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

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

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

And Again, With Feeling

Oh my. Holy handkerchiefs batman, but is it a crazy world out there these days. Almost everyone I know is embroiled in a three-hanky version of their own life, and I myself made it through one box of tissues at least this weekend. What is the meaning of so much chaos and emotion, such lack of clarity, such a squeezing feeling, in fact, as many people are reporting it?

Well, we’ve had a big ol’ bunch of planets in Pisces, and this will continue for a while yet. Today as I write, Venus is conjunct Chiron and Saturn and Pluto are in sextile, and Jupiter is square to that Venus/Chiron snuggle-fest. I feel the eye-rolling of my non-astro speaking friends, so let me elucidate.

First off, this Pisces emphasis creates a sea of confusion and clarity, a tidal ebb and flow of emotions and insights that come in waves and then recede. There’s not much to be done about this except to extend the blanket of compassion towards oneself as we find ourselves parched and adrift upon this wide sea. The whole point, in fact, may be to develop compassion for our essential humanness, our good-enough-ness in each moment as we do our best to understand and get by.

The Venus/Chiron conjunction asks for us to extend love to ourselves in our deepest wounded places, and Saturn’s retrograde in Scorpio lends a hand in the gentle but fearless inquiry into where we feel the most incapable and alone. Where we struggle in intimacy with others, and indeed, in intimacy with the Divine. The thing to remember here (and goodness knows I say this for myself!) is not to push, to temper the sense of urgency that comes when we feel our squishy bits getting trampled. It is true that the subconscious will move away from pain with whatever means is to hand, and we may find ourselves falling into our escapist tendencies (shadow Pisces) to avoid feeling our feelings. They won’t go away if we do this, merely be stored in our body and energy fields for dealing with at a later date.

This brings us to the nature of the Jupiter square from Gemini to this Pisces energy. As the emotions are stirring, and soft places being activated, the mind is struggling to make sense of it all. What do I want? What do I feel? Do things have to be so black and white? There may be pressure to analyze and remain in a mental space, yet we must allow the feelings to flow. The most helpful response to this is to move out of duality, to use our minds to witness our emotions, and to temper our desire to react in the moment. Active listening to ourselves and others is more useful in this fraught time, and responding with awareness rather than shooting off our mouths. The other aspect of Jupiter in Gemini is to skim the surface of all this chaos, distracting the self with a flood of information or activity; overdosing on the Scrabble app or CNN or Downton Abbey.

Feel more, talk less, pay attention to how you feel in your body. It can be as simple as noticing what makes you feel open inside, and what makes you feel squeezy. Apply compassion, remove urgency. Notice your courage in the small things. Applaud your ability to get out of bed, amp up the gratitude for 3 small things that got you through the day. And if you can, move past your fear of the other, and ask for help.

Blessings,

Elia

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