Astrological psychology??

I often ponder the reason for my seeming obsession with the human psyche. From a distance, the books I pore over often seem overlapping in their knowledge and similar in their approach.

What, then, is the difference between them, and is there any added value if the content is so similar?

A classmate lent me a book called Relating by Liz Greene. I will share part of her introduction here that gave me some insight on my fascination with such subjects like metaphysics, psychology, and things of a more esoteric nature.

“Relating is a fundamental aspect of life. It is archetypal, which means that it is an experience which permeates the basic structure not only of the human psyche but of the universe in its entirety. In the final analysis all things are built upon relating, for we would not be conscious of any aspect of life without recognizing it through its difference from every other aspect. We recognize day because there is night, and the relationship between the two defines and identifies each of them. And if some minimal thought is given to this idea, it becomes increasingly apparent that we human beings can only conceive of ourselves as individuals through comparison with that which we are not.

Primarily through the work of psychology during the last seventy-five years, however, it has become apparent that relationships are not only a means to personal satisfaction of one kind or another. They are also necessary for the growth of consciousness and the individual’s understanding of himself. A man does not know what he looks like until he sees himself reflected in the looking-glass, and this simple truth applies not only to physical reality but to the reality of the psyche as well.

… (shift in consciousness)

It is possible that this shift in consciousness, to which astrology has given the symbolic name of the Aquarian Age, has, as one of its central motifs, a striving toward inner knowledge – a knowledge that would complement the emphasis on external knowledge already very familiar to us. Our current time-spirit appears to be deeply concerned with self-understanding, and with a search for meaning. And although one can attribute this search to economic and political changes which inevitably create tension, stress and self-questioning, it may also be possible to view these two concurrent trends – socio-economic upheaval and what can be simply described as a spiritual quest – as synchronous events. That is, one need not be the cause of the other, but both may be symptomatic of a deep inner change occurring in the collective psyche of man.”

Liz Greene appeals to me because, in addition to her astrological wisdom, she is also a Jungian analyst! She states:

“My original intent in writing Relating was to approach the vast and complex dilemma of human relationships through a combination of astrological symbolism and depth psychology – chiefly the psychology of C.G. Jung – because it seemed obvious to me through my experience of working both as an astrologer and a psychotherapist that what we meet in outer life ultimately reflects what lies within ourselves; and that relationships are our greatest mirrors and teachers of the stuff of which our own souls are made. This is not a new idea; it is implicit in much of Greek philosophical thought, as well as in the Hermetic teachings of the Renaissance. But it was relatively new in the astrological literature of a decade ago, although Jung – who regularly utilized the insights of astrology – wrote extensively on the subject. Astrology, however, found its entry into England via Theosophy, which as a philosophical system is benign but nonetheless shies away from that ‘lower nature’ which depth psychology has made so much more effort to restore to its merited place in the wholeness of the individual; and even with the more enlightened approaches of Charles Carter, Margaret Hone, and the early days of the Faculty of Astrological Studies astrology still retains its unmistakable antecedents in its talk of higher and lower natures, benefic and malefic plants, good and bad aspects, and a rather fatalistic approach to relationships (Venus in the second house in trine to Jupiter means you will marry money). Because Jung’s psychology is round rather than vertical, and gives values to all dimensions of the psyche, this approach to the horoscope has always seemed to me to be a healthier one, and in the years since I wrote Relating my work as a Jungian analyst has proven to me over and over again the importance of recognizing and integrating the unconscious dimensions of the psyche if any psychological balance, health, and equilibrium are to be maintained – not to mention being able to let other people be other people and not extensions of our own unlived and unrecognized selves.”

So, the answer to my question is that, for me, each book has specifically a different focus and depth to it, and depending on the nature of your question / exploration, you’ll use a different map!

AND, perhaps, like humans from afar, we look and seem similar, especially to a koala or sloth, but up close, we are much more unique. I guess it’s like zooming in and zooming out.

A perfect example would be food! Pasta is pasta, and spaghetti is spaghetti. But venture into the territory of – all spaghetti is the same – and you’ll find yourself in deep. deeeeeeeep water.

Cultivate curiosity. Things always look different up close. What new worlds can you open your eyes to today? 

Emotional Agility – Susan David

I came across an interview with Lewis Howes and Susan David that was quite wonderful, so i will share some of her points here:

The World Health Organization predicted that depression would be the #1 cause of disability by 2030. It reached that number in 2017, globally. This reminds me of something Charles Eisenstein said in TMBW, “When the conscious mind cannot find a reason to say no, the unconscious says no in its own way. More and more of us cannot bear to stay in the “old normal” any longer.”

Is this what’s happening?

  • the only certainty is uncertainty
  • 1/3 of us judge our emotions instead of feeling the feeling
  • Emotions allow us insight, leading us to be able to tweak things; they are the tools that help us communicate with ourselves; beneath our difficult emotions are signposts to things we care about
  • Emotional Rigidity – when our emotions, stories and thoughts drive us, rather than our intentions, values and who we want to be in the world
  • Victor Frankl – between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose.
  • Emotions are data points, not directives; saying there are right or wrong emotions is like saying your right leg is better than your left leg; Rather, open your heart to feel the full range of emotional experience
  • Allow yourself to be

Practical tips:

When you say, “I am ______” (insert emotion), we are saying that ALL OF ME is _____. But it’s simply not true. Seeing it as just that one emotion takes away the space between stimulus and response.

Instead, notice the thoughts and emotions that are present.
– notice that I’m feeling sad
– notice that I’m feeling angry
– I’m noticing the thought that I’m not good enough

healthy relationship with emotions is about being compassionate with ourselves, recognizing we are doing the best we can with what we’ve got. Create a space inside where you can fail.

Susan ends off with a South African greeting, Sawubona, which means, “I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into into being.”

Thank you. 🙂

Singing over the Bones – Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Reading Women Who Run With the Wolves is an incredible experience for me. I find myself at the edge of my thought zone, reaching just beyond what is familiar. i can both feel myself understanding and not-understanding simultaneously. it’s bizarre… if i look carefully, i can feel its truth, abstract as it is… i can also step back and see how it doesn’t make any sense (what does it all mean??? wild – like you want to go run naked in the forest and forage for berries?? what is it that you want to do that’s so “wild”??) it’s curious that this word creates so much within us… what does this word evoke in you?

i like holding this apparent contradiction in my mind. it feels important. when we arrive at a conclusion, too often it feels like we forgot the journey we traversed to get there, and almost assume that everyone should arrive at the same time as us, to the exact same spot, neglecting to remember the others who are farther along than us, on their own journey, and our own digging / excavation process.

it feels like coming back home… (which, in itself, can be an equally odd idea if one is not in this place…)

Sharing some here, pulled from the Introduction chapter:

“Like a trail through a forest which becomes more and more faint and finally seems to diminish to a nothing, traditional psychological theory too soon runs out for the creative, the gifted, the deep woman. Traditional psychology is often spare or entirely silent about deeper issues important to women: the archetypal, the intuitive, the sexual and cyclical, the ages of women, a woman’s way, a woman’s knowing, her creative fire.

A woman’s issue of soul cannot be treated by carving her into a more acceptable form as defined by an unconscious culture, nor can she be bent into a more intellectually acceptable shape by those who claim to be the sole bearers of consciousness. No, that is what has already caused millions of women who began as strong and natural powers to become outsiders in their own cultures. Instead, the goal must be the retrieval and succor of women’s beauteous and natural psychic form.

Fairy tales, myths, and stories provide understandings which sharpen our sight so that we can pick out and pick up the path left by the wildish nature. The instruction found in story reassures us that the path has not run out, but still leads women deeper, and more deeply still, into their own knowing. The tracks which we are all following are those of the Wild Woman archetype, the innate instinctual Self.

I call her Wild Woman, for those very words, wild and woman, create llamar o tocar a la puerta, the fairy-tale knock at the door of the deep female psyche. Llamar o tocar a la puerta means literally to play upon the instrument of the name in order to open a door. It means using words that summon up the opening of a passageway. No matter why which culture a woman is influenced, she understands the words wild and woman, intuitively.

When women hear those words, an old, old memory is stirred and brought back to life. The memory is of our absolute, undeniable, and irrevocable kinship with the wild feminine, a relationship which may have become ghosty from neglect, buried by overdomestication, outlawed by the surrounding culture, or no longer understood anymore. We may have forgotten her names, we may not answer when she calls ours, but in our bones we know her, we yearn toward her; we know she belongs to us and we to her.

It is into this fundamental, elemental, and essential relationship that we were born and that in our essence we are also derived from.

She comes to us through sound as well; through music which vibrates the sternum, excites the heart; it comes through the drum, the whistle, the call, and the cry. It comes through the written and the spoken word; sometimes a word, a sentence or a poem or a story, is so resonant, so right, it causes us to remember, at least for an instant, what substance we are really made from, and where is our true home. ”

A quick definition of what she means by “wild”, before we get people all up in arms about women getting too empowered by their inner nature and doing all sorts of destructive things:
“So, the word wild here is not used in its modern pejorative sense, meaning out of control, but in its original sense, which means to live a natural life, one in which the criatura, creature, has innate integrity and healthy boundaries.”
– a “knowing of the soul”

On Freedom – Krishnamurti

Recent events bring to mind the concept of freedom. It’s something most of us enjoy, and would strive for if we felt the absence of it.

Sharing some thoughts by the wonderful Krishnamurti:

“Now, what does it mean to be free? Is freedom a matter of doing what suits you, going where you like, thinking what you will? This you do anyhow. Merely to have independence, does that mean freedom? Many people in the world are independent, but very few are free. Freedom implies great intelligence, does it not? To be free is to be intelligent, but intelligence does not come into being by just wishing to be free; it comes into being only when you begin to understand your whole environment, the social, religious, parental, and traditional influences that are continually closing in on you. But to understand the various influences – the influence of your parents, of your government, of society, of the culture to which you belong, of your beliefs, your gods and superstitions, of the tradition to which you conform unthinkingly – to understand all these and become free from them requires deep insight, but you generally give in to them because inwardly you are frightened. You are afraid of not having a good position in life; you are afraid of what your priest will say; you are afraid of not following tradition, of not doing the right thing. But freedom is really a state of mind in which there is no fear or compulsion, no urge to be secure.
Don’t most of us want to be safe? Don’t we want to be told what marvellous people we are, how lovely we look, or what extraordinary intelligence we have? Otherwise we would not put letters after our names. All that kind of thing gives us self-assurance, a sense of importance. We all want to be famous people – and the moment we want to BE something, we are no longer free.”

Something to think about. 🙂

The Red Book – Scrutinies

Thanks to a dear friend, I extricated my Red Book from the dustballs that are my bookshelf.

“Inside yourself you think unsparingly and coarsely only what always suits you, and with this you feel yourself above humanity and not in the least responsible. But you are responsible to humanity in everything that you think, feel, and do. Do not pretend there is a difference between thinking and doing. You rely only on your undeserved advantage, not to be compelled to say or do what you think and feel.

But you are shameless in everything where no one sees you. If another said that to you, you would be mortally offended, despite knowing that it is true. You want to reproach others for their failings? So that they better themselves? Yes, confess, have you bettered yourself? From where do you get the right to have opinions of others What is your opinion about yourself? And what are the good grounds that support it? Your grounds are webs of lies covering a dirty corner. You judge others and charge them with what they should do. You do this because you have no order within yourself, because you are unclean.

And then – how do you really think? It appears to me that you even think with men, regardless of their human dignity; you dare think by means of them, and use them as figures on your stage, as if they were how you conceive them? Have you ever considered that you thus commit a shameful act of power, as bad as that for which you condemn others, namely that they love their fellow men, as they claim, but in reality exploit them to their own ends. Your sin flourishes in seclusion, but it is no less great remoresless, and coarse.

What is concealed in you I will drag out into the light, shamless one! I will crush your superiority under my feet.

Do not speak to me about your love. What you call love oozes with self-interest and desirousness. But you speak about it with great words, and the greater your words are, the more pathetic your so-called love is. Never speak to me of your love, but keep your mouth shut. It lies.

I want you to speak about your shame, and that instead of speaking great words, you utter a discordant clamor before those whose respect you wanted to exact. You deserve mockery, not respect.

I will burn out of you the contents of which you were proud, so that you will become empty like a poured-out vessel. You should be proud of nothing more than your emptiness and wretchedness. You should be a vessel of life, so kill your idols.

You want to be understood? That’s all we needed! Understand yourself, and you will be sufficiently understood. You will have quite enough work in hand with that Mothers’ little dears want to be understood. Understand yourself, that is the best protection against sensitivity and satisfies your childish longing to be understood. I suppose you want to turn others into slaves of your desireousness again? But you know that I must live with you and that I will no longer tolerate such abject plaintiveness.

Isn’t that beautiful? Reading Jung is such an experience for me. His other stuff is good, but The Red Book, in particular, is unreal. It literally makes my heart race. I need to catch my breath.

It’s like his words reach a place that is usually beyond reach. What is this place? I can feel it stirring in me as i take in his words. The struggle he feels between the tuggings of his soul and… and what? The dialogue often reminds me of the book of Job.

As Rumi so magically stated, “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

ESP – Emotional Support Person

I’ve always been fascinated by ESP, most commonly meaning Extra-Sensory Perception. It led me to do a project on the Bermuda Triangle when I was just a wee lad. lass. lad.

Anyway, this morning I watched a Vice episode on Sault Ste. Marie and the opiod crisis. It was pretty heartbreaking. This, along with recent events most of us have seen on the news, prompts me to feel that something more needs to be done.

There’s so much pain in the world. We see it everywhere. The schools, the hospitals, the everyday interactions, and much more! It’s clear the current system isn’t doing a very good job supporting our community.

How can we begin to bring about healing? (Cue: Mahatma Gandhi quote)

I am contemplating the idea of an ESP, similar to a PSW, but one who is specifically trained to provide… emotional support! The intimate connection between one’s emotions and our health is becoming increasingly accepted. As such, wouldn’t it be amazing if we can help by just… being there, holding space, etc. (I say etc. because i can’t think of any other examples off the top of my head). An idea to massage…

I feel this would be helpful. I feel Caroline Myss would agree – so grateful I was able to attend her talk on the Power of our Words yesterday!

Okay, that’s it for now.

Tapping In – by Laurel Parnell

Helena, the instructor from the Meditation and the Chakras class offered at the Transformational Arts College, brought in a book yesterday. She mentioned that she worked with people who have experienced trauma. There’s a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) “a clinically recognized system for tapping both sides of the body to overcome trauma, boost confidence, calm the body on a deep, physiological level, and to respond better to stress.”

Those all sound wonderful to me!

So I borrowed it. SO excited to start. Just wanted to share it with the world! 🙂

Here’s an excerpt also, so you’re not just left with a pool of my thoughts.

“When I was in my early twenties, Lama Yeshe gifted me with a direct experience of this inner resource. I had just spend the day with him and two friends visiting a sacred lake in the Sierras, where he did a ceremony to protect the lake with a group of Native Americans. We had taken him to a house where he was to stay for a few days before returning to a meditation retreat we were all attending. As I walked down a hallway of the house, I encountered Lama Yeshe; immediately my heart overflowed with love for him. Yet I felt a little awkward, as I was also in awe of him – his presence was so powerful. Breaking the silence, I began to express my appreciation for him, but he stopped me. Taking my right hand in his, he gently but firmly placed it over my heart. Then, looking directly into my eyes, he said, “The Buddha is within you, dear.” In that moment, time stood still. His words struck a chord of truth that resonated in the depth of my being. Tears streamed own my face. Truth recognized itself and came to the foreground of my awareness. The Buddha in me recognized the Buddha in him. I realized in that instant that we were not two, but one and the same. He held my gaze for a few moments then released my hand and continued down the hall.”

The world is full of people who want us to follow them. Often, we are quite willing, also, to throw off our own cloak and put on someone else’s. It’s easier. We don’t have to dig through our own shit, figure out what we really believe in, what we truly value. But we can’t live someone else’s life. We must live our own. But How, you ask? This question seems to bring us back to consider the ancient wisdom of Socrates, who said that the unexamined life is not worth living, and Shakespeare, who encouraged us, to thine own self be true.

It’s beautiful to come across souls who turn the tables and reflect the light back.

May you always see the light in yourself, and in others. Namaste.


*being* over doing

The concept of “being” first caught my attention when cousin Dan shared about this book he was reading, The Art of Being by Erich Fromm.  To me, it illuminated the difference between basing our lives on “having”, on consuming, on doing, and rather being focused, or oriented towards being. The difference is monumentally significant and alters the way we greet the world.

More recently, psychiatrist and author Mark Epstein has been popping up around me. I was familiar with his book, Thoughts Without a Thinker, but hadn’t read it. Curious, but not enough.

Until sisbum told me about his new book, The Trauma of Everyday Life.

Going through therapy makes me super interested in the internal world and the personal experience that is uniquely ours. Upon researching his books, I found a copy of Going on Being at the nearest library!

I’m drawn to his psychotherapeutic approach that has Buddhist inspiration. Here’s an excerpt that really helped to untie the knots in my brain revolving the concept of self/no-self. Therapy is a digging deep into our past to heal our emotional wounds. How does this fit in with the concept of no-self? If there is no “self” to work with, are we grappling at ego when we do this? But how do we release the past without acknowledging it?

“I remember once trying to explain the Buddhist view of self to Isadore. In Buddhism, there is said to be no fixed, intrinsic identity; only a flow with no one behind it. Isadore had no problem with the Buddhist view. Gestalt therapy also sees the world as a flow; as a continual unfolding, a succession of meeting places at the contact-boundaries of experience. The “ego” is the individual vehicle for carrying out these meetings, but it has no intrinsic identity either. A healthy ego initiates, approaches, makes contact, and dissolves, only to begin the cycle again. A disturbed ego gets in its own way and interferes with healthy contact, perpetuating its own reality at the expense of the interaction. When I was having trouble speaking to Isadore directly, my ego was actually more active than when I learned to relate openly. In those circumstances where my ego did not dissolve, I was left with a sense of deficiency, having failed to accomplish the intimacy or relationship that I was naturally seeking. An ego that gets in its own way never gets to transparency; the result is a person contracted around his own sense of inadequacy. A positive sense of self emerges only when the ego allows itself to melt away.”

This was a Eureka moment for me in so many ways. It helped explain how we can have an ego and also how this comes and goes like waves on a beach. Nothing wrong with ego. It’s the clinging to it, clinging to this concept of ‘self’ that obscures us from forming authentic relationships.

Being over doing. Be there as a conscious, present energy, and this will be of most benefit to life. Otherwise we’re so clouded by our perceptions, our expectations, the past. How can we expect our relations to be free of clutter? How can we be free of the past? Free from our own mental constructs and mental prison?

I’ve temporarily concluded that we can observe our experiences like a check-out counter. We have all these things in our cart, and some we’ve hidden in our jacket and clothes. When we brush things under the carpet, ignore and deny, that’s what we’re doing. Smuggling things out of the store without paying.

So what can we do?

We can scan each item, each experience, through the thingamajig, process it through our consciousness, log it as something that happened, then let it go. Bag it, and be done with it. Don’t keep paying the price for it every day.

It’s the acknowledgement and awareness that can help heal… does this make sense?? it did in my head…

Thank you, Universe, for all the blessings and synchronicities. May I be of service to you.

Will the naughty boy change through punishment or through love? – Krishnamurti

I love this. I’m such a feeler. I was with my therapist one day and he sort of did impressions of people who would be more thinkers vs. feelers and it was pretty funny… the thinkers obviously would focus on the tangible aspects of something. In this case we were talking about the benefits of digital clocks vs. analog. Blahblah.

Anyway, it was funny because he kind of gushed on and on about how analog clocks feel nice, and have this quality to them that’s less blocky than digital, etc. And it’s pretty much how i talk!

Ok. Sharing now Krishnamurti’s answer:

What do you think? Listen very carefully to the question; think it out, feel it out. Will a naughty boy change through punishment or through love? If he changes through punishment, which is a form of compulsion, is that change? You are a bigger person, you have authority as the teacher or the parent, and if you threaten him, frighten him, the poor chap may do as you say; but is that change? Is there change through any form of compulsion? Can there ever be change through legislation, through any form of fear?

And, when you ask if love will bring about a change in the naughty boy, what do you mean by that word ‘love’? If to love is to understand the boy – not to change him, but to understand the causes that are producing naughtiness – then that very understanding will bring about in him the cessation of naughtiness. If I want to change the boy so that he will stop being naughty, my very desire to change him is a form of compulsion, is it not? But if I begin to understand why he is naughty, if I can discover and eradicate the causes that are producing naughtiness in him – it may be wrong food, a lack of sleep, want of affection, the fact that he is being teased by another boy, and so on – then the boy will not be naughty. But if my desire is merely to change the boy, which is wanting him to fit into a particular pattern, then I cannot understand him.

You see, this brings up the problem of what we mean by change. Even if the boy ceases to be naughty because of your love for him, which is a kind of influence, is that a real change? It may be love, but it is still a form of pressure on him to do or be something. And when you say a boy must change, what do you mean by that? Change from what to what? From what he is to what he should be? If he changes to what he should be, has he not merely modified what he was, and therefore it is no change at all?

To put it differently, if I am greedy and I become non-greedy because you and society and the sacred books all tell me that I must do so, have I changed, or am I merely calling greed by a different name? Whereas, if I am capable of investigating and understanding the whole problem of my greed, then I shall be free of it – which is entirely different from becoming non-greedy.

This reminds me somewhat of what Charles Eisenstein said in A More Beautiful World: “Let us be wary of measures that address only the most proximate cause of that symptom and leave the deeper causes untouched.”

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 31?

I’ve recently started to read the Tao Te Ching – Stephen Mitchell’s version. This one struck a cord with me as it relates to the politics of the world now…

Weapons are the tools of violence;
all decent men detest them.

Weapons are the tools of fear;
a decent man will avoid them
except in the direst necessity
and, if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.
Peace is his highest value.
If the peace has been shattered,
how can he be content?
His enemies are not demons,
but human beings like himself.
He doesn’t wish them personal harm.
Nor does he rejoice in victory.
How could he rejoice in victory
and delight in the slaughter of men?

He enters a battle gravely,
with sorrow and with great compassion,
as if he were attending a funeral.

May we be led with our hearts and highest selves, rather than meagre substitutes for them.