Meditation: the Discomfort Zone

meditation
Source unknown

Many people believe that meditation will bring peace and tranquility, and at a certain point, when we are freed from the distress of our discomfort, we do achieve the equanimity which many of us long for.

When I began meditating many years ago I was taught that the mind and its thoughts and reactions was the source of all problems, and practicing meditation would free me of its influences.  I spent hours in sitting meditation, working hard to eliminate all thoughts.  I became very good at being numb, but I did not achieve inner peace.  The more numb I became to the insistent chatter in the brain, the more anxiety I began to feel until I finally experienced full blown panic attacks.

I now believe that the real secret of meditation is in learning a mindful approach to our discomfort.  When we feel emotional or energetic discomfort we often reach for something palliative to relieve the discomfort.  Food, drugs, alcohol – all of these are methods of reducing the level of discomfort in the body that triggers distress.   Mindful breathing and focus can help us to befriend the anxieties and emotional triggers to go THROUGH them and release them rather than go BEYOND them as I was taught years ago.

The breath holds the secret to befriending our discomfort.  Many of us hold our breath, either on the inhale or the exhale, in a fear of letting go to the experiences in the body.  This is a learned reaction to stress or unpleasant emotions, and learning to regulate the breath through deep inhalation and slow exhalation can help to decrease the anxieties around our discomfort and slow our reactions to it.

This is coming up for me personally because transiting Uranus is hitting a sensitive system in my own chart.  Uranus transits are electrical in nature and can create a disruption in the body’s magnetic fields, triggering a sudden release of stored memories and emotional reactions.  Rather like a thunderstorm that appears out of nowhere, the disruptive force of Uranus serves to liberate stuck energies in an emotional storm that can be quite uncomfortable.  But trying to put these forces into a box is counterproductive – not only is it virtually impossible, it also creates additional force that causes an even more extreme reaction when they later emerge.

Still, thunderstorms can be frightening and scary with their noise, their lightning and their hail, but the air is never cleaner than after a storm.  The storms that rage inside of the human experience can have the same effect and help us to clear out the psychic cobwebs and debris, and meditation is the key to finding the stillness at the heart of the storm as we use our breathe to release the detritus that is left behind.

Emerging into Spring at the New Moon in Aries

Aries New Moon Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and the Aries New Moon occursin springtime when (in the northern hemisphere) new life is bursting out of every corner. The Aries New Moon gives us an opportunity to emerge from winter’s hibernation with new goals, new desires, a fresh new start. Under the Aries New Moon we can put all of the challenges of the past behind us and begin anew with all the innocence of a child but the power of an adult.

A strong square aspect between Mars (aggression) and Jupiter (expansion) can enhance confidence but it can also raise tempers and create conflicts.  Mars is in Taurus now where it tends to resist behavior that is too radical, but if we try to stifle our resistance it may blow up like a bull (Taurus) in a china shop.  Channeling this energy into a project that requires faith and confidence is a helpful way to manage this Mars/Jupiter combination.

Since Aries is ruled by Mars, a forceful Mars aspect at the time of an Aries New Moon suggests that a great deal of energy is likely to be generated by this New Moon.

This New Moon also contains a force of creative energy, with both Mercury and Venus aspecting Neptune and opening up windows to the divine (Neptune) which facilitate the flow of imagination and idealism. These aspects will continue to affect us for several days after the New Moon so the doorways to new experiences will remain open for some time!

The astrology of Hillary Clinton: 2015 edition

Hillary-ClintonA portion of this article was originally written in 2006 before the 2008 elections.  This article is an astrological profile only and is not intended as a promotion of a particular candidate.  

In a move that surprised literally no one, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the 2016 elections.  In the past eight years since she first ran for president she appears to have mellowed and found her footing in the international political stage.

Birthchart and personality analysis

Since her appearance on the national political stage, there was no doubting the power of Hillary Clinton. Hillary had been an overachiever from an early age: in high school she served as class president, student council and debating team member, and member of the National Honor Society. As a Republican, she worked actively for the campaign of Barry Goldwater at the age of 16 and went on to become President of the Wellesley chapter of College Republicans. Moved by the death of Martin Luther King her political views became more liberal and she joined the Democratic party. Valedictorian of her class, she graduated with honors in political science and became the first student in the history of Wellesley College to deliver the commencement address at her own graduation.

Hillary went on to obtain a law degree from Yale with a specialization in children’s rights (another earmark for the Cancer ascendant which is focused on the family and nurturing). After marrying Bill Clinton and as the first female lawyer at the Rose Law firm, Hillary continued her child advocacy work on a pro bono basis.

Hillary Clinton’s birthchart shows a strong personality: She has four planets in intense Scorpio, including her Sun, Chiron, Venus and Mercury. Scorpio is an intensely emotional sign that imposes a passion on everything the individual does or feels. Scorpios are never superficial or dilletantes – they bury themselves in virtually everything they encounter. Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, the god of the underworld, death and transformation, and Scorpios have no fear of the underworld of the emotional realm. Hillary’s Sun makes no aspect to any other planet, showing an individual who can find it difficult to make real connections with others. On the other hand, this can make it easier for one’s light (Sun) to shine without the need for support from others.

Chiron (wounded healer) is conjunct Venus in Hillary’s chart, linking the painful wounds of Chiron to the ability to relate to others and attract relationships that Venus represents. Chiron in tandem with Venus indicates an early psychic wounding in her sense of attractiveness and desirability and a tendency to continue to attract experiences that mirror this until the wound enters the conscious arena and can be healed. Certainly we can see this in her relationship with Bill Clinton as it has played out on the public stage. However, Jupiter in Hillary’s chart is in Sagittarius, indicating a general faith and optimism (Sagittarius) that is the basis of her world view (Jupiter).

Mercury (communication) is retrograde in Hillary’s chart and it is squared by Saturn, showing a difficulty (Saturn) in expressing herself (Mercury) in a way that is clear and understood by others. Mercury retrograde people tend to process information in a way that is more internalized than the general population, and often find themselves misunderstood. This has been a problem for her on the political stage, and requires a great deal of planning and preparation before making public speeches.

Hillary has a powerhouse conjunction of Mars, Pluto and Saturn all in Leo, and possibly (if the birthtime is close) in the third house of communication. This helps her to overcome the difficulties inherent in the retrograde Mercury, and harnesses the power of Mars (warrior energy), Pluto (transformation and personal power) and Saturn (discipline and hard work). And all in the sign of Leo, the sign that celebrates life and requires admiration in order to survive. Leo is the sign of nobility and royalty, and a concentration in this sign often brings about a desire to gain recognition for one’s essential being – not, as with Capricorn, for one’s achievements. It’s no wonder Hillary has been an overachiever all of her life!

Current planetary cycles and the election

While Saturn was in Scorpio (beginning in 2012 and just finishing up this year) it transited Hillary’s Scorpio planets and formed a square to her Leo planets, challenging the source of her personal power and creating roadblocks for her success.  At the same time transiting Uranus and Pluto, representing radical change (Uranus) and intense transformation (Pluto) were transiting her progressed Sun – the symbol of her evolving sense of Self.   The combination of these planetary cycles made this a truly intense time for her and it is not surprising that she stepped down from her position as Secretary of State in 2013 and spent the next couple of years enjoying her family and the birth of her granddaughter.

Hillary is going into a period of harmonious planetary cycles that will provide support for her during her campaign.  These harmonious cycles involve both Jupiter (expansion and good fortune) as well as Saturn (discipline and success) that should facilitate smoother relationships within her campaign than what she experienced in 2008.

Pluto (extreme change and power shifts) is opposite the Sun of the US chart and this cycle will continue up until the 2016 election.  I would expect the campaign to exhibit the kind of nastiness we often find under challenging Pluto cycles.  2015 brings a large number of Jupiter events to the US chart which typically are expansive and lucky, but too much expansion can sometimes cause overreaching which I think is likely in the current global climate.  I can imagine the US spreading its tentacles far and wide, inspired by Jupiter, in an effort to spread its influence.  An unfortunate and difficult Saturn cycle will likely inhibit the success of these efforts, leaving the country in a challenging state for the next President.

I am unable to see anything in Hillary’s chart that suggests that she will become the next president.  Before I make a prediction I will want to know more about her challengers and their astrological prospects, and this will come later in the year.

Note to astrologers: At the time I originally wrote this Hillary had given her birth time as 8:00 pm, and most published birth charts show her with 29 deg. Gemini on the ascendant. It seems clear to me that Cancer is a more appropriate ascendant for Hillary – she is extremely family-oriented and can appear cold as many Cancer ascendant people do. Additionally, she has the moon face and low center of gravity also associated with Cancer rising. Consequently, I’ve used 8:15 pm as a birth time which should be taken with a grain of salt, since her exact birth time is not available.  Since then a wide variety of birth times have emerged  and until her birth certificate is made available any reference to her ascendant should be avoided.

Blood Moon, Full Moon, Eclipse! April 4, 2015

blood moon eclipse 2015This eclipse is being called the “shortest lunar eclipse in a century,” but it is quite powerful astrologically since it triggers both Uranus (radical behavior) and Pluto (destruction and regeneration) in a very tight aspect from both the Sun and Moon.  The Sun aligns with Uranus, fostering rebellion and a desire to separate from anything which holds us back, and Uranus opposes the Moon which creates a restless need for something to change.

(This eclipse falls on Passover and is called a Blood Moon which as a lunar tetrad is connected to Biblical prophecies about the fate of Israel.  You can read more about that here in an earlier article. For the astronomers view see this article on the Universe Today site.)

Eclipses occur when the lunar nodes align with the Sun and Moon, and because the lunar nodes are connected to the journey of our destiny from past to future there is a fated quality to eclipses in which something which has been hidden is revealed.

This is a Full Moon in Libra, and the Libra Moon opposes the Aries Sun setting off a polarity between Self (Aries) and Other (Libra).  The Libra Moon craves connection and the Aries Sun desires self-actualization so in the Full Moon we must strike a balance between these two opposites.

Pluto makes this balance difficult since it forms a T-square as it squares (90 degrees) both the Sun and the Moon, challenging both sides to seek the extremes of their expression.  Our conscious Self (Sun) wants to be MORE Arian – more assertive, more individualistic.  Our lunar emotional instincts attempt to flee from conflict and desire nothing but peace and harmony.  This is an eclipse, so in the effort to strike the necessary balance something in the psyche is likely to be unmasked.

Fortunately Mercury (conscious thought) makes beneficial aspects to Jupiter which helps us to remain aware of the bigger picture, but just after the eclipse Mercury begins to set off first Pluto (square formation) which intensifies our processing of all of the details in our lives, and then Uranus (conjunction) which activates the mind and opens up pathways to the higher mind and increased intuition.

This is a time when the mind must be open in order to take in the higher vibration information that is available to us now.  This eclipse offers an opportunity to complete the shift of the past seven years and close the door on the past while building a strong and powerfully creative future.

 

 

Planetary Illuminations for April 2015 now posted

horoscope April 2015And you can read the whole article here.  

If you’d like to receive this monthly report with a translation into easy to understand language please sign up for my mailing list in the sidebar!

I will be writing a separate article for the Full Moon Eclipse coming up on April 4th, but here is a synopsis of the major events for the month of April.

Although Uranus and Pluto are beginning to separate from the intensity of their challenging square, soothing the intensity of the push for change of the past five years, the Eclipse on April 4th will trigger these two monsters of enforced transformation one more time.

Two planets change direction this month;  Jupiter turns direct on April 8th and Pluto turns retrograde on the 16th. Both planets have slowed down to a crawl (a “station”) in preparation for its change of direction.  When a planet is stationary its influence becomes more powerful and this will be particularly true if Pluto is affecting your own chart right now.  As Lord of the Underground Pluto forces our attention into areas where we might otherwise not care to venture – the dark underground of the psyche, of emotions, of secrets.  Pluto demands that we surrender those aspects of our life which we know we have outgrown, and if we don’t follow his instructions he can become rather ruthless. Stationary Jupiter has a milder effect, especially when the experience occurs under a Pluto influence.

Still – the planetary intensity of the past few months is beginning to lessen and April brings mostly smaller cycles of the faster moving planets as we pick up the pieces of our lives after the tornado of the Uranus/Pluto square which has created so much upheaval since 2010.