Revisiting Eris in the face of the Islamic State

Eris

There is an incredible synchronicity between the events around a planet’s discovery and world events that occur around that time.  Uranus, planet of revolution, was discovered in 1781, concurrent with revolutionary activity in the fledgling United States, in Haiti, in France, and the Industrial revolution in Britain.  Neptune’s discovery in 1846 witnessed the rise of spiritualism, seances and a more spiritual approach to religion (all aspects of Neptune).

The planet Eris was discovered in 2006 and named after the Goddess of Discord.  In mythology Eris, hurt because she wasn’t invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, tossed a golden apple inscribed “to the fairest” into the wedding party, sparking a battle of egos that resulted in the Trojan War.

At the time I wrote a few articles about it at the time, including this one:

The tenth planet is aptly named, because her discovery led to a great deal of discord and turned the world of astronomy on its ears and led to the declassification of Pluto. Now Eris, Pluto and Ceres all rule jointly in their new classification as “dwarf planets.” This site has a great assortment of stories from the myths about the nature of Eris from which the stories below have been taken.

Eris is a sister of Ares, the god of war, and as a nurse to dying soldiers she has been known to fill their hearts with hate and the desire for revenge. Aeschylus says, “discord is the last of the gods to close an argument.” Eris is likely to rule over the domain of revenge which has previously fallen under Pluto’s realm. The role of Eris in the Trojan War did not begin from spite but from wounded feelings since Eris was not invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. So Eris is concerned with wounds to the ego that result in a disturbed psyche.

“And when Eris and her children have made themselves at home, Lawlessness takes over, and simple Quarrel ends in Murders, and Disputes feed in Lies, and Oath comes to trouble the forsworn, and Battles and Fightings ensue, leading the whole community to Ruin and filling it with Sorrows, Toil and Famine.”

This article in the New York Times made me think back to Eris:

The Islamic State is expanding beyond its base in Syria and Iraq to establish militant affiliates in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, American intelligence officials assert, raising the prospect of a new global war on terror.

Intelligence officials estimate that the group’s fighters number 20,000 to 31,500 in Syria and Iraq. There are less formal pledges of support from “probably at least a couple hundred extremists” in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen, according to an American counterterrorism official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information about the group.

The group that calls itself the Islamic State sprang in the ashes of the war in Iraq – in fact, its original name was the Islamic State in Iraq.   Without the tight controls Saddam Hussein kept over sectarian violence, the country exploded into sectarian (Sunni/Shiite) violence which was only inflamed by the presence of the US military.  Eris was discovered in January 2005, and shortly thereafter Iraq escalated into full-scale civil war.  This civil war was the breeding ground for the leaders of the group now known as the Islamic State.

Still, the group was limited in scope until the astrological square (90 degree aspect) between Uranus and Pluto began to exert its influence in 2010 and 2011.  Uranus stimulates radical activity, especially since it is in Aries which tends to be aggressive and more warlike.  Pluto is in Capricorn, representing the destruction (Pluto) of established governmental forces (you can read more about this in the sidebar of this blog).  As a revolutionary fervor swept the globe in 2010 and 2011 during the beginnings of the Uranus/Pluto square, breaking down political dictatorships in Egypt and Syria, the Islamic State began to spread.  Its eruption in Syria in 2013 coincided with the peak of the Uranus/Pluto square.

I believe that Nature and Universal Intelligence is always striving to achieve balance, but that balance cannot be achieved as long as political forces interfere in the evolution of human society and this is particularly true when the political forces do not understand the societies with which they are interfering, such as what occurred during the Iraq war.  And now Eris is wreaking her revenge along with her children, Lawlessness, Fighting, Battles, Grievances, Disputes and Murders.

Eris does have a positive side – she stimulates competition among mortals so that they can each strive to be their best.  In that aspect she emulates Saturn, who instills self-doubt in the psyche so that we can strive to overcome that doubt through success and achievement.  However, competition all too easily turns into warfare as we have recently seen.

Al

I always try to look for light in the darkness, but I am concerned that the attempt to rectify a thousand years of wrongs will have global implications that will affect all of us.  But in the midst of chaos and destruction we each have the individual choice to bring the light of consciousness into our own lives, and to then shine that light into darkness , wherever we may find it.

 

Sunday inspiration: A life beyond time

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“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?”

That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

The mind lives in the realm of time – looking back into the past with regret or nostalgia; looking forward to the future with anxiety or anticipation.  The soul lives in a realm that is free from time or judgment of any kind.  The stillness of being completely present with all that is offers a bliss and joy that goes beyond that which any worldly event can bestow.

The cold of winter offers an opportunity to slow down and witness the magic of stillness.  As the mind and the heart become one, the soul sings with the joy of awakening and connection with the timeless Source itself.

Tribute to fellow astrologer Jeff Jawer

Jeff Jawer astrologerMany of my readers will know Jeff Jawer from his writings which have appeared all over the Internet for the past fifteen years and more. When I started this blog and was trying to shop my articles, Jeff’s site with Rick Levine, StarIQ, was the first one I contacted since their site had the kind of articles I myself wanted to write – newsy pieces that connected astrology to the world in a way that everyone could understand.  Later when my blog was picked up by BeliefNet I received a warm welcome from Jeff and Rick who were at that time writing for Tarot.com which was a sister site.  I loved Jeff’s writing style and often turned to his posts when I wanted another astrologer’s take on a particular planetary cycle.

Jeff was diagnosed with lung cancer in January this year and died just a month later, on February 10, 2015.

Jeff’s birth data is available at Astro.com, and Rick has posted the time and place of death on their website in a moving tribute to his longtime colleague and business partner.  Jeff had the Sun in Taurus opposing the Moon in Scorpio – just past the Full Moon suggesting the culmination of an incarnation cycle with the need to begin to disseminate and share the wisdom gleaned from that cycle.  His chart is filled with the element of air, the element of communication – Venus and Uranus in Gemini and in the third house of communication in a trine to Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune in Libra, the sign of harmony and relationships, in the house of relationships.

With hardworking Capricorn on the Midheaven denoting his vocation, it is not surprising that he was able to produce such a vast body of work during his lifetime.  His last article on Astro.com was written just days before he died.  Aries was rising in his chart, providing him with abundant energy despite his Taurus Sun which likely often resisted his busy schedule of lectures and writing when it became too hectic.  With Mars as the ruler of the Aries ascendant in a conjunction to Pluto, and the Scorpio Moon in the eighth house – all symbols of an intense approach to life that takes us more deeply into the unknown – he likely had an intense side that drove him to seek greater understanding and knowledge of the inner frontier.

At the time of his death Jeff’s progressed Moon had just entered the sign of Gemini which is mercurial and allows us to slip in and out of experiences easily.  I would think that this would have facilitated his final transition from the body as well.  His progressed ascendant (his evolving identity) was within a degree from the midheaven angle, both of which are significant events that typically indicates a major turning point.

Jeff was a wonderful teacher of astrology in so many ways, and he will be missed by countless fans, readers and colleagues.

The astrology of vaccines and the Saturn/Neptune square

vaccines astrologyAs an astrologer it is interesting to watch how current planetary cycles play out in the news.  Saturn just moved into Sagittarius where our belief systems (Sagittarius) are being challenged, and right now Saturn is within two degrees or so of a challenging square to Neptune.

Saturn as many of you know is the Celestial Teacher of the astrological pantheon – he is the voice that scolds us when we are unrealistic and the guide who allows us to make stupid mistakes in the name of learning.  In the sign of Sagittarius over the next couple of years he will challenge our ideas of what gives meaning to our world, and threaten our most closely held belief systems – all for the sake of greater mastery of the material world which is the true goal of Saturn in our lives.

Neptune is the planet of spirituality and imagination, but also delusion and addiction.  Under Neptune’s influence we seek an experience that goes beyond the material world – ideally through the higher practices of meditation, art or music but sometimes through fantasy and an unrealistic approach to life.  When Saturn and Neptune form a challenging aspect in the sky, the reality factor (Saturn) conflicts with the desire to escape that reality (Neptune).

The recent flareup of concern over unvaccinated children at this particular time shows the confusion (Neptune) around the area of vaccine safety, and Saturn in Sagittarius is challenging our belief systems that guide us.  The federal government provides a religious  (Sagittarius) exemption for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children which is likely to be challenged under Saturn’s influence.

Right now this whole issue appears to be mostly centered in political rhetoric, but later in the year when the Saturn/Neptune square tightens this issue is likely to take more of a central role in mainstream discussion.

New book on healing trauma is wrong!!

Chiron healingMany of you know that the process of healing trauma is the domain of Chiron and as such is an important part of the work I do with clients as well as an important focus in my own life.  When Chiron was first discovered we astrologers believed that Chiron represented the unhealable wound, but during 30 plus years of readings I realized that these wounds DO heal, but it’s not a simple process.  They don’t just magically go away but instead require a conscious embrace and welcome of the old feelings and emotions into a mindful release.

This kind of healing of trauma is now called Somatic healing.  One of the first practitioners to use this approach, and the first I heard of, was Peter Levine whose first book Waking the Tiger introduced a radical new approach to trauma therapy.  In this approach the patient is encouraged to awaken the fears that have been numbed by the body’s response to trauma so that these feelings can be processed and the trauma released, exactly as I have for years talked about the Chironic effect.  Somatic healing is now widespread and a valuable tool in the arsenal of therapists working with patients with PTSD.

So I was distressed to hear about David Morris’s book on his own PTSD experience (The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in which he states “There is no cure for trauma.  Once it enters the body it stays forever.”   Mr. Morris was an embedded journalist during the war in Iraq and having observed countless deaths and all manner of frightening events returned home with a severe case of PTSD.

I myself have been working to heal my own PTSD for most of my adult life.  It is an onion that I continue to peel, with multiple layers and levels of healing and transformation.  But it is a mistake to believe that trauma is locked in the body forever.  Dr. Levine reports that after a traumatic event the energy of the event is locked into the body memory and trapped until it can be released.  Energy healers know that this locked energy becomes stuck in the body’s energy centers where it can create not only mental and emotional distress but also physical disease and chronic pain.

I have said for years that it is the work of Chiron to trigger this body memory so that the energy of these old wounds and traumas can be released and healing can occur.  Transits of Chiron to sensitive points in the birthchart can activate the body/mind system to release bits of stuck energy in the form of emotion, and if we allow these feelings to emerge they can be released permanently.  This is why I call Chiron the “Soul Healer.”

I would never argue the fact that when one is in a state of post traumatic stress it certainly feels that it will never end.  It feels that you will never be able to function as a normal human again. But these feelings are not reality, and sometimes we find that the greatest traumatic event eventually turns out to bring the gift of wisdom, transformation and ultimate healing.