not being victimized either. The result was stellar. After experiencing some sadness in my own life, I can tell you I needed that 45 minute laughing cure.

So, what am I saying here? The astrological events of the month of April have potency now and for years beyond. Trends are being set up, paths being taken. The cardinal cross is a stress aspect; eclipses can be intense, fast, furious. We have here motivation to change. To take adversity, and turn it into something greater, more interesting, and hell, if we can swing it, funnier for ourselves. Change is our one dependable constant. Can we be flexible, present, feel our feelings, and be responsible for ourselves?–because at the end of the day, we are steering our own ship. If the house is on fire, grab the pets and get out, call for help. If you have something to say, find some neutral ground to speak from, and say it. If a dream/baby/new direction is in the birth canal, then don’t fight the contractions, let it come out. Don’t spend too much time looking for that lost sock–maybe you need to let it go.

Listen. Laugh. Sleep. Love. Know that there is a bigger picture, even if you can’t see it. I’ll try to do the same!

Nuff said.

Blessings, and enjoy the emergence of Spring!

IMG_0329Elia

(p.s.: I’d love to hear how your month goes, and your creative responses to what the universe pitches you)

A Confused Sea

imageIn the space of a morning–this morning–I spoke to a friend over breakfast about the nature of learning to love ourselves. We talked about the pain of being human, and the beauty of it too. No definite conclusions were arrived at, but what is true that in the connecting over our mutual and shared humanity there was comfort, and perhaps some wisdom gained, or a previously unseen thread revealed.

I returned home to find the mail from yesterday, and a card from my ex-husband. For those of you who don’t know me, our marriage was one of souls meeting and celebrating, and the ending of the relationship the entry into an emotional journey which utterly transformed my soul–as much as the marriage itself did. Time, forgiveness, understanding have mellowed the experience so that now a card from him is welcome; the contents shared some emotional and vulnerable details of his life, and I marveled again at the journey we all make. The journey to love, and fail, and die, and rebirth . . . the journey towards recognizing our Selves that seems to never end.

A quick shower and I was on the phone with another friend, ostensibly to talk about our goals as artists; that explored, she shared news with me of a mutual friend’s discovery of a terrible terminal illness present in his body, and he and his family’s exploration of the now imminent end of his life. We spoke of the death of a child she had known, and the unfathomable nature of this human experience.

Now I’m sitting, writing, watching the snow fall and listening to Max Richter’s Blue Notebooks, which is a soundtrack for many moods. I’m reflecting on the nature of existing with our fragile hearts, the preciousness of seizing our lives, however and if we believe our souls live on. I’m feeling how important it is to make the journey toward love and connection. How finding the connection between ourselves and others, between myself and the snow that falls, and the orchid that just died, and the man walking his dog and the geese on the lake is the only thing we are here to do, the only thing that matters.

By Nina from Australia
By Nina from Australia

It often takes death or heartbreak to spur us to reflection of these things; yet I am continuously impelled to create a life of meaning. To find the larger “why,” the greater truth behind what is present, yet largely unseen. The world seems turbulent, of late, like a confused sea. From the weather to the end of one life at 2 years old and another at 82 . . . from the shining moments of clarity about how to proceed with one’s life, or receiving the love of a friend, to the ineffable joy in just watching black ravens fly across a white sky . . .  to the pain of realizing I’ve cut myself short again on my ambitions, my cosmic to-do list, and that I’m still feeling afraid, misunderstood. There are currents and cross currents, and it’s hard not to feel buffeted about.

How to navigate such a confused sea? I know that over the last week Mercury and Jupiter turned direct, Saturn and Mars turned retrograde. The moon is waxing into a fullness that will culminate in Virgo. The energy from the cosmos seems as confused as I am, a complex dance of energies that balance, pause, turn in a pattern of movement that offers much yet defines little. Shall I feel? Speak? Retreat? A vision is struggling to emerge; a perception that how we feel about ourselves and each other is the largest area of growth, the greatest doorway to connection, and, if not joy, then an end to the isolation that seems to dog the human experience.  jupiter-v1_640x542Can we take the lessons of Jupiter’s journey through Cancer and expand our definition of family and home? Can we feel with the same exuberance with which we analyze and think? Will we speak with compassion and objectivity as Mercury retraces its steps back through Aquarius and into Pisces? Is it possible to face our relationship to ourselves and integrate the unexpressed pains of our lineage wounding to create a new inner harmony, as Mars and Saturn look inward to Libra and Scorpio respectively?

One need not know the movement of the planets to find healing, insight, and strength. Yet these heavenly bodies do create a symphony of energy that permeates all, and if I choose to listen–as I listen to music now–I may be assisted, inspired, informed. I don’t pretend to know the infinite nature of the universe, or the Truth, should one Truth exist. But I do know that opening to the existence of some greater pattern and meaning aids in the navigation of both a calm and confused sea.

Be both bold, and gentle!

Photo on 2011-08-05 at 16.21 #2Elia

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