New Paradigms Evolving

Carl Jung was a serious student of astrology and spent much of his adult life exploring it. He proposed that the human psyche could be understood through the study of symbols, myth, and archetypes (or universal principles) and astrology is based upon these.  Through what he coined ‘synchronicity’ (simultaneous events that appear to share meaning but have no causal relationship), a person’s astrological birth chart could point them in the direction of deep understanding of the self.

 In 1932, Jung began a relationship with Wolfgang Pauli and their dialog spanned decades until Pauli’s death.  Pauli, a pioneer in the development of quantum physics, worked together with Jung on understanding how physics and psychology are integrated, and astrology was one topic they explored.  Now, I am not a mathematical whiz nor am I deeply schooled in theoretical physics, but none of my education included an appreciation of quantum mechanics.  I am guessing most of us have grown up with a fairly cut and dried Newtonian approach to the way we interpret our world, especially the unseen.  And this Newtonian approach seems to make mysticism and science mutually exclusive.  Somehow, the fact that many of our brightest lights in science were inspired by mysticism has been lost in the drying of the ink in the history books.

Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, and Erwin Schrodinger gained inspiration from the Vedas (ancient Sanskrit texts that are primary to Hinduism).   Albert Einstein once reflected, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.  We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”.  I believe there is much evidence that science, psychology, and mysticism can work together to interpret our human experience and can help us navigate this meaningful and rich landscape that is our lives.

When I was starting out as a psychotherapist in the 1990s, some of my colleagues made fun of me because I talked about things like meditation and energy.  Fast forward to 2019, and it seems most folks are on board with mindfulness, meditation, and things like acupuncture and tapping.  I am again taking a bold step into woo woo (though I find that astrology can be perfectly accurate and not so woo woo at all!).  This is not the newspaper sun sign kind of astrology that rarely makes any sense.  This is astrology based upon the language the planets in our solar system speak as they travel through the 12 signs of the zodiac.  Indeed, working with what we call your birth chart (a diagram of the heavens at the precise moment of your birth), astrology can be an excellent tool for self-discovery, understanding and personal growth (plus, it is a heck of a lot of fun!).

As a psychotherapist, I cannot tell you how helpful a client’s astrological chart can be.  Your birth chart is unique to your individual life process.  I like to call it the ‘Earth School Orientation Sheet’.  It can show you  where the greatest potential for growth and development resides in your life.  Most importantly, though, it is a process, a conversation between us,  and not some type of predictive monologue where I tell you who you are.  You already know who you are!  I am there to help you uncover the treasure, the gold.  My dream is that more and more therapists will begin to speak the language of astrology and they will use it to help their clients in ways that traditional talk therapy cannot touch.

Who is at your front door?

When visitors approach your front door is it typically open or closed?  Is it painted a bright, welcoming color or is it subdued, mysterious?  Is the walkway clear of debris and open or is it a  challenging, rocky pathway?  Just as the front door of our house reveals some things about our lifestyle, our rising sign (or ascendant) represents how others’ might experience us at first glance.  It is the face we show to the world and it also reveals a bit about our physique and physical characteristics. 

Your rising sign is determined by the zodiac sign that was on the eastern horizon at the moment of your birth.   In a 24-hour period, the rising sign changes every 2 hours, so without an accurate birth time important details of the chart may be lost.  The rising sign is located at the cusp (or beginning) of your first house and it sets the signs for the rest of the houses in your chart.  Again, without the birth time those details regarding the houses and their interaction with the planets and the signs can be lost.  If you do not have a birth time, there are ways to rectify the chart, however, accuracy of interpretations could be questionable.

Let’s look at a few celebrity charts for examples of how rising signs present themselves.

Can you guess what rising sign Evel Knievel, renegade stuntman had?  Aquarius!  This rising sign as well as all the other signs have many characteristics.  For Evel, however, it really  resonates with his rebellious, individualistic public persona.  This quote speaks to that cool blooded rebel spirit:  “The people don’t come to see me die. They come to see me defy death.”    

Mick Jagger has a Gemini ascendant.  Yep, you can see it in his lightning fast moves on stage (Jumping Jack Flash) as well as his sharp mind and his high level of creativity.  Gemini is ruled by Mercury, known for its speed.  Scorpio was rising when Keith Richards took his first independent breath at birth.  It gives him that air of mystery and a bit of  a glimpse into the dark side.  There were rumors after Keith’s father died, that he mixed the ashes with cocaine and snorted them.   Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, named for the God of the Underworld. 

Oprah Winfrey’s rising sign is Sagittarius and she shows the world her enthusiasm, love of learning and adventure through her productions.  She is known for her philanthropic ventures and many people with a prominent Sag in their chart will work toward higher good in the world.

Rising signs are the front door to our charts and, together with our Sun and Moon can guide us as we grow deeper into our true selves. 

Now, here are some astrological events to watch for in June:

June 5:  Full Moon in Sagittarius Lunar eclipse, visible mostly in the Southern Hemisphere.  Though we won’t be able to view it, the Moon in Sagittarius and Sun in Gemini bring the opportunity to go within, to take an inventory in our relationships with others and ourselves, to look at what our needs are, both from a mundane and a higher mind perspective.  Venus will be in retrograde in Gemini as well, so this is definitely a time to focus on what we value most.  What risks are we willing to take?  Where are we stuck or stagnant?   Look at 15 degrees Gemini and Sagittarius in your chart to see how this eclipse might impact you personally.

June 18:  Mercury goes retrograde in Cancer, 1:46 pm.   Slow down on all things dealing with communication.  Recheck, review, revise.

June 21:  Solar eclipse in Cancer will not be visible from the United States.  Focus is on family, emotional security, relationships.  Perhaps the introspection that began during the full Moon lunar eclipse will continue to deepen, maybe heralding beginnings or endings of relationships or ways of thinking about how we relate to the people in our lives.   Mars in Pisces will be squaring the Sun during this time, so strong emotion could bring some confusion into the mix.  Perhaps it is best to avoid impulsivity and wait for a few days before making any bold decisions.

June 23:  Neptune goes retrograde at 2:06 pm.  Mysterious, watery, deep.  Neptune can bring confusion, bewilderment, illusion but also the opportunity to look deeply at meaning in our dreams and how these inform and awaken us to our daily lives.

June 25:  Venus stations Direct at 2:14 pm.

For the entire month of June, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will be in retrograde.

Comfort in These Stressful Times

When the Going gets Tough, the Tough….

…….take good care of themselves! Yes! It is easy to forget the things that can bring us out of the dark corners of our minds.

When we are small children we develop comfort rituals to help put ourselves back to sleep, to relieve the hurts, to roll with disappointment.  We base these on our experiences and what our parents or caretakers have modeled for us.  Well, sometimes we are still that small child inside, desperately needing comfort, care and nurturing.  Try this:

  • Make a list of those things that nurture and comfort you.  These can be simple things like a soft blanket, a pleasant smelling candle to light, a book of inspirational sayings, a walk in the woods, soft music (lullabies work nicely), a warm bath, a stuffed toy, a box of markers and a nice big drawing pad, a picture of a beautiful, safe place, yoga or other stretching exercises, a big, soft robe, a set of your most comfortable clothes, a sunny window, a vase of colorful flowers, incense, a cup of herbal tea…
  • Write each idea on a slip of paper, fold it up, and put them in a hat, a favorite bowl, a prominent place on your altar. Now, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and allow your intuition to guide you to just the right comfort for today.
  • Have old board games around the house? Find one with a spinner or purchase a blank game spinner. Section the board with 2, 4, 8, 12….as many sections as you like. Now, decorate the spinner board, highlighting each idea. When the stress begins to close in, reach for your spinner and give it a whirl!

The list can be endless. If you have difficulty coming up with things to do for yourself, think about what you would do for someone else who needs comforting, then turn all that love back onto yourself.  These are yours to use and to cherish when the day seems long or the night seems too dark.  Make a list of comforts and decide what works best for you.  Be sure to write them down for future reference or to share with friends and loved ones.

Here is an excellent article from Psychology Today:

A ritual is a ceremony in which we call in spirit to be the driving force, the overseer of our activities. It is a way for us to find our way to wholeness, peace, self-acceptance, and acceptance of others. Ritual allows us to connect with the self, the community, and the natural forces around us. Ritual helps us remove blocks between us and our true spirit.

The purpose of rituals is to take us to a place of self-discovery and mastery. In this sense ritual is to the soul what food is to the physical body… Rituals are participatory activities that involve the whole being: body, spirit, mind, and soul. In our rituals we call in spirits, ancestors, and dimensional beings to guide us each step of the way. Rituals are a form of continuous prayer. They help us to consciously incorporate healthy, genuine spiritual evolution and to dwell in the sacred in a way that truly heals us.”
— Welcoming Spirit Home: Ancient African Teachings to Celebrate Children and Community
Sobonfu Some

Scorpio Rising

When I was a child, my Aunt Thelma would wait for the Scranton Times-Tribune to check out Sydney Omar’s daily horoscope column.  She would sip her coffee and read the daily prediction for whoever was sitting around the kitchen table.  I was always polite, but never really thought he was very accurate.  Looking back though, I guess her enthusiasm for things like astrology planted a seed within my curious mind.  Scorpio is my rising sign and I believe it is responsible for my desire to look beneath, to plumb the depths.  Fast forward many decades and I am devoted to promoting another type of astrology, psychological astrology, as a vehicle for growth and change.  I have the feeling that if more people really understood astrology, they could benefit greatly from a consultation.  Psychological astrology is not predictive nor is it a psychic art.  It is, however, a wonderful tool to support a deeper understanding of the self, especially if incorporated as a tool in psychotherapy. 

Here is what Carl Jung had to say about the matter: “Obviously astrology has much to offer psychology, but what the latter can offer its elder sister is less evident. So far as I judge, it would seem to me advantageous for astrology to take the existence of psychology into account, above all the psychology of the personality and of the unconscious.”

So, what can modern psychology learn from astrology?   I do believe that the natal chart (given an accurate date and time of birth) can act as a map for our greatest potential.  From childhood on through our adult years, we can look at factors influencing our journey, depending on the planets and the way they communicate with each other.  Imagine the zodiac wheel is a big conference table.  When we are born, the planets are sitting in assigned seats and each seating position designates an integral part of us.  As time passes, the planets move around the table, each trying out the comfort or goodness-of-fit of each other’s seats and roles.  Their perspectives and behaviors change, depending on their position around the table.  We grow older and our inner dynamics evolve with the time and culture. 

When I look at a client’s natal chart, I do not automatically assume my deductions are correct, but it sure gives me a good starting point of questions to ask and where to look with the client about healing.  The process is similar to Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) or parts work.  We begin to look at presenting issues and what planets or tensions in the chart might be worked with.  So, for instance, if I am feeling impulsive, angry, or competitive in relationships and my Mars is in Libra, I might be looking at how to express my Mars in a more constructive way.  I can then focus on Mars, dialog with my Mars, write about my Mars, do artwork to express my Mars and ultimately own and understand the process of my issue from a deep place of self-awareness.  

Of course, this approach does not work for everyone, but I encourage the reader to be curious and investigate further before discounting the potential of astrology to assist in the healing process.  There are some pioneers out there who have written about psychological astrology, and here are a few:  Noel Tyl, Richard Tarnas, Glen Perry, and Liz Greene.  If you lean more toward a belief in reincarnation as a vital part of the the soul’s journey, Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green should be on top of the list.