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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The progressed moon through the houses and shifts in life focus

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Moon-Girl by Stephanie Wild

I once had a friend named Roy. Roy was a business man with a keen interest in Astrology. He taught me about lunar progressions and what they mean in terms of life stages.

Roy was living in Amsterdam many years ago, and for the life of him he couldn’t make any business deals work. He had all the right contacts, he was networking in all the right places, meeting all the right people, but nothing went to plan. At this point Roy already had a good understanding of astrological natal charts and transits, but nothing here quite added up. He was living in his own personal dark ages – there must be some reason – he thought… It wasn’t for while that he learned about lunar progressions.

Little did he know it, but Roy’s progressed moon was in the 12th house. As soon as his progressed moon crossed over into the first house the business connections started happening, as if by magic. He went to meet a friend, who it turned out had left the country and Roy was able to pick up the business his friend had left behind and make a good amount of money very quickly.

Years later, Roy was living in Amsterdam with his partner, a vivacious woman Jules. Roy and Jules would go out to parties often, however she found that no one would really talk to her. She made no friends. She was lonely and isolated. Having experienced his own 12th house moon progression, Roy recognised the signs and sure enough – Jules’ progressed moon had also moved into the 12th house. He reflected that as soon as it crossed over again into the first house the phone wouldn’t stop ringing with friends calling for Jules, she made friends easily and was able to resume being a social butterfly again.

Roy told me other stories of the progressed moon in the 12th house. A friend of his was a jewellery maker in Amsterdam but could not sell any of his jewellery, no matter how hard he tried. Every week he would get a little bit of dole money and buy some silver and make a few rings. He managed to amass a large stock of rings over the few years of his progressed moon going through the 12th house. As soon as it crossed over into the first house he met a guy who owned a shop in the red light district who was keen to stock his jewellery in the front window. It all sold out in a month or two, and the 12th house transit paid off.

The progressed moon charts the emphasis of our lives – where your heart is – as Roy said. It takes around 2.5 years to go through a house, although sometimes it is shorter or longer, depending on the angles of the houses. As it goes through the house it carries the emphasis of the house meaning. You can find your progressed chart for free at astro.com, in the extended chart selection, just enter your birth details and select ‘progressed chart’ instead of ‘natal’.

In the first house, it is all about you – emerging into the world, new beginnings, new adventures. Self esteem, self love. It takes on the qualities of action, of Aries. This is a time to act, to be assertive, to be confident. Lessons of the first house may involve challenges to identity – identity crisis, losing a sense of self and finding oneself again.

In the second house the progressed moon focuses on security and material stability – on the physical and on comfort. This is time to hold your ground – or to find your ground. This is time to delight in simple pleasures and to ponder values. Lessons of the second house may involve losses or substantial gains to property. This is also a good time to focus on looking after your body by nourishing  yourself well.

In the third house it is all about communication. This is a time to write, to connect, to think and share, to go on short journeys and address issues with siblings. If you have been thinking about starting a blog or a journal or writing letters – this is the time. You may encounter challenges of communication or problems with siblings during this time you may feel childish or patronised.

In the fourth house the emphasis is on home – on roots – on ancestry – on the family. This is probably not a good time to travel or move overseas (unless you are moving home or to an ancestral home). During this time you may encounter problems with ‘home’ – you may be forced to move. This is all part of the learning of the fourth house. remember the deepest roots are not ones that can be taken from you. This is an important time for self care, you are more likely to feel sensitive and to try to protect yourself. Learn how to nurture yourself well. Revel in the comfort blanket.

In the fifth house there is a strong focus on what we can create. Do you have a hobby? Do you lack one? Do you want to make more meaningful creations? Do you want to have children? These are some of the questions of the fifth house. This is the natural home of Leo. The lessons here are about play, performance, creativity. This is also a good time to start a blog, take up painting, photography, or join a theater group… that kind of thing. The challenges you will face may arise around questioning your purpose in life and your self-worth, in setting out to do the kind of creating you feel compelled to do – or in struggling to find a worthwhile kind of creation that you feel confident in doing. Friendship is very important to this time, and you may encounter difficulties with close friends which teach you more about yourself.

In the sixth house the emphasis is on work. Hard work. Analysis. You may feel like a slave to your work or to your home. You may feel your efforts are not acknowledged or rewarded enough. This is a chance to develop your skills at meticulous work, at finer details, at critical analysis. The work you do now will pay off and you have the opportunity to work your way into a life of more freedom. This is the sign of Virgo, analysis and hard work. Facing the hard stuff will have lasting results.

In the seventh house the focus is on relating – on partnership. This may be a time when relationships become central. Romantic relationships and other kind of partnerships (eg: business) take on a greater significance. Relationships are largely based on projection and expectations – and that is the primary learning here. Become as aware as possible about your expectations of the other, and about what these say about you. You may take on a stronger interest in balance, harmony, peacefulness, beauty and aesthetics during this time.

In the eighth house these two or so years will be spent understanding depth, power dynamics and other Scorpio themes. The eighth house is INTENSE. It is the deep, dark, the esoteric. Your progressed moon in the eighth house will likely compel you to seek to understand power or get subconsciously caught up in power games. If your relationship focus from the 7th house continues it will change substantially. You will seek more from life – more experience, more depth, more challenge. You may become overly cynical. Watch out for your own dark side. Lean on empathy. Power without empathy is hollow and unfulfilling.

In the ninth house the focus shifts to a much broader lens. You will become interested in wider philosophy and theory, in exploration and travel – either in the mind or in the outer world. You may develop new spiritual understandings or join a different school of thought. Your thirst for depth from the eighth house will develop into a quest for knowledge, research and understanding. You may seek to develop a platform to share ideas, you may yearn to spend more time in nature.

In the tenth house your journey towards greater philosophical ideas will shift from the theoretical into the practical. How can you influence the world? If you previously have shown little interest in career development this is the time in which you may feel compelled to find a vocation, or it may be time for a career shift towards one that is more fulfilling. You may feel powerless, you may need to confront childhood issues with an authoritarian figure (eg: father/mother/teacher). This time is the right time to keep casting your rod into the ocean, you will eventually catch a fish or at least learn a lot in the process. Be practical. Take the opportunities that arise and shape them into ones that fit your values, don’t just sit around waiting to be discovered. Learn to fail, and to process rejection and find strength in vulnerability. These are very important lessons. You are finding your place in the world. Look to your midheaven sign and any strong aspects for the nature of your lessons.

In the eleventh house you take your new place in the world in a different direction. This is a time for networking, meeting new acquaintances and socialising. This is also a time when you may feel more detached from personal turmoil and more interested in humanitarian pursuits. How do you want to improve the world? What issues do you care most about? You may feel compelled to get involved in activism, charity or volunteer work. You may be interested in learning to use new technology for greater communication and to have a further reach. You may connect more with people over the internet.

In the twelfth house you may gather, as the first part of this post is all about the twelfth house, that this time is a time when things in the outer world do not tend to go to plan. This is an inner-focused time, a time for deep self-work. Roy told me: the work you do at this time won’t seem like it’s doing much but the results will show later. He also said: Go somewhere where they bring you food. Wouldn’t that be nice? Lock yourself away in a convent if you have the opportunity, go on silent meditation retreats, spend a lot of time doing flow activities, yoga, journalling, walking in nature – if you have such luxury. The biggest thing to remember is not to have too many expectations of yourself or of your life at this point. Inner processing is important. It may feel like your creative projects, your career, your social life or your goals can’t seem to gain any traction. It may feel like everything is going backwards. This is the inner part of a big spiral, where things seem to become very circular. Do the work. This time, as it relates to Pisces, reflects the lessons of ALL THE OTHER SIGNS COMBINED. Work through them as they arise. Your Saturn work will help you now. Your hard work will pay off, especially if you learn to question yourself. If you cannot face shame and the shadow now you may be prone to megalomania when the Sun progresses back to the first house. This is a very good time for therapy.

Listening to deep intuition

The waves of chattering thought crash noisily at the edges of the mind. The constant chatter is surface level, never still, always seeking something more. To say that something is surface level does not mean it it not important – the surface of the water is no less important than the depth, just as the skin is no less important an organ in the body as the others. Everything has a place, and yet this constant mind chatter draws much attention, it crowds out the murmurs of deeper waters.

Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés, the iconic Jungian analyst and story teller, talks of listening to intuition as a sacred process. Life is presented to us often as like a smorgasbord, a catalog of what other people have and what we are taught to want. We can spend so much time focussed outward – seeking to fill ourselves with everything that is on offer, spread out before us, rather than listening to our deep intuition: to what we really want and need.

It is a difficult journey, into one’s subconscious, because no one else can show you the way through the labyrinth. You must feel your way along the walls, inch by inch. Similarly, no one can tell you what you intuitively need or want, or even exactly how to listen. However, between the waves of breaking thought, between the breaths, when there is nothing else to fill the void, the layers of consciousness may shift and your attention may be drawn, deeper and deeper, through them: closer and closer to deep intuition.

When you hear the calls of the deep self, like whalesong, they will feel familiar. They will resonate. They will be deafeningly obvious and clearly true. Yes. This was the message all along. This is how to nourish self. This is how to care for the world. The inner and outer work. The lessons. The journey. The reasons. The purpose. Here ebb and flow the currents that pull us in the directions we may have never realised we were always destined for.

What do I really need right now?

Show me

Sometimes healing sucks: Chiron rising, the problem with progress, and Inanna in the underworld

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Collage by Stephanie Wild

The problem with the idea of healing is that the narrative of progress does not always fit well with reality. Life is both a process of growth and of entropy, and many many other things. I find myself, amidst this life, focusing always on getting better – on progress, healing, renewal.

Chiron, the asteroid symbolising the wounded healer, was rising at the time of my birth. It sits in my 12th house, in Gemini. Chiron conjuncts my North Node, linking it closely with my learning in this life. I still have a lot of unpacking to do around understanding these prominent aspects of my chart but I can tell you what it resonates with so far in my life.

Chiron rising conjunct my North Node for me coincides with a life focusses around healing and teaching. As a young child I felt a deep hopelessness at my atheist upbringing. I developed a paralysing phobia of death due to phychological abuse from about age six. Around that age I also had a kind of spiritual epiphany – a vision of connectivity – of people holding hands over the world – a sudden deep understanding of empathy. These are all very 12th house themes. My childhood trauma seems to coicide with early Pluto transits – adding to the death themes. Around the age of 12 I developed depression which I spent many years working through – with counselling, shamanic work and various kinds of paganism (in my teens), and then meditation, copious affirmations, hypnotherapy, energy healing, more counselling and writing (in my 20s). I have done so much healing: food/nutrition based healing, yoga, journalling… basically every kind of healing I came across that resonated in order to try to deal with chronic illness and chronic fatigue. A huge thread through my life story has been healing in one form of another.

By now, in my early 30s, I would expect to be really good at it. I have a couple of decades of actively seeking out, learning and participating in healing processes – and teaching them as well. But life is full of challenges – difficult transits like Chiron squaring my natal Neptune and also (simultaneously) Neptune squaring my natal Chiron. Going through journeys of losing faith and re-growing it, the pain of psychological dying giving way to the pain of psychological rebirth. So much healing.

Healing for me has taken on a very different process, in recent years. It is no longer about crystals and guided visualisations as it was in my teens, or about re-programming my mind with beneficial thoughts and tracing back my past life lessons as it often was in my 20s. Post Saturn return, my healing process is mostly about journalling and paying attention – cultivating my ability to listen to deep intuition, and also every form of self-care that makes sense to me. Astrology, a language I began to learn in my early 20s, has been very useful to me in understanding the learning that I am currently going through – every transit is surprisingly relevant to my life, and the knowledge of the transit’s lessons, challenges and opportunity helps me to get the most out of the difficulties.

Sometimes healing sucks. Probably, most of the time. It is hard. it is painful. It often requires trying multiple things that don’t work before, hopefully, we find something that does. I like to use metaphors for the psyche based on biology and ecological systems: some wounds require intervention in order to heal – we must clean out the pus and muck, untangle and separate ourselves from the things we are caught up in, remove psychic splinters. Other wounds need to be rested in order to heal – too often we think of ourselves as we think of doctors – as active agents of healing, however the real healing is not an active process, just as doctors themselves do not heal. In order to heal, we must remove all obstacles to the healing process which is a natural process.

When I am going through painful healing processes my main coping strategies for this kind of thing are going for walks and journaling. Also – doing all the things I know that help me to take care of myself – which are not always the things that are easy and comfortable. When I am going through a difficult time I want to stay in bed and eat junk food but that leads to feeling worse! The problem with knowing all about healing is that you have high expectations for yourself and want to feel like you are progressing. The processes of healing often don’t feel like that. It can feel hopeless and hard – a big struggle with no clear light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes healing sucks because it doesn’t feel like we are making progress at all – and we feel like we should already know how to deal with this shit by now! Sometime the fixation I have with progress – with always getting better – just makes me feel worse. Awareness of this allows me the opportunity to release my grasp on the fixation with progress. I do not need to be always getting better. Life is a process that will always lead to death – ageing and entropy are inevitable if we life long enough. There is still so much to accept here. These topics can be terrifying psychological terrain to tread. When we do stumble upon them the dread sets in, we have stepped towards the shadow, across the boundaries of light and into the underworld.

In Sumerian mythology, Inanna’s descent into the underworld provides a wonderful metaphor for the suffering and pain of such a journey. The goddess Inanna is often archetypal linked to Venus, the divine feminine aspect, the goddess self. Inanna journeys into the underworld to meet her sister Ereshkigal. To prepare for the journey she dresses elaborately, with lapiz lazuli, her garments represent her power, but along the journey, each of the seven gates she passes through force her to remove her garments and jewelery,  piece by piece stripping her of her power. These are the snags along the dark path we tread into our own shadows. When she reaches Ereshkigal, the dark feminine archetype, Inanna is naked. Ereskigal and the seven judges shout at Inanna and murder her. She is hung on a hook. Three days and three nights pass before the god Enki helps to resurrect Inanna. She is reborn, just as we may be when we emerge from deep painful healing, cutting away the deadwood of our lives, clearing space to make way for new life to grow.

We are good at celebrating the light and success – we also need to learn to honour death, to sit with pain, understand anguish, to embrace struggle, and to accept the inevitable, when it arrives.

 

 

 

 

Chiron Rising: empathy, connectedness and metamorphosis

Chiron Rising: empathy, connectedness and metamorphosis

Lately I have been feeling unsettled… actually this has been going on for quite a while. We have moved four times in the last year, living in different temporary places, without having enough information to make decisions or plan out what to do next.  A few months ago I gave away all the furniture I still owned, and most of my other possessions and packed my little car with the things my daughter and I need (mostly clothes). We drove to Wellington, stopping on the way to visit my step sister and to play in the snow on the mountain. I have been doing my best to be guided by intuition. The uncertainty has been so challenging. I’m leaning into my fear and vulnerability, and letting go… and letting go.

In my natal chart Chiron, often called the wounded-healer archetype is ‘rising’ in my twelfth house, in Gemini. My life has had a massive focus on emotional and spiritual healing, both for myself and for other people… and for society and the planet (at least in terms of intention if not effect). This call has dominated my narrative and my life, but it has changed a lot over the years.

For a long time I felt broken. I felt I needed to fix myself. But the emotional woundedness and the healing were all part of the same cycle, the same archetypal pattern, much like the victim/rescuer complex. It took me until my Saturn return to really restructure this patterning, and I am grateful, every day, for the stability I have built over this time.

The vulnerability I have been processing recently has been more to do with myself in the world. The process is also one of healing in a different way, because it it one of growing, and growing always involves healing as we push through our own boundaries. In this way I have felt a lot like a seed, sprouting. The hard shell of protection has softened and now I am trying to break through, out of the dark, into the light… perhaps up until now I was planted in the dark soil, learning these subconscious lessons. Perhaps as a child I was a delicate blossom, easily damaged, which became a fruit, which was eaten by the bird of adolescence which took me to such a dark place (to extend the metaphor out too far).

It is a similar metamorphosis to that of moths and butterflies… it is the process of fighting its way out of the chrysalis that pumps vital blood into the butterflies wings. Human beings undergo similar metamorphoses. We are phoenixing beings. We must die to the past to remain in the present. Like Inana’s descent into the under-world, in this journey of deep soul alchemy, we much let our riches be torn away. We must let go of everything… in order to gain everything. It is a painful process. I understand why many people avoid it… and it is not for everyone. We all have different meandering paths through this chaotic social wilderness.

Chiron is not just about woundedness, and not just about healing. It is about empathy. Suffering is something that unites us all, and when we can process past the self-isolation and absorption of the wound, when we can untangle these knots and allow them to heal, that scar tissue remains as a connecting point. Chiron can connect us to the whole, in much the same way Neptune can. Chiron can feel like all the sadness in the world, which is a heavy emotional burden, but Chiron can also blossom into exquisite empathy. I have been feeling this empathy well up in me, as well as a deepening sense of holistic connectedness. I have let go my old life, over and over, mourned the past, and been reborn into the present.

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Chrysalis by Stephanie Wild http://www.stephanie.me.uk/

The girl in the birdcage: fear and the victim/child/damsel archetype

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There’s a red-headed girl in a cage at the bottom of my psyche. She is the victim-fear-child. She grows and shrinks in age, and yells obscenities at me. Fear always makes her scream or flinch. I can’t fix her, can’t remove her. Her hair reddens at the sound of rain and she dissolves into poetry… face of porcelain… her dress is always white lace and she claws… and she sits with legs with legs crossed. I watch her. When I don’t watch her she reaches up into my life and wreaks havoc. With eyes on her she is confined to the cage.

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Her hair grows and shrinks. She screams at me until I turn away and draw bird cages, gold like her’s, on white canvas paper. I hold up a blank slate for her and she draws cages too. We laugh and I slide my fingers into the cage to find hers… dissolving into me.

I sit in the room and watch her. I cannot fix her of free her. Attempts only makes her violent. I visit her often and when I have extra… I feed her… peas and broth from a ceramic spoon. I reach my arms around the cage to find it dissolving, just a little, but it re-forms when I move away.

“It’s safe outside” I say, but if I remove the cage she only grows it back from the fear inside. It’s part of her. Some traumatised animals never leave the cage, even when the door is open… even when the cage is gone. The cage is inside their minds and the trauma continues in aftershocks. She knows this. She is this.

Awakened, she reaches up through the bars – a pain-body phantom. She claws at my heart and projects the pain into other people’s faces and my own personal failings. If I watch her, sit with her, she has company and sometimes she lets me scratch behind her ears. She responds to warmth… it melts the ice from the fear… melts the cage momentarily.

We watch each-other.

I can’t fix her…

but can I love her?

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