The Courage To Explore: Intimate Relationships & What Lies Beneath

(image : heta1311.wordpress.com)

It’s amazing how relationships can move so swiftly, from the point that says: ” I really want to get to know you better.” “I accept every part of you.” “For better of for worse.” Or, “what we have is SO real,” and then revert to a dismal: “Clearly, you weren’t who I thought you were.” “You fooled me.” Or, the best : “You fake ass mother f%$&*% !”

How do our relationships vacillate  to such extremes in a matter of months, weeks or even days?

My contention is that over idealism and intoxication, compliments of “fairy dust” can blind us to the possibilities that something more complex and sinister lurks beneath the surface. In many cases, we outright refuse to acknowledge the shadow which pervades intimate relationships.

Actually, the force is only “sinister” if we choose to ignore the dark, as if it doesn’t exist. Otherwise, these dynamics can assist us in arriving at a deeper place with our partners, if that’s what we truly want.

Additionally, it’s important to understand that we must deal with the shadow, not only in our relationships with others, but also in our MOST intimate relationship: with OURSELVES.

To plumb the depths of our psyches isn’t a journey for the faint of heart. There’s a considerable risk of discovering contents which we’re uncomfortable with.

You know: those which increase our heart beat, incite nausea and cause us to squirm. We feel this way because if ANYONE discovered that these thoughts were a part of our psychological framework, we feel as is we would be immediately be judged, ostracized and rejected.

However, what bears consideration is that these very same contents, while acknowledged and given a constructive outlet for expression can serve is as an agent in our development and ultimate transformation.

Much of the time, during the beginning stages of a relationship, a decision is made by one or both partners to engage in strategies which are designed to cover up the parts of ourselves which we deem as being “ugly”. We construct a veneer of bullshit  and call it ourselves, and no matter how sophisticated our tactics may be, every time we turn around, the bullshit is there, just hanging out.

As a result, between two people, intimacy is stifled and given a snowball’s chance in hell” of developing because it can’t surface in an environment so ripe with dishonesty.

Generally, we’ve bought the bill of goods society has sold us: telling to us that we can have a genuine relationship without being genuine. We’ve been told that the correct course of action is to hide our blemishes and make only the acceptable parts of ourselves visible.

The lingering hope is this: by the time the other person recognizes all of our bullshit (there’s that word again), they’ll be so invested (a mortgage, 2 or 3 children deep, etc..) that they won’t have the strength, sanity or peace of mind to fight for their own well-being and “at least we’ll have somebody”.

We’ve somehow become convinced of the notion that navigating difficult territory is something to be avoided at all costs. We strive to avoid pain any way that we can, thereby creating more of it because of our refusal to deal with it when it was knocking at our front door, staring us in the face.

In virtually every area of life, we’ve  been told that we can get what we want through some type of shortcut. Get rich quick, lose weight fast, a holiday meal to go in a box, quick, earth shattering astrology readings, and the list goes on.

It’s more accurate to say that successful relationships don’t materialize via mystical and magical means. The willingness of both parties to share, seek mutual understanding, create space for the honoring and expression of feelings and emotions and confronting aspects of ourselves and the other that are difficult to deal with are all part of this process.

For explorations sake, let’s follow the theory that when we feel vulnerable in relationships, we associate that with weakness. So, we go searching for a “mask” to wear that’s going to help us not appear so weak. Automatically, this obscures what we know of and desire to express about our true self. The act naturally puts shackles on our ability to experience life more deeply with another person. Immediately, limits are strapped into place and there’s only so far that we can go.

We forget that we’re human beings and life contains many dimensions which aren’t filed under the category of niceties and bliss.

While this may be an unpopular view, it doesn’t detract from its validity. I would also encourage everyone to ask themselves the question whether one of their purposes for developing intimate relationships stems more from the desire to gain a certain amount or type of social acceptance, or to explore deeper aspects of themselves as a catalyst for personal and collective growth.

Douglas and Naomi Moseley write:

“Developing an attractive personality does not eliminate the parts of ourselves that are unacceptable, they just become more disguised and layered over.”

Furthermore:

“People who are only willing to look at or be aware of one portion of themselves are essentially living in a delusion, well intended though that delusion may be. Behind their masks, they don’t know who they are or what they feel. The control they exert to present an acceptable self-image to others (and themselves) is likely to leave them numb and without passion. Major dimensions within the self are lost or repressed. Living behind a mask takes energy. The process of suppressing becomes so habitual that they forget how much energy is consumed by putting on a good, pleasant face and living up to an image.”

We stand on the rooftops and shout that we want someone to “love me for me” or “accept me as I am” and this raises two important questions: Are we willing to honestly reveal ourselves to the degree that genuine acceptance is possible and will we reciprocate?

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The universe is asking us to push ourselves to create strategies to relate as authentically as possible and discard that “shit eating grin” which we may have been carrying around with us for some time. The feedback from the cosmos is telling us that the jig is up and the masks no longer work. Can we face our own shadow? Can we vow to escape the morass of comfortable numbness and self-deceit?

If we can do this, we can jump-start true change in our lives. If not, we may find ourselves searching for discounts for costumes at Party City.

Notes: “Dancing In The Dark: The Shadow Side of Intimate Relationships by Douglas & Naomi Moseley

 

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What is the Part of Fortune?

One of the many things that I love about the study and practice of Astrology is that you’ll find yourself hard pressed to run out of ways to challenge your brain and perceptions. When you become fully immersed in this art, there’s an infinite amount of information out there just begging to be synthesized and given meaning to.

From what I’ve heard and observed, most people become introduced to Astrology via the Sun sign portal, and then information regarding the Moon and rising signs follows closely behind. Essentially, these three dimensions of your birth chart constitute your astrological signature.

Over the years, one of the features of the astrological chart that’s consistently intrigued me is the Part of Fortune. The Part of Fortune is derived through adding and subtracting the positions of the Sun, Moon and Ascendant. The point can’t be viewed in isolation from everything else in the birth chart because the potential rewards and benefits of it depend on a successful integration of our Sun. Moon and rising signs.

If we’ve been able to synthesize our astrological signature in a healthy manner, we’ll be much more likely to see the potential as well as the actual manifestations indicated through the Part of Fortune’s sign, house and the planets which come in contact with it.

However, if one isn’t using their Sun, moon and Ascendant energies in a constructive manner, the benefits provided by the Part of Fortune will be much less visible and evident.

Astrologer Martin Schulman:

” On a very simplistic level, the Part of Fortune may be considered a lucky spot in one’s horoscope, a source of opportunity through which one may achieve his greatest desires. Yet the idea of luck, opportunity fulfillment and completion remains abstract unless the individual makes concerted efforts toward his goal.”

My enthusiasm for this Astrological point aside, I would like to make it crystal clear that I’m not here to sell you pipe dreams of “pots of gold” and victories that come without hard work and dedication towards your own personal growth. Whatever the contents of your birth charts may be, we must employ them with purpose if it’s going to benefit us in the long run.

When we look at the Part of Fortune via sign and house , we can ask ourselves:

“What’s the greatest reward that I’m capable of receiving?”

On all levels; physical, material, emotional and spiritual, this is an appropriate question to ask. I view the Part of Fortune as the point which conspires for our joy and elevation when the  combined energies of our charts are hitting on all cylinders.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with what the Part of fortune looks like, here’s an illustration:

I encourage you to do some investigation as to what sign your Part of Fortune is in as well as its house position and any planets in your birth chart that make contacts with it via aspect. You’ll then get some clues as to how you may blend your Sun, Moon and Ascendant energies most effectively for maximum gain.

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In regard to aspect examples, let’s look at the chart above where the Part of Fortune is conjunct the Moon. This suggests that the ability to integrate a healthy expression of what the Moon symbolizes in one’s life (emotional intelligence, cultural heritage, roots, origins, ethnicity, domestic security, nurturing, women, feminine energy, etc.) is instrumental to this person’s happiness.  Any obstacle which the individual  finds that obstructs him or her from a free flow of emotion and the expression of the anima needs to be confronted and dealt with in order to achieve true joy.

Notes: “Karmic Astrology: Joy and The Part of Fortune” Volume III in a series by Martin Schulman

What is the Midheaven?

For those of you who may be new to Astrology , at times, the language can be somewhat overwhelming and confusing.

At this time, I would like to introduce you to an angle in your chart which is known as the Midheaven, also known as the “MC” which stands for “Medium Coeli”, a Latin phrase that translates into “the middle of the sky”.

As you can see by the wheel above, the Midheaven is the most elevated point in one’s birth chart and typically is on the cusp (the beginning) of the 10th house, although it doesn’t always have to be depending on the house system that’s being used.

Typically, the Midheaven has been characterized as one of the indicators of career or vocation, but it’s not the ONLY point which provides clues to this, I look at it as more of a focal point in an ongoing vocational profile.

Also, being the highest point in the birth chart, it indicates one’s highest aspirations out in the world. The sign of your MC (along with the planet that rules it and planetary aspects to both) suggest an evolving picture of the energies you need to utilize in a public sphere.

Do you know the sign of your Midheaven? If so, what sign rules it, and what aspects do you have to that planet? Check it out and look into what this may say about your calling in the world.

 

Capricorn Sun, Virgo Moon

This solar/lunar combination exudes the sentiment of “quality over quantity”.

In your mind, it’s not about how much, but how effectively you utilize what you have. Your aspirations of managing, administering and making things happen are achieved through an emotional investment in using correct techniques, “trimming the fat” and helping people and systems to operate more intelligently and efficiently. Your philosophy is spartan and you have the potential to hone into environments and pinpoint what doesn’t belong.

What you must remember is : as human beings, we have faults and we have shortcomings. While you may see this as deterring you from some larger ideal of perfection, I urge you to step back and take another look: maybe you’ll see that this VERY thing is what makes the world beautiful as well as challenging.

Taking things apart feeds your heart, while you shine through building solid structures through the information you derive via your observation analysis. Using this blend constructively, you can provide an exemplary model of someone who seamlessly manages material, spiritual and intellectual resources and offers the ‘know-how” sincerely, as a service to others to constantly upgrade their lives. Your paradigm is expressed more through action and encouragement and less through criticism and harsh judgment.

The Importance of Taking Responsibility For Our Birth Charts

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“In practice, the humanistic astrologer studies (perceives) the birth chart aesthetically rather than ethically, first as a whole and then in terms of its individual factors.

Nothing in the birth-chart is seen as good or bad, fortunate or unfortunate; humanistic astrology recognizes no evil planets or bad signs. It considers all astrological factors as having a place in all things; everything is good when in its place in the eternal scheme of things and in relation to everything else. From this approach, the birth-chart is a set of instructions for the actualization of one’s potential.”
-Michael R. Meyer

Whenever I speak with people about Astrology, I always make it a point to let them know how strongly I feel about self-responsibility. Astrology is a profound art and a wonderful tool for self- discovery.

It’s extremely important to remember that everything has a purpose within our birth charts. It’s pertinent that we accept and “make friends” with our celestial maps. Coming to grips with our cosmic blueprints enables us to work with the energies that are present at the highest, most evolved levels.

If we refuse to “own” our charts, at worst, the issues surrounding the parts that we reject will come to visit us in another form. Or, they will be projected onto friends and intimates.

It may help us tremendously to remember that there are both productive and unproductive expressions for every planet, signhouse and aspect. If we truly want to take travel the high road, it’s ours for the taking and is waiting for us.

Let’s make a comparison to our physical body: suppose that we don’t like our arms. For whatever reason we’re not pleased with their shape, tone, etc… Even though this may be the case, we’re probably not going to deny the reality that we have two arms. In fact, we may even start to work to improve their condition.

With our birth charts, it fails to work to our advantage when we’re a Gemini and we spend all day dreaming about becoming a Scorpio. Or, we feverishly try to repress our Moon in Virgo telling ourselves that it’s in the late degrees, so “it’s really more Libran”.

We must remember to accept the raw material that we’re presented with, mold it to our satisfaction and create our own masterpiece.

Trusting our judgement and having faith in our ability to become the authors of our lives assisted by the tools of astrology can definitely create an atmosphere that will strikingly enhance the quality of our lives and those around us.

Viewing The Contents of our Birth Charts as Potentials

“What I, as an advocate of humanistic and especially person-centered astrology demand of my birth chart is that it should tell me how I can best manage such an emergence, how I can truly become an individual able to actualize as fully as possible my birth potential.” – Dane Rudhyar

As a practicing counseling astrologer, one of the first questions that I allow into my mind when viewing a chart, especially for the first time, is:what’s the most constructive, or highest potential contained within these planetary placements and aspects? 

Of course, a direct and honest dialogue is needed with the client in order to discern the level at which they’re presently living out their chart. Once this is established, it’s time to talk elevation, progress, growth and development.

The astrologer Tracy Marks authored an excellent book called: “The Astrology of Self Discovery“. I’ve built on some of her ideas because I think it’s important that they’re recognized and carried forward by the astrological community as a viable and beneficial perspective on extracting the rich potential contained in our birth charts.

When examining our own birth charts, I think it’s very important to acknowledge our challenges. However, we must ultimately move our focus toward, and search for ways in which these areas of tension can be alleviated.

If we go to the doctor with a cold, it’s only a matter of time before we become weary of his/her explaining that we’ve touched too many doorknobs or shaken too many hands. Actually, we’ve probably become antsy and are just ready to get our prescription. We want to know the basics about the diagnosis, however, we’re looking for what works. A solution.

In order to recognize positive possibilities, we must study models that work. So, it would be extremely helpful if we direct our attention toward the constructive use of planetary placements and aspects.

“I have ceaselessly repeated during the past 40 years that there are no “bad” planets, signs, houses or aspects. Everything in the birth chart is as it should be. But, it is there to be used consciously and effectively. It is best used so that it may serve the purpose of self-actualization and of liberation from the compulsions of human nature and collective patterns of society and culture. I have repeated that astrology has value only in so far as it helps man to tread the conscious way.” (source: “My Stand on Astrology” by Dane Rudyhar)

The Mercury in Sagittarius individual may exaggerate in speech, glorifying grandiose ventures, but this placement can also yield a prophetic visionary with a broad understanding of the whole of life. Someone who needs to share his/her wisdom with the intent of uplifting and inspiring humanity.

Concerning planetary aspects, it would benefit us to pay attention to how the planets in question combine on as many different levels as possible. Because you have a sun-moon opposition doesn’t mean that the potential is not there for these entities to integrate and synthesize to produce a harmonious whole. Let’s not limit ourselves to one possibility of how a particular aspect is supposed to operate.

Let’s say you have a sun- pluto or moon-pluto square, which some astrologers will gasp at upon viewing the chart. In order to understand how these particular chart set-ups would work effectively and constructively, it would help us to investigate how they work in a trine, sextile and conjunction relationship. Along with the challenges, it’s imperative that we keep our eyes and minds on success.

From my perspective, the birth chart and all of it’s contents are similar to a road map. We all know the destination, but the route of certain individuals may appear to be more smoothly paved.

In our desire to reach our destinations, why put the majority of our efforts into dwelling on the bumpy, poorly paved back roads when there are examples right in front of us of  state of the art six lane highways? 

Why not concentrate on the possibilities of planetary and sign energies working FOR us?

We need not fear our squares, oppositions or “hard” aspects. Or, become paralyzed because of planets in their “fall” or detriment. Rather, we can respond and confront them through recognition of their strengthening and refining qualities. Putting effort towards our personal development, and in return producing dynamic results.

Let us remember that the potential is ever present in our birth charts to seize. We can emerge as victorious as Hercules did upon facing the Lernaean hydra.

Onward and upward.

Aquarius Sun, Cancer Moon

This sun/moon combination can yield both rich emotional responses and inventive ideological breakthroughs if you allow it.

Your life energy is rooted in aspirations of uplifting the human family, while heart strings pull you toward the security typically found in tribe and clan. It’s clear to you that overall change which entails dislodging from the status quo gets your blood pumping, but you also wish to have a safe and solid base from which to operate.

Futuristic thought is no stranger to you and the ability to maintain empathy and the common touch serves as a bonus to your character. At times, you may find yourself battling between choosing what’s familiar and habitual versus what you define as “progress”.

One of the keys to navigating this blend is to understand that advancement is something which is highly personal and custom made. While you wish to “evolve”, trusting your own level of personal fulfillment instead of searching for a universally accepted definition of evolution may address your needs more effectively. In addition, all of the “bells and whistles” typically associated with “modern” life, may or may NOT be suitable for you, depending on the situation.

Within your heart and psyche lies the potential for a depth of creativity which stems from the image laden realms of emotional memory, as well as scientific thinking. You can also move crowds, maintain mass appeal and remain accessible and responsive in more intimate situations.

Shining as a visionary, you have the goods to honor and use your past as a guidepost, or internal map to create the changes which will nourish your heart and provide your mind with the stimulation that it needs.

 

Navigating Pluto Transits : Personal Rebirth and Finding Light in the Darkness

Whenever we read or hear about Pluto and it’s association with Astrology, a host of themes are mentioned like: transformation, regeneration, rebirth, catharsis, upheaval, renewal and change. However, the NUMBER ONE word that I witness, which attracts the most fixation, where Pluto is concerned is DEATH.

By all means, it’s both a dangerous and incomplete analysis to mention that word in connection with Pluto and refuse to expand the conversation.

YES… transiting Pluto could legitimately indicate a physical death. However, we must also broaden our way of thinking and remember the myriad of symbolic deaths we’re capable of experiencing: the death of our ego, psychological deaths, emotional deaths, vocational and relationship deaths, and deaths of outmoded behavior patterns.

Let’s also remember that in addition to these potential types of death, Plutonian energy is also intimately connected to REBIRTH.

When we’re in the midst of a major Pluto transit to personal points within our birth chart, we’ll most likely, in some form or another, be grappling with the “death” of ourselves as we know it, in that particular area of life.

Most of us, at one time or another, have chosen to reinforce our perceived identities through external anchors; the supports which bolster us and give us a greater sense of who and what we are. Intimate relationships, jobs, family, friendships, personal possessions, money, religion and spirituality are some examples of such anchors.

When we choose these areas as points of over identification, especially to the exclusion of all others, that territory is ripe and fertile ground for transiting Pluto.  As my personal Astrologer would say about transits: that planetary energy is coming to visit you.”

WELL….. guess who’s coming to dinner??

Pluto has its own unique modus operandi for realigning us through severely disrupting our attachments to people, things and situations in which we’ve become overly immersed.

This isn’t because we’ve been “bad” people or Pluto is an “evil” force out to get us, but more so because it’s time for a cycle of personal re-balancing and the broadening our conception of what our true identity entails.

In other words, the universe is telling us that we’re much more than the narrow and limited version of ourselves that we’ve been fixating on.

To provide an example: Let’s say that “Bob” lives and breathes for his job. Basically, he’s obsessed. All he ever talks about is being “VP of Special Promotions”. His business cards are always on deck…. BAM!

When transiting Pluto makes contact with Bob’s Ascendant, Sun, Midheaven or another personal point in his chart, the message during this time may be: “HEY BOB!! Your identity and life is about MUCH MORE than this job. As a matter of fact, you guys are going out of business in less than 6 months!”  The archetypal energy of Pluto will be released through whatever avenue(s) which are appropriate for Bob to receive that message.

Often, during Plutonian periods, when upheaval occurs, there’s a daunting sense of loss, even if what’s been removed from our lives is for our eventual betterment. While our knees are buckling, we shake our fist to the sky and ask “Why Pluto, Why??”

The truth is, we had become so used to having certain things in our lives, (even if they we’re sucking out our very souls) that we’re now utterly bewildered by their sudden removal. We may find ourselves mystified and wondering: what now??

Pluto transits are SLOW. The meaning behind them is one of gradual unfoldment. Chances are, we won’t be able to grasp the immediate significance of the losses we’ve accrued by the time our weekly episode of “Breaking Bad” is over or by the time the Steelers beat the Patriots.

This sense of loss is mainly present because we may have built up so much psychic and emotional resistance to freeing ourselves from these attachments. “NO! Let me suffer!” we cry.

Intellectually, we can process the standard mantras such as “everything happens for a reason.” Or, “It’s all in God’s Plan.” However, on an instinctive and emotional level, we’re scared as hell because we have no earthly idea what’s behind door number two, and we’ve been stuck on ONE ever since we can remember.

 

This being the case, it’s important that we find some compassion for ourselves during these turbulent times. We must not beat ourselves up for what we think were major lapses of judgement or just outright regrets. After all, we’re human beings complete with all our greatness, splendor, flaws, imperfections and neuroses to boot.

An important question for us to contemplate during Pluto transits is:

What’s my TRUE identity? If I wasn’t married to ________, dating __________, employed by __________, a (insert religious, cultural, gender or racial affiliation) who would I be?

While ALL of these things may certainly serve as a PART of who we are, somewhere along the line, we decided which one(s) we were most comfortable honing in on, while leaving the others to rot in the corner.

For us, these cycles may indeed signal that we have to either let go or be dragged by the stale energy permeating our beliefs, philosophies, marriages, friendships or associations. Or, it’s a possibility that these things don’t hold the appeal for us that they once did. Maybe we’re not feeling the club, or the 8 to 5 gig anymore. Furthermore, we may not have to completely set these out on the curb for the trash collector, but find ways to renew and revamp them in accordance with who we are at PRESENT.

Whatever semblance of our “old self” that remains during these periods of development is our glimpse of light coming through the window in a room which can be awfully dark at times. We can be sure that its survival was because it’s somehow an ESSENTIAL ingredient to continuing on our life path.

 

One of the keys to navigating Pluto is to dig DEEP. Yes… we might flinch at what we see. Even jump back in disgust. However, we must look the “monster” straight in the eyes and DEMAND to know what parts of ourselves are intact, with the hopes of using them to put ourselves together in an entirely new way.

Reference: “The Gods of Change: Pain, Crisis and The Transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto” by Howard Sasportas

 

Scorpio Sun, Leo Moon

 

You plumb the depths of life experience via fulfilling your emotional need to establish a highly personal domain, a.k.a. kingdom or queendom: The area(s) of life which “feed(s)” you and attract applause, attention, admiration and validation.

When you clear emotional blockages to open up the portals of creative self-expression, a highly concentrated and potent statement of showmanship is what moves you emotionally. This “breakthrough” assists you in getting out of your own way.

Through accepting your self-esteem needs , you have the potential to become an agent of deep personal change and healing for others.

However, you must admit that you want to be noticed by others. Coming to grips internally with the reality that there’s no shame in wanting to be “seen”.

Don’t forget that it’s possible to fuel your aspirations of being in the limelight while simultaneously protecting your emotional resources.

The key is to accept and embrace your “shine”, not as a vehicle for egotistical inflation, but rather as a spiritual mission to transform the world you inhabit, and leave it in a better place than you found it.

At the VERY LEAST, you will be challenged to magnify and breathe new life into the issues most of us would rather keep buried to preserve the neatness of society.

This blend may have a poisonous stinger, but it also possesses a golden heart of a lion.

 

An Unapologetic Message From Sagittarian Mind

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My Father once told me: “If EVERYONE likes or approves of what your doing, you must not be doing too much.”

Wise words from a wise man indeed.

When it comes to our self-images, we must be prepared to live with and accept the thoughts, opinions and perceptions that others have formed of us. However, we must not allow this to sidetrack us from our life’s mission.

We must also take into consideration that a portion of these conclusions drawn by others may stem from their fears and insecurities, which can be both skillfully and unconsciously projected on to us.

It’s important that we use our analytic and intuitive faculties to make the distinction between genuine feedback of those who love and care about us and mentacidal tactics exclusively designed to coerce us into behavior patterns which will temporarily comfort calcified personal anxieties.

Our purpose isn’t to make everyone “comfortable.”  Dedicating our lives to making sure others are “ok” with our choices, and who we are, at every turn can create a psychologically and emotionally stultifying dynamic which depletes us of our energy to assert and express ourselves as multi-dimensional human beings.

To allow others who disapprove of us, to stew in their anger and wallow in their misery, can be the most appropriate gift that we’ll ever give them.

One of the most constructive tasks that we can undertake in regard to our own well-being is to pursue integrity; to align our thoughts, words and deeds in an undivided whole. This means there is no separation between them.

Otherwise, we allow ourselves to let it be. To let the chips fall where they may To take our energy which may have been previously used in attempts to sway personal or public opinion, and direct them toward the life’s work that we’ve chosen to do with conviction, gusto and pizzazz.