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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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