The Great Mother

“She used to tell me that a full moon was when mysterious things happen and wishes come true.” – Shannon A. Thompson

The Moon cycles every month from New Moon to First Quarter Moon to Full Moon to Last Quarter Moon and back to New Moon in a never-ending dance. The oceans feel and respond to her energy and so do we. The Moon was depicted as the Goddess, by various names, in cultures of old. The Great Mother.

The Moon’s cycle affects our emotions and feelings. She is in each sign of the zodiac for about two days. When the Moon is transiting through Pisces your imagination and intuition may be strong, you can feel vulnerable and may feel like withdrawing from the world. You can be easily discouraged. When she moves into the following sign, Aries, it’s as though someone flipped the energy switch. You may feel like beginning new projects. This is a time when you may be impulsive and not really think through your next steps. And, so it goes as she moves through all twelve signs each month. A wonderful way to begin tuning in to the energy we all live in is to monitor your feelings, subtle and pronounced, as the Moon moves through the signs each month. In addition, we all have sensitive points in our natal charts and when the Moon touches one of those points, that energy is felt more acutely. She accounts for many of those “mood” swings we feel.

The Moon’s cycles also bring another energy to us. As she moves from New to Full and back to New, we are supported in the growth cycles of our lives. If we attune to this energy it can be very supportive, thereby helping us flow with life – everything has the potential get a lot easier.

The New Moon phase is a time of beginning. The Moon is Waxing, getting larger in the sky. Take a few moments each month at the New Moon and set your intentions for the coming month. What do you want to change? What do you want less of? More of? This can be something out here in the material, seen world or something in the interior, unseen world.

The First Quarter is a test of your intention. Are you keeping your intention in your heart? Are you taking any necessary steps to bring your intention to fruition? Are you letting go and trusting that the Universe/God/Goddess/Spirit/ Divine/ Source/Creator/ Your Own Word is supporting you? Action and Inaction. Both. The wisdom at this phase is to check in, adjust and keep going.

The Full Moon is the peak of the cycle – “when mysterious things happen and wishes come true.”  After this day, the Moon will be Waning, getting smaller in the sky. Your intention is blossoming into reality. If all is going well, you are living in a slightly different energy place than before your intention. These are mostly subtle shifts, although in any given month and depending on your own natal chart, they could be quite amazing.

The Last Quarter is the final test of your intention. If all is going well, changes are happening and you are flowing with life, great. If not, then let it all go. Nothing will be gained from trying or pushing at this phase. This is a time prior to the next New Moon, the next new beginning, to consider again what you want in the coming monthly cycle of the Moon.

For gardeners like me, we plant, prune, weed and harvest in accordance with her cycles.   We plant in the waxing, increasing, phase of the Moon in a water sign for above the ground crops – and so it goes through the Moon’s cycles and through the garden’s cycles.

Our ancient ancestors honored these energy fluctuations. It’s amazing that we have gotten so far away from the natural world we live in. We suffer because of it. We live in a seen and unseen world. Discover the unseen – you’ll be amazed!

Namaste.

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You Get to Choose

“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” – Wayne Dyer

Life brings us challenges sometimes. I’ve had times in my life where I felt I had been kicked to the ground and then an army was marching over me. When we are in one of those times of growth, it’s really difficult to see the lesson.

Years ago, I wondered if God was punishing me. That’s back when I bought into that view of the world. I eventually came to believe in a divine power/source/creator/ god/goddess/universe/your own word that is pure unconditional love. We aren’t punished by a supreme power. Just think about it for a minute. Imagine a power so great it created all that is – you, me, the earth, our solar system, the universe, multiverses, and beyond. A power that awesome has no resemblance to our human actions and reactions. Humans may punish. I simply don’t believe great love and wisdom punishes. A good parent doesn’t damn their child to hell for all eternity because they made a mistake.

So, what does account for those difficult times we all encounter in our lives. The Buddhists teach something like “what you do is what you get.” I think that’s much closer to what’s going on than an all wise, powerful, loving God punishing me.

When I look at an astrological chart, I can see lessons. And, I can see lessons that repeat. Think of it this way. You signed up for English 101 and you are in a school that requires you pass all your classes. So, the first semester, you goof off and fail English 101. Ok – no problem. You will see that class on your schedule next term. And, so it goes, term after term until you pass English 101.

Look at your own life. What lessons keep coming back to you? God isn’t punishing you. You are simply not learning what you signed up to learn. Mostly we resist our lessons because they take us way out of our comfort zone. Courage – feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Or, maybe you pass English 101. Congratulations. Now it’s time for English 201. And, so it goes through our lives. From metaphorical kindergarten through multiple Ph.Ds. That’s why it’s really important to stay in class and to keep feeling the fear and doing it anyway. The reward is a life filled to the top with growth, aliveness, freedom, peace and love.

Namaste.

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Wearing Gloves

“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are, when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time. When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy. It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.” – Mark Nepo

Don’t think I can add anything to that! Great Wisdom.

Namaste.

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Smile

“I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.” – Paul Simon

Isn’t it easy to get caught up in the challenges of life? Ninety-five percent of our life can be going along great and yet we can so easily focus on the five percent that is disappointing. We can be consumed with stress, worry or simply over thinking our problem to be solved. Meanwhile the minutes, days and weeks are passing on by.

My lesson at these times is always to let it all go. Worry and stress aren’t going to change a thing. When I can stop, look around and remember to see and be grateful for my many, many, many blessings, it puts it all in perspective. Life is sweet!

It’s hard to stay in a stressful place when you are smiling and genuinely grateful. Give it a try.

Namaste.

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Do You ‘Believe’ In Astrology?

I recently came across this excellent article by Alexandra Karacostas concerning what astrology is. Enjoy!

What is astrology? Frequently I am asked if I “believe” in astrology and if I think we have “free will.” Or if we are “predestined.” By way of response, I usually begin by clarifying a few possible misconceptions.

Astrology is neither a religion nor a faith. It is a symbolic, archetypal language used to understand the world at large as well as the world within. It is the study of nature’s celestial cycles from the universal to the minute.

When describing the connection between the heavens and earth, the micro and the macro, astrologers say: “As within, so without.” And “as above, so below.”

Astrology is framed by both the motion of the sun and planets, and other objects of our solar system, and their context against the celestial backdrop. In short, astrology uses the relative positions of the heavenly bodies as a mirror to reveal the stage upon which we, individually and collectively, act. Until the seventeenth century, astrology and astronomy were essentially the same science. By noting and observing the cycles of planets, or “wandering travelers” as the ancient Greeks referred to them, astronomers/astrologers were able to identify and document specific patterns in the heavens. Thus, they began to correlate certain kinds of patterns or phenomena to particular events relevant in daily life.

Useful Cycles

The most obvious is the daily cycle commencing with the sunrise and ending at sunset. One of the most useful cycles since ancient times correlates to the moon’s cycle. It was used extensively for planting crops, commencing wars, predicting weather patterns and more. In fact, today it is still used by many for some of the same reasons.

Each one of us is unique! Even if twins are born within a minute of each other the likelihood of them experiencing and responding to life in the same fashion is unlikely. The key differences lie in an individual’s experience and ensuring choice or response to specific events. Though the timing of particular events in the twins’ lives will undoubtedly be closely linked, their individual reactions from moment to moment will determine separate outcomes.

It is how we use our innate qualities that is significant. In other words, our choices fulfil our potentials. We all get what we need, not what we want, especially when it comes to personal and collective growth!

The late Dane Rudhyar, a highly-respected philosopher, author and the grandfather of modern astrology wrote, “Events do not happen to us, we happen to events”. Though this idea may be a bit esoteric, he captures well what modern science is now discovering through quantum physics. It is the connection of all things at the quantum level that explains the ability of far flung objects, like a human being and an asteroid or galaxy to influence each other.

In order to exercise free will there must be a context within which to function. This context is revealed and articulated in astrological charts, or maps. Our horoscope does not MAKE us who we are. It is simply a reflection of our own unique potentials and capacities. What makes us who we are is comprised of genetic heredity, our socio-economic and educational background, our cultural and ethnic roots, etc… In a horoscope, an astrologer can identify family patterns and dynamics, inherited strengths and weaknesses. What we do with those is up to us, our empowerment lies in choice. This is where consciousness, awareness and self-knowledge is critical to our destiny!

Limits and Boundaries

Another one of my favorite astrological sayings is “our character is our destiny.” It is unrealistic to think that an apple seed will grow up to become an orange tree. We all have natural limits and boundaries! As a human, for example, we can only consider how to nurture ourselves as a human, not as something else. And the same follows for an individual amongst many, or a country amongst nations. All entities have their unique potentials, capacities, and limits. Our empowerment lies in choice. And astrology is a tool that helps us to become informed.

We often hear that “timing is everything”. Knowing what phase of a cycle we are currently in can be greatly advantageous. Opportunities come and go, but unless we personally reach out and grab them, they simply pass us by. We can benefit in various ways by more fully comprehending our journey towards authenticity, in becoming who we really are. The symbolic language of astrology is a tool that can help us do just that.

There are numerous types of astrology used today. There is Natal astrology which deals with the individual. Mundane astrology explores national, international and economic cycles. Meteorological astrology is used to study weather patterns and cataclysmic events. Electional astrology helps us determine the best time to initiate a project. Financial astrology concerns itself with macro and micro economic cycles. Relocation astrology helps us identify what particular qualities in us are highlighted by relocating to different geographical locations. There are others as well, and as our world and universe expands we continually discover new ways to apply this body of information and wisdom.

So what does this mean for YOU? What is going on in your life? For everything there is a place and a time and, as nature would have it, a sequence to how life unfolds. I invite you to reflect on the cycles, patterns, and habits of your life. How can you increase your awareness, fulfil your creative potential, and refine your relationship to the world? You can “paint” your life with the strokes of choice, to fully become the magnificent being you are!

About the author Alexandra Karacostas

Alexandra Karacostas is a professional astrologer, teacher, and writer based in Chico, California. She has been a student of astrology since 1975. Alexandra currently serves on the board of OPA, the Organization for Professional Astrology. Contact her at http://www.WisdomAstrology.com or e-mail AlexandraKaracostas@yahoo.com

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Our Expectations

“…the basic stuff of the universe, at its core, is looking like a kind of pure energy that is malleable to human intention and expectation in a way that defies our old mechanistic model of the universe — as though our expectation itself causes our energy to flow out into the world and affect other energy systems.” – James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy

I re-read The Celestine Prophecy once a year or so. A lot of wisdom in that book. What if every true, heartfelt desire, intention and expectation really does affect the universal energy system at every level? Wisdom from across the ages has been saying this for a very long time. Some people live by it, most think its nuts. It’s not.

Life is simple and easy. We make it difficult. Once we can tune in to our own heart and soul, and genuinely decide how we truly want our lives to unfold – that’s exactly what will happen. Maybe not as fast as you want or in exactly the same way you envisioned. It will happen.

It happens every day in your life right now. No exceptions. For most of us we are unconscious. We drift – not understanding we can create anything in our lives. We simply take what comes.

Consider giving it a try. Set an intention and then live in accordance with that intention as best you can – the energy in the world will do the rest. Let go of your illusion of control and trust in the pure magic of existence.

Namaste.

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Love for No Reason

“Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not ‘I love you’ for this or that reason, not ‘I love you if you love me.’ It’s love for no reason, love without an object.” – Ram Dass

When we think about love, many of us wonder who loves us. Does anyone love us? Or, we may stop and contemplate who we love. Who do I love the most? Who do I not love? What’s love anyway? Remember the Tina Turner song –

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it/What’s love but a second hand emotion/What’s love got to do, got to do with it/ Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken”

Been there and get that! I’m sure you do too. Emotional love has the ability to bring us great joy and great pain.

In the above quote, Ram Dass is talking about unconditional love as a part of our deep inner being. Its who we are. Maybe it is the same as our concept of god/goddess/creator/source/universe/divine. Limitless unconditional love. We can relax into and be held by the arms of the Great Mother. It’s a place where we are always good enough – no trying. Where we are honored and celebrated for our unique, authentic, magical selves. Resting in love for no reason at all.

Namaste.

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Beginnings

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Its Spring here where I live in western North Carolina in the United States. In my yard early flowers are blooming, the grass has been growing and was cut for the first time yesterday – what a wonderful smell. The trees have mostly leafed out and everything is that beautiful shade of light green. Today the sky is a cerulean blue and I can hear lots of birds singing this morning. I feel like I live in a magical world on days like this one.   The world is coming alive again after a long winter’s rest. The cycle of life begins – the wheel turns.

Endings precede beginnings. In nature we accept Winter which brings harsh weather and cold, dark days. In our own lives, we have difficulty seeing endings as simply part of a cycle. Most of us experience personal, emotional Winters as the days and years pass on by. It helps if we can stop in the midst of a tough lesson and realize “this” is simply part of a cycle – an ending. The sooner we can let go and accept what is, the sooner our suffering will end. We tend to cling to our comfort zone – what’s familiar, even long after it serves us well. Change can feel like hell sometimes.

And, as Neale Donald Walsch says in the above quote, “Life begins” once we can step into a new place, both inside and outside. Spring has arrived.

Namaste.

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The Leap

The Leap

The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening

By

Steve Taylor 

Excerpts

Introduction

This book describes how I came to learn that spiritual awakening is far from uncommon. It describes how I came to learn that it doesn’t just happen to Eastern sages but to seemingly ordinary people in all walks of life.

I began to detach the concept of awakening from religious and even spiritual traditions. I began to see it as a particular state of mind and being that could be interpreted in terms of spiritual traditions but didn’t necessarily belong to them.

Throughout history, the shift into wakefulness has often happened to people who were part of religious or spiritual traditions, and so it was usually interpreted in terms of those traditions.

Different spiritual traditions explain and interpret this shift in different ways, emphasizing different aspects. It’s as if they offer different views of the same landscape, magnifying, filtering and selecting certain features. But when the shift occurs outside spiritual traditions – that is, in people who don’t have a spiritual background and so don’t have a ready framework within which to interpret it – it’s as if we’re given a view of the landscape itself, in a more naked and unconstructed state.

There’s a great deal of confusion about enlightenment – partly because it has been interpreted in so many different ways .  Many people have an impulse to wake up but, because of this general confusion, they aren’t completely sure where they’re heading or where they should go.

. . . the original state of human beings was one of natural wakefulness, in which people experienced the sacredness and aliveness of the world around them and felt a strong connection with nature and the whole cosmos.

However, beginning about six thousand years ago, a “Fall” occurred. This was a shift of being, the development of a new kind of human self, with an intensified sense of individuality and a new sense of separateness. For the first time, human beings experienced themselves as separate from nature, from their own communities, and even from their own bodies. For the first time, they experienced themselves as individual entities living within their own mental space, with the rest of reality “out there,” on the other side.

It caused a massive upsurge in brutality, conflict, and oppression. It gave rise to hierarchal societies and constant warfare between different groups. It led to the oppression of women and a new, repressive, guilt ridden attitude toward sex.

Our ancestors lost a sense of nature’s sacredness and aliveness, a sense of connection to the cosmos, and the awareness of the spirit-force pervading everything. We “fell” out of a natural state of harmony into a state of anxiety and discord.

Spiritual awakening is, in some ways, a reversal of this process. It means undoing the pathology of separateness and duality and regaining the sense of connection and harmony that earlier peoples experienced. However, at the same time, spiritual awakening entails a “leap” into a new state of being.

In many ways, awakened individuals experience a higher-functioning state that makes life more fulfilling, exhilarating, and meaningful than it may appear in a normal state of being. As a result of this internal shift, they often make major changes to their lives. They begin new careers, hobbies, and relationships. They feel a strong impulse to make a positive contribution to the world, to live in meaningful and purposeful ways, rather than trying to satisfy their own desires, enjoy themselves, or pass the time.

We examine the evidence that this collective Leap is already under way and suggest that what we know as wakefulness could be the next phase in the evolution of consciousness on our planet. In other words, awakened people may be prematurely experiencing a state that is latent in many other people – and in the whole human race collectively – and that will become more common as time goes by, and will one day become the norm.

Our own conscious efforts to awaken are important to intensify the shift that is already under way. Our own personal evolution will contribute to the evolution of our whole species.

Falling Asleep, Longing to Awaken

What we wake up from is essentially a state of sleep – a state of constricted, limited awareness, and of discord and suffering. This state is so familiar to us that we assume it’s natural and normal, and we take it for granted. But, in fact, this state is aberrational, even pathological. It’s a kind of madness that we confuse with sanity simply because we experience real sanity so rarely.

There are different degrees of sleep, just as there are different degrees of wakefulness. Some people are more asleep than others, just as some people are more awake than others.

The main aspect of this experience [being asleep] is our sense of separation and disconnection.

One of the strangest characteristics of our sleep state is the associational chatter – the endless stream of images, memories, anticipations, reflections, and snippets of information – that usually runs through our minds when we don’t occupy our attention with external things. It seems to be a quirk of our strongly developed ego. It also seems to be related to our sense of ego-isolation and the constrictedness of our sense of self, almost as if our thoughts become restless and agitated in response to the atmosphere of anxiety and lack of space.

. . . we spend much of our time in a state of abstraction. Rather than live in the world, we live in our minds. We perceive the world dimly, through the mist of our thought-chatter and filters of pre-existing concepts. Rather than live in a state of mindfulness, genuinely experiencing the reality of our sensations and perceptions, we live in a state of elsewhereness.

The internal mental atmosphere of the sleep state is a negative one. It’s a dark, dank, and oppressive place, the mental equivalent of a small room with no windows and hardly any light.

. . .our ego-separateness creates a sense of lack, of “something missing,” as well as a sense of isolation.

In our sleep state there is also fear. Our separateness creates a sense of vulnerability and insecurity, of being threatened by the world and by other people. There is also usually an underlying fear of death.


OK, I think those are enough quotes to give you a sense of this book.  All the above excerpts were taken from the introduction through page 16!

Different types of awakening, the aftermath of awakening, what it means to be awake and collective awakening are explored in detail.  Waking up is our gift to ourselves and to the world.

Namaste.

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What’s Real?

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.” – Albert Einstein

We are taught from an early age what our parents, teachers, religion and/or society believe is real. As we age we may challenge some of those basic teachings and form others we integrate into our own, adult worldview. So, here we are today with some firm beliefs about our world and what’s real and what’s not.

I’d like to ask you to examine all those basic beliefs – all the things you are sure you know.

Many people don’t believe astrology is real. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I am a practicing astrologer – I’ve studied astrology for many years. It’s a very complex subject and difficult to learn. When I’m reading a chart for a client I let everything I’ve learned run in the background and read the chart from an intuitive space. Since intuition comes into play, does that make it less real? As you can see from the above quote, Einstein held the intuitive mind in high regard. I can assure you astrology is very real. Science cannot explain it. And, it is very real.

Many people are studying consciousness these days. Legitimate academic studies using scientific models. Many believe consciousness is the ground underlying all that is. While scientific methods are used to study it, science cannot explain it. Yet, most of us would acknowledge it is very real. Something is there even though we have a difficult time even articulating what it might be. Religions may talk about god, usually conceived of in some human, though other worldly way. Science may look for it in the cosmos or in particle accelerators. That something common to everything. Is it real?

The definition of real is: actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed. Which brings me to imagination. It’s the most curious thing to me that we normally don’t think imagination is real. We imagine our way through life every second of every day. Where do we believe all those thoughts come from?

I would suggest that intuition and imagination have a whole lot to do with consciousness. A “sacred gift” – very Real. All the rest comes from our “faithful servant” – the rational mind – sort of our onboard computer. Great at processing information – not who we are – not Real.

Namaste.

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