Astrology

Dreamland

Have you had a dream that you just can’t forget?


It isn’t just who did what to whom but more the underlying tone of feeling expressed; anxiety, anger, panic, confusion.


The whole thing just doesn’t make sense and it’s queer – queer enough to hold your attention and queer enough to make you a bit nervous about going to bed at night.

We experience all sorts of dreams informing a variety of different subjects. We’re led to believe that this is the way we process that which happened during the day and in many regards, that’s probably true. But according to Liz Greene, the Jungian analysts, at the base of each and every dream is something churning away in our psyche that is trying to break through into consciousness.

In this respect, dreams are the answers to the questions that we didn’t realise that we needed to ask. Questions that are well documented in our birth charts by aspects and connections about which we’d rather not know. Most of the time, the dream fades away and we forget about it. But when the time is ripe (by transit or progression) these dreams make themselves known is such a way that they no longer can be ignored. 

Some time ago, I had a dream that still haunts me today. I had inherited a flat in New York City from my parents, a flat that I’d never even known that they’d had. Even though I had a key, I had trouble finding the door. When finally I was in, I discovered that the flat had been empty for some time. I was amazed, however, that there were so light and sunny rooms to explore.

Could I live here?


At the time, transiting Uranus was making a trine to all of my planets in Libra in my 4thhouse, symbolising my ‘home’. With help from my therapist, I came to understand that I have what I call the ‘Henry James’ syndrome.  Most of his novels explore themes where naïve Americans go back to their European ‘roots’ to obtain the education and polish they believe they didn’t get in their native land.

But eventually (like Henry James himself), they must come to terms with their roots or risking aimlessly wandering like the little boy who refused to grow up, Peter Pan.


As I’m still living in Europe and haven’t been back to the United States in almost 16 years, I’d hazard a guess that I’m still doing my Peter Pan. Little wonder this dream won’t leave me alone. Now I’ve got another set of transits (Pluto in Capricorn) that may force the issue.

Stay tuned.

This story is not yet finished.

Astrology

The name of the game is shame?

I don’t know about you, but I often worry about whether by taking poor decisions, I might be making myself bad karma. Mind you, I’m not even certain what karma is, much less how it might work but I’ve always been told that ‘what goes around does come around’ and for the most part, that seems to be true.

Yet, is comeuppance guaranteed? I mean, considering all that’s happening in the world of politics at the moment, I really do have to wonder. Might it be that some folks are so blessed that they can do whatever they want without consequence? 

Regardless, I opt for sensible guidelines and given that Saturn and Pluto are together dancing their jig in Capricorn, I’ll take my lead from them and so ‘shame’ will be the name of my ethical game.


Rather than thinking of shame as a punishment, as we are often wont to do, I figure shame keeps us from doing things that the person that we want to be ought not to do. In this context, shame is not a painful conclusion but a joyous opportunity.


For Buddhists, shame is the frontline defence against inappropriate actions. Such action not only produces negative karma (locking you into the painful cycle of rebirth) but also leads to difficult rebirths.

Even non-Buddhists find inappropriate actions to be trouble.  Folks tend to get annoyed when one steals, murders, and cheats.  Likewise, they shy away from those who frequently lose their temper and fail to honour their commitments.  Indeed, during the course of a single day, you are confronted with a whole host of activities that someone considers inappropriate. If you wished to comply with all of them, you might as well just stay home.


In reality, we cannot always abide by an external set of rules when deciding what we should or should not do.


Yet assuming that you do want to be ethical, then what standard might you use? I suggest using your own ‘sense of shame’.

Astrology

The art of the mini-holiday

Monday is governed by the Moon and astrologically, the Moon is about emotions. It only makes sense that if we want Monday morning to go well as we’re returning back to work from the weekend, that we’ll need to pay closer attention to getting our emotions in balance.

Recent research suggests that we can do just that by treating our weekends like a mini-holiday or vacation. Even better, research suggests this can be accomplished by a change in mindset rather than by rushing off spending precious time and money on travel.

The idea is simply that you go into the weekend instructing yourself to treat it as a holiday rather than a ‘regular weekend’. This does not mean you completely neglect household chores but that you spend a little less time on them than usual. It also means that you’ll need to resist spending time catching up upon ‘work’ stuff that didn’t get finished earlier.


Stay in bed a little bit longer with your partner and eat a bit more, treating yourself to, say, a favourite breakfast. 


Mindset shifts such as these have a powerful effect.

Research shows that by slowing down and paying more attention to the particular activity at hand and the people sharing it with you, allows everyone to take more pleasure. Get creative; listen to your favourite music whilst running errands or sip a margarita whilst folding the laundry. Even if you can’t afford to take the entire weekend ‘off’ , you can still carve out a piece of the weekend to be fully in the moment, savouring a fun activity. 


Mind you, this approach is not for every weekend because if it were, then by becoming the new ‘regular weekend’, it would lose much of its therapeutic value. But when used judiciously, this simple reframing technique allows you to make more of your time off without a huge investment.

coaching

The Art of Persuasion

For success in any meeting or information exchange, the following four steps are essential:

gain their confidence and they’re putty in your hands…
  1. Build trust and rapport with your audience and thus set the scene to your advantage.
    • The quickest and easiest way to build rapport is to assume that you already have it.
    • Simply imagine that the persons with whom you’re speaking are very dear and close old friends. As the result, your body language and attitude will change subtly and without overtly trying, you’ll make your audience feel comfortable and at ease.
    • Smile and make eye contact in a non-threatening and confident manner.
    • The more confidence you inspire in your audience, the more willing they are to respond positively to your suggestions.
  2. Fix the desired outcome for the meeting firmly in your own mind.
    • Be very clear regard exactly what behaviour you desire from the others as the result of the meeting – i.e. sign here, go there, or simply, accept this or agree with me.
    • Ensure that everything you say do during the meeting is aimed at bringing them to that final result (see below for ideas) and then ensure you overtly ask them to do whatever it is that you want them to do.
  3. During the course of the meeting deliver at least one hook or incentive designed to appeal to each attendee.
    • Although you may not know much about your attendees, you have statistics and astrology on your side. Each person must fall into one of the 12 zodiac signs – cover them all – at least briefly – in your delivery:
      1. Aries – appeal to her need to take action now.
      2. Taurus – appeal to her need for simple, practical solutions.
      3. Gemini – appeal to her natural curiosity. 
      4. Cancer – appeal to her need to feel safe and secure.
      5. Leo – appeal to her need to take centre stage.
      6. Virgo – appeal to her need to get it done and done right.
      7. Libra – appeal to her need to maintain harmony.
      8. Scorpio – appeal to her need to get to the bottom of things.
      9. Sagittarius – appeal to her need for exploration and personal adventure.
      10. Capricorn – appeal to her need to earn responsibility and respect.
      11. Aquarius – appeal to her need to challenge the status quo.
      12. Pisces – appeal to her need to help someone.
  4. Carefully choose the words you will deliver – keeping in mind the benefits of the following techniques
    • Develop YES sets – get them on a roll with answering a series of simple questions with a ‘yes’ and chances are they’ll keep rolling on in the affirmative.
    • Anticipation Loops – keep them paying close attention through the entire meeting by delivering only partial explanations with a promise to explain more fully, later.
    • Agreement Frames – everyone feels better when others agree with them – so meet any objections with the following – ‘I agree with you and (not but) I add this…’.
    • Awareness Patterns – innocuous little words like NOTICE, REALISE, EXPERIENCE, SEE, and AWARE are all great for slipping in ideas under the radar. For example, ‘’I’m certain that you realise that our numbers aren’t great this quarter and that means some redundancies.” If they question anything here, it’s more likely to be either (1) whether they did realise the numbers weren’t great or (2) whether in actual fact – the numbers weren’t great. This leaves them much more likely to accept (as a given) whatever comes after that, i.e. your main aim – redundancies.

coaching

The Art of Communication

Communication is an artform; it’s also a two-way street. 

But before you even open your mouth, do yourself a favour and pay attention to the person you’re about to address and gain some crucial insight into how he or she processes information. 

We can each process only 5-9 chunks or nuggets of information at a time and so we use ‘meta-programs’, or unconscious filters, to ‘select’ them from the shower of stimuli we constantly receive. These patterns run behind the scenes in our brains. They are so automatic that we usually don’t even realise they’re there. But they are there. So, if your favoured ‘meta-program’ differs from that of the person to whom you’re about to speak, you’ll want to adapt your communication style.

match your meta program to theirs for best results

Research suggests that there are six basic ‘meta- programs’ that most of us use to varying degrees. Here’s how best to approach them:

  • First decide your own patterns and preferences.
  • Next advance to the person with whom you are desirous to communicate and test them out.
  •  If you meet with enthusiastic nods, you’re on the right path but if you get a stern-faced response or anxious questions, try something else. 
  • This approach works equally well at work, at home, and with friends/neighbours/acquaintances.
  • The focus is always on having whatever it is that you wish to convey enjoying a good reception and being understood.

The Six Metaprograms

  1. General/Specific– this pattern controls how much information should be given and how best to be deliver it.
    • People running with a ‘general’ program, are likely to respond well to a conceptual overview but people running with ‘specific’, need lots of details so they can build their own view up step-by-step.
    • Research shows that about 60% of people are ‘general’ whilst only 15% are ‘specific’. This leaves about 25% responding equally to both.
    • To discern which you’re dealing with, ask the person about a  project or hobby with which he’s currently engaged. A response with lots of detail (he said/she said, I feel, they did), provided in specific steps with plenty of adverbs and adjectives tossed in, suggests he/she operates on the ‘specific’ program. Alternatively, someone operating on the ‘general’ program will probably give you a brief, comprehensive overview and/or summary often presented in short sentences delivered in random order.
    • Beware that context matters. Even someone usually operating on the ‘general’ pattern will, from time to time, need details.
    • Equally, you can tell much from someone’s written communication – emails, for example. If their usual style is to keep it short and sweet, then match it and do the same. If not, adjust your own electronic missives accordingly.
  2. Proactive/ Reactive– this pattern deals with how best to channel energy during the communication.
    • Some people are more inclined to initiate things than others – and so when you’re dealing with a ‘proactive person’, you need to always be pushing forward. These folks do not like delays and want to get started at once.
    • By comparison, a ‘reactive’ person wants to consider all the options/implications of situation presented to him/her before doing anything. These folks are great at research/analysis as well as fire-fighting and problem-solving.
    • 60-65% of people have a mix.
    • Spot the ‘reactive’ person by his or her ability to sit for long periods of time. Also, he or she will tend to use long, incomplete, and convoluted sentences. They will use passive verbs and conditional words like should/could/would/might.
    • Give the ‘reactive person’ plenty of time to think – if you push, they will not respond well. Use the alternative strategy for the ‘proactive’ types who are ready to get started right away. 
  3. Toward/Away-From– this pattern is key when trying to motivate someone to do something.
    • People take action primarily for one of two reasons – they want to move ‘toward’ something (like a target or goal) or they want to move ‘away from’ something (escape).
    • The ‘away-from’ folks are problem solvers – they look for potential problems and thus can avert crises.
    • The ‘toward people’ tend to be self-starters – give then a goal and they’re on it.
    • Each of these polarities tends to judge the other poorly – ‘away-from’ people think that ‘toward’ people are naïve or sloppy because they don’t see potential problems and the ‘toward’ people think their opposite is negative or cynical.
    • A few questions will help you to tell the difference – when asked what is important to them and why, they’ll reveal their type in their answers – do they want to succeed or not to fail.
    • About 40% of people are ‘toward’ and 40% are ‘away-from’. This leaves a grey area of about 20% in between.
    • To motivate the ‘toward’ people, use words like – get – attain – achieve – accomplish – advantage – obtain.
    • For the ‘away-from’ people, use words like – fix – avoid – prevent – wrong – solution – remove
  4. Sameness/ Differencethis pattern is key when it comes to selling change especially in a fast-paced environment.
    • Those with pure ‘sameness’ (5%) feel comfortable in a highly stable and unchanging environment – consistency their mantra.
    • The ‘difference’ folks (about 20%) thrive on change and love to switch jobs frequently as well as reinventing and reorganising their environment/organisation.
    • About 65% of people are ‘sameness’ with allowance for some minor changes/improvement that are more evolutionary than revolutionary. Some of these folks (10%) can tolerate even more difference as long a major change doesn’t happen too frequently – every 3-4 years is good for them.
    • To tell where someone sits on this spectrum, ask them what is the relationship between something important (for example, their job) between last year and this year and then listen carefully:
      • the ‘sameness’ person will tend to focus on things that haven’t changed – although he may toss in a few difference and make comparisons like more – less – improved – better – fewer.
      • The ‘difference’ person will point out all that is new and different and may even be surprised you asked the question.
      • Other people will mix and match the differences and those things unchanged – listen to their emphasis and their assessment of both sides of the equation.
    • When explaining to people about ‘change’ – adapt your weighting of ‘sameness’ and ‘difference’ according to their preferences.
    • Choose words ranging from – as usual – similar – better – identical – improved – revolutionized – upgraded – more – fewer
  5. Options/ Proceduresthis is about how one tackles his/her work – do they rely on the tried and tested approach or look for new, improved alternatives.
    • ‘Options’ folks (40%) like choice and variety – and are great for deciding how something should be done but not necessarily doing it themselves. New projects are started with zest but following through to finish is less predictable.
    • ‘Procedures’ folks  (40%)  believe there is a ‘right’ way to do something – start with point A and move through these procedures to get to point B. Too many choices are not helpful. 
    • About 20% of people are a mix.
    • The ‘options’ folks says things like  I can or I could whilst the procedures folk say I must or I should.
    • To influence the ‘options’ folks use words like – possibilities – choice  – play it by ear – options  – break the rules – variety.
    • To influence the ‘procedures’ folk, use words like – right – tried and tested – first, second, and then (this or that).
  6. Internal/ Eternalthis is about giving/receiving feedback  – there is an optimum approach and amount.
    • ‘Internal’ folks tend to believe they’ve done a good job regardless of what others think. Their own judgement of their work (measured against their own standards) is what matters most.
    • Give these folks much space as possible to make their own decisions and when that is not possible, negotiate the standards to be used for measuring in advance. Generally, these folks don’t want feedback and when they get it, they tend to ignore it.
    • For ‘internal’ folks, a set of advance instructions is informational only.  Use words like – you may wish to consider – only you can decide – here’s a suggestion – up to you – what do you think?  
    • By contrast, ‘external’ folks love lots of feedback – they need to know on a fairly consistent basis ‘how they are doing’. Use words like – I’ve noticed – word in the street is – statistics show – opinion is

Alchemy

The Daemon of Carl Jung

In Plato’s Republic(The Myth of Ur), souls cue up to choose their next life and are assigned a daemon – an overseer for that life. In classic astrology, daemon could be determined using one’s natal chart and as the result, it was incumbent upon the individual to establish contact with (or invoke) his or her daemon. In many respects, this was exactly what Jung was doing whilst writing and illustrating the Red Book, which he considered to the ‘prima materia’ for his life’s work.

Daemon can be understood as fate – but not fate in the sense that it comes from outside us. Instead, daemon is our personal unconscious pushing through the creative impulse to encourage us to accomplish that which we are meant to do. Naturally, you may choose to reject or ignore Daemon (or your fate) but there is a price to be paid. Equally, following Daemon (either eagerly or begrudgingly) does not guarantee you an easy ride.

Carl Jung had Aquarius rising. This means that Saturn, the ruler of Aquarius was his daemon, or at least it was in his eyes although not all astrologers (classical or modern) might agree.

When it comes to daemon, it isn’t so much that Saturn the planet was running the show but instead the symbolism surrounding Saturn. According to the 3rd century Neo-Platonist, Iamblichus, symbols are the footprints of the gods, wondrous tokens sent down from above. In this sense, a symbol can never be a man-made design. Symbols pre-exist and hence carry energy that exerts power over us not unlike Jung’s archetypes.

Jung

Jung believed it was vital that he understand his daemon – no, more than that – he was determined to establish a personal relationship with his daemon and it is highly likely this was accomplished through magical ritual.

To that end, the Red Book, Jung communicates with several different Saturnian figures (Elijah, The Old Scholar, The Anchorite, The Librarian, and the Professor) that culminate with Philemon (whose name, Jung always wrote in Greek, most probably for magical reasons).

Several key points are of significant interest regarding these Saturnian figures and as ought to be expected in many respects they are all deeply paradoxical.

  • The Saturnian figures in Red Book are all associated with rocks and stones – imperishable – belonging to and of the earth – present in the beginning of time on earth and presumably present at the end. It is not surprising that this stone/rock motif comes up often in Jung’s writings. He had been fascinated with them since youth.
  • Jung’s Saturnian images are all old men – SENEX – they are also thinkers –seekers of wisdom (as opposed to knowledge). Philosophers. They are magicians, too. This is in keeping with the writings of Marsilio Ficino, a 15thcentury Italian scholar who appears to have heavily influenced Jung’s work.
  • All Jung’s Saturnian images are recluses and sad. These are in keeping with traditional associations with Saturn.
  • Several of Jung’s Saturnian images are associated with religion and more specifically, religious experience. Not all of them are complimentary or supportive of religion. Indeed, Philemon is always shown as lame and this might well be suggesting a connection with the devil. Philemon, after all, did always have a serpent hanging around.
  • Philemon was also connected with Mercury, the hermetic figure and the philosopher stone. Hermes Trismegistus, who controlled both the sun and the moon was semi-divine and he is, in essential ways, very much like Philemon (who was also a magician – possessing his own grimoire). This highlights the importance of the ancient art of alchemy. Saturn is lead, the metal of transformation and redemption.

In The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus, Dr Liz Greene suggests that because Philemon drew together Saturnian ideas and images from a number of ancient disciplines and cosmologies, he allowed Jung to build a workable bridge between the pagan and Christian aspects of his own world view.

Those  of us who are interested in similarly understanding the complexity of our own daemon, or chosen ‘fate’, might be well-advised to perform similar invocations and explorations. Dr Greene reminds us that during that difficult period in Jung’s life, his work with Philemon and predecessors gave Jung a connecting thread of meaning that helped him to understand his situation. Likewise, we may also turn to our daemons for help when things get tough.

Never forget, however, that working with daemons is not for the faint of heart. Jung’s daughter reported that things ‘went bump in the dark’ in the house when Jung was working with Philemon – things that we might well call supernatural.

coaching

The Benefits of Magical Thinking

21 million Americans suffer from Paraskevidekatriaphobia or fear of Friday the 13th. Yet, according to a 2008 Dutch study, Friday the 13th is statistically safer than other Fridays because people either choose to stay at home or those that do venture out, take more care than usual.     

13Yesterday, I was privileged to attend a lecture at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum entitled The Natural Origins of Supernatural Thinking given by Professor Bruce Hood (Bristol University). Hood provided curious anecdotes such as that cited above in a very matter of fact way. As an experimental psychologist specialising in developmental cognitive neuroscience, his major research interests include discovering the cognitive processes behind adult magical thinking.

According to Hood, we humans are pretty much hard-wired to develop beliefs as a way to make sense of our world and these beliefs carry with them manifest consequences. We’re also hard-wired to impose structure and order in our lives by developing certain rituals around those beliefs (touch on wood) and one of the most intriguing involves what Hood calls sympathetic magic – or the belief in naturally occurring correspondences (or sympathies) between things such as food, colours, animals, gem stones, fabrics, plants, and days of the week. Imagine two violins. Sympathetic vibration occurs when two strings are tune to the same pitch. When one is plucked, the other sings out ‘in sympathy’.

The implications of Hood’s work for coaching are two-fold:

1.    When someone believes that she cannot do XYZ, then at least until she changes her belief, she probably can’t do. Likewise, if she believes that she can do ABC, then, it’s a pretty good bet that she will. One of the primary goals of coaching is to eliminate (or strengthen) such beliefs as needed and this is why a good coach focuses less on asking ‘why’ than ‘what’. For example, if I ask my client ‘why’ she feels so terrible, then in answering, she is only reinforcing her negative beliefs about herself. But in answering the question ‘what’ situations make her feel terrible and what do they share in common, she has a genuine opportunity to examine the origin and triggers of her beliefs.

2.    Let’s face it, change is hard work. If it weren’t then New Year resolutions would stand a better chance of success. But if my client creates a ritual or talisman that can rely upon in times of stress to remind her of the changes she’s chosen to make, she’s in a stronger position. Even better, if her chosen rituals and talismans are in line with long-accepted sympathies, she might accomplish even more. For example, if she has an important meeting or interview set for Thursday, she might tap into the ‘luck’ traditionally associated with Jupiter, the planetary ruler of Thursday. Choosing to wear a royal blue dress or suit or maybe a piece of lapis lazuli, turquoise, or amethyst jewellery reminds her of this ‘luck and who knows but that this might give her little extra boost.

Certainly Professor Hood would not be surprised if it did.

In his book Supersense: From Superstition to Religion – The Brain Science of Belief, Professor Hood reminds us that Tony Blair always wore the same pair of shoes when answering Prime Minister’s Questions and that John McEnroe notoriously refused to step on the white lines of the tennis court between points. He also reminds us that President Barack Obama played a game of basketball the morning of his victory in the Iowa primary and continued the ‘tradition’ the day of every following primary.

Let’s face it, most are us are more into magical thinking than we might like to admit and according to both Hood and those Dutch researchers, this is probably not such a bad thing.

Astrology

When’s your Mid Life Crisis?

Astrologically, the timing of your mid-life crisis is about as predictable as it gets. After all, they’re generational transits and you’ll share them with many others.

But how each of you choose to handle this time differs widely. Some view it as a profound opportunity while others see it as a terrible loss and some, well they don’t know what to make of it at all.

There are three different (although possibly overlapping) transits involved during this period and each of them lasts approximately 2-3 years.

For most of us, the (1) Pluto square Pluto comes first followed by the (2) Neptune square Neptune. That saves the most potentially exciting one, (3) Uranus opposition Uranus, to come last.

Opposite woman on her back on a wall
This is where coaching comes in.

Here’s how it boils down for calendar years 2018-2020:

BORN in YEARS TRANSIT DESCRIPTION

Prior to 1974

Finished

Congratulations – other transits will come along to challenge the progress you’ve made to date but you’ve got some valuable experience under your belt.

1974 -1977

Uranus Opposition Uranus

If you’re up for change this could be a very good time. Expect the unexpected. You might go on a short holiday to some exotic, foreign land and end up staying forever. Opportunities abound. They come out of the blue and unless you’ve got other things going on in your chart, the advice is that if it sounds good, grab it!

If you’re not so keen on change this may prove to be a challenging period. You still should expect the unexpected but it might feel more like a crisis than a blessing.  You also still may end up in a place other than you’d expected but the road getting there may be rather bumpy.

Any way that you choose to look at it, this transit forces you to evaluate (or re-evaluate) the choices you’ve made to date.

 

1975 – 1980

Neptune Square Neptune

This is the ‘oh my God, I’m so unhappy’ transit – everything is one big soppy mess. Confusion reigns. Deceit is rife (yours as well as others). What you see is definitely not what you’ll get.

This is the dark night of the soul. Fantasies and day dreams abound but don’t be surprised when they fail to materialise.

If during this period, it sounds too good to be true, then it’s probably is. Face up to it –  that ‘perfect’ job, lover, house, or whatever – does not and will never exist.

Look deeper, inward, to find personal meaning.

1979 – 1981

Pluto Square Pluto

This is the ‘past its sell-by date‘ transit. Whatever is no longer serving you will  disappear from your life  – be it a marriage or a job or even a beloved pet.  It’s hard to understand why this is happening to you – especially now – yet why is the most important question that you could ask.

Your choice is whether or not to gracefully let go but I can say from personal experience that if you choose to hang on for dear life (which so many of us do) then you might make yourself very ill.

This transit brings to the fore that which is grumbling inside you,  especially when you’ve not consciously acknowledged it. You’re frustrated and unhappy with the status quo and something must – and will –  go.

This is deep, dark, primal stuff seeping out through the cracks and so don’t be surprised when you get a glimpse of the more unpleasant sides of yourself and/or others.

This transit will not last forever. Hold on. Eventually, you’ll see there’s light at the end of this tunnel.

 

After 1981

You’ve got something for which to look forward.

You may want to consider advance strategies to handle these transits. You might save yourself a good deal of grief if you do. Being caught off guard leaves you on the proverbial back foot, not a pleasant place to be under such circumstances.

 

coaching

Why is making constructive change in your life so hard?

Backstory – six months ago, as the result of some coaching, you’d identified some unprofitable behaviours you’d concluded needed to be changed.

To be honest, you’d not really thought much about this kind of thing before but some people’ (including your best friend, your spouse, and your boss) had been increasingly complaining that when things didn’’t go your way, you got angry and  aggressive. Now, as the result of coaching, you understand that this behaviour is down to ‘attachment strategies’ formed during infancy.

OK, it’s time to move on!  After all, who wants baggage from childhood holding them back?

In real time – yet by the end of six months, you are not best pleased to discover that not only are you still not calm in moments of stress but actually you’ve gotten worse. The road rage incident this morning in which you were involved during your commute really scared you.

Epiphany– if you don’t change soon you might kill someone – or worse, get killed yourself.

Environment – You resolve to work harder on on this stuff this time  – you bring some of the techniques you learned in coaching out of the proverbial mothballs –  but just when you’d started your meditation – out of the blue – your boss storms into your office (or cubicle) and accuses you of doing something you did not do  – that’s it – you’ve had it – you quit.

Regret – on your drive home  – after have hung around in a coffee bar working out a story to tell your spouse about what happened – you hear something on the radio about a book named Triggers (available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle) by a guy called Goldsmith – could this really be you?
Unknown

The 15 ‘Belief’ Triggers that stop change in its tracks:

  1. Confusion– just because you realised that you needed to change (along with the reasons why and the benefits to be expected) never meant that you would do it.
  2. Overconfidence– just because you’re convinced that you have the necessary willpower to do what’s needed (you did quit smoking, after all) doesn’t mean that you won’t give in to temptation when it sneaks up on you from behind like your boss did today. Who could have expected that?
  3. Indulgent inconsistency– and on your birthday too – well, he (your boss) deserved it and will regret having been so horrible to you – you’d not have reacted the way that you did if it hadn’t been your special day  – and your boss ought to have known that.
  4. Immunity – well, it may not have gone well with the boss but it could have been worse – a couple of years ago something similar happened when some guy named Jim  (an ex pro-boxer) broke your boss’s nose during an argument – quitting is much better than dismissal with cause – at least you had more sense than to get yourself into the same mess as Jim.
  5. Exceptionalism– that coach did mention that you needed to practice those calming techniques every day but hey, that’s for other people, not you, right?
  6. Depletion– you were tired – if you’d been sleeping better, that wouldn’t have happened – but with the new baby and all…God, life is difficult.
  7. Procrastination– OK, to be honest, you’d been putting off practicing those calming techniques – and maybe things would have turned out better if you had – but there’s always tomorrow – yea, that’s it – you’ll start practicing those techniques tomorrow.
  8. Unrealistic expectations – no one in their right might could have predicted that your boss would behave so badly today and right after you’d had that road rage close call on the morning commute too – when it rains, it pours, right?
  9. Epiphany – so unfortunate that you’d just had your epiphany this morning – before you’d had a chance to get back on track.
  10. False sense of permanence – if only the changes you’d put into place six months ago had lasted – they should have done – but they didn’t – it seems acutely unfair that you would have to continue to work at them.
  11. Future challenges – just when you’d got that new promotion as the result of having implemented those changes six months ago, it all went wrong – how could you possibly have known that the new job would be more demanding than the old one especially with the new baby at home…
  12. Resentment – your boss really should have been more appreciative of the changes you’d already implemented six months ago – at the time he’d seemed pleased enough but then he just kept demanding more and more – it’s not fair.
  13. Isolation– you were just sitting quietly in your own office (cubicle) minding your own business and privately nursing the wounds inflicted by your earlier road rage epiphany – and then your boss jumped you.
  14. It’s just the way that I am – to be honest, you’ve always been a little hot-headed – and what’s wrong with that? At least it has kept others from imposing themselves on you – in fact if you’d not done that coaching and tried to be something that you’re not (i.e. calm and collected) this wouldn’t have happened.
  15. Objectivity – by the way, who were all those people (best friend, your spouse, and your boss) who said that you needed to change anyway – aren’t you the best judge of your behaviour? Of course, you are and besides, you aren’t angry as often as are least 75% of the people in your office – no, if you were to be honest, you’re calmer and more collected than 90% of the people you (used to) work with. It’s the office environment caused by hot-headed bosses like yours (or at least the boss that you used to have until this morning).

 

 

Astrology

Jung’s Astrological Moon

Whilst discussing Jung’s Red Book (Liber Novus), Liz Greene reminds us that when interpreting the Moon in an astrological chart, we should keep in mind Jung’s vision of the Moon as a fluid, living principle, always in flux.

HecateTo assume the astrological Moon corresponds solely to Jung’s Anima is a mistake. Equally, it is a mistake to assume that she is solely the nurturing mother. Indeed, Jung saw the astrological Moon as both deeply complex and ambivalent – the archetypal core of which equates to the triple-bodied lunar goddess of antiquity, Hecate.

Consider four of the Red Book’s female personages:

  1. UnknownSalome – the daughter of Elijah, the wise old prophet who presides of the ‘temple of the sun’. Salome, with long black hair and dressed in red, is never pictured without her father. She is associated both with (1) the darkened skies of the ‘blood Moon’ (reportedly visible at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion) and (2) the blood-thirsty seductive temptress, the daughter of Herodias, who demanded the severed head of John the Baptist from her besotted lover. In this regard, Salome is associated with the tarot card, The Hanged Man, who although still possesses his head, is unable to use it (i.e. it is no longer above, but below) symbolising loss of the rational intellect when confronted with realm of the unconscious. Salome is associated with the dark moon. She is bloodthirsty and dangerous.
  2. Unknown-1Old Scholar’s Daughter – imprisoned by her father in an old stone castle in midst of a forest, this pale and ghostly girl is shown with the crescent moon. Like the Greek goddess, Persephone, she is prevented by her parent from developing into a fully-grown woman. Although Jung considers her to thus be unworldly, she informs him that she knows more about ‘real life’ than does he. At the end of their brief chat, Jung has fallen in love with her and she disappears into a shaft of moon light, leaving behind a bunch of red roses. The roses, Liz suggests, links her to Venus, the erotic goddess of the ancient Greeks, who interestingly does not otherwise figure in the Red Book. But unlike with the dangerous eroticism of Salome, Jung had little to fear from this pretty young girl; indeed, she offered him much to learn. Associated with the tarot card, The Moon, the Old Scholar’s Daughter offers a doorway to the unconscious, a scary place in which wisdom resides. It is tempting to equate her solely with the crescent moon, but she shares this ‘honour’ with the Anima.
  3. The Cook – along with the Old Scholar’s Daughter, the Cook is associated with the tarot card, The Moon, but the Cook takes this proverbial walk on the dark side to a completely new and different level. Large and fat and always pushing food, The Cook seems simple enough, the traditional house-frau. But in reality, she is unashamedly two-faced. After eating the food (nourishment) she provides, Jung falls asleep and wakes up in the underworld (‘the realm of mothers’). In this regard, The Cook is more dangerous than even Salome because what you see with her is never what you get. The Cook is associated with the full moon, also a gateway to the unconscious, but under no circumstances is she to be trusted.
  4. The Anima – although Jung never meets with the Anima, he does depict her dressed in blue and kneeling in prayer. She is at once the celestial mother, the chalice or Holy Grail (drink of her and attain immortality), the spiritual bride and mother, as well as the daughter of the stars. In his tarot deck, Waite shows her as The High Priestess, the guardian of hidden wisdom and spiritual mediator between the worlds, above and below. Notice that the High Priestess sits with the crescent moon at her feet.Unknown-2

In summary, astrologers ought not to consider the astrological Moon as either this or that, but instead as a fluidity that morphs over time. The imagery of the classical triple-bodied lunar goddess, Hecate, is in keeping  with Jung’s complicated (and often contradictory) lunar journeys. In the Red Book, the astrological Moon represents the entire spectrum of the lunar myth and cycle, from the dark of the new moon and back again. Unlike classical astrology that divides the planets into either malefic or benefic, Jung’s astrological Moon at once both and neither. She can be dangerous – even treacherous. Equally, however, she offers the opportunity to plumb the depths for the wisdom that resides in the unconscious- the wisdom each of us must someday tap if we are to further ourselves on that all important path to individuation.

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Greene, L. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus; Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Abingdon: Routledge.

Greene, L. (2018). Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic and the Qualities of Time. Abingdon: Routledge.

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