Becoming Our Own Heroes

Feb 13th, 2013 Posted in General | Click to comment »

Photo: National News Post

During the first week of 2013, I realized that the energy felt completely different. While all of the aspects of life, positive and challenging alike are still present, the cumulative effect of 2012, its intensification of the polarities of light and dark, beauty and tragedy began to take its toll on everyone.

When I reflect on December, let alone the entire twelve-month cycle, it is truly stunning how much changed for so many people I know, myself included. Throughout the 365 days of change, it seemed like a series of cosmic explosions and alarms set by our higher selves in a realm out of time started rolling out an avalanche aimed at dismantling illusions, unconscious patterns, old myths and stagnation that hindered our individual and collective evolution. Eventually, this momentum caught up with us on an institutional, cultural and personal level, breaking apart and shattering the blocks so we could see into the areas in need of change. Simultaneously, the amount of love flowing from the heavens and through one another, the support from seen and unseen realms, and the wisdom awakening within that attunes us to accessible cosmic intelligence continues to be stunning in it’s beauty and bounty.

I believe this is a year where we must begin to do something with the profound lessons of this past era and lay the foundation for a new way of living. That begins with the acceptance that we are building on fresh terrain that is informed by a New Era – a New Earth.

As the water dragon year of 2012 is ending its tutorial on how to be our own heroes, it seems fitting that we are now being provided with a cosmic guide to assist us in learning how to move in this unknown landscape. This creature of the heavens is about to deliver us from the expansive vision of possibility to meet the primal steward of the earth herself: the snake.

What is even more fascinating is that both of these power allies of the Chinese zodiac are in the rare from of holding the dual elements of water. This element dissolves, flows and purifies. This awareness brought me back to thinking about the number 13 as a vibration tone to inform this year. One of the signatures of The Mayan cosmo vision is that it translates numbers into vibrational tones that imbue an energy into time. If we apply the description of this tone 13 to the year, the features include:

~Bridge

~Pure creator energy

~Ascension

~Spark of understanding

~Source connection

~Remembering

“The energy of thirteen propels the effort to try something new or to try again. Tone thirteen provides an energetic connection between what has been and what is to come. It is the bridge from the now into the next “now”. Thirteen frequency is Divine. It watches and loves and allows. The foundation for each of other twelve; sometimes referred to as cosmic glue. Tone 13 has a gentle and subtle energetic signature and is worth every effort to invite into your life.” – www.xzone.com.au

If 12/21/2012 was the ending of an era, bringing humanity to a place it has never been before, then it would make perfect sense to be supported with this vibrational tone of thirteen as the landscape for us as we wander and wonder about how to create our own paths. This description so beautifully reflects the task we are being asked to bring our efforts to as co-creators of our journey. It has been said that once the Hebrew slaves were freed from the oppressive bonds of the Pharaoh, there was a 40 year period when a generation wandered in the desert, not knowing how to self direct after being denied a hand in their destiny or personal vision for so many years.

While the circumstances of our contemporary culture are very different, we are witnessing and experiencing aspects of our systems, structures, personality characteristics and coping strategies breaking down with the compelling and powerful force generated by a primal desire for liberation and transformation into the next level of growth.

Remembering that we are conscious beings connected to our natural wisdom, the yearly lunar cycles offer us the guidance and perspective to gaze into a rear view mirror while we continue to move forward. From this point of view, January 2013 was a reflective moment. Now that we are approaching the New Moon in Aquarius, a sign known for it’s dedication to the individualist, visionary genius and humanitarian rights with a detachment from the emotional webbing of relationships, we can plant our luminous seeds for this year.

There are special instructions and intentions for these units of growth. You must be committed to them. The saying, “be careful what you wish for” could never be more pertinent then in our current situation as we hold our future in the palm of our hands. To make it more interesting, this continues to be played out in the cosmic classroom of mystery – as few really know what is going on with all the uncertainty in our midst.

Great Mystery is offering us one of the most amazing guardians and guides to stalk our destiny – the water snake or as I prefer to refer to this master ally, the Rainbow Serpent. In all mystical spiritual traditions, the serpent is a teacher to revere rather than a creature to fear. Right away the challenge to choose knowledge over fear is staring right at us.

“Each of the archetypal animals exudes a different flavor of energy. The serpent symbolizes knowledge, sexuality, and healing. Perhaps the most universal archetype, serpent has always represented the healing power of nature. The Western symbol of medicine is formed by two serpents intertwined around a rod. Moses carried a serpent staff when he led the Israelites through the desert. In Western mythology, a serpent brought us the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In the East, it is the coiled snake of the Kundalini energy. Serpents represents the primeval connection to the feminine and thus a symbol of fertility and sexuality. This symbolizes the essential life force that seeks union and creation. When I work with a person who has lost their passion for life, who has exhausted energy and enthusiasm, I connect them with the spirit of the serpent. I know that this will rekindle a longing for life.” – Alberto Villoldo.

This ally not only offers countless remedies to detach from our pain and suffering by shedding these old parts of self like it’s skin to be mulched by the Earth Mother, it also travels via our personal rainbow bridge of heaven and earth via the chakra system. In this case, taking the wisdom lessons of 2012 and using them as the root for manifestation at a three dimensional level is possible with the vibrations of the number 13 and the rainbow serpent forces accessible to us.

As soul level astrologer, Mark Borax, so powerfully states, “dancing with the snake is dancing with desire, fear, sexuality and the power to claim your greater role in the scheme of things. When the human heart and mind awaken and line up with the awakening power within, we harness the force to change the world.”

This requires us to trust our own instinctive knowing, the GPS of our own heart and become our own heroes. So sisters, put on the jingle belts and brothers take off your shoes. We are preparing to go on an adventure to make something meaningful out of this beautiful chaos of change. But first we need to recharge, renew and as the Hopi prophecy says, remember we are the ones we have been waiting for.

Upcoming Astrology Aspects 

Another cosmic weather point of interest is that two planets are going into retrograde cycles, a time to renew, review, restore and revisit. Saturn is going retrograde on 2/18 until 7/8. Saturn has been in Scorpio since 10/5 and if we track a lot of the intense activations in 2012, many find the Venus transit of 6/4 and the beginning of Saturn moving into Scorpio on 10/5 to be two key points that correlate with major change. When this planet reverses, it will go back over the terrain of this last quarter of 2012, for one more look at what got revealed, unraveled and exposed. It will be a time for more complete understanding in support of building the new structures that truly support the core values and fundamental truths for authentic living.

Our friendly oracle Mercury is also going retrograde from 2/23 to 3/17 in the watery sign of Pisces, where several other planets have floated, creating a sea of dreamy, poetic and philosophical energeries that can help dissolve the fears that have opposed growth or offer a means to get lost in destructive addictive cycles that distract from taking action. It’s up to you to lean into waters that can not be controlled but can move through places we could not get to on our own. More cosmic fun!

 2/10/13 New Moon In Aquarius

2/18/13 Sun moves into Pisces; Saturn goes retrograde until 7/8

2/23 Mercury goes retrograde in Pisces until 3/17

2/25 Full Moon in Virgo

3/11 New Moon in Pisces 

 

 

12-21-12 Keeping Our Date with Destiny

Dec 22nd, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, The Tribal Beat | Click to comment »

Ready or not – here we go! The winter solstice of 2012 is upon us. The awareness of this date has permeated the global culture as a day imbued with the unknown. Like anything we can’t fully understand until we experience it, the degree to which we are comfortable with aspects of the unknown can impact the way we relate or react to an approaching event of potential significance. Many of us who are students of universal wisdom traditions are aware that time is not measured by a clock or a calendar per se and that our perception of time can become altered and expanded when we sneak past the limitation of our minds and move into the realm of the spirit.

The notion that our life is really another version of a dream state has been a fundamental aspect of indigenous teaching and practices all over the world. The symbolic language of shapes, patterns and colors that can be found woven, painted and etched in rocks, clothing, art and objects hold the ancient stories of origin, legacy and  prophecy that invite us into an engagement with the unseen realms. We know how to do this as children but as we move through life, unless someone encourages us to believe in our natural expansive senses and relationship to the subtle realms, this aspect of ourselves often becomes buried or denied. Unfortunately, these abilities are part of our soul and spirit so as we get disconnected from the most vital and beautiful part of our essence, we can also become numb to the ways of living from the awakened heart.

So often people feel that they don’t know how to find their true calling, higher path or a remedy to heal an aspect of their life, but it is a journey we must all take – an initiation to discover who we really are – to crack the soul’s code.

Sometimes we must go on this mysterious journey of remembrance and transformation as a family, a culture and at times as a world. There are many prophecies that speak to a time when we will be faced with challenges that require us to rebuild the lost connection and respect for every living entity on our beloved planet – to live in harmony with one another so that we can move beyond the repetition of ego-based lessons of conflict, jealousy and misuse of power/domination. Most of these prophecies come from wisdom traditions that are based and shared in the unwritten oral form that are carried from one generation to another. Often these teachings are also archived into the sacred sites built upon the land original peoples called home. All of the ancient wisdom traditions followed similar basic beliefs that wove humanity into a much bigger conceptual system of the cosmos and the natural realms. This inclusive understanding can be seen in many traditions that speak to the trees, plants and animals as all our relations and can be reflected in the phrase “as above, so below”. This is why just about every ancient city or sacred site has an astronomy tower and intricate placement of windows, portals and carvings that align with the Sun, moon and cosmic events such as solstices and equinox cycles. There are buildings and temples built in the form of pyramids, which are part of sacred geometry systems that understand how these formations magnetize energy.

Time was marked and measured by natural cycles of planets, moon and sun, planting, harvesting, the four seasons and gestational periods. The lessons of timing were taught by studying patterns within these cycles. Astrologers and  Mayan scholars have been able to correlate times of crisis and innovation with planetary cycles and numerical patterns that are tracked by the significance of each day’s celestial and nature-based meaning. While many traditions pointed to this general timeframe when the world would reach a crisis or tipping point, the only one that gave us an actual date was the Mayan teachings. Different traditions are associated with mastery of many kinds. The Mayans are acknowledged to be sacred keepers of time. Their calendar is really made up of 17 different aspects of counting time that correlate with many cycles that require a lifetime of study to grasp. This tools have traditionally only been shared with those who have the “soul code” of the gifts to comprehend and translate such knowledge into vital information to serve humanity.

Over the past 50 year, more and more people have been “waking up” to the information that has been buried or ground down in our efforts to build a more efficient and productive world. But like a recipe that doesn’t taste quite right, we forgot to include elements that stabilize, honor and preserve what makes life precious and sustainable. As more awareness of the actual date of December 21, 2012 has become known by circles of scientists, researchers, futurists, mystics, astrologers, artists, luminaries and indigenious elders, they have begun to speak out about the significance of this time of great awakening, potential and responsibility.

As this date is the end of a 26,000 year era, this has “been on thebooks” for a while. It is thought that many of us designed our divine mapping so that we could be here on the planet to be part of this massive collaborative effort to birth a new way of living – heaven on Earth. As each one of us has a spirit and earthly aspect, the spiritual part of our self may be open and excited about this call to massive evolution but the human side is known to resist and fear change. Sometimes we can only find the willingness to surrender into the unknown when the situation we are in is no longer tolerable. We can even continue to engage in destructive behavior well after we know better because of our mental programing or human qualities of stubbornness, arrogance or pride. Even those of us who may have the soul’s code of higher consciousness or divine knowledge may still be dragging our feet as we remember how to walk the beauty way. As revered living saint Ammachi teaches, “if someone is really sleeping it is very easy to wake them up but if a person is pretending to be asleep there is nothing we can do – they must chose to wake up from within.”

Events are continuing to manifest thoughout the world like labor pains, serving as contractions to remind us that we have a date with destiny. Each time an event has occured throughout the world, it has cracked open our hearts with grief, outrage, wonder and awe at how fragile yet strong we can be as individuals and as a collective. Simultaneously, just about everyone I know has gone through some truly major life challenge this year. Interestingly, the difficulty, challenge or shift only occured in the area of their life that needed to be transformed. It’s as if we are being assisted to clear out the deadened areas to make room for new potential within the self. This is how we can truly grow these essential seeds of our evolution from the inside out.

We are being asked to grow up and become adults, co-creators of our world as one tribe. The Quechuan concept ayni – to live in right relationship with one another – becomes more relevant as the consequences of trying to “go it alone” will only result in more loss, pain and suffering for all of us. The Hopi speak of the fifth world we are moving into as a time of “The One Heart”. Just today on the news cycles the term “tipping point” is being used over and over to describe the culture of violence and infestation of assault weapons, the fiscal cliff we are dangling on, the reality of climate change that can be seen in the devastating storm systems, droughts and diminishing access to clean water and untampered soil. Really, what we are afraid of happening, has already happened; it’s just going to take a bit of time for us to figure out how to mobilize and act on what we know.

We learned in the last era how to become liberated and free by marching to our own drummer. Now, the drumbeat we need to align with is that of the Great Mother – her universal heart rhythms that sing a love song we remember deep in our being.

“The greater the emergency, the faster the emergence. The situation itself is empowering.” – Barbara Marx Hubbard

Activating and living from our soul’s code requires complete surrender, engagement, dedication and faith. As our essential nature can never be taken from us, we have the ancestry, the understanding and the vision to step into mystery together. As my beloved Grandmother Flordemayo so beautifully states,” we have the knowledge, we have the power and we have the protection.”

May we all find a sacred and sweet way to experience this renewed consciousness of global unity and a synchronization in support of illumination, transformation, healing and a true sense of interconnectedness with our universal tribe of humanity. Each of us has an important role to play in this beautiful massive shape shift as we are invited to manifest a deeper level of our divine potential.

I am so grateful to have such beautiful compadres to call my sisters and brothers. I look forward to sharing our adventures as we celebrate our collective birthday of 12-22-2012!

September Astrology Aspects & Exciting Announcement

Sep 14th, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects | Click to comment »

At a personal level, I find myself cleaning out the basements of my house and my psyche to make room for a new era that was offered in prayer but perhaps never entirely believed to be possible. Freedom from judgement and expectation allows our inner compass to offer guidance, comfort and manifestation of visions and dreams at an entirely new level, but only if we can respect the mystery as part of life.

It was just this level of trust that allowed me to follow the voice of the luminous Grandmothers and somehow by the grace of the goddess be brought to the glorious path of Grandmother Flordemayo, universal healer and member of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. I am over the moon with joy that she has agreed to share her precious medicine and powerful teachings with our Chicago community over the second weekend in October. What better way to prepare ourselves for that which is beyond the limitation of our minds than to be supported in the call to serve our potential from an elder who walks with the wisdom of her linage and carries an infinite capacity to appreciate the gifts of universal possibility?

Upcoming Astrology Aspects

9/15 New Moon in Virgo- set intentions for making dreams become reality through daily practices~

9/18 Uranus/Pluto square- stay grounded, focused and steer clear from drama~

9/22 Fall Equinox- Allow for a rebalancing of personal energies with gratitude for our spiritual harvest~

9/29 Full Moon in Aries- allow this courageous pioneer energy to empower something new in your being

The Gifts of Vulnerability

Jul 10th, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, The Tribal Beat | Click to comment »

No one has been exempt from the massive changes going on throughout our individual and collective lives. 2012 has been quite a classroom for change. Yet over the past several weeks, as the great Swami Beyondananda aka Steve Bhaerman so wisely puts it; “the shift has hit the fan”. 

For most who have been personally impacted, these shifts have felt like part of a floor was collapsing from under foot. These were not the parts that were strong and stable but the areas that were in need of repair or holding too much of the weight for the entire space. For the last several months, I’ve been getting call after call about abrupt losses in all life quadrants and while the energy of the change felt like a natural disaster, the place that got hit was the most in need of a radical and complete overhaul. All of these lessons were inviting (you can never force anyone to “get it”) those in the place of vulnerability to widen their spiritual heart space and allow new experiences and expressions of compassion and empathy. People who were sitting at a friend’s hospital bedside found themselves in the same bed one week later, some who are very capable athletes had temporary but significant injuries requiring them learn how to face feelings rather than turn them into physical fuel, people lost jobs they hated but couldn’t quit due to fear or ego issues. The examples continue with a consistent theme of switching the polarity of power and control from one side to the other in our selves, our work, our relationships and our world so we can be wrestled free from clinging to the old ways or outgrown patterns that no longer serve.

One source of these radical life change weather patterns can be seen when studying current astrology. These are the elders of the cosmic skies – Saturn, Venus, Pluto and Uranus – that are finally stepping in to give us a hand with the tasks we can’t seem to do on our own. Similar to when a parent is trying to let a child find their way to gain balance with a difficult task, at some point they might step in and give them a push or even an impatient nudge. This full moon in Capricorn on July 3rd shined it’s flashlight of responsibility, structure and authority to show us where and how to fix our problems or be the architects of our own rehab project: ourselves. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the architect of the zodiac. Saturn has just turned direct after a very intense retrograde cycle in Libra. Libra is ruled by Venus, who just went through its retrograde dance over the sun to deliver her message about living in our authentic hearts from a place of love, tolerance, balance and sharing. If it wasn’t enough that these two personal planets that direct us in a more individual arena are showing up, the more globally focused planet Pluto is also present. Pluto is the great cosmic magician and healer who has been working us to the bone of our self structure. Pluto has been in Capricorn for year three of it’s thirteen year tour of duty. Uranus is now squaring Pluto to make sure whatever we rebuild is done in a new and more evolved way in keeping with the dawning of a new era that is approaching. In addition, on the recent full moon day (July 3rd), Mars moved into Libra to help us find the inner warrior energy that we must summon to get the courage to not only face but even improve the most vulnerable part of our lives.

Mercury is going retrograde in Leo from July 14 – August 8th; usually a cause for caution or concern but I believe that this cycle is going to be a real ally to those seeking a more authentic and heart-centered way of life. Leo rules the heart with the force and power of the cosmic sun, restoring and inspiring us to live in the most authentic, creative ways possible. As Mercury moves back into the last several weeks of this intensely challenging time, we find the gems we lost in the chaos of the moment and even retrieve the ability to enjoy the journey – we can be carried by the river that got created out of the dark storm just days before. As the sun is still in the sign of Cancer, we are likely contributing to the waters beneath us with intense emotional feelings that are finally bursting with the full moon, yet this release can open the human centers of mind, heart and will to break old patterns necessary for real dynamic evolution on all levels.

This all sounds great but how do we stay in our hearts while admitting to the truth of what we see without the distortions or illusions and forge ahead to move the debris of the breakdown that is necessary for the freedom of the breakthrough?

I turn to one of my personal heroes, Brene Brown, for some home spun wisdom:

“Authenticity is a daily practice. Choosing authenticity means: cultivating the COURAGE to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable: exercising the COMPASSION that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit; nurturing the CONNECTION and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of  what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.

Authenticity demands WHOLEHEARTED living and loving -even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it.

Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite GRACE, JOY and GRATITUDE into our lives.”

-Brene Brown, Ph.D (text via JustBeEnough)

May & June Astrology Aspects

May 22nd, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects | Click to comment »

As we are nearing the mid-point of 2012, the sky is lighting up with opportunities supporting understanding, breaking old patterns and inspiring the mind with the authentic passion of the heart, wisdom of the spirit and voice of the collective planetary soul.

The pace is quickening with Gemini, the master of razor-sharp comprehension, who is piloting major planetary shifts over the next six weeks. The big news has to do with the two upcoming eclipses that will enhance abilities to understand and share our thoughts and connect them to the greater knowledge that is available during these transformational times. Gemini, ruled by Mercury, emphasizes greater learning and enhanced communication.

The first solar eclipse on May 20 will be visible in the northern hemisphere with the intuitive Moon intercepting the powerful rays of the Sun. This causes the moon to hold celestial court for a couple of weeks, allowing our deeper wisdom to rise to the surface of the self. This process will be supported by a retrograde Venus that is digging deep for us to become reconnected to our core values, priorities and true heart song. She is more concerned with us reconsidering choices and commitments then her usual attention to harmony and ease. So, it will be more important to temper all impulsive actions and interactions with a few deep breaths and some extra introspection before pressing the send button. June 4th and 5th bring an exquisite shift from the personal to the planetary attunement that highlights the dire beauty of this golden era.

The full moon in Sagittarius on June 4th harmonizes raw shifts in perception into more expansive truths that weave our individual priorities and goals into a constellation of the bigger picture we can aspire to achieve. Then, sweet Venus completes the other side of her first transit in 2004 by having the audacity to journey in front of the Sun to light up the sky with the message to love and preserve all life. Just to make certain that we don’t miss these messages, there is another new moon in Gemini on June 19th, giving us the final exam to see what we have learned.

May 15, 2012: Venus goes retrograde in Gemini

May 20, 2012: New Moon Solar Eclipse in Gemini aligning with the wisdom of the Pleiades Star System

June 4, 2012: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius

June 5, 2012: Venus Transit (not scheduled again for 121 years) please join our lakefront celebration in Chicago or check Watersongline International Lighting of the Lights Ceremony for event locations around the world

June 11, 2012: Jupiter goes into Gemini

June 19, 2012: New Moon in Gemini

June 20, 2012: Summer Solstice Sun goes into Cancer (whew!)

June 27, 2012: Venus goes direct

 

Honoring Our Mothers

May 19th, 2012 Posted in General | 2 Comments »

Everyone is touched by Mother’s Day because everyone has a mother. No matter what your ongoing relationship is to the person connected with filling the maternal shoes in your childhood, when the second Sunday in May arrives, it shines light on those who have served a profound and unique role in our lives. This day may have been created with good intentions but it often results in an annual mixture of sweet reunions, confused expectations, hurt feelings and uncomfortable interactions. These encounters can be complicated by a history of life experiences that have never been sorted through into a current and complete understanding. For those who have lost their mothers from a literal or symbolic death, abandonment, addiction or trauma, it can be a time when some aspect of grief or longing is re-animated.

Yet nothing touches the heart like mother love. It is one of the most powerful forces in the world. We can see this not only in humanity but also among animals who raise other species as their own or when dogs risk their lives to save their human companions in times of crisis. Many of us struggle with the paradox of seeking oneness with divine love while struggling with a self-imposed shield intended to protect our hearts from the person who brought us into life. So how do we accept, honor and make peace with our exquisitely human mothers while still remaining true to our own journey?

Photo via Wade Franklin

I was given this very task almost ten years ago after having just moved into a new workshop space. I was deep in my “mother phase” of life, busily  weaving nests for many forms of community including four women’s medicine circles. One of the processes I used to access guidance and direction for our work was to consult a spiritual council of elders in meditation and prayer. As I asked about what would be the most meaningful work I could invite the women to move into as we blessed this new space, I heard: “you need to honor your mothers”. I found this rather surprising as I had done so much “mother work” personally and we had all done intentional healing around our “mother issues”,  including clearing old patterns, cutting dysfunctional cords, releasing toxic emotions, stepping outside of the shadow of our relationships with this tremendously important person in our lives. I meditated and meditated on this but nothing came from my invisible guides.

Finally I got it: we were so busy looking at our journeys from our self-centered point of view that we chasing our collective tail. If we wanted to be free of the restrictive imprint of our mothers’ impact in our lives, we needed to understand our mothers lives! Further, walking a path of the sacred feminine requires that we break the spells of the cultural myths that put mothers on a wobbly pedestal that neither supports or accurately portrays the intense demands put on one person to do the job that requires a village. We needed to somehow be willing to hear our mothers’ stories in a fuller way.

So, that is exactly what we did. These brave and open sisters surrendered the hold that the past had on their point of view and stalked their mothers’ stories. Each month, three women were assigned to share their mothers’ stories with the circle. The daughter needed to tell this story starting from birth and filling in the facts sequentially with pieces found from photos, remarks, interviews with other family members, personal memories and intuitive awareness. Each story was unique but held similar qualities of a generation of women who were expected to squeeze their multi-faceted potential into a one-size-fits-all container. The emotions and reactions ranged from laughter and tenderness to outrage over the difficulties these women suffered through in their lives. We all came to feel compassion, forgiveness and true empathy for each of our mothers as individuals in a full and deep way. We could finally see them as women who had textured lives and we were able to see their wounds, triumphs, disappointments and achievements on their terms, instead of ours. We looked forward to witnessing not only the stories but the creative way each sister chose to bring her mother to life. One of the most heart breaking and touching moments was the song one sister played to recreate the essence of her mom’s journey.

Everyone felt and experienced some degree of transformation and peace as a result of doing this extraordinary personal piece of sharing and witnessing our mother’s stories. Since I was in four circles and we subsequently offered this opportunity in several weekend workshops, I have told my mother’s story many times and it is never quite the same. As I get older I find another nuance to her behavior or decision that comes to light. As I grow and change, so does she.  As I face new challenges in my life, hidden dimensions of my mother, aunts and grandmothers all get illuminated as well. Most recently, I was diagnosed with a condition that my grandmother had; and realized that my mother and aunt had passed away before they had reached their wisdom years. It was an “aha” moment of being humbled by the power of our lineage strains while charting a path with no generational groove to follow except the one in the stars.

Take a moment to contemplate your mother’s journey; the light and the dark. This appreciation for her experience does not bind you to her pain, knot you into her expectations or require you to alter your truth for self care and strong boundaries. It simply loosens the grip of fear and provides an opportunity for self acceptance, allowing the human and spirit parts of the self to be re-balanced and re-woven into the greater web of life.

Own Your Power

Apr 8th, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, The Tribal Beat | Click to comment »

Photo: Moyen Brenn

Imagine the journey of a new spring flower growing up out of the dark Earth container, a chick pecking out it’s shell, a butterfly scratching out of the cocoon – when the alarm clock of growth rings within any living being, a primal force pushes potential into form. Each spring we have countless examples of this spontaneous change from dormancy into rapid manifestation all around us. Our experience of this feels very magical no matter how many seasonal changes we have gone through on our walk along the medicine wheel of life. Yet, spring is the most magical of all as so much manifests literally before our eyes.

I often hear fellow Chicagoans wishing that we had a longer spring season. Well, this year Mother Earth heard us! After the warmest March on record, we are now surrounded by an early burst of spring calling us to savor her majestic beauty. This “super” spring comes just in time for a strong April filled with energy to support the primal forces that are pushing us to surrender to the yearning for evolution and express who we are at a core level.

The first week of April is full of change. On April 4th, Mercury goes into direct station from a lesson-filled retrograde cycle. Similar to when construction is completed, the structure is repaired but the clean up can be intense. The next day on April 5th, Venus goes into Mercury (more on this in the May newsletter) to usher in a glorious Full Moon in Libra on the sacred day of Good Friday and the first night of Passover. This Full Moon brings the intentions we planted on the potent New Moon in March to life. This Full Moon is cast with the light of the sign Libra that asks us to seek balance, justice and beauty in all areas of relationship. On top of that, Saturn is retrograding in Libra so more construction for interpersonal improvement is illuminated with this cycle. Mercury, the messenger, is now returning order to our communication as well as revealing information from deeper levels of understanding. However, Mars is not quite finished weaving our actions with higher intentions and greater awareness of personal accountability. This has caused us to keep the lid on a lot of energy and desire to take action. I invite us to look at this moment of restraint as an opportunity to learn about intention, focus, alignment and essentially learning to manage our power.

Power is a provocative area of inquiry. Many of us feel that the world has become embedded with the misuse of power at an institutional level, fueled by the fear of change and loss of our collective soul.
The current imbalance around the sacred preservation of all living beings points to the urgent need to return decision-making to the wise hands of those who understand the preciousness of life, the sacred feminine or the return of the Great Mother.

Most of us, men and women alike, have no clear idea what it means to feel safe to cultivate masculine energy within. For some, our yang energies have been unconsciously fused to an artificial archetype of the aggressive or suppressed masculine to compete daily in a system that doesn’t align with our true values and heart song. Just as we all need to do our work in healing our relationship with the feminine; the same is true for making peace with the wounds we all carry from a driving dominant force that has literally or symbolically threatened our very existence.

The synchronicity of Mercury going direct on the anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, coupled with the wisdom of this Full Moon shining on the ancient ritual of Passover and teachings of Christ, reminds us that the true source of power lies with one’s ability to stand up to oppression in the name of valor and truth, while still keeping a compassionate heart-space open. As Malcolm X so beautifully stated, “stand in your passion. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.

It is essential that we deconstruct our myths, assumptions and inherited confusion so that we can claim our capacity for true self-determination. Without personal or environmental life force, there would be no growth, movement or achievement. In the same way we long to return to more natural ways of living while responsibly incorporating recent advancements, the universe is challenging us to take ownership of our personal power in an authentic and conscious way. Striving for balance requires that we know ourselves without judging or blaming ourselves. One of the reasons many cultures have rites of passage is so that children know who they are before entering into a society that needs them to contribute their gifts.

Stripping away to find our core invites us to reengage with the adventure of life. Dedicate April to the goddess Artemis who is the protector of the forests and runs with the wolves. Reanimate the essence of the Peter Pan or Tiger Lilly of childhood and make a walk in the park become an exploration into the magical forest. Stalk mastery by taking up a new skill that holds levels of development.

Have the audacity to try something new, be in the power of the moment and be willing to “act a fool”. When the vital life force energies have reignited your fire within, think about what is worth serving and dedicate the newly blessed warrior within to the noble act of surrender. Happy Earth Month!

April Astrology Aspects

The April sun shines in the cardinal fire sign of Aries, overseeing retrograde cycles of Mars and Mercury and by mid-month rolling into the fixed earth sign Taurus  with a retrograde cycle starting in Pluto. This position takes over for Mars with higher aspirations for more transformational upgrades in support of authentic soulful living. I truly believe that these initiations and challenges of the first half of 2012 are the most intense we may experience in preparation for the completion of this mystical evolutionary time. Think of yourself as the bow, the arrow and the archer – flexible, stabilizing, focused, intentional, and trusting of the intuitive intelligence and divine timing in the adventure of life.

April 4 Mercury goes direct after retrograding back into Pisces.
April 5 Venus moves into informative, conversational Gemini for four months, preparing for her solo act in May.
April 6 Full Moon in the romantic, justice-seeking, fair-play sign of Libra, highlighting the status of our relationships. Good Friday (and Easter Sunday) and the first night of Passover invite us to align with re-telling of ancient stories of courage, profound faith, radical love and following a path of liberation – all of which still offer wisdom in our contemporary lives.

April 10 Pluto goes retrograde in Capricorn until June to go over and tweak the changes we have already instituted to improve our lives.

April 13 Mars goes direct in Virgo on what some believe is a fated day. 13 is a very sacred number to the mystical feminine energies as it resonates with the completion of the yearly lunar cycle of 13 moons.

April 19 Sun moves into the earth-loving and sustainability-oriented Taurus.

April 21 New Moon in Taurus- perfect day to plant something that holds your dreams for manifestation.

April 22 Earth Day! Be kind to the Earth- take each step as a prayer for healing and a way to send love to our Mother.

2012 Spring Equinox: Growing Golden Seeds for a New Humanity

Mar 8th, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, General, The Tribal Beat | Click to comment »

Photo via Catinatree

There is a saying, “we are what we perpetually do”. This spring offers us a chance to commit to what we say we want for ourselves by giving us rich and fertile ground to plant our intentions for this special transformational year. On March 8, 2012, there is a full moon in Virgo that will illuminate what we need to bring into balance in the domain of daily habits; especially as it pertains to work and health. Virgo is one of those signs that cares about the details and making the dream into reality. No matter what we think or wish for our lives, if we don’t make it real through mindful action; it has limited value. One of my first teachers in Andean spiritual traditions, Alberto Villoldo, used to refer to this teaching from the earth-honoring tradition. He would say that you had to be able to manifest what you believed in; or “grow corn” from your ideal concepts, otherwise, you were not truly practicing what you preached.

This call to align philosophy with regular embodied practice is one of the reasons why activities such as meditation, yoga, gardening, cooking, cleaning and caring for others all ritualize life into a series of actions. Some habits support our growth and well-being and some support our suffering and dysfunction. Once again, it is what we think or the attitudes we hold about life that inform HOW we show up to these tasks. If we believe we can’t change, then we usually don’t change, unless something pushes us out of our mental box of limitations so we can take a risk.

In years past, our world has supported the stance of ‘status quo’ as the preferred vibrational tone with the black sheep or rebels of the culture (formerly thought of as most of us reading this piece:-) stepping on the path less taken. With the galactic wrecking ball moving through just about all of our cultural cornerstones; the shake up has been brutal but we can see through the illusions and limitations of the old rule-books. The instant karma of those clinging to old models of power and control over others as a means to maintain personal gain can be seen every day. Most of us are recreating or inventing some part of our lives as the result of these changes. This gives us a chance to focus the need to establish new patterns with our core values.

So how do we clarify our truths and summon the courage to act on them? This 2012 Spring Equinox energy is sure to assist us in using our energies in a meaningful way. Right after a full moon in Virgo on March 8th, Mercury (the messenger) goes retrograde in the youthful sign of Aries from March 12th until April 4th. As most of us know, when Mercury goes retrograde it is a time to remember, reflect and renew rather than start new projects, sign contracts or generally hurry through anything. In addition to this regular 119 day cycle, Mars is also retrograde with this Full Moon in Virgo. Aries is a very catalytic energy that bolts us into the beginning of the astrological new year around midnight on March 19th. This is the day of equality; the Spring Equinox is a traditional time to plant the seeds for the year’s crops. With the new moon just a couple of days later on March 22nd, the energy for power planting is even stronger. It can be helpful to note that Mars rules Aries, so this phase is more concerned with understanding and using our energy in a way that supports our daily life rather then barreling through it. This could create some frustration and irritability as primal energies are diverted into a more ordered process.

Another way to illustrate how special this cosmic energy might support our future is to reflect on how many of us are thinking about what is in our food and water and how we can help preserve and restore the purity of soil, seeds and streams. Each of us embodies the interconnected web of life; we cannot become healthier without caring for what sustains us at the most basic level. This invites us to take more ownership over what inhabits our inner and outer self. This also extends past our physical body into our emotional, mental and psychic aspects as well. During these retrograde cycles, it is a perfect time to embrace the changes our lives and the world is requesting of us. Focus on channeling the fiery and potent spring fever into steps that make a staircase to our higher self and a better world.

Take some time over the next few weeks to think about what you really value and hold precious and the areas you would like to see improve in your life. Then reflect on what you sense contributes and opposes enhancing and cultivating growth. Imagine you hold three golden seeds in your hand – seeds that hold the origin and potential for the most beautiful, abundant and fulfilling growth cycle. One seed is for you, one for your family or closer community and one for humanity/planetary family. You will be planting these luminous seeds in your three centers: divine will, higher heart and wisdom mind. See how being the soil for these seeds impact how you care for your self and interact with others, remembering they are carrying not only their golden seeds but your future is being influenced by their actions as well. Once we are out of these reorganizing cycles, the new imprint of our intentions will be assimilated into our 2012 action plan for taking responsibility of our own backyards as well as being co-creative stewards of our collective gardens just in time for Earth Day!

Upcoming Astrology Aspects

We are moving into a super cell spring season that can be tapped into to break old habits that do not serve and to energize innovative growth and expansion of projects that have seemed stalled. Until the upcoming retrograde cycles are complete in mid-April (except Saturn’s cycle which goes direct on June 25th), it’s best not to launch big new projects.

March 8, 2012: Full Moon in Virgo
International Women’s Day -Thank a woman you admire for sharing her gifts with the world; support organizational efforts that protect and enhance the rights of women for fair and equal opportunities and demanding safe environments for girls and women to live and work. Please visit our web site to view some of the organizations we love that serve girls and women throughout the world.

March 12, 2012: Mercury goes retrograde in Aries until April 4, 2012, hitting its mid-cycle at the new moon on March 22, 2012.


March 13/14, 2012
: Venus in Taurus joins up with Pluto in Capricorn and Mars in Virgo to create a strong and vibrant grand earth trine that astrologer Simone Butler describes as “a magical alignment is a rare opportunity to realize and stabilize our dreams- especially financial” and recommends we invoke Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of abundance to bless our prayers and visions.

March 19/20, 2012: The Sun moves into Aries to launch the 2012 Spring Equinox – The new year day of the zodiac, first day of spring when light and dark equalize, making it a beautiful day to ritualize intentions to bring our lives into balance.

March 22, 2012: New moon in Aries offers the most potent time to set intentions for the next six months. Because Mercury is retrograde in Aries, this auspicious new moon opens up a slightly bigger window of several days to work on visioning our dreams into form as well as rededicating ourselves to the practical (Virgo in Mars) steps necessary to take us to these inspired dreams.

 

Occupy Your Heart

Feb 7th, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects, General, The Tribal Beat | 1 Comment »

February has the theme of heart medicine written all over it. It is National Heart Awareness Month, with special attention being given to educating women on warning signs unique to our gender. As the Celtic goddess Brighid lit the fire of inspiration and regeneration on Imbolc to honor the stirring of an approaching Spring, the golden gates of the Chinese New Year got blasted open with a 15 day celebration to honor the Year of the Water Dragon. We will have a glorious Full Moon in Leo on February 7, 2012; the same day that Saturn goes retrograde in Libra. And of course we have Valentine’s Day on February 14th, which can either offer a playful moment for sharing our love or a means to sink into self judgment or drift into longing about relationships. It might even take us back to our schooldays when we had a shoebox filled with valentines containing mixed messages and confusing feelings about the word “love”.

Occupy Your Heart

Photo: Pixie_Bebe

Saturn, the planet that takes a magnifying glass to the structure and patterning of our lives, rotates through each zodiac sign for 2 and 1/2 years. Having taken up residence in Libra for the last two years, it has been helping us understand and improve the Libra qualities of our lives: balance, justice, fairness, beauty and yes, one-on-one relationships. As Saturn is ending its relentless tour of duty on October 5; the retrograde process offers the final inspection for these areas so we can take responsibility for meaningful change in how we show up and interact in the world of relationships.

This full moon in Leo offers us a bright communal flame to re-light our own inner fire. Leo rules the heart and features integrity, leadership and creativity. This energy encourages us to put our “heart” into whatever we do, inviting us to examine the health and wholeness of our heart functioning. We often refer to the heart as a driving force motivating our actions, thoughts and feelings, yet this vital engine is fueled by beliefs; just like any other dimension of our human experience. Each of us interprets the sensations we associate with the heart. It may serve as a place of peace and wellspring of love or it may reinforce the shadow behaviors that contribute to leaking precious energy or wasting our time on people, places and things that are not serving our higher selves.

Wisdom teachings of all traditions tell us that it is the spiritual heart that offers the internal compass for guidance towards what is best for us. The soul and heart are interchangeable terms that refer to the essential core within us that holds understanding of our true needs for personal growth and manifestation of our potential. The animating energy for this spiritual heart is love and the generator is passion. It is good to keep in mind that the energetic heart is a complex vessel that has many facets and dimensions within that need to be cleansed, energized and connected so that the soul can hold court in this golden chamber of divine love and light. Just like the box of valentines from our childhood, the heart can store the mixed messages of delight and hurtful memories of our life experiences. This fear and false protection can turn into resistance, constriction and numbness in the heart center. These energetic blocks can be just as dangerous as the physical ones for our health and well being.

This full moon phase holds the remedy we need to take back ownership of our heart. By aligning with the energy of optimism fueled by a divine fire, we can re-ignite our passion without the drama of old perceptions and attachments. Puran and Susanna Bair, founders of Heart Rhythm Meditation offer clear and deep methods for healing the heart in their book, Energize Your Heart: “When your heart is energized, the world becomes a much more beautiful place. Do not be concerned about protecting your open heart. What comes out of your heart has more impact upon you than what comes toward your heart.” Building a bridge from the will to the heart requires courage, faith and forgiveness.

Just like the activists who have found strength in their outrage over the imbalance of power that shuts out full access to resources, we need to break through the resistance and occupy our hearts!

Here is a simple visualization/meditation that utilizes the energies of the full moon combined with the Saturn and Mars retrograde to reclaim ownership of the heart center:

In a quiet setting allow breaths to deepen and lengthen. Balancing inhales and exhalations, allow the breath to drop down into the center of your chest. Imagine the sphere of the full moon encasing the heart center so that the depth, range and wholeness of the heart center can be rejuvenated with this nourishing sense of fullness. Continue breathing with a shift of focus to the crown of the head, connecting with the energy of the sun, which is connected with the heart and Leo. Allow the strength, vitality, power and warmth of the sun’s rays to flow into each in breath, washing the walls and interior sections of the heart. Allow any trapped memories and associated fears; emotions and mindsets to be burned off like the morning fog and cleared with each exhale. Finally, remembering that the sun is a star, let the bright positive magic of your North Star reanimate the passion, love and buoyancy of your healthy heart, returning to its natural rhythm, beating a strong and stable heartbeat. Finally, anchor your intentions into the sacred chamber within the heart center so your soul is back in charge of the epicenter of your life, emanating courage and optimism.

As Leo also focuses on creativity and the needs of the inner child, you may want to make a Valentine’s Day box decorated with images that symbolize what makes your heart happy and joyful. Fill it with little notes of prayers, dreams and wishes for yourself, family, community and our beloved planet so we can make 2012 the year of the Happy Heart~

Welcoming the Ultimate Power Ally for 2012: The Water Dragon

Jan 23rd, 2012 Posted in Astrology Aspects | 2 Comments »

As we are searching for clues to understand what 2012 holds for us, these astrology cycles in January and February offer the mystical cornerstones to frame a big cosmic picture of change, evolution and possibility. As discussed in my recent January newsletter, the first full moon is offering us the wise gaze of the Grandmother Moon who is watching over us and making good on the prophetic teachings of several lineages that 2012 is the Return of the Great Mother.

Further signs of this restoration can be seen as we approach the first new moon on 1-23-2012 in sign of Aquarius which is also the beginning of the Chinese New Year and a Mars retrograde cycle in Virgo. Just as full moons are times of creative fullness, revelations and wholeness, new moons offer a respite into the quiet darkness of the void to reflect, release and renew. As all of life begins with a seed imbued with the code of its potential that must make a journey into form, the new moon offers a window of protection for that which needs the comfort of the dark to be free to commune with Great Mystery. It is felt that this is the most powerful time to do deep healing work of exploring what exists in the hidden parts of the self for understanding, cleansing and rebirth.  It is only after preparing the soul’s garden that we can entrust seeds of our hopes and dreams with a healthy environment resonant with growth.

The first new moon phase we enter into is in the sign of Aquarius. I like to think of this sign as the rebel with a cause as it has a bit of detachment and lack of sentimentality that is required if we are to let go of the attachments to the past that may limit the spiritual quest for self knowledge and actualizing one’s potential. Aquarius pushes us to think outside the box, exploring new possibilities for the self and for humanity. As Aries is moving through Uranus; ruler of Aquarius; there is a bit more of an impatient, fiery tone that can cause us to feel more of an impetus to change our lives right way.

The first new moon of the year often corresponds with the 15-day celebratory cycle of the Chinese New Year. The guardian of each year is part of a 12-year rotation featuring an array of animals as well as the five elements. 2012 hit the jackpot landing on the dragon, thought to be the most powerful energetic force casting good fortune, endurance and happiness. This dragon rides in on the elemental wave of water, which serves to soften, sooth and bring a yin-like balance to the intensity of the Dragon. The last time this combination reigned as the animal gatekeeper of the cosmic calendar was in 1952!

2012 Year of the Dragon

All animals hold special wisdom teachings that can be understood when we respectfully witness the life patterns unique to the species, yet the dragon is the only one of the 12 in the Chinese zodiac that is mythical in nature. How perfect that a creature associated with magic, imagination and overcoming our fears is leading us into a new era of transformative change. When I realized that this was the year of the water dragon my thoughts immediately went to Kuan Yin, the beloved goddess of mercy and compassion. Kuan Yin, like the water dragon, holds the power and grace of the divine feminine principle emanating unconditional love, forgiveness and liberation from suffering. Ancient and contemporary stories in language and imagery demonstrate her endless abilities to shape shift into as many as 33 manifestations to reach those in need of a dose of loving kindness and protection. To me, this Great Mother ascended master is ushering in 2012 on the back of the mystical dragon in support of a cosmic synchronicity to support the re-balancing and healing of humanity.

As I was meditating on the dragon I remembered a day years ago when I went to the Art Institute with my daughter’s class. First we toured the Asian art section, where many versions of Kuan Yin could be seen as part of the cultural history. As we moved into the section of European art, there were images of the hero/knight in active quest to free the princess held captive by the dangerous dragon in the dark cave. What struck me was not as much the cultural stereotypes of female and male per se but more the separation of the feminine into two aspects: the acceptable depiction as seen in the passive princess and her wild passionate power contained in the dragon that lived in the darkness of the cave. Really this separation of the mysterious undomesticated aspect of self was exiled from both genders. During this meditation, I was taken to a cave to meet a wisdom keeper and ally in support of healing disowned parts of the self, the shadow and ultimately reclaiming this primal power. Only a misunderstood mythic creature like a dragon could teach me to nurture rather than reject unacceptable aspects held in the bonds of outgrown judgment.

By accepting and appreciating the dragon, we can set the distortions free and liberate our energy and self determined path. As the revered Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield states, “There are statues of fierce demons standing guard at the gates of most Buddhist temples. To enter the sacred space of the temple you must pass directly between them. The need for transformation of our demons is universal. We all suffer at times from our personal demons, whether those of confusion, anger, self-hatred, trauma, longing or loss. Collectively the force of these same demons create enormous suffering on the earth. We will have to face the demons with a great heart of compassion. We can learn to transform their energy and find freedom in their midst.” Another brilliant contemporary teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, Tsultrim Allione devotes an entire book to this quest for resolving inner conflict in “Feeding Your Demons“.

This auspicious 15-day window from 1-23-12 to the full moon of 2-7-12 is further supported by the beginning of a Mars retrograde cycle in Virgo, which shifts the aggressive warrior energy of Mars so that we can temper the Dragon using its fearless transformation energy to venture into our selves; dissolving self-sabotaging obstacles to make peace with ourselves. It is only with peace in our hearts that we can serve as activists for a more just and caring world.

As Virgo rules daily rituals and routines that support work and health, this new moon phase is a perfect time to initiate simple rituals that support and strengthen our desire to practice self love. This intention can be infused with any task that requires attention to personal care, the most simple being breathing in love and out fear or any two words that have associations with enhancing the quality of our lives and detaching from the portable prisons of our thoughts.

So open the doors in your house and heart to release old grudges, attitudes, patterns and habits letting the winds of change liberate mindsets, behaviors and emotions that do not support your higher aspirations. Practice acceptance and surrender to all that comes with the blessings of the water dragon as we ride these waves in service to the co-creative dream for our possibility. And keep some of this enchanted water to nourish your magical 2012 seeds of hopes and dreams!

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