Beliefs and Propositions

Last night on my weekly Master Your Mindset ZOOM call with Jo Naughton and her excellent Tribe, I articulated the following belief that I felt served me well – ‘I am a clever and ambitious writer’.

But then something prompted me to add – ‘but no one notices or cares’. 

There are many reasons why I might have added that negative qualifier and although I believe that negative qualifier must also serve me well, the reason why must be less than obvious. On the surface, it would seem that such limiting belief can only hold me back from achieving my writerly goals. 

Jo suggested that such qualifying beliefs unconsciously protect us from something which we fear – and that something we fear is more powerful than that which we desire. If that isn’t insidious enough, get this!  The more evidence we gather to bolster such qualifying beliefs, the more they increase their stranglehold. 

This brings us solidly to the interesting question of differentiating a ‘belief’ from a ‘fact’ because if we are being honest with ourselves, only ‘facts’ can produce that evidence. Yet as Jo rightly points out, both ‘facts’ and ‘beliefs’ are mental constructs and so when we say this is a ‘fact’, we are only saying ‘this is what I believe’. 

Jo didn’t go into details, but I ‘believe’ that I get what she means, having recently taken a philosophy course called ‘What is Truth’ at the University of Oxford.

The takeaway point here is that ‘truth values’ (i.e. something either is true – yes or no – there is no in-between) naturally attach to beliefs and propositions; a sentence expresses a belief that XYZ is ‘true or not’ – such as when someone says, ‘it will rain this afternoon’. The only truth involved here is  ‘that’ someone believes the proposition ‘that’ it will rain. Interestingly, whatever comes after ‘that’ doesn’t matter – i.e. rain or not. If you are tempted to argue this isn’t true (or doesn’t make sense) consider further that ‘rain’ is also a belief – I may believe  that the word ‘rain’ includes an icy drizzle but someone else may believe that ‘rain’ requires more, like a heavy downpour. 

The plot thickens when we consider negative statements such as there are no eggs in the refrigerator. How can something be true if it has no truth value (yes or no)? In other words, there are no eggs here to talk about. To make matters worse, a ‘truth’ or ‘fact’ can change over time. For example, when my mother went to high school in the 1930’s, it was a ‘fact’ or ‘truth’ that the atom could not be split, end point. However by the middle of the next decade, that ‘fact’ had not only been negated, but its negation had created nearly a quarter of a million casualties when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

I could go on but I won’t – the takeaway point is that if something is objectively true, it must be mind-independent – and unable to change over time – and oh, by the way, that ‘truth’ or ‘fact’ must also be 100% independent of societal views and norms – the suggestion being that as Jo rightly points out, very (very) little of what we choose to believe is ‘fact’ is actually nothing other than a ‘belief’.

If I wish to get rid of my qualifying belief (i.e.  although I am a clever and ambitious writer, no one notices or cares), I need to re-programme my mind to allow for change in my thoughts and belief. Unfortunately, given that I’m not yet certain what that qualifying belief is protecting me from, I’ll need to do this in stages, and I’m guessing that I could use some help with that. 

I’ll report back when I figure this out.

A Study in Existentialist Philosophy (Part 12)

My summer ( morphed into winter)  reading: Willem Barrett’s 1959 classic, Irrational Man, A Study in Existential Philosophy.

In his final chapter, The Place of the Furies, Barrett suggests that before we start talking politics we ought to have first undertaken some serious philosophical contemplation about the true nature of man. 

Although Barrett was writing in the middle of the 20th century, the concerns he’s expressing are still valid today. Barrett points out that as children of the Enlightenment, we in the Western world are accustomed to looking at man ‘almost exclusively as an epistemological subject’, an ‘intellect that registers sense data, makes propositions, reasons, and seeks certainty’. 

As children of the Enlightenment, we are also more or less programmed to look to the past and the future to discern what went wrong and plot and plan how we can make it all ‘better’. With such focus, we skip over the realities of today – not the warm, fuzzy ‘today’ for which we are told we ought to express gratitude, but the cold, hard ‘today’, which we are encouraged to at best overlook or at worst fix and fast. But as the Existentialists have tried to point out, both sides of this equation are the necessary lot of the embodied man.

Naturally it does no more good to focus solely on what’s wrong than it does to focus solely on what’s right. Likewise it does little good to put in Herculean effort to fix that which can’t be fixed. But it would do us a world of good to accept that the ‘idol of progress’ (see both Marx an Nietzsche) is just that – a utopian ideal that we may worship but never achieve.

You see, reminds Barrett, the human condition is one of (1) birth, (2) life (a period punctuated by both intense joy and sorrow), and (3) death. The glue holding that all together is anxiety, guilt, and fear. But as Barrett also reminds us, we in the West have become accustomed to label realists like the Existentialists as naysayers and psychotics, for whom a daily dose of the latest happiness drug is a necessary fix. But it won’t fix anything.

That’s just the point.

The ‘whole man’ or ‘well-rounded individual’ is, according to Barrett and the Existentialists, not one who takes endless courses for self-improvement but one who comes to accept that the power of man is nothing in comparison to that of the gods. This is a lesson that both the ancient Greeks (i.e. the great Oresteia  trilogy of Aeschylus) and modern psychologists have gone to great effort to point out.

The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room.

Carl Jung

To find the gods in psychology we ought to look first at the genres of our case-history writing. Our reflection needs to turn to psychoanalytic literature as literature. I am suggesting that literary reflection is a primary mode of grasping where one is ignorant, unconscious, blind in regard to the case because one has not differentiated the subjective factor, the gods in one’s work.

James Hillman

Take away:

We ignore the gods (an integral part of our embodied reality) at our peril and not everything can be fixed.

What might we expect this weekend?

This weekend we will experience two powerful transits. They may not last for long but what comes about as the result will likely influence our lives for some time to come.

SUMMARY

Put disruption together with leadership figures and messages as well as crisis, fear, and uncertainty and at least we know what to expect; in essence the king has lost his crown. The next step is to figure out how to identify the silver lining inherent in every cloud and make the best use of it with tips from experts from crisis management.

ANALYSIS

Mercury in Aries is forming a square or challenging aspect to Jupiter/Pluto in Capricorn and the Sun in Taurus is uncomfortably connecting up with disruptive Uranus.

Let’s start first with Jupiter/Pluto: these planets have a 12-year cycle which is associated with power struggles and excessive optimism especially in regards to fear and uncertainty. In Capricorn, this dynamic is playing out in the realm of political and economic structures – governments, banks, and similar inviolable institutions upon which we have become accustomed to relying. The problem here is that Jupiter is in its ‘fall’ (i.e. falling from on high like Humpty Dumpty). Yet Pluto in Capricorn is strong. Whenever Pluto is involved, we can expect crisis of some sort. Something that was once well hidden about why we should remain optimistic is no more and no one will be happy about it.

Add Mercury, the messenger, to the mix and we might expect messages and vital information about something that will threaten our complacency. After all, if we choose to believe that there are such things as inviolable institutions, then haven’t we set ourselves up for an unpleasant surprise?

At the same time the Sun in Taurus will conjunct with Uranus in Taurus. Uranus is well-known for bring both disruption and surprises – often of a revolutionary kind. With this aspect, change and disruption in our domestic (Taurus) situations is pretty much a given. The Sun is associated with ‘father’ and similar authority figures and so that suggests both ‘king’ and ‘leadership’ figures. This could be the CEO of a multinational or it could be the president or prime minister.  

Put disruption together with leadership figures and messages as well as crisis, fear, and uncertainty and at least we know what to expect. We learn that the ‘king’ has lost his crown.

RESOLUTION

Experts in crisis management suggest that whatever the bad news, we need to remember that in every cloud there is truly a silver lining.

They suggest we experiment with ideas about opportunities that will not only help us to weather the storm but also to come out on top when its all over. This is best achieved when such opportunities work to the advantage to all involved. After all, chances are pretty good that it was a joint effort that got everyone into the mess and chances are equally good that it will be joint effort to get out of it.

Experts also suggest that incumbent to the success of our efforts will be to both stay focused on a meaningful goal. We also need to ensured (best we can) that everyone involved is honest about sharing whatever information they have.

Finally, the experts advise that it goes without saying that pretending something bad isn’t happening when it is happening will not work. Acknowledge the negative emotions churned up as the result of what’s happened and then after a deep breath, purposefully let them go.

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

Growth & Expansion

What are you inviting to expand and grow in your life that many not serve you as well as you might initially have thought?

It’s tempting for forget – or perhaps even to ignore – that which we invited into our lives with the New Moon in Pisces (at the beginning of this week) is continuing to take hold and grow. Indeed, we will not even begin to see the first shoots of this ‘seedling’ that we’ve planted (consciously or not) until early next week with the 1st quarter Moon.

In the meantime it’s worth remembering that New Moon in Pisces was ‘hosted’ by Jupiter, the planetary ruler of Pisces. It’s also worth remembering that Jupiter is currently in the zodiac sign of Capricorn where it is considered to be debilitated, or in ‘fall’.

In practical terms this means is that which is growing and expanding in your life this lunar cycle may not ultimately be to your benefit. Indeed, it could be worse than that. Think along the lines of the growth/expansion of a tumor – or even the coronavirus – that may ultimately kill you.

To understand what this might mean, consider that (among other things) Jupiter represents the core ‘truths’ in which we believe wholeheartedly. Whenever we set an intention, it is those core ‘truths’ that drive that intention. Yet often enough our intentions – not to mention the core ‘truths’ that drive them – are not given the due consideration that they deserve.


For example, I’ve been running with a ‘truth’ that money is power, neither of which one can ever have too much of, right? Little wonder that my stated intention this lunar cycle was to get more of both!

At one level, my core ‘truth’ is realistic, at least in the sense that it certainly does seem that money makes the world turn. At another level, however, this ‘truth’ has long been making a mess in my personal life as well as my most intimate relationships. I’ve known this for awhile but I can assure you that I’ve done my best to ignore it.

Luckily, (luck is another aspect of Jupiter), I had the opportunity to do a family constellation yesterday with an excellent guide. As the result, I discovered that thistruth’ that I’ve been holding onto about money and power come along with some seriously damaging negative energy. Also I discovered that ‘truth’ (and the negative energy) comes not from me in the here and now but instead from bad stuff that happened in my ancestral line many generations ago.

The ‘healing’ of my ancestral line that came about as the result of the constellation yesterday feels great. Thanks to my excellent guide!! However, it still remains for me to replace that old, outworn, and damaging ‘truth’ about money and power with a new ‘truth’ – something that serves me better.

Ms S gets a new friend, Part II

METHOD:

When looking astrologically at the relationship between two people, two techniques are favoured:

  • The first is to examine the synastry between the individuals’ two natal charts. This identifies the essential energies in play between them as well as showcasing what has most likely brought them together in the first place.
  • Whilst synastry examines the impact one person has the other, the second technique – a composite chart – uses the individual natal charts to create a whole new third chart. This represents the relationship as a whole and provides insight into the dynamics upon which it, as a relationship, functions.

By comparing the two techniques, we often find repeating themes which of are of special interest because they will have a significant, longer-term impact on the relationship.


ANALYSIS:

Kindness & Empathy

For Ms S and her new friend, Mr T, the Moon/Neptune theme is highlighted in both synastry and the composite chart. This is likely to impart an overriding degree of kindness and empathy between the pair, which can be quite lovely.

  • This natural, instinctual bond runs deep and will not easily be broken. Both parties will likely feel that they ‘know’ each other ‘well’ and because of the placement of the contact (by conjunction) in the composite third house, this comfortable rapport is likely to play out in their interpersonal communication.
  • However comfortable the Moon/Neptune contacts may feel, it is in itself is not an indication of romance. Indeed although this contact is one of the classic signatures of a ‘soul mate’ relationship, it is just as often found in purely platonic relationships as it is in those of a sexual nature.
  • Potential problems with such a tight and deep bond like Moon/Neptune include the propensity to lose a vital sense of personal boundaries.
  • Should this happen, it could leave both parties feeling emotionally drained. Another potential problem is that whilst one person endlessly gives (in this case, most likely it would be Ms S), the other person (Mr T) might endlessly take. If this dynamic remains unchecked as the relationship progresses, it could well prompt Ms S (the Moon person) to become increasingly more possessive – demanding more and more attention. In response, this could well prompt Mr T (the Neptune person) to ‘quietly slip away’ and become increasingly ‘emotionally unavailable’.
  • Both Ms S and Mr T need to be always mindful not to slip into a ‘redeemer/victim’ pattern of relating which is common with the Moon/Neptune dynamic. Should this occur and continue unchecked, both parties may begin to unconsciously ‘undermine’ the confidence of the other in order to keep hold of their tight bond.

Openness & Warmth

Another theme repeated in both the synastry and composite chart is that of Sun/Jupiter. This is likely to result in a feeling of natural harmony between Ms S and Mr T, marked by a sense of openness and warmth.

  • In the composite chart, the Sun/Jupiter contact (by conjunction) falls in the 7th house, which is the place of partnerships and marriages.
  • This suggests that should Ms S and Mr T form an alliance akin to a partnership, both will ‘shine brighter’ and enjoy significant personal growth as the result.
  • With the 7th house, however, we must also always remember that it is the not just the place for partnerships but also for ‘open enemies’ – i.e. if you’re not ‘with me’ then you’re ‘against’ me.

Power Plays / Domination

In the composite chart, Pluto is directly opposite the Sun/Jupiter (conjunction). This suggests that if Ms S and Mr T are not careful, their relationship could very well become an open battle ground.

Along the same lines, the composite chart has Mars close to the Midheaven (MC) and in square aspect to both the Ascendant/Descendant axis and composite Venus.  This again highlights the possibility of the relationship ultimately becoming a battleground – as ‘domination’ and ego-fueled ‘power plays’ become the order of the day.

Sexual Attraction / Open Hostility

Although as noted earlier, the Moon/Neptune contact is often found in purely platonic relationships,  in this case, a close Venus/Mars (synastry) contact suggests a sexual attraction between Ms S and Mr T. Beware. Without careful attention, this erotic energy may find itself ‘rechannelled’ into arguments – over even the most petty things – as both parties engage in the power plays, as noted above, and well know how to ‘push each other’s buttons’.

Valued-Added

Finally, this pair also enjoys a mutual Venus/Sun synastry contact (by trine and square) suggesting a natural harmony promoting a significant degree of mutual acceptance and tolerance.

  • This contact, however pleasant, also brings with it the danger of taking each other for granted and subsequent loss of that all important ‘spark’ of interest that brought them together in the first place.
  • It’s more than possible that Ms S will begin to feel that she’s being taken advantage of by Mr T and that he does not appreciated or value her as much as she does him.
  • If this occurs, then the more she goes out of her way to please him, the more complacent he may become.
  • Some balance  in ‘give and take’ needs to be negotiated else the relationship risks the possibility of Ms S holding a ‘grudge’ regarding the ‘unfairness’ of it all – and this could well ultimately drive a wedge between them.

Crisis & Collapse / 2020

Last night, I had a horrible dream: I was sitting in my living room watching as (for no apparent reason) the wall of the house next door crumbled and collapsed.


This metaphor aptly depicts what we might soon expect from a series of planetary onslaughts across the bow of the Capricorn/Cancer axis.

To understand what this means, first remember that Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and Cancer by the Moon. Thus we can expect the cold, hard reality of material events (Saturn) to seriously disrupt our domestic and emotional security (Moon) as follows:

10 January – Lunar Eclipse

With every eclipse something ends and something begins but whilst solar eclipses tend to offer new opportunities, lunar eclipses tend to bring final endings. Because this eclipse (where the shadow of the earth blots out the light of the Moon) occurs on the Capricorn/Cancer axis, we can expect a shadow of some sort to fall across the promise of continued domestic/emotional security.

11 January – Uranus turns Direct

Now comes the turning point – although the proverbial writing may have been the proverbial wall for some time in regards to an upcoming change we can no longer ignore it.

12 January – Saturn/Pluto Conjunction

A seriously powerful planetary line-up in Capricorn (Saturn/Pluto/Sun/Mercury/Jupiter) assures us a crisis of significant magnitude to catch and hold everyone’s attention. The status quo explodes and as a consequence, we are forced to take action, like it or not.

The last time Saturn/Pluto were conjunction in Capricorn was 1518, when the world witnessed the start the Protestant Reformation and the end of the Catholic Church’s stranglehold on political and religious power.

The planetary line-up in 2020 is eerily similar to that of 1518.

During this period, we can expect nothing less than the total and utter structural (Saturn) collapse and death and rebirth (Pluto) of some status quo that will play heavy on our minds (Mercury).

Because of the nature of Saturn and Pluto in combination, this will not be pretty.

Add the Sun to this planetary line-up, and we can expect this crisis to bring about a sober AWAKENING – a mature, realistic understanding that something we’ve taken for granted has come to the bitter end.

17 January – Last Quarter Moon

The Moon in Libra reactivates the Saturn/Pluto conjunction of five days ago. The last quarter Moon is always a trying time – a test – a judgement of how well we’ve dealt with that which has come before. Expect more drama, disruption, and hard choices.

21 June – Solar Eclipse / Summer Solstice

Just minutes after the summer solstice, when the Sun enters the zodiac sign of Cancer, there is another solar eclipse. We’re looking at new chapter in the story that started in January re: crisis and collapse. What’s being offered here and will we take it?

5 July – Lunar Eclipse

By this time, the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction, which has been plodding along in the background since April, will have come center stage. At last, we might expect our story to be approaching some kind of resolution.

But before getting too optimistic (Jupiter), remember that the Jupiter/Pluto cycle is associated with political power struggles arising from excessive beliefs and optimism, i.e. fundamentalism and terrorism. Likewise, we might expect some death/rebirth (Pluto) regarding Jupiter-inspired things like the legal system or governmental rules and regulations.

29 September – Saturn turns Direct

Back in January, Saturn and Pluto formed that conjunction in Capricorn, one that reminds us of that formed in January 1518.

In April, Saturn moved out of Capricorn and into Aquarius, thus alleviating some of the pressure. But, unfortunately, it’s not over yet. In May, Saturn turned retrograde and started reversing back into Capricorn throughout the entire summer reigniting the crisis experienced earlier in the year.

Finally, at long last, Saturn turns direct moves definitively away from that January conjunction. Whilst it is true that Saturn’s 2020 conjunction with Pluto has set off a new cycle that will take approximately 33 years to unfold in its entirety, at least we now have some breathing space to reflect upon what has happened and adjust our lives in keeping with it.


In regards to my horrible dream, the wall (Saturn) of my neighbor’s house (Moon) may have collapsed (Pluto) in January but the dust didn’t start to settle until the end of the summer. Towards the end of 2020, my unfortunate neighbor will finally learns if he or she is can rebuild or need to relocate.

When the ‘sun is spent’…

One of the perennial philosophies asserts that only in eternity (i.e. God, Plato’s forms, Aristotelian essences) can constancy be found. All else is subject to mutability, change as the result of time.

In Book Eleven of his Confessions, St Augustine questioned time in relation to God (the stable Truth) and His creation of the temporal world. He concluded that time – past, present and future – could be nothing more than a conscious act of human representation.

Whether or not this is true, I suggest that at least in his secular poetry, John Donne, the metaphysical English Renaissance poet, shrewdly manipulates his representations of time in order to explore ideas about constancy and mutability in new and thought-provoking ways.

One of the most interesting, at least for this time of the year, comes with his poem A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, in which Donne uses the winter solstice to help his speaker come to grips with a difficult situation.

Someone important to the speaker, likely a lover or former lover (suggested by the speaker’s address to ‘other lovers’), has died.

It is indeed a dark time.

Yet the cycle of death is now complete – ‘this time to the Goat is run’ – (i.e. at the winter solstice, the sun enters Capricorn, ‘The Goat’, in order to die and be reborn). Because ‘spring’ is connected through rhyme with ‘thing’ (‘I am every dead thing’), there is hope of regeneration not only for the sun but for the speaker as well. In turn, this will ‘fetch new lust’ (the goat being associated with the genitals and the union of male and female powers).

The desolate speaker takes solace from the next (‘summer’) solstice – ‘let me prepare towards her’ (emphasis added) for after ‘midnight’ comes the new day.


With this, Donne has effectively reset the clock and put the difficult situation into new perspective and with similar reflection, you can do the same.


With Saturn and Pluto coming ever closer form their historic conjunction in Capricorn in mid January 2020, we can expect this solstice to be both a time of crisis and contraction. On so many levels, it spells the end of innocence, the end of an era that as with the speaker in Donne’s poem, we have little choice but to face with honesty and humility. Just as St Augustine reminds us, all in our temporal, material wold is subject to change as the result of time.

Yet as with Donne’s poem, this solstice offers the opportunity of true transcendence and healing if, and only if, we choose it to be.

Intention matters.


‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
         The sun is spent, and now his flasks
         Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
                The world’s whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed’s feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr’d; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar’d with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
         For I am every dead thing,
         In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
                For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin’d me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that’s good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
         I, by Love’s limbec, am the grave
         Of all that’s nothing. Oft a flood
                Have we two wept, and so
Drown’d the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
         Were I a man, that I were one
         I needs must know; I should prefer,
                If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.

But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
         At this time to the Goat is run
         To fetch new lust, and give it you,
                Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night’s festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year’s, and the day’s deep midnight is.

A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, being the shortest day – John Donne

Karmic Dilemmas


Today, I attended a fab networking event for the ladies and the question was raised about karma.


Whether you believe that karma is about actual past lives or something more along the lines of what your higher self (or soul) wants to work on during this lifetime, this is my take on a few astrological considerations.


General shape of the natal chart – here, we are looking for empty spaces (i.e. quadrants or hemispheres rather than single houses). Energy ‘flow’ in the chart is important to pinpoint blockages as well as overcompensations.

I have absolutely nothing in the 3rd quadrant, which governs my personal development through relationships, socialisation and intellect. I’ve been married twice and have far too many university degrees. Overcompensation? You can bet on it.


Chiron – is also a big karmic factor and guess what, he’s conjunct my 7th house cusp! Is he telling me that I’ve suffered prior ‘wounds’ in relationship that had to do with balancing my own needs and that of the ‘other’? If so, then not surprisingly does this often manifest as the typical Libra refrain (I have 4 planets in Libra) – ‘I’ll do anything for you to stay in the relationship’. The karmic lesson here involves learning to love myself so that I’m not so dependent on the love from my ‘significant other’.


Element balance and imbalance – here, we are looking for (1) no and/or (2) four or more planets in either fire, earth, air, or water. Again, we’re looking for overcompensation and fixations. I have lots of air but no water in my chart and I often dream of water, not of drowning but of being constantly flooded. Water represents emotions. I don’t deal well with emotions. Put air and water together and you have rain storms. Too many of those at once and there’s flooding.


Moon and the South node –  here, we are looking for deeply instinctual patterns, something that I’ve done over and over before and so keep doing because it is so easy. My Moon is in the 12th house, the most karmic of the houses. This definitely has to do with ‘mother-stuff’ (I spent years on ‘mother’ in my therapy – and I do mean years) and of course emotions. Or rather, it has to doing with being ‘detached’ from my emotions because otherwise it causes too much personal pain with which I cannot deal. Don’t be surprised to learn that my South Node is in Cancer. This is something that I’ve done gazillions of times before.

Doesn’t this tie in a bit too nicely with my lack of ‘water’ and recurrent ‘mother issues’?


What does your chart say about your karma?

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.

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’.