Re-writing your narrative this Mars retrograde

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It’s important to be deliberate and specific in what we want – often our stories have been shaped unconsciously. As a child you may have been told that you were lazy, selfish, useless, dumb, not creative, weak, pathetic… I know I was. It has taken me a long time to go over all these implanted limiting thoughts and re-examine them, discarding them when I realised that they were both untrue and harmful.

With Mars retrograde in Aquarius from now until September 2018, this is a great time to re-invent your story and re-write your narrative.  Words are spells, and the stories we tell ourselves about our lives are powerful in shaping our experience. Limiting beliefs often stand in the way of us accomplishing what we want and need to accomplish in our lives. In this post I will share with you my ritual for re-writing my narrative this Mars retrograde.

My Mars retrograde re-writing ritual:

  • First, write a re-cap of your story over the past few years focusing on what you have achieved, and how far you’ve come.
  • Second, because we have to be aware of what we want to transform, write down the limiting patterns and beliefs you are aware of in every area of your life – I did this focusing on the themes of each astrological house.
  • Thirdly, meditate on each area/house, and intuit what kinds of affirmations/messages you want to replace these limiting thoughts with.
  • The fourth step: be specific – for each of these areas make a list of very specific things you want to think, feel, see, and experience.

I have not quite gotten to step four yet but I will share my limiting patterns and affirmations below in case they are useful.

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Image from The Tiny Totem

1st house – feeling like I’m not good enough/not doing enough/not a good shining person

Affirmations: I am good enough – as I am – I am enough – I do enough – I shine and radiate warmth – I am good and whole – we are all good enough if only we can recognise it – I do well to be myself – I am proud of myself – I am a wonderful person – we are all wonderful beings – I am here to learn and share – I accept myself through and through. I love and approve of myself, 0 I am doing my best – we are all doing our best – I am whole and centred and full of light.

2nd house – not having enough, scarcity, fear of loss, financially disempowered, undervalued

I have enough – I am blessed with abundance – I am grateful to have everything i need and more – I have so much that I can share – I am generous and kind and giving with healthy boundaries – I am valued by others – I have strong values – I am secure in myself and my path. I have a fabulous income and I spend it on things that I value – I own just enough (not too much, not too little) – I have everything I need.

3rd house – lacking in confidence RE communication and esp in job interviews, fears about not being a good enough writer, frustrations with communication, meaningless communication, anxiety and unhelpful social media habits, wasting energy, dishonesty

I communicate confidently and with ease – I am intuitively guided to say what is best suited for the situation – I can be honest and open and safe by listening to my intuition on what is a good thing to say at the time – I listen to intuition – I come accross as competent and confident – I am a wonderful writer – people enjoy and appreciate and value my writing – I get lots ofgood and useful feedback – I communicate calmly and clearly – My communications are meaningful and I listen well – I am good at calming myself and centering myself in my body – I have healthy and productive communication habits – I use my time effectively – I integrate information and knowlegde to effectively share understanding with a wide range of people who are receptive to me.

4th house – Feeling frustrated/grumpy at home, and playing into power struggles with the child

I have a wonderful home-life – I am safe and comfortable and at-ease in my home – my home routines are good for my health and wellbeing – I spend enough time alone and looking after my needs – I nurture and noursish myself well – my home is beautiful and practical – I keep only the things I need, want, use and love, the things that enhance my life and bring me joy – my home is a solid foundation – My early life and family patterns have given me wonderful learning experiences and I process and let go of the emotion that no longer serves me. I live in healthy balance with my home and family, past and present. I take responsibility for my role and for my ability to help. I feel supported, connected, nurtured, and loved.

5th house – feeling insecure and anxious about creative exposure, fear of death through vulnerability/character assassination

I celebrate my creativity – I celebrate my creative work – I stand by my creative work – I feel good about my creative practice – I feel proud of my novels and other creative writing – I am comitted to my creative practice and to sharing it with the world in good ways – I have valuable things to say and my creativity helps me to share understanding with a wide audience – I am strong enough to stand in my vulnerability – I enjoy receiving useful feedback and let go of anything that is superflous to my needs – I understand that people project all kinds of things into what they read and I only take on-board what is useful for me – I am proud of my creative character and I am resilient. My creative practice is a balanced part of my life – I have a strong need for creative expression and I feel fulfilled in my creative practice – I share bravely!

6th house – feeling resentful/frustrated/disempowered about work, feeling like I ‘have’ to go there, rather than like I want to be there – feeling tired/low energy/afraid of exhaustion

I’m full of energy – the work that I do gives me energy – the work I do is meaninful and empowering – I am putting my skills and talents to good use – I’m contributing in a meaningful way – I work with great people – I enjoy my time at work – I love my work – I am healthy – I exercise well and eat nourishing food in balance with my body’s needs – I’m so grateful for my work – my work brings me joy – I’m satisfied with my income – I earn more than enough – I feel content and excited with my job – I do a great job with my work – I am grateful that I can be genuine at work, and be myself – I feel understood and appreciated and valued in my work – my work is in wonderful balance with my home life and my creative life!

7th house – judgement and negative projections about other people, including in close relationship and when we first meet. Feeling limited in ability for relationship with women, feeling inhibited.

I observe my own patterns and release myself from perspectives that do not serve me well – when I meet people I see the good in people and good is reflected back to me in my interactions with others – I am self-aware and notice my own patterns reflected in other people – my relationships are harmonious – I am happy and satisfied with my relationships – I am good at relationships – I feel free and empowered in my relationshipsI am present in a way that brings out the best in people – I enjoy my interactions with other people – I feel happy and excited and safe in relating to other people.

8th house – feeling disempowered, pattern of powerlessness and being made powerless by other people in positions of power, disempowerment with money

I am empowered – I stand in my own power – I am strong and brave and courageous – I explore my own mind deeply – I am in a process of continuous transformation and unfolding – I grow, heal, let go of what I no longer need, rest, and come back into blossom – I am in-tune with my own cycles – I am empowered in my body – I am empowered in my finances – I am empowered in my interactions with people – I am empowered in my sense of self – I am powerful.

9th house – fear of not being taken seriously because of spiritual ideas, getting stuck on ideas, not feeling like I live up to my ideals, inhibition when it comes to exploring, travel, adventure and new experiences – fear of the unknown and of risk, fear of publishing failure

I am wise and intuitive – I am brave and courageous – I explore the fronteir of my own mind – I step out of my comfort zone to grow – I am always learning and exploring – I am an excellent researcher – I have excellent perspective – my publishing is successful – I am exactly where I need to be right now – I have faith in life – I trust in my path and my journey
10th house – ambition and its attachment to my self-worth RE work status/title, fear of not achieving enough at work and in the world, fear of inneffectiveness, power struggles at work, feeling superior, fears of failing to achieve my publishing dreams, fears of public ridicule, feeling held-back by gatekeepers, feeling underappreciated and undervalued at work, confusion about career path

I am happy and satisfied with where I am in my career – I am excited about my career path – I am working towards achieving my dreams in an effective and practical way – Every day I take another step forward towards greater independence, greater success, and greater effectiveness in my career – I am valued and well-regarded in all my work areas – I meet the public in a way that is good for me – I clear my own path and make my own way in the world and I am also well-supported – I am good enough and I am doing enough – I am on my best path.

11th house – feeling socially isolated and disconnected, feeling like I don’t belong, outsider, hating parties and being socially awkward, hating small-talk, feeling superior to the masses to protect myself from failure/shame/humiliation/embarassment – fear of failure/shame/humuliation/embarassment.

I am worthy of love and belonging – I am connected to many groups of people – I am great at having interesting conversations with the people I meet – I am innovative and in-tune with new developments – I value other people – I feel comfortable in my own skin and can easily relate to other people – I am comfortable with myself – I find it easy to connect with people – my creative work connects with a wide audience that resonates with me.

12th house – patterns of avoidance and hypochondria, being sick in order to escape, opting out of things that make me uncomfortable, too much screen-time as a drug, too much junk food as a drug, the urge to surrender myself to another person in wild infafuation, feeling weak and hopeless, fear of inprisonment, fear of the shadow, fear of powerlessness, fear of the void.

I face the difficult parts of myself with loving kindness and acceptance, I face up to my fears – I face challenges with bravery and courage – I am strong in myself – I surrender only to my path and the present moment – I let go of the past – I am well – I am healthy – I am present – I fear hopeful – I have faith in life – I am powerful – I find power in silence, stillness, aloneness and in the void – I follow my intuitive wisdom to create harmony and balance in my life – I am good enough.

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Nourishing life

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This modern world of convenience has made it easy to fill our lives up with junk food, junk entertainment and junk activities – so easy to be busy and yet so hard to find time to listen to deep intuition, to be present with loved ones and with ourselves, and to deeply nourish ourselves in all areas of life.

This, right now, is an opportunity for you to reflect on what nourishes you, and to break the patterns of things that do not.

How would it feel to have a nourishing career? Has anyone ever asked you that before? I’m sure no one has asked me. What would a nourishing career look like?

You’ve no doubt heard of nourishing food, and thought about what is healthy or unhealthy, but very few people manage to stick to ‘healthy’ diets, we often vacillate between feeling somehow more morally good from eating salad, to beating ourselves up over naughty choices. This is an opportunity to move away from a moralistic food paradigm and think of food in terms of the nourishment it brings: nutritional, comfort, pleasure, social… listen to your body, is this food somehow nourishing? Does it make you feel emotionally good? What are you fueling your life with? What are you really – deeply – craving… and why?

Is the material life you lead nourishing for you? Do you surround yourself with things, places, objects, clothing, etc that brings you joy? Perhaps scarcity stands in the way, but the survival instinct of scarcity/fear can also urge us to spend what we have on frivolous or vacuous things – things we want because other people have them – things other people think we should have. What kinds of purchasing decisions would you make if you only asked this question first: “Will this nourish my life?” ?

What does a nourishing relationship with money look like? It is likely a different dynamic from the one many of us were brought up with, where money was a power struggle, where scarcity stood in the way of what we really wanted, or thought we wanted in life. how would we feel about money if we re-emagined it as a nourishing flow from the social ecosystem into our lives? Would that change the way we spend and save? Would it make our relationship with money more positive and healthy?

What does a nourishing home feel like? How can our living spaces become more nourishing and nurturing? How can we nourish our living spaces so that they may better nourish us?

What about a nourishing emotional life? Which people make us feel nourished and nurtured? Which activities feed our souls? Many of us spend too much time on social media, cluttering up our minds with junk information and activities. Perhaps it’s time for a breather – a break – a deep breath and for more attention to now be paid to what feeds us deeply – what gives back to us when we put energy in, in a way that enhances our lives for the better?

What does a nourishing society look like? It is one in which we all have what we need and can support each other to flourish. How can we nourish society in order to make it more nourishing?

How can we change our narrative – the story we tell about our lives and the world inside our heads – into one that is more nourishing, inside and out?

This dark Moon in Gemini and Saturday’s new Moon in Cancer is an opportunity for you to reflect on what nourishes you, and to break the patterns of things that do not.

The tension of opposites

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Human beings are fabulous at creating false dichotomies and seeing opposites wherever we find contrast. It is perhaps due to our dual-nature. We are creatures with two eyes, two hands, two brain hemispheres. We are deeply attached to constructed dualities like ‘good and evil’, ‘nature vs nurture’, ‘night and day’, none of which are neccessarily opposites, or even mutually exclusive.

Jung’s conception of the tension of opposites fits with this framing, but it adds more depth to the pattern of dichotomy.

In a state of tension it can feel as if we are metaphorically pulling at one and if a rope. The other end may be held by someone with whom we disagree, whom we are fighting, or want different outcomes from a given situation. Alternately it may be a tension with nature, fate or a different kind of external thing. It could also be predominantly a tension of an inner kind where we are struggling against an parts of self.

Natal chart aspects, particularly squares and oppositions, tend to reflect the tension patterns we carry, that we then carry through into the external world.

Jung’s reflection on the tension of opposites illuminated that if we hold a tension long enough a ‘third way’ will emerge. This is an interesting personal practice when one feels deadlocked in a struggle, going round in circles, to quietly hold one’s ground and wait, patiently. If we stop struggling against the other, we change the dynamic.

Another way to change the dynamic, if possible is to let go the rope. This is particularly useful in personal struggles with another person that are destructive. It allows space to set healthy boundaries, however this may occur. It may mean stepping back and letting go, it may mean a break of contact, and even a stop to talking about andthinking about the other when ever awareness allows.

The change in behavior and perception works as a disruption to the dynamic, creating space to breathe and greater psychological freedom.images (1)

Shifting wind

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And just like that

The wind has changed

Blowing away the old dead ashes of yesterday
Sands shift
Beneath our feet
The Plutonic grit of yesterday’s irritation
Dissolving
Cloudy sky
Brooding miracles

Busy people
Rushing past
Missing the point in their hurry
Missing the patterns on the water
Missing the whisper inside of wisdom

Stop
Look
Listen

Feel out
What lies beneath
Our fear
Trepidation
Of the depths
Of potential

Wide open sky

Contentment and fear

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The water looks particularly beautiful today
Late afternoon light
Smooth
Shimmer
Cool
Breathe
I can be present
Still this wakeful, restless mind ever searching out progress
To sit
Humbled by the sea
Awe
Magnifiscence.
I am happy
I am joyful
I have everything I need and want
I’m on the path I need to walk
I’m contributing
I’m listening to deep intuition
I am content

Looking into the undulating water surface
I see a girl falling
Diving in
I’m my minds eye
Think about the terror of my own deepest desires

Tyrrany of dreams

Vulnerability
I know
I must dive into the fear
No one is going to rescue me
I have to learn to swim

Shadow work: Saturn, Neptune, and pulling back the blanket

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Ghostly – by Stephanie Wild

When you have been stumbling in the dark for a long time, in terror of what you don’t quite know, it can be a startling surprise to have the blanket pulled from over your head – to realise that it was there this whole time, keeping you bling to your own patterns.

This is what it can feel like when you come to a ‘big reveal’ in shadow work.

Under the blanket, in the dark, it’s safe and warm. We hide under the blanket, as children because it keeps us safe from monsters. In this way, the darkness of our shadow – of our ignorance and innocence – is a safety zone. If we can’t see what is terrifying us, we can pretend it doesn’t exist. Ironically, that very safety zone and the lack of ability to see is what keeps us paralysed in fear as well, in fact – pull back the blanket or turn on the light and the monsters vanish into thin air.

Do you ever wonder what patterns might have you in blind-folds?

Maybe it is a complex you have been struggling under for some time, a personality patterning, a strong natal aspect that kept you feeling powerless – a prisoner in your own life. Maybe it was too easy to project your powerlessness out onto those putting you in this situation, victimising you, making you feel terrible  – and maybe you have good reason to fear, hate or resent people who do and say horrible things! There is no need for a false dichotomy. Both can be true at the same time: we can be in a pattern of being victimised – our own pattern – and also be actually victimised at the same time (as is often the case). Strangely, the people making us feel like powerless victims often feel similarly powerless and victimised… our realities may be so incompatible that one person must surely be crazy. Either way, we are all usually stumbling in the dark, bumping into each other and getting mad, upset, hurt, scared or otherwise unhappy about it.

Neptune can blind-fold us. Engulfing us like a spell. Never letting us know that we do not know what we do not know. Neptune governs hidden things. Neptune is a great, delusional, drizzly spell and in the 7th house, especially opposite the Ascendant, there is a tendency for captivating and immersive projection. Saturn is just now conjuncting my Neptune in the 7th, opposite my Ascendant. Saturn brings cold, hard clarity and smashes the pretty baubles of Neptune’s delusions, revealing what lies beneath the blanket: my subconscious patterns.

For a long time I have felt I was in a kind of hostage situation – My natal Mars in Scorpio squares my Leo Sun. “Did you grow up with a bad relationship with your father?” an astrologer once asked me, in relation to this aspect. Well, yes. I grew up feeling continuously under threat because my Step Father was the kind of parent who threatened violence in order to gain power – all the time. I was always negotiating my freedom, pleading with my mother for intervention. Desperate and fearful.

Childhood patterning runs deep.

To this day, I feel like I’m held hostage by people in my life I cannot escape. I have been struggling with this intense terror and powerlessness acutely in bursts over the past few years – always projecting outward onto a bizarre and surreal external situation, this pattern that was mine.

I am only just beginning to realise – as the shadow blanket slips away, revealing harsh, bright light, that the ‘other’ has no power over me, other than that old fear. I do not need to live in terror. Not anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

Children are the worst (and best) spiritual teachers

 

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Lean Into It / Sweet Chaos – By Stephanie Wild

Since 2008 I have been going through a very challenging kind of spiritual training. It’s called parenting. This training never really stops and there is no viable way to quit. Lessons can occur at all hours of the day and night, and are always different, often painful, stressful, exhausting, and very very challenging.

When she was a baby, the lessons involved a lot of sleep deprivation, confusion, anxiety and coping with the painful ringing in my chest every time my tiny master cried out. I likened it to the kinds of Zen where the master hits you on the head to make you pay attention. I have, for a long time, considered all of life to be about spiritual learning, and why should this most central, mundane, intense and special part of my life be any different. My baby was born into water with her eyes open. Still connected, it seemed, to the source from which she came. Newborns always appear this way to me: little Buddhas. Present. Totally in the moment whether they are crying or sleeping or staring into space.

As they get older they learn to be less present, but their lessons can teach us to be more present in the most challenging ways. Our children present us with out own incredible vulnerability and powerlessness. They give us the terrifying and agonising experience of being an impotent god. We don’t have magic wands to take away their pain and suffering, to change the behaviour of other children, to make everything okay. They lash out and push boundaries and try to manipulate us, and that is all part of their learning as well as our own.They reflect back to us our own inner-child.

The Moon represents the  inner-child in a person’s chart. The sign it is in indicates the character of the inner-child and the house placement of the moon indicates the focus and wider patterns of this sensitive, vulnerable, reflective and core part of us. Aspects to the Moon with other planetary bodies reveal our key challenges, opportunities and gifts. The Moon reflects our relationship with our mother, our own emotional selves, and also our children. On a similar note, I have written before about Parenting By the Moon, of observing the quick-changing moods as they reflect in relating to children, a practice I am often too busy to think about!

The Child archetypes of fairy tales can be mischievous, but tend towards the innocent.

They are easily tempted, like Goldilocks, the girl in the Red Shoes, or Little Red Riding Hood. They will easily stray from the safe path, their innocence and lack of awareness is sometimes startling.

The way we treat this child self is reflected in the stories involving evil step parents. Generally the children in these stories are presented as pure, good and innocent, the step sisters are the greedy, whiny ones. From an archetypal perspective all of these characters are parts of self. and in our daily lives we enact these patterns, projecting the interior into the external world.

We can be the Too Good Mother/Father archetype one minute, then, when our children push us to the brink of tolerance and we have nothing left to give we can too easily flash into the rage of the Evil Tyrant. We can even become children ourselves, in trying to cope with our children, putting them into a role where they must act as an adult because we have lost all control.

All of this is horrible, wonderful, challenging, learning

The lesson is always to be present, and;

  • Usually, to be patient. To be grounded like earth.
  • Often, to be like water, to flow with empathy and gently shape the situation.
  • Frequently, to be air-like, to use logic and reason, to encourage these faculties to develop in our children, when they are not too overwhelmed to think clearly.
  • Sometimes, to embody the passion and bravery – the swift action of fire – but carefully, because fire can also burn, and violence does not bring peace.

Parenting is the hardest job, and yet least socially rewarded job. As parents we are expected to do so many conflicting things – to be perfect, to be saints, to be disciplined, to be kind and generous and nurturing, to be strict and unmovable forces, to never give in or reward ‘bad’ behaviour, and yet to empathise with the struggles of powerless that our children face on a daily basis… and so so many other things. The impossible struggles might seem hopeless and pointless at times, but they do offer many many opportunities for learning and growing.